Ian Holloway explains the truth behind 'Poo-gate'
"Someone had put gloves on and spread it all over the tiles on the floor."
Hygiene is no laughing matter. Nor are the Championship play-off semi-finals. This was one of the biggest night's in both Crystal Palace and Brighton's respective history, and it was almost derailed before it began. This is the story of Poo-gate, a scandal involving rival football clubs, a turd, and a Wilfried Zaha masterclass.
Palace arrived at the Amex having drawn the home leg of the play-off tie 0-0, but without their main striker Glenn Murray, who had suffered an ACL injury.
Their manager at the time, Ian Holloway, would usually follow his team into the stadium and arrive last. On the night, he decided to change protocol and enter the stadium first–a wise call, in hindsight.
Upon entering the dressing room, he was greeted by "a whiff."
"I've got dogs," Holloway told JOE's All To Play For podcast. "I know how bad it is. You give them something different to eat and you're smelling it the whole time. I thought, there's something wrong here."
"So I go into the toilet and it's horrendous," he said.
Describing what he saw in the first cubicle, Holloway said: "Not just stood there, not a lump of it which you can pick up. Someone had put gloves on and spread it all over the tiles on the floor.
"It was disgusting, mate."
"I said, 'There is excrement being plastered all over the place just to try and put us off.'"
"Who did it affect the most? @wilfriedzaha."@IanOllie7 on what really happened when his @CPFC team arrived at the Amex to find excrement on the changing room floor.
w/ @Coral pic.twitter.com/nFovrNhNCW
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 29, 2021
After demanding to see the Brighton chairman, and explaining that if he didn't have it cleaned up, he would invite the Sky cameras in to broadcast the horror sight to the world, Palace were finally into their freshly cleaned dressing room.
Holloway admitted he never got to the, ahem, bottom of the matter. But he did explain that it only spurred on his Palace players, who went on to win the tie, and gain promotion after beating Watford at Wembley.
"Who did it affect the most? Wilfried Zaha," Holloway continued.
"Before he went out for the warm up, he said, 'Can I have a word gaffer? How wrong is that, gaffer?'
"I said, 'Look Wilf, they're trying to put us off. I know we wouldn't do that Wilf, but for us to be better than them, all we've got to do is one thing. What's that?'
"He went, 'Win.' I went, 'Yeah.'
"He scored two."