Palace and Spurs: Back to the past

2
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

For this trip, I started off the day before and stayed in Goodmayes. Got there at 7.30pm. Arrived the same time as Hanna (she was arriving from work). I took my dog with me this time, as Hanna’s daughter was going to look after her (my daughter was on holiday).

The next day – the day of the match – the weather forecast wasn’t that brilliant, but no rain (in the morning).

We (Hanna and I, as she was coming to meet some of my friends before the match, and then she will go back home afterwards), made our way to the station at 12.30pm. From Goodmayes station to Stratford, from there to Canada Water and from Canada Water to Norwood Junction. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes.

Once there we made our way to a Polish café/ Restaurant called Yeha Noha café. But before that my Oyster card wouldn’t allow me to go through the station turnstile (my Oyster card had been rejected). So when I got to the café (we were supposed to be there at 2pm), I ended up hanging around outside on the phone to TFL (to give them credit, I didn’t have to hang around for somebody to answer). It seems my credit card was out of date and was cancelled. I would have to pay what I owed by credit card and purchase another Oyster card (which Hanna did for me afterwards). So, sorted and into the restaurant. Introductions all around (Martin, his dad and two other friends, who were Palace supporters) and we sat down for a Polish meal and pudding, all served with wine. We were there until 4.30, by that time it started to fill up with Palace fans.

oh, and I was also told not to wear anything Tottenham as they won’t allow away fans into the café. Unless they had x-ray vision I was ok.

Goodbyes were made: to Hanna and the two Palace friends and then we made our way to stadium, by that time – when we left the café – the heavens opened up, and buckets came down upon us. None of us had the appropriate gear.

Got to the turnstiles, a quick body search and then through. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see any programme sellers and ended up not getting a programme (Martin will try at a later date to get a couple of programmes).

Of course, the rain was still coming down, and we were all soaked through. We got to our seats, and I ended up chatting to familiar faces (Martin and his dad were further down the row).

Once the match kicked off, people started congregating in the aisle, rather than by their seats. This blocked the exit and caused problems (a lot of pushing and shoving). People were also pushing into our row of seats, who had no right to be there, so we ended up jam-packed together. Palace Stewards didn’t try to put anybody in their proper place, and it basically ended up chaotic. Some of the women moaned about the danger and felt uncomfortable, but the Stewards weren’t interested. Earlier I also had noticed that some fans sneaked in when one of the Stewards opened one of the main exit gates to let people of disability or other officials in. He was powerless to stop them. The whole thing was poorly organised.

So, there we were packed in like sardines, which meant we couldn’t even sit if we wanted to. This was a problem for somebody like me who suffered from leg problems or for a much older person.

Selhurst Park ground was a ground that was still stuck in the 80s and wasn’t really equipped for modern day football (at least where the way supporters were). Their capacity was only 25,456, not enough room to swing a cat in; dead or alive. The ground did remind me of the days when I used to go to football in the 60s. Even just outside the seating area fans were confined to a small space, just like cattle. Great if a fire should burst out. Palace have been at that ground since 1924 (94 years), and it shows. It is a very cramped stadium.

Another army-poppy–Day-Ceremony-minute-silence and then the whistle blew. This was my third minute-silence (Wolves & Wembley were the previous ones I went to in the last week or so). There is nothing like milking the occasion. But we were all united, which was good… at least for a minute (then battle commenced).

We played well in the match, even though we didn’t get to score more goals. But we also needed luck from this match, and that came from Lloris who had a good game. So, we go into the International break in 4th place. Arsenal stays in 5th after drawing with Wolves. They are three points behind us.

Our next game, ironically, will be against Chelsea, who are above us, but if we should win, when we next meet, then we will go above them as all they could do was draw against Everton.

Mauricio Pochettino praised “fantastic” defender Juan Foyth after he scored the winning goal against Crystal Palace – a week after conceding two penalties on his Premier League debut. The 20-year-old Argentine headed in from close range when he reacted quickest after Harry Kane’s header had been partially blocked. It was only his second league appearance, after he had conceded two penalties – scored by Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez – during Spurs’ 3-2 victory at Wolves last Saturday.

“He is an intelligent, smart player and he has the potential to be one of the best centre-backs in Europe,” said fellow Argentine Pochettino.

Palace have now failed to win in seven games in all competitions and were left rueing James Tomkins’ failure to hit the target with a free header when it was goalless.
We pushed for an equaliser late on, but our captain Hugo Lloris did well to deny Jeffrey Schlupp, ex-Tottenham man Andros Townsend and substitute Alexander Sorloth as the visitors held on.

The result leaves the Eagles 16th, only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, while we are five points behind leaders Manchester City.

It was not all good news for us, however, as Kieran Trippier, who on Thursday was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the friendly against the United States and the Nations League game versus Croatia, limped out of the game after only 22 minutes.

Midfielder Erik Lamela also had to leave the field when he suffered a badly cut head as he slid in to challenge Schlupp. We also had 65% of the possession.

In the break, there was really nowhere to go as the positioning of the people heaving together made it awkward to move, let alone going to the toilet.

Anyway, the match over and in the pouring rain we made our way to the station. A metal barrier was put up to hold us back, but some fans pushed their way through, because of this the Steward/ Security guard just gave up and let the rest through. It was a shambles. Be warned if you should go to Selhurst Park for a match, you’d be transported back to the land that time nearly forgot.

Got on the train, when it finally came, got off at Canada Water (said our goodbyes), then a Jubilee train to Stratford and from there to Goodmayes. This journey was quicker than going to the ground.

Stayed the night with Hanna at Goodmayes and then home the next morning. Finally arriving at my destination just before lunchtime. So, there you have it. A 48 hour trip to London and Palace, Now back home for a long football break and then Chelsea at Wembley (can’t wait). Enjoy the break!

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.

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