Indeed, they will be in the happy position of backing a short-priced serious contender for silverware.
The event will admittedly be the Cheltenham Festival, Queen Mother Champion Chase rather than the Premier League, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be celebrating a success in Palace colours if the result goes their way.
Last year’s race saw Eagles fan Steve Preston acclaimed as the winning owner when his horse, the 11/4 favourite Sire De Grugy, romp home in what is always one of the meeting’s big ticket races. Of course jockey Jamie Moore was decked out in red and blue stripes and all concerned were more than happy to trumpet their footballing affiliations. There was even talk of horse and jockey making a half-time appearance at Selhurst Park (you can put your own joke in here about what normally appears on the pitch at SP!).
Sire De Grugy is again amongst the horses most fancied for this year’s event. Indeed, his rivalry with the highly-rated Sprinter Sacre, who is getting back to his best, promises to be one of the highlights of the entire festival.
But Sire de Grugy has not had things all his own way since landing the big race last year. The eight-year-old gelding had a minor operation to correct an irregular heartbeat back in September (surely everyone with Palace connections has had an irregular heart-beat this season?) but his connections are now increasingly confident that he will be in prime form to defend his crown.
Last year the French-bred chestnut won three other grade one races in addition to the Queen Mother Champion Chase, including the highly prized Tingle Creek and Celebration Chase at Sandown. But this season has been, so far at least, more problematic. Not only has that heart operation taken some getting over, but the horse also struggled with a slight muscle problem during December.
The good news, however, is that he is recovering fantastically well from his latest setback and barring accidents will get a racing run out in early February in the Game Spirit Chase. That race will take place on 7th February, providing ample time to fully gear up and fine tune for the bigger prizes later in the spring.
Sire de Grugy has become something of a Palace favourite following his successes last year and every time he runs there are invariably plenty of red and blue scarves on show. Starved of success on the pitch, it seems Palace fans are all too eager to latch on to a sporting hero who can give them a taste of competitive glory.
He has become eagles fans’ plan B this season. Twitter and message boards alike were full of messages of congratulation from happy Palace fans last year and it was notable that even the Duchess of Cornwall was decked out in red and blue as she presented the Queen Mother trophy.
Whether Alan Pardew and company will be rubbing shoulders with royalty later on this season remains to be seen. The FA Cup win over Dover may have been routine enough, but at least, coinciding as it did with Pardew’s return, it allowed us to rekindle fond memories of an FA Cup run to savour.
Perhaps Sire de Grugy’s less than satisfactory start to the campaign can be taken as an augury for Palace this season. Maybe the way his faltering start to 2015 is being put behind him can convince Palace fans that the same happy upturn in fortunes may be on the cards for their team.
If replacing a manager constitutes minor heart surgery for a football club, the parallels begin to look all the more persuasive. Rose-tinted glasses may help, but trophies always look great when dressed in ribbons of red and blue.