Last year, when Crystal Palace won promotion to the Premier League at Wembley, Croydon Council did nothing to mark the achievement. This year, with the club’s survival in the top division all-but-secured with the midweek 3-2 win at Everton, and suddenly there’s populist calls from a local councillor for some sort of extravagant civic reception, all paid for, no doubt, on the rates.
There must be an election coming up.
That the call to mark Palace’s Great Escape comes from a Tory councillor in a marginal ward who must fear for his chances of getting re-elected on May 22 is probably not a surprise.
That the call for the civic celebration comes from Tony Pearson, councillor for New Addington, probably deserves some sort of award in itself for sheer brass neck.
Pearson is widely loathed by Eagles fans who wanted him banned from the club when he worked part-time at Selhurst Park as a senior steward. They dubbed him “Pillock” Pearson when he was involved in a violent incident with home season ticket-holders at the Holmesdale End, though Pearson escaped any disciplinary action, according to some sources after considering taking legal action over his position.
Now, Pearson is mouthing off to the local rag, hopeful of conning a few Palace fans into voting for him. “I think in many ways staying up this season is a bigger achievement than going up,” Pearson told the Sadvertiser yesterday. “It would be great to celebrate the achievements of the players and all the staff at the club. Everyone deserves a lot of praise.” Ahh, the wonderful spectacle of a petty politician eager to bask in reflected glory.
According to Pearson, “there just wasn’t the time before the new season” last year for the council to celebrate Palace’s promotion. Palace won their play-off final at Wembley in May. The Premier League season began almost three months later, in August. So no time at all then.
But Palace supporters on the club’s web-based bulletin boards have seen straight through Pearson’s political bullshit.
On Holmesdale.net overnight, one fan said, “Parade for not being relegated is a bit muggy (pardon my Dyerish).” When it was pointed out (with links to Inside Croydon’s coverage of Pearson’s conduct over the years), another supporter said, “Thought the name rang a bell.”
And: “Oh that councillor Tony Pearson… He’s having a laugh isn’t he? He can **** right off.”
That drew this response from another fan: “Even if it wasn’t that Tory tosser, why would the club want to let local politicians associate themselves with the club’s success, which is after all want they would like to do?
“Croydon council has a history of being disinterested in CPFC at best and obstructive at worst. They have blocked development and offered no help in finding a site for relocating. Any celebrating to be done should take place at Selhurst and Croydon councillors should f*** off.”
Other fans also highlighted how the football club has regularly encountered obstructiveness from Croydon Council, rather than any form of assistance in the planning process for Selhurst Park. “The borough has done absolutely nothing to help the club in any way, objecting to almost every moderate planning application. Islington let Arsenal build the Emirates; Croydon wanted us to replace the main stand with a garden shed.
“If we ever have a parade in Croydon, I would boycott it. The less we have to do with the place the better.”
So don’t start booking any dates in your diary for an open-top bus tour of George Street and Katharine Street in mid-May then…
- Palace fans accuse New Addington councillor of persecution
- Palace fans protest against harassment from Croydon Council
- Glad all over? Not after Councillor Pearson is let off
- Palace steward Pearson escapes all sanctions
Coming to Croydon
- Private Peaceful, Charles Cryer Theatre, Apr 23-26
- Alison, A Rock Opera, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 23-26
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, Apr 23
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term 12, Apr 24
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, Apr 24
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Future of Crystal Palace debate, Apr 30
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, Apr 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Railway Man, May 1
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, May 1
- Hauntology – the architecture of Croydon, Apr 5-May 2
- David Lean Cinema: Wadjda, May 8
- David Lean Cinema: Blue Velvet, May 10
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- David Lean Cinema: The Invisible Woman, May 15
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 72,342 average monthly page views (Jan-Mar 2014)
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