Archive for February, 2012

Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Albion

February 1, 2012

You can see us holding hands, but we can't see the pitch

The Return to Selhurst. It was an old school football outing up in South London last night. A big Albion mob of 2700 turning up at the crumbling home of the hated Crystal Palace seeking revenge for the 3-1 drubbing at Falmer back in September. Well, we didn’t exactly get that, but the entertainment was top value.

The train situation – with suspiciously malfunctioning points systems on the Brighton to London line – meant that there was a bit of a crush to get into the Arthur Waite Stand in time for the 8pm kick off. But we made it – just – and took our standing places (no sitting at this fucker, no way) roughly where our tickets indicated. I ended up stood on the steps, as the place was jumping and everyone was stood on seats, walls and concrete screaming at the embarassingly empty Whitehorse Lane End and the Park Road lot opposite. What sort of home turnout was this for a supposedly bitter derby? Even the Palace Groupon deals couldn’t get the Nigels to fill the place. Very sad, for the banter stakes alone.

The Arthur Waite is very old school, and the Albion turned it literally into a terrace, all-standing, half smoking and loads of beer being drunk in view of the pitch, naughty, naughty, not me of course. The view and atmosphere was very 1980s, and there were strange cables and other bits an bobs hanging from the gantries and roof, very odd. And, even though I moved around quite a lot with the ebb and flow of a noisy away support, a big wet drip kept dropping on my swede, although the night was dry and freezing. I do hope it was rain water.

At half-time I went for a slash in the underground ‘toilet’, and to my amazement found myself aiming my stream to the left of an upturned electric hand drier in the trench urinal. How it got there is anyone’s guess, well actually it’s not, and it’s not on trying to wreck the ground like that, even Selhurst Park. Bad form.

A walk on the tame side back to Norwood

The match – quickly – Palace edged the first half, with drama bitch Zaha taking the piss a bit. I felt we were lucky to go in at the break 0-0. Second half, and the Holmesdale ‘Fanatics’ (more of whom later) pelted Brezovan in our goal with what looked like used bog roll wipes, they’re no Galatasaray this lot. Zaha duly went over for a penalty, it looked like a dive from where I was peering through the cables and falling masonry of the Arthur Waite. 1-0. Then ten minutes later, the excellent Buckley mugged their defender and went sprawling in the penalty area himself, soft penalty, cool headed Ash Barnes put that one away with aplomb. We then finished the game well on top, and the addition of Adgestein and new boy Sam Vokes was nearly the masterstroke that won us the match.

The fans. The noisiest Albion away crowd for many a year, songs about the Palace Groupon fiasco and “You stupid bastards, You burned your own town” alluding to Croydon going up in smoke during last summer’s riots, meant we easily won the banter/fan face off. The Holmesdale’s famed ‘Ultras’ were akin to these buffoons from the movie ‘Major League’:

20-30 choreographed pre-pubescents and some cunt with a drum, they are noddy as fuck, a joke. Add the fact Palace play music after their goals rounded off the idea of “Nigels” to a tee. And they call us plastics?

A song and ducking a few thrown Palace coins and confectionary (?) behind a massive Police line on the way back to Norwood Junction was the highlight of the extra-curricular rivalry, it was cold and getting home was the priority for me anyway. The train home was sardine city, my back was killing as we pulled into hallowed ground at Brighton Station. It was a good old night, but a win would have made it far better.