Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First impressions – May 1

Eagle Eye's regular monthly editorial

And so the season is all but over. A handful of fans will go to Colchester hoping to see a glimpse of the future with the rumoured inclusion of Lewis Grabban, Dave Martin and possibly 15 year-old wunderkind John Bostock on the bench. But for most of us the last action of the season came last Sunday with a welcome even impressive win over Derby.

It leaves us looking at a 13th place finish and a season of underachievement, talk of which has been heightened by the win over a Derby side making a final bid to stay in the race for automatic promotion but who looked every bit as flat and uninspired as Palace have for most of this season.

So are we making progress or not? Peter Taylor has long contended that the current squad is good enough to have made a stronger bid for promotion and that consistency has been the real failing. Many of us however feel that it lacks genuine quality and are left heaving sighs of relief that it’s all over.

We can count the genuine high points on the fingers of one hand and even when sitting pretty with maximum points after three games, it was already apparent that this Palace team was nowhere near good enough. In fact at one stage it was being described by more than a few as the worst Palace side in more than 20 years. In terms of the lack of entertainment that tag still applies, it’s difficult to recall when we’ve been anywhere near as boring as this. We’ve endured some turgid, one-paced fotball and many have laid the blame at Peter Taylor’s doorstep, feeling that he is over-cautious and has deliberately settled for points when victories were needed.

That said, there is a recognition that building a team takes time. Some believe that Taylor has done well with a side shorn above all of the talent of Andy Johnson and also missing Emmerson Boyce (arguably our best player) the steel of Aki Riihilahti and Mikele Leigertwood in midfield and to a lesser extent Fitz Hall.

The players coming in have been a mixed bag. Again Taylor harldy won the fans over by acquiring journeymen such as Kennedy, Scowcroft, Kuqi and to a lesser extent Lawrence (who has surprised many with some committed displays). Cort has been a solid if unspectacular defender, while Green, Ifill and Martin at least hint at more attacking ambitions, although the first two have struggled for fitness (which may be a constant worry) and the latter is being introduced very gradually.

Looking for pointers for next season is not easy. We had a decent run from Christmas, which suggested we could be a top six side, but that form fell away and there were lame performances at Leeds, Plymouth and Barnsley which had little to recommend them. Good wins over Preston and Derby suggest better times ahead but we still seem to lack a real driving force (although to be fair the entire division seems to be lacking in that respect).

There are now one or two rumours that Taylor may shortly be on his way, either of his own accord or possibly because Simon Jordan fancies the suddenly available Chris Coleman. Whether these rumours have any foundation, one suspects it would be a mistake to change again just at this moment. It has not been a good season, but the thinking of most fans is to wait and see what Taylor does in the summer. Can he bring in some younger players with pace and possibly get rid of some of the deadwood even including one or two of the journeymen he brought in, such as Scowcroft, Kennedy and Kuqi? There are youngsters such as Lewis Grabban coming through, who could make n impact next year, most of us are prepared to wait a little longer to see if Taylor can turn the current drab outfit into something a little more inspiring. It would be silly not to give him the chance.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sign the petition... reject the new Palace kits

Many supporters are upset at the hideous new Palace shirt designs, which are extremely ugly and continue in the thoughtless tradition of Crystal Palace FC taking their suppporters for mugs.

Enough is enough. With widespread anger about the rubbish kits, an online petition has been set up and the Palace Independent Suppporters Association is taking the matter up with the club.

Apart from disapointment with the designs, whcih are truly dreadful aan an embarrassment to club and fans, there is also the matter of the whole process as the club charter says it will consult on kits (which might have given us a chance to at least overwhelmingly dismiss the worst kits in CPFC history). No wonder fans feel disenfranchised. If you've had enough please sign the petition and do not buy these rubbish kits.

Click on the headline in this article and it will take you to the petition

Friday, April 27, 2007

Palace unveil rubbish new kits

Crystal Palace FC today revealed their stylish new kits for 2007-08. The new look designs are intended to highlight the character of the club and the thinking of those who designed and approved the kits.

'We've gone for Italian style and French flair,' said chairman Simon Jordan, who of course is readily identified in most tabloids as the very epitome of 'good taste'.

The home kit on the left incorporate's the chairman's own corporate colour of orange into the traditional Palace colours and recognises that fans have a feeling for history with a nod to the yellow and black FA Cup final replay kit down one sleeve.

'We feel that these kits will look perfect for when the wheels come off our season,' said Jordan.

The away kit on the right takes its cue from the atmosphere around Selhurst Park since Peter Taylor arrived, and is inspired by French mime artist Marcel Marceau.

'We think this one will be a big seller,' said Jordan, 'mime is money.'

Thursday, April 26, 2007

How Palace can learn from Napoleon

Exclusive: A leaked Palace document which forms part of Peter Taylor's 'roadmap to the Premiership' shows how an understanding of nineteenth century military history can help us to victory next season

The following notes show how Palace can achieve success by adapting Napoleonic military tactics... we're rather taken with the bright reds and blues and the glistening Eagles on sticks - all very Palace!

1. Form square For the 2007-08 season, Palace's primary defensive system will be to form an infantry style square in the 18 yard-box. It's a proven defence against cavalry attack and we believe it could be just as effective against opposition wingers. We are checking with the Nationwide league to clarify rules allowing Leon Cort and Mark Hudson to fix bayonets.

2. The retreat from Moscow formation We perfected this in the 2006-07 season where, after our corners have been cleared, we have a bedraggled and exhausted looking bunch of stragglers trying to make it back to their own half. Scowcroft, Kuqi and Kennedy have done a passable impression of the shattered remnants of the Imperial Guard struggling through the snow. We're thinking of adapting this next season to include a scene where Kuqi is butchered for horse flesh.

3. Artillery In the absence of any kind of midfield quality, the back four maintain an aerial barrage. Rather than have Palace wasting energy by charging upfield like the Scots Greys, the order will be 'just bloody boot it!'

4. Attacking in line Again, a tactic we've already worked on this season. String everybody out in a line and plod aimlessly forward towards the opposition while they pick us off at will.

5. Sign Sharpe A dashing hero could be the answer to our lack of cut and thrust up front, get that goalscoring bloke from Scunthorpe (although knwing our luck we'll end up with Mr Bean instead).

Cruelly taken out of context quotation

Taylor insists the players must end their habit of conceding soft goals. 'A lot of our games could have ended 0-0, but we have conceded silly goals and they have cost us.'

Sweet holy whatsname, mother of that bloke out of the bible.... just what we really needed this season would have been more 0-0 draws. Haven't we suffered enough? It might have been a bit more encouraging if he'd said the players must end their habit of getting three yards inside the opposition's half and then turning round and retreating.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Season review part 1: Goalkeepers

As the season approaches a merciful end, the Eagle Eye team assesses each aspect of the Palace squad, starting with the keepers…

Overview: Palace have had a problem with goalkeepers for years, in fact we still haven’t properly replaced Nigel Martyn. This season has seen chaos between the sticks with no less than four different keepers employed. Of those, the three that actually belong to us have all been in and out, hit and miss and we end the season with more uncertainty over who our number one will be.

Positives: An experienced, potentially brilliant keeper who is an established international (albeit with the eternally useless Hungary), he ended the season in good form. Gabor’s style is unorthodox, although he seems to have tempered his bizarre positioning at corners. He is an erratic talent but still makes mistakes and still makes great saves. His handling has improved greatly – aerially, he commands his area better than any recent Palace keeper. Distribution is erratic, often to the point of being a liability.
Negatives: Uncertainty has lingered over his future for the last two seasons. He has made encouraging noises about wanting to stay with Palace if the club ‘shows ambition’ to get back into the Premiership and, presumably, if we can afford to pay him. For someone capable of brilliance, he has conceded some poor goals, which resulted in him being dropped and then loaned to West Ham and then Aston Villa although Peter Taylor’s apparent punishment seemed over harsh.
Keepometer 7 A confident on-form Kiraly is an asset and would save us the expense of having to buy a new keeper. He's by no means perfect but he's the best we can hope for. It will come down to money and that means he may well be off in June.

Positives: A loyal understudy to Kiraly, he has waited patiently for his chance and played well when called upon just before Christmas. Was then unlucky to get injured, preventing him from having a longer run in the side. Has been given the final three games of this campaign for Peter Taylor to have a look at him, which in a way speaks volumes – he’s been here three years and we still don’t know if he’s up to it.
Negatives: After a number of past calamities, many fans don’t have much faith in him and it seems that his defenders might feel the same way.. Can we afford to take a chance?
Keepometer 5 Out of contract this summer, probably not worth the risk of another contract.

Positives: Arrived from Barnsley with only a handful of games under his belt but with England under-20 honours and a good reputation, aided by apparent interest from Chelsea. Now gaining experience on loan with the Seaweed with okay reports. Flinders is the only example of us getting someone from Taylor’s fabled ‘little black book’ of young stars.
Negatives: No reflection on the player, but this deal was a complete waste of money. Palace doing their ‘big mouth’ bit signed him in a blaze of £1m reports only to be forced to backtrack after a series of disastrous autumn performances. Even if it turns out that the fee was ‘only £400,000’ it was hardly money well spent – buying expensive young keepers is a mug’s game, shades of Matt Gregg or Chris Day here? We’ve had no return on him in his first season and it’s doubtful whether he will be ready next term. By the time he fulfils his potential, he’ll be out of contract.
Keepometer 6 Hold onto him, we’ve paid the money hopefully one day we might see a return on it, but not yet. An expensive one for the future.

