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April 20 2018 5.07pm

'Did I not like that'

February 5 2017

Palace need a team of 11 Wilfs

Palace need a team of 11 Wilfs

Jamesey looks back over the past week, culminating in the appalling display against Sunderland.

The headline to this article is my own little memorial to the late Graham Taylor. The understatement of the sentiment barely starts to cover the shock and outrage after events at the Sunderland fiasco (Feb 4). Rest in peace your "Turnipship" - a thoroughly nice and very talented man who didn't quite realise how impossible the impossible job was.

Anyhow back to more immediate matters, I know I am much too big a boy to believe in miracles and it isn't even Christmas any more. Now we well and truly know how big a job we have in hand. The other strugglers are fighting like demons to stay in the Land of Moulah while we are still collectively sleepwalking to relegation.

If only there were magical powers to end our season now, akin to throwing in the towel at a boxing match?

Instead of wasting time, losing game after game, we could usefully get ready for a Division Two campaign with a capable team and management so we are not humiliated by the rubbish we are enduring.

It really looks as though shrugging off every pitfall with "Oh, it'll sort itself out before too long" is no longer - or ever really was - realistic.

This supporter's patience is now at an end after the 0-4 defeat to the Bagsodosh league's bottom club, a position soon almost certainly to be occupied by CPFC.

On Saturday (Jan 28) I watched our half-hearted performance in the FA Cup Tie against Man City.

I didn't expect us to bust a gut while Pilesocash survival is the main concern.

On paper, it looked an attractive fixture - two top-tier teams and comparatively cheap ticket prices and a crowd of just under 14,000 turned out to enjoy the match.

It was, nevertheless, hard to reconcile the fact that I was watching CPFC, FA Cup runners-up 2016, not really bothered about even staying in the competition for 2017.

Thanks anyway, Palace, for two smashing days at Wembley last year - Watford and Man Utd. And we weren't that far off winning the blasted thing either. Just like 1990.

We meekly shuffled out of the Man City tie 0-3 losers and that was that. Thoughts turned to Tuesday's match against Bournemouth (Jan 31).

I watched on screen and it would be churlish not to admit that the boys did an ultra-efficient job.

It wasn't very attractive to watch but a 2-0 away win against a sometimes tricky opponent was an absolutely great result. Did it mean that the tide was finally turning and that Sam "Viagra" Allardyce was doing the task he had been set?

So circumstances all conspired to make the home fixture against fellow-strugglers from the north-east massively important.

A full house including a noisy contingent in the away area (in my own long Palace history, Sunderland away fans have always followed their their side with intense loyalty) awaited expectantly.

Within 10 minutes a characteristic Wayne Hennessey fumble gave the Mackems an opportunity which they gratefully accepted and we were already a goal down.

As the first half progressed it certainly appeared that the midweek Cherries result had been a one-off as the Eagles reverted to the customary relegation-style play.

Despite, mistimed passes, constantly giving the ball away and having no tactical nous whatsoever (hoof the ball somewhere up the middle of the field and hope poor old Christian Benteke can get his bonce near it), as half time approached it did look as though we could leave the field with only a one-goal deficit.

But, dear readers, never underestimate the ability of Crystal Palace to turn a disadvantage into a catastrophe.

Three more goals in the 43rd minute and in time added on saw the Eagles leave the field four goals down and with boos and cries of "You're not fit to wear the shirt" accompanying them.

The second period was a non-event. The game was up and we all knew it, however ineptly Palace huffed and puffed to make a game of it (and for once much credit to Andros Townsend in the second period).

In these columns I very very rarely criticise individual players but what witchcraft has infected one of my favourites, Joe Ledley?

Where did the never-say-die, stout-hearted, inspirational midfielder who proudly wore his Welsh shirt and lit up the screen in every game he played in the Euro nations tournament last summer, disappear to? The bumbling and disinterested No 16 appears to have been well and truly hexed by something or other?

On the other side of the coin, the flash, south London show-off who went to Manchester where everything went wrong has reinvented himself. Wilfried Zaha is now a magnificent team player who is skilful in attack, mindful of his surrounding players and works his socks off for the defence too.

Oh Wilf, if we only had 11 like you on the field we wouldn't be in our current mess!

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