Stephen Browett pens his first 'From The Boardroom' of 2016 as he prepares for the club returning to FA Cup action.
So, it's time for our first away game of 2016 and the first of three in a row before we are back at Selhurst again. I've been travelling to Palace away games with my family and friends since the 1970's and in all those years we have seen a lot of ups and downs - well more downs than ups to be honest. Some depressing defeats spring to mind in the wind and the rain on cold nights in places like Barnsley, Grimsby and Preston. For example, from the end of October 2004 we didn't win another away game until October 2005. However, the last 12 months have been quite incredible. Unique I think. I don't believe that us Palace away fans have ever seen a year like 2015. We won 13 and drew three out of the 21 away games that we played - including two wins at Liverpool and one at Stamford Bridge. 2015 really did give us some fantastic entertainment on the road and was, for me, the best year ever for watching Palace away. Not just for the victories, but for some great moments like Damo keeping Costa in his back pocket, Yannick's hat-trick in 11 minutes at The Stadium of Light and Chungy's stunning match-winner at Stoke. Let's hope that we continue this amazing run of form in 2016, starting on Saturday at Southampton.
Whilst the Premier League grabs all the headlines these days there is no doubt that football fans still love a cup tie. The proof of this is that 4500 Palace fans snapped up all the tickets in the away end for this weekend's match. I think that I'm right in saying that this game will see the biggest turnout of Palace fans at an away game since that crucial last game of the 2009/2010 season at Hillsborough. There should be a great atmosphere and let's hope another FA Cup victory following our success there last season.
See you on the South Coast
It will be interesting to see what team Pards puts out for this one, but there is no doubt that everyone at Palace would love a cup run this year.
Southampton away has always been a popular fixture and Palace have travelled there many times since our first visit to the Dell in September 1906. One game that I remember well was in September 1989. It was a Saturday game after we'd just lost 9-0 to Liverpool on the Tuesday and a confidence restoring one all draw was very welcome after the shock that we had received at Anfield. In a team that contained Thomas, Pardew, Wright and Bright the Palace goal came in the last minute from the unlikely source of defender Jeff Hopkins. Southampton moved to St Mary's in 2001 but our first victory there was not until the opening day of the 2007/2008 season when James Scowcroft scored a hat-trick for Peter Taylor's team in a 4-1 victory against George Burley's Saints. That was our best ever away win at Southampton and Scowy's finest game in a Palace shirt.