Today on our free membership website we have launched a brand new series meeting some cult heroes from the the club's history. The series kicks-off this week with an exclusive interview from former captain, Michael Hughes, filmed out in Ireland.
Michael Hughes played during one of the most pivotal times of the club’s recent history. Part of Iain Dowie’s side that won promotion to the Premiership via the play-offs in 2004, Hughes also suffered the heartbreak of relegation when the slide slipped back into the Championship the following year.
In the first of Palace TV’s four-part ‘Cult Heroes’ series, presenter Chris Grierson travelled to Northern Ireland to interview Hughes about his time playing under Dowie at Palace, and his post football playing career now managing Irish League First Division club Carrick Rangers.
“When Iain came in that was the toughest four weeks that I’ve ever done, it was relentless. We were swimming, boxing, training twice a day, by the time I was going into matches I was hardly able to run and you start to question it as a player. But after those four weeks we started to feel the benefit and we were running over teams. Iain deserved a lot of credit for what he did and I loved working with him. He had this desire and passion about him and wanted to do well, and that fed down to the players. I know a lot of people have come in and done brilliantly for the club since then, but you have to look back at that time and say that was a catalyst to what has happened since.”
Reflecting on the play-off final win against West Ham United that took the side up the Premier League, Hughes and the the team were never in doubt they’d win the game.
“There was something about that season that must have been written in the stars, it was just meant to be. We weren’t losing that play-off final and every single one of us sitting in that dressing room before going out to play West Ham knew that. It was quite a nice feeling knowing you’re going to win the game and it’s hard to stop that belief and desire - that was instilled by Iain.”
Over the next few weeks we will have interviews with Sasa Curcic, Matt Jansen and Aki Riihilahti.
to watch Chris Grierson’s full interview with Michael Hughes on Palace’s free membership site, eagles.cpfc.co.uk