Positives: Looked the real deal during his loan spell from Everton, showed confident handling and produced one or two cracking saves of rare agility. Unlucky with his injury.
Negatives: Now on loan at Sheffield Wednesday who, should Everton decide to sell (and they would be stupid to do so), will undoubtedly be in pole position to snap him up.
Keepometer 8 Not ours to keep, but if he became available would be a very good buy. Best we can hope for is that our ‘Brownie points’ having given them AJ will secure a year’s loan deal.

Conclusion: Peter Taylor’s handling of our jeepers keepers has been poor and contributed significantly to the autumn slump - a self created crisis. We really want to avoid spending money on goalkeepers as there are so many outfield areas in desperate need of strengthening (i.e. all of them). We may have a difficult job to find someone better than Kiraly, but that may be out of our hands. Speroni or Flinders as number one? Not an enticing prospect.

Players linked: Iain Walker of Bolton (ex-England and Spurs journeyman, bad hair, dodgy photos) has been mentioned in the Sunday People. Expect Taylor’s old keeper at Hull, Boaz Myhill, to be mentioned as well.
Emerging talent: David Wilkinson.

What if... James Slowcroft joined the Fingerbobs

Slowly, steadily, I move at my own pace
They call me Flash though I won't dash
Who wants to run a race ?
As long as I get there, why worry ?
What's the hurry? [YAWN]

Friday, April 20, 2007

Three Yorkshiremen and a Palace fan

Yet another blatant Monty Python rip off… as we prepare for a visit to Barnsley, happen there’ll be a distinctively stereotypical regional flavour with flat hats, whippets, Yorkshire pudden, Michael Parkinson and probably a bland shopping centre with a Next and a River Island in it. Cue music from the Hovis advert…

FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: Who'd have thought 20 year ago we'd all be sittin' here preparing to play a fancy pants London outfit like Crystal Palace?
SECOND YORKSHIREMAN: Aye, in them days we was glad to have Trevor Aylott up front.
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: An’ we thought he were great. Even though we used him during t’week as a pit pony.
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: He were a luxury player.
PALACE FAN: We were happy in those days, though we were poor.
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: Because you were poor. My old Dad used to say to me: ‘A chairman with money can’t buy you happiness, son.’
PALACE FAN: He was right, he bought us Ade Akinbiyi… and John Macken.
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: You were happier when you had nothin'. We used have this tiny old stand with great big holes in the roof.
PALACE FAN: We’ve still got an old stand with great big holes in the roof. We used to stand on an away end, all twenty-six of us, no future, half the defence was missing, Tony Mahoney up front and Steve Ketteridge in midfield, relegation staring us in the face and we were all huddled together in one corner cos there was no roof on the Holmesdale and Uncle Ron wanted to sell us a Top Score card.
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: You were lucky not to have a roof! We used to have to watch Bruce Dyer in t’acid rain!
PALACE FAN: We used to be told by the Chairman’s brother that we were historic jean wearing fans shivering on the concourses.
SECOND YORKSHIREMAN: You were lucky to ‘ave concourses, we used ter play in t’corridor!
PALACE FAN: We had a goalkeeper called Kevin Miller… he was about as much use as a damp cloth…
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: We used to dream of buying Kevin Miller! He was Mister Palace to us. He used to keep goal in an old water tank on a rubbish tip and got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over him! And he ate the lot.
PALACE FAN: When I say we play in a ground, it’s really only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it’s still Selhurst Park to us.
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: We were evicted from our 'ole in the ground; we 'ad to go and live in a lake.
PALACE FAN You were lucky to have a lake! There’s a hundred and fifty of us in the Arthur Wait wading through rivers of piss in the shoebox that passes for the toilets…
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: You’re lucky. We played for three years with Aylott up front and he couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t' mill, 14 hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi' his belt.
PALACE FAN: Luxury. We have to try to stay awake while Mark Kennedy waddles around in midfield, watch James Scowcroft get nowhere near scoring, pay forty quid to get into a match where the team never crosses the halfway line, read SE25 and Simon charges us three quid for a small bottle of warm lager, if we’re lucky!
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
PALACE FAN: Well, of course, we have it tough. We 'ave to get up at twelve o'clock at night to spend ten hours on the phone trying to get through to the Palace box office and work twenty-four hours a day to be able to afford to buy one ticket in the lower Holmesdale, we spend a lifetime’s wages on a crap plastic shirt which is covered in catches and bobbles after one wash and sit in an empty stadium where most of the people don’t turn up for fear of losing consciousness and when we get home Shefki Kuqi’s calling us the worst fans he’s ever seen…
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: And you try telling the young people of today that… they won't believe you.

Putting Palace first

Does Crystal Palace FC ‘owe’ anything to other clubs when selecting teams to ensure that competition remains fair?

In the next two matches, Palace who are safely mid-table, face Barnsley who are fighting relegation and Derby, who are hoping for automatic promotion, and manager Peter Taylor has told the official club website: ‘I'll be tempted to name a young side for Colchester, but not against Barnsley or Derby. We will be playing our strongest team out of fairness to the other clubs in our division… I’m sure people like Birmingham, Sunderland, Wolves and Preston will want us to play the strongest team.’

Aside from the question of whether Palace’s emerging youngsters would actually be a better choice than some of the old stagers who have been playing without distinction all season, fans have been arguing over whether Taylor should be considering other clubs’ interests above those of his own team.

Morally, the answer is yes, but it has been a good few years since clubs were last required by rule to field full-strength teams in the league and few of us believe that if circumstances were different other clubs would do the same for us.

Indeed, Palace supporters will recall a disinterested last day performance by Barnsley at Portsmouth in 2001, which would have sent us to the third tier had it not been for a very late Dougie Freedman goal at Stockport. Portsmouth themselves made very little effort to avoid defeat at West Brom in the final game of 2005, knowing that their defeat might help send rivals Southampton down from the Premiership… it did, but relegated Palace too.

But this is not about any kind of revenge. All season, Palace supporters have yearned to see some of their emerging academy talent break into the squad. With three matches left and nothing to play for, they regard this as the perfect moment to give exciting winger Dave Martin, pacy striker Lewis Grabban and even much-touted 16 year-old Victor Moses a bit of valuable league experience. Not so, it seems. Many Palace fans feel that Taylor’s apparent willingness to put the needs of Birmingham et al above that of his own club is the wrong decision.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eagle iRobot: a futurist’s view of Crystal Palace

Never mind the youth academy and searching the lower leagues for talent… Tony Matthews says technology is the answer to Palace's talent crisis

I bet the boffins in the UK Office of Science and Innovation's Horizon Scanning Centre laughed to themselves when they decided to call their studies into the robotic future the Sigma and Delta scans. They could have called them the Eric and Ernie scans or the Derek and Clive scans, but that wouldn’t have sounded futuristic enough, would it?

This British government study, recently reported by the BBC, reckons that within the next 50 years some too-clever-by-half types will have invented intelligent robots, and said robots will require the same rights as humans. So that knackers the idea that they’ll get on with the hoovering and make your dinner while you put your feet up. In fact you’d better prepare yourself for them to rise up and slaughter you in your beds, cos that’s what the silvery-sods always do in the films, whihc is not a pleasant thought although it won’t stop the technomuppets from inventing them will it?

Microsoft’s Bill Gates might want to make robots a reality, but for many of us they conjure up all kinds of unpleasant images, from Rutger Hauer’s malevolent replicant putting the fear of Noades up us in Blade Runner to Will Smith’s battles in I Robot to Woody Allen’s stuttering little service droid in Sleeper. But amid all these nightmarish science fiction visions, one of the most obvious practical applications for robots could be for Palace to build themselves an artificially intelligent footballer.

What we’re after here, is a number 8 with a tackle like Iron Man, the precision passing trajectory of a laser guided missile and the pace of a T1000 model Terminator. And we haven’t had one of those since Geoff Thomas.

Fortunately, Eagle Eye can reveal that Palace is at the forefront of developing such technology and, if the work of the Selhurst Park CyberTechBoffinLab bears fruit, we may at last see a little bit of steel added to our midfield. Professor Kitt Syborg, the enormously clever chap who is head of research and development at the CPFC laboratory, is aiming to produce a complete player, one that combines the loyalty and ability to do as it is damn well told of a Cyberman with the aerial ability and clinical finishing of a Dalek. Unfortunately, Palace chairman Simon 'I'm only human' Jordan is being a bit tight with the old purse strings and so far professor Syborg is trying to create such a being out of two packs of Bacofoil, a set of corner flags, some rubber bands, a pair of Clinton Morrison’s old silver boots and a tin of WD40.

The first question for someone producing an artificially intelligent footballer is ‘how artificially intelligent does it have to be?’ The answer, it seems, is ‘not very’ or to put it into a complex scientific formula ‘short planks to the power of 2 = professional footballer’.

Despite having one or two screws missing, Professor Syborg says Palace are on the verge of a major breakthrough and should soon be able to put a microchip into Clinton Morrison’s shoulder (which should balance him up quite nicely) but Palace are experiencing teething troubles with a model called an iKuqi because they can’t get the clunking great feet right and it keeps tripping over itself. The real development work, though, is being saved for a new Roboforward called Tommy Klangley, who looks like a cross between an ordinary household dustbin and Tweekie from Buck Rogers… and plays like one, too.

