Visiting the Palace?

Our continued guide to away games, Anne Noble turns her attention to Crystal Palace with directions a good guide to finding your favourite drink. 

How To Get There By Car & Where To Park

Leave the M25 at Junction 7 and follow the signs for the A23 to Croydon. At Purley bear left onto the A23 at its junction with the A 235 (to Croydon). You will pass roundabouts and junctions with the A232 and A236 as you pass Croydon, after which the A23 bears left at Thornton Heath (at the Horseshoe pub roundabout). Here you must go straight over, into Brigstock Road (B266), passing Thornton Heath Station on your left and bearing right on to the High Street. At the next mini roundabout, (Whitehorse Road/Grange Road) go left into Whitehorse Lane. The ground is on your right. 

An alternative route for fans coming from the North, is to leave the M25 at Junction 10 and follow the A3 towards London. After about ten miles you will reach the Tolworth roundabout at which you turn right onto the A240 towards Epsom. After about three miles turn onto the A232 towards Sutton. Follow the A232 through Sutton and Carshalton and just before reaching Croydon, turn left onto the A23 north towards Thornton Heath'. Where the A23 bears left at Thornton Heath (at the Horsehoe pub roundabout) then as above. 

There is plenty of street parking in the area. Please note that the traffic can be pretty bad on Saturdays even without football traffic, so make sure you allow yourself some extra time to make the journey.

By Train

The nearest railway stations are Selhurst or Thornton Heath which are served by London Victoria main line station, Clapham Junction, London Bridge (every 30 mins) and East Croydon (every 15 mins). You can also use Norwood Junction station which is also served by Victoria, but is a little further away. It is then a 10-15 minute walk to ground. Please note that Crystal Palace station is nowhere near the ground.

Where To Drink?….

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In our continued series of guides to away games this season, Ann Noble gets the low down on a ground new to City fans from Rob Russell of Accrington Stanley Supporters Club.


By Car – The M65 motorway links to the M6 which is about 10 minutes west of Accrington situated at either junction 7 or 8 of the M65.  If you are going direct to the ground then use junction 7, 1st exit at the roundabout, right at the lights, right at the next lights and the ground is around 800 yards on the left hand side.  If you are going to the away fans pub then please use junction 8, follow the signs for Accrington along the A56 and come off at the first opportunity.  Follow the signs for Accrington which will take you onto the A679 where the Whittaker’s Arms is 400 yards on your left.  From the M1, M62, and M66  follow the signs for Accrington using the A56 easterly by-pass.  This will bring you to the A679 (Burnley Road) where the Whittaker’s Arms pub is situated 400 yards along on the left.

By Train – Most trains into Accrington will have involved changing at Preston.  Accrington train station is fairly central to the town centre.  As you come down the ramp from the train station you can either turn right where you will find the town centre a two minute walk away, or you can cross the road, follow the street around the corner and you will find the McDonalds restaurant on the left.  From here you would cross the road and follow that exit from the roundabout to the main road, turn left and the ground is about a fifteen minute walk away with a couple of pubs en route.

By Bus – Having travelled in by bus you will already be in the town centre, the buses on the market side will be pointing in the direction you need for the ground, or you could catch either the Hyndburn Circular or the Clitheroe buses.  On either bus ask for the Crown, you will go through three sets of lights and the Crown is then two stops or 200 yards away.  Cost is around a pound. 

If you are walking then travel in the direction the buses are pointing, turn left at the top and then follow that road for a mile and a quarter, passing five pubs, three chippies (one a 100m detour but sign posted), an Indian restaurant and several kebab shops that will probably be shut…..

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As we all know by now no City manager since Dave Halliday 55 years ago has managed to win his first game in charge. Martin Allen must have realised long before the end of this match that he was not going to be the first to defy the jinx that has defeated so many others since 1962. 

The first major indication came as early as the 22nd minute when de Vries did a smart turn and shot from the edge of the box with the ball soaring beyond Rachubka only to strike the angle of bar and post to fall harmlessly away from the goal. Seconds later a good low cross from Chambers was only cleared after a panic of Dads' Army proportions in the Blackpool defence. Thus the tone was set. 

It had all started so differently. The crowd, a decent 26,650 were both expectant and nervous, passionately hoping for this game to be the start of a new era on the pitch to match that which had taken place off it. Strangely the starting eleven contained no fewer than 7 players on City's books last season, a much higher total than any of my group had expected. Admittedly there were 3 more newcomers on the bench but that still left 5 unaccounted for!   

Henderson got the nod over Nielson, McAuley played at left centre back to accommodate N'Gotty on his right and Wesolowski was given a wide midfield role, initially on the left but soon switched to the right. Up front de Vries was included as Hume's strike partner. I had problems with Wesolowski as a wide player and prefer Fryatt to de Vries but vowed to be objective. 

Not surprisingly City hardly got over the half-way line in the first 10 minutes as Blackpool carried on where they left off at the end of last season whereas we were still trying to remember each others' names. Things were not helped by Allen realising that the wide midfielders were malfunctioning and getting them to swap wings causing the fullbacks, Chambers and Mattock, to have to get used to a change of partner. Wide left was a big problem for City for most of the match though the late introduction of Hayes brought an immediate significant improvement….

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Not Many Forcing Their Way In

Cambridge United 0 City 1 

I’m not sure what to say about this game – I just hope Martin Allen learnt something because I’m not sure I did!  My initial reaction was ‘Was your journey really necessary’ and for a while it seemed that the most exciting thing was the health and safety warning before the game began about the danger from flying balls while the players were warming up!   

Apparently 240 City fans made the journey (not all of us from Leicester itself) and when I arrived at 6.45 the gates weren’t even open.   

The game was, frankly, boring, with two poor teams, although City stepped up the pace a bit in the second half and, of course, got the goal.  I can’t see any of the players on view featuring in Martin’s plans for Saturday, with the exception perhaps of Levi Porter who was his usual live wire when he came on for the second half.

I see that Darren Kenton was singled out for particular praise and he certainly seemed comfortable.  However, matters were not helped by the programme not telling us the team and no announcements when subs were made (but fortunately the web site provides the information on the subs!)…..

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Promising Signs

City 1 v Portsmouth 3 

This was always going to be a stern test for City, especially as Portsmouth had won all their pre-season friendlies up to Saturday.  After a scare early on, when Nugent missed a sitter, Hume scored a lovely goal.   

What was really surprising was the sublime pass from De Vries who a few minutes earlier had shown a bit of skill I never knew he had!  Sadly the lead didn’t last long but I saw enough to give me some optimism for the coming season.   

Some players stood out:  Clemence played some lovely passes and Chambers looked a good buy.  N’Gotty and McAuley generally looked solid at the back although there were a few occasions when they seemed to be confused as to who was doing what; twice in the second half a Portsmouth player was allowed to progress from the halfway line into the box without being challenged.   

However, we found David James in cracking form and without his magnificent saves the result could have been 3-3.  Stearman looked better than he did for most of last season although still hesitant on occasions, and Newton did well after he came on during the first half.  Henderson didn’t have too much to do but made a few good saves, and couldn’t be faulted for the goals….

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