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Palace Must "Never Lose" South London Identity

1 December 2015

Crystal Palace must "never lose" its unique south London identity, according to Alan Pardew, who is from the area himself, hailing from Wimbledon.

Pardew, speaking during an interview for an NBC Sports documentary on the Eagles (which you can watch for free HERE), spoke passionately about the area and urged the club to keep hold of what makes it unique to the Premier League.

"Generally, the south of this big city is populated by a huge array of nationalities," he said. "Everyone is accepted. There is no kind of barrier here. It's a little bit edgy [and] that adds to its unique flavour."

Pardew played over 170 games for the Eagles during his career, so knows only too well the on-pitch identity, with the fans expecting a lot of tricky, exciting wing-play of a Palace side.

"The players that we produce here, they always have that type of ability where they'll go past someone, like a street football skill," said the manager. 

"It's kind of learnt on the streets of south London and that's something we must never lose. I always look for a player like that - [Bakary] Sako has that. Now he isn't from south London, he couldn't be further away from south London, but he has the traits of a south London player. He can do a moment, he can flick it over someone's head, he can create that kind of street football that the fans love here and expect in their team.

"[Playing for Palace] is not just about [making] a living, a profession and winning, it's also about entertainment."

Eagles winger - and boyhood Palace fan - Jason Puncheon also spoke passionately about the club's identity during his interview for the programme.

"It's something that is part of our football club and has been over the years," he said. "I think the position we're in, with the players that we've got, the wide boys and the way they attack, it's really exciting and it does lift our crowd. Some times we can be on the backfoot, then Yala, Wilf, Bakary will go past someone and it sets the tone."

Co-chairman Steve Parish, another south Londoner, also spoke enthusiastically about the area, talking about how ingrained that sense of local pride is amongst Palace fans.

"I'm so proud when the boys come out, when Glad All Over comes on," he said. "It's just something that's built into your soul. The way I describe it here, it's the first thing you fall in love with.

"They are your people. You can talk to them very easily, there's a shorthand. It's the essence of that: we are south London and proud. It's a part of London that isn't publicised that much, but it's got a real soul and a real diversity. It's a wonderful place to be."

You can watch the full documentary - in which Alan Pardew, Steve Parish, Jason Puncheon and more discuss everything CPFC, from the recent progress to the incredible fans - in full for free HERE.

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