Palace fans agree that Croydon Council is crap.
There, in two-foot high letters on the Holmesdale End at Selhurst Park before the Everton game on Saturday was a clear message of contempt to the powers-that-be at the Town Hall:
“Croydon Council. The shame of our borough. Stop wasting time on us. Sort out the real issues.”
This banner appeared on the same day as the funeral of Elianne Andam, the 15-year-old who was killed on her way to school, one of 10 murders in the borough in 2023. The cash-strapped council meanwhile is axing tens of millions of pounds worth of services, as it remains deeply in debt and is “essentially insolvent”.
Croydon Mayor Jason Perry is a Crystal Palace season ticket-holder…
The banner was put together by the Holmesdale Ultras, a collaborative group of supporters who have done much to help create the loud and proud atmosphere that Selhurst Park has become known for during the past decade in the Premier League, with one of the best atmospheres of all top-tier grounds.
But now the fans claim that the council has had a hand in confiscating banners, flags and drums, depriving them of the very tools that help to make Selhurst an often intimidating place for visiting teams.
The Fanatics issued a statement in which they criticised the council’s decision to clamp down on their banners and other activities.
“Saturday’s banners towards Croydon Council were a result of continued unnecessary targeting of the Palace support over the last few months.
“Banner stands have been ripped down, storerooms locked and previously allowed materials suddenly banned from entering the stadium.
“On top of this, display banners are still banned from being hung from the upper tier leading to a huge reduction in the number of tifos produced.” That’s a reference to tifosi, the originally Italian style of full-on crowd displays, often involving stand-scale banners, musical instruments and flares that have been a part of Serie A games since the 1960s.
“Due to these restrictions, we found ourselves unable to access drums, megaphones and flags before kick-off forcing the group to stop its usual support, while many walked out during the first half in order to sort it.
“The council is wasting time on the Palace support when it should be sorting out the genuine problems in the area. A declining town centre, social issues, knife crime and two bankruptcies on their watch,” the fans’ statement read, as they apparently missed the declaration of bankruptcy by Mayor Perry last November, the council’s third in just two years.
“We need resolution on these issues and to get back to supporting the team without the disruption and negativity caused by these ridiculous restrictions which are completely out of context for an established group of 18 years.
“The Palace support brings positivity and pride to the club and is influential in supporting its local area – £40,000 raised for local causes since covid.
“The council and sections of the club need to get some perspective and stop disrupting what Selhurst does best and is famous for – creating a positive atmosphere loved by the players and management.
“We will endeavour to get these issues resolved before the next home game but the pressure is also on the club to get back to us.
“We are the Holmesdale.”
Palace’s next home game is against Bournemouth on December 6. Palace have won just one of their last five home league matches.
Croydon Council, meanwhile, denied that it has any involvement in the confiscation or locking up of fans’ flags and equipment.
“The safety of supporters and visitors to Selhurst Park is our priority,” according to a spokesperson from the propaganda bunker at Fisher’s Folly in a statement issued to a little-read weekly newspaper.
“A temporary structure built from scaffold poles in the Lower Holmesdale stand was removed by Crystal Palace FC to comply with health and safety regulations, following discussions with the council. We are open to discussions with the club about a new temporary structure that meets the club’s health and safety requirements.”
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