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Blog - Five Aside

Crystal Palace Season Guide

Crystal Palace
Nickname: Eagles
Founded: 1905
Ground: Selhurst Park, London, SE25 6PU
Capacity: 26,300 seats
Ticket Office: 020 8771 8841
Club Colours:
Home - Red and blue striped shirt, red shirts and socks
Away - White shirt with blue sleeves, blue shorts and white socks

Top Links
Soccernet's Crystal Palace page | Full squad and player profiles | Fixture list
Official Crystal Palace Website
Unofficial website - Homesdale Online
Fan Site - Palace Online

Last Season - Promotion Position: 6th (Div 1)

The Eagles started the season with Steve Kember at the helm but he was quickly replaced by caretaker player-manager Kit Symons, while outspoken chairman Simon Jordan looked for the right replacement. The bullish Palace chief insisted that he was sick of his managers begging him for cash to bring in new faces when they were failing to get the best out existing talent at the club. Former Palace striker Iain Dowie thought he was the man for the job, Jordan agreed, and the club enjoyed an upturn in fortunes to coincide with the new year. Palace embarked on the Dowie era with a seven game unbeaten run that helped drag them out of the relegation zone and into the play-offs - as the form team. In the semi-final against Sunderland the Eagles - reduced to ten men - were losing 4-3 on aggregate before Darren Powell equalized in the 90th minute to set up a penalty shoot-out victory. And Palace completed the miracle transformation by beating West Ham in the final to book themselves a place in the Premiership.

Transfers - In and Out
Coming In:
Ivan Kaviedes (Barcelona - Ecuador) - £2m
Fitz Hall (Southampton) - £1.5million
Wayne Andrews (Colchester) - Undisc*
Mark Hudson (Fulham) - Undisclosed
Joonas Kolkka (M'gladbach) - Undisclosed
Julian Speroni (Dundee) - Undisclosed
Sandor Torghelle (MTK Budapest) - Undisc.
Emmerson Boyce (Luton) - Free
Gabor Kiraly (Hertha Berlin) - Free
Gonzalo Sorondo (Inter Milan) - Loan
Nicola Ventola (Inter Milan) - Loan

  • On The Move - All the transfers
  • Getting Out:
    G Williams (C'chester) - Deal*
    Curtis Fleming (Darlington) - Free
    Julian Gray (Birmingham) - Free
    Jamie Smith (Bristol C) - Free

    First Choice XI

    GK Julian Speroni; RB Danny Butterfield, CB Tony Popovic, CB Kit Symons, LB Danny Granville; RM Wayne Routledge, CM Michael Hughes, CM Shaun Derry, LM Joonas Kolkka; ST Andrew Johnson; ST Ivan Kaviedes.

    The Gaffer - Iain Dowie

    Dowie has emerged as one of the hottest young managers in the English game after only two years in the trade. He got his first taste during a brief two-game stint in temporary charge at Queens Park Rangers and then worked wonders in his first managerial position with crisis club Oldham Athletic. He was persuaded to join the Latics as assistant manager by Mick Wadsworth in 2001. He became manager in May 2002 and took his new club to the play-off semi-finals in his first full season in charge. He worked similar miracles on his arrival at Crystal Palace in December last year, dragging the club out of a relegation fight and into the play-offs. The former Palace striker won 16 out of 26 games and crucially carried on his winning ways through the play-offs. As a player, Dowie was an old-fashioned style centre-forward and he has brought a no-nonsense approach into his managerial career. His time as coach of QPR reserves in the final two seasons of his playing career helped with his ability to develop and encourage players to produce their best.

    Player to Watch - Andrew Johnson

    Johnson reluctantly joined Palace from Birmingham City as part of a deal that saw Clinton Morrison go the other way. The Selhurst crowd were dubious that the 5' 7" striker could fill the boots of his predecessor but last term he scored 28 goals to finish as not only as the club's leading scorer but also the division's. His goals this term could prove the difference between Palace's survival or relegation as he will remain the main goal threat with only Hungarian Sandor Torghelle joining the club in the summer. The pacy striker was sold after Birmingham gained promotion from the First Division and he will be keen to prove what he can do in the top flight having failed to get a taste of Premiership action with the Blues. A good season for Johnson could mean an excellent season for Palace.

    Young Gun - Wayne Routledge

    Pace is one of the key attributes in Premiership football and pace is something that Routledge has an abundance of. The 19-year-old winger gets the crowd excited everytime he gets on the ball and is a real star of the future. He came through the Palace ranks to make his debut at the tender age of 16 and then scored within 60 seconds of his full debut against Wolves in 2002. The Sidcup-born forward is highly-rated and has represented England at several youth levels. Last term he was an integral part of Dowie's team, making 52 appearances, and should play an important role this season.

    From the Terraces

    Bottom at Christmas and down by Easter. That's the fate awaiting the Eagles this season. Mixing it with the big boys once again with limited resources and with a squad that surprised everyone - including themselves - with a late run into the play-offs means we'll surely only be there for three seasons - Autumn, Winter and Spring. Or does it?

    Whilst we are everyone's favourite for the drop there are reasons for optimism - if you look for them. Firstly, we have the brightest young English manager in the business in Iain Dowie. At the wrong end of the table when he arrived mid-season he transformed the club and got us playing decent football again as just kept on climbing. Have no doubt that he will bloody the nose of at least a couple of the fashionable big name European coaches this term.

    Secondly there is Andy Johnson. 32 goals last season was more than the combined effort of Middlesbrough's three principle strikers and he is a man with something to prove. Thirdly, Joonas Kolkka. An unknown quantity for English defenders but with a fine European pedigree and a sensational pre-season already behind him.

    And the final reason that we will escape the drop (the defenition of a successful season no doubt)? Well, there are three actually. Everton, Man City and West Brom.

  • Have your say on the Crystal Palace Message Board

    Best - Survival Worst - Relegation

    There is an old saying that what goes up must come down, and although the bookies think this will run true with Crystal Palace, it may not be the foregone conclusion that it appears. Manager Iain Dowie has a history, even if it is a short one, of miraculous achievements with struggling clubs and the former Northern Ireland international could be an outside bet to beat the drop. Palace have some good players, now that the boss has given them a rocket, and if they perform to the best of their ability they may could escape at the expense of one of the Premiership perennial strugglers. However, chairman Simon Jordan will probably have to splash the cash to give the club fresh impetus - a la Birmingham.

  • Any thoughts? Email Dominic Raynor.