Our latest TEB interview features former Palace player and Republic of Ireland youth international Rob Quinn who began his career at the club. He currently works with the Crystal Palace Foundation as well as coaching in the youth set up. We thank Rob for taking the time to answer our questions.
Q. Who did you support as a kid and which player did you admire?
I supported Tottenham Hotspur as a kid and lived Glenn Hoddle and then Paul Gascoigne.
Q. Why football and when did you get your first big break?
I remember going to watch my Dad play when I was young every Sunday. While playing for the local Sunday side I was scouted by Arsenal when I was ten. I signed for Palace at the age of 14
Q. Which player is the best you have played alongside and the best that you have played against?
The best players that I have played alongside include Ray Houghton and Andy Roberts at Palace. Elsewhere I would say George Boyd. Those I have played against include Frenchman David Ginola and Sol Campbell.
Q. What do you consider your highlight of your time at Selhurst?
Winning and captaining youth team to win league twice, making my debut and playing in the 95/96 play off games against Charlton Athletic and at Wembley against Leicester City – except for result!
Q. Who at Palace was the most under-rated player in your view?
We had lots of good young players and a couple of Irish lads Tony Scully and Rory Ginty had some real talent as well as Glen Little who went on to have good career.
Q. What game would you consider the best you have played in both for atmosphere and personal performance?
The second leg play off game at Selhurst against Charlton under the lights was a great atmosphere and only my second start. I think I did quite well too. The experience of playing at Wembley in front of 73,000 was amazing and will never forget it but I can still see the ball floating over my head off the shin of Claridge! Nightmare!
Q. What advice would you give to an up and coming young footballer?
I work with young lads of different ages and my advice is to have a great work ethic to go alongside your dreams. Practice makes permanent. There are so many kids who want the same thing so attitude as well as ability are very important.
Q. Do you still look out for how Palace are doing? If so, what is your view of the past four or five years?
Yes, I have always looked out for Palace and think it is brilliant that we are in the Premier League for a second successive season. We have to make sure we stay here. Great that the owners are Palace fans and I was there at Wembley last May. The manager did a fantastic job last year and I think he will try to make sure we build the right foundations to ensure a long stay in top league.
Q. Tell us a little about your involvement with the Crystal Palace Foundation?
I run a ‘Football and Education’ scheme in partnership with the Foundation – we call it Crystal Palace Foundation Academy. It is for 16-19 year olds where they study BTEC and train and play in the very competitive Conference Youth Alliance. We had 40 boys on the scheme last year and hope to have more this year. The aim is unearth a player who is ready for the U18 side who may have not previously been spotted or had the opportunity. More importantly boys get a very solid education which can take them to University as well as training and playing every day.
We looking for any potential sponsors to help out if anyone interested. Also if any schools or sixth form colleges are interested in discussing potential partnerships then please get in touch.
I am also Head coach of the U13 side this year at the Palace academy and it is great to work with the future stars of our club. I have been lucky to coach the U11 side for the last three seasons and can assure fans that we have some fantastic talent in every age group.
Q. Do you stay in touch with any former team-mates and if so, who and what are they up to?
I am still in regular contact with Danny Boxall who I came through the ranks with at Palace and quite a few others on social media. Andrew Martin works with me with the U13 side. The son of Andy Roberts is with the U9 side this season too.