May 30 2004
Iain Dowie said he won't be flashing the cash in the Premiership next season after Palace clinched their place in the big league after their 1-0 play-off final victory over West Ham.
"We showed that we're a footballing side," he said. "Now we've got the worry of dealing with some superpowers in the Premiership, but what a day for our fans.
"You've got to be sensible about it. We've seen the boom and bust and we're not going to do that but clearly we need to invest.
"We're talking about teams like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. I don't sleep in Division One so what I'll be like in the Premiership I don't know!
"You have to start preparing now, because you don't have an infinite amount of time. I do need a vacation, though, because I am exhausted and it has been a long grind.
"It is a huge ask, but one we are all looking forward to. I have always had belief in this team, you just have to trust them. We are going to need that squad to be at their absolute optimum next year."
He added: "I think we deserved to win - it was a very tight game but we defended resolutely.
"People have been saying all season that we can't defend but we showed that we've got heart and soul.
"It's absolutely incredible. Our effort, commitment and desire to win was superb. I thought that our game-plan worked - West Ham are a top quality side and we've come up trumps."
Neil Shipperley added: "I've never scored a more important goal - what a moment. People doubted us but it shows you how strong we are to come and do this.
"It's unbelievable - the fact that we came from fourth from bottom to here makes this so special."
Centre-half Tony Popovic put Palace's incredible change of fortunes down to Dowie. "He brought self-belief," said the Australian international. "He also restructured the training program and set the standards in working hard for each other. He was first to the ground and last to leave and suddenly everyone jumped on board.
"It's hard to believe we had relegation worries in December. Two months later I didn't even give the play-offs a thought. A month later I thought we were getting there and come April when the run kept continuing I was thinking, yes, we can make it.
"When we did and drew Sunderland in the semi-final it didn't matter. We had the form on the board - and that's how we felt when we went into the final against West Ham."
Top scorer Johnson saluted Dowie and assured fans his boss is staying at Selhurst Park, despite getting linked with every vacant manager’s job in the country.
"He's a great gaffer and long may that continue,” he said. “We all just want to play for him. He's told us he's going to stay here so let's just hope he does. He came out at the training ground and said there is speculation and that he doesn't know how much truth there is in it. Hopefully he's here for a long time. We've got to give it our best next year."
In Depth Palace in the Play-offs 2004
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