Croydon Council respond to furious Holmesdale Fanatics statement after Crystal Palace loss to Everton
The Holmesdale Fanatics accused Croydon Council of wasting time instead of focusing on knife crime, social and financial issues.
Croydon Council has pointed to 'health and safety regulations' as the reason why scaffolding used to display Holmesdale Fanatics flags at Selhurst Park during Crystal Palace matches had been removed, causing upset to the supporters' group.
The longstanding 'independent ultra-style group' shared a furious statement on Monday after not being able to drum up the famous stadium's trademark atmosphere during the 3-2 loss to Everton last weekend. As well as the structure in the Holmesdale Road Stand being removed, the group reported trouble accessing storerooms, which caused many of the group to miss a large part of the first half to seek a resolution.
Roy Hodgson's side conceded in the first minute of the meeting with the Toffees in what was the side's worst home display of the season. The Eagles had only conceded five goals at Selhurst Park this term before the meeting with Everton took that tally up to eight.
The Holmesdale Fanatics, who formed in 2005 to boost the ground's atmosphere, unfurled a banner during the match which read: "Croydon Council. The shame of our borough. Stop wasting time on us. Sort out the real issues."
In recent times, the group have also condemned the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund's takeover of Newcastle United and the influence of broadcasters on fixture times. The Holmesdale Fanatics were also vocal after 15-year-old Elianne Andam was stabbed to death in Croydon in September, creating banners that stated 'no respect for carrying knives' and 'rest in peace Elianne, your light shines on'.
A statement shared on X on Monday read: "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. 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. 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 - £40k 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 players and management. We will endeavour to get these issues resolved before the next home game but pressure is also on the club to back us on this."
Croydon Council has now responded to the Holmesdale Fanatics statement, explaining that the removal of the scaffolding structure used by the group was done in the interests of health a safety.
A spokesperson told LondonWorld: “The safety of supporters and visitors to Selhurst Park is our priority. 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.”
LondonWorld also asked Crystal Palace for any clarity on what had happened at the weekend. The club were not able to provide a statement but a source explained that Croydon Council had demanded the removal of the Holmesdale Road Stand structure due to health and safety standards.
They added that Crystal Palace had to keep the safety of supporters at Selhurst Park as a priority but have actively suggested alternatives to accommodate the Holmesdale Fanatics displays to Croydon Council and remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached.
Holmesdale Fanatics accused the council of locking storerooms in its statement but Croydon Council is not responsible for the stadium storerooms.