Crystal Palace have returned to the Premier League after a dramatic extra time penalty gave them victory in the playoffs against Watford.
Veteran Kevin Phillips scored in a tense Championship playoff final at Wembley on Monday to end the Eagles’ eight-year absence from the top flight.
Phillips, 39, smacked the spot-kick home after Marco Cassetti fouled departing Wilfried Zaha, who now joins Manchester United. The 20-year-old Ivorian was coveted by a host of clubs but it was the Premiership champions who got him for $20 million.
Watford almost equalised at the death but Joel Ward headed off the line from Fernando Forestieri as the Eagles held on to win a match worth at least $150 million to the victors.
Palace were almost relegated to the third tier only three years ago and have been in administration since their last period in the Premier League.
They are managed by Ian Holloway, who took Blackpool improbably into the Premiership three years ago, so he knows what it will entail for survival although Blackpool only lasted one season.
Jeremy Superfine is best known for his involvement in tennis and road running here, but he is not ashamed to disclose a love for Crystal Palace.
“We were the underdogs with our other top striker Glenn Murray out injured,” Superfine said. “Zaha played a great game – shame he’s signed up to Man United.
“It’s been eight years since we were last in the Premiership and with all the administration issues… so I’m delighted.”
Palace have dropped straight back to the Championship all four times they have been promoted to the Prem but Superfine sees a longer stay this time.
“It’ll be tough but I think we’ll be strong enough to hang in there for the season. We need another striker and midfielder and need reinforcements with Murray’s recovery looking like it could be a while and losing Zaha.”
Are there many Palace fans in Cayman or is he the lone one? “There could never be enough Palace fans – best team in the world! You watch!”