Football: The Sweeper - Unsung Heroes No 1 Simon Rodger

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Unless injury strikes once again for Rodger, one of the biggest cheers at Selhurst Park this afternoon will be heard when the Crystal Palace midfielder's name is read out from the teamsheet for the match against Crewe Alexandra.

Rodger is Palace's longest-serving player by some margin and his tenacious tackling and fierce commitment have made him a favourite with the fans. Yet last season it seemed that the club would do the unthinkable and let the 27-year-old leave on a free transfer.

Rodger's contract ran out in June and Palace's calamitous financial state was such that the club could not even contemplate renewing it. To compound Rodger's problems, another of the injuries that have plagued his career saw him miss the last two months of the season and denied him the chance to impress any would-be employers. In the summer, however, Palace's administrators were finally able to offer Rodger a new deal and today he begins his 11th season at the club, having joined from Bognor Regis Town for the princely sum of pounds 1,000 in 1990.

But for the injuries the "Bisto Kid" - a nickname Rodger shared with his former Palace colleague Simon Osborn - would have made many more than his 207 appearances, which have produced eight goals.

Do you have an unsung hero to recommend? A "one club for life" player? An octogenarian groundsman? A hospital radio team? A tea lady extraordinaire? Let us know.

Comments