"We were total failures" - Paddy Mulligan discusses his time at Crystal Palace

Mulligan joined Oisin Langan on the Monday Rewind podcast in April

"We were total failures" - Paddy Mulligan discusses his time at Crystal Palace

Image: Andrew Matthews / EMPICS Sport

A rocky season for Crystal Palace has the potential to end on a high after they meet Manchester United in the FA Cup final this weekend.

Alan Pardew had seen some of the pressure lifted off him after beating Norwich to end a run of 14 games without a win. They also picked up draws against Arsenal and Everton to ease their relegation worries as well as a win against Stoke City.

The alarming slide in form, however, was reminiscent of their slide out of the top tier of English football in the early 1970s.

Paddy Mulligan joined Oisin Langan during the Monday Rewind podcast in April and shared his experience at the club during that difficult period.

"I didn't enjoy my time at Palace, the club was in a bit of a mess" he said.

"As well as that, we were total failures at Palace. We got relegated from the Old First Division to the Second Division to the Third Division in successive seasons.

"I was captain of the club and it was a very, very bad time for the Crystal Palace. To be relegated from the first to the second was bad enough but to be relegated to the third that's the real nightmare. That's when you really feel failure in every sense of the word."

He did, however, commend the fans for their efforts during that difficult period in the club's history.

"The fans were great, they always gave us support. They never stopped believing. Even when we were playing in Cardiff and we got relegated, they were immense. I couldn't have a bad word to say about the Palace fans."

The dilemma was one that was new to Mulligan who himself admits that he had gotten used to the success he enjoyed at Shamrock Rovers, Chelsea and even as far back as his days at Home Farm.

"What irritated me immensely at Palace was the fact that I came from Home Farm and the teams I played for there were always successful.

"Then I went to Rovers and we were winning stuff and after that I was at Chelsea and we were winning stuff. Then all of a sudden you're faced with the real problem of failure. 

"And that's what happened at Crystal Palace, we just couldn't get things together. Some days we played brilliant, I remember one day we played Leeds United at Palace and we drew 2-2.

Manager of Crystal Palace Football Club, Malcolm Allison, nearest camera, sits with his team during a photocall at Selhurst Park, London on Aug. 8, 1973. (AP Photo)

"It was a magnificent game, John Giles got two magnificent goals. We beat Manchester United at Palace 5-0 in the Old First Division in December '72. I was lucky enough to get two goals and after games like that you think to yourself 'There's no way you'll be relegated after that'.

"Maybe attitudes weren't good enough with some players on the team, but these are things you just have to go and accept. You can complain to them about it and speak to them about it, but sometimes it doesn't do a blind bit of difference. They don't pay attention because they're in a bit of a bubble themselves."