Club Chairman Steve Parish has penned his Palace v Cardiff City programme notes, and used the opportunity to reflect on an action packed 2018. Read on for the Chairman's thoughts. You can buy a digital copy of the Boxing Day programme for just £1.49 by clicking the link at the bottom of the article.
Welcome to the supporters, staff and players of Cardiff City to Selhurst Park today, and of course to each and every Palace fan. I hope you all had a magnificent Christmas Day, and are raring to go today. As the year draws to a close, today’s notes will reflect upon 2018, and for the upcoming Chelsea game I will outline some of our plans for 2019.
When you look back it’s incredible the amount that can be packed into a year. I think that we have made great progress in many areas, starting with beginning our record-breaking sixth season in the Premier League.
We began 2018 with a bang, beating Southampton away taking us to 14th – which at the time was our highest league position of the 17/18 season. Of course, it was a rollercoaster few months but we would go on to finish 11th thanks to some magnificent wins over Leicester and Brighton in particular, with only goal difference keeping us from a top 10 finish. Our last six games yielded 14 points, placing us at the very top of the form table. It was quite a turnaround, and credit must go to Roy, his staff, and of course the players for that fantastic finish. Your support never wavered too, as always.
During the summer, we bade farewell to some magnificent club servants in Damien, Yohan, Chungy and Bakary. Ruben and Timothy returned to their clubs, after doing a great job for us on loan.
The World Cup summer where football nearly came home went in a flash, during which we signed some able replacements in Vicente, Max and Cheikhou, with Jordan joining on loan – all of whom have settled in well. Meanwhile, Roy, Wilf, James, Wayne, Aaron and Julian, and several young players were all rewarded with new deals to recognise their contribution last season.
This season so far has been full of great team performances, but it hasn’t translated into the points we think we deserve … yet! The away wins at Fulham and Huddersfield were excellent, the draws with Arsenal and Manchester United magnificent, then the outstanding win over Burnley and gritty defeat of Leicester were special days here at Selhurst Park. I have total faith in Roy and the players to secure some much-needed results in the coming weeks and months. There is no reason why we can’t emulate our finish to the end of last season, and rapidly climb the table.
Elsewhere, our U23s and U18s both won their respective leagues, which were brilliant achievements for our Academy. Aaron’s progress through the ranks has been something to celebrate, but he’s not the only one to force his way into Roy’s plans. Sam Woods and Ryan Innis made their first team debuts, whilst James Daly, Nya Kirby and Giovanni McGregor have made the first team bench this year. It is an exciting time to be a young player in our Academy.
We secured planning permission for a game-changing 14,000+ seat Main Stand, something that’s eluded the club for years, and signed a super long-term lease on our Academy site so we can now invest and begin to make it something we can all be proud of.
Our Ladies were granted a place in the newly formed Women’s Championship – which has been a big step-up with results hard to come by, but I expect them to show the typical Palace spirit, dig in, and avoid relegation. I’d urge you all to get down to a game and support our Ladies in the new year.
Not bad in a calendar year, although of course the planning and groundwork for these things has taken a lot longer. I’d like to thank my partners, and all my staff here at the club for their work in achieving such positive progress and of course all of you for your continued, loyal and passionate support of our football club – we really appreciate it.
As for today, no-one needs reminding how important this match is. Let’s pull together and get behind Roy’s team.
Up the Palace.
Buy a copy of the Palace v Cardiff digital programme for just £1.49 by clicking here.