All of the Time - One in a Millen

Now what?

Now what?

First published in Sport Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Doggedly following the only tradition of my Guardian column I was going to give this article the song pun title “Hangeland of hope and glory”.

It was going to be an upbeat, ignore all the doubters sort of a comeback.

I was going to riff on the fact this weekly column is named All of the Time yet it has been on a three-month hiatus.

Then I planned to calmly assess the Arsenal result.

It’s been years since I thought as rarely about domestic football as I did over the summer. The World Cup was to thank for that.

When the season excitement eventually kicked in, on more optimistic days I felt like we were entering the first period of strong stability this club has known since... Warnock? Dowie? Coppell?

Maybe in my lifetime.

And then, right on cue, we're suddenly we’re without a manager and shell-shocked; staring nervously down the barrel of a second Premier League campaign, rudderless and panicking.

Thursday evening was like being told your parents are divorcing, on Christmas Eve.

Bad news any time of year, but even worse after all that approaching excitement has been pulled from underneath you.

Now you're faced with misery no matter what. Everything you'd been excited about replaced by arguments and name calling.

Plus, like yuletide, at Palace this happens once a year.

Processing this earth-shattering news, we headed to the Emirates on Saturday and I was almost hoping for a gentle, sympathetic defeat.

So to lose the game to an injury time scramble, having led the tie in the first half, was an added kick in the teeth we just did not need.

In his Match of the Day interview Steve Parish said the spirit of the team “bodes well for the rest of the season”.

Sadly, I feel the opposite.

Rather than boding well, the hard-fought yet devastating loss seems worryingly prophetic of the pattern things will follow.

We’ll win the odd plaudit again, a few shock points here and there, but we’re facing a season of nerve-wracking, tit for tat scrapping at the dangerous end of the table.

I hope we find another miracle worker ASAP – but none of the rumours inspire the confidence we held in our baseball-capped saviour.

It’s because Pulis was the perfect candidate last year, and he’s the perfect candidate now.

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