Whisper It Quietly, Palace Are Here
Fan Chat is in a good place right now.
Having been optimistically extolling the virtues of a theoretically exceptional Crystal Palace side throughout the summer, whilst gradually erring on the side of caution in the opening weeks of the season, Fan Chat’s chest is now there for all to see. Loud, proud and visible.
Before launching into an ale induced serenading of an increasingly triumphant Crystal Palace outfit, a few points to consider:
- This is the second time in as many seasons Crystal Palace have defeated the reigning champions. The first time in the Champions backyard.
- The fantastic defeat of Chelsea was their first defeat at Stamford Bridge since a blip against Sunderland in April 2014, who had before that gone seventy-seven games unbeaten at home.
- The victory maintained Palace’s incredibly impressive away form in the league under Alan Pardew, worthy of a side challenging for the top six.
- Crystal Palace after four games of the season, find themselves nestled between the Manchester clubs in second place with nine points.
It is increasingly difficult to contain the excitement surrounding the current crop of players that Crystal Palace have at their disposal. Bundles of pace and energy, coupled with football intelligence and resolute defending mean that, as evidenced in the deserved victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday, there really seems to be no limit to what Crystal Palace can achieve this season.
Sure, it is important to remain grounded in moments like this and not get too far ahead of ourselves. The Chelsea game was the first in a tricky number of ties Palace have on the horizon, but when you command such an authority on the game and the league like Palace are currently doing, only the most ardent pessimists would remain true to form.
What makes the victory over Chelsea so much sweeter, is that a large faction of quiet yet increasingly audible optimists at Crystal Palace are not particularly surprised. It is not at all surprising that Palace have pulled such an impressive result out of the bag given the performances they have been putting in, not just this season, but for the entirety of Alan Pardew’s period at the helm.
It has always felt right, the reunion of Pardew with his revered old darling Palace. In the face of increasing scepticism and vitriol from the North East, and the ‘wait until the second season‘ sentiment that regularly litters some Crystal Palace Twitter feeds from bitter Newcastle fans, this is a victory not just on the day but a victory for everything Alan Pardew has been implementing over the past number of months.
We have watched while, piece by piece, Pardew has littered his backroom team with his generals. Maintaining the influential presence of Keith Millen whilst affording former Palace stalwarts John Salako and Andy Woodman more presence in the coaching set up.
Can Pardew do any wrong? You sense that at the moment, Alan Pardew is walking around like every Palace fan will be when normality resumes on Tuesday – striding strong and confidently looking upwards and onwards. The affinity that Palace fans feel towards their trusted leader, that is clearly reciprocated, drives everyone on. It is no secret that Pardew is a divisive character. Factoring in previous confrontations with the likes of Arsene Wenger, Manuel Pellegrini and David Meyler, many loath the man with such severity that you feel their opinion of him will never change. Yesterday marked a seismic shift in those attitudes.
There are some, largely Newcastle fans, who will not be swayed. There are others who questioned his managerial ability, and his own sense of self appreciation, who will no doubt be closer to conversion following another brilliant result achieved in a positive manner. And then there are the Palace fans that have had an undying belief in Pardew since his appointment.
This is important, because while Alan Pardew is not short on confidence and self belief, there would certainly have been a lingering desire in his head to prove those doubters wrong. A desire to demonstrate both his tactical nous and his ability to inspire performances in a side under his tutelage. Only the most bitter of football fans will argue he has not done that now.
The backing of the Selhurst faithful is key in this regard. Things go wrong at Crystal Palace, or at least they used to. Disaster lurked around any corner, so to have poured so much energy and belief into Pardew following a tricky couple of months preceding him was vital to ensure that the man himself had the platform to build and grow. You sense they feed off each other – the fans optimism and positive outlook stems from the Pardew’s confidence to put into action his own plan, his own ideals. We are seeing the fruition of that relationship blossoming now. You cannot help but feel this is just the start.
Whisper it quietly – Palace are well and truly here.