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October 28 2020 4.46am

Palace upright after final round

June 2 2004

Play-off final at Cardiff

Play-off final at Cardiff

Players are often said to "wear their hearts on their sleeve", and on Saturday as both squads warmed up for the play-off final, differing t-shirt slogans hinted at what was to come, by Joseph O'Shea.

Alan Pardew's men had "The Original Academy" emblazoned across their chests, pointing to the club's rich heritage, history of producing England players and top flight pedigree. The message seemed to be: 'We are West Ham, we deserve to get there.'

But while the Hammers looked to the past for inspiration, Dowie’s men were focusing on the task in front of them with the slogan "One More Round."

Dowie and fitness guru John Harbin are both keen followers of boxing and they inspired their squad with a poem by 'Gentleman' Jim Corbett, an American heavyweight boxing champion who reigned for five years until 1897 and is rated by some as the best ever.

Having fought tooth and nail to make the play-offs, 'one more round' was acknowledgement of the players' heroic achievements thus far, and reduced the final to just another game, taking the pressure off.

As the final bell rang out on Saturday, Palace’s pugilists were still standing to claim their prize, but it was back to the Division One school of hard knocks for the academy students.

One more round: by Boxer James Corbett - (as appeared on Palace's training shirts).

"Fight one more round when your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the centre of the ring.

Fight one more round when your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard.

Fight one more round when your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black, and that you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you out.

Fight one more round remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped."

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