Crystal Palace Women striker Amber Stobbs has made an exceptional start to life with the Eagles, finding the back of the net four times in her first five games.
We spoke to Stobbs for the Derby County programme, at a time when Stobbs had capped off her first start for the club with, unsurprisingly, a goal. Below you can read, in Stobbs' own words, how the move to Palace came about for the in-form striker.
I’d played against Palace for the last two seasons, both times with different clubs – West Ham and Charlton Athletic – and I always got a good feeling from the squad. I am delighted to have now re-signed for my local club after representing them as a youngster.
I suppose, when I think about it, all signs were always leading to me returning ‘home’. I’m a local girl from Croydon, and my friend, Andria Georgiou - who I used to play with at West Ham - plays for Palace. In fact, my last football game back in May was against Palace, at Selhurst Park, before I took a break from football and left Charlton.
After the game, Andria passed on my number to Dean Davenport and he text me basically saying: ‘I hear you’re taking a break from the game. If you ever want to just train or get back involved, let me know.’
That itch to start playing again returned. Therefore, when I moved back to Croydon I dropped Dean a message and came along for a couple of training sessions. After that first training session I knew this was just right; I came away extremely excited.
My mum used to work at Selhurst Park as she did finances for the club – her office used to be the new Palace for Life Foundation offices. We actually had a young Palace player, Stephen Evans - who played for Wales Under-21s - as a lodger. I have these memories of going to my mum’s work during the school summer holidays and hiding under the desk when Simon Jordan would come in - I was worried I wasn’t supposed to be there! The office knew I loved football and someone suggested joining in the Soccer School which were held in what’s now called the Fanzone.
I joined the Soccer School the next day and from there my passion for football was ignited. I was invited down to the Palace girls’ football session and ending up joining their team. The picture on the page opposite is actually one of me aged seven on a matchday! I have great memories of going to Selhurst park for games, being a mascot and playing on the pitch at half-time.
It’s great to be back here playing as a senior pro. I got some minutes under my belt in the recent Conti Cup clash against my former club, West Ham – it’s always a great feeling to play your old club.
And then I started against Durham in our final league game of 2019, which was really surprising as I’d just joined. I’d been feeling sharp in training but I was only anticipating getting just a few minutes in the second-half! When I heard my name in the starting lineup I must admit the nerves hit me. It was amazing to get my first start.
Despite the defeat, to score on my first start capped off what has been a great first few weeks at Palace. It’s clear that everyone is a team player, everyone is willing to do what is required to help the team and I’ve never felt so welcomed, so quickly, into a squad. I feel extremely lucky to be able to say that and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the second-half of the season.
You can watch Stobbs and Palace Women in action this Sunday in their FA Cup clash v Brighton & Hove Albion. Click the banner below to purchase tickets - Under-16s go free and discount offered to Season Ticket Holders!