Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish admits he is “overwhelmed” by the club’s promotion to the Premier League.
A delighted Parish watched on from the Wembley stands as Kevin Phillips’ extra time penalty secured a 1-0 victory over Watford in the Championship Play-Off Final.
The result marked an amazing turnaround in fortunes for the Selhurst Park club, whom Parish helped save from extinction just three years ago, alongside co-owners Stephen Browett, Martin Long and Jeremy Hosking.
After the nail-biting win at Wembley, Parish told Palace Player: “I’m just overwhelmed really. I thought the fans today were sensational. I can’t tell you the number of compliments I’ve had for the fans. They sang throughout.
“Frankly, I think we’ve been a good side all season and I thought today we were the better side. The feeling is just incredible. What an achievement. I’ve been fortunate to achieve a few things in my life, but this is right up there and it’s a testament to everybody at the club. We wouldn’t be able to do this without people that put in extraordinary effort.
“We’ve shown what can be achieved when you get a small group of people, including the players and the management, all pretty much pointing in the same direction.
“It should be a case study for how you get success at smaller organisations because I think we’ve defied everybody this season. We were favourites for relegation and arguably should have gone straight up. We’ve done it via the play-offs and I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone at the club.”
Parish hailed the performance of Ian Holloway’s men, who once again proved the bookmakers wrong by beating Watford, who only missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the regular Championship season.
He added: “That was once again a massive team performance. I thought we were fitter than them, I thought we were stronger, I thought we wanted it more, and we’re a team – make no mistake about it.
“Damien, Mile, little Stuey when he came on. I’ve got to be honest I was a little bit worried because he hasn’t played that much, but he snapped into the first tackle and was arguably one of our best players in the second half, I thought.
“There’s a great atmosphere around the club and I just couldn’t be more pleased for them. It was a fantastic team effort.”
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