A report in yesterday’s Evening Standard suggests that Crystal Palace will plough ahead with the planned redevelopment of Selhurst Park this summer, despite off-field uncertainty over the direction of their ownership.
American pair Josh Harris and David Blitzer both own an 18% stake in the club but are said to be looking to sell in the near future; news which has led many Palace fans to wonder aloud where it leaves us in terms of stadium redevelopment. When they first came on board, their presence was sold as a key factor in speeding up the process of Main Stand construction, leaving supporters unsure over what the future holds.
Of course, the US duo do not own a controlling stake and their departure would not impact Steve Parish, who handles the day-to-day running of the football club but the loss of their financial muscle will surely hinder our chances of seeing through a successful rebuild of the creaking Main Stand.
They may well sell their stake to equally, if not more wealthy people in the fullness of time but with their arrival having been talked up in direct correlation with the planned Selhurst re-structure, it’s difficult not to feel a tad apprehensive about the medium to long-term future.
The timing of the story itself coincides with the release of season ticket renewal pricing; a fact which has led some to question how genuine the club’s confidence is in “pressing on” regardless of the upheaval at boardroom level. It could of course be a totally innocent coincidence but I can’t blame the sceptical members of our fan-base for wondering whether or not it’s an attempt at PR spin from behind the scenes in SE25 rather than a genuine scoop from The Evening Standard.
Time will tell.