Back in the Day: 9th August - Attilio Lombardo Makes His Crystal Palace Debut

Back in the Day

Saturday 9th August 1997

Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Premier League - Attendance: 35,716

Manager: Steve Coppell

Everton Away in 1997 will forever live in my memory for a laundry list of reasons. It was my 15th birthday, the weather was beautiful, and my first ever love affair started. No, I didn’t pull my first girlfriend on that day; I am, of course, talking about the start of my/our love affair with Attilio Lombardo. The ‘Bald Eagle’, as the Palace faithful endearingly dubbed him, is quite simply one of the very best players ever to pull on the red n blue stripes, or just red if you remember that God awful kit from the following season. Arguably he achieved the mantle of one of the Palace greats in his very first game at Goodison Park as he single-handedly won the game.

The day began as they always did back when I was but a young pup. Up at the crack of dawn to get down to Selhurst Park to board the infamous Coach B - armed with chocolate milk shakes by Fridge and more Mini Cheddars than you could shake a stick at (if only this were my current match day routine - I’d save myself a small fortune!). With my Dad and sister in tow, we watched Only Fools and Horses, a Coach B mainstay, on the way up and pissed around with our disposable cameras. 

Looking back at those coach journeys now, I feel extremely sorry for my poor old man. I literally have to be dragged kicking and screaming to take the club coach these days. The lack of freedom on them suffocates me and not being able to drink on them just makes it worse! I realise now that two annoying teenage children and booze-less, smelly surroundings were probably the reason that he would immediately neck several pints as soon as we got to whatever the destination was (well, that and his hip flask full or Jameson’s*).

By the time we arrived at Goodison Park, we are all hot and sweaty thanks to the high temperatures but more than ready for the game. This happened to be my first Premier League game as a true Palace fan. My first ever Palace game was Arsenal away in 1994, however, I wouldn’t have classed myself as a Palace fan when I walked in the ground that day. Although I almost certainly left one looking back… What a glory hunter.

As with most teenagers, blind optimism filled my sister and I. “Easy win” was our assessment to our father who simply gave us that look that we know all too well now; it’s the look I give my friends now when they tell me “you’re definitely staying up this season”. As much as I think that we are staying up, I know better than to count my chickens.

The game kicks off, Ferguson heads wide, Phelan drives just over, and Stuart scores only for the effort to be ruled out for offside. More looks are coming from our Dad. “I told you so” looks this time only to turn back to the field just in time to see Lombardo stalk in behind the Everton back line at the far end of the field and outrageously nudge the ball past Southall with the outside of his right boot and into the back of the net. Well, it trickled in so slowly it might not have made the back of the net, but it crossed the line, and that was all that mattered to the away end where full on carnage ensued.

Half time came and went with a birthday balti pie, despite the heat, and then it was into the second half where my 15th birthday was only going to get better. As Everton launched the ball at Duncan Ferguson while committing more and more men forward it was Palace that started to look the more dangerous on the break and on the third occasion that we managed to hit Everton in numbers, Lombardo got round the back of Stuart and right-hand in the penalty area. Up stepped Bruce Dyer to slot the ball into the bottom right-hand corner and gave Palace a two goal cushion.

Lombardo was replaced by Carl “Goal Machine” Veart, which must rate as one of the greatest moments of his career. The admiration that the Bald Eagle had earned that day from the Palace fans is still there today. When I finally got to meet him at the Manchester City development game in 2013, I was, for the first time in my life, genuinely star struck and found my tongue sticking to the top of my mouth. What a legend.

Of course, Palace never do things the easy way and Everton, through the giant Ferguson, did pull a late goal back to ensure a tense finish but we held on to seal our first three points of the season.

Sunburned and delirious we joined the celebrations on the coach back to London, probably watching the exact episodes of Only Fools that we watched on the way up, before falling asleep in order to achieve the obligatory kink in the neck. Good times.

*To the club coach organisers, this was for comedic effect. Nobody ever does such a thing on your coaches, ever…

Look out for in this video - current West Ham manager Slaven Bilic celebrating a disallowed goal (and a comical slip from a fan in the process) and the incredible sight of Kevin Miller playing yet somehow not being the fattest goalkeeper on the field!!!

