With fans having questioned the spirit amongst Crystal Palace’s players on numerous occasions this season it feels like the perfect time to revisit the immense bond our squad had upon their promotion to the Premier League back in 2013.
Far from a misty-eyed glance down memory lane for old time’s sake, the above compilation served as a reminder to me of what we must recapture in the weeks between now and May if we are to dig ourselves out of the relegation zone and survive for a record fifth consecutive season in England’s top division.
Yes, you could argue that no amount of passion and desire from the fans will make a tangible difference to the team’s performances from game to game but having had two weeks out of the limelight to sit and reflect, Saturday’s home game against Middlesbrough feels like an utterly monumental moment from my point of view. Win it and we could we’ll see the squad’s confidence reignited in spectacular fashion; lose and the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
It is with this in mind that I feel a nagging desire to thrust that set of players back into the forefront of our fans’ minds. Yes, the individuals we have at our disposal now may be hugely changed from the group featured in the montage itself but we must do everything we can as a collective entity in the build-up to this weekend’s clash, to try and lay some solid foundations, ahead of what will hopefully be a vastly improved climax to the Premier League season.
We are all well aware (having been told time and again by those “experts” in the media) that the players we now have on our books are more than capable of getting the results necessary to survive, meaning that the elusive missing piece of the jigsaw will only fall into place when we see a marked improvement in their mental strength as a team both on and off the pitch.
The bunch featured in the aforementioned montage may not have had the same skill levels as the current crop but they did have spirit by the bucket load, proving despite their numerous doubters that it can get you a hell of a long way when utilised correctly.
If Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff can work even 50% of that passion into the players over the next few days, you would expect us to go into this weekend’s game with a victory on the cards. Let’s hope at least a few of them are taking notes.