With the fixture list for the 2025/16 Premier League season having been released recently, Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Browett has given his views on some of the key games to the official site.
Discussing the opening fixture of the campaign away to Norwich, the first home tie of the season against Arsenal and the festive period, in which we face both Bournemouth and Chelsea, Steve sounds extremely positive about the months to come, no doubt hoping that we won’t be forced to dig ourselves out of a hole at the midway point of the season, as has been the case in the last two years.
“It’s nice to start off with a trip to somewhere we didn’t go last year. It’s not exactly a new ground for Palace fans, I’ve been there lots of times, we’ve all been there lots of times, but it’s nice to go somewhere we didn’t go to last year.
“I think we always do quite well at Norwich and it’s a nice place. It’s a club that’s like Palace, it’s owned by people who love the club. Delia [Smith] and her husband are really nice people and they own the club because they’re long-term supporters, like us. There are lots of good pubs in Norwich and it’s a nice day out.”
“Some times in the summer holidays people are away and the stadium’s not full, but I think Arsenal is one of the biggest games of the season, so Selhurst will be rocking for that one. Especially after last season, when we played Arsenal in our first game of the season, I thought we were really unlucky to lose to a last-minute goal. Not getting any points from Arsenal last season, despite playing well against them, will add something to the game.
“I think you’ve got slightly more of a chance of getting something from them early in the season as well, because – obviously they are a great team – but hopefully they won’t quite have got into their stride at that stage and I dare say the eleven players who start for them will have been playing internationals in the last week or so. Hopefully we can catch them before they get into their full flow.”
“We’ve been to Watford lots of times. “It’s nice and easy to get to from Clapham Junction and, of course, we haven’t played them since a certain game at Wembley, which was – for a lot of us – one of the greatest days of our lives, so we’ve certainly got lots of history with Watford. Hopefully we can replicate that last result against them again.”
“Christmas is a busy week. It’s a shame, this will be our sixth year owning the club and in that time I think we’ve only played once at home on a Boxing Day and fans do love that fixture, but unfortunately not many Palace fans will get to go to Bournemouth because it’s such a small stadium,
“The good thing is that we’ve then got two home games in a row. Chelsea, like Arsenal, is a game that is guaranteed to be a sell out. Again, our last game against Chelsea, where we lost to what I’d call a fairly dubious penalty. It used to be that you’d look through the fixtures and you feared the games against the big clubs, but I think now we stand a chance of getting a result. It’s something to look forward to.”
As he and his fellow owners browse through the fixture list, there will undoubtedly be a sense that we can equal if not better our performance from last season, particularly if we can manage to hold onto Alan Pardew for longer than the obligatory half a season that Palace managers appear to be afforded in the top flight.
Without the daunting end to the season that we were faced with in May of 2015, you would hope that the last month or so will allow us to really kick on, as we bid to improve upon our tenth placed finish with a stronger squad at our disposal from August onwards.
Away games on the first and last day, not to mention travelling to The Cherries on Boxing Day creates a far from ideal scenario, but for the players, each and every game will represent a serious challenge, regardless of the venue.
We’ll see how they cope soon enough.