We bring you the latest comments from the boardroom as Steve Parish pens his latest programme notes ahead of today's game against Chelsea.
Welcome back to Selhurst Park for our final home game of 2016 as we entertain league leaders Chelsea in this London derby.
Wednesday night saw us go toe-to-toe with Manchester United and come so close to grabbing a point, with a late goal denying us the draw I thought we deserved, but the boys showed great spirit and determination in face of a strong United side.
We showcased our new PA and lighting systems at the game, and hopefully you enjoyed the pre-match light show that accompanied the players onto the pitch. We’re working hard behind the scenes to improve all aspects of matchday, so please continue to let us know what you think.
Today sees us come up against another tough test in Chelsea, and I would like to welcome their directors, management, players and fans who have made the short trip across the river.
These are my final programme notes of 2016 so it seems right to look back at the year that we’ve just experienced. Obviously the high point was witnessing our boys in red and blue stroll out at Wembley twice, and the celebrations at the end of that tense 2-1 win against Watford back in April were just fabulous as we revelled in the fact that we were safely in our first FA Cup final for 26 years.
That led to a frantic few weeks meticulously planning everything about the day, but it was all worth it to see Alan and his team walk out alongside Manchester United and kick-off the final. Punch’s goal was an incredible moment that none of us will ever forget as we began to dream of seeing red and blue ribbons on the cup for the first time.
Sadly, we couldn’t hang on and ultimately succumbed to Jesse Lingard’s extra-time winner, but I walked away from the ground gutted with the result but elated with the efforts of the players, everyone at the club who had worked hard to make the occasion a success, and of our fans who were an absolute credit. Those images of you celebrating wildly, singing your hearts out and being gallant in defeat were beamed all around the world, and you did us proud.
The league campaign has obviously been disappointing as we haven’t picked up as many wins as we would have liked, but we have invested heavily on and off the pitch to try and build for the future. We smashed our club transfer record not once, but twice in the summer and we came out of this summer’s squad reshuffle with a much stronger pool of players.
As well as your rousing support at Wembley, I have to also thank you all for your backing of the boys from the stands at Selhurst and across the country this year. While things have been tough at times, you have always stayed with the players and continued to out-sing the opposition fans. Hopefully in 2017, we will give you plenty more to shout about.
I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, enjoy all the festive football and I hope you all have a prosperous New Year.
Up The Palace!
Don't forget the 88 page matchday programme will be available around the stadium today, priced just £3.50, or can be download to your iPad or Android device for just £1.49.