By 90Min
February 07, 2018

Life as a devout football fan is never easy. One can often be left feeling helpless, watching on as their beloved club continues to make poor decision after poor decision in the knowledge that, no matter how hard they bang that drum, shout their chants or celebrate that goal, those higher up will always be the ones to make that all important call at the end of the day. 

In Crystal Palace's case, their fans often feel this way more than most. Their unwavering support has merited very little reward from those in red and blue on the pitch, Zenith Data Systems Cup aside, and whilst I and many others will continue to stream through the gates at Selhurst Park for many, many more years to come, we cannot help but feel a sense of injustice for all our efforts at times. 

One key example of these aforementioned efforts are the trials and tribulations those that associate themselves with the 'Holmesdale Fanatics' group go through. On paper, they appear to the neutral fan as a bunch of self imposed thugs who simply spend every matchday looking for a scrap with the opposition, rather than actually investing themselves in the football, but that preconception is oh so wrong. 

The 'HF', as they are more simply known, dedicate their lives to the club, spending unthinkable amounts of hard earned money following the Eagles around the country, whilst also spending their own and raised money to contribute to full stand displays, a presentation that takes an immense amount of planning and commitment as well as skill, presence and artful thinking. 

Anyways, back to the point. Injustice. In their current predicament, the south London club currently find themselves with nine, yes, NINE first team players out injured, almost enough to construct a fairly decent mid table side, but although this could be put down to misfortune, the planning behind the processes which has left the Eagles in this mess cannot. 

Steve Parish, chairman of the club, along with Dougie Freedman, Josh Harris and David Blitzer are all responsible, at the very least, for ensuring that whoever is in charge of the playing staff has enough options in his squad to choose from. At the very least. 

However, as we approach mid February, Palace find themselves with just one fit senior goalkeeper in Wayne Hennessey and one fit forward ready to play Premier League football in Christian Benteke as new boy Alexander Sorloth builds up match fitness. 

Parish and co gambled in the summer with transfers, and have Roy Hodgson to thank for allowing the club to even be near their relegation rivals, and any sane fan would've expected the 70-year-old to be rewarded for his efforts with a bit of backing in the January transfer window, but again, Parish gambled. 

Bringing in just three players of unknown quantity in Jaroslaw Jach, Erdal Rakip and the aforementioned Sorloth for a combined sum of around £10m reeks of arrogance and ignorance in addressing what the club really needed, and if Hodgson manages to keep the club in England's top flight with the scarce resources he has been left with, the man deserves a statue outside this new shiny stadium that the board have proposed. 

Nevertheless, forget the rambling moans and groans, and focus on the title of the article. 

For all the disappointment and dejection of that day at Wembley back in 2016, a message was evoked from the very centre of the Palace end of the national stadium, a message that read 'This Mentality is Unstoppable'. A rallying cry, it seemed, but it goes deeper than that. 

The mentality mentioned on that banner amidst the raucousness of red and blue jubilation is a statement that, no matter how many finals are lost, how many ill advised mistakes are made at board level, how many relegations or administrations we suffer, we still don't stop. We don't stop chanting, don't stop turning up, don't stop supporting, don't stop believing. 

It is a mentality of 'expect nothing, in order to never be disappointed', and as dismal as that may be perceived, it is exactly what keeps Palace fans sane at the end of the day. It is what keeps us from doing what any normal human would do and give up on a club that can be so abjectly inept at times, as for when the tide swings and the good times come round, they are oh so good. 

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