Frustration Heightens But Support Is The Palace Way
Another week another loss.
Supporting Palace has never been such a drag.
I find myself laughing it off because it has become as much of a joke as any past Palace misdemeanour.
This group of players has less fight than any I’ve seen in the Palace shirt, I include Florian Marange in that. Seriously.
How is it possible to lose that badly to a team, not too different in terms of talent or skill, and show no desire whilst doing it? I don’t even know what to suggest, what to do, even what to write about anymore. In fact, my editor at TEB had to remind me quite robustly to write this article!
I take no pleasure in writing about us in this sorry state, but I’m going to try, so here goes.
To dissect our performance, I would like to start with our goalkeeper. Often considered the spine and backbone of a team, Wayne Hennessey has deteriorated massively in the past year. Far from being the backbone of our team, he’s the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, causing us to drop points with his inconsistent flapping, poor positioning and trying and failing to come for crosses in all the wrong places. He is simply not good enough for this league. Steve Mandanda is, but he too lacked the consistency we need.
Anyone remember the last season we were defensively sound, what goalkeeper was in between the sticks? Yes, Julian Speroni. We need him, more than ever.
Our defence has been leaky for some time, but the determination that saw us leak so few goals in our first and second seasons in the Premier League, with players who lacked the quality of our current back four.
The lack of a naturally left sided defender does not cause these difficulties, it may add to them, but it does not cause a catastrophic lack of defensive ability. Confidence is low, but the way we’ve been playing shows that it’s not the name on the back of your shirt, it’s what you’re made of that matters. Damien Delaney, Mile Jedinak, Jonathan Parr, Glenn Murray, Wilfried Zaha, Julian Speroni, Peter Ramage – players, past and present, who, whilst lacking in outright ability, played for the badge, the team, and made what they lacked in ability not count, because they made up for it in desire, passion and dedication.
We have missed the likes of these players since the majority have left, and now we are paying the price. We have to look at the recruitment and the training of our squad to find the real source of our struggles. It’s all very well saying the squad isn’t good enough, but why? It’s far better than it was in previous seasons, and yet it’s doing worse. These are all players capable of competing at this level, so why aren’t they? What’s different?
It’s hard to say, and a lot of blogs and fan sites have said it already, but I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with this Palace side. Over a year ago, I said in an article that I lived in constant fear of our team falling into the trap of becoming a big spending, fan forgetting, international relations focused Premier League club. This week I saw a picture of a billboard advertsing the club in South Korea. Is that really necessary?
Let us focus on what matters, the fans who’ve followed the club from the start, and the players who actually play for the club. Let us sign a Jedinak, a Parr, a Ramage because Palace isn’t about winning every week, it’s not even about Premier League football. It’s about the feel and the experience of a match day. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the PremierLeague or the Vanarama Conference South. The magic will always be there, and that’s all we as fans really need.
Keep supporting, keep believing, keep dreaming. We might be a bit rubbish at the moment, but nobody can dent the spirit at our great club. That’s the Palace way.
I’ll be back in two weeks, and this time, hopefully, we may have secured three points, from somewhere!