“We’re very excited to have the fans back,” he told BBC London. “Some fans before the end of the season, hopefully near full stadiums next season – we don’t know what to expect – but anything is better than what we have at the moment.
“We’re grateful that we can play and that we were able to carry on. We know so many people are in far worse situations. I like to think we have given some help by giving entertainment to people when times have been difficult.
“But that said, no one started playing football to play in front of empty stadiums. No one plays football for a media deal. It’s been incredibly difficult for the staff and the players.”
Parish praised the resilience of the Palace side, and emphasised how important supporters are to the team’s performance.
“Keeping themselves fit for that long – initially in parks pretty much,” he said, “and then the tedium of training, food in boxes, travelling away when there’s precious little facilities, performing in empty stadiums. It’s a difficult experience and you see with the results, it has an effect on the football.
“That said, again we’re fortunate we’ve been able to carry on, and we’re grateful that we’ve maybe been able to help with everybody in a very difficult time. We’ve been given so much latitude, and we’re incredibly happy we’ve had that. We do think it’s helped all round and it’s an incredibly sensible decision.
“We had 2,000 fans in the stadium when we played Tottenham, and it’s astonishing – even with that few fans – the difference that it makes. Daniel [Levy] made that point. We went 1-0 down and we got back to 1-1 and there was no question the crowd had an impact in that.”
With the prospect of fans being allowed in only for the final game of the season, Parish called for certain allowances to be made.
“With fans in, it is a slight distorting of the competition if it is one game,” he argued. “It would be great for all fans if [every club] could just have one [game].
“We sold our season tickets, we’ve had people patiently waiting for the chance to come to a game – incredibly loyal fans… We’d love if every team could have one home game with supporters before the end of the season.
“I think it would be a joyous moment and another marker for everyone that we’re coming out of this terrible situation.”
As ever, the Chairman addresses supporters in his regular programme notes before Fulham. You can read his views in the digital edition below!