And I’m feeling, Glad All Over

It would have been just around full time across the British League grounds on Saturday when two generations of Fletchers sat down at the Playstation to embark on the latest FIFA 2006 battle between Crystal Palace and Brighton. After my recent faux pas (wherein, as Brighton, I beat Palace in the last minute), I now refuse to play as any other team but my home-town Eagles; Campbell seems so happy donning the Seagulls strip I worry he may yet grow up supporting them.

Regular fans of anything below the Premiership may recognize in our latest home-televised games something very close to the real-life football fan’s experience. The first match this Saturday was heading for a 0-0 draw until my keeper decided to dribble out of the box late in the game; he was easily disarmed by a Brighton forward who virtually walked the ball into the empty net for the only goal of the match. (Didn’t this happen before?) The return leg was looking similarly destined for scorelessness until Andy Johnson forced in a hard late-game cross through the box; the ball ricocheted off a hapless Brighton defender and past the keeper, who had committed himself, and into the open goal. 1-0 to the Palace.

With the exception of Andy Johnson impressively powering a ball against the post from outside the box very early in our first game, these latest matches were direly marked not just by defensive errors but by forwards who habitually sent the ball either high over the bar or well wide of the mark. If Dougie Freedman sends one more shot sky high when he only has the keeper to beat, I may be forced to return him to the bench where the game’s creators appears to believe he belongs. In essence, I think Campbell and I each need to study the manual a little more and learn which buttons to use to keep the shots somewhere below head height.

In our so-called Friendly Series on the Playstation, Palace and Brighton are dead level, with three 1-0 wins and two 0-0 draws apiece. In the real world, Palace and Brighton will be finishing at opposite ends of the Championship. The Eagles are in the Playoffs, with their eye on a return to the Premiership; Brighton are currently bottom of the so-called Championship and will be playing in so-called League One next year. Though Brighton are meant to be Palace’s biggest rivals, I feel about them like the school bully probably does about his victim; it’s less fun when they’re not close by to humiliate.

As for Millwall, who have also been relegated from the Championship, I profess no such sentimentality. These are my real rivals, and the lower in the League they can go, the better. It’s always a good season when Palace make it to the Play-Offs. It’s an even better one when Millwall goes down. How does that song go? “Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey-ey-ey, Goodbye….”

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Si

    24 April, 2006 at 10:04 am

    Hi Tony,
    I’m not even from London but I feel pretty much the same way about Brighton and Millwall.Too much unpleasant history in the case of the latter even if they are trying to change their ways.
    However Palace are woefully ill-equipped to stay in the top league-and the thought of them getting there is unlikely at best.Even my fellow Paddy M.Hughes (the midfield dynamo/General/short-house) agrees that we shouldn’t have won on Saturday.
    It seems that the form team is the one geographically closest to me-Preston North End,and I can’t see them staying more than one season at the top-table.
    This does sound like doom and gloom I know (par for the CPFC course I s’pose) but I fear Dowie (not so much AJ as I think that is a done deal) moving on when we stumble this time.
    However with ID in charge I know that he will make certain that everyone gives it a right good go and that is all I can ask anytime!
    All the best,


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