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Old 15-04-2021, 01:22 PM
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A game I've never forgotten. Not so much for the match itself, but what it meant. At the final whistle we'd heard Leeds had lost 2-0 at QPR, which meant with just four games to go, we were 7pts clear of both Leeds and Man U. European qualification was virtually ours.

Unusually for me i sat in the Old Stand for this one. It was the Sunday after Spurs superb win at the first FA Cup semi final to be played at Wembley, against Arsenal. Gascoigne had scored the kind of free kick that had me and my mates (all neutrals) watching on TV, jumping about the room in sheer excitement of what we'd just seen.

The good thing was, the euphoric victory left Spurs a little low in energy come this match, and it was quite a comfortable 1-0 if i recall. But my main memory is the glow of happiness i felt at the final whistle. My brother and me had vowed that if we got to Europe, we would definitely go to the first away game wherever it sent us. The excitement, that i'd finally see my Palace team in European competition just felt great. This just felt like the pivotal win as the papers alluded to and perhaps we would mathematically clinch it against Everton on the Saturday.

The following day, UEFA met in London to discuss Liverpool's application to rescind their European ban that still had two further years to go. To everybody's absolute shock and horror, UEFA chairman Lennart Johansson announced that the ban had been overturned and Liverpool were reinstated to European competition with immediate effect. I can't actually recall when I heard the news (maybe the Advertiser), but come Saturday's game at home to Everton everyone knew and the atmosphere was just one of real hurt and sorrow. The players played like they had the stuffing knocked out of them and a normally reticent Steve Coppell went beserk, calling out the FA for not working in Palace's best interests. I'll write more about it in the Everton report.
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