The Palace Addition has become a trilogy as the third book in the series is now available to buy having been released earlier this week.
It is a must read for those who have already read the first two books, but if you haven’t, we have to say that it is a must read for all Palace fans and football fans alike.
Keep an eye out for our exclusive chat with author James Howland in the coming weeks as we find out the background behind the third book in the series and much more.
Here is an extract from the book which I hope you will enjoy – you can your copy from Amazon right HERE!
The Same Dream – Boy To Man
Some things never change. Palace losing for one. Whatever the league, whoever the opponent, whenever the sky-enforced kick off time, Palace are capable of ruining a perfectly good day out.
Of course, while we continue to persist with the endless trudge on the track to nowhere of supporting a terrible team, our lives revolutionise, our views transform, our friendships evolve, and our maturity improves. Ok, the maturity takes longer and doesn’t always improve but the point I’m trying to make is that while Palace and Saturdays stay the same, many things do change.
I was a skinny, six-year old little boy with a dream of Palace winning the FA Cup when my Selhurst story began in 1997. It took us nearly a year of defeats before we’d finally win a home game – by which time we’d already been cut adrift at the bottom of the league. Glory hunting, I was not. Now, where we pick up my story of love and addiction, I’m a beer-bellied, thirty-two year old man (by law if not in my mother’s eyes) with a dream of Palace winning the FA Cup.
I remember the millennium from my childhood. It felt like such a huge and life-changing event. Computers were going to crash, the British Government spent £700,000,000 on a giant tent and Palace were moving into the next thousand years fresh from defeats against Cambridge, Charlton and Crewe. Soon after, my relatively comfortable life was shattered as my parents split up. That day, Palace lost to Gillingham.
As I grew older – if not wiser – and began to embark on puberty, many things changed: friends, music, social events, and stresses. While I can’t remember the exact dates of my first pimple or pubic hair, I’m fairly sure Palace were giving me a sense of normality through these confusing times by losing to someone or other. Similarly, I don’t remember the Palace game on the day that I met my first girlfriend but I do remember that we lost to Cardiff on the day she dumped me.
After starting university, I was thrown into a hurricane of change: meeting dozens of new people, unearthing every student bar in the area and discovering how to wash my own clothes and cook my own food. Food that was unbranded, as it turned out that buying your own food was more expensive than eating your parents. Why waste money on Heinz or Hovis when you can get Tesco Value and buy beer or football tickets instead? Still, I’d started my three-year attack on my liver in mid September 2007 and Palace helped me feel at home by failing to beat Burnley, Plymouth, Hull, Blackpool, Stoke, Watford, Scunthorpe, Cardiff and QPR before finally winning a game against Colchester in late November.
In 2010, adulthood was supposed to start as I took on my first teaching role. Palace would lose 3-0 at Reading on the following Saturday and 5-0 to Derby soon after. In 2014, I moved to the other side of the world where, despite an eleven-hour time difference, Palace would remain central to my friendships, social life, and well-being. Naturally, within hours of arriving in my new world, Tony Pulis had resigned, the club was in crisis, and we won just three of the first twenty games while I was out there.
Upon my return to London, I had great personal success – moving into senior leadership at work, building great friendships, relationships and health, all while being financially secure enough to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Holidays were plenty. Life was full. Palace were still losing, obviously, but now it was in a Cup Final rather than to Scunthorpe or Grimsby. The six-year old’s dream was getting closer but still painfully unfulfilled. As for the league, every year was just the same, we’d never have a rest. We’d fear the drop and give our fans a cardiac arrest.
However, through it all, from youthful child to responsible-ish man, Palace were a constant. The dream remained the same and the reality failed to reach the lusted heights. And yes, I have used dramatic license to exaggerate the crap-ness and omit the highs of being a fan. Sometimes, Palace did indeed manage to not lose – sometimes we even won. And won big games too. Not that that was important. The moments to cherish were aplenty. Moments of friendship, of joy, of conversation, of humour and of pride. All a never-ending escape from whatever else was happening in my own personal drama.
I’d turn up, expecting to lose but dreaming of a win, with my Dad or friends or brothers or girlfriend – or anyone else that I’d happened to drag along. We were the red and blue army. We’d drink, sing, and cry our way through Saturday afternoons. Whether that was going to every game, or to most or to some; whether that was to win or lose, to booze or be sober, to be gleeful or glum, be promoted or relegated, Selhurst Park has been the most comforting consistent through my life. It has offered an unconditional welcome akin to a mother’s open arms of love. Going to Palace was always there to be what I needed it to be. I could never imagine missing out on the explosions of joy, of anger, of pain, of excitement and unwavering optimism that being a football fan can bring.
That was until a global pandemic hit the world. Our lives – and maybe even football itself – would change forever.