Ken Gambles would love to agree with CSB, who predicts a 5-0 home win at Guess the Score. The idea of playing Palace in such a crucial encounter just fills him with apprehension. Snap out of it, Ken, and keep the faith!
Probably my fondest memory of Palace is from the 1970s when Gerry Queen played for them, spawning the immortal newspaper headline “Queen in Rumpus at Palace”.
And there the pleasure ends. Apparently we’ve a similar record against each other but it certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.
In season 1969-70 we played Palace away in their first home game of the season, in fact their first ever home top-flight game. Strange how we seem to get a promoted club away in our early fixtures: Man City in 2000, Fulham in 2001, Wigan in 2007, Swansea in 2011 and of course this season Palace again.
Anyway it was my finals year in London so I went along to witness a dire performance in a 2-0 defeat (a bit like Sunday really). By the end of the season we had been relegated and Palace survived.
Then in 1976 as a third-tier outfit, they came to Roker Park in an FA Cup quarter final tie when we were dreaming of Wembley (again a bit like Sunday ) and won !-0 in front of 56,000. Malcolm Allison their manager was as irritating as Steve Bruce which was another reason the result was so annoying.
Come 2004 it was a two-legged play-off defeat following an “unforgettable” penalty from Jeff Whitley and an unpunished assault by Neil Shipperley on Mart Poom which led to the penalties in the first place.
By 2013 we were losing 3-1 in Palace’s second home game following promotion in an abject display (yet again a bit like Sunday) where we capitulated in midfield and John O’Shea made an awful error leading to a goal. Have I mentioned this seems a bit like Sunday?
Factor in a 1-0 defeat to Wimbledon at the lovely Selhurst Park (I defy you evil place!) when we needed points to survive and you can see why Saturday’s game is fraught with danger. Logically,as they say, past results have no bearing whatsoever on current form, but emotionally I’m looking forward to the week-end in fear and trepidation.