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Crystal Palace New Academy Training Ground

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Crystal Palace New Academy Training Ground Entrance

Back in October 2021, the new Crystal Palace training ground for the academy was opened. Former Palace academy graduate and current England manager, Gareth Southgate, did the honours of officially opening the training facilities.

This project cost the club £20m and has been possible with the investment from the new Crystal Palace owners since 2015. The plot of land which is opposite the first team training ground Copers Cope Road in Beckenham was bought in 2018. Planning permission was granted in March 2020 and it took 19 months for completion. Still to be built is the medical rehabilitation centre which will feature hydrotherapy pools.

Indoor dome at new Crystal Palace Academy

Keep reading to see what the facilities have to offer and what Southgate and Parish had to say in the academy opening speeches.

Drone Fly-through Video

As you can see in the drone fly-through video the new facilities are full of state-of-the-art equipment. Here is a list of what is available now for the Crystal Palace academy players.

  • Players’ dining room & recreation room
  • Private offices
  • Chairman’s office
  • Open plan work area with a terrace
  • Boardroom
  • Classrooms
  • Analysis room
  • State of the art gym
  • 13 changing rooms
  • 4 full-size hybrid pitches, one is a show pitch
  • Full-size 3G floodlit pitch
  • Indoor dome with full-size 3G pitch & viewing gallery
  • Medical rehabilitation centre with hydrotherapy pools

You can see this impressive new training ground in the video below.

Comments from Parish & Southgate

Here is what Palace co-owner and Chairman, Steve Parish and England manager Gareth Southgate had to say in the official press release.

Steve Parish

“The new Academy will have a transformative effect on the future of the football club and the local community, not only enabling us to attract and retain the best players in one of England’s richest footballing areas but also to help scores of young people and local schools enjoy the facilities.

“We will also be able to offer a comprehensive educational and player care programme, ensuring that even those players who don’t make it have an improved set of life choices. Outside of football, the classrooms, together with our Foundation, will be used to run evening classes, enhancing the educational and life choices of young people in south London.

“Gareth was a pivotal part of creating the current academy system and his success is testament to the type of person and player this club strives to produce. He is an immensely proud part of our history, and we also hope we can produce some home-grown talent to help England win a major tournament.

“It is fitting that he should open our new facilities to mark this monumental step forward for our football club.”

Gareth Southgate

“Crystal Palace have always had a philosophy of producing home-grown players and have a hotbed of talent to choose from in south London. As a young player, they instilled in me a toughness, adaptability and resilience that was important throughout my career.

“I was delighted to be asked to open the club’s fantastic new Academy facilities, which are a world apart from the conditions I remember as a young player here, and an investment for the future.

“I am impressed by the club’s vision to develop well-rounded, educated individuals with good life skills who can be role models in the community, as well as technically gifted young players who can excel on the pitch”.

It’s also worth watching the opening speeches from both Parish and Southgate at the official academy opening ceremony. Southgate discusses his 10 years at Palace and Parish details how this is going to benefit the club and the local community. Below is the video so you can watch it for yourself.

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Palace Ditched Gambling Sponsor, But Other Clubs Sign New Deals

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Crystal Palace players wearing 2020/21 kits with W88 sponsor on the front

The 2021/22 Premier League season saw nine teams sporting gambling sponsorships as their front-of-shirt main sponsor. As you’re likely aware, Crystal Palace were one of these nine clubs having had a two-year deal with the Asian-betting company W88 as the primary sponsor. 

However, as we reported earlier in the summer, Palace signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with the used car website cinch. This is the first season that the Eagles won’t have had a gambling sponsor on the front of the kit since the 2014/15 campaign when it was the online e-wallet payment business, Neteller.

With the season now less than a week away, clubs aren’t going to be forced to find new sponsorships in time for the start of it. But, there’s a high chance that this will be the final year that they’re allowed, which is clearly why some clubs have been signing new gambling sponsors even if it means these deals are scrutinised in the media.

