Crystal Palace's brand new Academy facility was declared open by Gareth Southgate - check out the best reaction, images and the full opening ceremony below.
17:45 - Zaha: It's a different class
Wilfried Zaha is one of Palace's greatest ever Academy graduates, and he was suitably impressed with the new facilities the club has to offer.
“It’s amazing. Obviously would have been nice to have this when I was coming through the ranks. It’s nice to see the club’s invested in the Academy the way they have; it’s a joy to see.
“Now I feel like Palace have one of the best academies in recruitment and stuff and now they have the facilities to go with it. It’s a different class now."
Read the full interview with Palace's legendary forward by clicking HERE.
17:30 - Southgate: It all started here
Gareth Southgate told guests at the Academy that without the care of Crystal Palace mentors and coaches, his subsequent international playing and management career could not have happened.
"My journey was a little bit different, so what I can stand here and say is that for me everything started here as a 14-year-old schoolboy. Hopefully, that gives some of the lads in the Academy and the parents and the people that work here the belief that you can start here, and you can have an international career with England.
“Frankly, if I can end up in charge of the national team, then anything is possible for any of you!
"“I’m very proud you invited me back. Without Crystal Palace, none of my journey happens.”
Read the speech in full HERE.
17:15 - Southgate: You've created something special
Gareth Southgte has called Palace's brand new Academy 'something special', in his speech before Palace figures past and present.
“What have you done here? You’ve created – Steve and the Board and everybody that’s invested in the club – something incredibly special. You’ve managed to create an elite facility but keep that feel of closeness which Palace is all about.
“It’s a long journey for the club. Does a building in itself create a fantastic environment and culture? No it doesn’t. In the end that’s going to be down to people.
Read the speech in full HERE.
16:45 - Parish: It's proof this club can have the best
Club Chairman Steve Parish declared the Academy an exciting new era for the club, now able to compete with the rest of the Premier League. But he reminded those present that it has to be about more than just the end goal.
"Although football academies are Darwinian in a way – they’re very competitive and they’re tough – as we all know they are also full of incredibly dedicated coaches and teachers and mentors, and they’re full of optimism and inspiration.
“There’s lots of joy and laughter and hope and all the things we sometimes forget football is about. I don’t remember anybody first kicking a football for a contract or for money, they did it for fun. When you come here that’s all you really feel, is a sense of amazing fun.
“It’s proof that this club – that south London – can have the very best, if it wants to. It can achieve the very best if it wants to."
Read the best bits of the Chairman's speech by clicking HERE.
16:15 - The big moment
15:50 - Gallery: Academy officially opens
Gareth Southgate cut the ribbon at the Crystal Palace Academy, but he wasn't the only famous face from the club's past and present to attend.
Southgate caught up with manager Patrick Vieira after the ceremony, while former-bosses Roy Hodgson, Alan Pardew, Ian Holloway and Alan Smith were in attendance.
Check out some of the early snaps from the event in the gallery below!
15:30 – Southgate officially opens Palace Academy
England manager Gareth Southgate officially opened Crystal Palace’s stunning £20m Academy redevelopment, heralding a new era for the club.
Click HERE to for all the details.
15:15 - Past and Present
Former manager Alan Pardew greets current Eagles boss Patrick Vieira before the Academy facility is officially opened.
As the players arrive, Wilfried Zaha catches up with former captain Mile Jedinak, who guided Palace to promotion to the Premier League in the 2012/13 season.
14:50 - Welcome back Gareth!
Gareth Southgate has arrived at the Academy for a private tour of the new facility with club Chairman Steve Parish.
14:45 – Inside the Academy
Ever wondered how a top-level Premier League Academy really operates?
As the new facility opens its doors, we've spoken to key figures across the departments to reveal for the first time the level of detail, dedication and analysis that goes into the development of Palace’s next generation.
Revealing the system developing Palace's next generation - click HERE.
14:30 – Southgate’s Crystal Palace journey
“It was around 1986,” says Alan Smith, then-Palace youth-team manager and soon to be first-team boss. “I just remember this 16-year-old boy that had been released from Southampton. Peter Prentice who was our scout, and John Spark, said to me: ‘You know, this lad has got something.’
“But he was very quiet. He just came in, lived in Croydon with his mum and dad, who are lovely people. He just quietly got on. I think we were 50/50 whether we would take him or not.”
Coaches and teammates reveal how Palace struggles shaped Gareth Southgate – hear from Alan Smith, Geoff Thomas, Mark Bright and more HERE.
14:25 - More photos from inside the Academy
14:15 – Gareth Southgate to open new facility
England manager Gareth Southgate will join Steve Parish on stage to open the new Academy facility this afternoon.
Southgate graduated from Palace’s youth system in 1990, having joined the club aged 16. He returns to officially open the remarkable facilities having made 191 Palace appearances, including captaining the club to the First Division title, and most recently guided England to the World Cup semi-final and European Championship final as national team manager.
Find out more by clicking HERE.
14:00 - Exclusive First Look: Virtual Tour
Get an exclusive first look at our brand-new Academy facility with a drone tour below - and check out all the best images in the gallery HERE.
Welcome to the Academy
After 19-months of planning, building and development, today is the day - Crystal Palace's new £20m Academy facility is set to be opened by Gareth Southgate.