Premier League predictions: Lawro v actor & Crystal Palace fan Jim Piddock

April 1st, 2022

Everton have the worst away record in the Premier League and not even picked up a point on the road since mid-December – but can they change that at West Ham on Sunday?

“It’s not just their results – away from home their performances have been all over the place,” said BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson. “You just look at Everton and you know you can get at them.

“They just need to find some kind of backbone somehow, but I’m not sure where. Frank Lampard has tried all sorts of formations, but it hasn’t worked.”

Snapshot of the bottom of the Premier League: 15th Brentford, 16th Leeds, 17th Everton, 18th Watford, 19th Burnley & 20th Norwich

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week’s guest is actor, writer, producer and Crystal Palace fan Jim Piddock, whose new book – Caught with My Pants Down and Other Tales from a Life in Hollywood – is out now.

Jim Piddock at Selhurst Park
Piddock has appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows, including Lethal Weapon 2, Modern Family, Mascot, Friends and The Haunting of Bly Manor. He went to his first Palace game aged 12 in 1968 and has been a fan ever since

Piddock, now based in Los Angeles, is a lifelong Eagles fan who helped save the club from bankruptcy in 1999 when he founded the Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust.

Life at Selhurst Park is a lot rosier these days, with Patrick Vieira’s young side into the FA Cup semi-finals, and gaining plenty of admirers with their Premier League performances too.

“These are halcyon days – having supported Palace for more than 50 years I have been through everything,” Piddock, 65, told BBC Sport.

“There have been plenty of highs and lows along the way. I remember when we won the Championship play-offs at Wembley in 2013 when I had got to know the club’s owners – Steve Parish, Steve Browett, Jeremy Hosking and Martin Long.

“My heart rate was literally in double rhythm by the end of that – it is a condition called atrial fibrillation which I then had corrected afterwards – simply because I knew what it meant to the club.

“We had been so near to extinction again only a couple of years before, so achieving this was just incredible.

“I was crying at the end, but it was the first time I didn’t just look at things as a fan. I was aware of the financial side too and how important it was to the club’s future.

“I was just drained at the end of it – finally my heart did go back into a normal rhythm but I was so overwhelmed.”

Jim Piddock's house
Piddock’s LA home has a Palace-themed ‘pub’ and laundry room and an Eagles flag flying in his garden. He also has a framed picture of Steve Coppell’s 1997 play-off final corner-marking tactics against Sheffield United (from the Wembley dressing room) on his wall

Palace have stayed in the Premier League ever since, when their previous three promotions had been followed by immediate relegation back to the second tier.

“It has been an incredible rise,” added Piddock. “Not a meteoric one, but we have been really solid – this is our ninth successive season in the top flight, when we had never really felt established before.

“I think Steve Parish has been absolutely brilliant as chairman, and the decisions and choices he has made have grown the club incrementally. If he makes a mistake, he very quickly corrects it.

“I’m not just talking about managers. Steve brought in Dougie Freedman as director of football in 2019, and Dougie is just rigorous in his study of young players and their development.

“You can see how much influence both men have had on the club from our young players that have come through, because for them it is about character as much as it is ability. You can see that in our team now and I hear everyone at the club talk about the spirit there – there are no bad apples.

“What they have done with the academy is just extraordinary. I can’t say enough about how good a place the club is in, and how exciting a time it is for all Palace fans.”


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