Much Too Close For Comfort!

Monday 23rd February 2015

Heading into injury time with a two goal lead and a defensive performance that made that scoreline as comfortable as it sounds, our particular group were thoroughly looking forward to continuing the fun and games in the heart of our capital city.

Only when lying in my hotel bed watching the Sunday morning repeat of MOTD did I realise just how close the 93rd and 94th minutes were to completely ruining our day. At the time it looked like a dangerous cross but I genuinely didn’t know we were the width of a post from throwing away two massive points in a game that looked like producing nothing less than a victory all afternoon.

Our pre match build up on this occasion included an early start, a bit of brekkie in Balham and plenty of refreshment and banter in our usual Thornton Heath pre Palace haunt.

Those of us who remember the ‘good old days’ look back fondly on all the many hundreds of old style stadia we visited. They certainly had a huge amount of character and days out at the likes of the Baseball Ground, Ayresome Park, The Dell, the Victoria Ground, Roker Park etc etc etc will live long in the memories of all those who lived through those times.

Selhurst Park certainly falls into that category and similarly we have many happy memories of our numerous visits. On the other hand, in a football world that contains decent facilities and views we have definitely been spoilt in recent years! The away end at the home of the Eagles is pretty dreadful to be honest. Access to the toilets, refreshments and even the seats is appalling and the view is not great either!

A better view near the front

A better view near the front

Fortunately for the usual thousands of Gooners present the first half view was more enjoyable than the one experienced by our hosts.

Although the foul definitely wasn’t debatable, whether it was inside or outside the box was touch and go for our penalty. Probably an inch either way and it went in our favour on this occasion.

Santi made sure it was the perfect start and we were on our way.

Once Olly doubled our lead after more excellent work from Welbs and another superb pass from Mesut the result never looked in doubt.

Or it didn’t until deep into injury time!

Another big win and we celebrated long into the night with the expected gusto.

Changing competitions, much has been said about the decision to move our FA Cup tie to a Monday night. If there is anyone out there that genuinely still believes the FA and the TV companies give two hoots about those who actually want to attend games I am gobsmacked. No matter what they say, we are considered last, it is as simple as that.

I have no doubt we will take near on nine thousand fans to Old Trafford, even on a Monday night with no public transport options and two days holiday required for most. The fact is however, it would make absolutely no difference to these organisations if we didn’t.

The most amusing bit for me is the TV companies actually think they are doing the genuine fans a ‘favour’ by putting it on the telly on a Monday night. They think that those who would have travelled if the game was at the weekend will by quite happy with the ‘alternative’ of TV coverage on a Monday night! Simply laughable and a million miles from being in touch with reality when it comes to the travelling fans.

That competition takes a back seat this week of course with 3 massive games ahead of us, the first seeing us welcome Monaco to London N5.

I always believe number one priority in European home legs is a clean sheet. And my thoughts for Wednesday night are no different.

If we can achieve that and take a lead with us to France too, that has to be a positive result.

Make some noise boys and girls!



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