Giving the latest in a string of recent interviews, Steve Parish has assured Crystal Palace fans that he will not be giving up complete control of the football club under any circumstances, despite continuing speculation of a takeover from American businessman, Josh Harris.
With the quotes below having come from the Evening Standard, the Palace co-chairman was adamant that the hard work he and his fellow consortium members had put into the football club since 2010 would not be destroyed by any deal to sell the club, with the prospect of further investment seen as a simply positive development at Selhurst Park.
Speaking about what has felt like endless speculation in the last month or so, Parish said:
It is more a question of me finding people that buy into my vision of the club. I know what needs to be done and there is a plan for doing that, so if we accelerate that with more funds and some advice from other areas, then great.
“Nobody will get involved in Palace on their terms. Nobody is going to take it over, put it in debt and ruin the five years of work we have put in.
“We are in the fortunate position that we are a pretty-much debt free, profitable Premier League club who are currently in 11th position. So I am under no pressure to do anything and the club do not need to be shaken upside down. Everyone in the current ownership structure would like me to carry on doing what I am doing.
“So if we take on investment, or partners, then it needs to be right. One of the deals we are looking at broadens the investor base in a way that I still have a massive say.”
“If I do something, it will be because it will [help the club progress] quicker, in a less risky manner. “We are prepared to put more money in but the sum we need to fix an under-invested club is probably about £150million. Can I siphon enough money over 20 years to do that? Probably. But do fans want to wait that long? I don’t. It can’t be about one person, with the size of the business and the size that clubs are. We need a sizeable chunk of investment to do all those things.
“Even if we were to stay in this division for five or six years, [it will mean nothing] unless we do something with the infrastructure. I need to move this club forward. While we might be doing better than we thought, and earlier than we thought, that is no reason to stop. The club have been under-invested for 20 years, so there is a lot of work to do.
“This is something I have been in love with since I was four years old and Palace means a lot to me, my fellow investors and the people in the local community.
“It is essential to me that [potential investors] are the right type of person and that they understand the club.”
Discussing the impact Alan Pardew has had both on and off the field since arriving in the new year, the Palace owner said:
“After five years, it really feels like this is the right person and the right fit for the club. Someone who really understands the club and buys into it. It is working well at the moment and looks like it should work well for a long time.
“He has a long contract and we have made big commitment to each other. Hopefully we can drive the club forward.”
We are in a slightly different position now that we are looking for less players but they have got to be better than what we have got. The general consensus is that we should be thinking more about progression, rather than just safety.”
Whilst there is an obvious belief that the club is and will continue to travel in the right direction regardless of any new investors that do come on board, it is plainly clear to see that Parish and his fellow owners view Josh Harris and co. as a vehicle to speed the process of growth dramatically from what they could currently expect to achieve.
Thankfully, it looks as though they will not allow the values that the club currently holds dear to be forgotten in the melee of future funding, ensuring that the football club as a collective entity remains true to its roots at every level possible, with any new faces sure to be told about the importance of certain traditions.
There’s certainly a sense that we are in extremely safe hands moving forward, which for a Crystal Palace fan, is an extremely strange sensation. I could get used to it, though.