Welcome to the supporters, players, staff and directors of AFC Bournemouth to Selhurst Park today, and to each and every Palace fan, for the last time this season.
Another season draws to a close. The most important thing of course was to secure Premier League status, for a seventh season – a club record of consecutive top-flight football. There have been some memorable moments, particularly the away wins at Manchester City and Arsenal. I’m proud of Roy, his staff and all the players who have worked tirelessly to get us to this position – and thankful to every one of you that has supported us this season, home and away. I am as committed as ever before to go onto even bigger and better things next season, and push for a top 10 finish.
But first, we have the opportunity to secure a record Premier League haul of 49 points with a win today. I believe that 11th would be a fairer reflection of our season than 13th – so with your support, I have no doubt the lads will give it their all to finish on a high.
Last week, Darren Powell’s Under 15s team won the Premier League’s Super Floodlit Cup against Wigan Athletic, after coming back from a goal behind twice. It’s the fourth edition of the cup which features 64 teams, and only Manchester City and Chelsea have won it – and our team knocked out current holders Chelsea in the previous round. What a result!
Huge congratulations to all the award winners at our excellent end of season awards event at Boxpark last week – Aaron, Andros, Kian, Malachi, Ashlee and Ciara. Aaron has had a magnificent season, and richly deserves to be awarded as your Player of the Season, and that the players voted him as their Player of the Season is testament to just how good he has been and how much he has developed. There have been several other impressive performers – and it’s always hard to single out just a couple, so I was pleased to see you vote Vicente as the ManBetX Player of the Month for April who deserves recognition.
Today, we bid farewell to club legends Julian and Jason. Julian has devoted the best 15 years of his playing career to our club, and will go down in the record books – and will be remembered fondly by us all. You just don’t get many blokes like Julian in elite football any more – he is a model professional, ultra-committed, loyal, and has set impeccable standards to his team-mates down the years. His contribution to this club cannot be overstated.
Jason’s leadership has been immense since joining us in 2013, putting his body on the line for the club week-in week-out, and scoring some huge goals. He’s been a rock for us on and off the pitch, and someone I value hugely. We will rightly acknowledge their contributions today, and I know you will show your appreciation for both players – I personally cannot thank them enough.
Finally, we’ve got a surprise up our sleeves today – so keep your eyes peeled! As usual, all the players will do a lap of the pitch at the end of the game to show their appreciation for your support, so please do stay and enjoy this time with the players.
Have a brilliant summer.
Up the Palace.
Steve Parish's notes are taken from today's Bournemouth matchday programme, in what will be a bumper special edition with a farewell interview with Julian Speroni, a sit down with Wilfried Zaha plus a catch up with loan superstar Nya Kirby.
Be sure to buy your copy from one of the matchday vendors for £3.50. Alternatively, purchase a digital copy now for just £1.49.