Saturday, November 22, 2008

Up the Palace!

If the posts have been a bit nonexistent this week, it's because a) I am in the UK on vacation, and b) Andrew has been too lazy to post the fact that the Gotham Girls are now national champs after blitzing Chicago in the final in Portland, OR last weekend. Tsk.

So, what am I up to here in the UK? It's not all sports related, but it has allowed my obsession with retro soccer uniforms to flourish. Pictured is the logo from a very nice West Ham throwback I bought - the shirt they wore in the 1980 FA Cup Final, when Trevor Brooking's well placed header enabled the Hammers to upset highly favoured Arsenal 1-0. Meanwhile, I am searching for a similar Liverpool one that is the right size. I might have to give up and order that one online.

Liverpool is of course my main club, but among other English soccer teams with a place in my heart*, Crystal Palace is a special one. We lived in south London for three months when I was 11, and the Eagles were our local team. Those were heady days, with manager Terry Venables taking the team briefly to the top of the first division, acquiring the "team of the eighties" nickname and all the expectations that came along with it. Alas, it all fell apart - they ended the season 13th, and were relegated a year later.

It took the better part of a decade for the Eagles to live up to the hype, reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final, and it's been up and down since then, too. Nowadays Palace is mired deep in the second tier, but they are one of my teams all the same. So today I will attend my first Crystal Palace home game, at Selhurst Park, where they will take on marginally-higher-flying Bristol City.

Game time temperature promises to hover just above freezing, and I haven't gotten a long sleeved retro jersey to wear yet. Going shopping soon - wish me luck...

* the list includes Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Everton, Preston North End, Fulham, Barnsley, and probably more

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