Interviews

Julian Speroni to FYP: I think and feel like a Crystal Palace fan

Written by Robert Sutherland

Julian Speroni continues to rewrite his Palace chapter with every remarkable save and every wonderful performance. He’s a person of great character, wonderful integrity and true passion – a player that supporters have grown to love and a person that managers have continuously placed their trust in.

As #SperoniWeek draws to a close, Robert Sutherland was given the opportunity to meet with Julian over a coffee to discuss his thoughts on the club, the play-off wins against Brighton and Watford, his relationship with the fans and, most importantly, his ponytail.

So here goes...

FYP: How does it feel to be back in this situation that you found yourself in nine years ago, but this time being the number 1?

JS: It feels great. It’s where every player wants to play. When I first signed for Palace I thought I was going to get a run in the Premier League but then Gabor [Kiraly] signed for us and he became No. 1 so I had to wait for my chance. Now, the way we've done it with promotion, it means a lot to me.

Would you say that this team is a better team than the one that you played in last season?

I said that before last season. I thought the team we had last season was one of the best teams we've ever had – even compared to our last Premier League team. The experience and togetherness, it was an amazing squad. Of course, we've lost Wilfried and Glenn to an injury so we need to repair that and bring new players in. But it’s looking good. The team spirit is still there; the togetherness, hard work and mentality is still there. I don’t see why we can’t be one of the best Palace teams at least in the last ten years or more.

What was your abiding memory of the play-off semi-final against Brighton?

Play-offs are always exciting – but doing it against Brighton gave it a really special meaning. It made it double as special; for the players, for the fans, for everybody. It was fantastic, especially after a 0-0 draw at home as everyone thought we would lose – we were the underdogs. They wrote us off. Going there, believing in ourselves and knowing that we could win it – it was amazing.

When did you realise that Brighton were such big rivals?

The first time we played Brighton, the season we went down from the Premier League, I wasn't as aware of how big it was. It was only when they came up again to the Championship a few years ago that I realised how big a game that was.

So the play-off semi must have felt like a really important game?

Well the rivalry builds on you. Every time the fans see you they ask you about it. The circumstances are obviously different in the play-offs but I always try to think about the game. I play the game and not the occasion. That’s what I always try to do.

In the play-off final, when you saved that shot from Troy Deeney, was it instinct? Can you actually remember doing it? It was such a blur...

Yeah, of course I remember it, but it was instinct. It’s one of those saves where you just react – I was moving to my right and then I had to move to my left and I just managed to push it away. I remember thinking that I was actually trying to catch the ball but then I thought I wasn't going to make it. So I just had to push and stretch my hand out. The one against Brighton was very similar; where Ashley Barnes had a header and I just [gestures] pushed it against the bar. It was one of those things where you don’t think – you just react to it.

When you watch it, do you think, ‘wow, that was a really good save!’?

It looks a lot better on TV! [laughs] It always looks better on TV. Perhaps I should give myself more credit! [laughs]

Would you say that those two saves were your most significant ones?

For what it meant for the team, probably yes. They weren't perhaps the hardest saves I had to make but what it meant for the club. The other, third one is the one I made against Sheffield Wednesday where we needed to stay up. Again, it wasn't really because of the save but because of what it meant.

You’ve got a great relationship with Palace fans...

I think I’m a fan. I feel like a fan. Obviously I’m a player but I feel I’m part of the club. I enjoy it so much when we win and I feel sad when we lose.

Do you remember that brilliant banner the HF did?

Yeah. It probably wasn't the best idea to put it up before the game because it made me emotional, they should have done it after the game [laughs] but I can’t thank them enough really. The appreciation they show me; every time I meet fans it’s always amazing, the way they make me feel. There’s only one way I can repay that, by performing on the pitch. They know I can make mistakes and I can play bad, but they’ll know that I always play 110% on the pitch. And I really appreciate it.

Do you have any close friends in this Palace team?

No, to be honest we all get on really well with each other. Obviously, with the goalkeepers and trainers I have a very special relationship because we work together all the time. There’s a special bond between us. It’s a goalkeepers union.

