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"Every person in there means more to me than my right knee at the minute" Elise Hughes heaps praise on Palace personnel as they lift the Women's Championship trophy

Elise Hughes reflects on an incredible season with the Eagles as they go up to the top flight


Ryan Asman

28 April 2024

Crystal Palace forward Elise Hughes caught up with the media after the Eagles lifted the trophy and earned promotion into the Women's Super League. As Selhurst Park was jumping and emotions were running high, here's what the supreme goalscorer had to say...

Summing up her feelings after the final whistle: "One of the hardest days of my life, but I couldn't be more proud so its the happiest day of my life as well!"

On her teammates and management: "So proud of the girls that they went out there and got the job done. I had no doubt in my mind that they'd be able to do that because they've been class all year. The whole team, the staff, the players, I wouldn't want to be a part of any other group.

"I know it's a cliche, but the togetherness of this group if you step on the pitch or you don't, everyone's in it together. We all wanted the same goal, although we didn't know that would be promotion until it happened. We're on a fast moving train and we got there quicker than expected. It's because of how good these girls are and how good this staff group is."

On her recent ACL injury: "It's part of the game. We play and we know there are consequences through injury, sometimes it just happens. sometimes we're unlucky and other times it's mechanical. We will work through it, I've seen people come back stronger and that's the statistic I want to fall under. I want to fall under the statistic that comes back better and that's my plan... starting from tomorrow because tonight I'm celebrating!"

On the Palac'es academies mixing and their whole club philosophy: "The togetherness at Palace is beyond anything I've ever known. I'm from a small village in North Wales and I've come to South London and felt at home. Never did I think I would ever get that. It's mainly down to the club, down to every staff member that walks into the building, no one goes past anyone without saying 'hi' and there's always a smile. There's always a reason to smile in that building and I hope we brought a bigger reason for the staff to smile [today]."

On her partnership with fellow goal scorer Annabel Blanchard: "To be back on the pitch with Annabel is class, she's an unbelievable player, we know that. We know that in-house and I think the league know that. We tried to get to forty goals and assists between us and then I go an get injured! I've told her that she can have a six month headstart next year and then I'll catch her up again.

"We've scored a lot of goals between the two of us but we couldn't do that without the rest."

On making history and taking Palace to the top: "It's unbelievable. I said in the changing room before the game that if you'd have written my story and told me that this is how the season's going to end, as upsetting as it [ACL] was for me personally, I would've taken it because every person in there means more to me than my right knee at the minute.

"The amount of people that are happy because of this trophy is more to me than what I'm about to go through and the reason I'm about to go through it with such a brave face is because of the amount of people I've got behind me. I couldn't do it without them."

On leaving a legacy and inspiring young girls and boys: "Sometimes you have a 'why' in-house, something such as winning the league, and you realise how big your 'why' is outside of just the football pitch. We know that we can inspire the next generation. Me growing up, did I think I was going to do that? No. Then I see fans everyday with Hughes - 9 on the back or I see girls chanting or I see different players names and I think, 'wow, ok we are making a difference'. As small or as big as it is, we are, and if girls get opportunities that we never got growing up then we're all winners. We can lift a trophy in the end, but girls can play football, and they can play it just as well as boys."


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