Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dowie Determined to Rise above the Critics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dowie Determined to Rise above the Critics

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON JOHNSON

WHEN Crystal Palace take on Watford tomorrow night there will be more than a key promotion battle on the agenda as Iain Dowie attempts to prove he still is the best manager outside the Premiership.

Dowie has seen his star fade in the Championship this season with the emergence of Leeds' Kevin Blackwell and Watford's Aidy Boothroyd, let alone the remarkable job Steve Coppell did to get Reading promoted to the Premiership.

Boothroyd celebrated his one-year anniversary of taking charge at Vicarage Road yesterday and is worshipped by the club's supporters.

Twelve months ago Dowie was revered just as highly at Selhurst Park and among many people in the game as his team battled bravely, albeit without success, to stay in the Premiership, but it has not been such an easy ride for him this term.

Palace's bid to regain their place in the top flight has been beset with inconsistency and frustration.

Chairman Simon Jordan expected to go up as champions, but a playoff spot is looking their only hope after losing 11 games, nine more than Reading.

It has led Dowie to lose his hero status among the fans and incredibly a growing element questioning whether it is time he left the club.

This is the first time in his brief managerial career that he has had to live with the flak that comes with failing to meet expectations, but he insists it is the making of him.

He said: "The Palace fans have been a lot more critical of the team and me this season. There are huge expectations but we have to cope with that. We have to perform. I have been more under the microscope but it is making me a better manager. I am not frightened of adversity. I have learned more about myself in these bad times than the good.

"My product can be picked apart by 20,000 people at any time, but that is what drives me. …

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