Let us rewind to a year ago and a summer transfer window that the club were looking to be stuggling in once again in terms of fulfilling the want and need of the fanbase to freshen up a squad that seemed desparate for new additions.
There were of course some late additions, most of which played a part in what was a ridiculously lengthy season which featured an unfortunate break from the game. Looking back, the majority of those new signings that were made turned out to be decent.
We all know how the season went but the biggest disappointment to most has been the way that it ended after what was been a torrid restart. It blotted all the good work that had been done before that, particularly the winning run before the pandemic. There was even a glimmer of excitement that European qualification, however delusonal that may have been.
Thankfully, a record equalling run of eight defeats in a row was prevented by holding Spurs to a point on the final day of the season. That run since the win at Bournemouth on the restart was poor, there is no getting away from it. On the other hand, perhaps it worked in our favour. It meant that there was an element of taking advantage of how the fixtures fell, by getting points on the board before heading into that run of tough games through to the end of the season.
And they were tough – Bournemouth was the winnable fixture and we probably had Burnley at home as being similar but looking back, we met them on a hot run of form which eventually saw them finish 10th. Villa too but we all know what happened there which contributed to their survival. Elsewhere, we probably would not have expected much in return out of Leicester, United, Chelsea, Spurs and maybe Wolves.
Had the fixtures meant that the last three games were to be played against the likes of Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton, it could have been a very twitchy end to the season.
Yes, a run of losses that we have seen of late has been far from ideal and certainly not fun to watch but the situation could have been far worse. Points on the board turned out to be crucial.
If we had been offered a 14th place finish before the opening day of the season considering how the summer transfer window had gone for Palace, the majority of fans would have snatched at it with both hands, thinking back at how toxic social media was at that time.
Yes, with safety assured and with games to spare, we all expected better for the run in and we are right to feel slightly disappointed but securing an eighth successive Premier League campaign is no mean feat for our club. Of course we want to strive to be better, but this is a very tough league to compete in season after season.
Maybe having games to spare without the threat of relegation is not something that suits us, something to play for might work better for us, but it certainly helps the nerves, that’s for sure. Thankfully, we were never under any threat of experiencing the eventuality that Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth are now facing in the cold light of day. That is never something that we should wish for, and while that may sound a strange thing to say, there have been fans suggesting they would rather Palace be back in the Championship.
Not a chance. There are plenty of examples of what can happen and it can be a slippery slope. Not all clubs have had the success of a quick return such as Burnley, Norwich and West Bromwich Albion have in recent seasons. In contrast, we can all have a jealous eye over the relative successes by the likes of Wolves and Sheffield United to name but two, but we are where we are.
There is no doubt that Palace are at a crossroads that many clubs have been at before. This transfer window is hugely important as the core of this squad has been together for a while and it is no secret that it carries the highest average age in the top division.
The decision on the next manager, whether you think it should be now, a year on from now or longer, is arguably as vital as this window will be. You could argue that if there is an element of rebuilding to be done, a new man at the helm would be best placed rather than someone that is only likely to be here for another year.
I would urge some respect at Roy Hodgson’s door however. He has done a sterling job since taking over from Frank de Boer and while we all moan about some of his rigid tactics and lack of substitutions, there is no doubting he has been good for us. There has been much said about the soon to be 73-year-old but he deserves some credit for giving us a period of stability.
Of course, we will all moan and groan our way through the summer, long into the new campaign and beyond, but we will continue to support the club through thick and thin, no matter how frustrating each of us may find it.
For those highs that we experience from time to time are the very highest of highs and that is something that we would not change for anything.
Let us look forward to the break from what has been an intense six weeks of enforced football which has had an effect on all involved, not least the players and staff. It has been a ridiculously testing time for everyone and will continue to be for some time it seems.
Football has certainly not been the same. Many of us enjoyed poking fun at the casual armchair fan, not knowing that we would all become one!
Fact is, football without fans is nothing. While we understand the need for the game to return without us, there will be nothing better than going to a game again, experiencing that first goal, experiencing that first win – the thought just sends goosebumps up my arms!
This season will go down as one which began with plenty of pessimism, turned into something a little promising, and ended as a bit of a damp squib. Out of the seven consecutive seasons in the Premier League, it ranks fifth in terms of the 14th place finish.
Interesting fact – Palace have not finished 17th considering some say that is what we aim for every season (or 13th, or 16th!)
- 2019-20 14th 43pts
- 2018-19 12th 49pts
- 2017-18 11th 44pts
- 2016-17 14th 41pts
- 2015-16 15th 42pts
- 2014-15 10th 48pts
- 2013-14 11th 45pts
Finally, a huge thank you to each and every person that enjoys anything that the team here at TEB do on the site or across our social media channels. We have just passed eight years of doing this and we have loved every minute of it, so a personal thank you to everyone who is and has been a part of the team here at TEB. We are looking forward to getting back to doing what we do in September when it all kicks off once again.
Up The Palace!