Read Paul Barber's programme notes

Paul looks back at the win against Crystal Palace and ahead to today's game.

20 March 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Paul Barber was named Chief Executive of the Season at the Football Business Awards.

Welcome back to the American Express Community Stadium for this afternoon’s visit from Grimsby Town.

It’s Grimsby’s first visit to the Amex and we extend a very warm welcome to the Mariners’ players, staff, directors and supporters for today’s FA Cup quarter-final tie. 

With a Wembley semi-final at stake, and over 4,000 Grimsby fans hoping for a repeat of their club’s excellent fifth-round result at Southampton, there can be no doubt that today’s game will be difficult. 

As an EFL League Two club, Grimsby’s journey to the quarter-finals has been impressive and has rightly captured the headlines. It also shows the magic of The FA Cup is very much alive and well! 

And while the players do battle on the pitch, I’m sure that numerous inflatable haddocks will be competing with their seagull counterparts in the stands, helping to create a great cup-match atmosphere at another Amex full house. 


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PL Highlights: Albion 1 Crystal Palace 0

On Wednesday night, the atmosphere was a little different and a bit more tense for Crystal Palace’s visit – but it was certainly very satisfying to secure an important three points against our rivals from south London. 

We may not have been at our fluid best on Wednesday but derby matches are rarely pretty to watch, and after too many dominant performances yielding single points, on this occasion the result trumped everything. 

Visits from Crystal Palace are always challenging operationally, and it was good to see the club’s plans at the stadium running smoothly both before and after the match. Thanks to all of you for your patience and cooperation.

Unfortunately, however, a cable fault at Moulsecoomb led to a brief power surge, and later, a short outage in the stadium, but UK Power Networks (UKPN) quickly resolved the issue meaning the delay to the match was minimal. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Solly March celebrates his goal against Palace.

A longer delay would, however, have seen our back-up power systems kick in, but, in the event, these were not required and once the match officials were happy their technology was working, we were back underway. Not ideal but very well managed by our staff. 

It’s in these situations that the club’s mostly unseen maintenance, operations and IT teams come into their own, and I’d like to thank them for their calmness and professionalism under pressure, to ensure the issue was quickly resolved and Wednesday’s match was completed. 

After today’s match, we look forward to a much-needed break of a couple of weeks for the internationals before welcoming Brentford to the Amex for yet another huge match on 1 April – and the start of the final third of the season. 

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With 13 Premier League matches left to play, we know that every game is going to be important if we are to secure another best-ever Premier League finish – and perhaps more. There remains a lot of work to do. 

As such, your support in each of these games will be vital and, as the players strive to secure another visit to Wembley today, that support will need to be at its very best again – so, thank you in advance! 

* You can purchase a copy of the Grimsby programme online here.