Ahead of Saturday's game against Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns, we caught up with Palace fan Sam, from flyinghighmag.com.
He gives his views on the Eagles' start to the season, Ian Holloway, Kevin Phillips and more. You can also find them on Twitter @flyinghighmag.

The start to the season has clearly been a struggle results-wise for Palace, how have performances been? Are you where you deserve to be in the table?

Strange as it may sound, we’ve not been all that bad this season. There have been a couple of games slightly more recently that were fairly inept but on the whole we’ve been OK. The problem that we’ve faced this season (amongst having 179 new players to try and gel together) is that every little mistake we’ve made has been punished – a misplaced pass results in a goal, a free-kick not given our way ends up in a break that sees us conceding – but that’s how it is at a higher level and we’re certainly learning that the hard way.

What did you make of Ian Holloway standing down? Was it the right decision? Did he still have the backing of the club’s supporters?

Holloway leaving is a strange one. I feel for him on a personal level because when he gave his press conference announcing his decision to step down, he looked a beaten man, tired and uncharacteristically downbeat. On a team level, however, I’m not that unhappy that he’s gone. He delivered two of the best results in our recent history, namely knocking Brighton out of the play-offs at their own ground and the subsequent victory in the final to send us up, but his actual record in terms of results wasn’t very impressive.

There were some that didn’t want him in the first place, but on the whole the fans have been brilliant this season at getting behind the team and for the most part that has over-ridden any feelings against him that some may have. It didn’t quite click with him and the club and sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Who do you think will be appointed as Holloway’s replacement and who would you like to see appointed? Public opinion seems to be against Tony Pulis?

It’s very tough to know who we’ll get in, there are so many names being thrown around at the moment. Some that I would be appalled at (Alex McLeish and Gary Megson I’m looking at you) and some that I can see a lot of merit in.

One of those is Tony Pulis. Whilst he didn’t play the best looking football at Stoke, he took them up, made them a solid team and when you have a team battling non-stop, it can be just as exciting. We had a similar ethic under Warnock and he was a popular manager for the most part.

Names like Martin O’Neill and Roberto Di Matteo would also get a lot of backing but again, it’s nigh-on impossible to predict who will get the job. A nice, vague answer for you there!

Has any player stood out for you so far this season?

Joel Ward, for sure. He is a right-back that we signed from Portsmouth at the start of last season, beating off a number of clubs for his signature and he has shown what a bargain the £400k we paid for him was.

He’s extremely composed, never dives in, very confident on the ball and gets forward to support our attacks well too. He’s a favourite with everyone and this season hasn’t shown any signs of being overawed in a higher division. The fact we don’t miss Nathaniel Clyne, who was very highly regarded at Palace, speaks volumes for Joel.

How’s Jerome Thomas doing for you?

He hasn’t had much of a look-in so far this season. He has played a bit in the last couple of games but not really enough to know either way on how he’ll be as a Palace player. He doesn’t seem particularly fast but in his cameos he has whipped in a few decent crosses so hopefully he’ll be able to push on for us, though in all honesty, I can’t see him making too much of a splash.

Thoughts on ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips?

The man who scored to take us up. He’ll be loved for that for a long, long time. Much like Thomas, he hasn’t played much this season and I think he’ll be found out a little in terms of pace (or lack thereof) but he is a great player to have around the squad, if only to impart knowledge to the kids.

Are there any Palace youngsters coming through that look likely to follow in the footsteps of Wilfried Zaha?

Johnny Williams aka Joniesta. He’s injured at the moment unfortunately but he is going to be a star. Diminutive he may be, but he’s supremely confident and able on the ball, has a superb touch and his eye for a pass is top class. He may not have the tricks of Wilf, but I can see him playing at the very top.

Prediction for Palace’s season? Can you stay up?

Can we stay up? Yes. Will we? Not quite so confident. We really need to get some more points on the board to keep us in touch with those above us. We can take confidence from our performances for the most part but we need to concentrate on those silly mistakes being eradicated before we can think about moving up the table.

Prediction for 
Albion’s season?

Looking in from the outside, I think the general consensus is that losing Lukaku is a big blow, he looked brilliant for you last year and seems to be in decent nick for Everton. But you’ve got some good players at the club and I think mid-table is fairly certain for you guys.

Premier League Champions?

Probably Chelsea. I can’t see Arsenal keeping their form up all season, Man United have dropped a lot of points already and City blow hot and cold so, by default really, I think Chelsea will do it.


Hate to say it, but Palace will go down I think. Who goes with us is tough, Sunderland will go down I think and Norwich may continue to struggle too. Add Fulham into the mix and there’s bound to be a couple more than hit the rocks around Christmas.

Prediction for Saturday’s game?

I am quite possibly the most pessimistic Palace fan around and I reckon a home win is on the cards this Saturday. I think it’ll be a good game but our away form isn’t good at all, so the likelihood is another defeat for us.


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