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Fickle Hearted: Exciting Times!

September 3 2004

Iain Dowie

Iain Dowie

As a long-time Palace fan I'm mentally prepared to experience the ultimate high's followed by horrid lows, writes Max Meltzer.

It happened in 92/93, 94/95, 97/98 and now again as with all newly-promoted sides we will attempt, and yes may struggle to survive the premiership drop.

I've noticed how many fans can be so fickle, screaming at the little guy for being negative only to lose a couple games and turn negative themselves.

To the negatives out there, while it might be hard to take in the heart, most people on train back from Cardiff said: "I don't think we'll gonna stay up but I'm gonna enjoy it”! So why the negative fan response now?

It’s because it’s serious now! We’re here, we know how hard it is to get up and we want to have a good go at it this time, right?

Ignoring the experienced-premiership, last pay-packet players, Dowie set out a plan from the start to find “talented, youthful, determined and versatile players”, people responded with the fresh outlook.

The premiership money wasn’t just a nice pay day for Jordan, but a chance to agree new long-term contracts with key players AJ and Routledge who otherwise may have left if we weren’t promoted.

The last premiership survival attempt ended in poor short-term splashing, old players, high wages and huge debts. Dowie vowed to begin a lasting legacy. It included improving facilities and the club to help players develop over the years.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Dowie has been annoyed by the transfer market, of course he would be, we got into the premiership via the play-off’s and we’re tipped to go straight back down. We’re not as attractive to join. But he has still delievered on what he set out to begin:


From Fulham we’ve signed Mark Hudson for around half a million, 22-years of age and he doesn’t look out of place in the Premiership.

Defender, Fitz Hall for £1.5m is a big signing for the club, at 23, he’s got the world ahead of him, a fantastic defender who gives Dowie options to play him out of position as a midfielder or target man.

Sandor Torghelle, £750,000 “Is a big signing for the club” Dowie said, the 22-year old strong, target man who has shown a glimpse of his quality before picking up an injury looks a sure replacement for Shipperley.

Emmerson Boyce, 24, joined on a free, showed during pre-season versatility to play left-back, centre-back and right-back, although right-footed, he will learn and is a worthy understudy to Butterfield.

In Speroni and Kiraly we’ve definitely found long-term replacements for Kolinko! At 25 and 28, that makes them babies in the goalkeeping world, Kiraly already vastly experienced and both competitive number 1’s with different capabilities.

With our final transfer signing Wayne Andrews, 26, we have a pacey forward who can play attacking mid and on the left.

While the oldest buy, Kolkka at 29, is going to need more time to settle on the left and we need to give him it.

Biggest gamble Ivan Kaviedes (26) who could cost Palace £2m, appears to have great vision and while striker by trade, looks an attacking midfielder from recent experience and play.

The Inter Duo, Ventola (26) and Sorondo (25) are gambles, and we need to take them. Ventola is there to keep AJ on his toes and provide needed cover and will want to prove himself at a very high standard. While Sorondo is a tall-lanky defender who loves to join the attack and is versatile enough to play in midfield.

With eleven new players with under £6 million in transfer fees with an average age of 25-years, we have some huge talent at our club right now. We have what the fans initially wanted, not to over spend, to bring in young, versatile and talented players.

All signings are believed to have agreed premiership contracts with an eye to dropping to Championship salaries if we get relegated. Unlike teams like Norwich with Doherty who said: “I don’t want to play in the Championship”, we have players who just want to play for the shirt and that’s something we didn’t have last time in the premiership and have been recovering since.

The transfers join huge talents Routledge (19) and Johnson (23) who look settled in the Premiership, Butterfield (24) who will feel like an fantastic signing for our defence when he returns, the team is shaping into a good, young side that with the support of the fans will battle until the end.

Even if relegation does come, the contingency plan is having a team that would be outstanding in the Championship and the foundations of a rising and lasting legacy.

We also have Iain Dowie, “One of the best, if not the best, young managers in the country” signed to a new 4-year contract, when over the years we’ve been seen as revolving door.

What I see in progress is the construction of an amazing Palace. A lasting legacy. Don’t be blinded by our initial struggle in the Premiership, as Jeff Sterling said at the beginning of the season “This is a marathon, not a sprint”.

Let’s get behind our team, rid of the negativity and not look back, this is by far the most exciting time to be a Palace fan in the last decade!

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