As much a staple at Selhurst Park on match days as Mark Bright sitting next to Steve Parish looking glum, the Crystals cheerleaders haven’t had much to wave their blue and red pompoms about this season. Tasked with geeing up the crowd ahead of kick-off before forming a guard of honour at the entrance to the south London ground’s narrow tunnel, these entertainers can at least, unlike the home team they welcome on to the field, be relied upon to put in a solid eight-out-of-10 performance whatever the weather. The sight of the Crystals strutting their stuff is likely to be the only thing tonight’s match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea has in common with last night’s Super Bowl, a spectacle that seemed to serve as no more than the preamble to a passionate post-match clinch between Taylor Swift and her victorious squeeze Travis Kelce. Love is unlikely to be in the air over Selhurst Park, given that both Mr Roy and Mauricio Pochettino have spoken in the buildup about the lack of affection they have inspired among their respective teams’ fans.
“No,” said Poch, upon being asked if Chelsea fans had grown to love him since his arrival at the club. “No, I need to be honest with you. No, because I understand they were winning [Big Cup], they won cups, the Premier League. Why are the fans going to love me after six, or seven months? We are in a final but we are not in a good position in the table in the Premier League. I think at the moment I feel the respect from the fans, I see them on the street and they are all nice to me but I cannot lie.”
With Valentine’s Day looming large and an annual reminder to Football Daily of how it feels to be utterly unloved, we can certainly empathise with Poch but at least he has a chance to turn things around. Following his side’s uncharacteristically impressive showing against Aston Villa last time out, a win against a beleaguered Palace would further endear him to Chelsea fans, while a win over Liverpool in Sunday’s Fizzy Cup final would at the very least be the equivalent of a quick knee-trembler, with endless romantic possibilities further down the road.
Sadly for Mr Roy, there are no such possibilities of redemption, now that his on-off relationship with Palace fans seems to have drawn to its inevitable end. Out of both cups and with nothing more exciting than the avoidance of a relegation battle to look forward to, the 76-year-old manager appears to be simply going through the motions until a newer, more glamorous replacement can be found. “It’s been the toughest period of my career for one reason,” he said prior to tonight’s game, having apparently consigned that Iceland fiasco to the vaults. “And that is that the fans have turned so much against us. They are the people that we cannot afford to have turned against us, because we need them.”
Palace also need Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guéhi, three standout players who could make all the difference against a Chelsea side renowned for blowing occasionally hot but mainly various degrees of cold. Sadly for Mr Roy, all three are sidelined with knack, in a state of affairs that massively increases his otherwise bang average team’s chances of getting tonked. Should Palace lose in the same emphatic style as they did against Brighton last time out, we’re predicting a quick divorce.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“To be a football supporter, especially at this club … I came back twice to get them out of relegation … there’s always going to be bad times. Let’s be fair, over the last three years it’s been the best time West Ham have ever had. Sixth and seventh in the league, semi-final of the Europa League, a final of a European cup competition and I still think this club has grown. Undoubtedly, we’ve had a terrible day today and I understand them [the fans] leaving but sometimes at football clubs you are going to have bad days. Today we had a bad day and I certainly won’t forget the good ones” – David Moyes asks West Ham fans to see the bigger picture after his side were embarrassed 6-0 at home to Arsenal. Not quite Roy Hodgson levels of ‘you should be happy that we’re still in the Premier League’, but not too far off.
Ifab’s idea of blue cards (Friday’s Football Daily) appears to show its ignorance of colours and how they work. It may need to consult a colour expert (artist or designer). According to its plan, two blue cards would equal red, or a blue and yellow card would equal red. However, as any person knowledgable about colours, blue and blue makes more blue, while blue and yellow make green. Or maybe Ifab’s just colourblind, which goes along with the ignorance and arrogance behind this idea” – Nigel Assam.
For my sins, I referee football on Saturdays and umpire hockey on Sundays. If my weekend is going to be ruined I like passing the favour on. In hockey, a green card is a two-minute sin-bin and a yellow card a minimum five-minute sin-bin. And in both games red is red. In football, sin-bins for professional fouls and dissent (10 minutes) and for two yellows (20 minutes) are a long overdue improvement. Brian of Northampton is a visionary not a reactionary” – Roger Prowse.
Are the proposed cards for punishing dissent coloured blue to reflect the language they’ll be penalising?” – Richard O’Hagan.
Just to put a lid on the recent Lionel Messi non-playing affair in Hong Kong. He could not have appeared any more disinterested during the entire trip. While David Beckham got involved in training sessions with local kids and schools, pressed palms, kissed babies’ heads, signed autographs and generously spent time posing for selfies with fans, Messi stayed locked in his hotel. On match-day, while understandable that he was unfortunately knacked, he could at least have displayed some interest, said some words (admittedly in Spanish, but with a translation) and posed for photos and signed autograph books. He looked grumpy, bored and desperate to get out of town. His standing and reputation here in Hong Kong could not be lower” – Marc Meldrum.
Re: Matthias Schill (and others) in Friday’s Football Daily letters. Abe Simpson is not entering, and leaving, a brothel in the famed gif, but in fact a burlesque house. The bordello, though mentioned in Bart After Dark, is never seen. And yes, I should get out more” – Adam Griffiths (and others).
Send letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Richard O’Hagan.
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