Veteran Phillips takes Palace into Premier League

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Two months before his 40th birthday, Kevin Phillips scored the most important goal of a career that has spanned more than two decades to secure a Premier League place for Crystal Palace. The Championship play-off has been described as the world's most valuable game. Excitable estimates suggest that, in terms of Premier League TV revenue, it can be worth up to £135 million to the winners. Whatever the figures, it was certainly Phillips' most valuable goal.

His firmly-struck penalty in extra-time decided a match that Palace had deserved to win, even if Watford kept them at bay for most of the match. Palace's star was Wilfried Zaha, the winger who signed for Manchester United in January but who returned to Palace on loan. Zaha tormented Watford throughout and won the decisive penalty.

Palace manager Ian Holloway briefly fantasised that Zaha might be allowed to extend the loan period into the Premier League next season, although he thought that United manager David Moyes would be unlikely to agree. "I think he'd be silly to give me him back to me," Holloway said. "But you never know, now that we're up it might be realistic. We'll see."

Holloway indicated that Phillips might also have a role to play in the Premier league in his 40s. "I'll keep signing him until he's 50 or 60 if he keeps putting the ball in the net," the manager said. He was ready to accept Phillips travelling to London to train just once a week. "It might be about whether he can still have that enthusiasm like me, that jiggle in the soul you feel in the morning."

The colourful quotes, wit and wisdom of Ian Holloway are the stuff of football legend and it's clear that next season's Premier League will once more have a manager always ready with an entertaining line.

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