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01/02: Preview: Crystal Palace
Opposition opinion
by Paul Wright of Palace Pages

What happened last season?
A nightmare! We started with a new chairman (Simon Jordan) whose money had saved the club. But after a run of poor pre-season matches, Jordan sacked manager Steve Coppell, who has god-like status at Selhurst Park. Worst still, his replacement was ex-Palace manager Alan Smith, who was hardly the fans' choice. However, for a while it looked like things were going to work out. Palace had good cup runs, in both the FA Cup and the Worthington, and managed to maintain their league form. But it all went wrong on a night at Anfield, when Palace lost to Liverpool in the second leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final. The Palace players found it difficult to motivate themselves after that defeat, and manager Alan Smith started to lose their respect. A number of successive defeats saw them slide down the table, and after a pitiful home defeat against Wolves, Alan Smith was sacked. Simon Jordan appointed reserve team boss Steve Kember as caretaker manager, and gave him the impossible task of winning the last two matches of the season, to keep Palace in the First Division. The players responded to Kember, and amazingly Palace beat Portsmouth away, and then Stockport away on the last day of the season, to stay up. Palace are a club that seem to never go for mid table safety, they are either in the play offs, or fighting relegation.

What's going to happen next season?
Hard to predict. New manager Steve Bruce has already disappointed fans, by not making any new signings. Most Palace supporters will be happy to end the season still in Division One, but the play-offs are always a possibility.

Can you recommend a pub for away fans?
All the pubs are friendly near the ground. The Albion is popular with away fans.

What's the nearest railway station?
Selhurst and Norwood Junction are both about 10 mins walk from the ground. Trains from London Bridge go to Norwood Junction.

Where is the best place to park?
There is parking available around the ground, although most roads are pay and display. There is free parking in the Sainsbury's car park, next to the ground, in Whitehorse Lane.

Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)

"Mark Goldberk and Terrance Vegetables are Wankers!"

"We hate Brighton and Balti pies rock!"

"Watford are going nowhere, the mighty Palace will be promoted soon. I think the site describes you too damn well with the blind stupid and desperate."

"Stevie Coppell should be knighted, Ron Noades should be cruxified."

"Craig Harrison is the next england left back."

"We are the unluckiest team in the World ! Relegated from the Prem with 48 points. Finished third in the top flight and not play in Europe because English teams were banned. Beat Liverpool in the first leg of Worthy Cup Semi to be beaten in the second leg, next year the semi will only be a one legged game."