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Williams, it was really nothing
9:20am Tuesday 12th February 2013 in Crystal Palace FC
Tom Hughes writes for the Five Year Plan fanzine and has been a Palace fan for 16 years.
He says: "Somehow a dire game against Grimsby started my Palace support.
"Luckily the 96/97 promotion season came soon afterwards and my Dad took me to nearly every game. It was a huge improvement. In terms of being a Palace fan that probably makes me a glory hunter, although there was never anyone else.
"Wilderness years in my teens followed, but thankfully the bug came back. I bought my first full season ticket with mates, started writing for the Five Year Plan fanzine, and the rest is history."
Follow him on twitter at: @thughes0197 and read his column every week, here.
“It’s a game of two halves” is a football cliché up there with “taking each game as it comes” and “giving 110%” in terms of irritating predictability.
Unfortunately for the chances of eradicating clichés, Palace's recent matches have been proving the “game of two halves” saying is often spot on.
Against Bolton, Huddersfield, Charlton and now Watford, the Eagles have played horrible, sub-standard football in the first half - reminiscent of some dark George Burley-era Palace XI - and then come out for the second 45 minutes looking like a totally reinvigorated, Championship-contending team.
I believe the most decisive difference is a diminutive blonde Welshman, Jonathan Williams.
Tellingly, he earned himself a man of the match award against Watford despite only playing half of the tie.
The nickname Joniesta might have started out tongue-in-cheek but it’s becoming a more accurate nod to the type of player he is.
Joniesta and Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta are both small – an inch different in height – but there are similarities beyond physicality.
Williams pops up everywhere, loves to have the ball at his feet, and will one minute be exchanging passes with Ramage in defence before the next be charging down one wing or playing a delicately weighted ball forward.
His close control, speedy dribbling, enthusiasm, intuitive foresight, crisp and visionary short passes – not to mention his utter fearlessness – all help to terrify the opposition.
Seeing him blur past several defenders is football brilliance in a very pure form.
Obviously, this isn’t to say the young Welshman will emulate his Spanish namesake - who after all has won everything there is to win in international and domestic football.
However, if he continues to progress at this rate he’ll quickly bypass being labelled the “next Zaha” by lazy national press.
At the moment he could just be the missing link needed to extend extraordinary second half performances across a whole 90 minutes.
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