John Bostock is a name that Palace fans the world over have been aware of for more than a decade already, despite the fact that he only made 5 appearances for the Eagles first-team.
At 15, the central midfielder was a boy with the world at his feet, coveted by clubs across Europe (including the mighty Barcelona) many viewed him as the next big thing in English football but in the summer of 2008, a highly controversial move to Tottenham sent him into a downward spiral both professionally and emotionally.
Whilst there has always been a tangible sense of bitterness towards Bostock from the Palace faithful over the manner of his departure, the above interview does go a long way towards explaining and to a large extent repairing the damage that was done by his move across London. As John himself says, he was just a kid at the time, having life-changing decisions made by everyone but him. Does he regret it? Undoubtedly. Should we still hold a grudge against him or his family for choices that were made 10 years ago? Not in my mind.
As was always likely to be the case with an interview like this, a great deal of context has been added to the decisions which were taken at key points throughout the saga, with one particular anecdote about a man who was “close” to Neil Warnock at the time (Keith Curle?) highlighting why John and his family perhaps felt it was best to get away from Selhurst as a matter of urgency.
Now rebuilding his career apace in France, I find it incredibly difficult to feel anything other than respect for the manner in which Bostock conducts himself, with the shots of him taken revisiting the Arthur Wait stand for the first time since leaving the club enough to soften even his harshest of critics.
You get the impression that, were an opportunity to arise for him to return to SE25 as a player, he’d grab it with both hands, such is his obvious love for the club. It’s easy to paint him as a pantomime villain but in truth, his career trajectory has probably helped us keep hold of our brightest talents for longer ever since.
It was pleasing that, following the interview being filmed, Bostock signed for Toulouse, who now have a pre-season friendly scheduled against Palace at Selhurst in early August. Hopefully, he’s given a decent reception by those in attendance if he does play, it would feel only right for him to be welcomed back after the poignancy of show in the footage attached above.
They say time is the greatest of healers and in this particular instance, I’m inclined to agree.