NCM Report Cards: #12 Chrissy Palmer

Last updated : 14 July 2005 By Richard Brown

Name: Chris Palmer
Age: 21
Position: Winger
No. of Appearances '04/05: 27(2)

Season Highlight: Establishing the ‘Palmer special’ following his return to the side – some likened his return to Arjen Robben’s of Chelsea. Steady on!

Season Lowlight: Missing the opening months of the season through injury. Also, speaking to the press about wanting away.

It’s been a funny old season for one Chrissy Palmer. Signed from Derby last summer without any league experience to his name, Palmer has – in his first season with the club – hit the highest of high’s and the lowest of low’s in equal proportions over the course of the campaign gone by.

Stalled before even leaving the starting blocks by a troublesome ankle injury, Palmer was to miss the opening stages of the season, ironically a time where the side’s creative influence was at its slightest, as Palmer, along with Stefan Oakes, remained sidelined for the opening months of the new season.

With muse desperately needed from the flanks, Mills’ ‘bomb ‘em with wingers’ tactic looked to have fell, for all the good intentions, flat on its arse.

And it wasn’t until early-to-mid October when Palmer – widely believed, albeit misleadingly, to be the son of Magpies legend Charlie Palmer – finally made his long-awaited debut.

Producing a thick slice of just what this youngster was capable of, the performance of Palmer was overshadowed perhaps only by that of Glynn Hurst – who netted a brace to seal a 2-1 turnaround that day.

From returning, bar the Mansfield debacle, Palmer’s performances went from strength to strength. In just a handful of games since returning, the wide-man was developing a composure, a willingness to run at players and an eye for goal that more than justified Mills’ summer signing.

Emphatic ‘Palmer specials’ against Boston, Shrewsbury and Cambridge within little over a month only established the fans’ confidence upon such young shoulders, all this whilst being shifted between the left-wing and left-wingback as Ian Richardson succeeded Gary Mills – the man who signed Palmer – as Magpies boss.

Proving just as effective in either position, regardless of the goals drying up after a short while, Palmer established himself in the side above experience team-mate and fellow winger Tony Scully.

Appearing throughout December and January – scoring at Cheltenham along the way – it was refreshing to see another youngster shine in the side.

However, after County’s 1-0 defeat against Mansfield Town in early February, Palmer’s fortunes turned dramatically for the worst.

Whilst his Meadow Lane future hung in the balance, the former Derby and Hereford youngster was to be frozen out of the side for whole of February following County’s second defeat of the season to bitter rivals Mansfield Town.

After a lacklustre performance against the club’s local rivals, Ian Richardson had made his mind well and truly up.

The winger’s confidence dropped to the point of Palmer suggesting a transfer to Ian Richardson, and indeed the media, suggesting that "might be time to take a step back to go forward."

The transfer never materialised, however, and Palmer lived to fight another day.

The big freeze continued however as February – then March – came and went, and Palmer had now failed to appear in ten games for the Magpies.

With Paul Bolland ‘impressing’ on the left wing, as well as Scully keeping Richo sweet with his hot ’n’ cold routine, Palmer’s avenue to the side look blocked from by all perceivable approaches.

However, with Richardson’s squad devastated by injury and suspension, Palmer was reinstalled into the side for the long trip south to Huish Park.

On a night of many surprises, Palmer managed to keep the pace with an admirable degree of proficiency, looking every bit the part of his return to the side.

Palmer’s return, however, was helped massively by the cowering performances of a certain Tony Scully. Described as the ‘perrenial substitute’ by our dearly beloved Rob Davies, Scully proved just that – paling in significance to Palmer and his emphatic re-birth in the side.

Palmer had gone from being the outspoken exile of the side to a prominent force upon his return to the line-up since slipping back into the side on that rainy, yet oh so fruitful night down south.

Palmer’s season was, without a doubt, one of many peaks and falls. From injury to heroism, from public outcries to poignant returns, Palmer’s hopes must lie no further than simple normality for the coming campaign.

And, if he plays his cards right, the Ice age could be one of great prosper for the former Derby County youngster. Palmer’s time is now.

NCM rating: 6