By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter
Crystal Palace FC fans claim they have been unfairly targeted by Croydon council, who confiscated their personalised banners, megaphones and drums at last weekend’s home game.
The Holmesdale Fanatics supporters group showed their disdain for the council’s actions in the banners they displayed during Crystal Palace’s game at Selhurst Park against Everton last Saturday.
The group, famous for their evocative current affairs banners and spirited matchday support, occupy the centre of the large Holmesdale Road stand.
In an official statement made on the supporters X profile, they said they were unable to access drums, megaphones and flags before kick-off forcing the group to stop its usual support.
Croydon council say that they had no involvement in the confiscation of the supporters’ signs on match-days.
It is unclear why the group were unable to access their signage, which is inside the stadium.
The group, who also raise funds for local causes and run food delivery services, called on the council to focus on the bigger issues in the borough and settle this dispute before the next home game against Bournemouth on December 6.
The statement 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.”
The Holmesdale Fanatics have garnered a reputation for their striking tifo banners that are often seen by millions when home games at Selhurst Park are broadcast live.
In recent years the group’s banners have featured everything from criticism of foreign money in English football to memorial flags for the late Elianne Adnam.
A spokesman for Croydon council said: “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.”
A spokeswoman from Crystal Palace FC said: “The club acknowledges that the safety of supporters at Selhurst Park is of paramount importance.
“We were formally instructed in writing by Croydon council to remove the structure used by the Holmesdale Fanatics to hang their banner as they did not believe it met Health and Safety standards.
“We continue to work constructively with the council and have suggested multiple alternatives to them; we are yet to reach an agreement on an acceptable solution for a structure that they feel is safe and meets their requirements, but we are hopeful this can be resolved in the near future.”
(Picture: Keith Gillard)
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