Crystal Palace Ladies FC have re-signed Gemma Bryan from Charlton Athletic.
Bryan left Palace in June after scoring more than 100 goals in three seasons, after the team failed to secure a place in the newly formed Women’s Championship. A place for Palace Ladies in the Championship was later offered by the FA, but by then, Bryan had settled in to life at Charlton.
Bryan was delighted to return to Palace Ladies, saying: “I’m so excited. I’m really passionate about Crystal Palace FC as a whole – so it’s really, really good to get back. I just want to get playing amongst of our fans again, and get back in with the girls again, and build upon the points they have got so far this season.”
Charlton are joint top of the Women’s Championship with Manchester United, and Byran’s game-time had been limited since her summer move. She said: “At my age, I want to be playing regularly. I feel like I’ve kind of missed out [with Palace], I was really comfortable at Palace – I wouldn’t have looked to leave. The only reason I left was because the club weren’t due to be competing in the Women’s Championship. I left, and Palace were then granted a place – but my decision had already been made to join Charlton. But in the back of my mind, I always had unfinished business. It was unfair how the teams were allocated, and placed Palace in there once I’d left.”
Photo: April 2018, after scoring her 100th Palace goal in just 69 games.
Palace Ladies currently sit 10th in the Women's Championship, and Bryan is desperate to improve the side's position, saying: “It will be good to get this opportunity to play again at Palace, come back to familiar surroundings and help us climb the table. I want to try to help the team as much as possible.”
Bryan cannot wait to rekindle her special relationship with the fans, who cherished her during her time in red and blue. When asked how excited she was about playing in front of Palace Ladies fans again, she said: “Massively! They make a big difference when you’re playing and competing. It’s a massive difference when you’ve got a fanbase as strong as that. They’re our 12th man and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with them again, and getting their support.”
Dean Davenport, Palace Ladies manager, said: "I'm really pleased to see Gemma return to Palace after her short stay at Charlton. Gemma will definitely add more quality to our attacking prowess, and add that extra bit of fire power we need in front of goal. Everyone knows she would have stayed had we got the status earlier, so now its all about looking forward to Gemma adding more goals to her already impressive Crystal Palace tally."
Bryan hopes to feature in the game on Saturday night at Bromley FC on Hayes Lane, against bottom of the table Millwall Lionesses (19:30 KO). Tickets are £5 on the gate for adults, £2.50 for Crystal Palace season ticket holders and members, and free for under 16s.