Dean Austin may not have kicked a ball in a Crystal Palace shirt for 15 years but if any of our younger fans are unaware of the passion the man has for our football club, the video attached below highlights it perfectly.
Having been brought to the club by Terry Venables, Austin didn’t enjoy the best of starts to life south of the river but after the club were plunged into administration following the money troubles of Mark Goldberg, Dean stayed to help the club battle against the drop, taking a massive pay cut in order to play and becoming a firm fans’ favourite in the process.
It is rather unfortunate that a sizeable chunk of our club’s recent history revolves around two separate spells in administration but in some ways, supporters will agree that it was during those difficult times that the best sides of players characters shone through. In Austin’s case specifically, that couldn’t be closer to the truth.
It may sound a bit dewey-eyed of me but I think I’m justified in stating that the game is markedly different now to the one Austin was a part of at the turn of the century. It was through a sense of duty and desire that Dean stepped up to the plate in the club’s moment of need and was taken to supporters’ hearts as a direct consequence. He would be the first to admit that he wasn’t the most technically gifted defender to ever walk the Earth but you couldn’t question his commitment for a second and in scenarios like ours, characters like him were worth their weight in gold.
Although a slightly younger generation had their own taste of administration back in 2010, Dean’s interview offers the perfect insight into the unique pressures surrounding our first brush with potential extinction. Rest assured, his words will leave a mark on you.