John McCormick writes: I don’t often visit other fans’ websites. But in setting up this edition of “Who are you?”, which Colin organised before his departure, I visited The EaglesBeak and I have to say I was impressed. It’s everything a fan site should be, so it’s no surprise that we have another good set of answers to our questions, from Eaglesbeak’s Dan Crame. I can’t say I agree with him about Patrick, but he’s right up there when it comes to everything we want to know before the Palace game.
Big Sam may have started to do the trick by the time I’m back from
holiday but hasn’t had much success so far. How bad has it been?
It hasn’t been enjoyable, to say the least. Being a Palace fan over the last 18 months has been difficult what with Pardew’s winless run in 2016, losing the FA Cup final and now a even a new manager cannot save our somewhat sinking ship. The FA Cup final stands out as a sore point for me and I was one of the few Palace fans standing behind Pardew’s terrible league form because of it. It seems that form hasn’t gone away like many thought it would and I believe Big Sam could have bitten off more than he can chew.
What did you make of his appointment and indeed Alan Pardew’s dismissal? Palace in disarray or common sense decision-making?
It was the right time for Pardew to go and could even be said that it was too late. Not many managers in football nowadays get as much time as Pardew did so in that respect, he was lucky. Big Sam was the man to take over Palace. I foresaw it when he was sacked by England and even though I’m not his greatest fan, he’s the right appointment considering the mess we’re in. So yes, common sense decision making is a good way to put it.
Individual results, like Swansea at Liverpool, keep challenging kneejerk views but it looks as if one of us will go down, if not both. Who will/would do better in the Championship and why?
I think Swansea have done extremely well since Paul Clement came in and I have a gut feeling that they’ll be in the Premier League next season. I don’t believe David Moyes has done enough in the transfer window to save you and with a goalscorer in Van Aanholt coming to us, I can’t see you surviving this time around. On paper, Palace have the strongest side down the bottom so I still think we’ll be ok but if we were to go down, I can see us coming straight back up due to our squad quality and the money behind the team due to our American investors. So in my opinion, Hull, Sunderland and Middlesbrough will go down this season but then again football is unpredictable so it’s extremely hard to say for sure.
Palace appears to have money – who else would reputedly bid £12, for van Aanholt? – but has it been/is it being well spent?
The signing of Jeffery Schlupp was a surprise one and one I think many Palace fans were unprepared for. He didn’t play much for Leicester but did win their young player of the year award two years in a row so I think he’ll be a good addition in the long-term. I’ve always had a feeling Van Aanholt would be in a Palace shirt one day, a bit like Connor Wickham and the much hated Jordan Mutch.
I think the prices of both Schlupp and Van Aanholt are relevant to the current football market (as crazy as it is) and it seems buying players from this country is always ten times more expensive than abroad. Schlupp is 24 years old and is yet to properly start his career in terms of cementing himself in a strting eleven so time will tell if he’s worth the £12.5 million we’ve invested in him, and as for Van Aanholt, he played his best football under Big Sam at Sunderland and has been in the league for a long time so I believe he’ll be a positive addition to Palace and will fit in well.
When I look at your squad, the names of Puncheon, Cabaye, Benteke, Flamini, Dann etc suggest quality. Where have they gone wrong and in which positions are the glaring needs for strengthening?
It’s fair to say the players above as well as Zaha are our best players. The left-back position has been a major issue for us since Pape Soure’s awful car crash so signing two players this month that can play there is a huge bonus. We’ve
been unlucky with loosing players like Steve Mandanda, Connor Wickham and Loic Remy to long-term injuries so when they are all back and at 100% again they’ll be like new signings. I believe the left midfield position could do with strengthening due to the abysmal performances I’ve witnessed from Andros Townsend since he arrived at Palace. Apart from that though, we have a strong team on paper so maybe it comes down to the psychological side of things. Being statistically the worst team in England can’t be good for the players at all. Wins are a must in order to tackle this and Big Sam knows that – I believe they’ll come, but they better come soon.
Your thoughts on Sunderland
(1) – our time’s finally up?
