Crystal Palace confirm signing of 23-year-old French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta

Written by FYP Fanzine

 

Crystal Palace have signed 23-year-old French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta from Mainz on an initial 18-month loan with an option to buy should he meet certain targets.

The forward, who scored 7 goals in 17 for Mainz in the Bundesliga provides competition to a front line which, bar Wilfried Zaha, has struggled to score goals. 

Mateta's career started at Chateaureux before he signed for Ligue 1 side Lyon in 2016. He struggled to make an impact in a side that was competing for the French title and in Europe, and after two seasons was sent on loan to Le Havre, where he impressed with 17 goals in 35 appearances. 

His performances at Le Havre prompted Bundesliga side Mainz 05 to make him their most expensive signing ever in June 2018, and he went on to repay that faith with 14 goals in 34 league appearances for the club.

Mateta spent much of the previous season on the sidelines, only playing for Mainz from December onwards, scoring 3 goals in 18 appearances.

His move to Palace comes as Mainz face a relegation battle with just 7 points and sitting in 17th in an 18-team league. 

Mateta's contract is due to expire in 18 months, and it is likely that his refusal to consider a new one has resulted in this move to Palace becoming possible.

On joining Palace, Mateta told Palace TV: "I'm very happy to come to Crystal Palace. I know this club from a long time ago because I have a lot of family here and it's a hot club, a hot club in England.

"I'm look forward to training, and yes, I'm very happy. Yes, of course, of course, it's my dream from when I was a child but now I can play I will show the fans of Crystal Palace what I can do.

"I have a lot of family here in London. - aunty, uncle... I know this city. When I was a child, with my mum, I came here.

"[Roy Hodgson] said he wanted me, but I know he wanted me because it's not [just] now he wants me, he wanted me before. Me also, I know this manager, a good trainer, does a lot with the team - a good team.

"I'm a striker, I like to score. I like to score! Yes, of course [I will kick the corner flag]. Yes, of course - if I score."

Where it leaves Palace's other striking options is less clear with Belgian sports outlet HLN revealing the Eagle do not intend to renew Christian Benteke's deal past the end of this seson, despite his upturn in form of late. 

It is also claimed that after a disappointing second loan spell at Selhurst, Michy Batshuayi will be sent back to Chelsea at the end of the campaign.

Listen to the latest FYP Podcast below...


 

'They all wore shinpads in training' - Darren Ambrose on why the 2010 Palace team was so special

Written by FYP Fanzine

 

Crystal Palace legend Darren Ambrose joined us on the FYP Podcast recently to chat about his time in SE25, which let's face it although was just three years was jam packed with drama.

From why he chose to join Palace from Charlton, to stories about Neil Warnock cutting his toenails to those massive games at Hillsborough and Old Trafford, Darren covered it all in an hour-long episode.

On arriving at Selhurst on a free transfer from the Addicks, Ambrose told FYP he was immediately struck with how seriously that group of players took the game back in 2009

"They all wore shinpads in training, that's what kind of guys they were," he told us. "So immediately I put my shinpads on thinking we're in for a fricking rough ride here. 

"We stopped off once on the way to a game in a park, Paul Hart was manager, there's puddles, mud everywhere and there was no moaning. Every club I've been at you'd get the superstars saying "You're taking the p here, I'm not getting out and training in a park" these guys were 100% whatever we do, diving in mud, that's what we're going to do. If you say fricking swim in the lakes, we're going do it. 

"So I had to change my whole mindset and become that kind of guy and I took that on going forward and tried to help the youngsters coming through when I became the real senior role."

That mindset, Ambrose added, stuck around at the club for years and there are still remnants of it at Palace now, but admitted that he had to adapt his appraoch when he arrived despite having played at the very top a few years before.

He added: "If I'm honest I was an ego when I first arrived, I'd played Champions League for Newcastle and I felt a bit not that I'm dropping a level but immediately it was just nipped in the bud, and they all took to me like I was a nobody and that's how you have to be. There's no big egos. It was to do with Warnock 100% but the team took it on themselves, I think Paul Hart said it, I've heard him say it before, when he first arrived he didn't even have to do team talks and that's true.

