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  1. #1

    13 Years Ago Today...


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    13th anniversary today of the famous McShane in the 79th 0-1 win at Selhurst.

    For me, that night was personally the most memorable event following the Albion. It gives me goosebumps even thinking about it. This was the first (and last since) time I had been to Selhurst. No reduced allocation. No promises from the club to check ID’s and ban people. No soppy Ultras. I would imagine it was very different from the recent visits?

    I was a fresh faced 17 year old at the time. That morning I took a long, two bus journey from Saltdean to Lewes to go to College, but once I was there staring through the entrance I realised there was absolutely no chance I could sit through lectures knowing what I had to look forward to that night. So I turned around and went home to whittle away the hours masturbating and playing Football Manager.

    On the train up you could feel ‘it’ in the air. Tension. Excitement. Nerves. Apprehension. All of the feelings that make a derby so special. We were woeful that season and from memory I think we had only won a single game (against Plymouth) by that point in the season. We were huge underdogs. We had nothing to lose really, but I just couldn’t comprehend losing to them… Not to mention stepping onto Palace soil on the night of a derby has its own risks. I was there with my Dad, younger brother who would have been 14 and a pal of the same age. On the train up I remember older heads swapping stories from the 70’s, 80’s and the 5-0 trip in 02. To young ears it added to the buzz.

    East Croydon station and on to Norwood Junction (I think..) was incredible. Police everywhere. BHA everywhere. Horrible looking geezers openly doing gear off their hands on the train.

    Outside the ground I remember a Palace fan literally pulling his cock out and waving it around in front of us queuing for the turnstiles. Inside Selhurst I honestly cannot recall a better atmosphere in an Away Stand. After reading some of the complaints about persistent standing or people throwing beer around after away games recently – I shudder to imagine what the NSC and general social media reaction would have been to the behaviour from our lot that night. It was like a melting pot that had physically boiled over. I remember one bloke pissing in a bottle and throwing it into the Holmsdale end. Chants and abuse that would these days get you a 3 year ban or worse. Coins and other missiles. It was brilliant.

    I can’t remember much about the actual game except it was cagey.

    Then the 79th minute happened, and the melting pot exploded. I have never, ever seen or experienced a crowd ever go quite as mental as that goal from Paul McShane. My Dad, who was a reserved man, a former serviceman, and pretty good at keeping his emotions in check – tried to invade the pitch with hundreds of others – who somehow surged forward even though it was seating and not terrace. I turned to try and hug him but he was gone… My younger brother, who had been forced to stand on his seat to see – was literally chucked into the air and luckily caught by an eagle eyed fan. Some legend climbed the scaffold with his hood up to abuse the Holmesdale end. I remember reading a post on a Palace forum a few days later from one of their fans describing our fans as turning into ‘animals’ when the goal went in. They were 100% correct – no one had any reasoned reaction to that goal, it was all purely instinct. A few Palace fans came onto the pitch in an attempt to get into our end, nicked and led away in front of the stand. Unreal scenes. Shortly after Clinton Morrison scored an equaliser and everyone’s hearts sank, only for huge cheers to go up when the linesman’s flag was raised. Almost as mad as for the goal. The final whistle. Celebrations, huge sighs of relief and endless chants of ‘Easy, Easy, Easy’ which was the fashion at the time.

    The walk back to the station was one surrounded by Policemen yielding riot shields. But it didn’t stop one young Palace prick from spitting on my Prada coat from way above me as we walking down into the station. Typical behaviour from the gutless *****, but to be honest I didn’t even care. Karma struck an hour or so later when a bloke in a Palace shirt was getting volleyed all over the platform at Haywards Heath station when he jumped off his train and started abusing those on ours. He thought the doors had shut at the train was about to leave, sadly for him it was not...

    That night is still my favourite subject of pub chatter. We won’t see anything quite like it again, so I hope it is never forgotten.

    Happy McShane day all.

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