On Monday afternoon at Selhurst Park Steve Parish unveiled ambitious plans to redevelop Selhurst Park, creating a new Crystal Palace for a new era.
The exciting blueprint for the future of the site in SE25 includes many new features, including more general admission seats, new corporate facilities, improved disabled access and a club museum, with planning permission possibly put in in January.
Here, you can read what Parish had to say on a number of issues, including:
Hopes for the new stand: “I want a stadium that the whole of south London can be proud of, that is worthy of our support and worthy of the Premier League that we represent. We want the represent the club in the best possible light, and Selhurst is our home and we want to stay here.
“When I took over this club, I made a league table of income excluding TV money, and my aim was to try and get us to be the size of an Everton with 36,000 fans. In London, we’re a little bit more blessed with access to corporate income but it’s very important that we use this to keep the general admission prices down.
"An invigorated stadium like this should attract new sponsors and I reckon we could get £15 million net income [per year] from the new stand. I don’t think that’s over-ambitious, if you look at what Tottenham get from a relatively small number of corporate fans, I’d hope to do better than that.”
Major features: “This is a reimagination and redevelopment of the whole of the stadium. At the heart of the development will be a new Crystal Palace, which will be five storeys high, but that isn’t where the story ends.
“We want to make the pitch regulation size so it is FIFA and UEFA compliant so we can host internationals or European games, and we will remove the TV gantry in the Arthur Wait Stand which will massively improve the sightlines. We will connect the Main Stand into the executive boxes in the Whitehorse Lane Stand and the Holmesdale to get that bowl environment that we know works so well to enhance our atmosphere.
“Corporate hospitality will be expanded with new boxes along the Main Stand, but there’s something for everyone. There will be more general admission which will help us keep ticket prices down as much as we can, and we’ll improve all of the disabled facilities to be absolutely compliant and make sure that all types of supporter can enjoy coming to Selhurst Park.”
Financing: “The investment will probably be between £75 million to £100 million. We have a shareholder base that are capable of funding it but with all of these developments we’ll look to be selling some things – whether they be debentures or pre-sold 10-year season tickets.
“I wouldn’t go into this project if we didn’t have a shareholder base that were capable of putting the money forward, that has been the missing link. Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer] have been involved in this and support it, and that’ll be very important to get this thing done.”
Keeping the existing Main Stand during construction: “Our atmosphere is very important. When you look at the Holmesdale Stand, the year it was rebuilt we were relegated and that end of the stadium was dead [while it was being rebuilt]. That was one of the big challenges and I said we absolutely cannot have one or two seasons with an unmade stand. If you’re looking at moving away while you build a new stand, it’s impossible really – who would you groundshare with? There’s nowhere we could go that’s practical.
“Then there’s the cost of two years of no income from that stand, so it was essential that we chose KSS who are the only people that have done this [with Liverpool’s Anfield stadium]. I’ve been fortunate enough to go back and forth to Anfield and witness this process of it happening, so it’s not like we think we can do it – we’ve watched these guys do it so we’re very confident that it can happen.”
Potential issues: “There will be challenges; if you went to Liverpool [during their recent rebuilding work] the corporate hospitality was in a tent in the car park, so there will be compromises but I think our supporters have come through a lot of adversity so I don’t think a couple of years helping us out with this will be a problem.
“We’ll lose a block in the back of the Main Stand and we’ll have to make arrangements, and maybe we’ll have to have a boardroom in the executive boxes in the Whitehorse Lane, and it’s a little bit tight in the car park. “
Next steps: “We’re collaborating with the people on the site and we need to now have consultations. Are are all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed? No, there will be things to sort out, even when we get to construction such as where the vehicles will go and that kind of thing. The planning application will be in January.”
The other stands: “The Holmesdale is perfectly fit for purpose but the Whitehorse Lane has its challenges because we get a lot of revenue from that stand with the boxes. If we can join them onto the Main Stand we can improve the journey to the boxes and get an uplift in income there.
“The Arthur Wait is the real problem in terms of the fact that the roof of the stand is at road level, so we’ll get the gantry out. We’ll have three stands with no pillars and we’ll maybe look at the ones in the Arthur Wait later, but right now we want to get the Main Stand done, get to 34,000 and go from there.”
Filling it: “There are 2.8 million people in south London and we’re the only Premier League club there. It would be incongruous of us to think that with the optimism you can build around something like this. Even if the crowd we took to the FA Cup final turned up every week, we would fill it.”