With this team, you found yourself with three different centre-backs, Peter Ramage, Danny Gabbidon and Damien Delaney, all coming in after pre-season or just before the start of the season. Did you find that difficult at all? Was there any adjustment needed?

They adjusted really quickly. You need some time to get to know your teammates. When you've played together a few years it’s probably a bit easier, but they’re experienced players and they knew what to do. They've been fantastic since the moment they arrived.

You've also got Jose Campana on the team now. Is it nice to have someone Spanish speaking on the team?

Oh, it’s great. It means I can practice my Spanish again, as I kind of forgot. [laughs] I’m helping him to settle in England. It’s difficult for him because he’s in a different country – when he goes outside and hears people talk, to him it’s just noise because he doesn't understand. So I’m enjoying that.

You’re starting your centenary...

Centenary?! Imagine it, 100 years at Palace. [laughs]

Oops! I meant ten years at the club next season. Did you imagine you’d be at the club for ten years when you signed?

No, no way! That’s not common. It’s something that players don’t think they can achieve. It’s almost a whole career. When I came here I signed a four year contract and thought that would be the end of my time at the club. I didn't plan it – things just went this way. And to be honest I’m really glad about it because I've had such a fantastic time.

How much longer do you think you’ll be playing?

Well, I feel great. I've just turned 34 but I feel really great. It’s a matter of fitness really; if your fitness starts dropping and you mentally lose the fight, it can be difficult. You have to get up every morning and work hard. But goalkeepers now work until they’re in their 40s – right now I’m in a great place fitness-wise and mentally, so hopefully I have another five or six years left.

And finally, we've had questions about your hair. What led you to cut the ponytail off?

I think in ten years I've had about ten different styles. There wasn't a reason for it – well, I had a family and needed to grow up [laughs] – no, not really. I just did it for a change. I went back home to Argentina and I said to my wife, ‘I’m going over the road, I’ll be back soon.’ I went across the road, came back and she was shocked. ‘What are you doing?!’ [laughs]

She liked it long then? Any thoughts of growing it back?

She did, and maybe, although I think I have a few too many grey hairs for that now. [Laughs]


 

Iain Moody admits mistake over controversial messages which led to Crystal Palace resignation

Written by Matt Woosnam

Former Crystal Palace sporting director Iain Moody has lifted the lid on the text-gate scandal which ended his spell with the Eagles. He speaks exclusively to FYP's Matt Woosnam.
Iain Moody
The 40-year-old joined Palace in October 2013, when the club was in the midst of searching for a new manager to replace Ian Holloway who left after a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Fulham. But Moody lasted only 10 months, and he left the club following the leak of alleged sexist, racist and homophobic text messages and emails exchanged between himself and former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay which denied Mackay the opportunity to become Palace manager.

Whilst he offered no excuses for his behaviour, he sought to explain the reasons behind it.

He said: “I think football is an intoxicating environment, both as a fan and as someone who works there.  It’s a very strange world that I had 10 years of without a break. It’s been quite nice in some ways to devote myself to my kids and my wife in the last four or five months.

“In life most people you meet are good people, there are some who aren’t and never will be. I think good people sometimes do bad things. It doesn’t mean that they are no longer good people and I think everyone has got something you can refer to in your own past to say why did I do that?

“I think we can all look back on experiences of reacting to situations in a particular way and thinking ‘god there’s no way I would do that again’, or even as has happened to me, reading back things and not even recognising that it was me who said them, thinking… and I’m not denying it was me, but that’s unrecognisable and it’s not a reflection of where I am and what I stand for, and the education that I have had; and I don’t mean necessarily formal education but upbringing.

“I’m the father of two young kids at the moment and it’s become the most important thing in my life that there is a proper framework or behaviour and expectation for them to be good people. So there’s a distortion. People get distorted then things that people do are interpreted in a distorted way.”

Moody and Mackay are both subject to investigation from the Football Association following the texts. Proceedings remain active, and he was reluctant to discuss the situation but insisted he was keen to help the FA in any way he could.

