Welcome to the supporters, directors, staff and players of West Ham United for today’s match, as well as the warmest of welcomes to each and every Palace fan.
Last week’s programme was put to bed on Thursday afternoon with six hours left of deadline day, which turned out to be frenetic as we agreed terms with Chelsea for the loan of Michy Batshuayi. I had a deal agreed to buy him before he joined Chelsea and we have since kept a detailed eye on his progress, all with a view to bringing him here at some point. With so many clubs interested, discussions went to the wire, so well done to Iain and Dougie in finalising a complex international transfer in record time. I’m delighted that Michy decided to join us at Palace.
Fulham was a massive result; not only did it pull us away from the bottom but it dares us to look upwards as it remains very tight up to 9th place. With some luck which had previously deserted us, our stingy defence, Connor and Christian back from injury and Jordan looking more settled in a Palace shirt, we now have options up front that hopefully will prove decisive in the run-in and also the FA Cup.
We have an incredibly strong squad, but it’s important to say that the standard of players and teams in the Premier League has improved in recent years. It’s more competitive now than ever, but I hope you agree it’s an exciting time to watch our team, whom I’d like to congratulate on recent performances, and notably Andros on his back-to-back ManBetX Player of the Month awards. I think we are seeing the best of him in a Palace shirt; his work rate and endeavour have never been in question but now he’s adding the assists and goals too.
Off the pitch, there is also much to be excited about. We are working hard on the finer points of the Main Stand redevelopment, we have finalised our new kits for next season and are planning our end-of-season event for supporters, not to mention the upcoming Season Ticket renewal process and new Membership products which are important to get right.
My staff remain constantly focused on improving your matchday experience, such as speeding up the catering queues by making the vast majority of tills cashless. There is no silver bullet to solve all the challenges we face trying to serve you all in short periods of time, but we are making improvements.
I’d like to thank our outgoing Programme Editor Jonathon Rogers for his efforts in making this publication such a good one, as this is his final game as a Palace employee after six-and-a-half years with the club. We remain proud to be one of the few Premier League clubs who produce their matchday programme entirely inhouse, and I’m pleased that tradition will continue.
You don’t need me to say that today’s match is yet another massive game as we look to climb away from danger and towards that magical 40-point mark. Your support was as magnificent as always last week, so let’s go again and turn things up a notch!
Up The Palace!
To read Parish's notes alongside everything else in yet another packed official programme, make sure to pick up your copy from vendors around the outside of Selhurst Park pre-match. Alternatively, you can purchase an online copy by clicking below!