TEB Interview – Stephanie Mann
Stephanie Mann is Palace through and through as she proves by talking exclusively to TEB.
As a life long supporter, and throughout her football playing as a youth, representing the Eagles was a natural ambition.
My first Palace match as a fan was in 2002. Just like so many of us, there was just something about the club that captured me. The atmosphere of the place and the fact that it was a local team that I could identify with were both a big part of it. Why support a team just because it was fashionable? Support a team that means something to you.
The passion as a fan for Steph is matched by her passion on the pitch. As an industrious midfielder who confesses to be happy to get stuck in and be counted, she has quickly created her own Palace Ladies identity over the last two seasons.
I am not afraid of a challenge and someone who, if given a task, wants it done properly and to the best of my abilities. Like a lot of players, I am my own worst critic and can get pretty annoyed if I do not think I have done as well as I could.
As a regular first team player last season, Steph has had to react to stronger competition for places this season.
It is great for the club that we have such strength in depth, but it means as a player, you have to be on it all the time and not react badly if the decision does not go your way. It is all part of being part of a strong squad.
Evidence of this was her impressive performance for the reserves away win at Chichester two weeks ago where she put in one of her typical shifts and stood out. This effort was rewarded with a recall to the first team for the big away win at Bedford on Sunday.
It was good to be back in the first team and it showed how our system at Palace works. The good thing is, playing in either team offers the chance to prove ourselves in an effort to keep us all on our toes.
Asked what she likes most about playing for Palace, Steph is clearly proud.
I love the fact that what I fell in love with about Palace is exactly what it is like. Passionate people, committed to the club, players, supporters, everyone linked to the club are the same. We all strive to make our club the best it can be. The Palace feeling is like no other club. You have just got to love it.
Steph gets to as many Palace games as possible and unsurprisingly cites James MacArthur as her favourite current player. However, when considering her favourite all time player, there is no hesitation.
Andy Johnson. No doubt about it. I just loved him, the way he played and what he achieved for the club.
When talking with Steph, it is clear that she typifies what it is to be a one of the Palace Ladies as any fan that has been to any of the games will testify. Dedication, determination, passion and belief all come as standard.
Much of what you do can be taught or developed, but the feeling of being part of Crystal Palace can never be replicated. It is something that others can only pretend to understand.
Palace and proud? In Steph’s view …
There is no better way to describe it!
Our thanks to Stephanie and club chairman Richard Spokes for taking the time to talk to us. Keep an eye on the progress of Steph and the Palace Ladies throughout the season on TEB.