He resigned from his position at Selhurst Park, and admits he considered it previously when other issues arose, including the allegations that he had obtained the Cardiff City team sheet prior to Palace’s 3-0 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium in April.

“I was conscious throughout my time at Palace that there were various storms that occurred around me,” he added. “I was conscious throughout my time there, it sounds contrite but the owners had been so good to me from the day I came in. The first day I met Steve [Parish] I was conscious that I didn’t want to be a problem. It’s got nothing to do with Palace really. I said to Steve on many occasions ‘I don’t want this ever to be awkward; if you think that the problem of having me here outweighs the benefit of having me here I will just go’. The story should never be about me, all the people who have done my job well in the past, no-one knows who they are."

He asks me if Dan Ashworth walked in would I recognise him, and although I know who he is talking about, I have to concede I do not know what the director of Elite Development for the FA, and former West Bromwich Albion sporting director looks like.

To emphasise his point, he adds: “Yet he is held up as one of the forebears of doing the job well. Nicky Hammond at Reading has been there for ten years and not many people would recognise him. I don’t ever want to be the story, and I was my own worst enemy in that in some ways, and I would act differently if I did it again now.

“There was kind of an understanding that I’ll just go, I’ll just go. Steve throughout [the previous issues] was like ‘no, no, no, I want you to stay, you’re doing a good job, we need you.’ But that was a little bit there and then. I didn’t want Palace… they were looking for a manager at the time, the season had just started, transfer window open, there was a lot of stuff going on and I had become a story and I didn’t want to be a story that impacted on Palace.

“So as soon as I knew what was going to happen in the press I spoke to Steve and said ‘I will just go’. From this day I will just go and I won’t bother you again, and that’s kind of what happened.”

“I was disappointed [to leave Palace]. I had a 10 fantastic months and I loved all the people. There’s brilliant people everywhere at the club, it’s quirky, it needs a bit of work, a bit of love but they’ve got absolutely the right people doing the right things for the right reasons, and it’s not often I can say that.”

Read the full interview in issue 42 of Five Year Plan, out vs Everton on 31 January and available around the ground at Selhurst Park.


 

Matt Jansen hopes Crystal Palace survive, but admits they need 'Premier League' quality

Written by Jim Daly

It's been more than 14 years since Matt Jansen played for Crystal Palace, but he still has an affection for the club.

The former flamboyant striker only played 31 times for the Eagles between 1998 and 1999 but joined the club when they were in the Premier League from Division 3 side Carlisle - making a bit leap up the leagues much like Dwight Gayle did this season.

The 20 year old Jansen scored three in eight after making the £1m move, but thinks Palace need more established top flight quality this season if they are to avoid the drop.

"It's a different type of player," he told FYP. "You get time in the Premier League, a lot more time to think. It's fast but it's not in your face fast if you know what I mean.

"Great Championship players aren't necessarily going to give you good Premier League teams really, Palace need some Premier Peague players amongst that. It's the quality, if there is a mistake and a chance created it usually results in a goal whereas in the Championship you have chances to redeem yourself but that's the reality of top flight football I suppose. I really hope they stay up but if not they can hopefully come straight back up."

After making the move down south from Carlisle in 1998 Jansen settled quickly at Selhurst, and puts that down to the confidence of having made a big move.

"I enjoyed it, I thought it was alright, I found it ok," he added. "I think six or seven games I played in the Premier League at the back end and I scored three goals but I was probably just high on adrenaline, flying high with confidence and adrenaline. I had just made a big move and I was just enjoying it and if you enjoy your football the best should come out of you, and I was.

"Unfortunately we did get relegated, we had a good side and nobody knew what was going to happen six months later. Palace is a club with not masses of finances, that's the problem they've had historically. It was going to work with Goldberg but then he threw too much money too soon and was buying just named rather than players that would do the job for him."

Despite a short stint, Jansen has fond memories of Palace and the Selhurst faithful.

"It was a great ground to play at. It was the fans, they get behind the team, they're proper supporters, they're not fickle. They try and get behind the players."

