Where Are They Now?: Steve Kember

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The Independent Online
STEVE KEMBER, brought up less than a mile from Selhurst Park, was five when his dad took him to his first Crystal Palace match. 'They're in my blood,' he says. Having twice served them with distinction as a player, he now scouts for the club and coaches at their school of excellence.

Seeing them promoted to the top division is a familiar experience. In April 1969, aged 20, he scored in the 3-2 home win over Fulham that booked Palace's place in the old First Division for the first time. In May 1979, as an old head in Terry Venables's young team, he helped them clinch the Second Division championship with a 2-0 victory over Burnley before a record Selhurst Park crowd of 51,000.

Kember was Palace manager for eight months. Sacked in June 1982, he tried to make a playing comeback at Bournemouth but was thwarted by injury and subsequently became manager of the Diadora League side, Whyteleafe. He ran a wine bar in Croydon but went bankrupt last year.

Now 45, he took up his current position last July. 'I'm only part- time, but I go down to the ground most days and I'm just happy to be involved again,' he says. 'Scouting is a lot different. It felt a bit odd always being somewhere else instead of the Palace game. But I've settled to it now and I'm hoping there might be something permanent next season.'

Kember also coaches at Cumnor House School in Purley. One of his three sons - 19-year- old Paul - has had trials with Middlesbrough. 'I think he would have been taken on but unfortunately he hurt his back. He is fit again now and keen to give it another go.'

(Photograph omitted)

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