By Don Fraser
"Dad, why don't we support the team playing in yellow as they're playing
much better than us?". Dad mumbled something that I didn't catch and this was shortly followed by
the flid two chairs up from me shouting "Francis out". (Something he did
frequently after that, a bit like one of those teddy bears you pat on the
This was not a pre-match dream. In fact, I heard 'em about half way
through the second half at that tip of a football ground called Selhurst
One of the reasons I hate going there is that if you're a flid (ie, in a
wheelchair) and an away fan, you're miles away from the away section. Also the
fact that it takes so long to get there.
The stewards are about as friendly as those at West Brom. I noticed that they
no longer use Gold Range stewards, whereas WFC have just started to in the
Rookery. (A mere coincidence that the number of ejections on match days has
shot up? But I digress.)
Anyway, off we trotted to 'sunny' Sarf London and made surprisingly good
time 'til we came off the motorway. Dark clouds above and hailstones. At least
we were undercover and surely we were due to beat Palarse if we played
anything like we did at West Brom. To top it all, I made sure I was wearing
my 'lucky socks'. Far more powerful, in every sense, than Pete Fincham's famed lucky
Pre-match, looking at the programme, my 'escort' was his usual optimistic
self. "We haven't beaten this lot since 93". "All the more reason to be here
than, in case we witness this rare event". Looking around the fleapit that is
Selhurst, that is the only reason.
Same team as West Brom except for Heidar Helguson (suspended) and Gavin Mahon in for Jamie Hand.
The paper bags on the pitch were doing a merry dance in the wind and the
kids in the family enclosure sat down for all of a minute before
disappearing off for food. Judging by the amount of food being eaten the
catering was certainly not by Beeton Rumford.
But for some brilliant saves by AC we could have quite easily been a couple
of goals down early on. His heroics seemed to inspire the rest of the team
and gradually we were playing with belief and commitment. After a shaky ten
minutes or so, Mahon settled down and played very well. We played as a unit and
just when I was wondering where the ref got three minutes of injury time from, up
popped Nielsen, brilliant all afternoon, with the answer. 1-0.
Second half continued in much the same way. Creating more and more
chances. Smithy could/should have had a hat trick but at least he was there
to miss them. AC made some blinding saves, not least from his own players, and
the surface at Selhurst makes ours look like a billiard table, which didn't
I was miles away from the second goal but it was scored a few minutes into
the second half by Marcus Gayle after good work from Mahon. We really needed
a third to tie the game up, or at least to settle my nerves.
Although I was the far end of the stand I could clearly hear our fans
getting behind the team right from the off. Stay positive - it's much more fun
and if we must go to pits like Selhurst we might as well enjoy the day.
Most of the people in 'my part' of the Arthur Wait Stand (and how proud he
would be if he could see it now!) were long gone before the final
whistle. Probably queuing up for more chips.
A good hardworking performance by the Golds. Marching on to Ipswich reserves