Read much more from Matt Jansen in issue 38 of FYP - out on January 1, 2014!


 

The FYP Interview: Leon McKenzie

Written by Robert Sutherland

Former Palace striker Leon McKenzie is now devoting his time to fighting depression in sport, and has released a book detailing the struggles he faced. A year to the day that football lost the popular Gary Speed to depression, Leon talks to FYP's Rob Sutherland about his troubles, and his time at Selhurst.

Leon McKenzie isn’t your typical football player. The professional game is one in which openness is often frowned upon, in which being honest is considered a weakness. It’s a sport where bravado is preferred over fragility – an intense environment in which depression can thrive. McKenzie has seen just how dangerous the grip of depression can be – the former Crystal Palace trainee attempted suicide in the later stages of his career; repeated injuries, financial difficulties and life’s stresses becoming too much for him.

Few will openly speak about depression or failed suicide attempts, but in his book released this week, Leon opens himself up to the struggles that a footballer can fall victim to. In this interview with Five Year Plan, McKenzie discusses his six years at Palace – from the highs of promotion to the lows of administration – and provides some insight into his future plans.

You’ve praised Steve Coppell in your book – what made him such a good person to work for?

It was his way in managing people – he was humble in his approach and man management. It was his way of dealing with certain things, how he addressed me as a kid coming through. He saw something in me that he saw in others that he worked with. He took time after I finished training with him and he’d ask me to practice more with him; he didn’t have to do that. I really appreciated him as a man and appreciated him signing me professionally. He gave me a chance and believed in me – he gave me a lot of confidence.

He’s not a shouter and screamer, is he?

He’s a very intelligent man. I don’t think you need to shout and scream to get your point across to players. Sometimes it might have been needed, but he was just at a different level to get his point across. He preferred to be a one-on-one manager to try and convince you; you’d take away something from that. He motivated me more when he pulled me aside individually.

Was it a shock when Simon Jordan replaced Steve Coppell with Alan Smith?

The first thing we heard when Simon decided to bring in Alan Smith was that he wanted change. Jordan had a lot of influence over Smith at that time. I was just a kid at the time but I was one of Steve Coppell’s boys so it was surprising.

You wrote at length about Alan Smith in your book. You didn’t see eye-to-eye with him?

I didn’t appreciate the way he treated me at the end of my time at Palace, it really upset me. I was still very young but he wanted to transfer me out for £25,000 and it was quite a shock; I could have gone somewhere for a little bit more than that. I believed that the fee should have been more for Palace, especially if you look at how I went on to play top level football anyway.

In the book, you mention that he wasn’t very hands-on?

It’s the way a manager treats you personally that can be difficult. It’s football though. You can have one man dictate your future because he doesn’t like you – that can become a problem. For me, I wasn’t really thinking about Crystal Palace – it was my career that he made a decision on. Things could have gone a lot better than they did.

Being forced out of the club after you’d worked through administration must have been difficult?

I went about four months without getting paid – the only person who was keeping me going on was Steve Coppell. He would say he was sorry at what was going on, that we didn’t have to play but that it would mean a lot if we did. He made the difference then.

How did you make ends meet during that time?

I had my fair share of difficulty – I just had my first kid. I had my family supporting me at times and I took out lots of money from my overdraft. I wasn’t on the biggest wages at Palace anyway. Money was never the main focus for me though.

Do you think young players nowadays see it that way?

It’s different for kids nowadays. When I signed professionally for Crystal Palace it was just ‘wow!,  £250 pounds a week and they want me to play football!' As time went on I wanted to get a better contract but I’ve never been a greedy footballer.

You played with some good players during your spell at Palace. Who were your favourites?

I loved working with Dougie Freedman. He had great ability and I always knew he wanted to be a coach – he would talk to me in training and would give me great confidence. He was a very clever player. Atilio Lombardo was another fantastic professional. There were a few people there that I enjoyed playing with.

You won a Coca-Cola bicycle for a Man of the Match performance in your debut for the club – what did you do with it?