Will gambling sponsorships be banned?

Whether gambling sponsors should be allowed in football, is a hotly-discussed topic that the government is reviewing. Alcohol sponsorship was banned many moons ago and now it looks like gambling will be as well.

The gambling white paper was supposed to be released in July, however, Boris Johnson’s resignation has stalled this. Gambling sponsorships were a focus along with free bets, affordability checks, and maximum stakes.

The use of credit cards had already been banned in April 2020 and demo play slots are only playable once an account is age-verified. So, it seemed definite that a ban on gambling sponsorships would go ahead, but this was reportedly dropped from the review.

Though, the Premier League have decided to have a vote on whether the 20 clubs believe that they should place a ban themselves. This has been postponed until after the Conservative leadership vote.

Fulham & Everton agree new deals for 2022/23 season

Fulham FC was the most recent club to announce a new gambling sponsorship and it was with W88, Palace’s former sponsor. There have been mixed responses from Fulham fans with 47% of those surveyed saying that they didn’t support the new deal.

Earlier in the summer, Everton agreed to a £10 million sponsorship with the crypto betting site Stake.com which was heavily scrutinised in the media.

These aren’t the only two clubs that will have betting sponsors on the front of shirts for the 2022/23 season as West Ham, Southampton, Bournemouth, Brentford, Newcastle, and Leeds all do.

That means the total number of teams with gambling sponsors is 8 out of 20, one less compared to last season. But, there could be a ninth, as newly-promoted Nottingham Forest are currently without a sponsor. They have reportedly rejected two multi-million pound offers as they’re aiming to find a new sponsor that is willing to meet the £10 million fee that they’re looking for.

With 40% of the Premier League clubs sporting gambling sponsors this season, whether the clubs vote against the potential ban is going to be a close call.

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Selhurst Park Redevelopment

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Selhurst Park Redevelopment Rendering

Talk of the Selhurst Park redevelopment has been ongoing for years now. KSS Group was tasked with the design back in 2017 and they produced some exciting 3D renderings for this redevelopment but there have been many sticking points since that.

KSS is the same company that designed and built the new Crystal Palace training ground for the academy. They’ve also worked on other Premier League club facilities for example with Tottenham, Liverpool, and Leicester.

You can see the renderings in the video below as well as the image above.

Palace fans can be fed up as it’s been over five years and still no construction work has started and probably won’t for a while. Back in 2018, the council’s cross-party planning committee gave the club approval for work to start on the main stand. However, there are still several reasons why work hasn’t started.

The Athletic reported that recent talks between the club and Croydon Council have been positive though. Crystal Palace will need to get another planning application approved by the council and the Mayor of London because the old one doesn’t comply with the new London Plan that was set in 2021.

One positive from the talks is that the council could assist in buying the small plot of land that Sainsbury’s owns under a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). This is one of the sticking points for the start of the redevelopment as a fee for the land can’t be agreed upon. The council is happy to go ahead with this as long as Crystal Palace fund it.

New Capacity

Selhurst Park is currently one of the smallest stadiums in the Premier League with only Brentford’s Community Stadium and Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium with fewer seats. Craven Cottage only just has a larger maximum capacity by a few hundred.

However, Selhurst Park is about to get an increase of over 30%. The current capacity is 26,000 and with this rework of the main stand, it will add an extra 8,000 seats totalling 34,000.

There will be 11,000 general admission seats in the main stand as well as 2,500 premium hospitality seats. This totals 13,500 seats up from the current capacity of 5,600. There will be between 16 and 28 boxes, this number isn’t confirmed yet.

Whilst it won’t become one of the 10 largest stadiums in the Premier League after completion, it will likely be in the top 12. It will also be the start of the redevelopment and then there will likely be a further step to expand the capacity in the future.

