Yesterday was a long, but fun filled day. I travelled to Southeast London by train, tube and train to see Crystal Palace play Premiership winners Chelsea in a friendly at Selhurst Park. A good number of the Chapman clan turned up: 1 brother, sister-in-law, 3 nephews and a couple of their friends and my Dad.
For the first time I sat high up on the second tier of the Holmesdale stand. The view of the football was great and you could see across South Norwood and Thornton Heath. I pointed out the church where my Mum and Dad were married and he couldn't remember what the church was called!
The football was "OK" - a typical friendly with lots of substitutions and changes of playing style. I think Palace could have played all day and wouldn't have scored with their lone striker. A few trialists impressed, but it was the Chelsea players that looked stunningly fit and skillful. It finished 1-0.
There was a crowd of over 21,000 which is unheard of for a Palace friendly, so thanks to Chelsea for agreeing to play and also bringing lots of fans along. My ongoing concern about Palace is attracting bigger crowds and the obvious thing is that we have too many white boys. The local community is Black and Asian and we need to welcome them into the club integrating into the community far better. This year I am looking forward to the season, whatever it may bring.
I then travelled back on the rails and after a quick meal, Pete and I walked into the local town to have drinks with our newly engaged neighbours (who call us their gaybours as mentioned here) and their rather nice 23 year old friend Tom. Wow. I was dehydrated and the wine and beer have left a dull sensation in my head this morning. It was a good night though.
Today we have to attend a picnic and musical gathering that Pete's Mum is part of. One of those family things that you can't say no to... unfortunately.