The newly-promoted Crystal Palace have added 35-year-old goalkeeper Neil Alexander to their squad on a free transfer.
The Scottish goalkeeper was released by Glasgow Rangers at the end of last season and says he is relieved to have found a club, after signing a one-year deal at Selhurst Park.
“It has been a really tough summer. I had no idea what was going to happen and as the season got closer I wondered if I’d get a club,” he said.
Alexander, who has three Scotland international caps, spent much of his time at Ibrox Park as Allan McGregor’s understudy. However, following McGregor’s departure from the club in the wake of Rangers’ demotion to the Scottish Third Division, Alexander became the first-choice ‘keeper.
A break-down in contract negotiations at the end of last season saw Alexander’s exit. Having been just one of only three senior players to stay at Rangers after the club was liquidated last year, he was willing to take another pay-cut this year. Yet the offer Rangers tabled was simply too low.
“”I’m extremely disappointed that it didn’t work out for me at Rangers because I would have loved to have stayed if things had worked out differently. I was desperate to stay but the contract offer was just not acceptable. I felt I deserved better,” he said.
But while the Scot may have wished to stay at Rangers, he is pleased with the opportunity to challenge established no. 1 Julian Speroni at Selhurst Park.
“Julian’s done fantastically well here. He had a great season last year, but it’s important to have good back-up, experienced back-up and I think that’s what I’ll bring to the squad,” Alexander said.
Crystal Palace goalkeeping coach George Wood, who worked with Alexander during their time at Cardiff City, was instrumental in the deal.
“I knew George when he worked at Cardiff and he said to me ‘You’d be perfect for Palace’ and that he would have a word with Ian [Holloway],” Alexander said.
“So things developed from there and I went to London at the weekend and we managed to get the deal done after I passed a medical, so it’s brilliant for me,” said the Scot.
Alexander is the eighth new signing for manager Ian Holloway, alongside Stephen Dobbie, Dwight Gayle, Jerome Thomas, Jose Campana, Kevin Phillips, Elliot Grandin and Marouane Chamakh.
The season kicks off at home for Palace this Sunday against fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur.