From Rags to Riches: Comparing the Crystal Palace Team of 2013 to the Current Crop of Stars

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As a football fan of a team outside the Premier League in England, the majority dream of the days in which they can witness their team spend £30m on a single player and dine at England's top table with the best, dedicating their weekends to trips to places such as Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates. 

However, when those aforementioned dreams become reality, the days gone by of seeing eleven hard working, committed professionals giving their all for the shirt become a thing of the past. Agreeably, the quality of these new, better paid players may increase, but the desire and passion for the club arguably dips. 


This disillusioned transition has taken place before the eyes of Crystal Palace fans in particular over the course of the last five years, as the south London side have embarked on a monumental journey that has seem them go from Championship strugglers to a solid Premier League outfit. 

Having ended their first season back in the top flight with the likes of Cameron Jerome spearheading the attack, Kagisho Dikgacoi roaming the midfield and Damien Delaney starting every game, the Selhurst Park faithful pined to see a few more star names added to their squad as they managed to survive a Premier League season for the first time in their history, and how they were given so. 

The first big name arrival was none other than Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Yohan Cabaye, as the Frenchman teamed up with Alan Pardew once again after joining the Eagles for a club record £10m fee, a move which was only sanctioned as a result of Steve Parish reluctantly smashing the club's wage structure. Pardew later claimed that no player deserves the wage that the midfielder earns because they 'are not as good as him', a statement which irritated the morale and spirit behind the scenes immensely. 


The following summer saw Christian Benteke arrive from Liverpool for an astronomical fee for a club of Palace's size in the region of £32m, a move which shattered the previous club record transfer fee and emphasised just how illustrious the Premier League has become. 

With all this lavish spending, you would expect results, right? Well, it appears that it has done just the opposite. Palace now find themselves boasting a side that vastly contrasts the one that survived against all odds back in the 2013/14 season, with the aforementioned trio of Jerome, Dikgacoi and Delaney now finding the mercurial talents of Benteke, Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho in the spots they once owned, but are under performing massively. 

Palace have been languishing in the lower regions of the Premier League for a while now, and have been record breathtakingly terrible in recent seasons. 2016 saw the Eagles end the calendar year as the worst team in England's top four divisions, averaging 0.71 points per game with the likes of Dagenham and Redbridge and York City above the south Londoners. 

The beginning of the current campaign under Frank de Boer saw Palace set records for the worst ever start to a Premier League season, both points wise and goal wise with the Eagles failing to even score in their first seven games. What makes the previous two stats all the more worrying is the fact that Palace currently have the 20th most expensive squad in world football, with the current crop costing a grand total of £223m. 

Admittedly, the likes of Benteke, Cabaye and Sakho are better players than Jerome, Dikgacoi and Delaney, but passion, spirit and desire can go a long way in football, and the perhaps less talented trio more than make up for their limited abilities with their commitment to the cause. 

You cannot buy leadership and passion in football, and the decision to offload figures such as Mile Jedinak, so often an inspirational figure both on the pitch and in the dressing room, was an abomination and in Palace's current situation, you wouldn't bet against most of the club's fans longing to return to the days that they so often took for granted.