Chairman Steve Parish has penned his regular programme notes. Read on the full extract.
Welcome to the supporters, staff, players and directors of Fulham to south London today, and welcome back to each and every Palace fan.
Firstly, the thoughts of everyone at Crystal Palace are with the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson, and all at Cardiff City and Nantes, following their disappearance.
Last week, I joined an academy squad in Tel Aviv as they took part in a very competitive international tournament. It was an experience for them, learning about the realities of life as a footballer with flights, early starts, staying in hotels away from family and the pressure of competitive football. It also gave me the chance to spend time with the coaches and chat to some of the boys.
Tel Aviv is a fascinating place, and I’m pleased that the group had the opportunity to experience the country, including a once in a lifetime visit to Jerusalem. On the pitch, the team were competitive throughout, securing two draws from five games with the others being lost by just the odd goal. But the trip was more than just playing; it’s about their development as young men. In all respects it was a huge success, and I returned more energised than ever to further improve our academy.
Onto first-team matters, Sunday’s FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur was a very enjoyable occasion as we were the better side and thoroughly deserved to progress into the fifth round.
Congratulations to Connor on his ‘proper’ return to action; to mark his first start in two years with a goal was a magnificent moment for him and everyone who’s worked with him on what has been a gruelling journey back to match fitness. Credit too must go to Julian who now holds every goalkeeping record possible at Palace – he truly is a club legend, and that remarkable double save still shows he is absolutely still worthy of a place in any Palace starting line-up.
Seeing the Lower Holmesdale in full force was a sight to behold – the place was rocking! I’ve seen amazing videos of the pre-match event on the concourses, and I’m sure the atmosphere in that stand will become even bigger and better in years to come and be the envy of all clubs.
As for the midweek match with Southampton, it felt like two points dropped, rather than one earned. We scored a brilliant goal, and their equaliser came from one of the few times they got anywhere near our penalty area. Wilf's suspension is not going to help today but we know we have a good squad and can win without him.
We played brilliantly at Craven Cottage on the opening day of the season to take the points, but that will count for nothing today. Fulham come into the game after an extraordinary victory over Brighton which has narrowed the gap between us, so we cannot take anything for granted, so let's make some noise for Roy and the lads today.
Up The Palace!
You can read the Chairman's notes alongside everything else included in another packed Palace programme either by picking up your copy from vendors around Selhurst Park or by clicking below for a digital version.