A Season Of Discontent Turns Out Alright In The End
As the dust settles on a sixth successive season in the top division of English football, now is the time to look back and truly assess where Palace find themselves.
Thankfully, that position is well away from the dreaded bottom three as we wave goodbye to Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Cardiff City.
Some will say the quality of the Premier League outside the top six has been one of the weakest in recent years with 35 points ending up being the safety net, but Palace finished the season another 14 on top of that.
Perhaps success is the wrong word for this season. Disappointment seems to be the popular word among the fans, but what does the description of a season really mean?
We have all lived and breathed the season, one of inconsistency but ended well in most minds. The disappointment will no doubt fade away as the weeks pass into the summer but we do understand that a little. This is arguably one of the best squads assembled at Palace and many have been critical of Roy Hodgson and his handling of the players at his disposal.
There is no doubting that we all hoped for better but looking at the numbers, we were just two wins shy of an 8th place finish, only one away from a potential top ten finish. There have been plenty of highlights along the way, the scintilating away form (including being the only team to beat City at the Etihad in the league this season, beating Arsenal on their own patch and a first point at Old Trafford in which seems like forever) which contrasts the home form stinking the place out.
For all that has gone on this season, it has not been bad at all, particularly when you consider the club reached two cup quarter finals. Plenty of clubs would switch places with us in a heartbeat.
I am not going to go all high and mighty about what Palace fans should hope and wish for, this game is all about opinion, but in all my years supporting this club, this has been one of the more solid seasons believe it or not. We would all love to be heading off on a European adventure next season but we may not be quite ready for that. Having said that, we were not particularly ready for promotion back to the Premier League six seasons ago but look where we are now.
A period of stability is very welcome. While Roy Hodgson does not tick the box for all fans, you cannot deny that he has done a solid job for the club since taking over from Frank de Boer. There will be a time when we will be looking to move on from Roy, he will no doubt retire after his stint in charge at Selhurst, perhaps taking a Director of Football role at the club. There are plenty of young coaches out there cutting their teeth at different levels so timing may well be right for Palace in a season or two.
This summer promises to be an anxious one for us Palace fans with the news stories about Wilfried Zaha already surfacing. It is not just about our number 11 this time around though with many clubs showing an interest in Aaron Wan-Bissaka as well.
If we do indeed get through it intact, and by that I mean Zaha and AWB turning out for Palace on opening day of the next campaign, then it will have been a job well done. Certainly not wishing the summer away, but bring on next season!
May I end by taking the opportunity to offer a personal thank to all the team here at TEB who have once again provided a plethora of content online throughout the season, and to those of you that have enjoyed and interacted with us during the campaign. It is always a pleasure doing what we do here at TEB and that will continue when we look forward to returning for another campaign.
Have a great summer and see you back here in July when our build up to the new season gets underway.