This weekend Palace take a trip up to take on Hull City who we offer a warm welcome back to the Premier League after a one season absence. It was the perfect opportunity this week to catch up with our friends at Tigerlink.
Q. What were your hopes and dreams for the new season before a ball was kicked?
Most fans dream of glory and silverware at the start of a season. But this year it was a combination of a hope for survival and a burning desire for a change of ownership.
Q. Was it a successful transfer window for the club or are there areas that still need improving?
It was well publicised that we were late off the mark, and began the season with only thirteen fit senior players, three of which were goalkeepers. So when money was spent in the transfer window and new players arrived, there was a sense of relief, despite the fact that the ‘thirteen’ managed to win us our opening two games. Since then however the new arrivals have disappointed with just one Premier League goal between them, some less than inspiring performances and a long term injury to striker Will Keane. There is scope for improvement in all areas but the shortage of goals is the biggest worry.
Q. Was it a surprise to lose Steve Bruce when you did and what is the general feeling about the appointment of Mike Phelan?
It was no surprise under the circumstances in which he was working. We were surprised he lasted so long and his situation became untenable after the already strained relationship with Ehab Allam broke down completely. The appointment of Phelan should have taken place a couple of months earlier than it actually did. This would have been a vote of confidence in him but it appears approaches were made to other managers whilst Phelan was left wondering. It is clear that no other manager was willing to take on what is rapidly becoming known as the Premier League’s poision chalice. Fans are starting to lose confidence in Phelan but many believe no manager could operate effectively under the present regime.
Q. Should the prospective takeover take place, is there a feeling that will give fans the chance to move on from the Allam regime?
A large majority of fans are desperate for a takeover and long for the focus to return to events on the pitch and put the Allam era firmly in the past. However despite considerable publicity about potential takeovers nobody really knows if the Allams are looking to sell. They don’t communicate with fans and many of the media reports are pure speculation and guesswork.
Q. What are your thoughts on the new rule changes for this season?
It is probably fair to say there has been a limited impact as far as we are concerned. We applaud the changes which prevent a pause prior to the point of contact at a penalty kick and for a player to be allowed to be treated on the pitch after a carded tackle. With regard to some of the penalty box decisions our own Jake Livermore was sent off earlier in the season when a yellow card seemed more appropriate, and it’s clear that there are still areas of the rule book which are down to individual interpretation. Anything that reduces player misconduct is a good thing and it’s good to see an attempt to try and be tougher, although as usual some teams seem to get away with it more than others!
Q. Even though Leicester City managed it last season, it is looking increasingly difficult for an un-fancied team to break into the top six this season but if you were to pick one, who would it be?
First of all we agree with you – Leicester’s achievements last season may never be repeated and we think that the Foxes will finish in the bottom half of the table this season. If we had to pick one (or two) we would go for West Bromwich Albion or Bournemouth.
Q. Perhaps you could share your views on Palace as a club, how we did last season and our start to this season?
First of all, we have a lot of respect for Crystal Palace as a club. Your fans generate great noise at home games in particular and you have a large and loyal following. We also remember the strong and valued support we received when the ‘City Till We Die’ campaign was in action a couple of years back.
Q. Name one player from each team that the opposition should be concerned about?
For us it would be Robert Snodgrass and Christian Benteke. Although Snodgrass has gone off the boil somewhat in the last couple of games, he is always capable of that bit of class that can turn a game. At times this season he has carried the team and if it wasn’t for his goals we would be really struggling. Benteke is undoubtedly a quality striker and someone I guess us City fans look at with a certain amount of envy. We could do with him! I fear he may do well against us on Saturday.
The first goal in City games is vital. If we concede we usually lose. If we can keep Palace out for the first half an hour we reckon it will finish 1-1.
Q. And finally, the floor is yours to promote any projects that you are currently working on.
As you may know, next year Hull is UK City of Culture 2017, so we at Tigerlink are doing our best to ensure that sport is included, since we see this as a huge part of the culture of this area. In addition, we are part of a group looking to celebrate the life of Ebenezer Cobb Morley, the founder of modern day football, the first Secretary of the FA who was born in Hull. In time we hope to have a statue of him as a centrepiece to the approach to the KCOM Stadium. Take a look at TWITTER for updates.