Kwesi Appiah is learning fast from Dougie Freedman
FEW could begrudge Kwesi Appiah when he agreed to leave Margate for the bright lights of Championship side Crystal Palace in January.
Goal-machine Appiah had banged in 35 goals in all competitions for the Blues up to January, the kind of form that persuaded Palace manager Dougie Freedman to sign the Arsenal fan on deadline day.
It is fair to say that Margate have struggled for goals since Appiah left, but he was back at Hartsdown Park on Tuesday night to see his former employers lose 2-0 in their final home match of the season against Wealdstone.
The Advertiser caught up with Appiah before the game to see how he had adapted to life in the Championship.
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The 21-year-old said: "I am having a ball at Palace. It is a fantastic place to play football.
"My first day at Palace was quite overwhelming. I had been at that level before with Peterborough, but this time it was a different challenge.
"I have learnt so much in the few months I have been there from the gaffer (Dougie Freedman) and my team-mates, my game has improved so much in such a short space of time.
"I owe Margate and Chris Kinnear a lot for getting me to where I am today. It was sad to leave, but the Palace offer was one I just couldn't refuse."
Just walking around Hartsdown with Appiah before the game, it was clear that he is still held in the highest regard by Margate fans.
He was more than happy to sign autographs, pose for pictures and chat with the fans pre-match and for a 21-year-old lad living the dream, he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
"Obviously I want to be a success and score as many goals as I can, that's why Palace bought me," he said.
"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, I know I need to work hard in training and impress when I get a chance on the pitch.
"It's nice to come back down to Margate and catch up with Chris and the lads.
"It is a great club and I have nothing but respect for them.
"Hopefully they can start to climb up the leagues because it is what they deserve."