Croydon & The Surrounding Areas – First Hand Report March of 1979. I was living very happily in Gladstone Road bedsits backing onto the railway. Not a care in the world. A nice regular job on BR. 18 years old. Never known a disappointment. Bit of drinking, bit of womanising, bit of fishing on the Grand Union. In their own town, each person is a king and knows their way around and knows the people and knows where there is danger. I was used to my area and neighbourhood, but I had failed to appreciate it enough. What more can we ask from life, when Watford is so beautiful? Its elegant parks, its lively shops and high street, its bountiful waterways, the beautiful countryside, the diverse pubs, the fiery women. Where every horizon, in every direction, holds a thousand marvels! As I know now, Hertfordshire, and Watford in particular, is by far the best place in the UK in which to live. But I was young and innocent. I had been to a foolish all boys school. I had no sisters. I thought all women were soft-hearted Mary Poppins types, who were meticulously clean and tidy. I was a little innocent bon-bon which had never been sucked. It was, ironically, in the Crystal Palace pub in St Albans that I first saw her. Beautiful. Coca cola bottle shaped. Waist like a wasp, Long, very dark hair falling down her back almost to her curves. Wearing multi-coloured lycra with some transparent bits. And a little sinner's smiling glance on her too. And loose! Well, with another girl, but no men in sight. Well, you can imagine. I pulled my WFC beenie hat well-on and thought to myself, I'll go and introduce myself. It turned out she was from Croydon and that, Hornets and Hornettas, is how a few weeks later, I found myself selling all my possessions and with my wallet spongy for once, going to Croydon with her to look around at a place for us to live together. On the train down there, she talked it up and told me how wonderful life was down there. Life would be quieter and more peaceful. It was a modern town and was just as good as Watford - if I'd only give it a chance. I felt very uneasy about it, but as we walked out together from East Croydon station, she gestured grandly down the road towards all the skyscrapers and said “Look Clive, at how much progress there is here!” Then she showed me this tower, the other way, which she said was identical to the Capital Tower in Hollywood. Now there's the internet, I know that was also just another one of her Croydon lies. Well anyway, I allowed myself to be convinced and foolishly moved in with her in a bedsit in the real Crystal Palace (or Upper Norwood as it's really called). That is why I am most qualified to inform and advise about the real nature of Crystal Palace FC. I have lived inside the actual belly of the beast and have seen its entrails! Yes, East Croydon. Very nice. But it's only offices and deader than a doornail after office hours. Fairfield Hall? Fairlyshit. Whitgift Centre? Shitgift Centre. Walk along and you soon come to West Croydon, which is a bit livelier at least. It has its own little station. But it is dark and dingy and taxi offices and chicken shops. Nothing you'd really want to go there for. There did used to be a decent Youngs pub down there, The Tamworth Arms, but they knocked it down now I believe. A disgrace. Further along still and you come to the hospital and Thornton Heath. Like West Croydon, but fewer shops. Busy traffic shooting past all the time. I met a few of the locals at various times and even went in their houses. She introduced me to them and I met some in pubs. Some of them were alright, but others of them were real ****-eaters. There was a almost toothless, drunk, gay one who dressed very smartly in a bow tie all the time, but kept staggering drunk into the road and constantly got run over. He was probably the best of them. He lost his teeth from getting run over. I remember dancing Zorba the Greek with him while he had his leg in a cast. A very decent fellow. Others of them though, as I say, were rightdicks. As for the girl, well she turned out to be a monument. I was accustomed to decent Watford women. Noble and simple. Competent around the house and in the kitchen. Obedient. Not even “what for?”. Well this Croydon girl was not like that. After I'd bought her very fine clothes and the shoes that she wanted, I noticed that I didn't seem to hold the same place in her affections any more. Going out until the early hours, coming home and then off out again at dawn. No food bought or prepared. I got in from working one time and there was a Fray Bentos tinned pie, sitting with the metal lid peeled back and half eaten. She was very loose and low morals. Something I would say is very common for the women of the Croydon area. So after all the declarations of love, I woke up one morning to find myself thrown away on the street corner. Yes Hornets and Hornettas, I had wasted the flower of my youth, my time and my money. I travelled back home to Hertfordshire skint and skinny and malnourished. If I were to see her again today, I would have only one question for her. “How come Jesus Christ died from just three nails and yet you haven't died after being nailed by so many?” The Opposition Tiresome Palace. You keep thinking they're going down, but somehow they manage to just about hang on and delay the inevitable. This season, next season? Who knows. But they're certainly championship bound. The absolute epitome of the one man team, we only have to consider high-pitched whiner and carper, Wilfried “I could have been crippled!” Zaha. The rest of the Palace 11 are merely a supporting cast. Extras to poor tear-stained Wilf's tragedy-stricken leading man. Did you know he bragged about having slept with David Moyes' daughter? While he was at Man Utd? And then wonders why he got binned off back to where he came in short order. What an idiot! As with any tragic actor, Wilf likes to portray himself as wronged by the world. The victim. The hard done by. The slightest breath of a butterfly's wings on him and he's straight into the plunge of the dying swan, with a twist, a double-pike and a little roly-poly (silly little ponytail-a-flyin'), Then he gets up and we move to Act 2 – The Indignant. Arched back. Head forward. Palms outspread and facing upward. Eyebrows as high as they'll go and mouth wide open in that awful, grimacing, cavern thing he does. Every game it's the same thing. We'll no doubt see a shitload of it on Saturday. Oh, their manager is some ancient dinosaur relic who failed with England decades ago. Forget the name. Winterbottom? Prediction Easy 0-3 win. Pererya, Sema and Deulofeu.