Main Menu
What's New
03/04: Preview: Crystal Palace
Opposition opinion
by Palace fan Leo McCann

What happened last season?
Trevor Francis' sacking at Easter was met with universal approval from Palace fans. Nearly 18 months in the job was enough to reveal that he was incapable of improving Palace's fortunes. Francis is an unpopular man throughout the football world; he's arrogant and a bad loser, he favours negative football, and rows with his players publicly (Or just physically attacks them!). He has worked at three clubs that gave him plenty of cash to spend on players, but in all the years at Wednesday, Birmingham and Palace, he failed to achieve the objectives set him by those club's boards. I've yet to hear a good word spoken of him by any football fan, player or manager.

Finishing in 14th place last year was a very poor effort, with the two cup runs and a good league spell in December being the only things to remember about '02-'03. As for the remaining 35-odd games that season, nearly all are forgettable. The style of play was so dull and uninspiring, sometimes the atmosphere at Selhurst was literally like a morgue.

What's going to happen next season?
Anyway, enough about Francis. New manager Steve Kember should do a much better job, although no-one really expects much more than an attempt to get into the playoffs this year. We are perhaps capable of this, but I doubt we can manage it, particularly if we lose Hayden Mullins and Julian Gray later in July as is generally expected.

Kember knows Palace like the back of his hand, and the players seem to respect and like him, which is more than could be said for the previous incumbent. I will predict 9th place. We won't go up, but we'll see major improvements in the style of play and a willingness of management to bring the youngsters through. Much will depend on whether former youth players Wayne Routledge, Ben Watson, Gareth Williams, and Gary Borrowdale are given good runs in the team and good developmental support.

As for the seasoned pros, we have a decent keeper in Matt Clarke, a proven dangerman in Dougie Freedman, and a couple of useful centre halves (Popovic and Powell). Midfield is the perennial worry - creative players are almost entirely absent. Anyway, at least we can look forward to a Francis-free future, and maybe an improved spectacle and atmosphere at Palace for '03-'04.

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, Thornton Heath and Norwood Junction are all about 10 mins walk from the ground. Trains from London Bridge go to Norwood Junction. Trains from Victoria go to Selhurst and Thorton Heath.

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.

Word Association
Crystal Palace Red and Blue
Beckham Bored
Milton Keynes Bad Joke
The Premiership Back to BBC please
Division Two Hell hole
Trevor Francis Dreadful Manager
Bruce Dyer Brucie Bonus
Watford Brucie's Back!

Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)

"Kinky is using a feather. Perverted is using the whole chicken!"

"My dog once bought a slinky to play with on the stairs. That may not seem to weird, but what is weird is that he somehow used my credit card and signed for it!"

"The CD I'm currently listening to is a pile of sh!t."

"Watford are as pathetic as Palace."

"I wish I could skateboard sometimes"

"Sydney is currently experiencing a mild winter. That may be of help to anyone looking to travel here."