Great to catch up with the guys at The Eagles Beak. We asked them a few questions ahead of a massive game on Sunday at Selhurst Park;
1. What were the expectations of Palace fans at the start of the season and how do these compare with the club's achievements to date?
After last season’s vastly up and down journey, I was expecting nothing more than a consolidation season this term under Pardew, especially after losing the FA Cup final. Of course, Pardew’s attacking style of play didn’t allow this and now we are where we are. Pardewed. I adored Alan and really wanted it to work for him at Palace due to his history with the club but times change and we move on. I truly wish him all the best. After reaching the cup final I think some Palace fans had much bigger ambitions and expectations than I did, like Europe for example but after what Leicester City achieved last season I could only see the top 6-8 sides strengthening beyond recognition to avoid being embarrassed like that again. Palace have more than underachieved this campaign and are extremely lucky to have Sam Allardyce. Without him, we surely would have been relegated.
2. The appointment of Sam Allardyce came soon after his stint as England manager was brought to a close in controversial circumstances. Is he popular?
There’s surprisingly still a small minority of Palace fans that don’t like Sam Allardyce which I can’t understand. He made a mistake when he released information to the press but he was well and truly set up by a close friend of his so it begs the question, how long will he have to suffer for it? Big Sam is a straight to the point manager, no around the houses nonsense and I adore that. It’s exactly what Palace need at this moment in time and I believe 95% of the red and blue fan base would agree with me there.
3. Wilfried Zaha has long been touted as a highly skilled and talented player. Has he progressed this season or stagnated?
Zaha has had one of the best seasons of his career so far. He’s not only added goals to his game but also other abilities that were non-existent before like tracking back, getting stuck in and winning possession. Watching him has been a joy for the most part of the campaign despite some matches where it’s just not his day, which is something he still needs to work on if he is to leave for a top 6 side someday. Unfortunately for Wilf, the team has been underperforming but if they hadn’t I would have put money on his being brought this summer.
4. Are you content with the current rules governing ownership of Premier League football clubs?
I think the rules in place regarding the ownership of Premier League football clubs could be more stringent. I believe Hull are unfortunate to be owned by the Allams as all the other clubs in the Premier League appear to have decent owners. As a football fan it’s been hard to see teams like Blackburn, Blackpool and Coventry be misrun so badly in recent years. I’m not saying it’s easy to run a football club but, why destroy it? It makes me wonder if some owners are actually football fans or if their respective club is just a hobby, a social opportunity, an income or even just something for the CV to them. I feel for Hull as no football club should be treated like the way of the Allams and maybe the current rules do need tightening to ensure clubs are run professionally.
5. Is there a healthy interface between club and supporters at Selhurst Park? Do you have a supporters committee or other ways for fans' views to be heard?
There’s a lot of Palace fan sites out there including our own, Five Year Plan and Red & Blue Army just to name a few and Palace themselves do a great job in communicating with the fans as much as they can. Their social media status is decent with Palace TV a brilliant factor in their healthy interface with the fans. There’s also the Palace foundation group that work closely with the club too so we’re very lucky in that sense.
6. We have always been impressed by the innovation of the Palace supporters and the way they get behind the team and create a great atmosphere inside Selhurst Park. What do you think to the atmosphere at the KCOM Stadium (we think it's pretty poor in comparison)?
The atmosphere at Palace is usually fantastic. Only recently have we experienced a truly awful atmosphere when Sunderland tore us in two and beat us 4-0 at Selhurst. I think that was justified. It was the only time I can remember when Selhurst has been that toxic. Anyway, we’re known for our brilliant atmosphere and so we should be. I sit in the Arthur Wait stand and very often come home with no voice. I can’t say I’m aware of the atmosphere at the KCOM stadium as I’ve never made the long trip to the city but I’m certain it can’t be any worse than the atmosphere at the Etihad.
7. If relegated, do you think Hull City could bounce back in 2017/18?
I think the Championship should never be underestimated. It’s an extremely tough league and it would be arrogant to go down thinking ‘we’ll go straight back up’. It takes time to acclimatise to a new division and the difference between the Premier League and Championship is evident. There are teams in the Championship that may well be better equipped for promotion next season but I think it really depends on the summer transfer window for Hull.
8. And finally a score prediction?
It’s a tough one this time around as what happens in the Sunderland v Swansea game on the Saturday could change everything. If Sunderland pull off another surprise and beat Swansea then I think Palace will play with more freedom and end up scoring more. If Swansea beat Sunderland however, I think the game at Selhurst will be a close, scrappy 1-0 win to the hosts.
About The Eagles Beak;
The Eagles Beak began almost five years ago and has since gone from strength to strength. From one writer on a blog site, the team at The Eagles Beak now boasts over ten contributors to ensure at least one article goes online every day. While we are predominantly a Palace fan site, we do provide plenty of other football content such as our Grass Roots feature which follows a non-league team each season. The Eagles Beak is all across social media and have been represented on national media on several occasions.