Whilst Big Sam’s men produced a stellar performance to beat Middlesbrough on Saturday, our supporters were well and truly back to their best too, leading to numerous positive comments from the players themselves after the game.
Whilst no one had pointed any fingers of blame at our supporters for the slightly subdued home atmosphere of recent weeks, Steve Parish did make a formal request in the press for the full backing of the players against Middlesbrough; in the end he got that and then some.
After seeing the idea discussed on Twitter and message boards in the days leading up to the game, a large number of supporters decided to make their way into the ground at 2:30 rather than 3, building the noise levels throughout the players’ warm-up. Evidently, it was a move that made an impact on the squad, given that it was discussed by Jason Puncheon in his post-match interview with the club’s TV channel.
Although Middlesbrough were themselves poor on the day, it’s difficult to overstate the difference Selhurst Park’s atmosphere made to the outcome of the game itself, following on from the undeniably horrible experiences we’ve all been through at home to Sunderland and Swansea this season.
It sounds a little dewey-eyed in isolation but to me, Saturday afternoon felt like being back in 2013, when the club was proudly pulling in the same direction from all angles rather than being plagued by worries about the division we’d be playing in the following season.
It’s always good to know that the supporters have made a difference to the players after a victory, even more so when it’s a win of such huge significance in a battle against the drop. Hopefully this is just the start.
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