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Steve Parish Discusses U18s Tel Aviv Tour, Transfers and Spurs in the FA Cup

25 January 2019

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has flown out to Israel where he will support Palace's Under-18 side as they compete in the Under-19s Maccabi Winter Tournament.

Whilst there, he sat with Palace TV watching the lads as they played and spoke about how important the competition can be for them, Palace's transfer month and the upcoming FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday.

Playing five matches against teams from Holland and Israel, the tournament is a unique chance for the Academy to see a different country, cultures and styles of football.

Speaking on the opportunity, Parish said, "[The U18s can] challenge themselves football-wise, playing away in a different country. The boys only arrived yesterday: long flight, early start - all the kind of things they’ll have to adapt to if they make it to the top of the game.

"On both levels, football and culturally, it’s an amazing place; a part of the world where there’s so much going on - so much historically and so much happening now. For a lot of the lads that we’ve brought, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity."

But the tour isn't the only new development helping to support the Academy boys as they progress through the system, and news of Palace's 75-year lease of their academy site in Beckenham means the squads will enjoy brand-new facilities to enhance their game and education in.

Explaining what it will mean for the development system, Parish said, "I think as I’ve often said, it’s very difficult for players to get from there [academy level] to there [professional football] in one jump: they need to go through the gears. We all know how successful our academy’s been over the years but we know that’s not always been because of the facilities that it’s had.

"Obviously we have got both a great catchment area but a fair amount of competition with the bigger teams around us and we’d fallen behind. The fact that we’ve secured this piece of land in an inner city location that the boys can get to quickly, [means] we can still use our uniqueness and the kind of things that helped us to uncover these players. Hopefully we can uncover a lot more.

"It’s a massively, massively important step for the club, to leverage what is one of its biggest assets which is where it is. The two things, the stand and the academy, will really mine if you like the big advantages that we’ve got because of our location."

And turning his attention towards first-team matters, Parish offered a summary of business for Palace in the transfer window this January.

"I think we are trying to be calm about what we do," he said. "It isn’t a great window to do business, there are opportunities rather than things you can make happen. You’ve got to look at each opportunity and shine a light on it - will it make us better?

"Everyone wants you to do something, but it’s important to do the right thing. We’re very excited about the ‘keeper [Lucas Perri] - that will be an exciting one for the future and we’ve got maybe one or, at a push, two, other things that we’ll be able to do before the deadline."

The squad as it is now though will be preparing to face Tottenham in the Emirates FA Cup this Sunday, and Parish will fly back in time to watch them compete as they vie to progress to the fifth round of the tournament.

Looking at the fixture, Parish expressed his quiet confidence and excitement for the game, saying, "It’s amazing, isn’t it, that the draw throws up these things? Obviously, the last time we got to the final, we beat them at their place.

"It’s a great occasion - everybody’s saying that we’ve got a chance because of the players they’ve got out, I think we’d have a chance anyway. We’ve beaten Tottenham and we’re a good side. Let’s just hope it’s a great game. First of all, it’s a chance to come and enjoy Selhurst Park, there are tickets available when they’re not normally available and also it’s an occasion for all of us just to relax a little bit and enjoy a game of football rather than the pressure that sometimes is on in the Premier League.

"I hope if we can do that, we can have a great crowd, great support and we can have a great night."

To join the crowd and what promises to be a stellar south London atmosphere, buy your tickets here to watch Palace against Spurs under the lights of Selhurst Park this Sunday.

And to watch the full interview with Parish, head over to Palace TV now either by clicking here or 'Palace TV' on the official Palace app.


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