The end of most managerial reigns are a study in passing the blame, but in the unlikely setting of the Soho Hotel off Dean Street, the wrong side of the river for Crystal Palace fans, Ian Holloway and his chairman Steve Parish vied with one another for the responsibility for the club's failings.
It was honest and, at times, a little bewildering, to hear the pair say that they had failed to adapt to life in the Premier League after their play-off promotion in May. Holloway said he had "five days off" all summer. Parish said that the two men spoke to one another "123 times a day" during the transfer window, until "2am, 3am". They might have been exaggerating, but we got the message.
The spirit of the team that had been promoted had been lost, said Holloway. Parish admitted that he had been overwhelmed by the sheer number of players put to him by scouts and agents. Anticipating the vast number of applicants for the vacant manager's job, he also said he expected foreign candidates too, "probably Carlos Fandango" – a joke, one had to assume, in the tradition of Alan Sugar's mythical "Carlos Kickaball".
But perhaps there is a real Carlos Fandango out there who can save Palace, with just three points from eight games and down in 19th position. If so, he will have to stop what Parish described as a "Championship club" going back to what seems to be their natural habitat. He cited the departure of Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United in the summer, and the injuries to Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie as critical.
"I want to be proud of my part in this and I think I can be, particularly in the way I am conducting myself now because to me that is what it is about," Holloway said, simultaneously outlining his position and offering a running commentary on that position." I would strongly suggest if someone does want a chance at the Premier League they should consider this. It ain't that much that needs changing." Nevertheless, he did not consider himself up to the task.