A Story at Selhurst: Crystal Palace F.C.


Nov 26, 2019
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Chapter 1: Where to From Here?


Thought I'd have one final crack at an FM23 save on here, and given that this will be my last story for the year, I thought it fitting to do it with the club I have supported since boyhood - Crystal Palace. The club finished a respectable 11th, helped by the return of Roy Hodgson, who came in and delivered some much improved results from what the club were getting towards the end of Patrick Vieira's reign.


It is time, though, for Roy to say goodbye, likely for the final time, although you never know when he might come out of retirement for one last job. I'll be taking over and looking to help the club to achieve its aspirations. I believe that the club has the potential to make a - and I hate to give credit to our biggest rivals like this - Brighton style climb up the league table.

That's where I'll leave it for this short introduction - let's hope for a positive season ahead.​
Chapter 2: Season Expectations and Key Players


Steve Parish has been a magnificent owner for the club over the years, and, even if we haven't had any major trophy success, the plans are in place for the club to gradually build its reputation and develop over time.

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The board expectations are realistic and as expected. A mid table finish with an emphasis on youth development that is nice to see.

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If anything, the fans expect even less than the board to - as they simply expect the club to survive. I'll be looking for a solid mid-table finish ideally, around the 11th that the club achieved in real life - and ideally without any fear of relegation.

So, onto our key players.

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It's impossible to mention Crystal Palace without Wilfried Zaha coming into conversation. Simply put, the man is an absolute club icon, and arguably the best to ever wear the blue and red of the club's shirt. For years, the club was reliant on him to lead us to victory, and, although we've got some other great creative players now, he's still the main man at the club.

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At the defensive end of the field, and Marc Guehi is an excellent centre-back. It honestly always surprises me that he is still just 21 years old - he plays with such a maturity and intelligence for his age. He is already an England international and will sit at the heart of our defence alongside Joachim Andersen.

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Cheick Doucoure won the club's Player of the Season award in real life, and I'll be hoping he has a similar debut season for us in the game. Although his shooting leaves a little to be desired, Doucoure is an excellent midfielder that does an outstanding amount of defensive work with relative ease.

Of course, it is hard not to mention the club's two brightest upcoming stars - Ebere Eze and Michael Olise as well. They're both dynamic and exciting players and will be extremely important. As with many of our top end players, though, there is a risk of them leaving for bigger clubs as they continue to improve. We'll have to see what happens.

As for the upcoming transfer window, and we have just 3.4 million to spend. That'll probably mean no signings for this opening window, although the club could use improvements in both the right-back and striker spots.​
Chapter 3: Preparing for the Season Ahead

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We have a lot of players on expiring contracts to deal with - a number of whom I did not want to lose at the end of the season.

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First off, Jeff Schlupp signs off on a new deal that keeps him here until 2025. Schlupp is a versatile player who can player anywhere on the left side as well as in midfield, and that's why I wanted to keep him around.

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Joel Ward deserves to retire here at Crystal Palace, the club which he has made home for over a decade now. Although the need for a new right-back is well documented, it certainly will not hurt to keep a club legend and mentor like Joel Ward around. He knows the club inside and out and will help out any of the young players around the club with his leadership qualities.

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Of course, in real life, there is some doubt as to whether Wilfried Zaha will sign a new contract or not, with the club reportedly willing to offer around a £200,000 per week wage. However, we've managed to tie him down on £130,000 per week, on a contract that will last until the end of 2025.

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Perhaps a less welcome extension in some fans' eyes, but I believe Jordan Ayew to actually be somewhat underrated. Yes, his stats for a right-winger over the past three seasons look somewhat dreadful, but he always puts in a hard-working, honest shift and his tracking back is an important aspect of the overall team's success. Therefore, I've decided to give Ayew an extension until 2025 as well.


As for pre-season and it was...mixed. We didn't do particularly well against La Liga opposition, but hopefully we're saving our form for the competitive matches.​
Chapter 4: Season Begins + A Deadline Day Signing


Time to get the season underway with the transfer window still open.

EPL Matchday 1: West Ham vs Crystal Palace

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We begin the season with a narrow 1-0 defeat away to West Ham. We played well enough and dominated possession but our finishing was lacking. A disappointing result but promising signs were there.

EPL Matchday 2: Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

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We respond with a terrific 2-0 victory over Arsenal, with a couple of late goals getting us the victory. It was another positive performance and we nullified Arsenal's main threats, before scoring on the break to win the game.

EPL Matchday 3: Crystal Palace vs Newcastle

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Not a bad result in a closely contested game. There weren't a ton of chances across the game and it ended up 0-0. Newcastle are obviously a good side, so to take a point of them, even if it is at home, is a decent result.

Carabao Cup 2nd Round: Brentford vs Crystal Palace

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We head straight out of the Carabao Cup as I rotated the entire team and we lost 3-1 to Brentford. The Carabao Cup was not a competition I was interested in, and so this defeat does not disappoint me too much.

EPL Matchday 4: Brentford vs Crystal Palace

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It was back-to-back losses against Brentford, this time in the league. Our first half performance was poor, but we played okay in the second period, however could not get back on level terms despite a couple of late chances.

EPL Matchday 5: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

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We then managed to hold Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at home in our final game of the month. Although they had the better chances, we worked hard and posed a threat on the counter attack, warranting a hard-earned point.

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After our final game of the month, we secured our only signing for the window, right-back Wilfried Singo from Torino. Singo has attacking talent in the full-back spot and should be an outlet for us, with room to grow as he is still just 21 years of age.

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Boasting quickness and a willingness to get forward, Singo looks like an exciting option for us to have down the right.

As for outgoings, we sold off Jairo Riedewald to Frankfurt and were only able to find a loan for Luka Milivojevic.

League Table

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We sit 15th in the table but we've had a pretty difficult start to the season, so, all things considered, we've had an okay beginning results-wise.

Player of the Month


Tyrick Mitchell was our most consistent performer at left-back, playing solidly in all of our games this month.​
Chapter 5: Early Season Form


Bournemouth, Manchester City and Brighton away. Won't be an easy month, that's for sure.

EPL Matchday 6: Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

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We started off with a solid away win against Bournemouth. Jean-Philippe Mateta has been surprisingly decent in front of goal so far, and was given the start in this one. He rewarded the selection with a brace to win us the game.

EPL Matchday 7: Crystal Palace vs Manchester City

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We then managed a spectacular 3-1 victory over league leaders Manchester City! We made an electric start, winning a penalty inside 2 minutes and then doubling our lead on 12 minutes. I'll be honest, the nerves firmly set in when Erling Haaland got them a goal back, but the next goal went our way, with a late counter attack finished off by Wilfried Zaha.

EPL Matchday 8: Brighton vs Crystal Palace

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We finished off with a 0-0 draw in the M23 derby against Brighton. It's not a bad result away from home, and Brighton are a good side with European aspirations, so to match them in this one was a good point overall.

League Table

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Given the fixtures we've had so far this season, 9th is a very solid place to be sitting after 8 games.

Player of the Month

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Ebere Eze was in splendid form this month, in particular giving a terrific performance against City.​