Gathering outside the ground before kick-off, there was palpable excitement from those in red and blue as they prepared to step back into the stadium once again.
“To be able to watch live football and actually shout and get excited about what we’re seeing,” said Ian, a season ticket holder in the Holmesdale End. “I can’t even remember the last home game now. We live down in Wiltshire so we have to drive all the way.
“I’ve been coming here since I was about eight years old. My Dad was a Palace supporter and we lived in London then.
“I think Roy will get a good send off, and he deserves it.”
As the crowds grew larger, Mary stood back and took some time to soak up the atmosphere.
“Just getting in there and feeling the atmosphere will be great – I’ve really missed it,” she said, unable to hold back a smile. “I’d be showing my age if I told you how long I’ve been coming here, but so long that I can’t remember my first game!
“Roy deserves a great send-off for what he’s done for the club. We’ve got to get behind them tonight, and they will try their best and do all they can.”
Buying a programme in person as is their pre-match tradition, Jesse and her parents were pleased to be back in their matchday mode.
“I can’t wait for them to actually hear our support rather than having to just shout at the TV,” she laughed.
“We’re buzzing,” her Dad added. “We’ve missed it all: the whole day, the build up, getting ready, everything. I think this is a ground that lives on its atmosphere more than most. I got a season ticket in 1990 and have been here ever since.
“We can give Roy a bit of a send-off tonight.”
As the excitement built, there was just time for a child in full Palace colours to grab us before heading in: “I’ve been coming here since I was three. We can be a lot louder tonight than most teams with a full ground!”