Archives for August 2015

Make Ours a Treble


The Croydon Eagles are the Mind in Croydon and CPFC Foundation mental health football team. We’ve just completed our most successful season to date that ended with three trophies as well as hosting our first tournament.

The season began with a trip to Walton-on-Thames to compete in our first competition in the Surrey League we joined this year. Things couldn’t have started better in the Surrey Era for us as we put in a battling performance on the way to lifting the Surrey FA Community Cup. A brilliant achievement by all the squad with Jel Clifford bagging the winning goal in the final to win it for us.

We had set our stall out and let the rest of the Surrey League know we had arrived. This was our debut season and we were made extremely welcome, there was a really friendly atmosphere on the day and we were roundly applauded for our win – a gesture we really appreciated. Palace even arranged a victory parade with our trophy at Selhurst Park during the Leicester City Premier League match.

We then began our league campaign; all the guys were looking forward to seeing what the league had in store for us. We started strongly beating the reigning Champions Kingston and things just got better as we surged onwards. After winning our first five matches everyone was beginning to feel optimistic about our chances of actually winning the league at the first attempt. That optimism proved well founded as we went on to win all our games and make it a league and cup double. For our player coach Paul Richards this was his first season in the role and you would have to say a near perfect start. Paul also ended up as top scorer and Players Player of the Season while Will Castle was voted Most Improved Player to go alongside his award from Surrey FA for most sporting member of the league. We would like to say a massive thanks to all at the Surrey League for making us so welcome

We ended our brilliant season with perhaps our best achievement yet. For the second year we travelled down to the National Mental Health Football Therapy Tournament in Lewes with high hopes. All our team contributed to a monumental effort and despite losing our first game to Everton we then went unbeaten for the rest of the tournament coming up against Everton once again in the final who this time we beat 1-0 to lift the trophy, Tony Thompson netting the winner. The whole team raised their game and played brilliantly. Everton were billed as pre-tournament favourites as one of the best mental health teams in the country which tells its own story.

We also hosted our first tournament at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre which was a great success with The Croydon Eagles losing finalists to Brixton. We couldn’t be too downhearted though; this season has been an amazing journey for all of the squad. It has lifted everyone’s spirits; all of us have seen pretty tough times, experiencing varying mental health issues but the Croydon Eagles and all of the Active Minds activities help massively to improve mental wellbeing.

The football programme is a massive success so well done guys one and all and here’s to defending our titles next season.

With special thanks to Peter Rogers (Mind in Croydon), Michael Harrington (CPFC Foundation), Paul Richards, James Creegan and everyone who’s played for or supported us; played against us; reffed us or organised anything

If you’d like to join us please contact Peter at Active Minds
T: 020 8253 8206

Review report written by Tim Matthias

Note; Tim received the Croydon Eagles Managers award this season for his long service and dedication to the Eagles cause.


Coach Ken moves to St Giles School

Ken Talbot, who has been coaching with the Foundation for 10 years and is a Palace season ticket holder, has hung up his balls, bibs and cones and is starting a new career as a Teaching Assistant at St Giles School in South Croydon. St Giles is a school for pupils with physical disabilities and complex medical needs whose ages range from 4 – 16.

Ken has been with us for 10 years and has coached thousands of local boys and girls of all ages and abilities and has always managed to put the needs of the players first, whether that is at our Elite Development Centers, our Disability Projects or 3 year old mini-kickers taking their first steps in our great game.

When asked his thoughts on his time at the CPFC Foundation Ken said ‘I have really enjoyed working for Crystal Palace foundation for 10 years. I feel that I have not only developed as a coach but as a person. It has given me the opportunity to teach a wide range of ages and needs. I am now looking forward to a new challenge which working at Crystal Palace has helped me to gain skill and experience to be able to move into this new career path.’

We would all like to wish Ken all the very best in his new career and, although we will all miss him, we are delighted that he has been able to take the next step in his journey.


