In the six years since Steve Parish and the rest of CPFC2010 took control of Crystal Palace FC, we’ve had a vast array of ups and down, but yesterday at Wembley Stadium, he and his fellow directors had arguably their sweetest afternoon to date.
Having been drawn against Watford in yesterday’s FA Cup semi-final, there was a sense of both anticipation and caution from everyone at Selhurst Park in the days and weeks beforehand, understandably pleased to be playing a side of similar quality to ourselves but also wary of taking a place in the final for granted. Luckily for all concerned, the players produced a startlingly good performance when the pressure was on.
Parish, clearly still on cloud nine following what had been an emotional roller-coaster of a day, was quick to suggest that we as a squad have nothing to fear when going up against Manchester United in what will be a rather poetic re-match of our previous FA Cup final appearance against them in 1990.
You would perhaps expect the chairman to use our stunning cup run to paper over the cracks of what has been an extremely poor 2016 to date in the Premier League, but to his credit he speaks with clarity and sense about the need for our players to improve their collective performances from week to week as we look for one final push to secure our place in the top flight for next season.
As a direct consequence of his honesty on the subject of our league form in recent months, Parish is then pressed for a comment on whether or not he views our season to date as progress for the football club, with his answer offering an extremely interesting insight into our plans and ambitions for the next few years.
It’s quite remarkable, after a day of such elation, to hear the man at the top of the Palace totem pole speaking with such clarity about the club’s hopes. He does so in a manner which brings both credibility and warmth, given the deep-rooted affection he holds for us. Whilst it’s incredibly easy to point fingers over the reasons for our drop off in form during this calendar year, today is a time to slap a smile on your face and daydream of what could be on May 21st.