I think I gave it to charity. It was a weird Man of the Match award – I wasn’t going to start riding it around Crystal Palace [laughs] – it was a great gesture but perhaps it was because I was so young. They couldn’t give me a car so decided instead to give me a bike!

You were voted into Peterborough United’s hall of fame a few weeks ago and got to see Palace play too – what did you think of Wilfried Zaha?

It was a pleasure watching him. He’s got amazing ability when running with the ball and his skill is on another level. He’s a fit lad as well and he’s playing with confidence. He clearly doesn’t like a whack – so that something he’ll need to get used to, but he’s just a kid. He’s in the best hands with Ian Holloway to guide him though. He should stay with Palace another season to keep growing.

You have been vocal about your depression – when did you realise that there was a problem?

I didn’t say much for a good few years. The problem with depression is that it just snowballs. It goes from something simple into a much bigger issue – until you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to be here anymore. That was for many different reasons.

It is a year to the day that football lost Gary Speed? Does the game do enough to support players?

Not at this moment in time. It’s getting better but it’s one of the things I’m working on to raise awareness and keep pushing. We have to push help into the clubs. It’s about getting support from clubs and about managers peaking openly about issues. There are a big percentage of players who are really suffering. Clubs have physiotherapists and doctors at clubs – perhaps it’s time they also had psychotherapists too.

Do you see yourself working in football in the future?

I’m working towards getting some qualification to help players. Obviously you can’t just use life experiences but you have to have some qualifications. I have to talk to the PFA about that. We don’t want to see players suffering or taking their lives – we want to make them aware that they have more help available than they think.

To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Leon's book answer this question: against whom did Leon score to win the bicycle? Email your answer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entry closes at 5pm on Friday November 30th.

Leon McKenzie’s book, My Fight with Life, is available to pre-order from McAnthony Media, for £7.99 with a release date of 29th of November, 2012. Pre-order a copy HERE.

Follow Leon on Twitter HERE.

 


 

The Big FYP Interview: Vince Hilaire on Brighton, Zaha & Palace's playoff chances

Written by Jim Daly

In the build-up to the big one against Brighton on Friday, FYP caught up with for Eagles legend Vince Hilaire, scorer of two against the Seagulls in a 3-1 win in the late 70s. He talks Zaha, Bolasie and playoff predictions...

He helped Palace demolish Brighton in the 70s and dazzled fans on the wing, and now Vince Hilaire is backing the Eagles to beat their rivals in the playoffs.

Ian Holloway's men face the Seagulls on Friday night in the semi-final first leg at Selhurst and despite going down 3-0 at the Amex two months ago, Vince is convinced Palace should be confident.

"Palace losing to Brighton 3-0 in March to me is no big deal because those things happen," he told FYP. "The playoffs, particularly in the Championship, are absolutely weird. Anything can happen.

"It wouldn't surprise me if the second leg goes to extra time or penalties because I think they are very evenly matched. When Brighton won 3-0 in March they were hitting form and Palace were at the bottom of their slump. It was bad timing.

"Also I think Palace just shade it when it comes to match winners. Brighton are probably a lot more steady which is unusual with someone like Poyet in charge but I'd rather have those players like Bolasie, Murray and Zaha that can make a difference in an evenly matched game than having average ones. 

"It's all about keeping it tight at the back and I hope Holloway starts with Bolasie because I am a fan of his. Brighton will be favourites so there isn't going to be the over confidence there might have been before.

"Palace showed great character in the Peterborough game after a dip in form, which will help. Hopefully it looks like they've got themselves back together again, every team has a run of bad form, they've had that and can kick on again now.

"If they hadn't won it would have been going into the game on the back of another draw so it's good to get confidence going."

And Vince puts Palace's downturn in form in part down to Wilfried Zaha's transfer to Manchester United in January.

He added: "As far as I'm concerned the downward turn was really after the Wilfried Zaha deal [to Manchester United]. I love Crystal Palace, and I'm sure he does too, but with the best will in the world, if you have a move to United looming on the horizon, I don't care who you are, you cannot be 100% focused on the club that you're basically on loan to.

