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December 3 2023 1.53am

a whiff of relegation?

December 7 2003

Kit Symons

Kit Symons

It's not even Christmas yet, but there is a strong whiff of relegation in the Selhurst air, Jamesey sadly reports

Making predictions in print - or in its electronic form here - is a dangerous game. Once pronounced, inaccurate forecasts can always haunt one.

If the title of this column puzzles anybody, let's clarify matters. Our 4-1 defeat at Preston (Dec 6), hard on the heels of our midweek (Dec 3) cup trouncing against Aston Villa (3-0), mean we have leaked seven goals in two games - and this from the manager who has been vaunted as the defence specialist.

And although I have always been a staunch defender of Simon Jordan, three managers in a few months do not a settled club make, particularly when the appointment of the last two (Kember and Symons) gives off a strong hint of expediency (they were available, inexpensive and here).

The subject of relegation is one where I can claim some expert knowledge. Early days supporting Palace were, in general, an uphill pleasure, as we progressed up through the leagues.

In the early 70s, we were relegated in successive seasons. I watched that with little gusto and then came the first post-Venables plunge and after that, three nosedives from the Premiership in the 90s.

There is something about a relegation season that gives an extra dimension to the normal misfortunes and slaps in the gob.

We are witnessing it at the moment as we are showered with red and yellow cards, concede silly goals, are cursed with wicked deflections and OGs that creep into our net, all crowned by rapidly shrinking morale in the team and dwindling confidence.

It pains me to say that I detect a strong whiff of disaster this season. We escaped miraculously in 2000 but our luck seem to be running out fast. Ask QPR and Sheffield Wednesday whether you can be too big to plummet into Division 2.

We have two home games against Crewe (Dec 9) and Nottingham Forest (Dec 13) coming up. If we draw or lose them, we are looking seriously at the Big Drop. And more managerial changes will probably make things even worse.

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