View from Selhurst - Crystal Palace 01/12/12
We may have (finally) finished above them last season,
but it's Palace who have made the better start to this
After topping the table, they've slipped a
couple of places in recent weeks and while we have our
fingers firmly crossed that the wheels have fallen off
the caravan, it was important to speak to one of the
Nigel's about their impressive season so far - providing
we could find one without needing to advertise on Groupon, of course.
So, here's Stephen Bridle from
Year Plan Fanzine on new stadiums, Dougie Freedman
and Tom Dale....sorry, Wilfred Zaha
first hand what a brand-spanking new stadium can do
for a club.
Your owners reckoned a new home could be
in place for 2015. What's the latest on that and how
big a boost for the club do you think a move away
from Selhurst could be?
The latest on that appears to
be that the whole ground-move is dead in the water.
A new ground would have been nice, but a chance now
to redevelop Selhurst Park into something resembling
a modern football ground is just as welcome. The
council are seemingly on board so we're just waiting
with baited breath on the outcome. It's still all
very much behind closed doors at the moment.
spent most of last season telling Brighton fans we'd
done well to challenge for a play-off spot given a
small budget. What's been the secret behind Palace
leading the way this season given that yours must be
one of the smaller ones in the league?
I don't think there is a secret
to it. Dougie Freedman did a very good job of
getting the club's infrastructure back to a
competitive level after it was torn away during the
administration period. He also quietly went about
assembling one of the best starting XIs in the
entire league. We have strength across the park,
perhaps not back-up for every position, but
undoubtedly we have talent in there that most clubs
in the Championship (and beyond) would love to get
their hands on.
plenty about Wilfried Zaha already this season.
Albion fans have an impression of him as an arrogant
diver. What's he really like and how much do you
honestly think he is worth?
I think a lot of the time
people just look at the player and forget exactly
what a transfer deal entails. You have to understand
that while he is just
too good for you he still has bags of potential
left. What is pushing his price up as well is that
we have him tied to a long term deal. £20m? Perhaps
a little optimistic, but the price tag is there to
put people off an approach more than anything else.
When it does come time to part ways though I'd be
furious at anything below double figures - and I'd
still expect a hefty amount of add-ons to come with
secret behind Glenn Murray's success so far in this
This one's simple: he's playing
in a team that is creating chances. Last season we
were guilty of playing boring, defensive football
that looked more to stop the opposition scoring
rather than putting the ball in the back of the net.
This time out we have two tricky wingers who can
beat their man and get a ball in the box. As well as
a sharp midfield that's both solid and can get the
ball forward on the ground at pace. We're spending
more time in the opposing penalty area this season
and when that happens and Murray is in the mix, he's
always going to bag you some goals.
legend walking out at the first sniff of a "better"
job. Do you think there was more to Dougie
Freedman's departure than meets the eye?
I think there's things that
went on behind the scenes that will probably come
out in time. Freedman has used Radio Manchester
already to have a little pop at chairman Steve
Parish. It's sad, but we move on.
maintain their start to the season and be genuine
candidates for promotion under Ian Holloway?
I think so. When Holloway was
announced as our new manager we were obviously quite
pleased. I think we've got a guy in who has been
there before. He knows what it takes to push through
that barrier and break into the Premier League. With
him at the helm and the squad that Dougie has
assembled we're in with a very strong chance. Of
course there are a lot of games left and the next
few fixtures will be extremely important for us to
get back on track and back to our winning ways, but
I remain very optimistic.
teams flying near the top at the minute and given
the fact we didn't beat you last season, this is one
of the most eagerly awaited derby clashes for
Brighton fans in years. What's the view from the
We're very excited. The way
we've been playing recently we just can't wait to
get on the pitch and put you lot to the sword.
the obvious in Zaha and FFS Murray, who else should
we be worried about facing on the day?
Everyone. No, seriously. We've
grabbed goals from all over the park this year. We
have a good solid defence and our midfield pairing
of KG and Mile Jedinak is enough to grind down most
teams in this division.
highlight Andre Moritz and Yannick Bolasie as two to
look out for. Bolasie taking up the opposite wing to
Zaha - not as skilful and a bit older at 22 - he's
certainly one to look out for. The kid has talent
himself and teams so often concentrate on Zaha that
Yannick could really punish you. Then there's
Moritz. A Brazilian we signed on a free from
Turkey's top division. The guy is pure class. His
touch and his ability to pick out killer balls is
mouth watering. Be afraid.
What do you
know about the Albion this season and is there
anybody in our side Palace fans are wary of facing?
Gus Poyet, in spite of being an
unbearable knob-head, has actually done okay for you
lot so it's no surprise to us that you're in the
play off mix. There's no one I'm particularly wary
about. Where we've been strong this season is in
making other people play our game and being better
than them at it. But of course, with a monstrous
talent like Will Buckley in the squad anything can
2-1 Palace. Easy.
for the game please (no 5-0's either!)