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Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Crystal Palace News: 31/07/2013

All the news from SE25 in the last 24 hours

We’re being linked with a move for Swansea City’s Luke Moore, who has now been made available by Swansea City.

Crystal Palace hope to add more firepower to their Premier League survival bid by signing Swansea striker Luke Moore.

The former Aston Villa forward has been made available by Swans manager Michael Laudrup along with Leroy Lita following the arrival of new recruits, including club-record signing Wilfried Bony.

Championship clubs Leicester, Wigan and Blackburn are also keen on Moore but the Eagles are favourite as they can offer top-flight football.

Palace failed to agree terms with free-agent Carlton Cole, who is poised to sign a two-year deal with St Etienne, and are looking at various strikers to fill the void created by a long-term injury to first-choice forward Glenn Murray.

talkSPORT have rounded up the latest transfer rumours, rating our chances of bringing in Marouane Chamakh at 5/10…

Marouane Chamakh – Arsenal to Crystal Palace

Arsenal have told flop striker Chamakh he can go this summer, and Premier League new boys Palace are considering signing him. The main stumbling block is his huge wage demands, with his agents privately insisting he won’t accept less than £60,000-a-week. Palace will offer regular first-team football if he accepts smaller terms, but the final decision is up to him. It’s in the balance. (5/10)

Having been linked with a move for Aussie midfielder Mike Milligan last week, it appears his current employers have stated definitively that he is not for sale.

Milligan has been the subject of transfer speculation throughout the A-League off-season with the 27-year-old defensive midfielder having been linked with Baniyas of the United Arab Emirates, plus Queen’s Park Rangers and Crystal Palace.

The latter, who will play in their first English Premier League campaign since 2004/05 in the upcoming season, have reportedly made a £1million bid for Milligan, but having sold Billy Celeskito Al Shaab on Tuesday, Postecoglou is not planning to further weaken his midfield stocks.

Postecoglou has also warned Palace that Victory are not playing hard ball simply to earn more money from the sale of Milligan.

“We haven’t received an official offer for him and, to be honest, if we did we’re not going to let him go,” Postecoglou told the Herald Sun.

“He’s contracted for another two years, he’s a very valuable member of our football club and that’s the reason why we brought him here.

“We don’t really need the transfer money, we’re not looking to make money.

“Ultimately our intention is, from a football perspective, to keep him at the football club.”

NBC have put together a video of our play-off triumph over Watford in May…

If you search through YouTube, you’ll find a couple of videos produced by NBC Sports Network on the theme of “I was there,” where sports fans discuss the highs and lows of what it was like to be at magnificent games. The two examples I found this morning revolved around great NHL games.

But lo and behold, there’s one about soccer. I’m not sure whether the video is part of a series that NBC Sports Network will be doing in the future, or that they’ve done in the past. Or whether it’ll be online only or on television, too. But the first “I was there” video focused on soccer features the Championship final played at Wembley Stadium in May between Crystal Palace and Watford to determine which club would be promoted to the Premier League for the 2013-14 season.

The Metro have documented the three most “surprising transfers” of the summer so far, with Dwight Gayle’s signing featured…

Gayle continued his goalscoring knack at Peterborough last term, and Palace undoubtedly need firepower. But £8.5m (albeit it’s a complex deal with add-ons) for a player who’s enjoyed one modest season at Peterborough makes this look decidedly like a panic buy. And the gleeful tweet by Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony (who claimed 12 clubs were after Gayle) in the wake of the transfer suggests he was thrilled to wring that much profit out of Palace – ‘Just want to wish Dwight Gayle all the best in scaring the life out of Prem League defenders for Crystal Palace. What a signing for them!’ Here’s hoping, though, he’s right and Gayle continues his fairytale rise under Ian Holloway.

Abdisalam Ibrahim has supposedly been allowed to leave Manchester City for free, leaving the door open for us to make an offer to him.

The likes of Newcastle, Swansea, Hull, West Brom and Scottish championsCeltic are also said to be interested.

Ibrahim is currently on loan at Norwegian side Stromsgodset, but he is keen to seal a move to a Premier League club soon.

“Yes, it’s true the club gave me a free transfer last week and my advisors are speaking with clubs at this stage,” Ibrahim is quoted as saying by SkySports.

