It’s great that Premier League football is back at Selhurst Park for a fourth season this afternoon as we welcome West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the campaign.
This is one of my favourite days of the year; after weeks of watching the players in action in training and friendly games we finally get to see the real thing again.
It’s a special day in the football calendar as every team starts with the same amount of points, and as we saw last year with Leicester City winning the title anything can happen.
Partly because of that, I’ve not known a season start with some much anticipation surrounding it, and I for one am itching for it to start! It’s great that we’re kicking-off our campaign at home on the opening day, something we haven’t done since our first game back at this level in 2013.
The aim for this year is to try and get back into the top half of the table as we did so superbly back in 2015/16. We want to establish ourselves as a top 10 club over the next few seasons, as well as go one step further than we did last season and try and put a piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet come May.
To give us a chance of that we have brought in three signings so far which I’m delighted with. Already in pre-season Andros Townsend has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of and should add more threat to a mouth-watering attack, and to counter that we have added James Tomkins to our ranks who always impressed me whenever we came up against West Ham United.
Steve Mandanda should add plenty of competition to our collection of goalkeepers and he arrives with plenty of pedigree after being named Ligue 1’s Goalkeeper of the Year for the past two years.
Alan and the scouting team are continuing to cast the net high and wide as we attempt to increase the number of new faces but there are still two and a half weeks until the transfer window closes. As always when an international tournament takes up a large part of the summer, deals tend to happen a bit later than usual across the league, so sit tight and hopefully we’ll be able to do some more business by the end of the month.
It always helps selling the club to new players when I can say that they’ll play in a vibrant stadium packed with noisy fans, and that will certainly be the case this year as once again you have excelled yourselves.
I’m pleased to announce that for the first time ever, we have sold 18,000 season tickets – the maximum we can possibly sell. This has meant a waiting list has had to be introduced and I’m thrilled that there is such a demand to watch us play.
It is another indicator of how far we’ve come, and hopefully at the end of this campaign we’ll have given you all something to shout about and be proud of once again.
Up the Palace!