Steve Parish says he must take the bulk of the blame for Crystal Palace making a poor start to the Premier League season – even if they now have an outside shot of finishing ninth in the table.
The Eagles are 11th in the standings and host relegated West Brom on the final weekend of action on Sunday.
Now the Palace supremo can afford the opportunity to look back on a tumultuous season, which started with the announcement and then sacking after just four league games of manager Frank de Boer and the hiring of Roy Hodgson who inherited a losing run which eventually stretched to a record seven defeats in their first seven league games, all without a goal.
“I’ve got to be the most disappointed of everybody because we didn’t have a great start and I’ve got to hold my hands up to a large part of that responsibility,” said Parish to the South London Press after the Eagles’ 2-1 victory over Stoke City on Saturday which sealed their safety.
“I know that is going to sound disingenuous but everybody who knows me, knows I don’t run away from anything. I think we’re better than a lot of teams in the division this year and all of us are a little bit disappointed but, of course, you live, and you learn.
“We’ve got it right now and we’ve got to build on this for next year.
“I tweeted at the end of last season that the plan was to break into the top 10 – I want to do better every year.”
How likely that top half finish depends entirely on Newcastle slipping up in their two games remaining as well as the teams below Palace who can still catch them – Bournemouth, Watford, Brighton, West Ham and Huddersfield Town.
Should these all go the way of the team from SE25, combined with a Palace win on Sunday and losses for Leicester, in ninth, in their two remaining games, then Hodgson’s men could even replace the Midlands club in their lofty position if the right amount of goals are scored.
“We’re going to get close, aren’t we? But probably not the way we would have wanted, but that’s this division,” said Parish, who took over the club in 2010 as part of a consortium.
“I was always confident [of safety] deep down with this group of players and once we got Roy in, but he’s done exceptionally well with not just the results, but how we play – I love how we play.
“I don’t know if you do but I love how we play. It’s one thing to survive and another thing to really enjoy watching your team and that’s what Roy’s given us: I really enjoy watching us.”
Now safety is secured is Parish able to start preparing for the 2018-19 season?
“I’m always accused of not planning,” said Parish with a smile. “But we’ve been planning for ages. We’ve got the early transfer window, so we’ve got to get cracking.
“We’re working on it. We obviously spent a lot of money over the previous two years and people can see that we’ve got a good squad but if you stand still you go backwards it’s as simple as that – so we won’t be standing still.
“There’s additions and improvements we want to make so that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
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