Damien Delaney is optimistic that Crystal Palace will get the big decisions right in what is set to be a summer of change in SE25
The former QPR defender signed for the Eagles in the summer of 2012 and went on to make 170 appearances and scored six goals for the South London club.
Palace are reportedly closing in on former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as their new boss. Roy Hodgson stepped down at the end of the Premier League campaign.
The Eagles also have a number of first-teamers out of contract with claims that Wilfried Zaha, once again, is hoping to secure a move away.
“Of course it is dangerous [with Roy Hodgson leaving, Zaha pushing for a move and plenty of players at the end of their contracts],” said Delaney. “For any club of Crystal Palace’s nature, heading into a new season, it is always going to be dangerous because they are the ones that are a bad run away from getting stuck in a relegation fight that they can’t get out of.
“Believe it or not, there’s an awful lot of optimism at the club from everyone that I speak to.
“They have just finished their new category one academy and South London is a fertile ground for young footballers. You’ve got a huge catchment area in in South London for them to get new players. The amount of players Crystal Palace used to lose – like Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Chelsea and the boy at Arsenal [Emile Smith Rowe], they are all Croydon boys. Ruben is from Lewisham.
“They’ve now gone category one [with their academy], they’ve got a brand new facility which is fantastic, and Paddy McCarthy is youth team manager there and that’s the route they are going. They are going for a conveyer belt of young players with resale values, which Crystal Palace will get some value out of.
“It provides an opportunity for the club to move in another direction. For years, it was associated with people such as myself, that got where they wanted to go by kicking and screaming, and we might not have always have been aesthetically pleasing. Now, the club might move in another direction, with a new type of manager and young, hungry, coachable, technically excellent players.
“So there’s a lot of optimism, I know the fans must have trepidation for it, but the worry is always there for a club like Crystal Palace that you are a couple of months away from getting relegated. This way, there is a clean slate for whoever gets the job, so I would be optimistic.”
Delaney was speaking at the launch of Paddy Power’s new #SaveOurGame campaign as they called on Irish football fans to cheer for England at the Euros. They planted a pitch-sized St George’s Cross at the heart of Irish football as part of their pledge to donate £10k to Irish football for every goal that the Three Lions score at the tournament, with a guaranteed 100k should Southgate’s squad fail to live up to the hype.
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