In Memory of John McCormick - A Powerful, Uncompromising, Dedicated Crystal Palace Hero

Written by JD Senior

John McCormick; Dedicated, Tough, Scottish. Following the passing of John on Saturday, we revisit a piece by JD Senior. The piece was published in one of the first editions of the FYP Fanzine, at the time known as Power to the Palace, which sums up the player and the man that John was. Rest in Peace, John.

When you remember back over a long period of thirty or forty years it is usually only the brief image of an incident that remains; that brilliant strike or that reflex save. The rest of the football is largely lost in a haze although a feel for the atmosphere might usually remain.

How lucky we are today that most of the matches are recorded on celluloid and can be replayed to freshen the memory. However there is one match from which I can recall none of the football actually played or too much of the atmosphere and yet I still recall one incident almost as though it happened quite recently.

ln late April 1969, after the euphoria of the Fulham game (where Palace earned their first ever promotion to the top flight) I returned north to complete my finals at Liverpool University and so it was that I drove my battered Austin A35 (the one that looked like a cottage loaf) to Blackburn on the evening of 28th April to see the last match of that great season.

I found myself standing on a fairly empty terrace directly opposite the player's entrance in the main stand about on the half way line. The few Palace diehards were on the other side of the pitch close to the player's entrance.

The crowd around me were very pleasant and there was one wag near me who spent the entire match, or so it seemed, baiting the Blackburn player Malcolm Darling. whenever Darling came near there would be a shout, that must have been clearly heard by the player, something like "...and for his next trick Darling is going to attempt to pass the ball."

On the next occasion it might have been "...and now he is going to attempt to pass it to one of his team mates." And so it went on. No doubt Mr Darling had a terrible game, as it must have been impossible to keep his concentration with this continuous barrage of ridicule.

I think it was in the second half, right in front of me that, after a tackle as the play moved away John McCormick put his hand on the ground to begin to get up when a Blackburn player (I think his name was Kopel but I cannot be sure) walking past quite deliberately stamped on John's hand. His red hair did not belie John's temper and Glasgow upbringing and, quick as a flash, he was on his feet and had pole axed the offender with one superb hook that Mohamed Ali would have been proud of.

However John was nothing if not honest and he must have known the outcome, after all the incident had taken place right in front of the linesman. Immediately, with no prompting, John started to walk towards the player's entrance and after a quick word with the linesman, the referee almost had to run after John to send him to where he was already headed.

I like to think that the offender was sent off while being carried off on the stretcher but I am not so sure about that.

The image I remember so clearly is that of the referee almost chasing John along the half way line to send him off and John seeming to barely slow his step in the process. As a player John was always passionate and committed to the cause and totally honest with it, and I always feel that the incident in Blackburn and his reaction to it summed up the man completely.

Thanks for the memories John.

Oh and the match.

The record shows we won 2-1. Did we? Who scored? I cannot recall. A surprising footnote to the story was that the FA decided that the punishment meted out to John of being sent off was punishment enough as he had been outrageously provoked whereas the Blackburn player received a ban of three or four matches. As a result he took the field for the opening match of the next season against Manchester United. I cannot believe that the FA could or would take such a sensible approach today.


 

Former Palace midfielder Marco Reich taking part in massive World Cup themed six-a-side tournament at the O2 in July

Written by Robert Sutherland

Remember Marco Reich? Palace fans will get the chance to see former Eagles man at the Star Sixes – a six-a-side world cup for legends being held in July.

The German was a bit of a cult hero for the short spell he was at Selhurst but as quickly as it started it was over.

He arrived from Derby in September 2005, scored on his debut against Coventry and then added two brilliant goals during a win at QPR before the winner against Liverpool in the League Cup.

Unfortunately things sort of fizzles out and just over a year later he left, heading back to Germany at Offenbach Kickers. But he became a popular figure during his year and a half at Palace.

Anyway, he is playing for Germany in the Star Sixes tournament at the O2 in London from July 13th-16th.

There are a host of huge names also taking part for each nation including the likes of Steven Gerrard, Roberto Carlos and Alessandro Del Piero.

Names lke Carles Puyol, Rio Ferdinand, Deco, Jay-Jay Okocha, Michael Ballack, Robert Pires and Michael Owen will also be gracing the Star Sixes pitch at the 12-nation tournament.

While ex-Eagles loanee Paul Dickov will line up for Dominic Matteo’s Scotland team, but you'll do well to remember his brief loan spell at Selhurst in 2000. 

England kick off their Group A campaign against Puyol’s Spanish side – which includes Michel Salgado, Luis Garcia and Fernando Morientes – on Thursday, July 13 before facing the Auld Enemy Scotland the following evening.

Their final group fixture is against Mexico on the afternoon of Saturday, July 15, by which time they will hope to have done enough to qualify for that evening’s quarter-finals.

“Star Sixes can’t come quickly enough,” said Gerrard.

“I’m really excited and can’t wait to compete against all the other top players. Hopefully, we’ll do well and make our fans really proud.”

Other huge clashes will see Brazil lock horns with Italy in Group B, which also features Nigeria and China, while France open against Germany in a tough-looking Group C that also includes Portugal and Denmark.

Every Star Sixes player will be a fully-capped former international, and with each country selecting a ten-man squad, many, many more star names will be announced in the coming weeks.

All group stage matches will be played during three ‘sessions’ on Thursday, July 13, Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15 (afternoon session). All 12 countries will play one 20-minute match in each of these sessions. 

From, and including, the quarter-finals, all knockout-stage matches will feature two 15-minute halves, with a short half-time break. Matches that finish all square in the knockout stages will be decided by a penalty shootout.

As well as world-class football action, a spectacular show will be built around the matches making this an unmissable occasion for the whole family.

For tickets, which start at £30 adults and £10 U16s, visit: www.starsixes.com.


 

EXCLUSIVE - Enter to Win a Signed Print

Written by Robert Sutherland

The new contract wasn't the only thing that Wilfried Zaha signed. 

Signatures

This print, by Hallyink, which features all the Palace players who started the season at Selhurst Park as Subbuteo players, has been signed by every member of the squad. 

And YOU can win it! All you have to do to enter is: 

a) Donate £2 to the Palace For Life foundation, here

b) Take a screenshot (or a photo of your screen) showing that the donation has been made. 

c) Send the screenshot to us, either on Twitter with the #FYPPoster hashtag, or on this Facebook post. 

We will announce the winner on Monday at 5pm! 

 

 

Downloadable copies of FYP issue 48 on sale - with Gabor Kiraly interview!

Written by Jay Crame

The final edition of the FYP Fanzine for the 2016/17 season will be on sale on the Holmesdale Road from 10.30ish on Sunday.

We sign off for the season with a bumper issue packed full of content for just £2 so make sure you grab yourself a copy while stocks last.

The issue has a goalkeeping theme running through it thanks to our wonderful team of writers as well another wonderful front cover.

Inside this issue we have an interview with former Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly. Not only that, but he has given a pair of his jogging bottoms to give away so find out inside the issue how you can be in with a chance to win them.

The issue also includes interviews with Palace Ladies goalkeeper Chanelle Yardley and club photographer Michael Hulf plus so much more!

If you fancy writing for FYP in a future issue, please also get in touch. We will be planning four issues for next season once again including our 50th!

Hard copies are now SOLD OUT but you can buy an E-copy of FYP 48 for your Kindle or phone etc..

Buy a downloadable copy of issue 48 here for just one pound.