"We would take it on ourselves and know exactly what we expect off on another. Edgar Davids came in a bit later, he didn't last long because he didn't change his mindset which was still in the team there even though a few had left. He was an ego and so he should be he was a world superstar but he didn't last long because of that." 

LISTEN: FYP Podcast 300 - Palace legend Shaun Derry joins the pod

Ambrose had loads of praise for former Palace captain Shaun Derry - who also joined us on the FYP Podcast last year - and revealed why Derry was one of his most important mentors in the game.

"The way he portrayed himself as a guy, he was the captain when I fist arrived and he just took every problem every team issue of the team, of the manager on himself. One of the hardest working guys I knew, always in the gym, always first in last out, he was always taking people's problems to the manager.

"Paul Hart came in and was going to drop me. He only took 12 or 13 games at the end of the season but after two or three was going to drop me and it was only Shaun who pulled me aside and said: "Look, the manager has spoken to me, he doesn't feel you will play for him as well as you played for Neil Warnock." I thought 'well I've not been rubbish, I've just had a couple of average games and I didn't score in the first three games he was here'.

"But Shaun said: 'I have told him if you drop Ambrose you will have uproar from players, from fans from everyone and he said I've told him that this guy will keep us in the division'. And he said to me: 'So don't let me down'.

"I was crapping myself thinking right I need to start scoring now. Because he's put all this faith into me."

MORE: Roy Hodgson Needs to Focus on Crystal Palace's Strengths

Ambrose namechecked Derry as one of the most influencial people on his career in footbal and when asked why said: "He wouldn't care what age you were he's help the youngsters, he's help the senior pros and he just demanded everyone give 110% and he just optimised everything Crystal Palace was good at that era. Everyone joined him, Clint, Butts Paddy, Dannsy, Big Alan Lee, everyone was on that mindset and from that moment dot when I first arrived.

"I was a bit cocksure of myself, I'd come from Newcastle, Charlton, played Premier League, I knew I've got to stop being this way, I've got to put 100% intro training, into matches.

"I love that group of players, it's the best group I've ever played for, it's why Palace is so close to my heart. We had our rows, absolutely, me and Paddy we rowed all the time, we nearly had a fight on the pitch at Birmingham away but the love I have for that guy now is second to none, and that football club, that team there was absolutely brilliant."

Listen to the full podcast with Darren Ambrose on joining Palace, Hillsborough, that goal at Old Trafford and loads more below:


 

Crystal Palace sign Chelsea Striker Michy Batshuayi in Season-Long Loan Move

Written by Robert Sutherland

Crystal Palace have completed the season-long loan signing of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi. 

Batshuayi rejoins the club following a successful loan spell in the second half of the 2018-2019 season, in which he scored 5 goals in 11 league appearances, and arrives at a time when Roy Hodgson's side have consistently failed to find the net. 

The Belgian international has had a difficult time at Chelsea following his arrival there in July 2016, having struggled to convince a succession of managers of his talent. Despite scoring 9 in 28 appearances in his first season for Chelsea under Antonio Conte, he spent the second half of the next season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, scoring 9 goals in 14 for the German side. 

An ankle injury put an end to that loan spell but despite his impressive performances in Germany, his new manager Maurizio Sarri opted to send him out on loan again -- this time to Valencia.  

ATHLETIPOD: FYP Podcast 348 | Bat For Good with Ed Malyon, Dom Fified and Matt Woosnam

His spell in Spain's third-largest city was a major disappointment for both the player and the club, as he scored just one goal in 15 appearances for the club. That goal, however, ensured he would becomethe first player to score goals in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France in the 21st century. 

Following that early cancellation of his loan contract at Valencia, Batshuayi joined Palace to form part of Sauce FC, a nickname he gave to Palace over the course of his loan spell. 

A return to Chelsea last season proved to be fruitless again, with just a solitary goal in the league adding to the total of 6 he scored in all competitions. 

Palace will hope that the striker can return to the kind of form he showed in his previous spell at the club. 

