By Simon Mills
It’s been a tough month, no doubt. There has been a certain doom and gloom hanging over the rainy peaks of SE25, with many in Red and Blue struggling to maintain a cheery demeanour. The last couple of weeks truly pushed our Palace community to breaking point and, while some things may have given a real sense of perspective, it will have done nothing for the dampened spirits of the Selhurst faithful.
Which is why I don’t think there is a better thing to do this weekend than to spend a few hours amongst our own at our spiritual home.
It’s a game that few would expect us to get anything from at the best of times, let alone when we are on such a downer. Expectations will be low and we will march on Selhurst because that’s what we do – not because we are demanding a win. It’s what Palace fans do best, not the demanding or moaning that most of us have grown accustomed to over the last 3/4 years of travelling around Premier League stadia, but coming together to celebrate what being a Palace fan is all about: community, resilience and absolute commitment to our club - no matter what.
It will be so fitting that before the game we will all take a minute to remember. A chance to pay our respects to those who lost their lives and those who are suffering as a result of last week’s dreadful events near Sandilands; friends, neighbours, colleagues and fellow supporters. For me, it will be so much more than a simple minute’s silence, it will be a coming together of support and solidarity. A united front as a club to send out a strong message that we stand together with our community and to show the true nature of what we are all about.
The supporters will also be showing their respect and thanks to two of our own we lost, Dane Chinnery and Philip ‘Tank’ Seary, as we applaud their incredible support to the club during their lives, cut far too short – these will take place on the 19th and 57th minutes.
I would like to recognise some of the truly incredible deeds and acts of humanity that have come from the rest of the local community in such a difficult time. Hearing how local residents and businesses stepped up to provide shelter, comfort and refreshments to emergency workers in what must have been a harrowing experience for them too is another testament to the spirit of our community. Firefighters from Addington fire station are donating their wages earned working that day to the victims – remarkable acts that restore your faith in the darkest moments.
This is the spirit of our community and it’s also the Crystal Palace spirit – when the chips are down, the fans respond fantastically.
I fully believe that on Saturday there will be a unique atmosphere. We are there as more than just supporters, we are there as a community and such a spirit can be truly unbeatable. I expect Selhurst to be roaring this weekend; such emotions and environments often provide the catalyst for something out of the ordinary to happen. We come together as one and if the players take just a pinch of the power that kind of collective energy can summon then we could witness something very special.
This is the kind of occasion when we, the supporters, will be just as (if not more) important than any preparation, tactics or team talk. This is our 4th season in the Premier, we are three points from 9th place and have one of the best squads I have ever seen assembled at Palace. Let’s forget all the negatives of the past few weeks and let’s go for it! Let’s do what we do best – get behind the boys and remind the Premier League who the best fans in this country are!
Let’s do it for those who should have been there standing beside us on Saturday… COME ON YOU PALACE!
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