Background to the initiative
Following the purchase of Crystal Palace Football Club by the CPFC2010 consortium, at an early stage a meeting was held between the Club’s co-chairman Steve Parish and the Trust’s chairman, Alan Palmer and former vice-chair Raj Chandarana, to see how the club and Trust could work more closely together.
The core aim of all supporters’ trusts is for the fans to have a greater influence in the running of their football clubs. Whilst the ultimate goal is for supporters’ trusts to own part of their club, as is the case with Arsenal, or the whole club, as is the case with Exeter and AFC Wimbledon, most trusts would just like to work more closely with the owners of their clubs, and not be seen as a threat!
Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust had a pretty poor relationship with the previous owner, Simon Jordan. This was unhealthy and proved of little benefit to Jordan, the club or the fans. Therefore, it was essential that the Trust and new owners worked towards common aims.
Whilst the current owners are content with the ownership structures of the club at present – with four shareholders each owning 25% of the club and ground – they were keen for fans to have a long-lasting impact on the club. The owners have often mentioned that they are reluctant buyers, and at some point in the future intend to sell the club on. However, they are keen to safeguard the future of the club in the long-term, and see the involvement of the Trust as crucial to this.
Whilst the owners are fully focussed on improving facilities for fans, with their proposals to move from Selhurst Park to the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace, the obvious project for fans to become involved in is obtaining a state of the art training facility for the club – a facility that meets the requirements of both the senior squad and the academy, and contributes to the long-term success of the club.
It was agreed that the Trust would explore the possibility of acquiring some suitable land and build a new training facility that would be on a par with any ambitious football club.