Palace are everyone’s favourites to go down this year. But on the first day of the season all fans’ hopes are high. Here are 6 (not entirely serious) reasons why the bookies and pundits are wrong.
1. Our club’s united
At least one club will disintegrate behind the scenes, leading to their relegation. In 1995, 1998 and to a lesser extent in 2005 that was us. Despite some fans’ massive over-reaction to the rumoured renaming of Selhurst Park (this is the silly season after all), the club seems pretty settled this time round. More to the point, you can’t seem to get a cigarette paper between the co-chairmen and manager.
2. Our signings are pretty sharp
There’s a balance to be made between largely keeping the players who got you up and signing an entire new squad. We did the former in 1979 and 1989 and the latter – disastrously – in 1997 and to an extent in 2004. You can buy too many players. This time we’ve bought a Premier class winger to replace Wilf, bust our transfer record (probably) to fill our striker shortage, brought in one of Europe’s most promising midfielders and strengthened ourselves across the park. Is that enough? Don’t know. But at least Ian Holloway won’t be messing around trying to guess his best 11 until Christmas. Which brings us to
3. The gaffer’s getting into his stride
No question, the run up to last season’s playoffs was terrible. But Ollie’s judgement for the playoffs themselves was spot on. In the process, he made the Palace squad his own, rather than something he inherited. He showed he could learn from the mistakes he’d made in previous playoff campaigns, and now I expect him to show that he can learn from his time in the Premier League with Blackpool.
4. We have a game in hand already, and we’re not even in the relegation zone
I’ll settle for that on the last day of the season.
5. We’re lipsticking the pig
Selhurst Park’s a dump, but it’s our dump! Besides, it has become a fortress in recent years. It has bags more atmosphere than a soulless bowl and the main stand in particular has had some much needed TLC: indeed, both the stadium and the training ground have had a LOT of attention this summer, making them better places to go. Simon Jordan once said something along the lines of, if you lose a game people will complain about the pies, but the infrastructure does matter (particularly if people are paying top whack to be there). Both fans and – more importantly – the players are bound to be buoyed by the visible changes including the changing of the naff ‘winning is everything’ slogan at the training ground to the far more inspiring ‘believing is everything’.
6. It’s our turn
We’ve been relegated first time the last three times we’ve been promoted. We’re due a second season. If that’s not a good reason, I don’t know what is.
Believing is everything. COME ON YOU REDS AND BLUES
well, there you go.
Prediction looking good at the moment, though the season’s been anything but what you could have predicted. Fingers crossed or quietly confident?
Most of the individual predictions have been proven wrong – sadly, Jose Campana and Dwight Gayle haven’t made the impact we hoped (though I hope we’ll see more of them in due course); Holloway might now know his first eleven but who cares…but we’re in the mix and it’s still all to play for. But in 1993, 1995 and 2005 it was also very tight and we seem to have the knack of losing out each time.
On the other hand, there are two imploding clubs and in previous years we would have been the embodiment of Cardiff at least. We’ve kept our dignity and hopefully our ethos. The poor Bluebirds appear to have lost both – and will lose their Premiership status quite soon. Meanwhile, there’s still plenty to enjoy in SE25.