While Palace struggle to finance their robot player programme, stinky rich clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal are already well advanced in their plans for a futuristic future. The Arse have developed an indestructible robot that is capable of shape shifting and time travel ready to turn out on the right wing. By contrast, Palace’s left back, who may one day be called upon to face such a terrifying machine, is made out of an old Whitehorse Lane End urinal, a pram wheel, and the hose attachment from a 1970s Electrolux vaccuum cleaner. ‘We’re pretty certain Palace’s new left back will suck,’ said professor Syborg.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

John McNichol RIP

Posted by Don Madgwick on the BBS

It is with sadness to regretfully announce the passing of one the games's true gentlemen Johnny McNichol. He passed away in hospital of a stroke on Saturday March 17th, aged 81.

John played in Chelsea's Championship side of 54/5 and later signed for Palace at the age of 33, not missing a game between March '58 and August '62 and played 205 times for the Club. Palace fans' may remember his newsagents in Croydon as well as him running the formative Palace Lottery in the early 70s.

People wishing to pass on their personal condolences to the family can write to them c/o CPfCP: PO Box 2005, London SE25 5EN.

We've brought in a ringer

Well he always was a diamond geezer

The super seventies

I've had this great idea for a tv drama series...

A half-empty stand of Palace fans drifts off into a deep slumber as Peter Taylor's lumbering beasts plod through another grim second half of back-passing and trying to hold on for a draw. When the fans wake up they're myseriously back in 1973!

Are they in a coma (very probably), back in time or just mad (we are the Palace, we're mad)?

As they regain consciousness, they're amazed to find Palace playing in white with claret and blue vertical bands. Their seats have vanished and they're in a packed enclosure full of laughing, joking, swearing blokes and there's a man in a car coat smoking a woodbine shouting: 'Don't stand for it Yogi, thump the bleedin' great northern poof!'

The ball is white, the ref's in black, there are no adverts on shirts, the top of the Arthur Wait stand has a clock and nothing else, the football goes from end to end with Alan Whittle, Don Rogers and Paddy Mulligan displaying silky skills, the players are getting stuck in, giving it their all. The vast crowd is cheering them on and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Can the modern Palace fans get back to their own time? Why the fuck would they want to?

I think I'll call this series after a David Bowie song... given how happy we all are these days, I was thinking of Queen Bitch. Whaddya reckon?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Boredom and negativity

It has been a calendar month since I last posted anything on this blog and there has been one single reason for the lack of comment… I just couldn't be bothered.

Last week standing in the Glaziers bar, I met a friend who was going to his last game of the season – he will be on holiday by the time we play Derby. His assessment: 'Thank God it's over'. And that is it pretty much in a nutshell. This is a season that has been wasted on the field while, off it, there has been an increasing sense of distance between Palace supporters and the club.

In no uncertain terms, it is a recipe for disaster. Crystal Palace Football Club needs to get its act together in every sense or the already vast acres of empty seats will grow.

I don't know how many people are reading this blog, I suspect not many given the lack of responses to the articles posted so far. I need to address that first and foremost and we then need to find a way in which we can at first energise the supporters or at least some of them and perhaps think of ways that we can pressure the club into making desperately needed improvements. That's a tall order, a few things have been tried that have got us nowhere.

At the moment a mood of total negativity surrounds this football club, somehow we have to put a stop to it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Oh look...

... we lost 1-0 at Plymouth. For such an unpredictable team, Palace are entirely bloody predictable sometimes.

Watching Sky Sports News this afternoon was agony with Cardiff, Stoke and Wolves trailing and Southampton having lost last night, it was all set up for us to put ourselves just five points off the play-offs. All we have to do is win at faltering Plymouth. So what do we do? We turn in a flat performance and lose. Gits!

Yes, yes, yes, we've never been good enough to make the play-offs in any case, yes, yes, yes, it would be a disaster if we somehow got promoted, yes, yes, yes, we're rebuilding blah blah blah, but as the Jam once sang 'you set up your dreams to have them dashed in the end'. Bloody Palace... bloody, bloody Palace!

Friday, March 16, 2007

I just bet we lose at Plymouth

Suddenly, spring has sprung, there are daffodils and crocuses popping up in the Palace garden, birdies are tweeting and the Eagles are soaring (well, not exactly soaring, but we're tenth and we did somehow beat West Brom).

Three weeks ago, the season looked all over, but after Wednesday's excellent win, we're now only eight points off the play-offs and that eternal optimist within us is dreaming of sneaking up on the rails and catching the faltering top six off balance.

Can we do it? For the first time all season, the pulses quicken a little bit, we need another big win at Home Park tomorrow, we need to push ourselves up onto the shoulders of the chasing pack, we need to continue with the recent good form, it's almost very nearly exciting. Blimey, the match almost matters... the ghosts of 2004's miraculous run come floating before us. Could we? Will we?

You can see what's coming can't you? We're daring to dream here, we're thinking 'what if?' and 'maybe', some of us are even rummaging around for calculators. We're fools to ourselves aren't we... we'll lose 1-0.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Twenty first century schizoid fan

Lead foot, cast iron draw
Neuro-surgeons tend the bored
At paranoia’s poison door
Twenty first century schizoid fan.

Load of cack, playing dire
Atmosphere like a funeral pyre
Innocence raped with no home fire
Twenty first century schizoid fan

Deathly dull, pay football’s greed
Fun starved children weep
Gifting needless points to Leeds
Twenty first century schizoid fan

With the usual for King Crimson

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Putting the 'i' into Crystal Palace

After the famous Chrystal Palace spelling cock-up, David London now finds another interpretation of our famous name, this time courtesy of the Moscow branch of the Palace suporters' club... hang on, Moscow branch? What Moscow branch?'

Just as we were about to be thrust into our most recent season of top flight misery, the media had another good old laugh at 'joke Premiership club' Palace, when some fool cocked up the replica shirts, by spelling the club name as 'Chrystal' Palace. Never mind that it was a tiny logo that needed a magnifying glass to read and would be tucked into shorts anyway, the media had their story.

Anyway, if you thought those days were behind us, fear not - no I'm not talking about the dodgy grammar in Simon Jordan's latest programme column, or even the latest club calendar or club shop catalogue (although you can get a 'best whishes' card apparently).

No, this one cannot be blamed on the club - but a tiny outpost of misguided Palace fans - for some reason our club has been adopted by some Moscow based fans, however their efforts at creating their first commemorative pin badge have gone a bit wrong. Whoever placed the order at the badge makers must have placed the order over the phone!

A little respect

I try to discover
A little something to make me sweeter
Oh Selhurst, refrain
From breaking my heart

I’m Palace thru & thru’
I’ll be forever red & blue
But there's just no pleasin'
You, tho' I work so hard

So I scored you a,
So I scored you a,
So I scored you a,
So I scored you a Goal,
Despite your cat-calling

Oh Selhurst, please
Give a little respect
To me...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ho hum

Just two defeats in 14 and yet there’s so little to feel inspired about in this Palace team. The statisics suggest that it’s a side that’s progressing, it has clearly become a side that is hard to beat and that can comfortably overcome many of the weaker teams in this league, and by golly there are some really weak teams, not least Leicester City.

But the mood all around remains a mixture of weary resignation and confusion about whether we are genuinely moving forward. Although there’s still just an outside chance of making the play-offs, this is unlikely, we’re running out of games and cannot afford any slip up while the clubs ahead of us still have a significant points advantage. And on top of this, we simply don’t look like a top team, we don’t play like one, we don’t appear to possess any real quality.

What is it with Palace at the moment? Once again we’re left thinking that ‘a win is a win’ and once again we made our way home without having been particularly entertained. Even Peter Taylor’s programme notes, week in week out, seem to repeat the mantra ‘we didn’t play as well as we are capable’. We never do. The football is just plain boring and Ben Watson’s well taken penalty put a gloss on a result that otherwise was little more than functional – and that was one oof our bettter performances.

As for the opposition… how in the name of something or other, were Leicester unbeaten in six matches? They were complete rubbish and couldn't do the basics, an entire team without a first touch and how many times did they just gormlessly put the ball out of play? I said to my mate they must spend training sessions practising apologising to each other.

Although Leicester made our plodding ordinariness look positively Brazilian at times, we still didn’t take the game to them and for a long period in the second half we seemed content to sit back and settle for what we had which, given that they were ripe for a hammering, was grimly uninspiring.

Decent-ish games were had by all, but nothing outstanding. And nobody did anything beyond the merely acceptable, no-one in this team ever produces smehting with verve or imagination, nothing that sets the pulses racing. There isn’t a player to heighten the anticipation when he gets the ball. This is conservative football (with a small ‘c’), it’s functional, relatively effective and tedious. Dress it up in any way you want – we won, we’re getting better, we’re hard to beat. We get results, and for some people only winning matters, but we’re pretty much unwatchable at the moment.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gerry Francis: the Opera

First impressions – an Eagle Eye editorial, March 1, 2007

Last month this column concluded with a few thoughts about the wider problems faced by football clubs outside the elite super-club bracket i.e. all but three of them, or four if you want to further delude Liverpool into thinking that they have somehow kept up.

