Tag Archives: Crystal Palace FC

The Palace for Life Foundation Powerball team

PalaceforLife Foundation Q&A

PalaceforLife is a charitable foundation set up by Crystal Palace FC to help change the lives of young people from South London via sport. PFL’s disability manager Michael Harrington gives Elephant Sport an insight into its work.

Tell us a bit more about PalaceforLife: how and when did it start?

The Palace for Life foundation has been working with the South London community for over 25 years. We exist to leverage the power of football and the Crystal Palace FC brand to change the lives of young people across South London, particularly the most hard-to-reach and hard-to-help.

We work with over 13,000 people each year, inspiring them to find a better path and to lead a healthier life. We cover a broad spectrum, from football sessions for young people with a disability, to delivering engaging assemblies and workshops in local schools and colleges.

Michael HarringtonTargeting young people in areas of deprivation, we offer free sessions in sport and other activities, alongside pastoral support, to instil positive values and help prepare our participants for a better life.

We have strong connections within the local community and businesses and run programmes designed to equip young people with the skills they need to start thinking about their future careers.

We believe that everyone matters, irrespective of their background and beliefs, and by giving extra support to the most vulnerable, we will help create a better community and society.

How long have you been with the Foundation, and what does your work involve?

I have been at the foundation for about 15 years. I am a UEFA B Licence football coach and currently head up our Disability Programmes.

This involves delivering some football coaching sessions myself, managing a small team of full and part-time employees, overseeing our wide and diverse weekly delivery schedule and developing new and existing partnerships with like-minded organisations who can have a real impact on the lives of people with a disability.

What are the most rewarding and satisfying parts of your job?

Working in a sector where everybody is trying to do the right thing to make people’s lives better, and the variety of people that I come in contact with on a daily basis.

Why is it important to Crystal Palace FC to make a positive impact on its local communities?

Being part of Crystal Palace FC and the Premier League, we are in a unique place to harness the ‘Power of Palace’, combined with the immense benefits that sport can bring to everybody’s lives.

These include improvements in physical fitness, self-esteem and confidence, reducing isolation and educating people around the importance of e

Selhurst Park
Selhurst Park is the home of Crystal Palace FC

ating well, working hard and establishing core values such as honesty, fair play and teamwork.

Do the club’s players and coaching staff get involved in the work of the foundation?

Yes, players and staff make regular appearances not only as inspirational guests at our delivery sessions in schools, colleges and local sports centres, but also at our staff development days like [manager] Roy Hodgson did in July.

Today’s elite footballers get labelled as greedy and selfish; is this unfair, and do the Palace players do their best to help with your activities?

Yes, I think this is unfair. The players do a lot of good locally within the community that often goes unnoticed.

This can vary from making financial contrbutions to local projects – for example [goalkeeper] Julian Speroni buying two sports power-chairs for our wheelchair football team – to other players turning up unannounced to support weekly football training sessions for young people.

What kind of projects and initiatives does the foundation help to fund?

We have the following impairment specific groups and a few of these have a football team attached to them: Powerchair, Down’s Syndrome, Mental Health, Learning/Intellectual Disabilities, Vision Impaired.

We also run an schools programme that either delivers PE lessons throughout the year or we have a specialist six-week plus mini-festival programme targeted at new schools and those more inactive to generate an interest in playing football or becoming more sporty.

In terms of the foundation itself, has there been any changes in recent months?

The foundation is always changing to meet the needs of the local communities that it reaches.

The past eight months has seen the start of our Targeted Intervention programmes that aim to build up the resilience of young people at risk of anti-social behaviour and crime, whilst also working with young offenders to restore good mental and emotional health following adverse and challenging situations.

Young people are given educational opportunities and the chance to gain accredited qualifications, as well as learning the importance of healthy behaviours and how their actions affect not only themselves but the local community.

We have also started the Work Ready & Prepared (WRAP) programme which combines real-life, meaningful work experience with industry-specific accreditations, and training to prepare young people for the world of work.