Listen to the latest FYP podcast here:


Rethink it Palace - FYP Backs Fan Calls To Revise Season Ticket Scheme

Written by FYP Fanzine

Crystal Palace’s season ticket offering, which was announced last week and is currently nearing its Friday deadline, has left many fans disillusioned and disappointed with the direction the club has taken. Long-term season ticket holders, dedicated fans with many years of history with the club, have either felt pressed into buying a season ticket or have been impacted by a change in the payment method provided by the club.

Club chairman Steve Parish indicated in programme notes from the club's friendly against Brondby that he hoped COVID-19 restrictions would be further lifted 'sooner rather than later' indicating that this was why season tickets were put on sale. On Tuesday, the government determined that social gatherings would be limited to six or more people.  

We have been deeply concerned by the stories we’ve read on social media about the impact of the season ticket scheme on fans. Fanzines shouldn’t only write about what is happening on the pitch, they also need to speak up when things adversely affect fans off the pitch too. We consider that the stories below, which are only a selection, demonstrate how unfair the current scheme is. We consider that the scheme should be rethought by Palace immediately. The club should recognise the deep unpopularity of the proposal and the adverse effect on fans as soon as possible. For the sake of all fan, including those below, Rethink It, Palace

Loyalty, but at what price?

Lynne and Paul Brameld have been season ticket holders for 35 years, but with Paul being diagnosed with blood cancer, the decision not to renew was already made. While Palace offered a break from being a carer to her husband prior to the pandemic, Lynne knows that because of the necessity to shield, it was the only decision she could take.

“I don’t mind paying a retainer, but I do think the £200 per season ticket is over the top. What if Paul’s cancer means I cancel his season ticket? What if people lose their jobs as the economy crashes?”

The club are advising fans who are taking the deferral option to be prepared to provide proof from a doctor to substantiate the need for shielding.

“Paul’s shielding letter includes his NHS number and consultant name — I feel it’s wrong to ask for personal information.”

As part of the club’s work in the community, Palace provided support to the Bramelds during the lockdown, as Paul is over 70.

“The support was amazing. But why would they turn on us now? If I get a phone call demanding proof, I’m ready for them.”

Vague policy heightens risk

Palace’s vague policy about shielding has lead to fans who might be subject to such a shielding recommendation questioning whether they would actually qualify for the deferral option.

Rich Le Gate has been a season ticket holder with his dad for 9 years, and is being challenged by the choices provided.

“My dad is in his 70's and I'm not overly keen on him going to games, but he doesn't think he can defer his seat because he has no medical condition,” says LeGate.

“We sit in the Arthur Wait which is organised really badly, I don't really want to trust Palace to look after us, they botch so many things!”

The entire issue has left Rich frustrated and disappointed.

“There is a fabric there between fans and CPFC the business, it's being torn at more and more with moments like this.

“I worry that cleansing moments like this basically create a disconnect between the club and any sort of identity it's had. Consequently, the club ends up being a cover version of itself, trying to display all the previous characteristics of Palace, but in a faux, plastic way.”

Jane Vigus has been a season ticket holder for 22 years and a fan since 1968. The lack of clarity around the deferral option has caused confusion for her, too.

“I’m probably what you’d call covid-hyper alert. I’m over 65 and COVID is not something I want to catch! I already live with 2 school-aged kids - is an occasional visit to Selhurst an extra risk too far? Especially as winter unfolds?”

Like many other fans, Jane has sent a number of emails requesting information on how the club will manage fans within the stadium. She hasn’t yet had a response.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have this info — especially regarding covid safety — prior to effectively lending the club a large chunk of money for a small amount of product over the season.” 

“I suspect, in the end, I will end up renewing and hope, if I don't feel safe after I’ve tried a game or two, the club can resell and refund my seat for the duration.”

Jimmy Smith has been a season ticket holder for the past seven seasons. With his partner’s pregnancy, he would like to defer his season ticket — despite the cost still being prohibitive. But he’s not sure he would qualify under the shielding stipulation. 

“The thought of making her sick, or even having to miss the birth if I pick up the virus, scares me,” he says. 

“But I have no idea if that is an acceptable reason and neither is there any guidance.”

