Who could forget our introduction to the PL, 15th August 1992. It was at Palace's ground, but introduced the mighty Shearer, unleashed onto an unsuspecting Blackburn public, two belters in a 3-3 draw. We actually lost the return fixture 2-1, Roy Wegerle netting for the Blues. How we could do with someone with the heart of Shearer now. The same result on Saturday could see us going to Birmingham needing a win (obviously I write this prior to the Millwall game). How times have changed. We finished fourth that year, Palace third bottom. We haven't really played Palace much. 33 times in the Football League, counting this season, and we are 16-12 down in wins. Ripley also made his debut in that match, Henning Berg in the Ewood match. I was still in my 20s then......nostalgia....what a load of old news.
Well.....down to business, a few facts about Palace:
One of the clubs nicknames is The Glaziers, due in no small way to the origins of the first stadium they played in. Football was is its infancy when Britain hosted the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Crystal Palace was at its centre, a magnificent glazed building, big enough to fit in two football pitches! The Government of the day allowed the club to use the space afterwards. Hence the name of the club, Crystal Palace....the first ever fully under cover stadium. They remained in situ until a fire destroyed the structure in 1936. Of course this also provided the blueprint for West Hams tenancy in the Olympic Stadium! Who'd have predicted that!
The team decamped to the London Borough of North Southwood, where they have remained ever since. Selhurst Park is a bit of a sh*thole to be honest, I've been. It holds over 26,000, but it's still too big, it's never full. They have a bloody great Falcon on their crest, hence another nickname, The Falcons!
Palace are currently managed by that cheeky cockernee chappy, Stanley Holloway. Stan, or Ollie, as he likes to be known (I know that's confusing and reminds you of Laurel and Hardy, but to my knowledge they have never managed Palace) is a right laugh. Best known for his roles in the Ealing comedies of the 40's & 50's, such as Passport to Pimlico, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Titfield Thunderbolt (no laughing at the back, they were simpler times). He got the job by accident, he fell down the terrace steps whilst under the influence during a very boring game v Dingles some years ago. He had to be treated by the club doctor, claimed he'd played many times for Bristol Rovers, and bam, within two months was managing the club!). The original Dr Doolittle bamboozles anyone that will listen with his witty banter.
Unlike us, they haven't won much. No Pl titles, no Div 1, no FA Cups. We do share the passion however of both having won the prestigious Full Members Cup.
They did lose 9-0 to our 6-fingered friends in 1909, The Sun must have had headline fun with that, all the 9's & 0's.
Indeed their largest ever attendance was also against the inbreds, 51,801 in 1979, although The Official DIngledome history records they took 48,000. Both coaches in Burnley were mobilised according to eyewitnesses. They all fit on, and still hold the Guinness World Record to this day.
I tried to confirm this with Ticketmaster earlier today. Unfortunately, after waiting for 45 mins on hold, time I will never get back, their representative informed me they didn't exist in 1979 and what was the point of my call. Not booking anything through them again.
I was going to do one of those popular Q&A sessions with some witty Palace fans, but as I don't know any, in fact I have few friends, I bailed on that.
So, what can be gleaned from all this nonsense?
As Palace are fifth, and we are not, neither of us can go up automatically whatever the result on Saturday. That's two things we have in common!
Whilst I cannot confirm or deny the voracity of the above facts, what I do know is this could be my last match at Ewood for a while. I boycotted Coco following relegation, and came back when he left. I thought we might get a well travelled, experienced captain at the helm. What we got was Sheriff Shebby, the bumbling buffoon who has delusions of grandeur, who hijacked the ship and is sailing it into Divison 1. His bosses continue to confound all reason, and we are currently waiting for the buffoon to trap up and discipline shelf builder. The whole sorry shebang rumbles on. It doesn't matter which team you support, and I have been watching Rovers over 30 years, so am no glory hunter, you just want a well run club punching their weight, sometimes even above it.
I have had enough of Venkys Rovers for now, I want my Rovers back. A team that competes, that is paid realistic wages, that we can see busts a gut for the sake of each other and for us.
I hope we don't need to win on Saturday, and that the team does something it didn't against Watford tomorrow at Millwall, gives 100%, if they do, we as fans can't ask any more.
COYB's, Venkys out!