The rest of the premiership and the bulk of the championship now form a rump of large to medium sized clubs for whom opportunities to develop, grow and be successful have all but disappeared. This has been staring us in the face ever since the Premiership was introduced, but suddenly internet message boards around the country seem to be buzzing with the sound of disillusionment.

To cover all of football’s ills in one article would be impossible but there are a few examples that we feel illustrate the sorry state that the sport now finds itself in. We’ll say right from the start that we believe that football should be a sport first and foremost and we are well aware that that is at odds with the prevailing attitude of just about everybody in this country, even many fans.

Football as a competitive sport at the top level is dying. We don’t want to sound like old gits harking back to the days when Ipswich or Southampton could win the cup or end up in a futile debate about whether Henry and Rooney are better than Peter Osgood and George Best, that’s not the point. The problem for many football fans is that there’s increasingly no point in attending. Our clubs can’t possibly win; players, managers and chairmen are distanced from supporters and the whole sport is in thrall to a ravenous media that feed the demands of a handful of rich men running the sport as their own personal fiefdom regardless of what the game’s governing bodies might think.

The role of the Football Association, as the game’s supposed guardian, is feeble and undemocratic. It has cowered before the big clubs for so long that the whole sport is being undermined and the national team is in danger of becoming an irrelevance.

We have reached a point where so vast are the squads belonging to the big four that they can afford to keep international players in waiting, such as Shaun Wright-Phillips, just for the occasional appearance (he was in many people’s view bought solely to prevent another club from having him). Clubs like Arsenal can field second XI teams filled with internationals for league cup games only and can fill the championship with loan players, all of whom contribute to a distortion of fair competition. They have even been known to field under strength teams in league games, regardless of how this might distort competition for European places or the relegation battle.

The result is that an increasing number of supporters couldn’t give a toss anymore. It’s not just at Palace that you hear people talking about walking away. What’s the point of a sport with no competition?

If at Palace we were now to build our finest team since the late 70s or early 90s, how long would we be able to hold it together? Many are talking about youngsters such as Victor Moses, John Bostock (who at 14 was being linked with approaches from Old Trafford and Barcelona) and James Dayton. If they do realise their potential we might get £10m for them, like Southampton did with Theo Walcott, but the chances are that Palace fans won’t get to enjoy them play for very long.

There’s a feeling among long-term supporters that they don't even particularly like football anymore. High ticket prices to watch disinterested ‘superstars’ who earn more in a month than many of us will earn in a decade has produced a miserably negative perception of the game. It’s no longer about eleven against eleven, it’s about hundreds of millions (of pounds) against teams that have virtually nothing.

While we can all see this happening, it is very difficult to do anything about it. A Leeds United supporter recently posting on one of his team’s forums asked how fans had allowed this to happen to the game. More to the point how could we stop it? How could we prevent the hijacking of the game, the high ticket prices or Sky tv’s charges? If we don’t pay there are others who will.

Is there a revolution coming? Man Utd supporters recently boycotted buying programmes and pies at Fulham in protest at the £45 they were being charged to get in. It would be easy to mock, but this happens to them wherever they go because they are the ultimate ‘category A’ game. If they stop going it will have no effect because others will take their place but at lower levels there isn’t anyone to replace those thinking of staying away from a club like Palace – if fans don’t turn up it just makes the problem worse.

Regular supporters who go to the games are more disenfranchised than ever. Witness the recent decision by the BBC to screen the Plymouth v Watford FA Cup quarter-final at 6pm on a Sunday evening. That has everything to do with what television wants and screw the people who follow Watford week in week out, because they don’t matter. All that does matter is money, money and more money.

Our only recourse, and a couple of us are having a think about how we might do this, is to appeal to the government. In most industries, such as energy, the media and many others there are regulators empowered to ensure that markets remain fair and open to competition and that consumers’ interests are protected. So why not in football? Why should four clubs and one broadcaster in particular have such a stranglehold on the national game, our game?

Football has a major cultural and social role to play that is in the national interest. The self-interest of people such as Roman Abramovich, David Dein, Peter Kenyon, Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson, Malcolm Glaser and those who run the FA Premier League is counter to that, it has gone too far.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Villa Park 1990, our defining moment

Kenny Dalglish’s face was a picture of disbelief as Mark Bright reached for the sky in a bursting leap of unbridled joy. As Palace fans danced ecstatically in the stand behind the dugout, John Motson summed it up: ‘What a dramatic start to the second half… and Liverpool are stunned!’

As the Palace v Liverpool 1990 FA Cup semi-final rematch approaches, Palace fans have been reminiscing about that fantastic day once again in the BBS memory lane section.

I doubt whether anyone who witnessed that match will ever tire of reliving the atmosphere and emotion of it. The tv and video re-runs with that quote-filled commentary have been recalled so many times it’s like an old friend we love to meet up with from time to time. We never weary of hearing the stories and the quotations, recalling the fantastic highs and the terrible lows. It’s a tale that twists and turns and still leaves you wondering what else might have happened, even though as with all the best fairy tales we watch with the certain knowledge that there will be a happy ending.

I think I kicked every ball that day, made every run, anticipated every move, dived for every save. And I did it all while singing every song at maximum volume. Even for those born long after the event it becomes a part of what being a Palace fan is about, it has become central to who we are, our history. There have been many great days since, but nothing yet to improve on it.

Seventeen years later, I can still recall it all in an instant, I can recite large chunks of the tv commentary thanks to the video recording that I must have watched a hundred times or more. I don't think any other match could have taken us through so many emotions in such a short space of time… fear, hope, pride, passion, love, hate, joy, despair, agony, ecstasy and at the end just sheer exhaustion. Every time you watch it is like watching it for the first time and you just wonder how John Pemberton managed that incredible run and cross and what would have happened if he’d just knocked it safely sideways.

It still seems scarcely believable how close we came to defeat, as the ball popped up invitingly for Andy Gray to head home we had just three more minutes to save ourselves. Then, and this one often gets overlooked, we could have won it with Andy Thorn’s header that crashed against the bar. Sometimes I think that would have made for a better ending, the dramatic, final blow rather than the weary plod through extra time and Alan Pardew’s header out of nowhere. But no, leave it as it is, it’s perfect.

There are so many moments to recall that it's difficult to pick out just one, everyone has there own, although my signature on the BBS for years now has been a tribute to the total disbelief in John Motson's voice after Gary O'Reilly put us ahead for the first time: 'And Palace… are they in front? Yes, they are!'

To get you in the mood for the re-match, here’s the tale told in verse by John J O’Connor.

Selhurst Park, March 20, 2007. Geoff Thomas needs you.

We're proud of you, we're proud of you, we're proud of you, WE'RE PROUD!

The 1990 FA Cup Semi-Final Re-match: Crystal Palace v Liverpool, March 20, 2007

The following item is taken from the Geoff Thomas Fighting Leukaemia website. Anyone who attended the reunion match for the 1990 FA Cup Final last year will know what a brilliant evening it was. If you missed the opportuntiy to see all our old heroes, this promises to be just as good, don’t miss it.

Following the success of last years FA Cup final re-match against Manchester United Crystal Palace have agreed to stage the semi-final of the same competition against Liverpool. The game will take place at Selhurst Park on Tuesday 20th March, KO 7.45pm. Ian Wright, Mark Bright and Nigel Martyn (to name but a few) have already agreed to play. Details of more players will be announced shortly. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £5 for concessions. Please note that on matchday adult prices will rise to £20 To book tickets contact the Selhurst Park Box Office on 08712 00 00 71 or book online at
Back To Fundraising & Events

Click on the headline to visit Geoff's site

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gabor Kiraly - the vampire keeper

What we’ve got here, as Strother Martin said in Cool Hand Luke, is failure to communicate. Kev Mason spots a worrying trend

Mark Hudson thinks… ‘Here it comes, position’s good, keep your eye on the ball. Now is Gabor coming for this one or shall I hoof it?’

A moment earlier…

Gabor thinks… ‘Here it comes, position’s good, keep your eye on the ball. Shall I stay on my line or come for it? I'll come for it. Right better communicate that to Mark and Leon. So.....”kapus dóm” [Hungarian for keeper's ball]. What’s that in English again.......oh yes… “KEEPER…” Oh Mark, I was gonna catch that one!’

Deja vu - Leeds away… corner comes over, bounces in the middle of the six yard box.

Mark Hudson thinks… ‘Here it comes, position’s good, keep your eye on the ball. Now is Gabor coming for this one or shall I hoof it?’

A moment earlier…

Gabor thinks… ‘Here it comes, position’s good, keep your eye on the ball. Shall I stay on my line or come for it? I'll come for it. Right better communicate that to Mark and Leon. So.....”kapus dóm” [Hungarian for keeper's ball]. What’s that in English again.......oh yes… “KEEPER…” Oh Mark I thought you were gonna hoof that one!’

Level playing fields and how to create them

Football, eh? What’s the bloody point? Four teams have all the money and all the players and the rest of us might as well pack it in. What can be done to make the game more interesting as a contest and even things up a little? Tony 'Robin Hood' Matthews has been putting his brain to the matter

1. A level playing field should only be allowed for teams who are level to start with, therefore from 2007-08 every football stadium in Britain will be fitted with a hydraulic lift underneath each end of the pitch that can be raised or lowered to ensure that Man U, the Arse, Chelsea and the Scousers have to play permanently uphill at a 45 degree angle. Obvious really.