Ken is seen here on the left receiving his 10 Year Crystal Palace shirt from Disability Officer Michael Harrington.

Palace Number One, Julian Speroni, coaches CPFC Foundation youngsters


The Crystal Palace FC Foundation were delighted this week to be joined by first team goalkeeper and Palace hero, Julian Speroni, on our Croydon High Soccer School session.

Having entered his tenth year at the Club and with his reputation as a coveted fan favourite, Speroni was keen to come down to a summer football venue and witness some of the local young talent moving through the Palace ranks.

Croydon High School is a regular Soccer School venue for the Foundation with numbers upwards of 50 youngsters during busy holiday periods. This Wednesday saw over 60 participants on our course with 30 of these kids taking part in the exclusive Julian Speroni led coaching session.

Having been at the Club for ten eventful years, Speroni commented that he had never seen so much momentum and positivity surrounding the Club and he was pleased that this atmosphere was simultaneous with his testimonial year.

The participants on the course were overwhelmed to see the Palace number one stroll on to the 3G surface at Croydon High. Speroni greeted all the youngsters and then got them engaged in some technical drills, assisted by CPFC Foundation coaches.

The course was lay on for free by the Foundation and supported by the official Julian Speroni Testimonial. Julian mentioned that he wanted to give something back to his young fans and local community and was especially excited to do some coaching with our football mad youngsters.

The participants played in games under the watchful eye of the Palace goalkeeper and received some professional advice and feedback on how to become a Premier League star. Speroni then gathered the youngsters in the centre circle to conduct a Q&A session.

Speroni answered questions on what football was like in his home country of Argentina, his best saves as a professional footballer and the toughest opponents he has come up against playing in one of the worlds top domestic leagues.

He also spoke about his time at Crystal Palace, his fondest memories of the Club and identified a few players who he thinks are vital to the Club’s success this season; fan favourite Wilfred Zaha, tricky winger Yannick Bolasie and brand new signing Yohan Cabaye.

The session was a sea of Palace colours, home and away kits, and a great advert for the young footballing talent in the local area.

All players received an official Julian Speroni signed certificate and poster for taking part in the day and hopefully an experience to remember!

Julian Speroni, Crystal Palace FC, said: “I am delighted to have been with CPFC for ten incredible years and can say with pride that the Club is in the strongest position since I arrived back in 2004.

It is especially important that we cherish the roots of our Club and value our community and family ties. I have enjoyed meeting and coaching some of these young footballers and potentially next generation of Palace stars.

It is a pleasure to spend the afternoon with youngsters who want to learn the game and follow in the footsteps of their favorite Premier League stars. Glad I could be a part of their journey and development!”




Thank you CPFC Supporters Trust


The Crystal Palace FC Foundation would like to extend a huge thank you to the CPFC Supporters Trust for their generous two thousand pound donation, which will be used to develop and expand a summer holiday programme for young people in the borough of Croydon.
The scheme, entitled Soccer 5’s, is funded by the Croydon Council and run by Crystal Palace FC Foundation coaches at 5 sites across the borough, engaging an average of 75 participants a week. The aim is to give young people of Croydon a safe, secure and fun environment to enjoy sport outside of school provision.
The extra funding from the Supporters Trust has enabled the Foundation to hire a professional facility in which to run the holiday course from. Weekly sessions have increased from 1 hour to 2 hours in order to offer the young people more time to engage and interact in a structured environment, whilst extending the chance to participate in organised/competitive sporting activity.
It has also allowed the Foundation to organise a ‘start of new school year’ tournament in which participants from all 5 sites will come together in an intra-league style competition.  This will take place on the first Saturday of the new school calendar and will be a chance for the young people to meet participants from other Soccer 5’s venues and compete to become Soccer 5’s champions.
The CPFC Foundation are committed to providing services for young people to engage in safe and structured sporting activity that is both beneficial for active and healthy living but also teaches other valuable life skills such as teamwork, leadership and discipline. We are aware of the challenges facing the youth of today and believe that learning transferable skills as a youngster can be the springboard for exploring positive life choices and pathways in the future.
Kelly Dummer, Community Development Manager, commented: “It is essential that we work with local organisations and partners around the Club to provide structured activity for the young people of Croydon during holiday time. The contribution from the Supporters Trust will give the sessions a real boost and enable us to deliver on a professional sporting surface – a unique opportunity and rare treat for many of the youngsters.”
Alan Palmer, CPFC Supporters Trust, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the CPFC Foundation and support this valuable holiday programme for young people in the borough of Croydon. The Foundation does a huge amount of work within Croydon and surrounding areas, which benefits people of all ages and helps build links between CPFC and the local community. The ethos of the CPFC Foundation is ‘One Club One Community’, which we strongly support.  We look forward to working with the Foundation on future projects.”

