Firstly, I'd like to welcome the directors, management, players and supporters of Manchester United to Selhurst Park for our penultimate home game of the season.
Everyone at the club was pleased with last week's performance, it was just a shame we couldn’t spoil Chelsea’s party but in the end they were always going to complete the task and they are worthy champions so huge congratulations to them. Despite the good performance we haven't scored in our last three games and neither have today's opponents, for the first time since 1989 I'm informed, so everyone inside Selhurst today will be dying to see a goal!
As this season draws to a close, thoughts have turned to the future and we're putting a lot of work into the development and academy squads. I would like to pass on my congratulations to the under-21 side for reaching the semi-finals of the U21 Professional Development League 2; I watched their last two games and have been impressed with the way they played, especially on Tuesday when they lost to Huddersfield Town after extra-time.
It was a proper game of football with goals flying in, end-to-end action, some great skill and plenty of drama. Every time I see Gary Issott's side play there are always plenty of goals and it's great to see young players making their mark in the game.
One of the first times I visited the training ground when we first purchased the club in 2010, I saw a couple of eight-year-old kids training. It made me realise that it would be 10 years or more until they would be able to make their mark on the first-team, but as guardians of the club it is our duty to invest in the academy to ensure that more home-grown players have a pathway through to the Premier League, no matter how long it takes.
That is something we are working on at the moment and as well as strengthening the squad for Alan next season, we are both looking to add a few new faces to the academy and development sides by tapping into the national and European markets to try and unearth a couple of gems which could one day reach the first-team.
We are also in the process of handing scholarships to some of our under-16 players but it is also the time of the year where we have to make tough decisions on these kids' futures and let some go which is never easy, but we are proud that as a club we do everything we can to prevent them dropping out of the game.
We're also looking at other areas of the club away from the playing side and I've been sitting down with various departments to discuss their needs, ambitions and budgets for next season as we aim to drive Crystal Palace forward off the pitch to match the success we've seen on it.
It's great that all this work behind the scenes is taking place in the backdrop of what looks to be a third straight season at this level, but hard work is only just beginning.
Up the Palace