2. Adapting the ‘draft pick’ idea from American Football, our version will see fans of every club vote for their worst player of the season. That player then transfers to the club immediately at the opposite end of the league. For example, if Joe Bloggs is Torquay’s (92nd place) worst player then he must be transferred to and played by Manchester United (1st place) for the following season (playing him is compulsory). Torquay in return get Cristiano Ronaldo. Wrexham’s worst player will go to Arsenal and they'll get Thierry Henry in return and so on throughout the league. This has the advantage of giving the best players to the worst teams and the worst players to the best teams. Man Utd's customers will enjoy having the worst player in the whole league playing for them as it will give them an idea of how it feels to be a proper football fan.

3. Prize money should be switched around so that the least money goes to the champions and the most money goes to the team in last place. Admittedly, the battle for 17th place could take on an interesting edge as the losers will get more money than the team finishing just above, but it should keep the season alive to the very end.

4. Champions League teams have to enter the league cup at the first round, while those at the bottom of the league get byes to the third round. If you’re good enough you can play in every round. Arsenal should be made to play FA Cup replays even if they win the first game, just to hack off misery guts Wenger.

5. Referees will be instructed that all appeals for penalties against Man Utd, the Arse, Chelsea and the Scousers will be given regardless of whether it really was one or not. Was-it-over-the-line? type decisions will always be given in favour of the lowest placed team and not to the rich bastards.

6. Fines will be instituted for any Man Utd, Arse, Chelsea or Scouser player wearing a headband, gloves, coloured boots or sporting a stupid haircut (i.e all of them). A panel of people with very good taste (mostly comprising members of the Eagle Eye team) will decide on appropriate points deductions (expect these to be extremely harsh).

7. The ‘gloryhunter’ problem will be solved by forcing the likes of Man U to pay half of all future revenue to the gloryhunter’s proper home town team. Therefore if Man U charge, say, £30 to get in but the tourist is from Devon, then 50% will go to Exeter City or Plymouth Argyle, which should have been his intended destination in the first place. A donation will also be made to medical research to help develop artifical backbones for gloryhunters.

Monday, February 26, 2007

David Bowie chart

With Life on Mars back on telly, and Big Mal getting plentiful namechecks, how about a suitably palace tribute to Mr Newton himself?

1. Gerry Queen Bitch (so swishy in our satin and tat in Gary Locke coat and Ken O’Doherty hat, oh yes we could do better than that…)
2. The Laughing Gnoades (living on caviar and honey and relieving us of all of our money)
3. 2007: A Pace Oddity
4. Heppolette City
5. Aladdin Payne
6. The Man Who Kept Falling to Earth (Darren Huckerby)
7, Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence
8. Letter to Hermione Hreidarrson
9. Velvet Goldberg
10. All the nightmares came today, and it looks as though they're here to stay… oh you Palace things don’t you know driving your supporters insane?

And no room for and Zowie Dowie jokes… oh drat…

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tiny chinks of light?

The victories over Southend and Luton were hardly history in the making, in fact they were positively laboured at times, but maybe, just maybe, they offered a couple of chinks of light at the end of a very dark tunnel to show us the way forward.

With Championship safety just about assured, the hopes of most fans now will be to see how the team shapes up for next season and beyond. In that respect, the recent introductions of Lewwis Spence, Lewis Grabban and Dave Martin can only be a good thing.

Many of us feel that this has been something of a wasted season. Palace Echo’s editorial before the Luton game questioned the direction, or lack of it, that on-field matters have been taking and for the most part we’ve all moaned, groaned and yawned through the stuttering performances and grim scorelines. It might have been easier to take if we’d felt that there was some purpose to it. Instead there have been doubts about the players brought in, an all round lack of pace and movement and even question marks over their passion (perhaps the most insulting accusation you can level at professional footballers). It all rubbed off on the crowd and contributed to a somewhat testy atmosphere.

It’s amazing how soon that mood can lift when you’re presented with a breath of fresh air like ‘Microwave Dave’ Martin (so named, apparently, because he blew up his microwave after putting tin foil in it). A bit of perspective is needed here, he only had 30 minutes to make an impression and he is stepping up a long way from Ryman League Dartford, but his pace, willingness to get stuck in and ability to put in a testing cross endeared him immediately to the fans. At just 20, he’s exactly the kind of player we’ve been crying out for and, at the start of what will hopefully be a swiftly rising career, he already looks the type to lift the spirits.

Meanwhile the two Lewises, although not sharing the same number of Ws, have made encouraging if extremely brief appearances. To make any kind of judgement on them yet would be ridiculous, but at least they’re coming through.

Concern over Peter Taylor’s judgement in the transfer market has also lifted slightly in recent weeks given the improved form of Leon Cort and Carl Fletcher and the mostly positive contribution of Paul Ifill (although his injury record is a worry). If Taylor can find three or four more like them in the summer and blend them with players from the youth set up then maybe he will be onto something.

For that to happen, most fans still believe we need a significant clear out and that may see the end of some big names. Chief among these could be Michael Hughes and Dougie Freedman, two heroes whose time may just about be up. If the end is near for them it will be a sad day, but perhaps a necessary one.

Working through the team, we still have goalkeeping issues with doubts over Gabor Kiraly’s future, while Julian Speroni and Scott Flinders remain untested over any length of time.

The full backs are also a worry. Another youngster, Rhoys Wiggins, has been ruled out all season and we don’t know whether he will make it. Gary Borrowdale has just completed his 100th appearance and has still yet to totally cement his place or convince us that he can maintain any kind of high level performance. Danny Granville, another ageing and injury hit hero, is rumoured to be on his way out and neither of the two right backs Danny Butterfield or Matt Lawrence have been totally convincing. In central defence Hudson and Ward along with Cort have all been okay without being completely reliable and they all lack pace.

The midfield, a long-standing problem area, may be taking shape at last with Martin and Ifill’s arrival giving us credible options on the flanks. Jobi McAnuff has been in and out of the team and on and off form but he will need to produce more if he’s not to lose his place. Centrally it looks like we just need to find the right partner for Carl Fletcher, who is beginning to show why he was so well thought of by West Ham fans. Tom Soares, always a better bet as a centre-mid rather than a flank player, looks a possible for the pace and power option but Ben Watson has had a season to forget and few fans have a good word to say about Mark Kennedy’s leaden contributions.

Major problems lay up front. Clinton Morrison’s goals against Luton showed the kind of finishing of which he is capable, but most of this season has been frustrating for him and us. There hasn’t been much sign of understanding with Jamie Scowcroft, who despite hard work and some good touches simply doesn’t score enough goals. Shefki Kuqi is all over the place; occasionally a menace to opponents, his first touch is often dire and he’s as likely to lash one into row Z as into the top corner of the net. Can we rely on him? A very big question. Then there’s Dougie, a much loved legend, still a gifted footballer and perhaps our most intelligent player, but the legs don’t seem to take him away from players like they used to and the goals have dried up.

Before Christmas many of us were saying that there seemed to be no improvement in this team. Maybe that’s less true now, we’ve got three or four experienced players who look like they could flourish in a good side, we’ve got three or maybe four youngsters who might come through in the next year or so, and we’ve got a proven finisher if he can rediscover his old sparkle. Somewhere slightly further back in the production line is a crop of players such as Victor Moses and James Dayton who may also have a big part to play in our brighter tomorrows.

The big question is do we give Peter Taylor time to continue ‘rebuilding’? There are two significant aspects to this. First, do we trust him to spend what might be not all that much remaining money wisely? That’s a tough call as you could point to Martin, Ifill, Fletcher and perhaps Cort and Stuart Green and say ‘yes, that’s not bad going’, while on the other hand you could point to Kuqi, Scowcroft, Kennedy, Flinders and Lawrence and say ‘no way, he’ll waste it’. The second consideration is one of tactics and motivation. You could argue that we’ve become harder to beat, but there are genuine concerns over our lack of pace and mind-numbing negativity. Sitting back on slender leads and the everyone back at corners routine, not to mention perhaps the most mind-numbingly over-cautious approach to away matches ever, are not appreciated.

Yes, we got ‘good’ points at Preston, Cardiff, Sunderland, Southampton and Wolves, but we probably didn’t create more than half a dozen chances in all those games put together. If we’d gone for it and won two and lost three of them we’d have had more points. People often talk up the Championship, but it’s rare to find a genuinely good team in it and Palace this season seem to have shown some sides a ludicrous amount of respect, to the extent of never daring to leave our own half. If you go out and put teams on the back foot in this division you have every chance of beating them, if you sit back hoping merely to hang on the reverse will be true.

On balance, though, perhaps Taylor has done just about enough to be given a little longer. If Simon Jordan agrees, what would most of us want to see from him for the rest of the season and the summer? Certainly he should take a longer look at the emerging talent, certainly introduce more of an attacking impetus – it would be quite nice to actually score a few goals before half time and one or two high scoring games might brighten up what promises to be an otherwise gloomy end of season DVD. In the summer he needs to try to clear out as much dead wood as possible (the recent removal of Marco Reich and John Macken from the payroll may also be considered plus points) and slim the squad down. As for incoming targets, let’s forget the ‘been there sort of done it but not capable of doing it again’ journeymen and see if there’s any more where Dave Martin came from.

