condolences once again following last week's tram accident in Croydon. For the second programme in a row, I am saddened to pass on my
Seven people lost their lives that morning, including Palace supporters Philip Seary and Dane Chinnery, and today we will pay our respects to all those who tragically perished with a minute’s silence, as well as remembering Harry Davies who also lost his life in a different train accident last month.
Many members of the local community, including the victims’ family and friends, have been terribly affected by this these incidents and as a club we want to show that we stand together with them at this very difficult time.
Football seems rather insignificant when compared to something of that nature, but we hope that we can provide 90 minutes of escapism this afternoon. We have one of the premier teams in the Premier League coming to south London with Pep Guardiola making his first appearance at this venue, and I would like to welcome all of Manchester City’s directors, management, players and fans to SE25.
The form table may show that we have lost our last five league matches, but what it doesn’t suggest is how well we have played at times during that run, and how unfortunate we have been to not come away with a few more points on the board. The last two games have been prime examples; we dug deep against a very impressive Liverpool side and showed great spirit to pull ourselves level twice. On another day we would have got one of the penalty decisions to get us level, and the final outcome could have been very different.
It was a similar story against Burnley a week later when we found ourselves even further behind as we conceded twice in the first 15 minutes, but again we didn’t panic and found a way to get level, only to lose to a swift counter attack while we were pushing for the winner.
The Premier League is ruthless like that, and we have learnt some harsh lessons; we all know we have to defend better as a unit and the team have been working hard to cut out our collective errors. What did impress me though was that despite us falling behind in both matches, your support was unwavering and that makes a huge difference. It is times like these that we need everyone to stand up and be counted - it’s a tough run but one we know we can turn around.
I’m sure that’ll be the case this afternoon as once again we take on world-class opposition, but we have shown before that we are capable of giving any team in this division a game at Selhurst Park, and hopefully that’ll be the case today.
We may be 16th in the table, but the performances and the tough run of games means this is no time to panic. With the international fixtures over for another year, we can now focus fully on ourselves and turning our fortunes around before the all-important festive season gets underway in a month’s time.
Up The Palace!