October 23 2005
After the Brighton debacle, CPFC looked like serious play-off contenders again with a 2-0 victory over Burnley. Jamesey elaborates.
A 20,000-plus gate was given an entertaining game as the autumn sunlight fought its own annual and losing battle with approaching winter.
Marco Reich was majestic and, despite a continuing tendency to give the ball away cheaply, our team deserved three points - a brace from the old firm, Clinton Morrison and Dougie Freedman, together again to no little effect.
And, on the subject of strikers, who should turn up in a Burnley shirt but our old boy, Ade Akinbiyi.
During his spell at Selhurst, the topic of Akinbiyi was always guaranteed to send even a well-balanced and level-headed bloke like me into an an apoplectic fit.
He was one of the worst players I ever saw in the red-and-blue shirt and how two well respected, sane (?) managers, Peter Taylor and Trevor Francis, could have seen fit to splosh out £5m and £2m, respectively, for the services of Ade, was totally beyond me.
Nevertheless, for the record, he put on a pretty good show for Burnley, on his own at the pointy end and battling away bravely. Fortunately he was unsuccessful.
And there was a mega-blast of nostalgia as some CPFC employee came up with the brilliant idea of a half-time parade of players from our '69 and '79 promotion-winning sides.
The '69 contingent included Mel Blyth, Tony Taylor, Mark Lazarus and Steve Kember while the '79 squad was represented by, among others, the Mighty Jim Cannon and the Magical Vince Hilaire - one of the early black players of Afro-Caribbean stock who graced the English football arena.
I was delighted to see the respect and enthusiastic applause that greeted the golden oldies from not only veterans like me but also from many young supporters who couldn't have been born when most members of either group plied their trade.
The atmosphere was pleasant and benign at Selhurst, unlike last Tuesday night when nastiness, malevolence and psychotic evil prevailed for the visit of Brighton, both inside and outside the stadium. Can't we just stop marching backwards and be the same as other sports like rugby, cricket and just about everything else, where they manage to be passionate rivals without resorting to thuggishness and mindless violence?
But let's not spoil a super day by dwelling on all that, but end with an anecdote by another legendary member of the '79 crew, Kenny Sansom, now a media pundit.
Broadcasting on LBC London radio and hearing the news of Palace's 2-0 win against Burnley, Kenny commented: "Just like we did in 1979 to win promotion, and by the same score."
He went on to say that a shin-pad he was wearing during that game had found its way to one of the souls in the 52,000 crowd.
The shin-pad was now framed and on display like a religious icon in a Bromley corner shop.
Anybody know where?
Email Jamesey with any of your comments to Jevans3704@aol.com
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