One of the most exciting games in English football history took place this week, with Crystal Palace securing a remarkable comeback against Liverpool at Selhurst Park.
Liverpool were cruising 0-3 with less than 12 minutes to go. The Premier League title was going to the final day of the season, or so it seemed. What took place next was quite remarkable. A fight back from the Palace team to draw level 3-3, encouraged by a fanatical support the Palace fans were giving to their team. This wasn’t the usual hardcore support given to most English clubs. This was the ‘Ultras’ style of support given to European teams.
The days of hooligans and ‘firms’ spreading their violent disease throughout England are almost gone, and gladly so. Crystal Palace could be the forerunners of what could be the new face of English club supporters who take to the terraces to support their team.
Flags, large banners, thousands of fans giving a whole stand one huge bank of colour. It certainly makes impressive viewing. The cauldron of support was almost red hot. It may have lacked the flares of the European ‘ultras’ but in today’s health and safety world that’s to be expected.
Crystal Palace’s fans have built up a reputation this season for giving their vocal backing. This they do, whether they are winning or losing, as witnessed in the Liverpool game.
Though some Ultras in Europe have a violent history, they aren’t seen as the archetypal hooligan. Given their own section in the stadium, well stewarded and ‘safe standing’ areas. This type of support, could really be a thing of the future for the English game. Indeed elsewhere too.
Football in my opinion, has to move away from the history of its sad past and reputation of hooliganism. It also needs to move on from the corporate staleness of today’s game. Many are becoming disillusioned with the game. Lack of atmosphere and high costs. Crystal Palace are giving us one example of how it can be done. Please note, Crystal Palace have not got a reputation of violent supporters unlike some London clubs, hence the uniqueness of their supporters.
There was one certain ‘great’ Irish player, who complained about an element of supporters who he referred to as the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’. Give me Selhurst Park anytime over the so called ‘Big Four’.
For colour, imagination, atmosphere and excitement, Crystal Palace are well on top.
Kevin McCormack, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By ChristalPalace (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.