Monday, July 15, 2024

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The curious case of Mark Goldberg

Mark Goldberg made a fortune in the dot-com bubble at the end of the nineties. Following the sale of his IT recruitment consultancy, Goldberg, then 33, became a multi-millionaire and decided to fulfill his boyhood dream of buying his beloved Crystal Palace.  

 

At the time Palace were floundering at the bottom of the Premier League, and the price he paid - roughly £25m, which crucially didn’t include the freehold of Selhurst Park - was widely regarded as overblown for a club that were odds-on to go down. 

 

Goldberg’s first move as Palace chairman was to relieve Steve Coppell of managerial duties and appoint Atillio Lombrado and Tomas Brolin as joint player-managers; no matter Lombrado didn’t speak any English and Brolin was by now a very poor player and slightly unhinged.  

 

 

Palace went down, finishing bottom and nine points adrift of safety.

 

Understanding how important it was for the club to bounce straight back up, Goldberg turned to the safe hands and slippery fingers of Terry Venables in the quest for promotion.  

 

Venables charged £130,000 just to enter into preliminary talks with his old club and his eventual deal to return as manager was worth £750,000-a-year, with a house in London and a car thrown in for good measure. 

 

Palace started the new season well and stormed to the top of Division One. But all was not well. Poor financial planning had resulted in an unsustainable wage structure and the club was haemorrhaging cash. To rectify the situation the highest earners had to go and that included Venables, Lombardo, Matt Jansen and Craig Moore.  

 

The club were in a deep mire. Goldberg’s cash had run out, the club was sliding towards liquidation and the administrators moved in. After only 8 months as chairman, Goldberg left the club having squandered his entire fortune. To add insult to injury his wife left him later that year. 

 

Goldberg spent the next 8 years trying to rebuild his life and returned to work in a recruitment agency to help pay off some of his debts. However, this wasn’t the end of his love-affair with football.  

 

In 2005 Goldberg’s brother-in-law, Jerry Dolke, became chairman of non-league Conference South side Bromley. In one of his first moves after taking over he sacked the successful and popular management team of Billy Smith and appointed Goldberg as manager.   

 

Although initially met with scepticism by fans and critics alike, the decision appeared to be a shrewd one as Goldberg’s success in the dugout contrasted to his time in the board-room. He led Bromley to 14 wins in his first 19 games and got them to the first round of the FA Cup.  

 

However, after 18 months in charge, Goldberg left the Bromley hot-seat to take charge his 17-year-old daughter’s fledgling pop-career. Lauren Rose released her debut single, a cover of the Jewish folk song Hava Niglia, late last year, yet was unsuccessful in her bid to make Christmas No.1. But with Dad at her side who’s to say what will happen.

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