Soccer-Palace targeting Europe after new American owners come in


LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Manager Alan Pardew is targeting a debut campaign in European football for Crystal Palace next season following the promise of a sizeable cash injection from new American owners, he said on Thursday.

The Londoners announced last week that Josh Harris, co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, and business partner David Blitzer had agreed to take control alongside existing Palace chairman Steve Parish.

They are joined by a number of other investors in a limited partnership that will include current shareholders Stephen Browett, Jeremy Hosking and Martin Long.

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All shareholders agreed an initial injection of 50 million pounds ($74.64 million) for the development of their Selhurst Park ground with more to follow.

"It's very difficult not to change the dynamics of a club running very well when new owners come in but I think David and Josh are keen for it to progress as it has been progressing," Pardew told reporters on Thursday.

"We could become a bigger club because we're in London, that gives us a massive advantage.

"No disrespect to the rest of the country, it just does, location-wise for international players, for access to their families," said Pardew ahead of sixth-placed Palace's Premier League visit to Bournemouth on Saturday.

"We've got an opportunity that we're going to try to grasp."

Palace have rarely been as high in the top-flight as they are now and Pardew believes a first-ever appearance in European competition is within reach.

"Nine wins (this season) speaks for itself," he said. "Only three other clubs have done that. It's a great achievement and we have a great set of players very focused on trying to do for the second part of the season what we've done all calendar year.

"If we do that, then we're going to find ourselves in Europe. This club has never reached Europe ... so that would be significant for the club, a fantastic achievement," added Pardew, who joined Palace from Newcastle United in January.

"There's a long, long way to go but I'm buoyed by the fact that it's not just the first half of this season. We did it at the back-end of last season too."

($1 = 0.6699 pounds) (Writing by Tony Jimenez; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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