Dowie signs new deal with Palace

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Iain Dowie, the Crystal Palace manager, signed a new four-year contract with the club on Friday, the club confirmed yesterday.

The news will end any lingering concerns Palace supporters may have had over the immediate future of the manager who transformed the club's fortunes last season. Dowie agreed a new deal with the chairman, Simon Jordan, last month. With only what he referred to as "minutiae" to iron out, he had always maintained he was committed to staying at Selhurst Park.

But Palace fans have had their fingers burnt with managers in recent years and were concerned that Dowie had not signed beyond the end of this season when reports surfaced that he was on the short list to replace Graeme Souness at Blackburn Rovers.

The striker Andy Johnson last week urged the club to tie Dowie down to a new deal after he had pledged his own future to Palace by agreeing a new five-year contract.

"He is part of my progression and the team's progression. He got us where we are now and we want him to take us further," said Johnson, who scored in Palace's 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday.

"It is important he stays here. When you lose five on the trot it is hard for a manager to come in and keep the boys going," he added. "But he has got strength of character and is full of buzz words in training. He has got experience of winning and losing in the Premiership as a player and he has taken that into management."

Dowie took over Palace last season when they were struggling near the foot of the old First Division and his irregular methods brought immediate results with promotion following their victory over West Ham United in the play-off final.

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