Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace
Saturday 22nd January 2005
Vs Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 3pm
By Paul O'Hagan
Although we are all Saints fans we were offered the opportunity to visit Selhust park for the game against Spurs. Not being ones to turn down premiership football we jumped at the chance and looked forward to viewing our relegation battle rivals for the second time this season.
Getting to the ground from Southampton is easy on the train and if you go in a group it's reasonably cheap. After one change of train we arrived at Selhurst station from which the ground was only about fifteen minutes walk. You can't miss the Holmesdale Road stand- just walk towards it!
On entering the ground you are faced with the bizarre combination of a huge new modern stand combined with the old wooden stands. A huge contrast to our St Mary's! This is by no means criticism because sitting in the main stand you really get a sense of real football and tradition. Seating certainly isn't the most comfortable (wooden seats!) but there is more leg room than at the likes of Old Trafford. We felt it rude not to sample the cuisine the Palace had to offer (i.e. PIE and PINT) which to our surprise meet the high standards which we come to expect at St Mary's.
The Spurs fans made a real effort as the game began but when Palace took the lead their fans drowned out the away noise and there was a really good atmosphere. Putting the away fans so close to the Holmesdale Road stand really helps the fans get going.
With the majority of fans in one stand the noise never really got going around the whole ground but the result and the woeful Spurs performance meant that the atmosphere was good throughout.
A stadium well worth visiting to experience the contrast with other new stadiums in the premiership as well as to witness the great support which Ian Dowie receives! We certainly look forward to returning to with the saints in May!
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