The Holmesdale Fanatics are back.
The large group of ardent Crystal Palace supporters who in previous seasons have provided so much of the noise, colour and vibrancy at Selhurst Park, this morning announced that they are to return to their section in the Holmesdale End in full voice for today’s vital Premier League match against fellow strugglers Burnley.
Although they deny that they have been boycotting home games, the withdrawal of their usual raucous support from has sucked the atmosphere from Palace matches, and some suggest have led to below-par home performances.
The Holmesdale Fanatics, in a statement this morning, said that they are returning to their old-style of supporting because the club’s directors have agreed to introduce a singing section in the Lower Holmesdale from next season, something that they have requested for more than a year. Their silent protest began in September after what the club failed to introduce the singing section at the start of this season, as the Fanatics believed they had been promised.
“The situation our team finds itself in requires urgent action,” they said.
“Burnley is a crucial game, huge for the club and it’s up to us to do whatever we can to help the lads pick up points and start climbing the table.”
The move was widely welcomed by other fans groups and Palace fanzines, in some cases with a sense of relief.
Until the special ticketing arrangements for the singing section are introduced, the Fanatics will return to their old haunt in Block B. The group also said that they will meet with season ticket-holders from Block E – many of whom may be displaced by the singing section. “Everyone must show respect to those moving for the role they are playing in bringing about the massive change for the good of the club,” the Fanatics said in their statement.
“As a group, our absence this season was never a boycott, or an action against fellow fans or players, but, as laid out previously, a result of the circumstances we have found ourselves in.
“With that said, the group will be officially returning to block B from today for the remainder of the season.
“We have moved as many of us back into the front section as numbers will allow and will give it everything alongside the rest of the support to power the club out of this.
“For the many that have got behind us, thank you for your support. Now lets put the last few months aside and give Roy and the lads the backing they deserve.”
Palace go into today’s match 17th in the Premier League, one place above Burnley and the relegation zone. The two sides are both on nine points, separated only by goal difference. Last Saturday’s draw at Old Trafford was Palace’s first league point since October. They have not won in eight league games, since beating Huddersfield on September 15.
“We have had chances at home, and created more chances than we have away. But we have missed most of them,” was manager Roy Hodgson’s insightful assessment of his team’s predicament.
On Monday evening, Hodgson will be at Croydon Town Hall to collect the freedom of the borough. His task today will surely be to ensure that the Palace midfielders do not give the freedom of Selhurst Park to any of the Clarets’ players.
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