Julian Speroni
Long-serving Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni supports the PFL Foundation’s activities

This comprehensive 15-week study programme is designed to provide a wide-range of opportunities to practice skills within the workplace for 16-18 year olds.

What do people say about PalaceforLife and what kind of an impact does it have on your team?

We get a lot of positive feedback from those who we come in contact with, but to find out what others really think about us you would need to ask them.

Is the foundation dependent on Palace doing well on the pitch and staying in the Premier League, or is its funding protected?

The Premier League are a large financial contributor to our activities, but we are not wholly dependent on them to enable us to function. Obviously, it is beneficial for Palace to be a PL team, both financially and for the high profile it gives us.

Are you always looking to expand its activities and get more people involved in your programmes?

Yes we are, our aim is to engage with more people who are inactive and do not currently have the opportunity to play any sport.

Does PalaceforLife have any targets for 2019?

To continue to have a positive effect on the lives of young south Londoners.

How would you sum up the PalaceforLife foundation in three words?

Bold, Helpful, Strong.

Feature image courtesy of the PalaceForLife Foundation. Selhurst Park image courtesy of Ajay Suresh; Julian Speroni image courtesy of Richard Fisher, both via Flickr Creative Commons under licence CC BY 2.0.

Follow the PFL Foundation’s work on Twitter @PalaceForLife.

Palace and Everton stalemate suits neither team

A rainy afternoon in South London was the setting for a lively 2-2 draw between Crystal Palace and Everton as both sides fought for a victory they desperately needed.

With both hosts and visitors in trouble at the wrong end of the Premier League, a single point suited neither, but defeat would have been unthinkable.

The game began horrendously for Toffees caretaker boss David Unsworth as the hosts were ahead within a minute at Selhurst Park. Palace’s first attack of the game was finished off by James McArthur, who found the net after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had forced Jordan Pickford into an early save.

However, that lead was short-lived as the Evertonians fought back to level matters soon after. Eagles defender Scott Dann fouled Oumar Niasse in the penalty area, and Leighton Baines made no mistake from the spot.

There was a real question mark over whether Niasse was touched at all in this one – and that doubt led to an FA charge for ‘simulation’ in the days following the game.

Wilfried Zaha then put the Eagles back in the driving seat, as he was brilliantly picked out by a cross from Joel Ward, allowing him to roll the ball into an empty net at the far post on 35 minutes.


What then followed was a calamitous piece of Palace defending as Everton were handed their second gift of the day, thanks again Dann and goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

‘Referee Andrew Taylor was booed and jeered off the pitch by the home support after the game, the Palace faithful laying the blame for the dropped points on his shoulders’

The pair nervously exchanged passes before Idrissa Gueye stepped in to intercept, and Niasse took the opportunity with great aplomb, rolling home to put his team back on level terms on the stroke of half time.

There was far less goalmouth action in the second half but it was not for want of trying. Palace dominated throughout but ultimately were not being able to find the key to unlock the Everton door. In fact for all of their possession and attacking intent a key element of the forward line did seem to be missing all day.

A certain Belgian sitting on the bench looked on longingly, and in fact there were a few deliveries again from Ward in the second half that might well have been more of a problem for Pickford if Christian Benteke had been on the pitch.

In the second half, both defences were tightened up and even the eventual late introduction of Benteke, left out of the starting line-up, could not deliver a winner.

Referee Andrew Taylor was booed and jeered off the pitch by the home support after the game, the Palace faithful laying the blame for the dropped points on his shoulders as the full-time whistle blew.

Hodgson irritated

Sitting down for just three minutes to chat to the media, Palace boss Roy Hodgson was irritated by his side’s inability to turn possession into victory.

‘We can discuss it till the cows come home, but the referee gave it as a penalty they took it and they scored it’ – Roy Hodgson

“If you look at the performance over 95 minutes, I believe we played well enough to win the game,” he claimed.

