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My Football with Crystal Palace fan Kevin Day: "We all p****d ourselves while Laurel threw a punch at Hardy and a police horse chased the Pink Panther"

Kevin Day
(Image credit: Future)

Favourite car?

I can’t drive, although I’m quite fond of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Favourite singer?

Kate Bush. Yes, she is cool.

Favourite food?

French by day, Chinese by night.

First game you ever attended?

Ah, now. According to my father it was Crystal Palace 2-2 Manchester United in August 1969. According to my mum, Bill the greengrocer took me to my first game against Stoke in February 1973. As my dad is the only one of them still alive, let’s say Man United. Whoever it was, I can still remember the vivid green of the pitch.

Who was your childhood hero and did you ever meet them?

My Palace hero was Don Rogers, who played on the wing for us during the early-70s. I met him much later and he still had the most wonderful cartoon west-country accent, plus a luxuriant white moustache that made him look and sound like Colonel Sanders was from Swindon. My non-Palace football hero was George Best. I interviewed him in later life which was absolutely brilliant – for five minutes until Rodney Marsh turned up and insisted he was a better player and a better man than George. He was wrong.

Finest moment as a player?

I was the slowest right-back in the history of south London Sunday League football, but my one goal was an exquisite left-foot volley from five yards out (or 25 yards out depending on how many pints I’ve had).

What do you like most about going to a match?

Talking the same bollocks to the same people in the same corner of the same pub for three hours before kick-off. 

How has watching football changed for you since you were a kid?

How long have you got? Everything has changed except for the aching need to see Palace win. The biggest change is that we now have to sit down like good little middle-class boys and girls.

Who from your club’s past would you bring back for your current side?

Every single Palace supporter reading this already knows the answer: Jerry Murphy. Lazy-arsed mod urchin genius. 

Who has or had the hardest shot that you’ve ever seen?

Midfielder Barry Silkman. He went on to become the Lovejoy of the greyhound racing world.

Who do you most admire in football and why?

Currently it’s Troy Townsend, a tireless campaigner for ‘Kick It Out’, which is an organisation that really shouldn’t have to even bloody exist in 2019. The person I least admire is the idiot who dreamt up VAR. How football fans don’t realise that it will fundamentally change our game for the worse within a decade is beyond me.

Which player do you like even though they never played for your club?

Trick question. If they’ve never played for Palace, I won’t like them. If they have played for Palace and now don’t, I won’t like them.

What’s your favourite club badge that isn’t your own?

No football club badge could be better than an eagle standing on an actual palace made of glass. But like many of my generation, I’m quite partial to the Leeds smiley face.

Where’s the best place you’ve ever watched a game?

About two-thirds up the Holmesdale End, slightly to the right of there goal, between 1974 and 1994. A patch of concrete of blessed memories, some of them about football. 

Favourite football book?

Striker. The first of Steve Bruce's seminal works about Steve Barnes, Leddersford Town's crime-solving manager. If Steve Bruce meant them to be as funny as they are, then he's a comedy genius. 

What's the funniest/strangest thing you've ever seen or heard at a game?

The last league game of the season 1989: Birmingham fans fighting among themselves, only they'd all turned up in fancy dress. So we all stood and pissed ourselves while Laurel threw a punch at Hardy and a police horse chased the Pink Panther off the pitch. 

What’s the best food you’ve ever had at a game?

Any burger at any league ground in the country. I did a TV show with Gordon Ramsay recently. We got on really well, until I casually mentioned that nothing he’d ever cooked was as nice as a slab of indeterminate meat smothered with onions in a soggy bap on a freezing cold day after an away win. 

Tell us something about one of your managers or players we don’t know...

Sam Allardyce is a massive fan of ballroom dancing; Damien Delaney isn’t too keen on Richard Osman.

What’s the most important piece of memorabilia that you have or wish you still had?

I had a Palace garden gnome that Andy Johnson once kissed for me. God knows where that’s gone. The only actual piece of memorabilia I have is a glove signed by Julian Speroni, but I’ve worked out that half of Croydon has a glove signed by Julian Speroni, so it’s not that special. 

Which of your club’s former players has the best job now?

Neil Ruddock’s agent has been touting Razor’s willingness to appear naked on comedy shows. Sounds sad, but if a fat man can get five grand for getting his bollocks out, that’s not a bad day’s work. Especially as he’ll probably be getting them out anyway...

Who’s your current favourite player?

I almost don’t want to say in case the others read this and sulk, but it has to be Wilfried Zaha. Please God he’s still a Palace player when this goes out!

What’s your favourite football media?

I’ll always love Match of the Day but I absolutely love Goals on Sunday, mainly due to Chris Kamara. His baffled and basic grasp of the game is the perfect match for ordinary football fans like myself.

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