The capture of highly rated defender Paddy McCarthy from London rivals, Charlton Athletic, marked the end of then manager Neil Warnock's six year chase for the centre half having tried to sign him for his previous club, Sheffield United.
McCarthy started his career at Manchester City as a trainee and had loan spells at Boston United and Notts County before signing a professional contract with Leicester City in a transfer worth £100,000 in 2005.
A year later the centre back was made captain of the Foxes and his commanding displays attracted interest from Alan Pardew who signed him at the end of the 2005/06 season for £650,000. He made over 30 appearances for the Addicks before being allowed to move to Selhurst Park during the summer.
At a commanding 6ft 1in, McCarthy is an impressive figure in the backline and the capture of his signature quickly filled the void that Mark Hudson left when he moved the other way three weeks earlier. However, a shoulder injury picked up in December 2009 required surgery which kept him out for much of the second half of the season.
It proved troublesome the following season as well, and after aggravating it in a training session in November he was ruled out until the New Year.
He eventually returned in March 2011 and played a pivotal role in the club's relegation battle at the end of the season under caretaker manager Paul Hart.
In the summer of 2010, he pledged his future to the club by signing a new three year contract and took on the captain's armband. As captain of the club, Paddy made a total of 46 appearances in 2010/11, scoring once in the 2-1 away defeat to Ipswich.
Paddy went several steps better last season, making 50 appearances in an ever changing back line. As injuries rocked the defence and brought in several partners, his continued marshalling meant the Eagles finished the 2011/12 season with the fifth best defensive record in the league.