Ultimately, we could be looking at clearing out a lot of players. Are Julian Speroni, Matt Lawrence, Danny Butterfield, Danny Granville, Mark Kennedy, Tommy Black and James Scowcroft really worth keeping? What about Gabor Kiraly, Scott Flinders, Darren Ward, Gary Borrowdale, Ben Watson, Dougie Freedman and Shefki Kuqi? That’s 14 players and it’s difficult to imagine them all leaving in one fell swoop, but you could argue that a good number of them are not what we need long term.

Coming in, we may be looking for at least one keeper, right and left backs, possibly a pacy central defender, a centre midfielder to work with Fletcher and two, maybe even three strikers, although if we’re fortunate one of those may turn out to be Grabban.

The current team is a long way from being capable of anything more than mid-table mediocrity, its transformation will be a real challenge. Some fans seem to think next season will see us return to our old promotion challenging ways, but what they’re basing this on is difficult to pinpoint.
Most of us just want to see the manager and club heading in the right direction and trying to take a coherent approach. A big part of that is to establish some kind of stability, but Taylor still has a lot of work to do to convince fans that he is the right man for the job in the first place. The summer ins and outs will be very interesting.

Worst excuses for missing a match?

Sorry, Mr John Ellis, founding father of Eagle Eye etc etc, but yesterday's excuse for missing a game is the lamest I've ever heard.

'Collecting a cello and mending a toilet seat'.

I'm going to miss the Leicester game because of the demands of a kids party and the heart-breaking pressure put on by an eight year-old daughter who's life will simply end if she can't go dancing with the other girls, but... collecting a cello? I ask you.

Mind you, my cousin Tone once missed a match because he was painting a pigeon shed!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sorry excuses for a sorry excuse for a season

How a Palace PR campaign might explain ‘the dullest season ever™’

1. We’re rebuilding, but unfortunately the materials haven’t arrived yet
2. We’re worried about the stress our fans go through and the high blood pressure we normally give them, so we thought we’d just have a quiet season for once without any tension, just relax and let Palace soothe away any tiredness… and sleepy, you are feeling… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
3. We don’t want to get too far ahead of Millwall and Brighton as it might put unnecessary strain on our valued relationships with them
4. We’re trying to lull other teams into a false sense of security, then, just when they think we’re dead ducks, that’s when we’ll strike with the power, precision swiftness and venom of a coiled cobra
5. We’re too scared of Bolton Wanderers to venture back into the Premiership
6. With West Ham and Charlton in the running to come down and Iain Dowie installed at Coventry, SJ is keeping his powder dry and wouldn’t want us to miss the festivities next season
7. We feel that starving the fans of entertainment now will make them truly appreciative of the next bout of excitement, think of it as like being on a diet and then having a syrup pudding, well the next syrup pudding Palace make will taste so sweet
8. Dull, what d’ya mean dull? We’ve been absolutely on fire, I tell ya!
9. Crystal Palace don’t do boring seasons, but if we did it would probably be the most boring season in the world
10. We’re concerned about Charlton poaching our fans with their snivelly coach service and we’re giving our supporters a taste of what it feels like to be a Charlton fan as a warning never to defect to the Valley

Exclusive: preview of a review

A Crystal Palace DVD is set to make football history by becoming the first to come with a parental advisory warning, Eagle Eye can reveal.

The season review DVD for 2006-07, hotly anticipated by those in the sado-masochistic community, will warn people not to drive or attempt to use heavy machinery immediately after viewing. It will also caution against showing the contents to children (especially if you have ambitions of ever getting them to accompany you to Palace matches at some stage in the future).

Among the main features on the DVD will be extended highlights of the riveting 0-0 draws at Preston and Cardiff and the home games with West Brom, Southampton, Cardiff and Stoke. Interactive features will include ‘out-takes and bloopers’, which effectively entails re-running the entire DVD again.

For the first time, Palace will allow the DVD to be sold in retail outlets other than the official club shop… it will be available in health stores and leading chemists next to the heavy duty neurosis drugs and the herbal remedies for insomnia.

The Crystal Palace 2006-07 DVD review will retail at £39.99 as it comes with a special bonus disc ‘The Complete Palace Corner Routines 2004-2007.’

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How Palace defend corners

click on image to enlarge

Halfway up the league

Halfway up the league is the place where we sit,
There isn't any other place that shows why we’re shit.
We’re not at the bottom,
We’re not at the top,
But this is the place where we’re truly stuck.

With apologies to A.A. Milne… and probably to Gordon Milne too

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Whatever happpened to Brighton?

So Scott Flinders off to the Seaweed on loan. What do we think of this? First, I suppose we should feel sorry for him and send our deepest sympathies to his loved ones, second is to think, well, why not give a little tiny club a helping hand and the third is, umm, whatever happened to Brighton?

No, it’s an honest question. They’re our hated rivals right? So what was their last result and (assuming it was the usual loss) did it send a little bolt of schdenfreude through you? Do you still do a little jig of of joy at their pain, silently fume if they’ve had a good day, or maybe just offer a disinterested grunt of ‘good’ at the telly if they’ve been beaten.

Do you know exactly what their current league position is? Are they chasing promotion or relegtion or somewhere in between? Do you know it hasn’t crossed my mind to look. And how’s that super duper ground of theirs at Falmer coming along? In fact, where is Falmer exactly, is it actually in Brighton, or somewhere else?

Try this… name a Brighton player, can you do that? Is Kuipers still in goal (well, I guess we’ve just found out the answer to that), or did he go and live on a desert island somewhere after AJ had finished with him?

I know Leon Knight was signed by someone in the transfer window, but where? Who’s up front for the Weed at the moment, who fills Peter Ward’s shorts these days, do they have a new Brian Horton or even a new Giles Stille?

Worse than this, who is their manager? Who took over from Mark McGee? Maybe it’s just me but I’ve just realised I haven’t the faintest idea who is in charge down there (it could be Beelzebub for all I know or Looby Lou). Once upon a time that job would have brought with it the scorn of legions… Eagle Eye used to be always going on about poor old Barry Lloyd, who was hardly in the Mullery class was he? But now, how many of us would have to look it up to see who’s currently in charge in Seaweedland?

What’s their kit look like these days? It was less Tesco-bag-ish the last time we looked, sort of lighter blue, do they have an absurd away kit (remember the Chewitts wrappers or the stripey shorts?) we could make fun of?

It’s only because we started doing this Eagle Eye thing again that suddenly we wondered: what is there to say about Brighton? I should imagine they still hate us, but they seem to have disappeared off the radar. Should we send out a search party? Is it worth the effort?

Premiership Idiot

Premiership Idiot by ‘Stuart Green Day’

Don’t wanna be a Premiership idiot
Don’t wanna sport in thrall to the media
Hey, can you stand utter tedium
The sub-standard shite of the Premiership

Welcome to no kind of tension
About as real as on the PlayStation
Real fans just wanna walk away

Television’s made the sport hollow
There’s no worthwhile clubs to follow
And a ticket price to con you…

Well maybe you’re a fat cat executive
We’re not a part of Man U’s agenda
Don’t like the Chelsea propaganda
Sick of hearing Arsene’s paranoia


Don’t wanna be a Premiership idiot
Three teams obsessed by the media
No soul anywhere near ya
It’s going out to plastic fans everywhere


Monday, February 19, 2007

An air of realism descends...

Gabor Kiraly in today's sub-Standard: 'We are still targeting promotion. It will be a good challenge for us...'

The interview was cut short when pixie dust twinkled from the sky, a unicorn trotted by and a swan turned into a princess...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What if? The Palace team paid homage to Lewwis Spence

… by all changing their names by deed poll to match the style of Lewwis (wiv two Ws).

1. Gabbor Kiraly
2. Dannny Butterfield
3. Gaary Borrowdale
4. Caarl Fletcher
5. Leeeeee-on Cort
6. Darrrren Ward
7. Jobi McAMcAnuff
8. Ttoomm Soares
9. Jamie Scowowowowcroft
10. Clinnton Morrison
11. Paul I-i-ifill

The offffficial Lewwis Spence webbbbbsite is at

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Overheard at Leeds

Towards the end of another depressing defeat, the Palace faithful consoled themeselves after another miserable display, by regaling the home crowd with a chant of "We'll never play you again".

TBBM retorted: "Well it's not like we played them today is it..."

Good point, well made.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Assassination Bureau

Death becomes them. We can see the headlines now: ‘Sick fanzine advocates murder of innocent men!’ Innocent? Pah! This weekend Steve Bruce, one of many to have wronged the Palace, returns to Selhurst Park… some of us would like to see him endure a fitting end…

Go on admit it. You really shouldn’t because it’s not very nice and football is only a game after all, but have you ever had a secret fantasy where certain people have received a richly deserved comeuppance for crimes against Crystal Palace FC?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are a secret (well not quite so secret, now that we’ve told you) organisation dedicated to the elimination of enemies of CPFC. We are Crepe (the Committee for Revenge and the Elimination of Palace Enemies), also known as the Selhurst assassination bureau, and it is our job to avenge wrongdoing against our club and to impose the ultimate penalty for failure. We would like to share with you our secret list of targets. What do you mean, you already know who’s on it?

As you will see below, it is not our intention to merely gun down miscreants in the street. No, that would be positively vulgar. Our highly trained agents are in fact waiting to help the enemies of Crystal Palace make their exit in a more, shall we say, appropriate fashion.

