Firstly I would like to welcome my good friends the owners and directors as well as the management, players and supporters of Bolton Wanderers to Selhurst Park this evening.
We were given a good game by them 10 days ago when they showed why they are on course for an instant return to the Championship, however it was pleasing that we managed to keep them at bay and pick up a confidence-boosting clean sheet.
While the game may not live too long in the memory, it will all be remembered for the occasion of Julian Speroni’s record-breaking appearance for Palace. Before I became an owner of the club, I had the pleasure of watching Julian from the stands and he was magnificent for us, but since I have been chairman here he seemed to get better with age and was a huge part of the team that got us promoted in 2013. He will forever be synonymous with Crystal Palace Football Club, and is one of our true legends.
The game at the Macron Stadium also gave Sam the opportunity to look at some other players who haven’t been playing too much of late, and having seen some big names already knocked out of the competition after fielding so-called weaker sides, I think we should be pleased with what the team did up in Lancashire.
While last season we attacked the FA Cup with everything we had, our league position this season means that we have to give priority to the Premier League. However, I believe that we have enough strength in depth to ensure we set up a tasty home tie with Manchester City later this month, and see where we go from there.
A couple more people left us last week. Keith Millen has been a constant at the club and stepped into the breach more than once as caretaker manager. Football is a tough occupation and it was once again difficult to make the change but I felt it was essential.
I really believe Keith should return to football as a manager and hopefully this will be a moment he will look back on as being the catalyst for a career take-off. I would like to thank him for his service to the club and wish him well for the future on behalf of all of us. Also, Andy Woodman departed as goalkeeping coach and although he wasn’t here as long, he was a great influence and someone I got to know well, enjoying his knowledge and positivity. Again we wish him nothing but the best.
Meanwhile, I would like to welcome Sammy Lee and Martyn Margetson to the club. In his role as assistant manager, Sammy brings with him a wealth of experience at club and international level and Martyn is a goalkeeping coach of equal renown.
Just before this programme went to print, we also managed to complete our first signing of the window as Jeffrey Schlupp joined us from Leicester City. We are delighted to welcome someone with his potential to the club, and will continue to try and improve the squad before the end of the month.
Up The Palace!