"Especially when you are young, you can't help but think about what the future holds. You can't do it, you wouldn't be human!

"He was always going to go, and I think Palace should have had contingency plans for another couple of players in the pipeline. Take nothing away from Wilf, I think he will be great at Manchester United but I would have had a contingency plan and get someone who may not have been as good but would have been 100% focused and trying to impress the Palace fans.

"It looks like Wilf has got his mind back on it again though, maybe because it's the playoffs and it will hopefully be three big games and I think you will see the best of why United have bought Zaha. 

"With gifted players you have to take the rough with the smooth and hope they have more good days than bad days. What brought Zaha to the attention of the bigger clubs was that he was doing it week in week out, which is unusual for a wide player as skilful as he is."

But it's another Palace winger that Hilaire is backing to be a game changer in the two playoff semi-finals, despite an inconsistent run of late.

"Bolasie had a great start to the season but has proved my point about wide players, you've just got to hope you have more good days than bad days," said Vince. "With wide players you could be the best in the world - you could have Gareth Bale playing for Palace - but if your team hasn't got the ball you aren't going to notice him. 

"What I noticed when I was playing was if your team was playing badly and you'd get the ball nine times out of 10 moves and lose it three or four times, the fans would still be behind you because the other four or fives times you'd do something amazing. It would be a case of you've not been in the game for 10 minutes so as soon as you get the ball you've got to do something amazing.

"Therefore your heart rules your mind and you might take on one player too many you might try a shot from an outrageous angle because the team is not playing well and you think you've got to step up to the plate.

"But players are the best judges of players, you don't get three in the PFA Team of the Year if they can't play and football will always be a team game, no matter how good you are as an individual, and if a few of you are off the boil the team suffers. And I think Bolasie has suffered as a result of the team's poor form."

Back in the late 70s it was Hilaire who ran Brighton rugged, scoring twice at Selhurst in a 3-1 win, just as the rivalry was hotting up, and he believes it will add spice to what is already going to be two close games.

He said: "The rivalry certainly had an effect on the players when I was playing. When I was at clubs in the north people couldn't get their heads around the rivalry because geographically it doesn't look like one. 

"I was around really when it first reared its head, and it was entirely down to two ex-managers; Terry Venables and Alan Mullery. I listened to an interview with Mullery the other week and he said it was down to Venables and Macon Allison - he failed to mention himself! He was as much the instigator!

"We're talking about the game like fans and it's the team with the most players that understand that will win. I'm looking round at Palace and there's Speroni who's played in a few but otherwise how many are there who know what it means? I look at Brighton's team and they've got even less!

"Brighton will be favourites but I just got a sneaking feeling Zaha will prove why Manchester United signed him. And Murray, its sods law he will get back to scoring ways against his old team. 

"I like him, he leads the play well. He isn't someone who will beat five players but he will score goals. He relies on good service, and that's why you need those players who supply that service, Zaha and Bolasie, on form. And the great thing about Ian Holloway, he has been there and done it when it comes to the playoffs. 

"The one thing I love about about the playoffs even if you don't win at home in the first leg, you've always got a chance, so I wouldn't despair. Anything can happen and Palace are good on the break and will definitely score in both legs. Holloway has been there and done it, Poyet is a good manager but hasn't been in this position before."


The FYP Interview - Shefki Kuqi

Written by Jim Daly

He's most famous for flopping onto his belly when he scores goals, but at Palace Shefki Kuqi was mostly remembered for just being a bit of a flop.

FYP editor James Daly caught up with the big man while he was in London looking for a new club, to chat about his memories of playing for the Eagles.

FYP: Firstly, thanks for not flipping us off just now. But that moment, against Wovles a few years ago, certainly tainted your reputation with Palace fans.

Shefki Kuqi: I did that [gesture] to the fans but I didn't really realise like I said [at the time] and I apologised to everybody. The gaffer [Warnock] said to me after the game and I was a little bit like 'what are you talking about?' and didn't realised what I'd done. But I managed to turn things around the fans accepted that and I just got on with it.

FYP: Well yes, but after some time. You were told to go home weren't you? That's tough to take.