In combative mood, the ex-England manager was then asked whether it was time to turn these dropped points into wins. “Yeah, well how do you do that?” he shot back at his inquisitor, staring into his soul.

When it was suggested it was his job to galvanise his team, Hodgson then asked pointedly: “So what do I actually do then?”

On the issue of the penalty, he said: “I’m pretty certain you’ve asked Dave Unsworth the same question and he’s said it was a foul, and now you’ll ask me and I’ll say it wasn’t.

“We can discuss it till the cows come home, but the referee gave it as a penalty they took it and they scored it.”

When the press conference cameras were switched off, Hodgson turned to journalists and began a small rant, visibly irritated by the way the game had gone.

In fairness to him, many would agree that Loftus-Cheek and Zaha have breathed fresh life into his side.

Unsworth praises team

Everton’s heroics in coming from behind to beat Watford may feel a distant memory, but Unsworth’s credentials as a potential Everton manager may well be enhanced after recent weeks.

A lot of Blues fans will argue that Ronald Koeman failed to get any kind of response during the final weeks of his tenure. At least the team are playing for Unsworth.

He could yet remain in the role, given Everton’s unsuccessful tug-of-war with Watford over Marco Silva.

After the game Unsworth was in fairly good spirits. “They’ve been terrific since the first training session that we came together, up until today’s game. They’ve given me everything and I can tell the Everton fans have given me everything as well.”

Then on the penalty and with the smell of an FA charge in the air, Unsworth understandably took the “I haven’t seen it since and couldn’t see it from where I was sitting” approach.

Only time will tell whether his efforts thus far will be enough for majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright to give him the job on a permanent basis, but the former player continues to stake a claim.

Q&A with Nathaniel Clyne

Liverpool and England right-back Nathaniel Clyne make his professional debut for Crystal Palace in October 2008 against Barnsley.

In his four years at Selhurst Park, the full-back made 122 appearances and was named Young Player of the Year before his move to Southampton in 2012.

On the south coast, he was a key figure in Saints success under both under both Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino, earning him a £12.5m move to Liverpool in the summer of 2015.

Stockwell-born Clyne, 24, is known for his smart, incisive passing and pace down the right flank. In November 2014, he made his international debut against Slovenia in a 3-1 victory and has earned nine caps to date.

At Anfield, he slotted straight into the first team and, although signed by previous manager Brendan Rodgers, has continued to progress under new boss Jurgen Klopp.

Nathaniel took time out to answer some quick-fire question for Elephant Sport:

What’s a typical morning like for you? Wake up, have breakfast, go into training.

What’s your breakfast of preference? Ham and cheese omelette and one slice of thick brown toast

When you’re not playing football what are your hobbies? Shopping, cinemas, Xbox, going to concerts and events.

You’re at your third top-flight club now what would you say are the biggest differences between the three clubs/cities/fans? London lifestyles quicker than Liverpool and Southampton. All clubs are pretty much the same, family clubs and the fans are passionate. Being at Liverpool, you notice the size of the club by how many fans they have around the globe in places like Asia, Australia and America

In the past two years you’ve become arguably one the best full backs in the league what do you think that’s down to? Keeping up consistently good performances, keeping fit, staying away from injury and keeping a hunger for the game.

What has been your proudest moment to date as a footballer? Making my debut for England senior team.

Klopp seems very animated on the touchline: what’s your take on him as a manager and his style of coaching? How does it differ from other managers you’ve played under such as Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino and Neil Warnock? He’s very charismatic always smiling and cracking jokes. He brings confidence for the team to go out and express ourselves.

With Euro 2016 looming you’re in contention to be on the plane with England – what would you consider to be a success at the tournament? Success for me would be to get called up for the Euros and to get into the starting line-up. As for the team, it would be to do our best in the tournament and try to win it!

Follow Nathaniel Clyne on Twitter @Nathaniel_Clyne and on Instagram