Most Recent Press Release

As neither the club nor council have released press releases since 2018, the below is what was last said about the Selhurst Park redevelopment:

Shifa Mustafa, executive director of place, said: “It is great news for Croydon that the planning committee has approved Crystal Palace Football Club’s application for Selhurst Park. The redevelopment will create over 100 new jobs and enhance the experience of fans on match day and visitors to the club.

“The council remains committed to working closely with the club to ensure suitable accommodation is found for all residents of Wooderson Close whose homes are affected by the club’s plans, and will ensure the impacts of the development are properly mitigated.”

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish spoke passionately about the plans during the meeting, outlining the importance of improving the stadium for the Premier League club and the surrounding area.

He said: “I’ve supported this club since I was four years old. I went to my first game at seven – that’s forty years, too many years. Through that time I’ve watched this club barely change at all.

“Twenty years ago if you went to watch football you wouldn’t see much difference between going to Arsenal and going to Selhurst Park.

“We now want to increase matchday revenue. It is the main thing holding us back. I never fail to get embarrassed when I see the 3D image of our ground on the TV. It represents us and south London so poorly.

“These plans will improve four sides of the ground. It will be fantastic for the local area.”

Even though there has been some progress with the plan, there’s still a long way to go before any work begins. After the club’s disappointing financial year for 2020/21, the added revenue from a larger stadium will be one thing that the club needs to progress in the future.

We’ll be sure to bring you an update on the status of the redevelopment once there is one.

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Why are Crystal Palace Called The Eagles?

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Selhurst Park - Why are Crystal Palace Called The Eagles

Many football fans and even some Crystal Palace fans won’t know where The Eagles nickname comes from. That’s why we’re going to look at the history of it to understand why Crystal Palace are called The Eagles.

As well as other nicknames that Crystal Palace had in the past and a mascot that used to be at home games.

The Eagles Nickname

To understand The Eagles nickname, we have to go back to the early 1970s when Palace were managed by Malcolm Allison.

It wasn’t a great start to the decade as in the season of 1972/73, Palace were relegated to the second division just months after Allison had taken charge.

It was this that led to the new nickname as Malcolm Allison wanted to rebound strongly and take Palace to new heights.

So, it was then before the 1973/74 season that the club decided to change both the nickname and the kit colour. This decision was heavily influenced by Allison.

The nickname went from being The Glaziers to The Eagles and the kit went from claret and light blue to a bolder red and blue. The badge was also updated with the new eagle as the emblem.

The reason why Crystal Palace changed to The Eagles was that, at the time, the Portuguese side Benfica were one of the top teams in Europe and their nickname was Águias which translates to Eagles.

Allison wanted to replicate their success and clearly thought that having a stronger nickname for the fans to chant could help.

This wasn’t the case though as Palace were relegated again from the Second to the Third Division in the 1973/74 season.

Why were Crystal Palace called the Glaziers?

Before Crystal Palace were known as The Eagles they had another nickname which was The Glaziers. The reason that they were called The Glaziers was because of The Crystal Palace exhibition building in south London that the club was originally named after.

The football stadium on the site at Penge Place even hosted the FA Cup final from 1895 to 1914.

Sadly, this building (pictured below) burnt down in 1936 and wasn’t rebuilt. As you can see, it was mostly made up of glass, which is where The Glaziers nickname comes from. Obviously, a glazier is someone who installs glass windows in a house.

Crystal Palace Exhibition Building

Do Crystal Palace still have an Eagle at Home Matches?

Crystal Palace did have a real-life eagle as a mascot at Selhurst Park between 2010 and 2020. Kayla was an American bald eagle that was brought to the UK for rehabilitation by the Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation.

Kayla flew around Selhurst Park before the start of home games and became the official mascot in 2015. Here’s a video of her enjoying the Palace atmosphere.

Sadly, Kayla passed away in 2020 due to an illness and there currently aren’t any plans of a new eagle mascot waiting in the wings.

You will still find the Crystal Palace cheerleaders, The Crystals, at home matches before kick-off and at halftime though.

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