Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Team Of Two Halves

We here at The Eagles Beak welcome and positively encourage contributions to the blog from fans. Here with have Palace fan Tim Warren with his views and thoughts ...

The fantastic Palace faithful
I wasn’t really sure what to write a blog entry about at all, until I watched the Watford game on Sky Sports last Friday, and that to me summed up life as a Palace fan in 90 minutes! It was a mission in itself getting access to the match, so after all the hassle of getting the game on my laptop, I was pretty much ready to switch it off completely after 20 minutes or so when we were 2-0 down!

But as much as I nearly threw the laptop on the floor, when Watford went close to a 3-0 lead, as a Palace fan there is always hope that things will turn around and with that small glimmer in the back of my mind – I patiently waited and was clearly rewarded for my patience!

That said I wouldn’t have put hard cash on such a turnaround when in the first 25 minutes the hosts seemed dynamite! Admittedly they had their fair share of luck, especially with their two goals, but as in the previous game against Charlton – we could well have been dead and buried if our opposition had been calmer in front of goal. The commentary as usual was really annoying too. When you can see we are playing awful, you don’t need Don Goodman rubbing this fact in our faces!

Thankfully we survived until the break and the introduction of Jonny Williams and Kevin Philips gave everybody involved at Palace a lift. That said the Palace fans were amazing before this, clearly out singing the home fans, despite such a terrible start to the game. Hearing Palace songs, loud and clear, ring out for 90 minutes, felt unbelievable and again made me feel proud to be a fan.

Again just like the Charlton game, the transformation in the 2nd half was extraordinary with every player wanting to pass the ball around and what impressed me most, was there was no panic at all. Little Jonny was a breath of fresh air as he just ran at the Hornets and suddenly Wilf was able to find more space with the hosts not knowing which Palace players to pick up.

It was great that one of unsung heroes Peter Ramage got us back into the game and how apt that Phillips punished his former employees with the equaliser following another great counter attack. How often does it happen to us – former player scoring against us? I should have put my mortgage on Ricardo Fuller scoring the first goal against us in the last home match!

Rambo hears rumours that Wilf is in the dental profession
It is fair to say that Palace have come a very long way since the start of the season, when ironically we lost our only home game so far to Watford on the opening day. I took my girlfriend to her first ever match hoping that she would be impressed, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be in the end when we got beat by two injury time goals. I felt quite low that evening, although one of the reasons my girlfriend was happy to join me at Selhurst was the fact we were going away on holiday next day! That was part of the deal!

I decided whilst abroad not to depress myself with Palace and that worked well until the following Saturday at about 4.50pm when I was desperate to know how we had got on! I really should have stuck to my gut instinct of not knowing as I had to take the hit of Palace losing twice in one go, finding out we had not only lost at Middlesbrough, but had been thrashed at Bristol City the Tuesday previous! This meant we were bottom of the league!

Thankfully on my return to the UK, the revival started and after beating Charlton at the Valley (hopefully our recent result against them will produce a similar run), we started to climb the table – reaching the giddy heights of top! I really enjoyed that moment, because as a realist I knew it was unlikely to last for too long. I wanted to cherish being top – having seen the despair of us hitting bottom after 3 games in! What a turnaround!

The giddy heights of top spot
Without wishing to go on about the Dougie Freedman debate, although I was gutted he left us, I was more interested in where he left us points wise in the table and more importantly who would take over. I was very happy with the appointment of Ian Holloway – seeing another great character in football taking over the reins at Selhurst Park. I guess it was inevitable that we would initially carry on where we left off and then at some point we would drop off a bit and hit a little lull. But I am one of those that would rather focus on the positives. We have come such a long way in such a short period of time. We were so close to having no club to support at all and so close to relegation at Sheffield Wednesday a couple of seasons ago. We should be celebrating the fact we have reached a similar points tally to when we were 4th from bottom, with a third of a season still to go, added to the fact we are clearly in the mix for the play off places. Who would have thought that after three games this season?

I don’t like to criticise any Palace fans as I believe we are such a unique, great club and we all should want the same thing at the end of the day. I do however wish some fans were a little more realistic. Sometimes we can be the failure of our own success, but I can see Palace are building at the moment and building very nicely. We should enjoy the fact we won’t be in a relegation battle this season and who knows where we might in May?

We have had a couple of chances to go 2nd in the table recently, but we must remember we are Palace. One of the reasons we are such a great club to support, is because we do things the ‘Palace way’ which normally means doing things the harder way! We have had plenty of lows in recent times, which is why we should enjoy the high moments when they come around. As in that game at Vicarage Road the other night, there are plenty of twists and turns to come yet, so like the fans on Friday night – let’s all get behind the club and enjoy the latest chapter in our great clubs history.

Article by Tim Warren (@Ashford_Eagle)

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