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Perrin wants a stadium to be proud of

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SINCE Palace won promotion to the Premier League on May 27, plans to renovate Selhurst Park have been in full swing and supporters are set for a pleasant surprise come Sunday, August 18.

Head groundsman Mark Perrin and his staff have been busy, not only getting the pitch in tip-top condition but assisting with the instalment of advertising boards and goal-line technology.

And even though the thought of having Premier League players arriving in SE25 is an exciting one, Perrin explained what has been happening so far.

"We're excited to see Premier League stars playing on the pitch next season, but from purely a professional point of view, we'll carry on our good work," he said.

"But I don't think we're thinking too much about the actual players just yet. We just want to get it ready to a decent standard.

"We're aware that being in the Premier League we're under a lot more scrutiny, so we want to bear that in mind, and we've ordered a new pair of goalposts because the old ones were getting a bit tatty. We've also got goal-line technology coming this season. They haven't been in yet but they have been for a provisional visit to test the system.

"There's scaffolding on the Arthur Wait Stand at the moment to build a new television gantry.

"People have also taken down advert boards and put in electronic ones, while we have new seats going into the Main Stand.

"We're still doing everything we'd normally do but the pitch is looking fine at the moment.

"We did struggle in the recent heat though, but we've had good renovation done so I'm pretty confident it will perform well."

One advantage of playing in the top flight of English football is fewer midweek fixtures compared to the Football League, and Perrin says he'll continue to be in discussion with the likes of Paddy McCarthy and Mile Jedinak over the pitch's condition.

"Some players comment on the pitch and some don't," he said.

"You would normally expect the captain to have a comment or two. Their issues are normally the hardness so we put in a lot of work to making them softer.

"You get that maybe from some of the older players, but the younger players maybe want it a bit firmer so it's about managing it to an acceptable standard so that everyone is more or less happy.

"If we lost 6-0 at home, I'm sure there would be some complaints about the pitch, but if we won 6-0 at home then I'm sure they would say what a great surface it was to play on.

"I'm not too sad to see Tuesday night finish this season either.

"But apart from Palace players, I'm looking forward to watching Gareth Bale on the first day of the season – but he might not be a Spurs player for too much longer though."

And Perrin will be consulting Ian Holloway and Keith Millen ahead of the big kick-off to how they'd like the pitch to complement certain players.

"We've consulted the management over the surface and how they want to play," he said.

"What we did last year was at the early part of the season, we were cutting the grass a bit shorter and putting a lot more water on it than we normally would.

"That was partly to have two speedy wingers, so we would probably look to do something similar for this season.

"We can manage the pitch so it plays a lot quicker. That was a tactic last year, and we'll discuss that with Ian Holloway and Keith Millen.

"When they took over during last season, it was more or less the same as carrying on with what we've been doing."

Perrin wants a stadium to  be proud of


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