Former Crystal Palace defender Gregg Berhalter is looking forward to reunion with his former club during the Eagles’ eagerly anticipated American tour.
Tony Pulis’ men travel across the pond tomorrow, with Ohio the first stop on their packed nine-day Stateside schedule.
Berhalter, who is now in charge of Columbus Crew, will manage his side against Palace on Wednesday night in what will be the club’s first friendly of the tour.
And the ex-Eagle, who wore the famous red and blue between February 2001 and August 2002 and became the first ever Palace player to play in a World Cup, is excited at the prospect of being reunited with his former employers.
He told Columbus Crew’s official website: “Crystal Palace holds a special place in my heart, having played there and been a part of that club.
“I have some fantastic memories from playing at Selhurst Park and we’re looking forward to this match.
“Crystal Palace had a great year in the Premier League this past season – they proved themselves to be a good club in the top league in the world.
“For us, it’s going to be a great competition, and even more special for me because it’s a former club of mine.”
Berhalter relived special memories of Palace’s great escape at the end of the 2001/02 season, during which he played 14 times in the league.
“Specifically, my first year, I remember having to fight off relegation and having tremendous fan support in our away games,” Berhalter recalled.
“I think we scored in the last two minutes of the last game of the season against Stockport to stay up. All the fans stormed the field, and that was a special moment.
“Although it wasn’t great times for the club, to end the season like that was amazing, and the fans really enjoyed that.”
As well as the fans, Berhalter had special words to say about the club as a whole, calling Palace part of a “pretty special group” of big London clubs.
“They’ve been around English football for a long time. It’s a traditional club in London,” Berhalter added.
“When you start naming some of those teams in London, it’s a pretty special group, and Crystal Palace is part of that.
“Selhurst Park is a great place for football – a lot of memorable games took place there. It’s a team that keeps going, and that’s a pretty special quality.”
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