Q & A

Here some common questions I get asked in relation to Crystal Palace and football in general. All answers are based on ‘my time’ as a Palace fan which began in the late seventies.

When did you start supporting Crystal Palace and why?
My older brother is a Palace fan and as a child I was closest to him so it was natural I’d also support Palace. Most of the other people in my family support Chelsea, though my dad was a Fulham fan.

My first memory of actually supporting Palace is from 1977-78 season when I watched a game on TV and I remember liking the colours that Palace in at the time, which was the Umbro sash kit.

When did you go to your first Crystal Palace game?
It was January 1981 when we played Stoke City and the game ended 1-1. Another brother took me to see the game and it was my fourth ever football game. He was a Chelsea fan and had taken me to Stamford Bridge three times but failed to convert me so he gave up and took me to see Crystal Palace play.

At the time I was 10 and we stood on the mud bank that resulted from the old Whitehorse Lane Terrace being demolished. It has been taken out and Sainsbury’s was in the process of being built.

When did you go to your first ever football match?
It was August 1979 when Chelsea played Everton, Chelsea won the game 1-0. I don’t remember much about the game but I clearly remember the fans were singing “You’re gonna get your fucking head kicked in!” and “You’re going home in a London ambulance!” to the Everton fans. We were in the ‘Shed’ end and I could barely see anything.

The experience kinda stuck with me.

At the time I was 9 and my brother was 18. He’d just joined the army (Royal Artillery) so was due to start his basic training at Woolwich.

My second game was Chelsea v Norwich City with the same brother followed by Chelsea v New York Cosmos, which a barmaid who worked in the bar took me to see.

My older brother, who supported Palace, had joined the army a couple of years before and was stationed in Germany so that was why the younger brother saw it as an opportunity to try and convert me into a Chelsea fan.

He failed!

Who is your favourite ever Crystal Palace player?
I would have to say it is Andy Gray, which is something that I’m torn about.

The reason is that though I think he was a fantastic player for us and he is actually one of the two players that influenced how I wanted to play football, the other being winger Alan Irvine.

However, there is a cloud hanging over him with regards to how he left us to join Aston Villa in 1987 but I think he completely redeemed himself when he returned in 1989.

In my opinion he was a better player than Geoff Thomas and didn’t get the recognition he deserved in our team that finished 3rd whereas Geoff Thomas got more England call-ups which is something I’ll never understand.

Andy Gray v Nottingham Forest in January 1987

What is your favourite Palace kit?
Like most people I have a love for the ‘sash’ kit, in particular the Admiral version. however, my favourite kit would have to be the 1984 ‘Red Rose’ striped kit. I think it was the perfect striped kit, mainly blue and the correct shades of both colours to compliment each other.

When it comes to away kits I would have to say I have a liking for the 1979 away kit. People who say the FA Cup Final replay kit didn’t have Palace colours were completely wrong.

In the picture below (right) you can see Vince Hilaire in the yellow and black kit away kit. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a colour picture of it.

More to follow.