Friday 2nd December 2011. 1-1.
Match report and highlights.
Third trip to a neutral London game for 2011, this time down to Selhurst Park. Coming two days after Palace beat us in the Carling Cup the timing was a bit ironic on my part and Palace didn’t seem to want to allow me to forget the fact throughout the evening.
A cheeky beer and a quick scran in Shoreditch after work and it was on the train (or Overground as it seems to be called in London) for the half hour journey down to Norwood Junction.
Selhurst Park sits in the middle of a residential area, half way up a hill and if you approach it from the right angle it looks like it’s in a natural bowl. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to a night match and the beckoning glow of the floodlights at night is something I’ve missed.
The place lacks the theme park feel of a major stadium (yes Old Trafford, I mean you) although that’s not to say it lacks the same level of muppetry amongst a small section of the local fans as you get at OT, as evidenced by the homemade “Palace 2 Utd 1 - Up Yours Fergie” t-shirt being sported by one middle age muppet.
Having taken advice from my Palace supporting Boss, I’d parted with £30 for a ticket in “The Gallery” which essentially is the front three rows of the second tier at one end. In to the ground and up the stairs to the supporters bar and I was really starting to like the place. It feels like a football stadium should. The supporters bar was decent - we were even trusted with glass pint pots - and I can imagine it’s the sort of set up they have in NFL stadiums in the US.
The game itself was quite open and it was good to finally see a couple of goals on our travels, as our first two neutral games had been nil-nil affairs. The Holmesdale Fanatics, the resident Ultras group, made a good fist of creating an atmosphere in a more or less half empty stadium and I was quite impressed at how tolerant the club and stewards obviously are of them. I could even tolerate their anti-United chants. Whilst feeling slightly stung at parting with £30 for Championship football, the view was decent and almost certainly a lot more comfortable than that in the wooden (!) seats in the decrepit stands that run along either side of the pitch.
The night was finished off with a few beers in a boozer near Waterloo and a good go on the quiz machine. Best question of the night:
Which one of these books did not have a happy ending?
[C] Anne Frank’s Diary.
I’ll write up QPR vs Derby and Barnet vs Accrington Stanley when I can be arsed.