The start of the season approaches for the Palace Ladies
Our link with the Palace Ladies continues as the club looks ahead to what we hope will be another successful season. We asked the chairman Richard Spokes how ready they are for the new season.
This Sunday sees the Palace Ladies’ FA Women’s Premier League season kick off at Denham Ladies FC. This will be a tough start to a big season for The Eagles in an ever-strengthening league. In order to keep pace, Palace have made some impressive additions on the pitch and on the sidelines over the Summer, bringing in players with valuable experience, but most importantly, the essential, Palace spirit.
In addition to new players, Head Coach, Dean Davenport has been joined by last seasons Reserve team coach, Clinton Lancaster who amongst other things, will be able to use his in-depth knowledge of the wider player pool.
Davenport is well aware of the tough campaign ahead:
“Last season saw us as the new guys in the league and allowed us to take a few teams by surprise. We took nothing for granted, but few outside our club had us down as top three at the end of the season. This season is going to be a whole lot different. We are no longer the new guys and every team in the league has played us before, so know what we are about. Beyond our own expectations, others will look on us as one of the teams to beat, this time around. Without a doubt, we are aiming for promotion. That is a massive ask in this league, but is what we should be aiming at. Certainly, our club and all those backing us deserve it.”
Asked what differences we can expect this season? Dean was understandably careful in not disclosing too much.
“For sure, there will be differences. We will still want to play attractive, possession based football, but are looking to add extra dimensions to that. The girls have been working really hard during a tough pre-season regime, but have started to see the rewards already. When you add new players, as well as new elements, tactically, it can take time to bed in. But, in this league and the wider women’s game at present, you can’t afford to stand still.”
Looking at the squad, Dean says he is pleased with the additions and is very happy with the way the new players have gelled into an already tight-knit squad.
We have done well in attracting new players, perhaps testament to our efforts over recent seasons. Charlotte (Ferguson) adds to our goalkeeping strengths whilst outfield we have the experience of Gemma (Bryan), Leesa (Haydock) and Pamela (McRoberts) joining us. With further additions across the first team and reserves, as well as our own players pushing for places from our other teams, we are in good shape. As much as we welcome experience, we, more than anything have players that really get The Palace mentality.
Asked what else Dean would look at achieving in the season ahead, he added,
It would be great to add to the amazing support we had last season. We became known throughout our league as the best supported team and we are really keen to get as many Palace fans to back us as possible. The facilities at Bromley FC are amongst the best and make a great home game experience for the fans, so we urge Eagles fans to give us a go. Anyone that came last season will vouch for the fact that they won’t be disappointed.
Beyond our match day fans, we are really keen to add commercial partners. We survive, based on the money we raise, and we have some excellent opportunities for businesses and fans to back us, from low levels of investment and really make the difference. Plus, of course, they have the chance of their having name on the kits of the famous Red And Blue.
Finally, Dean added:
More than anything this season, we once again appreciate the privilege of being able to represent our club. Despite all the pressure on and off the pitch and all the challenges we face, the fact is, we are proudly a part of Crystal Palace FC and will do everything we can to deliver what this great club deserves.
Match day one for The Eagles, in The FA Women’s Premier League, is away at Denham Ladies.
Kick off: 2pm.
Hillingdon Borough FC,
The Middlesex Stadium,