That lack of clarity is also an issue when it comes to what happens should Palace determine his reason not to be acceptable.

“One thing is for sure and that’s that I cannot afford to lose the £200 and there is no further information from the club about what happens if they deem my reason not worthy.

“I don’t want to pay the full renewal fee. It leaves a bitter taste. I will be sad to let my season ticket go, but not at the expense of supporters being treated badly by the club.”

New Instalment Plan Causes Financial Headache

After years of working on the basis of allowing fans to pay for season tickets by direct debit, this season sees Palace requiring fans to go through V12 Retail Finance to pay by installment.

The season ticket purchase page does not mention that the new payment plan  requires season ticket holders taking that option to submit to a credit check.

The club’s season ticket payment options page, which appears to have text that should link to V12 Retail Finance’s Terms and Conditions, does not have clickable links. Only when you get to the completion page of the process are you made aware that there is likely to be a credit check performed.

That lack of clarity and the resultant credit check has caused Brad Campagnac, a season ticket holder for the past 47 years, to decide not to renew his season ticket following what he feels was a misleading process.

“I did not know they would do a credit check,” says Brad, who has been working on repairing his credit history following problems in the past. “No doubt this has put a mark on my score.”

“I’ve been travelling from Norwich for the past season and a half. And after 47 years it looks like it’s finally over. It’s a very bad way to treat us.”

Chris Chapman is another fan that opted to go with the installment plan to pay for his and his daughter’s season ticket — only to find that V12 Retail Finance declined his application on the grounds of his credit — despite not having any credit concerns.

“After 26 years I’m going to have to pass and hope I can go next season. I was declined despite never having issues so I’m going to have to check that.”

The result is that a season ticket he was able to pay for over the course of a season previously becomes a significant, immediate burden. 

“It was £750 for two season tickets — how can I justify that on a ‘maybe’?

“I’m so disappointed in the club, especially when I see what other clubs such as Fulham are proposing for their season tickets. Even Arsenal’s option is better than ours!”

Both Fulham and Arsenal are offering cost-free deferrals and ticket plans that don’t require payment of a full season ticket price. 

Palace Family Divided by Payment Change

For long-term season ticket holder Scott Kingsworth, being declined for credit after 7 years of uninterrupted payments to the club has meant that he is faced with an unenviable choice to make.

Scott moved to Berlin two years ago and travels back for every home game to attend matches with his son. 

“As upset as he was, one thing that kept him going was the fact that we still had our season tickets and we would always have that day out together — no matter how far I had to travel to fly in, pick him up from his mum's and get to Selhurst for kick off and we had no plans to change this.

“Unfortunately, I have been declined finance probably due to the fact that my main income is not from the UK anymore.

“I have 2 choices, pay for the season tickets upfront and not have the money this month to pay for flights to get back to see my son, or to let the season ticket go and possibly spend time with my son at a smaller more fan friendly club, which I never thought I would have to do.”

Palace epitomised what a family club stood for, especially with regards to his son. 

“He loves Palace so much because he could go to his friends at school and show them all the pictures of him meeting every single player and even getting to play on the Selhurst pitch. 

“The club I loved literally showed me how much of a community club it was and how it was showing my son some of the most friendliest memorable moments of his young life.”

Fellow Palace fan Andy Ferrer has been a season ticket holder for the past five seasons, attending games with his wife and their two kids. 

Palace’s direct debit payment meant that football was accessible. 

“Our credit isn’t great due to a few disasters but having the release as a family to go and watch Premier League football is always a release, win lose or draw. 

“We have not missed any season ticket payments having paid monthly for the previous 5 seasons, and always understood if payments were missed we would not be able to attend.”

The change in how the club takes instalments, especially in light of the economic downturn and the impact it has had on personal finances, has left Andy with one conclusion. 

“This says to me we are turning the working class supporter away because they are not the best financially. 

“I will not be renewing or saving for the following season, I will follow the team and will hopefully look to go again once the new stand is built.” 

We ask that Palace reconsider the options made available to supporters, providing options that are accessible, considerate and fair. 

There is still time to make such changes. Share this article on social media with the club if you also think Palace should Rethink It.