This Sunday at 2pm ET, NBCSN will debut a brand-new Premier League Download episode. This time the subject is Crystal Palace, the south London club who have been in the headlines recently after potential investment from NBA and NHL investors in the United States.
To give Crystal Palace full credit, there’s a lot of positive things to say about the club right now. As the NBCSN documentary points out, the Eagles are the most relegated team in Premier League history. But the former yo-yo club have established themselves in England’s top tier, sporting one of the best match atmospheres in the Premier League, playing a style of football that’s attractive to the eye and adding a touch of uniqueness to English football with cheerleaders and an Eagle that are part of the pre-match entertainment.
With the Premier League’s system of promotion/relegation, there’s a constant of churn of clubs in and out of the league. For example, Wigan Athletic, Hull, Birmingham City and other clubs have been relegated, while more exciting sides such as Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Southampton and others have come up. It’s soccer’s version of Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
In NBCSN’s Premier League Download episode on Palace, host Roger Bennett brings us closer to understanding what makes the club so special. Similar to the Jack to a King documentary (also aired on NBC), it’s an inspirational story of a hard-working club that was able to pull itself out of administration and take flight.
At the heart of this documentary are the supporters and, specifically, the Holmesdale Fanatics who inhabit the corner of Selhurst Park, creating a noisy atmosphere, standing up throughout the game and often holding up politically-charged banners. Bennett interviews one of the key members of the group, and gains great insight into why they’re so much noisier than supporters from other Premier League grounds. Also, Bennett’s interview with Palace manager Alan Pardew shines a huge spotlight on the supporters’ group. The former Newcastle manager gives an example of how much of a positive difference the fans have made on Palace’s performances.
Bennett also interviews Palace Co-Chairman Steve Parish where the co-owner of the club opens up about how he and his partners rescued the club and began the difficult task of turning things around. However, during the fascinating interview with Parish, Bennett is in one scene distracting. He can be seen bobbing up and down on the couch and laughing quietly to himself throughout the portion of the interview when Parish is talking about the serious topic of how the club was in administration and what a difficult task it was to finalize the deal. I’m not sure what Bennett was thinking.
Out of all of the segments of the documentary, my favorite one is the 3-3 draw with Liverpool from May, 2014. The combination of visuals, music and an accelerated pace make it a must-watch whether you’re a Palace supporter or not. Most of us already know what happened that night, but seeing it again from the perspective of what it meant to Palace was a joy to watch.
There’s plenty of other memorable scenes to watch in Sunday’s episode, so be sure to either watch it live or set your DVR to record it. If you’re a true football fan, you won’t want to miss it.
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