Date:Tuesday May 16 2006
Crystal Palace have released Aki Riihilahti, Wayne Andrews and Glenn Wilson – the players will be free to sign for another club once their contracts expire in June.
Wilson captained the Palace reserves on numerous occasions this season, but never established himself in the first team squad. It will be hoped that he finds a place for himself in the professional game.
Andrews will be remembered fondly by Palace fans and staff alike. An erratic but popular striker, rumours are linking him to a number of Championship clubs including QPR, Burnley and Coventry.
Aki Riihilahti departs Selhurst Park having, almost literally, written his own personal chapter in the history of Crystal Palace FC. A unique individual, who will be remembered for his performances both on and off the pitch, and is fully deserving of his legend status. When will we see his like again?
Elsewhere Rikki Banks, Wesley Beckles, Taku Watanabe and Tom Welch will be released at the end of their Academy contracts.
There was better news for Lewis Grabban, Phil Starkey, Arron Fray and Lewis Spence who were offered their first professional contracts. With more player departures anticipated over the summer there could be first team opportunities during the coming season.
Mikele Leigertwood has been offered a new contract by the club – the second offer in a matter of months. The utility player's future looks like nearing a conclusion after a protracted process of negotiation.
Tony Popovic travels to Germany to link up with the Australian national team ahead of the World Cup with his future still unresolved. Popovic is out of contract in the summer but may be offered a new deal depending on personal developments and Palace player transactions.
A summer of uncertainty – some things never change at Palace.
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