For Crystal Palace fans, the last years have been as good as many will remember. Not since the days of Ian Wright and Mark Bright has the club enjoyed such a continuous and credible run of results in the top-flight. This season in particular has been fun, as the functional veterans of the Roy Hodgson era were replaced by younger players with more flair and ambition on the ball. At the moment, the club is on a positive trajectory and can look forward to some more positive results in the coming years hopefully.
However, some fans wonder if there is anything on the agenda at the club beyond simply consolidating themselves in the top-flight. While that is still seen as a major achievement, some would like to see a push to try and win silverware and/or progress towards European qualification. Other clubs like Palace have dared to dream in the past, so why can the Eagles not soar a little higher than they do just now?
According to club chairman Steve Parrish, though, the team begins every season wanting to try and repeat the Leicester City story. The Foxes went from the Championship to near-relegation and followed that up with a unique Premier League title win, European football for consecutive seasons, and then an FA Cup victory.
While Parrish has seen the club reach a Final – losing to Manchester United after that Alan Pardew moment – he has not seen them lift a trophy under his watch. Speaking at the end of season awards, though, Parrish was clear that the club has more ambition than simply existing as an entity in the top-flight.
What did Steve Parrish say about Crystal Palace’s ambitions?
Having always been someone who has been keen to give fans a realistic taste of what is going at the club, Parrish was bullish about the future. He was asked about several subjects, such as keeping Conor Gallagher. Though he was non-committal on how realistic that would be, he was also very clear that they want to start building something more meaningful than simply being a lower-half participant.
On that front, Parrish said: “We’ve got one or two other situations that are well-documented so keeping what we’ve got here is an important thing. Then we’ve got one or two ideas of where we think we can add to make a difference, give ourselves something different, get even better at keeping the ball and be a bit more damaging when we’ve got it.”
He concluded this point by saying: “There’s no limit to our ambition at the football club. We’ll obviously look to bring some of the youngsters through that we’ve got who are very good and we start every year dreaming of being Leicester.”
It is a dream, for sure, and a dream shared by more or less every club in the non-elite standings in the top-flight. However, for once, it is nice to hear a clear symbol of ambition from the club. Survival is no longer the sole aim, nor is consolidation. Something special could be built here, given enough time.
For fans, that’s all that they can ask.