It’s pre-season media day, and Joel Ward is complaining. He’s been photographed in three different kits for several rights holders, provided green-screen celebrations and walkout poses, and now we ask him for an interview in the programme. A player of his experience knows that’s no short task.
But that’s not why he’s complaining – in fact, he’s more than happy to stop for a chat. Instead it’s because he’s spotted our list of subjects, and it’s hardly concise. His face adopts a look of faux-outrage and he can’t help but blurt out: “How long is that list of questions?!”
This is, however, a problem of his own making, because Ward has provided Palace fans with no shortage of memories. As the club enters a record 10th consecutive season in the top-flight we point out that he is the only man to be ever-present for the ride.
It’s a fact that stops him in his tracks, and after a period of reflection draws the hint of a smile. “It’s crazy to think that,” he says, with the look of a man turning the past decade over in his head.