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April 5 2020 10.51am

Top 10 Palace players who went back

October 13 2008

Andy Gray

Andy Gray

The top 10 Crystal Palace players who have gone back to the club for a second spell.

10. David Hopkin (1995-97) + (2001-02)

Brought in from Chelsea's reserves, the flame haired player had a brilliant two seasons scoring a number of goals from right midfield including arguably the most memorable of all-time with the 1997 Play-off Final winner over Sheffield United. After scooping the Player of the Year award, he had an unsuccessful stay with Leeds United, then Bradford and his second spell with Palace was a big disappointment.

9. Mel Blyth (1968-75) + (1978)

A rock at the back in Palace's promotion to the First Division in 1969 and scored the club's first-ever top flight goal. Five years later he moved to Southampton, helping them win the FA Cup in 1976, but returned to South London on loan to take his Palace appearances to over 250.

8. Neil Shipperley (1996-98) + (2003-05)

Shipperley's goals were crucial in Palace making the play-offs and promotion to the Premier League after victory over Sheffield United in the 1997 play-off final. He netted several times in the top flight but the Eagles found themselves relegated. He joined Nottingham Forest and came back to Palace in 2003 after stints with Barnsley and Wimbledon. The target man's goals help secure a play-off spot and he grabbed the winning goal in the play-off final win over West Ham United. He failed to break into the side in Palace's Premier League campaign but will always be remembered for his goal against the Hammers.

7. Johnny Byrne (1956-62) + (1967-68)

The brylcremed hotshot's goals ensured promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1961 and his scoring exploits won him an England cap. A record breaking transfer to West Ham followed but the talisman came back to Palace in 1967. And although a shadow of his former self, a slightly portly Byrne pushed his Palace goal tally to 101.

6. Clinton Morrison (1998-02) + (2005-08)

The arch goal-poacher scored on his debut in 1998 after progressing from the youth team and became the club's top scorer for the next four seasons, which were vital as financially-stricken Palace battled against relegation to the third tier of football. A big money move to Birmingham City didn't work out for the Republic of Ireland international, so he returned to his roots in South London and was top scorer for two out of his three seasons back while netting his 100th Palace goal.

5. Andy Gray (1984-88) + (1989-92)

Steve Coppell signed the midfielder from non-league Dulwich Hamlet and switched him up front and he was top scorer in 1985/6. After stints at Aston Villa and QPR, Gray returned to Palace in 1989 and formed a powerful central midfield axis with Geoff Thomas helping Palace to the FA Cup Final and third place in the top flight also winning an England cap.

4. Steve Kember (1965-71) + (1978-80)

Croydon-born Kember was a product of Palace's youth system signing pro forms at 17 and he established himself as a regular in midfield or inside forward. The boyhood Palace fan was instrumental in Palace's promotion to the top flight in 1969 and later became club captain. He joined Chelsea and spent some time with Leicester but returned home in 1978 to help Terry Venables' young Palace side challenge for promotion to Division One.

3. Bobby Kellard (1963-65) + (1971-73)

Combatitive midfielder Kellard joined at the start of the 1963/4 season and helped Palace win promotion to Division Two. After three seasons, he left for Ipswich but returned in 1971 becoming skipper and was the perfect replacement for the departed Steve Kember. He scored three crucial goals which helped keep Palace in the top flight.

2. Peter Nicholas (1977-81) + (1983-85)

A member of Palace's hugely-talented junior side that won the FA Youth Cup in 1977 and 1978, Nicholas helped Palace win the Second Division championship title in 1979. The defensive midfielder's committed displays made him a fans' favourite and this attracted Arsenal who signed him in 1981. Two years later, he came back to Selhurst Park and his experience helped the club survive in the Second Division.

1. Dougie Freedman (1995-98) + (2000-08)

Netted 34 goals in two years with the Eagles including two memorable strikes against Wolves in the 1997 play-off semi-final at home to Wolves. After failing to agree a new deal, he joined Wolves then Forest before earning legend status on his return to Palace for scoring the last-gasp winning goal against Stockport to keep Palace in Division One on the final game of the 2000/01 season. Netted his 100th Eagles goal against Brighton in 2005.


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