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Salako Hails The "Best Fans In Football"

28 May 2015

Palace legend John Salako revealed his joy at getting the chance to run out at Selhurst Park again for Julian Speroni's testimonial, and admitted that he and Alan Pardew were having so much fun out there that they played for longer than they were expected to!

The winger showed the turn of pace and silky skill against Dundee that made him a fans' favourite at the club during the club's golden period in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and while he admits his age caught up with him towards the end of the encounter he was pulled through by the support of the Palace fans, whom he dubbed “the best in football.”

He said: “It was nice to get out there and try and show the young pups a trick or two but I think I'll leave it to them - I don't think the knees are up to it! I loved every second out there in front of them again.

“It wasn't quite like 1990 all over again because the legs weren't quite the same as 25 years ago, and certainly the knees and the body are feeling it but I think Pards enjoyed it as much as I did. We said we'd give ourselves 15 or 20 minutes but Pards was itching to get on so we got 25 or 30 and it went by in a blink of an eye.

“It was Julian's big day but when the opportunity came to see the fans again and get out onto Selhurst Park again was just a bit of a dream come true. It was amazing, the fans were magnificent and I love them so much, so to be able to come on and say hello was brilliant. 

“I can't thank them enough, they're the best fans in football. The way they've supported the team in the past three or four years has been incredible, and the noise and the atmosphere they create is the 12th man and they've really pulled the club through. We had great support in my day but what I've seen and experienced here in the past three years has been exceptional.”

The pundit has followed the club's progress over the past three seasons with a close eye, but despite seeing his old side finish in the top half of the table this term he is keeping a lid on expectations, and with the new TV rights deal coming into effect at the start of the 2016/17 season he just wants the Eagles to make sure they remain in the division to feel the benefits of it.

“We've got Super Al in charge and the team has really gelled and come on,” he added. “People like Murray, Puncheon, Bolasie and Zaha are a joy to watch. 

“I think we're in dreamland, the way the Premier League is at the moment to finish 10th is incredible. In this day and age with the money that's in the game and the size of the clubs we're competing with is absolutely amazing. 

“If we remain in the Premier League next year I'd be absolutely delighted. We've seen a lot of clubs struggle this year, Hull are a good side, QPR had some good players and Burnley gave it a go, and with the teams coming up this year it won't be easy. For me just staying in this league next year would make me absolutely delighted.”

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