Councillor Mark Watson, Croydon’s Cabinet Member for Safety, Justice and Communities, said: “We want to encourage young people to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and to have fun, and this programme gives them that opportunity. It also gives them the chance to advance life skills and take an interest in their own personal development.”


Greenshaw High School at PL launch


Eight pupils from Greenshaw High School in Sutton had the experience of a lifetime on Wednesday as they represented Crystal Palace FC at the official Premier League launch event held at Southfields School in Wandsworth.

The girls, who represented Crystal Palace FC Foundation in the Premier League Girls Cup at White Hart Lane recently, were joined by first team manager, Alan Pardew, and Eagles captain, Mile Jedinak, as they celebrated the run in to the BPL kick-off this weekend.

The Palace girls, wearing full Crystal Palace FC away strip, played against the representatives from Chelsea FC’s Southfields Academy school girls team and were beaming with excitement having come off the pitch 3-0 victors – a feat Mile Jedinak commented he would like to repeat when Palace come up against Chelsea on August 29th.

Top Premier League referee, Martin Atkinson, who commended the girls on their win and praised their sporting ethic, refereed the game.

With many a Premier League star present at the event, the girls had the unique opportunity to talk to Chelsea captain, John Terry, who also posed for pictures.

Alan Pardew took some time out of his media interviews to take some pictures and sign some autographs for the girls, who were delighted to come face to face with the Crystal Palace first team boss.

Mile Jedinak was next on the girl’s list of meet and greets for the day and the Palace captain was full of praise for the team having comfortably beat the Chelsea girls 3-0. Middlesex Centre of Excellence goalkeeper, Charlotte, was keen to express her satisfaction at keeping a clean sheet and Jedinak personally congratulated her for the achievement.

The Crystal Palace FC Foundation will be running Premier League funded girl’s specific sessions at various satellite clubs at the beginning of September. The girls will benefit from professional coaches and structured weekly sessions that will concentrate on development within the sport and aims to provide exit routes to local grassroots clubs, as well as our sister club – the Crystal Palace Ladies.

The overall strategy is to engage youngsters at the traditional ‘drop-off’ point where participation rapidly declines. We hope to create a sustained interest in football and provide the infrastructure to create the next generation of women footballers. The investment in the women’s game is advancing, and momentum off the back of the success of the England women’s world cup squad is encouraging a fresh interest in the sport. The Foundation hope to support this renewed impetus and nurture the future talent of the women’s game.

Rob Perrett, Sports Development Manager, Crystal Palace FC Foundation, said: “The funding we get from the Premier League is vital to the sustainability of the women’s game and engaging girls interest beyond the drop-off point. The girls from Greenshaw school on the day of the launch, were a fantastic example of the kind of players we hope to attract via this programme and hopefully they thrived off coming face to face with some Premier League stars. A great experience for them at a young age and something they can look back on for years to come.”

Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace FC Manager, commented: “Gone are the days where you only saw boys in the playground with a football. CPFC is a great advocate of inclusion and mass participation and are constantly building closer relationships with our girl’s squads. The girls were a credit to the club today and will act as role models for other girls in the future.”