We bring you the latest views of Steve Parish from his column in tonight's match programme for the game against Watford.
I’d like to welcome the players, staff and supporters of Watford here to south London tonight, and our fortunes seem to have been intertwined over the past 15 years.
I watched in despair as we fell to an unrecoverable 3-0 scoreline in the first leg of a play-off semi-final, followed by the highs of the two Wembley wins. They have been in fantastic form this season, so this will be a tight game with plenty at stake.
We’ve been drawn against Brighton in the FA Cup on a Monday night, and we’re disappointed with both the scheduling and our substantially reduced ticket allocation. Sadly, last month’s game grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons. Details of what happened are still emerging, but we welcomed Sussex Police’s apology over the erroneous ‘weapons’ statement.
The vast majority of our supporters are decent people who want to support their club in the right way, and they are being deprived of the opportunity to do that by the actions of a tiny minority. Those who create disorder should be punished to the full extent of the law and we will support the authorities in every way possible as it is not what this club is about, and never will be.
I hope that the match provides us with an opportunity to show the world how magnificent our travelling support is. I am so proud of the passion our fans show week in, week out; you have been so important in helping us get through a tough year.
I am confident we can keep up the momentum we’ve been building. Saturday’s draw with Bournemouth was hugely frustrating, as yet again we’ve walked away with a point when we deserved all three, but it’s one closer to safety.
It’s been an extremely busy time off the field. The players recently met hundreds of fans at the fantastic Boxpark Takeover, attended a party for the Supporters Children’s Charity and a Junior Members event. Our annual visit to a local hospital is coming up too which is always a highlight of our festive calendar, and I hope all of these occasions demonstrate the importance we place upon engaging with the south London community and our fans.
I’ll be hosting Christmas this year with my whole family in London, some of whom are flying in from Canada. I’m not happy about missing out on a Boxing Day match but if we have a repeat of April’s win against Arsenal two days later, I will stop complaining!
I’d like to wish you all, as well as the staff, players and management here at Palace, a very happy Christmas, and on the football front let’s hope we carry our improved form into 2018.
Up The Palace
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