We start our campaign of vengeance with none other than Mark Goldberg – the man who believed that everything he touched would turn to gold. And now it will, for just like Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger, he will die of asphyxiation from being covered in gold paint. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaahhhh, forgive us a cruel chuckle. Now we’re in the swing of things we must also send a message to inform you that Michele Padovano sleeps with the fishes.

Remember our chubby goalkeeper of that era, the one who let us down when others stood firm – some fans may throw pies at him, but we prefer to feed the bloater and keep feeding him until, like Mr Creosote in Life of Brian he simply explodes, so… ‘just one more wafer thin mint, Mr Kevin Miller?’

Who else is on the Crepe hitlist? I think you’ll enjoy seeing Uncle Ron Noades chewed up and spat out by a shark, very appropriate n'est-ce pas? Alan Mullery will be left dangling precariously over a precipice and then we’ll send the old and the frail like Ally Brown and Andy McCulloch to attempt a rescue.

Another disliked old boss, Terry Venables, will go like the bloodsucker he proved to be – a stake through the heart as in Nosferatu: ‘And at that moment, as if by a miracle, the sick no longer died, and the stifling shadow of the vampire vanished with the morning sun.’ That should cure us of him.

Easington beach 1970 – Get Cantona… one blow to the head with a sawn off shotgun: ‘Goodbye, Eric!’. For David Mellor, Chelsea supporting, Evening sub-Standard writing, accursed smug aristo it can only be a trip to Madame La Guillotine, for Brian Horton we reckon an encounter with Zombies a la Day of the Living Dead, which is all things Brighton in a nutshell, and that leaves us with Steve ‘Mr Loyalty’ Bruce himself, we feel that the scissors scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder could be just perfect… stabbed in the back, very apt.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cause for concern

With mounting dissatisfaction all around, there's a growing fear that CPFC is sleepwalking towards a collapse in its fanbase. Dave Burn worries about the direction the club is taking

They say you have to take the rough with the smooth, but I am not sure for how long. I have the great excuse of a young family, not that it is an excuse. I have a season ticket this year, which I have used a few times, but I am not sure about next year.

I recently got a call from Palace asking why I hadn’t renewed. I said I wasn’t happy with what was happening at the club and received a surprised ‘oh really’ response. Before I could say anymore they were gone.

I would love to speak to Peter Taylor, because I really do not understand what he sees that we don’t. Not to have a go at him but to get him to explain what his vision is. Something is clearly not right.

I sense the club is rudderless at the moment and that the relationship with the fans is worryingly poor. Now is the time for collective action, not distance. I am not saying Palace should be in the top six, but we need to be working towards improving the standard of play, having a team that shows some passion, and be in a place where the fans and the club have mutual respect. Palace’s long-term fan base is getting increasingly restless and that is damaging. The attendance against Preston must surely have worried the club, it did me.

The management and the players need to realise that fan demographics are rapidly changing. They ignore these problems at their peril. If the club was a little more honest and realistic, then perhaps the booing would stop. I really do not think that the club is aware of just how peed off the fans are, or realise that the fans are capable of making difficult choices. I appreciate that we whinge a lot more than we used to, but the club needs to understand the context. From Noades to Goldberg, to then being a fag paper away from extinction took a hell of a lot out of us. Sound bites and vision statements are not enough.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rhyme and reason (well, not much reason)

There was an unknown player from Leeds
Whose line-up to Palace he leaked
The plan backfired
Our play-off hopes expired
Because we're too feeble to even bloody go up there and give them a half decent game even when they're useless and stapled to the bottom of the table, God we're rubbish...

I dunno, I'm struggling with that last line a bit

How about next week's game. Just a mo... how's about

There was a treacherous flat nose from Birming..hum
Who sold his soul to work for porno-peddling scum
About that we used to be sore
But we can't be bothered anymore
They'll probably beat us, 3-1

They're trickier than they look these limericks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

All together now...

You put your Gabor in
You leave your Scotty out
In out, in out, you change it all about
You do the Shaky-Goalie
And you change your mind
Then you leave poor Julian out
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Flappy arms, balls dropped

You sign young Iain up
You send him back home crocked
In out, in out, you change it all about
You do the Shaky-Goalie
And you change your mind
Then you leave poor Scotty out
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Ohhh, do the Shaky Goalie
Foul up, miss out

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bye then Jon Macken, thanks ever so much for your contribution

John Macken en route to Derby yesterday...

First impressions – an editorial

An Eagle Eye viewpoint published on the first day of each month... February 1st, 2007

‘I wasn’t happy with that, to be honest,’ said Peter Taylor after the team was booed from the field following the home cup exit to Preston.

His attack continued in an interview with this week’s Croydon Guardian in which he said: ‘I have never experienced anything like that in my life. I have managed Southend, Gillingham, Leicester, Brighton and Hull City, but it is only at Crystal Palace that one week you get cheered off for winning, then the following week they boo you off if you lose.’

Only at Crystal Palace? Frankly that’s a little difficult to believe, many are aware of the reception Taylor used to get at Leicester and we can all think of plenty of other sets of fans that are pretty swift to turn on their team when things go wrong (Wolves and West Ham are classic examples). But does that make it right? And, crucially, does he have a point?

The answer to both questions is, we feel, no. Even allowing for the frustrations of being a Palace fan, few would argue that jeers helps anyone other than our opponents. How bad do things have to be for the booing or singling out of any particular individual to be justified? How does it help the team or inspire other supporters? There’s nothing quite as pleasant at football than the sound of opposing fans booing, and nothing worse than the sound of ours doing it.

That said, the support Taylor appears to be describing just doesn’t sit with our experience of Palace’s following, certainly where we sit in the Arthur Wait the view of most people around us is well-reason although not uncritical. Most of us put a great deal of time and money into following the club and we spend far more hours than is good for us thinking through every aspect, from which players we dream of signing and discussions about tactics and formations through to what the kits should look like and what kind of music would inspire the best atmosphere at the ground.

In short most of us support our team as best we can. We can’t legislate for the odd one or two who might ‘prefer us to lose just to be proved right’ or who perhaps feels that the best way of representing Crystal Palace is with acts of aggression against others, but the vast majority of us are not like that. We could do with a little bit more action on the pitch that we can be inspired by.

If Taylor’s words hit home with the small number who perhaps do have a negative attitude then perhaps it will have been worthwhile, but the danger is that it will simply alienate those who do not criticise vocally but who are at present feeling an increasing disconnection to the club and team. You could go round in circles arguing about which came first – lacklustre performances on and off the pitch or the downbeat attitude in the stands.

You could also factor in ticket prices, the state of Selhurst Park and facilities such as the catering, the grandly over-ambitious statements made by Simon Jordan about our promotion prospects, possibly a change of attitude in some fans who have seen us flirt with the big time and even, perhaps, a wider malaise that is in danger of infecting the whole sport caused by lack of proper competition and the reduced prospect of long term success for teams like ours in the face of the financial power of a tiny handful of ‘superclubs’.

What it all adds up to is a decline in attendances. The Guardian (the national one not the Croydon one) noted that in terms of percentage of capacity filled, Palace put in the worst performance in the FA Cup fourth round – 18,000 potential tickets against Preston remained unsold. Why? It was certainly an unattractive draw, but what effort did the club make to counter the likely disinterest (apart from increasing on the day prices by a fiver?) . It could have been a 'kids go free day', couldn’t it?

It is this that we think is more worrying than a handful of malcontents moaning. It’s disturbing to hear fans of many years standing talking about not renewing season tickets and even worse it seems that a fair few of them are doing more than just talking about it. Low entertainment values x high prices = dwindling support and the evidence of people voting with their feet is all around us. It’s singing out a warning sound far louder than a few boos.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Veg Field

Rumours abound that Palace might move to the Selhurst allotments near the railway line. Sounds like there could be rich pickings there for a club looking to grow, especially if we have a fine crop of youngsters, but then our Academy always was a fertile breeding ground for unearthing home grown talent. Bit worried about having to fork out for season tickets though.

A great idea would be to have the opening game against ManUre, or maybe against the 'Weed (it wouldn't be the first time they've soiled themselves on a visit to the Palace).

Palace team for the first game at 'The Veg Field'?

1. Fraser Dig-by
2. Danny Butternut
3. Paul Bush
4. Tomas Brolin (well he's a Swede isn't he)
5. Gary Marrowdale
6. Ben Watson (the Camberwell carrot)
7. Stuart Greenhouse
8. Wayne Sproutledge
9. Trevor Aylottment
10. Stan Collyflower
11. Phil Rhubarber

Manager Alan Mulberry

CPFC unprepared for global warming – scientists

Crystal Palace FC has made no plans to tackle global warming, Eagle Eye can exclusively reveal.

Despite the warnings of scientists, government ministers and environmental campaigners that climate change is set to devastate the planet, causing the sixth great extinction with the loss of more than 60% of all species including all varieties of seagull (hopefully), the Palace club shop last Saturday was still selling woolly hats.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan said that the club had asked Croydon Council about the possibilities of relocating to the north pole but had been told he would be ‘skating on thin ice’.

‘It looks very much like I’ve wasted my money putting in undersoil heating as the pitch is going to end up looking like the Kalahari,’ said Jordan, ‘on the other hand at least I’ll be able to top up my tan.’

