BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has outlined rough plans on how the SE25 club will allow supporters back into Selhurst Park, after it was confirmed that up to 2,000 would be allowed in the 25,486-capacity stadium for their next home match against Tottenham Hotspur on December 13.
“We’re delighted obviously to welcome some fans back,” said the Palace supremo to Amazon Prime Sports ahead of watching his side lose 2-0 to Newcastle last night.
“Obviously, it’s a small amount of fans, economically, it’s barely viable, but we’ll be delighted, and it’s a first step on the road to hopefully welcoming back to a full stadium at some point.
“It’s been a grim experience sometimes, watching the team home and away with no-one to do it with. We hope [it will be] a positive impact, I think it will be difficult to create much of an atmosphere with 2,000 fans, but I’m sure some people will shout out some interesting things and they might provide some motivation.”
This past week has seen England’s regional tiers announced for when the national lockdown ends on December 2, with London set to be in tier 2.
“We’ll do it in a fair way,” revealed Parish about his initial thoughts on the process of allocating tickets. “We’ve sold 12,000 season tickets so we will be looking at the loyalty of fans, looking at groups, people wanting to come with their friends. We’ve got 14 [home] games left, and we’ll refund the money to the people that can’t come so we’ll make sure we’ll deal with it as fairly as possible.
“They will probably [be in] two stands. Obviously [they will] observe social distancing where it’s applicable. We will try and bring family groups in as much as possible so they can sit together and enjoy it with their families.
“You won’t notice 2,000 people in here, barely, it’s a very small amount in a 26,000-seater stadium.”
Ahead of the second successive loss for the Eagles, Parish also assessed the season so far.
“It’s a good start, it’s the second-best start we’ve had in the Premier League,” he said. “We were disappointed on Monday (to lose against Burnley), but it’s a tough league. So many of the games, there’s nothing in them.
“[We had] a great result against Leeds (Palace won 4-1), it could have easily gone the other way, we had a VAR decision that very much went in our favour, but we’ll see [how the season goes]. You’re on the edge of your seat as an owner, as a chairman, every game.”
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