Any Palace fans wondering which American Football team to support in the NFL need not wonder any more – the New York Jets are your answer.
Even though the traditional NFL team for Eagles fans to support has been their namesakes, the Philadelphia Eagles - and at a push even the Baltimore Ravens due to the short-lived Palace USA franchise in the city - the Jets can lay claim to being the first choice as amongst the 24,033 fans at Selhurst Park on Saturday watching the Eagles’ lunchtime 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion was Jets’ player Trevor Reilly – the newest Palace fan.
In amongst a busy sporting weekend in the Capital during a few hours away from the pitch there was enough time to take in a Barclays Premier League fixture and the linebacker soon caught the Selhurst bug.
In the first of three NFL regular season matches in London this year, the Jets were in town for their match on Sunday afternoon against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium where they ran out 27-14 winners and speaking in the ‘locker room’ after the game to A Head For The Game's Andrew McSteen, the NFLlinebacker admitted he was now a bonafide fan of the side from South London.
“My brother and I wanted to go to a Premier League game and we saw that Palace had the early kick-off,” said the 27-year-old whose linebacker position – in the defence - is best compared to that of a central defender in football.
“We were unsure whether there were any tickets remaining but we were on the subway heading to the ground hoping to get a ticket on the gate when my brother met a season ticket holder by chance. They had two spare seats as the two people who they were going with couldn’t make it so he bought them off of him and we went.”
Having time to visit SE25 was impressive in itself as Reilly and the New York Jets only landed in London at 6am on Friday morning before heading straight to the London Irish rugby training ground for their first practice – and just over 60 hours later, following their win, they were already flying back home to the East Coast of America.
“We got there right at kick-off,” continued Reilly, who lived in Sweden for two years after college before signing for the Jets in May 2014 and is gradually making his presence felt in the team.
“We were in the stand in the opposite corner to the loud fans (Holmesdale Fanatics), in the fourth row. I’ve been to a few American (soccer) games but the precision of the passing and the trapping of the ball is much higher over here.
“We got to appreciate how good the players are –Palace dominated the game and Bolasie and Zaha were explosive.
“Yannick scored an unbelievable goal, but the pass for that was even better than the header, the pass was perfect – right over the defenders head. Who was it? The number 7 for Palace (Cabaye)? He’s like a Beckham or Zidane-type of player.
“It was my first Premier League match, but my brother and uncle are both really into football and they went to Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Bayern Munich last season, but my experience at Selhurst Park was amazing.
“When I come back to London I’ll be back at Selhurst Park - I don’t watch a lot of soccer but I know soccer and Palace are my team, although I think Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best player in the world.
“Palace are third or fourth now so maybe they can get third this season - Chelsea are not doing so well and Liverpool are average so this is their year now.”
Reilly genuinely displayed affection after his experience watching the boys in red and blue, and took time to visit the club shop, as the 6ft 5”, 16 stone player bought a XXL travel gilet which he will be sure to wear back home after being told about the New York Eagles fan club in New York.
“Send me over there man,” he said. “I’ll go watch a game with the fans – Palace are my squad now.”
Great to hear of the latest addition to the red and blue army and I am sure our New York supporters club will look forward to telling Trevor more about his number one Premier League club.