“I’m hoping to have my future sorted in the next couple of weeks hopefully by mid August.

“Stromsgodset have been really good to me and I have developed so much here, but now I would like to test myself at the highest level which is playing in the Premier League week in week out.”

Today’s entry in our top 50 goals countdown comes from the end of last season, when Wilfried Zaha broke Brighton’s hearts…

With each passing minute, the enclave of Palace fans behind the goal grew louder. The result that had seemed so unlikely only three days before was within reach, and the players chosen to represent us were pulling out all the stops to ensure nothing went wrong. As the clock reached the 87th minute, the party that had already begun was to reach unfathomable levels of delirium, thanks once again, to Wilfried Zaha.

With the ball working its way into the centre of the pitch from a throw-in on the right hand side, Zaha found himself inside the box and available for a pass into his feet from KG. The South African duly obliged, rolling it towards Wilf. The winger held offGordon Greer with consummate ease before taking the deftest of touches to his right and powering his way round the centre-back. Finding himself with a clear sight of goal, Zaha kept his head down and smashed the ball towards the crossbar. Before Kuszczak could even move, the shot had whistled past him. The frame of the goal shook, the foundations of the away end quite possibly did the same. The precocious young talent, who has been part of our club through the good times and the bad, had etched his name in Palace folklore forever more, and he knew it.

 

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Top 50 Palace Goals: No 4: Wilfried Zaha V Brighton (13th May 2013)

On a night when every “expert” had given us no hope of success, Wilfried Zaha powered his way into Palace folklore with a brace of goals to sink our most bitter of rivals, the second of which, was quite simply sublime…

At the end of the 2012/13 season, we faced Brighton & Hove Albion for a place in the Championship play-off final at Wembley. With neither side managing to make a meaningful impression during the first leg at Selhurst Park, every once of pressure and anticipation was transferred to the return fixture at The Amex Sadium.

Following a first-half within which both teams warily tested their opponents resolve, it was left to Wilfried Zaha to strike the first telling blow midway through the second period, stooping low at the back post to power in a diving header that gave us a vital lead.

With each passing minute, the enclave of Palace fans behind the goal grew louder. The result that had seemed so unlikely only three days before was within reach, and the players chosen to represent us were pulling out all the stops to ensure nothing went wrong. As the clock reached the 87th minute, the party that had already begun was to reach unfathomable levels of delerium, thanks once again, to Wilfried Zaha.

With the ball working its way into the centre of the pitch from a throw-in on the right hand side, Zaha found himself inside the box and available for a pass into his feet from KG. The South African duly obliged, rolling it towards Wilf. The winger held off Gordon Greer with consummate ease before taking the deftest of touches to his right and powering his way round the centre-back. Finding himself with a clear sight of goal, Zaha kept his head down and smashed the ball towards the crossbar. Before Kuszczak could even move, the shot had whistled past him. The frame of the goal shook, the foundations of the away end quite possibly did the same. The precocious young talent, who has been part of our club through the good times and the bad, had etched his name in Palace folklore forever more, and he knew it.

The faces of those who gazed back at him were a mixture of raw passion and adoration. It’s not very often life follows such a fairytale script, it’s even less frequent for such moments of perfection to present themselves on a football pitch. As the second goal arrowed into the back of the net, the seats around the ground were emptied en masse. The crowd who had been so full of expectation and bravado at the beginning of the game were distraught, an aspect of the evening which brought pleasure in equal measure to the ecstatic 2,000 in the away section. The game was over, no amount of stoppage time was going to alter the result, the hosts were too shocked to even debate mounting a comeback.

In the 95th minute, the tireless Aaron WIlbraham pressured Tomasz Kuszczak into making a hurried clearance, which he merely managed to tap behind his own goal for a corner, Wilbraham roared towards the fans in front of him, that was it. Mark Clattenberg didn’t even allow the corner to be taken, blowing the final whistle and bringing to an end one of the best nights in our recent history. The faces of fans and players alike spoke a thousand words, no one had given them a chance and yet, they had triumphed in stunning fashion. This was a victory achieved as one collective entity. Some struggled to fight back tears of joy as they looked on towards their heroes, others simply took a moment to admire what they’d just seen.

 

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