This season has not only seen excitement on the pitch, but huge news off it with the proposed redevelopment of Selhurst Park being given the go-ahead.
As the club embarks of its sixth successive season in the Premier League, there has been very little to show for it other than some fantastic memories.
Such a revamp of the beloved Selhurst Park will stand the club in good stead for the future and something for all involved with the club to look at and be proud of. Not least, the upgrade on facilities will make the attendance of games more enjoyable without effecting the fantastic atmosphere that continues to make the club renowned for up and down the country.
It is a project that is expected to cost up to £100million which is certainly not an amount to be sniffed at but on completion, the new look Selhurst Park will have an increased capacity from 26,000 to over 34,000.
Standing proudly at the front of the new all glass fronted five-storey Main Stand will be more than just a passing reference to days gone by with the original Crystal Palace being a clear inspiration and the hosting of an Eagle crest above the central arch.
The design is courtesy of stadium architects KSS who were behind the redevelopment of Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon. All of those have had their plaudits which make the proposed changes to Selhurst all the more exciting. The roof of the new stand will be designed especially to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand directly opposite.
In a project that will take around three years, the Main Stand as it is will stay in operation during the build, creating minimal impact on capacity.
Here is all you need to know about the project;
- Capacity of the Main Stand increased from around 5,400 to 13,500
- More than 10,700 General Admission seats which will be an increase of around 6,000
- Facilities for supporters with disabilities increased with substantial wheelchair spaces
- The pitch size will increase from 101.5m x 68, to 105m x 68m, eligible to host tournament football
- Premium hospitality and entertainment facilities for more than 2,500 supporters and between 16-28 boxes
- ‘Tunnel Club’ giving fans a unique vantage point as players prepare for matches and conduct interviews
- Museum which will document the history of the club
- New community facilities, supplementing the work of the Palace for Life Foundation
- Improvements in the Arthur Wait Stand, the television gantry will be removed and concourse modernised
- The boxes in the upper Whitehorse Lane End will be renovated
For a ground that exceeds 110 years, the makeover is much needed. It is often the but of jokes from opposition fans while others suggest it is one the last remaining old style grounds.
There is a lot of relief among Palace fans that the club will not be moving from its roots, too many other clubs have moved to shiny new stadia that look fantastic but have a real lack of soul.
The prospect of attending the first game at Selhurst once the last crane and digger has left the stadium is simply mouth watering. Those sentimental fans among us will not only enjoy seeing the club stay where they are but also appreciate the touch of nostalgia included in the modernisation, incorporating more than a hint to the past and the old Crystal Palace.
That structure was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and sat at the top of Penge Peak next to Sydenham Hill after it was moved from its original location in Hyde Park in 1854 until it was destroyed by fire in 1936.
Talking to the official club website, chairman Steve Parish said:
“We need a stadium that reflects who we are, how far we have come and where we want to go – a stadium that South London can be proud of, a home worthy of our incredible support and unique atmosphere and this great Premier League we represent.
We have worked long and hard and looked at several options over the years, including returning to the original site of Crystal Palace, which was not viable. While we cannot go back to it, we can build a new one and today I am proud to introduce a new Selhurst Park with a new Crystal Palace for a new era.
We are creating a new home worthy of our Club, our supporters and our community, and a celebration of our 112 years in South London”.
Director of KSS, Nick Marshall said:
“Our brief was to create an impressive sense of arrival and an experience fans can be proud of, retaining the special atmosphere at one of the best grounds in the country. It is already one of the best places to watch football and we certainly do not want to ruin that, it has to be driven by the fan experience. There is going to be a great relationship between the new stand and the Arthur Wait stand, which is going to work fantastically.”