Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crystress Palace F.C

I am on the cusp of re-newing my C.P.F.C season ticket for 2007-08 when I read in the 'South London Press' that in doing so I am committing myself to another season of trauma, anxiety and nervous tension. Why you ask?
Well I will tell you exactly why!
It has been announced that my beloved Crystal Palace are 'officially' the 11th (eleventh) most stressful club to be a supporter of out of the 92 (ninety-two) in the Football League.
Do I need this? Is not life stressful enough? Why am I adding to my already hectic and taxing life........at some financial cost too I might add?
Stress does not come cheap!

Although I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the report in question, believe me being a Palace fan is a serious rollercoaster of a ride I felt a curiosity, a desire, call it what you will, to investigate this in a little more depth.

Where or how did the statisticians come up with their findings?
Did they go out to Croydon Town Centre one rainy afternoon, hoodwink a group of pensioners in a Supermarket and fire off half a dozen questions at them, to which they responded by saying yes 11 was their lucky number, they lived at number 11, they had 11 grandchildren, shopping was their 11th least favourite chore, and they got on the number 11 bus to come to Croydon in the first place!
All this culminating into making Palace the eleventh most stressful Club to support!
I doubt it. Hardly very scientific, plainly inaccurate, and obviously a distinctly unlikely method of canvassing a straw pole, unless it is for political reasons of course.

Statisticians at Littlewoods Football Pools have compiled a 'Stress League' dossier by analysing the histories - both on and off the pitch, of each of the 92 football league clubs, in order to determine which teams have caused their fans the most stress and anxiety over the last 25 years.

The criteria under which the club-by-club analysis has been conducted was based on initial research amongst football supporters, who were asked to identify which factors caused them anxiety/nervousness when following their team's fortunes.

Among the key 'stress factors' named by fans were:

The 'yo-yo effect', i.e regular movement between divisions/leagues due to promotions and relegations.
Narrowly missing out on promotion and/or relegation.
Failing to win at home.
Losing matches from a winning position.
Losing in play-offs, particularly finals.
Being involved in penalty shoot-outs, and cup ties which go into extra-time
Financial problems at the club, leading to uncertainty over its future and a detrimental effect on team performances.
Changes in club ownership.
Frequent changes of manager.

Enter Crystal Palace Football Club.

Long-standing Palace fans won't like it, but historically Selhurst Park is one of the easiest grounds for visiting teams to get a result. Not winning at home is a sure-fire cause of stress for fans, but then so are relegation fights and play-off finals, and Palace have had their fair share of those in recent times.

In the last 25 years Palace have been promoted to the top flight on four occasions and relegated the same number of times. Two promotions to the Premiership, in 1997 and 2004, both came via the play-offs (after finishing sixth each time). They have also missed out on promotion through the play-offs twice, most recently last season when they lost in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
In 2001, Palace came unbelievably close to relegation to Division Two.

In the FA Cup, Palace have won only five matches in the past 11 seasons. However in 1990 they were only seven minutes away from Cup Final glory before Mark Hughes scored an equaliser to not only salvage his team a replay, but in doing so he also salvaged Alex Ferguson's career at Man.Utd. United went on to win the replay, Ferguson won his first trophy as United boss and as they say in football......the rest is history!
To put the icing on the cake, who can forget 1999 when the club fell into administration under chairman Mark Goldberg.

Doctors are overworked at the best of times, but those in South London must be at breaking point if their surgery's are full of 'Palace Patients' with their clenched buttock cheeks and dodgy tickers, as they wait in line for their all too regular blood pressure tests!

As par for the course I felt it only fair-minded and even-handed to share with my fellow long suffering Palace fans some of the other results of my research.
To begin with Liverpool came out smelling of roses, as the least stressful club to support in the Country, Notts County the most stressful club to support, and are 'bosom buddies,' Brighton, Charlton and Millwall the 34th, 42nd and 45th most stressful respectively.

All said and done I would NOT change my allegiance to my club for the world.
Through their ups and downs they will always make me feel 'Glad All Over.'

My season ticket for next year was bought and paid for shortly after I wrote this article!