Off of the back of getting off to a flying, if questionable and controversial, start at Norwich last weekend, Crystal Palace are hoping it is a sign of great things to come.
With the opening season clash resulting in victory and seeing them near the top of the table, fans’ confidence in Alan Pardew, after a dodgy pre-season, is returning. Palace fans believe he is the man for the job.
With the first home game of the campaign, against Arsenal, to take place on Sunday, Eagles supporters are also crossing their fingers (and quite possibly toes) about how the home performance will be in comparison to the away day at Carrow Road. Last season the club found themselves to be struggling with home form and it being a bit of an up-and-down ride in every 90 minutes on the pitch. Now though, with money invested on the pitch, and after it had longer to settle in, everybody will be seeing if the turf can stay in one piece and not make the team stomp chunks out of the grass back in every time they do the slightest of tackles.
For many, due to the refusal by a lot of fans to pay for travel to Norwich and then £45 per adult ticket to get to sit in the stadium (and considering the gates for away fans didn’t seem to open until about 15-30 minutes before kick-off, I am not surprised), it will be their first time seeing the newly-formed Palace team in all of its full glory. Even those that made it to friendlies generally saw a slightly rotated and weaker team but of course they would not have witnessed the same bite and fight from the players to win.
The atmosphere and attitude of Palace fans at the game, in discussion and social media, is certainly starting to shift. The club are also aiding that change by bringing more interaction and involvement to the fans such as streaming the press conferences for free and providing videos and chats to digital members.
But the club is also moving on into a new era leaving some saddened. After a campaign last year by a couple of blind supporters that attend games, the club agreed to put an aerial in that allowed for them to be able to use a loop system to listen to Palace Radio commentary. Sadly though this year, after several decades, the club radio station has ceased to exist and unless a replacement to that loop system has been provided (one has not yet been mentioned) then there is likely to be uproar and disappointment from those fans again.
The first few home games at Selhurst Park are certainly going to be interesting ones and observing the responses from fans will be fascinating too. A good start that certainly aids a top-half finish if the momentum can be kept up.