SK: It depends how you take things, I thought the gaffer was a little bit harsh, because at first he told me everything was fine, the next day [changed his mind] but that's football. The first four games or something I wasn't allowed to train with the team and then we drew one and lost three. We couldn't score a goal, that opened the back door for me, it was a turning point.

FYP: Well yeah you came back in, mainly cos our other forwards were useless, and scored quite a few.

SK: After that spell when I was out of the team and then the gaffer told me to go home I came back and I think I scored three or four goals in the first two or three games and everything turned around.

FYP: Do you understand the fans' anger toward you at the time?

SK: As a fan sometimes things go wrong and you're going to be disappointed, as a player on the pitch sometimes when things don't go right you're more angry with yourself than everybody else. Then somebody says some things and just in that moment maybe you react in the wrong way but that's the way sometimes it goes. Lots of other things have happened in my life outside of football so you have to be able to deal with that. I always said that football has been to a kind of pleasurable pressure, if that makes sense. Not like I cannot handle this, I knew I could.

FYP: Ooh, you're a pressure junkie. Do you thrive on it?

SK: Yeah, that's the thing, when I've been in a couple of places where fans have booed, it has given me more motivation [to succeed].

FYP: Speaking of pressure, Simon Jordan released his book recently. What's your opinion of him?

SK: I saw him a few times when I was there and sometimes I felt sorry for him because you walk through that door and you think some of the people 'do they care that much?' I think some were just happy to get paid, on the other hand I think as chairman he could have done a little bit more, people didn't see him enough, and he took his eye off things a little bit.

FYP: Well, yes, quite. And now he's broke. Was it his own fault?

SK: It's hard to understand because he put so much money in at end of the day. He had people there trying to do a job for him, trying to run the club and if they don't well it creates problems. Nowadays everyone understands how things went [for Jordan] and football is a big business now. No longer do people just play and love it because of their passion, now it's more or less a business. If you don't run it properly, you pay big money and if you cant use that you're gonna struggle. It depends how you do it, if you've got that academy you can go and try and invest more in that to get players through to the first-team, sell them on and you're gonna make some money.

FYP: You must have seen some of those lads come through while you were at Palace.

SK: Yeah, Clyney was just coming through and Victor Moses was there as well. Nowadays there is loads of talent but there is a big question about their attitudes and their heads because most of them have got everything a player needs but they think they're millionaires before they even get into the first-team.

FYP: Oh really? Did you think that of any of the Palace youngsters?

SK: Well, Moses for me he had everything but I think he was a little bit lazy, he didn't look like he took things seriously. Sometimes he was just happy to do what we did in training and that was it. You never saw him do anything extra. But he was as strong as anybody, even though he was so young. He just hated the gym, he was one of the last to come in and first to leave. But he's done really well and I'm pleased for him.

FYP: What about Dougie? Did he strike you as management material?

SK: Yes, definitely. He was a very, very intelligent player and he was the one who was doing his stuff right; going in the gym, he really looked after himself well. He was very disciplined and as soon as he got the job I knew what he was capable of because discipline was everything about him. He's got that transferred to a manager role well. Loads of people say you change when they go from being a player to a manager but I think Dougie's done really well. He's transferred himself from being a player to a manager and I think Palace had a great season last season. They are disciplined and have got their own ideas and know what they want to do and they can definitely achieve things [this season].

FYP: Palace are struggling now but do you think they can turn it around?

SK: I think so. I trained with them last season at the beginning of the season because I didn't have a contract. I trained and I saw what they are doing and as long as the players have that in their head when they go on the pitch [they'll do well]. Palace are taking big steps forward at the moment.

FYP: Ooh good stuff! Finally, what's your celebration all about?

SK: (laughs) Oh I don't know really! It's just that moment when you score a goal, I've done loads of different things before. Sometimes you do stupid things and you don't even know what it's all about but it's just the moment. Mine seems to be quite popular, it is special the way I go quite high I guess.

FYP: Does it hurt?

SK: Nah, not really. I wouldn't do it it if hurt me!

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