Crystal Palace: A Story Of Insecurity & Insanity
For Palace fans of a certain generation aka old b******s, Burnley at home brings back memories of a golden evening in May 1979 when the team secured promotion and were crowned champions of the old Second Division in front of the biggest crowd ever assembled at Selhurst. It was one of those unforgettable “I was there” moments and the memory of it makes me smile thirty-odd years later.
Saturday’s match will be watched by around half the 1979 crowd but it will be similarly tense as the two bottom clubs lock horns. Burnley have had a tough baptism back in the top flight, having had to play a rejuvenated Chelsea first up followed by a resurgent Swansea. Then the fixture list offered the Clarets some relief by dishing up a shell-shocked Man United, fresh from a 4-0 trouncing at the hands of MK Dons. Burnley have not looked out of place and Sean Dyche has instilled a work ethic that is essential to giving them a chance.
Meanwhile Palace’s chaotic start to the season seems to have now calmed down a smidgeon and we even have the luxury of a manager. After a creditable 3-3 draw away at Newcastle pointed to some life in the old Eagles yet we can begin to look forward gain rather than glancing back in horror. So although both teams have amassed just one point each from their first three fixtures there are grounds for cautious optimism.
There is a bit of an old boys’ reunion going on down in SE25 with Warnock returning to prowling the touchline, Wilf hugging the touchline and Andy Johnson most likely warming up on said touchline. Whilst a few questioned the sense in bringing back a 65 year-old out of retirement to where he jumped ship during the dark days of administration in 2010, nearly everyone relished Zaha’s return and his sub appearance at St. James’ Park hinted at a hunger and desire to put a bloody year on the sidelines behind him.
As for the third member of the holy trinity, the jury is still out. AJ was a hero ten years ago but his fallible body may not give him the necessary speed to recreate his goal-scoring prowess of yesteryear. So at a time when many will be looking back, it is important that we start moving forward and a first league win of the season would be most welcome and hopefully we can enjoy a brief respite from the insecurity and insanity of the first few weeks.