Saturday 9th August 2003

Burnley 2-3 Crystal Palace

League Division One - Attendance: 12,976

Manager: Steve Kember

Written by, Selhurst Hoover in January 2015:

Burnley, it has to be said, has not been our happiest hunting ground over the years. Yes at home, when we needed them to roll over, they have duly obliged. 11 May 1979 and 17 May 1983 spring to mind. We have picked up a fair number of draws to be fair though, and of my 12 visits to Burnley we have won 2, drawn 6 and lost 4 so looking at it again not too shabby I suppose. Anyway statistics, statistics!

The game that springs to mind out of all of these was an old Division 1 game on 09 August 2003. It was the start of a new season. A great day for all football fans up and down the country. The smell of the freshly cut grass. To meet your football mates again and have a few beers. Marvellous!

The reason this game sticks in mind is twofold. The country was in the midst of a heat wave. Temperatures were in the mid 30 degrees centigrade and this day was no exception. Also, my friend who normally drives me to football was taken to the hospital a few days prior with Gallstones and would be unable to drive. Well, as many of you know I do like the odd tipple on match days, so this had curtailed those activities. This, of course, was much to the amusement of Mr Bourne who we pick up in Northampton en route.

"We arrived in Burnley and headed for the cricket club."

We arrived in Burnley and headed for the cricket club where we have visited on every occasion since for a few pre match, ermm, lemonades!!  It really was scorching. We watched a game of cricket from the pavilion, and the heat was almost unbearable. I remember looking at all the Palace fans drinking their beers in the sunshine and was incredibly jealous!

Anyway, off to game we went probably a little earlier than usual to get into the ground in good time. Underneath the stand at Burnley, there is a long wide passageway, and it was great to stand under the heat of the way of the sun for a while until we headed for our seats. They must build them big in Burley as the old wooden seats behind the goal are very wide. Have a look when you sit down!

"Then game burst into live after only 6 minutes though when Palace were awarded a penalty which Dougie Freedman duly dispatched."

The game started and it was clear that it was not going to be at break neck speed today with water bottles placed all around the sides of the pitch where it had been agreed that the game would be stopped for water breaks if the referee thought was appropriate. Then game burst into live after only 6 minutes though when Palace were awarded a penalty which Dougie Freedman duly dispatched. Then disaster struck after only 10 minutes when Wayne Routledge managed to get himself sent off for a foul on Luke Chadwick. Mr Foy was not a popular man as the same should have happened to the guy that chopped down Freedman moments earlier. To top it all Burnley equalised straight away on 11 minutes with Blake scoring. We sat back in our seats and feared the worse and it was no surprise when Burnley scored again on 19 minutes with Roche scoring. We thought we were on for a hiding here as Palace wilted in the August sunshine. Only for Dougie Freedman to pop up again on 32 minutes for the equaliser. We made half time and headed downstairs for, ermm, another lemonade.

"Only for Mr Foy to intervene again by sending off Shaun Derry with some 15 minutes to go."

The second half we feared the worse as it was the hottest day of the year and we only had ten men, but against the run of play, we were sent into dreamland when yes you guessed it Dougie Freedman scored again for his hat trick on 67 minutes. Surely we had scored too early with still such a long way to go? We seemed to then grow into the game and get even better despite the man disadvantage. Only for Mr Foy to intervene again by sending off Shaun Derry with some 15 minutes to go.

Well, that’s blown it as surely we could not hold on with nine men we thought. We kicked and scrapped for every ball from there in and even the help of the Palace fans keeping the ball for a few moments behind the goal seemed to work.

The last 5 minutes or so were just unbearable, but despite this, we managed to hold on for a famous win. We applauded the team off the field then got back to the car sharp for the long trip back to London. By this time I was buzzing despite the lack of alcohol and Rick said it is the quickest we have ever got back from football as it was foot to the floor to get back for a celebratory pint or six.

A great day out, despite the lack of beer, and shows you can have a great day out without although I would prefer not.

Beer in the cricket club anyone?

Tuesday 9th August 2010

This very website was launched!

In the post Administration world, I wanted to do my bit to try and make sure that we didn't end up in that position again. My aim was to raise the profile of the Club on the internet by trying to draw people in to supporting Crystal Palace FC. I also produced a range of T-Shirts and Mugs and the profits that I made were all poured back into the Club by purchasing things that no one was buying.

When the Club was prompted in 2013, the profits from my measly T-Shirt sales became irrelevant and I moved towards trying to create interesting Crystal Palace content that was different to what else is out there.

Happy Birthday to us.

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