Former Crystal Palace owner's autobiography reviewed

Streatham Guardian: Speaking his mind: Simon's Jordan's autobiography Speaking his mind: Simon's Jordan's autobiography

Simon Jordan's autobiography hit shelves today and, as you would expect, he pulls no punches.

Throughout his time as Crystal Palace's owner, and when he made his millions with the PocketPhone Shop, Jordan was never shy of controversy and he has not shirked it again in 'Be Careful What You Wish For'.

Ron Noades, Steve Coppell, Jamie Pollock, Craig Foster, Gordon Taylor, Terry Venables, Iain Dowie, Richard Murray, Agilo's Milos Brajovic, Eagles' chief executive Phil Alexander and current chairman Steve Parish are just a few people that come under fire - while agents and players are vilified throughout.

At times, Jordan comes across as a media-loving bully determined to do things his way and cause a storm and, particularly around the Dowie years, everyone else is blamed but him and you find yourself struggling to believe many of his claims.

But there are times when you feel sorry for him, especially at the beginning and end of his tenure, when he does admit mistakes in his eagerness first of all to please and later not to lose.

The book begins with a short section on his childhood - when he broke into Selhurst Park on Sundays - and his father's legal battle against then Palace chairman Noades' attempt to build a car park at the end of their garden.

Jordan's determination to succeed soon comes to the forefront as he rises to the top in the computer contractor industry, loses it all and then gets it all back again as he turns a business conceived in a Chinese restaurant in Finchley Road into a £78m fortune that gave him the funds to rescue Palace from administration in 2000.

But there is a stark contrast between the Jordan that ran PocketPhone Shop with a control bordering on OCD, not minding who he trampled over to get his way, and the one portrayed in his early years at Palace - where he was ultimately too naive and too trusting in people that let him down.

He spent £1m on Julian Gray and Tommy Black in the first week of his tenure in a desperate attempt to please manager Coppell and, later £2.25m on flop Ade Akinbiyi on the insistence of then manager Trevor Francis.

But many Palace fans will turn first to the latter chapters surrounding the events of 2009 that led to Agilo putting the club into administration in January, 2010.

Jordan presents himself as having tried everything to avoid administration, including meeting with now disgraced former Croydon Athletic owner Mazhar Majeed, but was let down by others - those behind the Hero Fund (a basket into which he effectively put all his and Palace's eggs and lost them), the people at the Agilo hedge fund, who back-tracked on their promises to him, and even people at the club, who he claims stabbed him in the back.

The most telling line comes at the end, when he writes: "At least I would have no more to do with people like the destructive Brajovic, disingenuous Parish, disappointing Guilfoyle and ultimately disloyal Phil Alexander."

The book does border on being one long rant at times and some things you do have to take with a pinch of salt, but it is a good read and provides a great insight into a world many only imagine entering.

Jordan will be signing copies of 'Be Careful What You Wish For' at Waterstones in Leadenhall Market at 12.30pm on Friday, June 8.

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