Steve Parish is an individual who has accomplished much during his time as owner of Crystal Palace. Having led the consortium which purchased the Eagles from Simon Jordan back in 2010 following some financial difficulties, Palace have arguably gone from strength to strength with the 53-year-old at the helm. Heading the CPFC 2010 consortium alongside the likes of Stephen Browett, Jeremy Hosking and Martin Long, Parish has overseen the club solidify themselves as a top flight presence for the first time in many years, and has helped to nurture fine young talent along the way. Before Parish’s tenure as Chairman, they had never survived for more than a single season in the Premier League, having been relegated at the first time of asking in 1992/93, 1994/95, 1997/98 and 2004/05.
Things had been looking bleak for the club ten years ago, narrowly avoiding relegation to the third tier of English football and without too much hope in the way of a steady financial future. The club entered administration on more than one occasion, and at one stage there were very real fears that Crystal Palace FC could fold, simply ceasing to exist. One relegation battled followed another until Parish and co sucessfully took ownership, with the fans helping to rally Lloyds of London to sell Selhurst Park back to the club as well. With some finances now resting in the bank, Palace could plan for the future. Initial managerial appointments did not really work, though it will surely be said the circumstances and hangover of recent struggles played a big part in that.
When Palace finished 5th in the Championship and won promotion after beating Watford in the playoff final, little did the Eagles’ fans know that this time they would survive. Even better, this time they would thrive. After so many years of struggling in the second tier, Palace were now a club who had a future – and a fighting chance – in the Premier League. They may not be battling for titles – indeed, reaching the 2016 FA Cup Final against Man Utd has been a highlight of recent years as far as honours go – but Palace no longer have to battle to keep their heads above water. The appointment of Frank de Boer to replace Sam Allardyce may have been something of a disaster – the Dutchman lasted just four games before being replaced by Roy Hodgson – but the arrival of the former England manager has breathed new life once more.
With talent such as Luka Milivojevic, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend in their ranks, Palace have enough moving forward to threaten just about any defence in the land. They are sound at the back too, with Mamadou Sakho proving a popular figure since he arrived from Liverpool. Parish, along with fellow owners Joshua Harris and David S. Blitzer, have enough clout that the Eagles should not really be struggling for survival to a real extent any time soon. Things can – and do – go wrong of course, but Palace are a club which seems to be heading in the right direction. If they can keep moving forward – even if progress seems a little slow at times – then Palace are a side more than capable of challenging for at least some honours domestically, and perhaps in a competition like the Europa League should the chance come along.
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