Thirty quid and I’m not having a laugh

Living in London, the first games I look out for when the fixtures are published are the away games in the capital.

Living in London, the first games I look out for when the fixtures are published are the away games in the capital.

Easy to get to and to get home from and no travelling for two hours on the train from Liverpool Street either.

Norwich were at Crystal Palace on New Year's Day, but for the first time since we were in the Premier League, I did not go to a London away game.

The reason was the ticket price. Thirty quid. I really decided that they were having a laugh.

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Last season, I went to Crystal Palace. The price was thirty pounds, having been generously reduced by a fiver from the heady days of both our clubs season in the Premiership.

So what did I get for my thirty pounds? I was lucky enough to get four of the five things, which make what I call the “Full Selhurst” experience.

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A cold wooden seat, positioned in a littered and dirty part of the stand, a pillar impaired view and a headache from staring into the glaring sunlight.

I only missed out on the first part of the “Full Selhurst” which was being grunted at by one of the stewards whilst being searched on entering the ground.

I did experience all first part of the “Full Selhurst” back in 1998 when Terry Venables was the Crystal Palace manager in the game we lost 5-1.

Lucy, who was heavily pregnant with Gemma, was next to be searched by stewards.

“Oi - what you got in there?” one of the stewards grunted as he pointed at my wife's stomach.

“A baby - is that a problem?” was her swift response. Lucy was let in without being searched.

I was back at Selhurst Park a few weeks after the recent defeat in the cold February sunshine.

I thought that by going to see the reserves play it would perhaps exorcise the ghosts of that spineless performance a month previously.

Walking to the ground on that freezing March evening I met a friendly steward.

He smiled and licked his lips, as a lion would when a wildebeest had been spotted having been separated from his herd.

“This way mate” he gestured. “Ticket please” he enquired as he eyed his prey.

I looked dumfoundedly at him, my expression giving making it very obvious that I didn't have a ticket. He went in for the kill. “It's a fiver for a reserve game here”.

I didn't want to part with my cash, but the desire not to waste my evening was equally important.

Reluctantly I put my hand in my bag for my wallet, and in a flash of inspiration I pulled out one of my Capital Canaries business cards. “I'm Press mate” was my retort as I shoved it towards him in the south London gloom.

I was waved in, free of charge. The wildebeest rejoined his herd and the steward was forced to wait for another victim to relieve of five pounds.

So this year, I decided to make a stand and boycott the game, depriving Simon Jordan of money.

I am sure he doesn't care he has missed on my thirty pounds on New Years Day, or even that I blagged my way in last season, meaning that he is now thirty five pounds poorer than he might have been.

Jordan would do well to remember that if you treat the consumer well they will more than likely return to Selhurst Park. This one won't though.

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