Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish: We’re only at 30 per cent of our potential

By Richard Cawley

Crystal Palace supremo Steve Parish reckons the club is only operating at 30 per cent of its potential – but has warned that advancing the South London club is not a quick fix.

The Eagles recently unveiled plans for a new Main Stand that could cost £100million and would boost the capacity from 26,000 to 34,000.

“This football club is at 30 per cent of what it can be and that frustrates me every day,” said Parish, who spearheaded the CPFC 2010 consortium who brought the club out of administration and also acquired the Selhurst Park freehold. “People want instant success but it’s never been a pattern of my life and I don’t think it’s going to be a pattern for Crystal Palace.

“If someone comes along who wants to drop £2billion into a football club overnight then be my guest. I’ll sit back and take the biggest executive box they’ve got.

“But while that isn’t the situation, we have got so many things to fix. We’ve got to be smart, do it over a period of time and make sure we don’t make mistakes.

“Make no mistake. This is essential – building this stand – to the future wellbeing of this football club.

“Do I look back and wish we’d spent the money in other areas? Of course I do. But in taking our time we have got the very best people for the stadium, for the least amount of money to make the most amount of impact and step-change we can.”

In terms of having the right person for the job, it certainly applies to the managerial situation in SE25.

The scepticism that greeted Frank De Boer’s appointment in the summer was well-placed.

A seven-game losing streak in the Premier League – failing to hit the net in that period – had people writing off Palace’s prospects of staying up.

Successor Roy Hodgson has seen the Eagles lose just once in the top-flight since November 7. Four wins in their last seven fixtures puts them just a point off cracking the top 10.

“Roy will be the first to say it has gone better than any of us could have imagined,” said Parish, speaking on the Five Year Plan podcast. “Forty years of experience doesn’t count for nothing. He is a wise man, thoughtful in everything he says and does.

“For a club like ours, to have a period of stability would just be a godsend. But football is football – the fear of falling out of the Premier League is so great, or the pressure to win it is so great that it takes a toll.

“One Premier League chairman thinks it is a difficult job to do for a period of time.

“I don’t mean to be patronising in any way, but if you walked a mile in my shoes you would understand how difficult it is. For a manager it is 20 times tougher.

“I can hide. A Premier League manager has to face the press at least once a week before the game, in a setting where the press can pretty much ask anything they want, and then after a game, when you are possibly not in the best frame of mind or best mood.

“I spoke to one ex-pro who I asked if he wanted to manage but when he thought about it all the managers he really liked he just watched them turn very defensive and become a bit mistrusting.

“Unfortunately that’s what football can do to you. Football lays you bare. You do everything in the public eye – those are the things I’m good at, these are my foibles and these are the things I’m bad at. It makes you question yourself in that way.

“No-one is more in the spotlight than a manager of a Premier League football club. That is why you are seeing more and more people going for experience – controlling the noise around it. Having your own mind is number one.

“We’ve got to support Roy as much as Roy has got to do the job for us. He has fulfilled his part of the bargain now.”

To hear the full interview go to

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