Jordan dismissed fears that Palace had not done enough to prepare for an apocalyptic future. ‘Selhurst Park is a designated disaster area,’ he said, we do have a Green policy – we play him every now and then – but it’s proving ineffective.’

Scientists say that temperatures in the Selhurst Park region have risen steadily since Jordan bought the club. Sporadic furious eruptions have made the atmosphere unstable and last summer a great lump broke away and drifted north towards SE7 before melting away completely.

Palace, however, refuse to accept the science behind global warming. ‘I don’t expect to see any scorchers down here,’ said manager Peter Taylor, ‘the players aren’t allowed over the half way line.’

Selhurst Park has already seen Johnson’s Gazelle – a lightning paced predator – moved further north in search of more fertile feeding grounds while another species under threat is Mark Kennedy, a sloth-like creature thought to be millions of years old who is highly sensitive to the over use of energy. ‘Phew! It’s a bit warm isn’t it?’ he said, before fading away altogether. ‘I’m pooped.’

Who owns Selhurst Park?

God, the wearying issue of Selhurst Park's ownership gets another airing in the Guardian today (click on the headline to read the story). Often if you're the subjecct of an article by David Conn there's cause for concern, although Simon Jordan insists we shouldn't be.

There's plenty of discussion on the BBS here:

The 'CPFC and Selhurst Park reunited' stuff now seems a little disingenuous. SJ did rather miss out the bit about Palace paying £1m a year rent (more than we paid Uncle Ron's Altonwood) at his triumphal October press conference. Besides, they weren't very good t-shirts were they, so perhaps fans would be within their rights to return them to the club shop for a refund?

Long term, the suspicion is mounting that Palace may be on the move, the Selhurst allotments not too far from the site of the old pre-1924 ground 'the Nest' has been mooted.

0-0? Blimey, that’s good…

A good point – 0-0 at Sunderland fits perfectly into the tradition of encounters between the two clubs always being tighter than a pair of size sevens on a Sasquatch (see previous post).

Given that many of us half expected a prize thrashing, a clean sheet is indeed good going. It extends our unbeaten league run and Peter Taylor will feel vindicated in keeping things tight. Palace do seem to be increasingly difficult to beat, even though it didn’t sound as if we were ever likely to nick a win, which of course would have been even better.

Another goalless draw with not many chances, but it sounds as if they worked hard and I think we’d all have taken that beforehand.

Just a note on Sunderland, who’ve been in pretty good form of late. We’ve been moaning about our journeymen, but how many of us realised they’ve got David Connolly and Dwight Yorke, who must be in his mid-eighties by now? Suddenly Scowcroft and Kuqi don’t sound so bad, do they?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sunderland v Palace: a case history

Expecting a goal feast in this evening's Sunderland-Palace match? History suggests otherwise as Tony Matthews reveals

As post FA Cup gloom settles, our eagles go straight back into league action at Sunderland tonight with the hopelessly optimistic believing that victory will establish a platform to get our play-off hopes back on track, while the hopelessly pessimistic fear it will merely confirm that our season is well and truly over.

Trips to Sunderland inevitably spark memories of our remarkable play-off victory in 2004 via a last gasp Darren Powell goal and an astonishing penalty shoot out, but that aside our record there is far from impressive and you have to go right back to 1979 to find our last 90 minute victory, a 2-1 triumph for Terry Venables’ young Eagles that had a significant bearing on the eventual destination of the second division championship.

Even in the play off we actually lost 2-1 on the night and that has been the final score on each of our last three visits. The best we have managed in modern times was a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup in 2001, a good result at the time for our first division strugglers against a Black Cats side that was flying high in the Premiership.

In fact the last 28 encounters, stretching back more than 30 years to Alan Whittle’s deciding strike in a tense FA Cup quarter-final at Roker Park in 1976, has seen neither team score more than two goals in a match, although Sunderland did get four in that 2001 FA Cup replay, but only after extra-time. That aside, every match has ended 0-0, 1-1, 1-0 or 2-1 except for a single 2-0 victory to each team (ours was in 1988-89 and theirs ten years later).

So how will it go tonight? Although we won the home game just before Christmas, we were unimpressive in doing so. On the hopeful side, we’re long overdue a win at Sunderland, but a statistical curiosity isn’t much to build our hopes on. If Peter Taylor once again sets his team out to play ultra-negatively, as at Preston, Wolves and Cardiff, then maybe we’ll claim another nil-nil. But if we concede early to a Sunderland team with their tails up, we may have to watch a Palace side without the heart to prevent the kind of hammering that will end decades’ worth of nip and tuck.

Lack of pace – the solution

'Where's the pace?' we all wail as a Palace counter attack trundles over the half way line with all the speed of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted with a fully laden tea trolley. Don't think that Palace's management have been tardy with the answer to our speed crisis... secret designs from the club show some real creativity in pepping up those players struggling to build up a head of steam.

By far the greatest team?

Some statistics appear to prove that Palace are useless, but we say they're the greatest team ever. So who's right? It must be us, surely! Tony Matthews sets the record straight on CPFC’s place in the world

For no apparent reason, The Times has produced a statistical chart of the 'greatest ever' team, which has Palace lolloping along in a princely 62nd, some way behind the Seaweed (you see it has taken on a surreal quality already).

The chart seems to be based on the number of points per game won in the top flight (old first division and new fangled Premiership) which strikes me as a bloody silly way of working out the mark of a great team. Since when has winning games been the primary object of football?

There's clearly a cultural imbalance here, because The Times is labouring under the misapprehension that Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal are the three best teams ever, whereas anybody with even half a brain would say ‘no they’re bleeding well not’. (NB: don't look for Chelsea in the top ten, they haven't been a cheque book team for nearly long enough).

If people want to think a football team is good just because it wins all the time then fine, who are we to disturb them? I guess they're the same kind of people who vote for Dire Straits or Coldplay in ‘all time greatest’ music polls instead of, say, Muddy Waters.

I would argue that the most important criteria for a truly great club is not how many cups they've bought but whether the fans know what to expect next. What we're looking for here is a club that can build hope then cruelly shatter illusions and reduce you to tears of joy or embarrassment (usually within the space of 90 minutes). In that category only one name springs to mind… Palace.

Stats can tell you anything you like, but I don't see how four teams who are directly responsible for the sterility, pointlessness even, of modern football can be in any way considered 'great'? What’s so great about clubs who have buggered up the whole sport just cos they can’t take losing? Man U, the Arse, Chelsea and Liverpool are the ultimate spoilt kids who take their ball home if you don’t let them win.

There used to be an adage that you couldn't buy success, but now it's the only way to achieve anything, but don't insult us by calling it an achievement. Chelsea may be 'champions', but let's be quite clear that it is the hollowest of 'triumphs'. What are Chelsea champions of exactly? Champions of nothing.

Palace, meanwhile, are champions of driving their supporters up the pole, of building something promising only for it all to fall down again. We're the kings of making people sigh inwardly to conceal the pain, the clown princes of proper football.

So, there you go, who best represents the greatest club ever? A club that had a fantastic day 17 years ago, and whose fans still appreciate it as the pinnacle of footballing excitement and talk about it as if it was only yesterday? Or some club which has paid a handful of mercenaries to deliver them eight or nine trophies in the last five years but now nobody can remember what they were?

Compare how miserable Arsenal were about winning the FA Cup a couple of years back, just because they came second in the league. God, their attitude stank, Bobby Robson, who presented the beautiful old trophy that day, should have chucked it down the steps at the scowling, Gallic gits. Who wants to support one of the 'best clubs' with an attitude like that?

I'd rather wait the rest of my life for one last shot at winning the FA Cup and have it be a dream come true than win the bloody thing every year but not appreciate it in the slightest. Our days out in the play-offs may not have been the height of foootballing excellence, but they were very personal to us (I’m sure the fans of many other clubs will feel the same) and we’ll cherish them forever.

So, don't give me this 'great club' crap. Here’s the proper ‘official’ best team ever table (according to how interesting a club is)

1st place: Palace – mad as March hares and we love them
2nd... Er, nobody really
Equal joint permanently last: Man U, Chelsea, the Arse and Liverpool – a total waste of time, the lot of 'em.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dullest Season since records began

This really has got to be the dullest season ever. No real highs and no really, really low points. Mildly competent at times and just mid table. That's not much good when you've been used to the usual roller coaster that is supporting Palace. Alright so losing at home to Colchester was a disgrace, but they were better than us on that day and it seemed almost predictable that we would lose to them anyway.

Why so dull? In my opinion a combination of many things. A very unsettled team hasn't helped, but no-one has yet played better than expected, may be apart from Mark Hudson. The established players have played at times badly or just below what we know they are capable of e.g. Michael Hughes, Clinton Morrison etc. etc. New signings have been underwhelming. For me though the most worrying aspect is that not one player currently seems to have any potential to be better than what they already are or what we know them to be. No new rising talents from the reserves or youth team. The likes of Borrowdale, Watson etc. we know they are unlikely to get any better and as for Lawrence, Fletcher and Kennedy it's all a bit too late in their careers. I'm really disappointed that Peter Taylor hasn't used his under 21 network to find a few more rising stars that would bring a bit of excitment back to Selhurst.

For me it explains the complete indifference to the FA Cup game and the less than happy reaction at the end of the Preston game. At least you had some inkling before the game as to what you were going to get. Having bought a season ticket I had no idea what to expect this season, but having bought the bloody thing...