Steve Parish has penned his programme notes ahead of Crystal Palace's home game with Leicester City, which kicks-off at 15.00, discussing recent results, atmosphere, the academy news and Roy Hodgson's Freedom of the Borough of Croydon ceremony.
After such a traumatic time for the club, I’m sure you’ll all join me in extending the warmest of welcomes to our friends and supporters from Leicester City today.
Since my last set of notes, we enjoyed a magnificent win over Burnley with an equally electric atmosphere, showing our club at the very best, on and off the pitch, but we find ourselves licking our wounds following two disappointing losses at the hands of Brighton and West Ham.
Everyone at the club is hurting after the results, although I felt the performance at West Ham deserved more. But we are where we are, and we all know we need to do everything to turn things around. I still don’t think our league position reflects the performances that the team have put in, but now is the time to turn performances into points.
Off the pitch, we made a hugely important announcement about the long-term lease we have signed on our existing academy site in Beckenham. In 2010, we didn’t own our stadium and the training ground had been sold to pay the bills. We now own our stadium and effectively two training grounds: one freehold and one with such a long lease that it’s equivalent to a freehold. The site covers over 30 acres and allows the academy to be developed into the facility we all want it to be.
Securing a site close to the first-team and in the heart of south London where land is such a premium has been a hugely difficult and time-consuming task. It’s fair to say we have seen every patch of grass in south London and beyond over the last five years. Now we have it, I am incredibly excited about the future and what we might be able to achieve in terms of generating players for the first-team from the local area to add to our current alumni Aaron and Wilf, as well as past stars such as Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Moses.
It was a privilege to attend the ceremony where Roy was awarded the Freedom of Croydon a couple of weeks ago. The affection shown towards him on the night was wonderful, and I know that he was hugely proud of this recognition from the town of his birth. It is an accolade that is richly deserved.
In recent weeks, most of the squad have given up their time to attend the Palace Supporters’ Children’s Charity party, as well as our Junior Member events, and made visits to local hospital wards too. It’s pleasing to see the players doing so and putting smiles on hundreds of faces, especially at this time of year.
All that’s left for me to say is please throw your support behind Roy and his team today. The noise
you created against Burnley spurred the players on immensely, so let’s take it up another notch.
Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas, and I look forward to seeing many of you again on Boxing Day.
Up The Palace!