Book Review: Crystal Palace FC 1990 – 2011: More Biased Commentary by Chris Winter

Chris Winter is a Crystal Palace fan who has watched his beloved team since 1969 and which have given rise to two books. The first Crystal Palace FC 1969 – 1990: A Biased Commentary and the second, Crystal Palace FC 1990 – 2011: More Biased Commentary (which is reviewed here). After a foreword by ‘celebrity’ Palace fan Jo Brand, Winter explains in the introduction that he has spent some of his years at Selhurst Park providing match day commentaries “…to patients in Mayday Hospital, and to blind and partially-sighted fans at the ground and there is no shame in admitting that my description of the action has always been utterly biased, hence the title and tone of the book…”

For me as a reader there is nothing wrong with that, as you then know exactly what you are getting, or as a well known slogan states, “…it does what it says on the tin…” In terms of the basic outline of the book, Winter provides a season by season summary of The Eagles from 1990/91, when Palace were in the ‘old’ First Division, through to 2010/11 in the Championship. This isn’t a game by game account of each season, and instead the focus is on key games or incidents, with the focal point being the players, whether they made a single appearance or were Palace regulars. There are no glossy colour pictures in the book, but the hand drawn sketches of the players by the author himself is a nice touch.

Not being a Palace fan didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Indeed I have to admit to learning a few things along the way about the club from South East London. For instance, did you know that Ashley Cole had a loan spell at Selhurst Park from Arsenal during the 1999/2000 season? What also came across is that The Eagles have had more than fair share of bad luck. A couple of instances stood out for me. The first relates to the 1990/91 season when Palace finished third in the ‘old’ First Division. Arsenal had won the title and Liverpool were second. The team from Anfield were still banned from European competition and so Palace were due to take the spot in the UEFA Cup. However, after ‘negotiations’ between the FA and UEFA, Liverpool had their ban revised and so took the European place. The second incident is from the 1994/95 Premier League season. This would see the league restructured from 22 to 20 clubs through the relegation of four rather than three sides and the promotion of just two from the division below. And the team that suffered the drop finishing fourth from bottom? Of course, The Eagles.

The last season detailed is 2010/11, which was a significant one as the new owners CPFC2010 took control of the club and towards the end saw Dougie Freedman become manager. This could be seen as the starting point of a renaissance, which although saw Freedman move to Bolton this season, has as I write, lead to Palace sitting in second place under Ian Holloway and the dream of a return to the Premier League very much alive.

In closing the book, Winter then reviews position by position, his best eleven from the 1990 – 2011 period and finishes with a postscript which the reveals his all-time fantasy team (covering both books from 1969 – 2011). My one slight criticism is that Winter discloses his best eleven from the 1990 – 2011 period in the introduction to the book, so when reading the positional review at the close of this edition, the suspense of who is in the line-up is already lost. However, this is a very minor point.

Overall, this is a good addition to the bookshelves for any Palace fan, in providing a very readable summary of the seasons since 1990/91 and will spark memories for those old enough to remember and provide a background to years gone-by for younger fans. Football is about opinions; this book will certainly stimulate that discussion and debate amongst its readers.

Tags: , ,
FBR Copyright 20214 All rights reserved.

Posted December 13, 2012 by Editor in category "Reviews


  1. Pingback: Book Review: Crystal Palace FC 1990 – 2011: More Biased … | Pulplit Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.