After getting knocked out of the FA Cup, what’s next for Palace?
Before the Watford game, I was forcing myself to think that we need to win this game, not only for the sake of going to Wembley and progressing to the FA Cup semi-final but to keep the season alive. Palace being Palace, we do the total opposite, and lose to Watford for the 3rd time this season and get knocked out of the cup, which has me thinking, what’s next?
The first thing that needs to happen is the confirmation of survival in the Premier League. It’s what we’ve been fighting for all season long, which has left many fans, including me, frustrated, as with the squad we’ve got we should be doing better, but with where we are right now in the league, that’s all we can realistically achieve.
We’re currently 5 points above the relegation zone, and sit 14th in the league, with 8 games to be played. If you ask me on whether I think we’ll get relegated? No. One reason is that the two clubs in the relegation zone, Huddersfield and Fulham, have an extremely small chance of catching us up which leaves only one spot open, and even though I’m not Roy’s biggest fan, I still think he can get us the results to keep us up. Another factor on why I think we’ll stay up is that half (4) of our remaining games will be played away from home, which is where we have picked up the majority (61%) of our points this season.
Once we’re mathematically safe – hopefully I don’t jinx it – is when things get interesting. The club really has two options. Do you continue playing your strongest XI and attempt to finish as high up the table as possible to increase your chance of earning a higher merit payment, or do you pull the plug and play the youth?
Each Premier League position is worth around £2m, which doesn’t seem that much but is still a decent amount of money, and anything with money involved, the club will be focused on and rightly so, it’s a business. If they’re willing to increase our season ticket prices, I’m sure they’ll be after the merit money too.
However, playing the youth can also have a positive financial impact. I’m not saying we’ll find another gem like Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but playing couple talented academy players could give them the exposure, we’re playing in the so-called best league in the world, they’ll always be people watching.
If they play well and gain interest from other clubs, this could result in them going out on loan, which would benefit their development and possibly allow the club to get loan fees, or there may be someone, who is not quite up to Premier League standards, but is a good player, who could end up getting sold in the summer, which could benefit both the club and the player. There’s also the possibility that we could also end up finding ourselves a decent player, who could play a role within the squad next season.
If football was that simple, then life would be amazing. There’s a massive chance, that if they go with the academy option, players may fail to impress and we miss out on a couple of million pounds. On the other hand, chasing for a higher finish and not giving the youth the chance could result in the club missing out on some talented youngsters. It’s all part of the fun which the club needs to decide on but for now, it’s time to survive!