It feels as though most league seasons bring a sigh of relief from Palace fans but it’s fair to say that the 2017/18 campaign had more drama than most in living memory. Thankfully, those behind the scenes in the Crystal Palace media team have produced a wonderful season review for everyone to feast upon via their YouTube channel.
If you are an even semi-regular visitor to this site I’m sure you’re well aware of the dreadful start we endured to the Premier League season but for those of you who remain blissfully ignorant to the hole we found ourselves in, a run of 7 games without a single goal or point to our names presented Roy Hodgson with a rather unenviable task in the remaining 31 fixtures.
It feels like an age ago now but Frank de Boer’s somewhat wacky formations, meshed with a set of tactical philosophies which seemed to overestimate the ability of our playing staff were rapidly replaced by a back to basics approach from Roy which eventually saw us finish in the heady heights of 11th place.
Plenty of pundits and neutral fans were quick to indulge in a sense of rose-tinted nostalgia once the season was over, suggesting that Palace had always been too good to go down but as someone who watched every kick of those opening seven games, I will never allow myself to stray from the belief that Hodgson and his coaching staff pulled off a minor miracle between September and May.
Whilst we did and still do have a very talented squad, ridiculously low morale levels, coupled with what looked to be a sense of tactical bafflement after the helter-skelter spell they endured under the aforementioned Dutchman only makes the scale of Roy’s achievement greater in my mind.
Yes, we dropped far too many points from winning positions and should have been mathematically safe far sooner than we actually were but if anything, that only adds to the optimism I’m feeling ahead of a full campaign with the former England gaffer at the helm. If we can keep the core group together whilst adding a few new faces, I’d like to think we have the chance of enjoying a full season which isn’t constantly threatened by the looming presence of a relegation scrap.
With the World Cup now less than a week away, this feels like the perfect way to wave goodbye to the season just gone.
It’s been emotional.