Firstly I’d like to welcome the directors, management, players and supporters from Chelsea to Selhurst this afternoon for our first game of 2016.
I would also like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, especially the growing number of Palace fans. It’s so nice to meet people from far and wide that are now aware of, and even support, our great club. On Monday there were people from all over the land with their kids in Palace kit and jackets which was fantastic to see, and another indication of how far we have come.
Also on Monday we said goodbye to Steph Jenkins who is retiring having looked after the guests in the boardroom for the past 26 years. We gave her a nice send off on Monday and look forward to welcoming her back to a game as our guest one day soon. Thanks again Steph, we will all miss you.
It’s brilliant that we have such a big game to kick-off the New Year with the visit of the reigning champions for a London derby beamed live around the world, and I hope that we can start as we mean to go on by doing the double over the Blues this season.
The last 12 months have been great ones to be a Palace fan, and indeed today marks the one year anniversary of our appointment of Alan as manager, and I’d like to pass on my thanks to him, his staff and of course the players for what we have achieved in that time.
We may be sitting pretty in the table at the moment but rest assured that we are not patting ourselves on the back for a job well done just yet. We’ve only reached the halfway point of what has been a highly unpredictable season, and we know we have to maintain our current form if we are to be challenging for the Europa League places at the end of the campaign.
The turn of the year also saw the opening of the January transfer window and myself, Alan and his staff have been hard at work over the past couple of months identifying potential targets. I expect it’ll be a very busy month for the majority of the clubs in the Premier League and we’ll look to do a bit of business ourselves if things are right for the club.
It’s great that for the first time in our current Premier League stint we’re not looking to strengthen to keep us in the division, so we can plan slightly longer-term and get the right players in that can help push us to the next level.
January is traditionally an important month in the season with the transfer window opening but also the start of the FA Cup, and I have to thank you all for your support in snapping up all the available away tickets for Southampton. I look forward to hearing you backing the boys at St Mary’s as we all hope to get 2016 off to a great start!