We don’t normally have the time have these chats with opposition supporters before upcoming games, but it was a pleasure to chat to Jay Crame, one of the editors of Crystal Palace site The Eagles Beak. Below we get a good insight into the current situation at Palace, the game ahead and the common ground between Palace and Villa, namely having a manager walk out with days to go to the start of a season and also having an ‘ultra’ supporter group. UTV
After Tony Pulis pulled his disappearing trick at the start of the season, what were your expectations for Palace this season?
It was a general feeling a lot like our first season back in the Premier League in that survival would be an achievement. With Pulis around there was a real sense of what we could move on to following a fantastic finish to the season but obviously, that vanished as soon as he left. It was a real kick in the teeth, not only the manner of him going but the very real feeling that we were vulnerable again.
So what do you know about the Tony Pulis fiasco that hasn’t been reported? How do Palace fans tend to feel about the walking out episode? Obviously, with Martin O’Neill pulling the same stunt on Villa a few seasons ago, we had some empathy with Palace fans…
I know more than I am willing to share but what I will say is that it had a lot to do with the strict budget in place on both wages and transfer fees. We have very sensible owners and without wanting to harp on about them saving the club, they did see what state it was in. They were never going to put the club in jeopardy again.
The fact remains, Pulis knew the situation at Palace and for him to walk when he did is almost unforgivable. The chairman got a huge amount of stick initially but as time went on it was clear that it was Pulis’ decision. He got a lot of plaudits for last season while the players did not so much. As a fan I thank him for last season but he went down hugely in my estimation the way he left. I know that there is little in the way of integrity in the game these days but I expected more of him.
Managers returning to clubs for a second spell tend not to work (we have Graham Taylor as an example), so how do you feel about Neil Warnock so far? He said in his first spell that Palace would be his last job, do you see him lasting this time?
He seems a lot calmer this time around and like he said himself, he has unfinished business. He left for QPR after his first stint in charge when we were in administration. He was one of the biggest earners at the club so it was clear he would go at some stage the longer our financial situation went on. QPR ended up paying us compensation so it was not all bad but there were bleaker months afterwards. As for now, he has settled in okay. he was familiar to the owners in that he kept in touch and when you look back it was perhaps a sensible and safe appointment.
I say that as he knew the club, the fans and the area so it was the right fit. He has done just fine so far and inherited a decent squad of players but I still doubt that it is a long term appointment. It’s was just right at the time due to the position we found ourselves in when Pulis walked out. Warnock is pretty similar in away, kind of old school so maybe it was not so much of a change.
What’s the current ownership situation at Palace?
The owners are a group called CPFC2010. Four successful local businessman, all Palace fans that saved the club from extinction in 2010. They are sensible and have seen the club go through massive change in a short space of time.
The growth since 2010 in what has been achieved is remarkable. There is now a question whether they have taken the club as far as they can go with strong rumours of American businessman Josh Harris looking to takeover. We will have to see, but if that does happen there will be a tinge of sadness as these owners really have had the club at heart and have done tremendous things.
Palace have had a couple of decent results recently with the Liverpool and Swansea games. Has Warnock got things going now?
The international break seems to have worked wonders for us. Before that we only managed a point in five games I believe from memory. The win over Liverpool at home was fantastic, even though they are not what they were last season, everyone loves to put one over on them right? The draw at Swansea was decent too considering the poor opening twenty minutes we had but we could have taken the win in the end but ultimately pleased that we have turned things around a little. Warnock seems to have got the team spirit back in the side with that all important bit of organisation to go with it. So far, it’s working.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the current Palace team are?
We do not play the possession game but we do like to win the ball and attack with speed. That is something that has really worked for us of late, allow the opposition the ball in areas that will not hurt us and just ask them to try and break the strong, disciplined and rigid formation down.
Click ‘Next’ for an insight into Palace’s Homesdale Fanantics Ultra group and how Palace fans view the upcoming Villa match