Like I said before, I can’t see Moyes saving you unfortunately. He’s signed odd players too with two youngsters from United in the summer and the recent Joleon Lestcott. The latter’s experience could help you guys but it’s not enough when there’s teams around offering a lot more. I like Sunderland and if you are to go down I hope you bounce back up again like Newcastle. Going down could help clear some cobwebs maybe.
And (2) the club, the fans, the region, and city, David Moyes?
I like Sunderland and if you are to go down I hope you bounce back up again like Newcastle. Going down could help clear some cobwebs maybe. I feel for the fans as it appears the club have been mismanaged for a while now and it’s not fun facing a relegation battle year upon year. I can’t comment much on the city as I haven’t yet made the trek there to watch Palace but I’m aiming to do so as soon as possible. Moyes, he’s a good manager and whoever took the Manchester United job after Sir Alex had huge boots to fill. The only thing about him is that he hasn’t really been in a situation where relegation is such a danger. He was comfortable at Everton and had more money behind him than he does now, I believe. It will be interesting to see how he does for you guys and whether that’s long term or short, it’s good to see him back in the Premier League nonetheless.
Best moments as a Palace fan?
My best moments as a Palace fan have to include Jason Puncheon’s fantastic goals at the FA Cup final last year and against Norwich last year to seal our survival for another season. Another one would be Darren Ambrose’s goal against Manchester United in the Carling cup semi-finals back in 2011, sheer brilliance.
My worst memory of being a Palace fan is and forever will be the time we almost went out of business for good. We had to get something at Sheffield Wednesday to stay in the championship but to also stay in existence. Wednesday had to win to stay up. I remember it vividly, listening on the radio in sheer fear of losing and seeing my father and grandfather loose something they had been following all their lives. This was obviously also another great moment as a Palace fan as we drew 2-2 due to Darren Ambrose and Alan Lee sealing our fate. This game also began my love affair with Palace as I was young at the time. A real milestone in my and Palace’s history.
Best players and worst (see in Palace colours)?
Best players that I’ve seen would include; Ambrose, Zaha, Speroni and Murray. The worst would have to be Florian Marange, a French defender we signed from Bordeaux in 2013 (he only made two appearances in friendly matches) and unfortunately Andros Townsend but not because of his ability because we all know what he can do but for his attitude and laziness on the pitch.
Bottom three. Your prediction?
Hull (20th), Sunderland (19th), Middlesbrough (18th).
(Unimportant) but top four?
Chelsea (1st), Liverpool (2nd), Arsenal (3rd), City (4th).
Diving; stop whingeing, just get our players to do it better – or a
scourge still to be tackled along with other forms of cheating?
It needs to be tackled, as simple as that. It’s an embarrassing form of cheating and not one I condone even if it is from one of our players. With the Premier League changing quite a lot of rules namely; arguing with the referee and pulling shirts, I’m quite surprised diving has gone under the radar.
One thing the authorities might do to improve the lot of ordinary fans
(a tube line to Selhurst Park?) Will you be at our match and what will be the score?
Selhurst is one of the oldest grounds in the league and due to where it is a tube line could be tricky as it’s such a built up area. What with Norward Junction and Selhurst stations walking distance away, I can’t see transport options changing much unless we moved elsewhere.
I will be at the Palace v Sunderland game in the Arthur Wait stand as I’m a season ticket holder. It’s a hard one to call as we could both be in different positions when we meet but I’m going for an exciting 2-1 win to us.
Finally: Update on who you are, what you do, your history of supporting
Palace and anything you want to plug (links etc)
I’m Daniel Crame (twitter handle @d_crame) and I do bits and bobs for namely, running social media accounts, the odd article and Q&A’s for the opposition. I’ve been supporting Palace for a good ten years as I am only eighteen. I’d like to point fans in the direction of theeaglesbeak. We have a brilliant team of writers that work very hard to bring new content on a daily basis along with a very dedicated and excellent editor. Check out the site www.theeaglesbeak.com and our social media accounts; Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a lot of contact that is mainly (but not always) Palace related.
Thanks very much guys and good luck for the remainder of the season.
Interview, Colin Randall