Palace won't risk future for promotion

Bottoms up: Steve Browett hopes to toasts Palace promotion but not at the expense of their future

Bottoms up: Steve Browett hopes to toasts Palace promotion but not at the expense of their future

First published in Crystal Palace FC Exclusive by , Sports Reporter

Crystal Palace may be fighting for a return to the Premier League but Steve Browett is not willing to risk it all to get there.

The Eagles are in a strong position to at least make the play-offs this season as they mix it with the Championship's big spenders in the top six.

While many of the Eagles' promotion rivals have spent big to reach the promised land of England's top flight, Palace have slowly built up a competitive squad without dipping too deep into their pockets.

And Browett is happier to run it that way in order to avoid a repeat of the situation that saw him and the rest of the CPFC2010 consortium have to rescue the club from the jaws of liquidation two-and-a-half years ago.

"As we have always said, our number one dream, passion and desire is that Crystal Palace football club is run sensibly and is here forever," he said.

"That's more important to us than getting promoted to the Premier League, which is different to many Championship clubs that are owned by foreigners who are not real fans and not interested in the long term.

"We are up against clubs like Cardiff and Leicester who are losing money trying to get to the Premier League and we are able to match them more or less so we are really pleased.

"There is a chance of  doing a Swansea or a Norwich City and having a club that is run by real supporters going up."

Some had expected the money from Wilfried Zaha's £10m sale to Manchester United in January to go straight into the playing budget that month, but the only signings the Eagles made were loan deals.

The money is there to be spent though and Browett would not have shied away from a big money deal if the price and the player had been right.

"If there had been a player who Ian Holloway really wanted and who would have been perfect for us we could have spent a lot on him," he said.

"But there wasn't really anybody out there where we thought that and thought would be worth the money.

"In general, January is a bad time for buying players, prices are high."

Palace's average attendance this season has shot up to 16,591 from 15,219 in the last campaign and although the Eagles have only broken the 20,000 barrier twice at home - against Burnley and Brighton - Browett is happy to see the numbers keep rising.

"It is always a case at Palace that our supporters have a choice," he said.

"If you live in Norwich, for example, you either go to Norwich, have a three-hour journey for an away game or don't go to football. We are not naive enough to think we will get 25,000 a week because we are doing well as people can go to Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs etc.

"But we are pleased with the attendances. We sold 1,000 half-season tickets at Christmas and more than 8,000 season tickets have been sold for next season.

"There is a bit of a buzz about the place."

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