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Who Owns Crystal Palace?

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Photo of Crystal Palace owners Steve Parish, Josh Harris & David S. Blitzer

If you’ve watched the Crystal Palace documentary, When Eagles Dare, you’ll know the recent ownership story. If you haven’t, we’re going to look at who owns Crystal Palace now after the administration back in 2010.

Palace were £30m in debt in 2010, had been hit with a 10 point deduction, and was looking for a new owner. Steve Parish who is now the board’s Chairman was the main figurehead of the takeover along with other wealthy Palace fans Martin Long, Stephen Browett, and Jeremy Hosking.

This was a turning point for the club who managed to secure promotion back to the Premier League in the 2012/13 season. This was eight years after being relegated from the top division and they’ve stayed there since.

Crystal Palace is now owned by a few stakeholders including American businessmen who have bought into the club in recent years. We’re going to outline who currently owns Crystal Palace and what percentage of the club they hold.

Steve Parish

As we mentioned, Steve Parish is currently the chairman of the board for Crystal Palace F.C. He was one of the businessmen to save the club when it was in administration and he’s from Lewisham and a die-hard Palace fan, he wants the best for the club.

It’s said that Parish owns 18% of the club’s shares so he’s still one of the majority shareholders even after the investments from the American businessman that have bought in since.

Josh Harris & David S. Blitzer

Josh Harris and David Blitzer were the first new investors in the club since Parish, Long, Browett, and Hosking saved it from bankruptcy. This happened in December 2015 and was worth an upfront investment of £50m. Parish kept his 18% controlling stake so the other owners reduced their percentages to bring these two investors on board.

Harris and Blitzer already owned two US sports teams before investing in Palace as the owners of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

Blitzer also owns the Belgian side Waasland-Beveren who are in the second division pushing for promotion in the 2021/22 season.

This deal meant that Harris and Blitzer now also own 18% each like Parish, but he deals with the day-to-day running of the club too.

John Textor

John Textor is the most recent majority stakeholder in CPFC having invested £87.5m which according to The Guardian got him close to 18% of the club’s ownership. But, The Athletic claims that his investment got him 40% of Crystal Palace shares in this article.

We did some digging into the Palace Holdco UK Limited business and found that he does own over 25% of the club’s shares but less than 50%. So, this indicates that The Athletic is closer to the correct amount when they state 40%.

Textor had been searching for a European football club to invest in and had come close to buying 25% of Benfica before this deal. Textor is the third American businessman to come on board as a director of the club.

It wouldn’t surprise us if Textor tried to buy more of the club’s shares in the future as he’s been busy buying up other football teams. First, he became the majority owner of the Brazilian side Botafogo with 90% of the shares of the club. He’s going to have a more hands-on role at that side than he does at Palace though due to the percentage that he owns.

In the same week, he also invested in Belgian side RWD Molenbeek who compete in the same league as Blitzer’s Waasland-Beveren. It’s also rumoured that Textor is still on the hunt for a Portuguese side after his Benfica bid was rejected.

Robert Franco

On the CPFC website, Robert Franco is also listed as a person with ‘significant interest’ in the club. In 2021 before Textor he also invested in the club with a total sum of £5m. This amount didn’t make him a majority shareholder and he’s not registered as a director. But he’s another American investor who owns part of Crystal Palace football club.

It is said that the money he invested went towards the £20m redevelopment of the academy which was unveiled by Gareth Southgate in 2021.

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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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