All of the time: When will I see you a-Glenn
I realised the other day that this All of the Time column would be hitting your computer screens almost exactly a year to the day since I started churning out these weekly Croydon Guardian pieces.
If you’ve been reading these columns over the past 12 months I’d like to express my sincere thanks!
Anyway, no matter how well Crystal Palace were doing 365 days ago, when this column kicked off I don't think anyone expected us to be 14th in the Premier League a year later.
Of course, nobody's counting their chickens just yet. This league position is incredibly fragile after all, particularly with the fixtures that await us like Everton away and Man United at home in the next weeks.
Regardless, we've put ourselves in a great position to weather those storms. And generated such enviable home form that there's absolutely no need to expect defeat at Selhurst against anyone.
In fact, there’s so much positivity around the club right now.
From the three new outfield recruits, players we're actually excited about - unlike the deluge of substandard panic buys we acquired in the summer.
Our biggest-name new signing, Thomas Ince, scored a lovely finish on his debut and provided the corner that was so powerfully headed home by another new signing, Joe Ledley.
Ince looked at home in the top flight straight away; fast, direct and effective. Of course it'd be wrong to get carried away on the strength of a debut just like it would be to start assuming our survival, but it was a very positive start.
Scott Dann had a solid game too, Julian Speroni was not unceremoniously and stupidly ousted from his position, Ledley proved we have another left back option and then the biggest reason to be cheerful of the whole day.
Glenn Murray's homecoming.
I was unbelievably emotional when I saw our 30-goal striker remove his training top and stroll to the side-line against West Brom.
Considering the turmoil and change that's affected the club since his disastrous play-off semi-final injury, I guess I was worried even when he was fit again he wouldn’t be anywhere near the management’s plans.
And there's preciously few long-term players left at Palace. When you compare the match day squad of his debut in August 2011 to the match day squad from yesterday, only KG and Speroni appear in both lists.
It’s one of the reasons for the unbridled expression of affection and joy from the home fans when he returned. Not to mention the gratitude for his scoring that gained us promotion last year.
Dream debut: Tom Ince marked his first appearance in the red and blue of Palace with the opening goal against West Brom on Saturday SP81781
Whether it was when the announcer called his name out before the game, when he started warming up in the first half in front of the main stand or when he finally took to the field, the noise was deafening and sends a shiver down my spine thinking about it now.
When he dons the red and blue again the hysteria will have calmed and the expectation levels will be a bit more rational, and we can look forward to Glenn showing us why we've missed him so much.
Plus the knowledge he’s slotting into a team with players of the calibre of Ince and Chamakh is a really exciting proposition.
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