He was the club’s marquee signing in this year’s January transfer window and although only featuring mainly as a substitute, Emmanuel Adebayor’s eleven league and three FA Cup appearances, have been well received by fans and team members alike, especially at a time when Palace were without any of their first choice strikers.
Looking back at the past year, Adebayor admits it’s been a difficult period of his career. Having been released by Tottenham in July, he joined Palace having gone almost ten months without playing football at a professional level, and the Togolese striker says he is disappointed he hasn’t been able to contribute to the south London club as much as he would have liked.
“To be honest it hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to be. When I joined it had been nearly a year I wasn’t playing, so it was going to be hard. I’ve scored only one goal, got a couple of assists, and could have done better. But I’m not a guy who is looking to get twenty goals anymore in my career, for me it’s about being in a team, playing football and enjoying myself and getting my happiness back. I’ve had that for the last three months or so and I’m very happy with that.”
His contributions off the pitch won’t have been seen by those outside of the training ground, but he has had a notable impact on several members of the squad, especially the attacking players who have turned to him when looking for feedback on their game.
“I’ve been there and done it in the Premier League, players like Sako, Bolasie, Wickham, Zaha, they are all brothers to me. They all like me for what I’ve done and most of them will come to me and ask me, “what have I done good, how can I improve?” and I tell them what I think they can do better.
"They are the future of this club and they are very good. You can see in the semi-final Wickham scored that beautiful goal which is good for his confidence, Zaha running on the wing showing his skills, Bolasie getting the first goal (in the semis) which gave him a big confidence boost in the game, so I’m very happy to be part of this club and telling them what they should be doing at the right time - I hope everyone is listening to me and I appreciate that.”
Palace go into their last home game of the season this weekend knowing a draw will secure the team’s Premier League safety, but looking to the FA Cup final in two weeks’ time it is the confidence gained from scoring goals and picking up three points which will give the Eagles the belief that they are more than capable of lifting the coveted English trophy on May 21st.
“We want to win against Stoke and go into the final with a lot of confidence. Everyone is playing to enjoy themselves and show how good they are. For some players it will be their last games and for some it will be the first game of being in a team with a bright future.
"If I see the squad that Crystal Palace have got - Bolasie, Zaha, Wickham, Puncheon, Souare, Cabaye, McArthur, they have got a good squad, the team is very good, now they’ve just got to believe in themselves a little bit more and tell themselves we can do something better, create that solidarity between them as a team. For me that’s key, it doesn’t matter how hard it is, just believe you can do it and I think this club can do that.”