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Speroni: I've Been Through Everything At Palace

8 May 2015

Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni has admitted that there has been similarities between the club’s two recent seasons in the Premier League, with lows, highs and managerial uncertainty, but insisted that things are “very exciting” nowadays.


“It's very similar [to last season],” he says. “We lost a manager just days before we kicked off the season and then we had Neil, who helped us a lot, and - obviously - we have Alan Pardew now.


“It's been similar in that we had a slow start and we've picked up, but it's been very exciting.


“[Alan Pardew has given] a massive, massive lift to everybody. He is always very clear with his message, he wants us to play the game and the players took his ideas on board very, very quickly. A lot of credit must go to him for doing that.”


The new manager has brought some stability and excitement to Selhurst Park, after a shaky first half of the season, helping the Eagles to dominate and pick up points away from home, as well as kill off the likes of Manchester City, despite unspectacular home form.


“I think it's so important in this league to be consistent,” Speroni says. “When you are on a bad run you need to do all you can to put it right, otherwise you can just drop, drop, drop and it gets even harder when you are down the bottom.


“We've managed to establish ourselves a little bit higher and play the football we want to play.


“When we got promoted, the target was - in the first season - to stay in the Premier League and then try to establish the club as a Premier League club. I think we went the right way, we've achieved that. We need to keep pulling together. I think we're on the right path.”


Palace have reinvented themselves under Alan Pardew, playing a more exciting brand of football, which has been likened to the Steve Coppell team of 1990/91. The Eagles have mixed last season’s defensive rigidity, with clever attacking play, built on the threat out wide and strengthened in central midfield.


Across the board, Speroni feels, the Eagles are strong. There is a balance of experience, youthful exuberance, defensive competence and attacking flair, which has made the club become one of the most exciting in the top flight.


“We have a good balance in the team, we have experienced players playing in the base of the team,” says the goalkeeper. “We have a good balance across all areas.”


On a personal level, the Argentine shot-stopper names the recent seasons at Palace as the best of his career.


The global reach of the Premier League has meant that his family back home have been able to follow his progress like never before, something he is delighted with.


“The last two or three seasons have been the best of my career, I'm having such a great time,” he enthuses.


“I was waiting to get to the Premier League for a long time, but eventually we got there and we've managed to stay there, which is great.


“The magnitude of the Premier League is just huge around the world, I have family back home in Argentina who couldn't even watch the games when we were in the Championship, but now they can watch every single minute of every single match, which is just fantastic. It shows you how big the Premier League is.”


Now 35-years-old, Speroni has dedicated over a decade of his career to the Eagles, cementing his place as a club legend, sticking around through thick and thin.


Asked whether he expected to remain in SE25 for as long as he has, when he first signed from Dundee in 2004, he replied: “No not really, I have to be honest, you never expect to be at a club for such a long time.


“You normally stay for three, four or five seasons, but then you move on and things change, managers change and you can't please everybody. So players tend to move along. I am so glad it happened this way, I've had a fantastic time, I never thought I would be here this long, but I am so glad it's happened, because I'm really enjoying it.


“I can't put my finger on one individual thing that has kept me here, I think it's the whole package,” he adds.


“We've been through everything here, when I first signed for the club we were in the Premier League, then we got relegated and we were in the Championship. We've had play-off campaigns, relegation battles, administration, the play-off final and then the Premier League again!


“I've been through everything with this club and I’ve grown very close to it, I feel like a fan now. I'm a Palace fan and it's hard to leave those things behind.


“A lot of people ask me to write a book on my time at the club, but who knows, maybe I'll do one in the future.”


Despite his current good mood, enjoying mid-table Premier League football at a club where he is a legend, he admits that it has been a rollercoaster, with good times and bad.


“There have been tough times, obviously, like the final day of the 2010 season, where we had to get at least a point away at Sheffield Wednesday, otherwise we could have gone down,” he says.


“We were in administration at the time and we weren't even sure if we were going to have a club in two months’ time. That was a very tough situation for everybody, but we managed to get that draw that we needed and stay up, which was vital for the future of the club.


“The good times: playing in the Premier League now, the promotion campaign was great and such an enjoyable time. Playing at Wembley in front of a full crowd in the play-off final and now in the Premier League, every single game is exciting. It's shown around the world, so what could be better?”


Speroni is adored by some of the most talked about fans in the English top flight and he is clearly grateful for their unwavering support, crediting the Red and Blue army in the stands for pushing the team to where they now find themselves.


“The fans have created such an amazing atmosphere at the ground, they really make the away team feel under pressure and they've been key over the last three seasons,” he says.


“They've been unbelievable really, unbelievable, and they keep doing it every week, home and away!”


Looking to the future, Speroni admitted he has spoken with goalkeeping coach George Wood about his future, but revealed that the former Eagles icon has given him some words of advice.


“I'm 35 now and I feel great, I feel really, really good,” he says. “I study with my goalkeeper coach George Wood and I actually asked George, ‘did you feel a time when you had to retire? Because I feel great!'


“And he said to me, 'I used to look after myself, like you do, and with all the technology you have, the nutrition, the training, as long as mentally you feel fine, you have the fire in you, you want to come for training every day and you're enjoying it, then there's no reason why you should retire. Then if the opposite happens and you feel like you don't want to train today, that's when you have to think that maybe it’s the time to retire.'


“But at the moment, that's not the case for me.”


.HEREJulian Speroni’s testimonial match versus his first British club, Dundee, will take place on Tuesday 26th May at 8pm. Tickets can be bought

.HEREMore information regarding the match can be found

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