Our only home game of March comes against a club who are looking to gain Premier alanpardewPalaceLeague survival for the first time since the league’s inception in 1992, Crystal Palace. Palace are a side who we’ve not faced often over the course of our history, considering they spent most of their time in the doldrums of the league pyramid before the 1970’s; the two sides met however in the FA Cup 3rd round in 1947 where United ran out 6-2 winners with two goals from ‘the clown prince of soccer’ Len Shackleton who would later make an impression on Wearside. One of football’s great mavericks, Shackleton was infamous for general tomfoolery on the pitch with playing one two’s with the corner flag and putting his foot on the ball at the goal line after beating a goalkeeper. The two sides met in the league for the first time in 1964 where Newcastle came out on top in a comfortable 2-0 victory with goals coming from Ron McGarry and Alan Suddick, this was followed a few years later in 1970 by our first meeting with The Eagles in the top division, the same scoreline ensued with Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson scoring a double. In 1973 The Magpies enjoyed further success in this fixture and again won by two goals to nil with the only difference being our strikers taking the day off from their goalscoring escapades, with Terry Hibbitt and Irving Nattrass duly obliging and securing the three points. We recorded an early victory in our promotion season of 83/84 with a comfortable 3-1 win over The Eagles with our three goals coming from John Ryan, Kevin Keegan and Chris Waddle. A few years later in the FA Cup third round a fairly dour game was settled by one of the finest goals ever seen at St. James Park when Dunston’s finest Paul Gascoigne chanced his arm from 30 yards; footage of which can be seen here, take note of the Palace player who had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h-thQMrmMY). United’s first meeting with Palace at home in the Premier League came on the final day of the 94/95 season when supporters were entertained by the players racing into a three goal lead after 30 minutes against a team who were already relegated, the quickfire goals came from Ruel Fox, Robert Lee and Keith Gillespie. In 1998 we inexplicably managed to lose to a Palace side who finished bottom of the league that season in what was probably the lowest point of the Dalglish era; a late Alan Shearer free kick wasn’t enough to cancel out first half goals from Matt Jansen and their player-manager at that time, Atillo Lombardo. A Shearer free kick was the order of the day the next time we played The Eagles in an FA Cup third round tie back in 2002, this time opening the scoring before the in my view criminally underrated Clarence Acuna settled the victory. Finally in our promotion year of 2010 we overcame Palace in a game only memorable for having two of the most despicable players you’re ever likely to see on a United scoresheet, first was lower league clogger and plastic hard-man Shaun Derry with an own goal and the win was sealed by wannabee gangster Nile Ranger in what was to prove to be his only league goal in a black and white shirt.