Sunday 27 April
Yes! The day had finally arrived when we would be witness, in the flesh, to our two beloved football teams battling it out on the pitch. We’d waited a long time for this as it’s been a while (!) since Palace were in the same league as City. I use that term lightly as they aren’t exactly “in the same league” of course, but both Premiership teams at the moment. Imagine my excitement, especially being safe in the knowledge that they would meet again next season since Palace had performed a miracle under Tony Pulis and climbed out of the relegation zone with matches to spare. My only reservation was that Anji wouldn’t be sitting in the away end as she’d have liked and would be concealing her team’s colours beneath her coat to accompany me in the home stands. Thank you darling! Good job it wasn’t a hot day!
The morning passed slowly as it wasn’t worth doing much before our planned early lunch and we pottered about the local shops until going to Wetherspoons for said lunch (very nice!) before setting off by bus to Selhurst Park. Anji had arranged for us to meet some of her friends for a pre-match drink and so we enjoyed the build-up to the game with them and I loved being surrounded by all the Palace fans in the team’s colours. (I’ve been to the Etihad to see City v Palace with Anji but it’s a bit blue there!)
A huge cheer went up when the result of an earlier match appeared on the big screen in the club and it was so nice to be part of it. We walked back to the ground a bit ahead of the others as I wanted to look in the club shop, where I bought a new badge/ pin.
As we wandered back to our entrance gate we saw a vendor with scarves displaying both teams’ colours and had a discussion about whether they were a bit naff or not, agreeing that they were. Guess who ended up buying them though? We just couldn’t let the opportunity pass as, as previously stated, our teams meet so rarely and it would have been silly to let them escape un-purchased. I’m not sorry, even though we did afterwards discover that the date was wrong on them! Gullible or what?
I’m not going to attempt to write a match report as I’m no football expert. (I’m still trying to get my head around the offside rule.) I just know I enjoy it. The atmosphere was wonderful, with the pre-match performance by the Crystals and the eagle swooping across the pitch to build up the excitement – all part of the Crystal Palace show that happens at every home game. The home and away fans were singing throughout the game and, even though Palace were beaten 0-2 by City, it didn’t feel like a loss. After all, I am a closet (well, closet with the door open!) City fan and would love to see them win the title, given that Palace are safe and I hold no allegiance to certain other teams who shall remain nameless, one of whom was subsequently held to a media-shocking draw at Selhurst Park a few days before I write this. Everyone seemed happy leaving the ground, so I don’t think it was just us that felt like that.
On arrival back at the hotel, we decided that it would be rude not to have a last drink in the bar before we went up to pack so, sporting our naff scarves, that’s what we did. Is it really possible to have a quiet drink, wearing such scarves? Obviously not, as we found ourselves engaged in conversation with a pleasant, if a tad loquacious, chappie who wanted to hear all about how we came to be where we were and where we came from, etc. It rounded off our day quite nicely but we decided we were far too tired to pack and fell into bed ‘tired but happy’ as they say in all the best Enid Blyton adventure books. We’d have to throw everything in our cases in the morning!