Andros Townsend: This is why Palace have been Unlucky this Season

Written by Jack Watson

Andros Townsend speaks to Jack Watson and tells him that he feels Crystal Palace have been exceptionally unlucky this season.

The Premier League campaign has been halted with a quarter of the season - a total of nine games - to go due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Eagles sitting comfortably in 11th place, 12 points above the drop and only six points off Manchester United in fifth.

"We’ve been very unfortunate this season," says Townsend.  "We had a lot of injuries all in a similar position at the same time. As we were going through the Christmas period and January and February, we had a lot of players out and it was pretty much the same 11 so it was only natural that we were going to drop points and have a dip in form. As we got players back, as you’ve seen in the last three games, we started to pick up points again and got to where we deserved to be, which is in and around mid-table.

"Coming up to this [the pandemic] we won three games on the spin and were playing well, the team were getting into a groove and we were climbing up the table and looking up. When football does start again we’ll make sure we are as fit as possible and we will give those last nine games as much as we’ve got and see where it takes us," he said to Swipe, a free to play sports predictor and trivia game with real cash prizes where you can also donate to the NHS, at the launch of Fifa 20 tournament Stay INtertoto Cup to raise money for charity.

The question about if and when the season should start up again has been raging since football was halted six weeks ago, and Townsend is of the opinion that it should be finished, but only when it is safe to do so.

READ MORE: Groundbreaking Crystal Palace Investigation Could Change Football History

He added: "My view has always been that the league should finish and I’m sure it will finish. At the moment the Premier League and football is irrelevant, the only thing that is relevant at the minute is the NHS and saving lives and us all chipping in and trying to do what we can to help them along the way.

"When the time comes and they do eventually beat this virus and football becomes relevant again, we need to be ready and we need to give the people who follow football their football fix back and hopefully by doing that we need to complete the season.

"We need to keep the integrity of the Premier League and keep everything ticking over and hopefully we can do that as safely as possible when the time comes.

"At the moment people say, ‘who cares about football, football’s not at the top of anyone’s thinking’ and that’s right, but there will come a time when football is relevant again and we need to make sure it does have a sustainable future and I think the best way to do that is to keep everyone happy and finish the season. After this season has finished then you start thinking about the next season and start thinking the season after that."

Footballers have been on the receiving end of some harsh words from some social commentators and even Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who demanded that top-flight players take a pay cut. Townsend thought that sort of rhetoric was a low blow.

"It’s not nice," he said. "I think it’s an easy deflection to turn it onto the easy targets. There was always going to be a contribution from Premier League players and it was taking the time to figure out what can we do and how we can do it and where is best to put our money and we came to the decision after each club helped out their local communities we came to a decision to raise a big fund for the NHS that was announced a few weeks ago and we’re in the process now of trying to donate as much as we can and hopefully we can get a nice pot and help the NHS out."

Being locked down and unable to play or train midway through a season is obviously difficult for any professional, but Townsend revealed that Palace are keeping their squad fit and on their toes while isolated at home with training regimes. 

Townsend added: "I’m very fortunate I’ve got two young kids so they’re keeping me occupied. I’m delving into their routine, when they nap, I nap, when they play I play so I go along with what they do. Obviously, I’m missing football, but to be able to spend more time with the kids is nice, it’s a little silver lining in what are dark times at the minute.

"Palace sent us a few running programmes, gym programmes, bike programmes and stuff we can do in and around the house. There’s a website where we punch in what we’ve done, how long we’ve done it for and how hard it was. They’re in the process at the minute of sending us GPS units so they can track what we’ve done. When this is all over and when football does become relevant again, we’re ready to go."

The STAY INtertoto Cup Fifa tournament has raised over £4,500 for NHS charities. "That’s the main reason I entered," says Townsend. "I love playing Fifa but when you’re on lockdown you feel pretty helpless and you can’t do much. To get invited to play Fifa, something you love, to try and help raise money for those people who are on the front line and helping to save lives, it was a no brainer and the first tournament I entered we raised a lot of money and hopefully in this tournament we can raise a lot of money again and help contribute to the NHS."

A total of 64 professional footballers entered the tournament, including Wilf Zaha and Townsend, who was beaten by Northampton’s Callum Morton in the last 32 on Sunday night. Zaha lost to Man City's Raheem Sterling in midweek. 

"I hate losing," he said. "It really does affect my mood. A win you’re preparing for a win and you’re expecting a win; you believe you’re going to win no matter what you do. When you do win it’s like, ‘right, I won this one, onto the next one’, but when you lose it’s different because you’re not expecting it, it does affect you a bit more.

"I think to be a sportsman you have to have that competitive streak, you have to be a winner, it hurts when you lose any game. Whether it be a board game or a World Cup final. Fifa is no different. I get pre-game jitters, I get nerves. I get tense if it is a tight game, I’m nervous, I’ve got sweaty palms. It’s similar to a normal game, it’s no different and you just want to win anything you take part in."

On Zaha's FIFA skills, Andros added: "Now, him. He’s so much better than me now. Fifa 18/29, I’d like to think I’d be in with a shot of winning, but since I had my second kid, my son in August, I’ve not really had much time for Fifa and to be good at Fifa you need to be playing it constantly, so I’ve lost my edge a little bit. I’m competitive now, but I have no chance of winning this STAY INtertoto Cup.

"He’s a top player and it’s a privilege to have someone in my position like him to look at. I see him on a daily basis, I see what he does, and I try and implement it on my game and try and improve. It’s great to have him as a teammate and great to have him still at Palace and hopefully we can keep him for a lot longer."

