Anorak News | Missing Persons

Missing Persons

by | 29th, August 2002

‘IT IS NOW week two of the first season of my post-Crystal Palace season ticket life. A friend phones up. Like me, he gave up his season ticket, though many years earlier. A conversation develops about various building projects taking place in our respective homes, and for a while it is unclear why this discussion is taking place. Then he drops in a casual comment about listening to the Portsmouth game on the radio while up a ladder.

”I bought this new the last time Palace were on the telly”

With the score at 2-0 to ”us” (we are still bonded indelibly at some profound level to this bunch of red-and-blue no-hopers), the friend had moved on to some other task away from the radio. The following day, during a conversation with another Palace fan, he enquired casually about whether the score remained 2-0. Quite why he was shocked to learn that we lost the game is unclear, given Palace’s previous track record. The point was, it still hurt.

This is a team comprised almost entirely of players he had never even seen, yet something nonetheless gripped his heart and shook it.

On Tuesday night, I have taken the cold turkey route, refraining from all sources of information regarding the score. In fact, I only learned the result during the aforesaid conversation. When I say cold turkey, I can’t claim to have undergone any psychological or physiological trauma. Cold turkey sandwich with a cup of tea would be closer to the mark, in terms of emotional intensity.

In fact the experience was quite pleasant, and certainly a lot less boring than listening to the commentary from one of the capital’s other games while waiting for three-minute-old ”news flashes” from Selhurst Park. In fact, I didn’t watch any football at all, save for a brief snippet of half-time chat during Manchester United’s walk in the park with Zalaegenszeg.

When I finally got round to reading the match report, complete with Trevor Francis’s customary gloss on events, I might as well have been listening to a politician discussing transport policy on Question Time. ”What’s my motivation here?” I would have asked, had I been able to muster the enthusiasm to do so. If animals can lose their maternal instincts towards their young within days, maybe I can lose 33 years’ loyalty to a football club in two weeks.

They say when people stop believing in god, they’ll believe in anything. But when you stop believing in Palace, you start believing in DIY and weekend shopping. Whether this is a good thing or not, it’s too soon to tell. ‘

Posted: 29th, August 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink