Crystal Palace FC Family Day 06/04/13: More than just a football match, more than just a football team

By - Thursday 4th April, 2013

Tom Lickley explains why all proud citizens, and not just the scarf-waving faithful, should attend Crystal Palace FC’s Family Day this Saturday

On Saturday 6th April Crystal Palace Football Club hope to build upon their current 4th position (at the time of writing) in the npower Championship, and continue on to a path which may lead them to the dizzying heights of the Barclays Premier League, when they take on Barnsley FC However, aside from the thrills which are bound to occur on the pitch, inside the stands and around the stadium much is being done to entice a new generation of support and lay the foundations for a solid fanbase centred in Croydon and the neighbouring boroughs. This is the club’s Family Day, a chance for newcomers to live football to enjoy what Crystal Palace has to offer, with prices as cheap as £1 for under 18s when accompanied by an adult (with adult prices from as low as £18), buying before the match day.

As you might imagine, there is plenty more to a Family Day at CPFC than 90 minutes of football. These days are set up by the club to generate support either from those who have lapsed from attending regularly, or those who cannot afford to go every week, or to encourage new fans along to watch the team play. For instance, previous Family Days have included face painting (in red and blue stripes, of course), meeting the Palace mascots, and the real mascot, Kayla the Eagle, with photo opportunities encouraged. Alongside this, there will be the chance to meet and watch club ambassadors the Crystal Girls (lose any lingering preconceptions of cheerleaders, these girls are a huge credit to the club) and guest singer Kimberley Alvord perform on the pitch. Of course once 3pm arrives, local stars such as Wilfried Zaha and Jonathan Williams will be lighting up the pitch, and should serve as inspiration for any young footballer.

Behind the fun and laughter that comes around with Family Day is the important fact that Crystal Palace FC relies on its community to survive – without fans, and of course, new fans, the club would cease to exist, or at the very least exist in a much reduced form to what it is today. As I have touched upon in a previous article, CPFC does much to enhance Croydon and South London life; whether that be directly by employing some of its young talent as playing staff, helping within the local community through the CPFC Foundation, or helping young people learn through the CPFC Study Centre, it probably does much more at a grassroots level than many people realise. CPFC is also important to Croydon because it helps put it on the map; whilst there is no ‘Croydon’ in the name of the club, Crystal Palace has been established in the borough since 1924. Many football supporters have an abnormally good level of geography knowledge, stemming from a very young age when they learnt about other clubs and hence places, and thus it is important that Croydon continues to get behind CPFC. If we are looking for Croydon to generate a greater ‘brand’ as a town (or perhaps as a city one day) then maintaining a support of CPFC is crucial, as they are undoubtedly one of the defining features of the area for people up and down the country.

So why should you part with your hard earned cash and go along to watch CPFC on April 6th? Why, when a range of Premier League London clubs are a travelcard away would you choose the Eagles? The late, great John Peel suggested “supporting Palace has a certain ult value – like pretending some Peruvian rock band is the best in the world” and this sums the club up very nicely. Palace isn’t the best team in the world (yet!) but they sure are a great club. Watching Palace is like choosing an indie film at the cinema over a Hollywood blockbuster – you might hate it but it may end up being the best thing you’ve ever seen – with the blockbuster (a Chelsea or an Arsenal let’s say) you will be predictably entertained but there may be no lasting impression for the newcomer. For those who enjoy the noise, the passion, the colour of Selhurst Park on match day, regardless of results on the pitch, it very often becomes addictive. So whether you like football or not, take a chance on Crystal Palace. As a family day out, it is one that will live long in the memory. For more information, head on over to

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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