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.