Listen to the latest FYP Podcast below...


FYP Fanzine issue 54 now sold out but you can buy an e-copy for £1

Written by FYP Fanzine

We're delighted to announce the latest issue of FYP Fanzine is here!

And as per it's absolutely packed with the latest Palace opinions, interviews and more. In issue 54 there is...

  • An exclusive  interview from Perth with Tony Popovic
  • A feature with Matt Woosnam from The Athletic
  • Palace fans across Europe
  • Differing views on how the season is going, including: 1) Is Roy one of our greatest managers ever? 2) Has he been let down by Steve Parish and the other owners? 3) Is watching Palace this season like pulling teeth?
  • And more! 

We sold out of all paper copies of issue 54 against Sheffield United but there is an infinte number of downloadable PDF copies availabe for £1.

Click here to buy a copy for £1


 

Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace's 'bravest' player, says Paddy McCarthy

Written by FYP Fanzine

 

Crystal Palace legend Paddy McCarthy has praised Wilfried Zaha as "brave" for taking the weekly whackings he does from literally every team the Eagles play.

Speaking at the FYP Live Podcast was asked about playing and training with a young Zaha, who broke into the first team in 2010 just as McCarthy as team-mates were dealing with the club being in administration.

A few months later that game at Hillsborough saved the club, Zaha because a regular the following season and the rest is history.

When asked if Zaha was the best player he had ever played with, McCarthy didn't hesitate; "Yeah. 100%. "In terms of natural ability I've never seen anything like it, I just haven't and I just think he's getting stronger and stronger as the years go by.

And when asked if he had ever played against anyone better than Wilf it was a similarly emphatic: "No."

"I'd have a word with the referee...quietly. That's been happening to Wilf since he came into the first team, it's probably getting highlighted more in the modern game but when Wilf made his breakthrough he was getting kicked from pillar to post. I think every game I played with Wilfried I had to go and speak to the referee "Can you protect him? Is this going to happen every time he gets the ball where they kick the living daylights out of him?"

"But all credit to Wilf and this is where you have to understand how brave Wilfried is as a lad. people probably look at defensive players; myself, Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and probably think "oh they were brave, they were tough, they were hard"...but compared to Wilfried...because I can kick people but Wilfried actually knows when he's got the ball that he's going to get kicked, he's running at 100 miler per hour that's a different type of bravery. They're the brave ones. And to continue to do that, continue to run at people even knowing that you're going to get your legs kicked off you, that just shows you how brave he is as a football player.

"I think it's a tactical thing at the moment, the tactical foul. It's something that Liverpool use quite a lot, Man City...a lot teams are using this sort of thing.

"I've trained against Wilfried since he was a kit and sometime you are genuinely going for the football and he is that good that he will make you think you can get the ball and just as you get there he will flick it away from you and ultimately you're going to kick him. He's that special that sometimes it's not actually intentional, sometimes I think he leads defenders into believing they can win the ball when they actually can't because he's so quick off the mark, he's so skilful and he's such a talented player. "

Listen to Paddy McCarthy chat Hillsborough, coaching the U18s, that goal at Derby, Poo-gate and many more Palace memories on the FYP Live Podcast below...


Crystal Palace legend Paddy McCarthy reveals what the players went through during administration

Written by FYP Fanzine

Palace legend Paddy McCarthy has opened up about what it was like as a player while the club went into administration a decade ago.

It's almost 10 years to the day that hedge fund Agilo called in the £5million they were owed and the club was plunged into administration, docked 10 points and stripped of it's manager and best players.

Speaking at the FYP Live Podcast McCarthy, now coaching the club's U18s, said: "The characters in there, the mentality, the focus, the changing room before hand was like a nightclub. That was probably my favourite team, when you're in the changing room and you look around and you see players left, right and centre that you know are going to max out and give it everything, that's a power feeling. And we had that in abundance. You had players not getting paid who didn't down tools.

"There's not many teams who go through administration, get deducted 10 points and you have players who are not getting paid, we had young lads struggling to get to work because they couldn't put petrol in their cars, but it just kind of galvanised everybody.

"I remember the atmosphere at Selhurst Park against Peterborough after the Newcastle game and that was just a powerful atmosphere, it was like the whole club just came together and I think the momentum just continued on since that game." 

LISTEN: FYP Podcast 318 | LIVE Podcast with Paddy McCarthy now available

It was Paul Hart who was parachueted in as manager to try and guide Palace to safety after that deduction has seen them drop into the Championship bottom three. Previous gaffer Neil Warncok had sold to QPR for a sum of £500,000 that helped keep the club afloat.

Hart steered the ship and it was a final day draw at Sheffield Wednesday that secured the club's survival as they were taken over by CPFC2010 a few weeks later and now, 10 years later, are an established Premier League club.

On hart, McCarthy added: "He was a very impressive man, Hart, I think he was about 6 foot 4, greeted you by staring you in the eyes was always honest with you and he had got a way of making the team tick at the right times. If he needed to tell you you weren't doing to sell he did that in no uncertain terms and if he thought you were doing well he'd do that as well.

"I can't really remember the half-time team talk but I can remember what he did afterwards, he just literally walked in and we're all celebrating, shook everybody's hand and went "See you I'm off on holiday" and that was the last we saw of him. I think he did a live video from Barbados at the end of season do."

Listen to Paddy McCarthy chat Hillsborough, coaching the U18s, that goal at Derby, Poo-gate and many more Palace memories on the FYP Live Podcast below...