Firstly I’d like to welcome the directors, management, players and supporters from Swansea City to Selhurst this afternoon.
I hope everyone here today has enjoyed their Christmas break and the feast of football this time of the year brings. I’m writing these notes before the Bournemouth game, but I’ve had a smile on my face ever since Chung-yong Lee scored that sensational goal at the Britannia Stadium to beat Stoke City nine days ago as we improved our recent record to 10 points taken from a possible 12 at such an important time in the season.
It was a fantastic strike by Chungy and that victory ensured that we would be in the top six on Christmas Day, when last year we were just above the relegation zone. That shows the great strides we’ve made and why 2015 will go down as one of the best years in our history, and that is something we can all be proud of.
We now face an intense and difficult period of games. A lot has been said about the Christmas programme, with the idea of having a winter break in the Premier League like they do elsewhere in Europe mooted.
I personally hope that never happens; I love this time of year and at the time of writing these notes I can’t wait to get into the car on Boxing Day to get down to Bournemouth. Having said that we are suffering a few injuries, as are most clubs, so I expect some more surprising results over the next few weeks in what has been an unpredictable season so far.
As well as our great year on the pitch, it’s also been a big year off it too, and just before the Stoke game I was delighted to announce that David Blitzer and Josh Harris have come on board to help our continued efforts to develop Crystal Palace Football Club.
This means that the three of us control the club, and will have to all agree on the big decisions in the future, but I am remaining as chairman and Stephen, Jeremy and Martin will all stay on as shareholders. This gives us a fantastic mix of south London roots, Premier League experience and knowledge from other sports across the world.
This isn’t a leap into the unknown. We’ve been in discussion with David and Josh for around 18 months as I had to be sure that this was the right pathway for the club’s future, and I’m certain that it is. During that time they’ve emotionally invested in Palace as they’ve followed our incredible progress, so their intentions are true.
I am very, very excited about the future and I hope you all are too. I can only thank all the Palace supporters for your patience during this time - I’ve tried to keep you in my mind throughout this process as we are all invested stakeholders in Crystal Palace, and I hope that we can now give you some great times in the future as we aim to take the club to the next level.