Blast From The PastFeatures

Crystal Palace v Reading November 2002

We kick off a brand new feature here at TEB where we will be picking up a programme from the past to review both the content and the game that followed.

It was a difficult decision where we should begin our ‘Blast From The Past’ feature so it was simply a matter of picking from the pile of programmes that litter TEB HQ. So, without further ado our, for our first ‘Blast From The Past’ we head back to November 2002.


Fans paid just £2.50 for 80 pages of very good content ahead of the Tuesday night game at Selhurst Park that took place on 26th November 2002 as Reading were the visitors on the Nationwide Division One fixture.


The Eagles had beaten Grimsby Town 2-0 at Selhurst at the weekend courtesy of goals from Shaun Derry and Dele Adebola, images of which featured in the programme. That win had put Palace up to 11th in the table with 27 points from 19 games. Portsmouth were top of the table at the time with 48 points from 20 games. Brighton & Hove Albion were bottom of the table with 12 points from 18 games.


Heading into this game, Alan Pardew’s newly promoted side travelled to South London in 7th place with 32 points from 18 games, a healthy position heading into the busy Christmas fixtures. Pardew was not the only Palace link as John Salako started game and Ricky Newman came off the bench in the dying minutes.


Referee David Elleray took charge of the 8pm kick off which ended in a 1-0 win to the visitors thanks to a goal scored by Nicky Forster just six minutes from the break.

Palace line up – Alex Kolinko, Danny Butterfield, Darren Powell, Kit Symons, Shaun Derry, Danny Granville, Hayden Mullins, Julian Gray (Tommy Black 67), Steve Thomson (Wayne Routledge 34), Dele Adebola, Andrew Johnson

Reading line up – Marcus Hahnemann, Mathew Upson, Adrian Williams, Graeme Murty, Nicky Shorey, James Harper, Andy Hughes (Martin Butler 88), John Salako, Kevin Watson (Ricky Newman 81), Tony Rougier, Nicky Forster


Trevor Francis began his ‘From The Manager’ comments by eluding to those before the Grimsby game at the weekend about the five important up and coming fixtures, four of which were at home. He also mentioned the unfortunate news that captain Curtis Fleming would be out for the rest of year and Dougie Freedman had a hernia operation that day and will also spend time out on the sidelines.


Simon Jordan was quickly into his flow by expressing his disappointment at the 20,000 plus crowd that had attended the game at the weekend against Grimsby which had been greatly inflated by complimentary and heavily discounted tickets. He continued in similar fashion by describing the negative reaction by fans when Trevor Francis brought Tommy Black on during the Grimsby game as ‘bloody nonsense’. For the remainder of his ‘From The Chairman’ piece, Jordan talked about the media coverage of ‘wage capping’ which did have an element of truth but was mostly fabrication.


Curtis Fleming reiterated the comments of his manager about the importance of home matches and the fact that away teams were really not looking forward to visiting Selhurst Park. He also wished Freedman a quick recovery from his hernia operation.


There were plenty of features in this packed programme particularly for a midweek game.

  • Laurie Dahl provided her ‘Selhurst Standpoint’ which touched on the return to Selhurst Park of Alan Pardew for this fixture.
  • Club physio George Cooper provided an update ‘From The Treatment Table’ where he touched on injuries for Freedman, Fleming, Tony Popovic, Wayne Routledge and Ade Akinbiyi.
  • Steve Baxter from the Croydon Guardian with ‘What The Papers Say’.
  • Andrew Fifield provided an ‘FA Cup Round Up’.
  • Chris Tilly caught up with David Elleray, the ‘Man In The Middle’
  • Academy Director Paul Holden was featured in ‘Day In The Life Of’.
  • ‘Watt’s The Point’ with Tom Watt from BBC London talked about the economic climate and its effects on the game.
  • ‘Match Of The Month’ looked back at a crazy game where Palace drew 5-5 with Plymouth in 1925.
  • A look at the academy had a notable mention for Ben Watson who scored late to seal a win against Coventry.


Latvian goalkeeper was the subject of a ‘Player Questionnaire’ where he revealed that Bruce Willis is his favourite actor and Prodigy his favourite band. Dougie Freedman was also featured and spoke about his injury frustrations. Academy player Tariq Nabil also faced the questionnaire where he said Kelly Brook is his favourite pin up while The Simpsons was his favourite television programme.


Gareth Williams. The academy graduate went on to make just eight appearances for the club before moving to Colchester United in 2004 after several loan spells. After Colchester, he moved into non-league where he featured for a number of teams but made over a hundred appearances for Bromley, scoring 52 goals.


Palace finished the season in 14th place with 59 points from 46 games while Reading fared much better by reaching the end of season play offs, ending in 4th with 79 points. They lost in the two legged play off semi final to Wolverhampton Wanderers who went on to beat Sheffield United in the final to achieve promotion.

Portsmouth went up as champions with Leicester City runners up. Relegated were Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town.






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Jay Crame

Jay Crame

Jay is the founder of TEB and site editor. An avid Palace fan since the late eighties with a passion for music and too many other sports. Presenter and producer of The Meridian Sports Show on 107 Meridian FM.

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