Towards the end of yesterday evening’s Monday Night Football, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher began a Twitter Q&A, leading to a highly critical assessment of Palace’s players.
In years gone by, attacks on our team from within the sporting press would have angered me on a personal level but after such a prolonged run of frankly dreadful form and limp individual performances, I can’t help feeling a sense of relief at the sight of messers Neville and Carragher finally saying what we as supporters have been for months.
There is no obvious reason for the dreadful run we have been on since the start of 2016. The squad is, on paper at least, more than good enough to survive, we have a manager who is looked upon by everyone in the game as a specialist in this sort of scenario and fans who are famed for their vocal backing of the team but somewhere along the line, an invisible disconnect has occurred.
We have heard plenty of statements from players since Christmas saying that they need to “work hard” and “all pull together” if we are going to get out of the relegation dogfight but at this stage of the season, actions speak infinitely louder than any words that group can work up the enthusiasm to utter.
With that in mind, I feel genuine gratitude to the likes of Neville and Carragher for shining a light on the lack of graft being put in from week to week, if only in the hope of it jolting the team from their seemingly endless stupor and provoking a reaction.
Almost every Palace side I can personally remember would have taken attacks like this on platforms such as Monday Night Football as an insult to their collective professionalism, fighting tooth and nail to prove those casting judgments on them wrong between now and the end of the season.
Following a similar blast from Steven Gerrard over the weekend, I suppose we’ll see what the current crop are made of when we welcome Middlesbrough to Selhurst Park in just under two weeks time.
They certainly won’t have enjoyed their weekend, that’s for sure.