In 2010, Crystal Palace were on the brink of no return as the club fell into administration. The south London side were forced to sell their best players and part ways with their manager in a bid to recover debts. Eagles fans marched on the headquarters of Lloyds Bank in central London in a desperate attempt to save their side.
Palace were moments away from liquidation when the consortium CPFC 2010 led by life long fan Steve Parish came to the rescue the club. CPFC 2010 secured an agreement with the Bank of Scotland, a Lloyds subsidiary, over the sale of Selhurst Park. The club were able to secure their Championship survival on the final day of the season with a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
Fast forward five years and the South London side are now enjoying one of the finest periods in their entire history. After securing promotion to the Premier League during the 2012/13 season the Eagles were able to survive a season in the top-flight, a feat they haven't achieved before. Now another season has almost passed and the club appear to have outdone expectations once again finding themselves in 11th position in the table.
Crystal Palace's recent success and their potential for growth and investment has caught the interest of a number of investors.
American billionaire takeover
American businessman Josh Harris, who owns NBA side Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's New Jersey Devils, is reported to be in talks to buy the Crystal Palace.
Co-owner Steve Parish has remained coy over takeover talks but has told journalists that there have been a number of figures interested in investing. Parish has made it clear given the club's difficult financial history that he is wary of the financial implications of commissioning new projects. Parish has stressed the huge potential that Crystal Palace has but warns that caution must be taken.
'Taking on commitments and building things is risky,' he said. 'You could lose a lot of money really quickly. People have lost hundreds of millions in this game in a year or two.
'I could probably stay 20 years and I could get a new main stand and a new training ground and find a way of financing it every year.
'But if you finance it, it puts the club at risk. If you get relegated, you've got a project you're committed to and suddenly your wage bill is bigger than your income.
The Barclay's Premier League has witnessed a revolution of overseas investment in recent times. England's top footballing league has become an attractive market with the top 20 teams in English football pull in more than £3bn a season through television, commercial and gate receipts.
Crystal Palace board, the four men who formed CPFC2010, may soon have to make the decision as to whether to sell the club.
The consortium may choose to decide to call it a day and sell up but they will have to convince the club’s supporters that the US dollar will enhance the club’s long-term prospects.
Crystal Palace fans appear to be split on whether they feel an American takeover will benefit the club.
Assuming the takeover by the American billionaire Josh Harris is confirmed, the ownership constitution in the Premier League will be comprised:
United States (Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace). Russia (Chelsea); United Arab Emirates (Manchester City); Switzerland (Southampton); Malaysia (QPR); Thailand (Leicester); Egypt (Hull City).
Swansea are another team rumoured to be involved in takeover talks recently. The Welsh side are currently owned by a group of astute businessmen much like Crystal Palace.
It is only seven of the top-flight teams that remain in English hands -Tottenham, Stoke City, West Ham, Newcastle, West Brom, Everton and Burnley.
Premier League stability
Palace are currently 11th in the Premier League table and look set to avoid relegation to the Championship for the second season in a row. The Eagles were in the relegation zone along with Burnley and Leicester City, struggling to pick up points following Neil Warnock's sacking. However, the Eagle's now find themselves at the top of the Premier League form table with seven wins from their eight past away games.
Pardew's revolution at Palace started with a 4-0 win at Dover Athletic in the FA Cup and recently won four in five, most recently saw the Londoners beating the champions. Crystal Palace's most recent game saw the Eagle's cruise to victory over relegation strugglers Sunderland. The Eagle's stunning performance led former Arsenal player and Sky pundit, Paul Merson, to compare them to Brazil and the Harlem Globetrotters.
The amazing turn around at Palace has influenced many on lookers to consider Alan Pardew as a contender for the Premier League Manager of the Year award.
Alan Pardew is promising an exciting summer of recruitment at Selhurst Park after the club's recent victories effectively guaranteed their Premier League survival.
Recruitment is now uppermost in Pardew’s mind and he revealed: ‘We are getting calls regarding players from Inter Milan and Benfica because they are our market now.
‘Palace now come into the same group as everybody below the likes of Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool, and the most important thing is to try to trade well.
‘It’s important to preserve your Premier League status early. If you leave it late, it is very difficult to get players. You don’t want other teams putting packages together and working on players before you can.
‘We are pretty secure in approaching clubs and players now as a Premier League side for next season and that’s what we will do. We have the finance to do what we say we are going to do. So it does give us a slight advantage.’
Emphasis on youth
One player that has caught the attention of England manager Roy Hodgson is Wilfried Zaha. The Thornton Heath local boy grew up in the shadow of Selhurst Park where he was scouted to join Palace's successful academy system.
After breaking into the Eagle's first team Zaha secured a record breaking deal to take him to Old Trafford in a £15million move. The move talented youngster failed to impress for the Red's and found himself re-signing for the Eagle's where his career appears to have been rekindled as he scored the winning goal in Palace's win over Stoke recently.
Alan Pardew has praised the ability of wingers Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie and has urged them to become the 21st century versions of club legends Ian Wright and Mark Bright.
The pair terrorised QPR in the Eagle's recent 3-1 win over the Hoops with Zaha scoring from a Bolasie cross. Pardew is excited by the potential his two wingers have attacking both flanks.
But the Palace boss has warned the pair are not the finished article and still have plenty of room for improvement.
He said: ‘I think any team knows that any full backs coming up against these two know they are in for a test because these two can move the ball.
‘They have to do the other parts of the game that don’t come as easy to them such as, discipline, work rate, commitment, aggression, but they are adding those aspects to their games and at the moment they have got the flare in them to create something.
‘It is exciting to watch them and it is exciting to have them in the team - but frightening for the opposing manager.’
Alan Pardew has also backed underrated defender Scott Dann to carry on improving and challenge for a place in the England squad in the near future.
England boss Roy Hodgson opted for Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as his four centre back for the upcoming internationals with Lithuania and Italy at the end of the month.
But Dann has been in impressive form for Palace in recent months as they moved away from relegation danger.
But Pardew says that Dann, 28, has his best years ahead of him and can carry on improving.
He said: ‘He is a good age and is coming into his prime age as a centre half and he has a lot of experience under his belt at this level.
‘He has not surprised me in terms of his character because he plays with an honesty in every game. He has been very impressive since I have been here and his confidence is high. He hit a pass out to a left winger at the weekend that Glenn Hoddle would have been proud of.
‘He has some good players in front of him and they have a lot more experience at that top level than he does.
‘I don’t think he should be disappointed he has not made this squad. He is playing well at the moment and it is there for all to see. What will be, will be, but his best years are still in front of him.’
Planning for the long-term
For Pardew personally, he would love to see a Palace player called up to the England squad.
Wilfried Zaha was the last Palace player to be called up to the England squad back in 2012 and Pardew says his players must find their place in the Premier League first.
Crystal Palace are quickly becoming one of the most entertaining clubs to watch in the Premier League. It was revealed recently that the Eagle's are in the top four most popular clubs to watch in the United States of America. With a large catchment area and room for expansion it seems Palace are a club with huge potential. The next Premier League power club?
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