By Sam Smith and Andrew McSteen
A fundraising campaign by Crystal Palace supporters has reminded Roy Hodgson of the ‘power’ of football fan groups.
Led by the Holmesdale Fanatics, supporters of the Eagles raised £4,000 for the Norwood and Brixton food bank last weekend in a campaign to boycott the Premier League’s controversial pay-per-view scheme.
Fans were encouraged to donate instead of paying £14.95 to watch the South Londoners’ game against Fulham.
Palace boss Hodgson believes the campaign shows how powerful fan groups can be. He also said that he and the players are supportive of the money going to a worthwhile cause.
Hodgson said: “It just goes to show how powerful fan groups are in football. We, who are involved in football either on the playing side or, more importantly, the people who administrate the game, must never forget the importance of this group of people.
“Their thoughts and opinions on things going on are very, very important opinions to take into consideration.
“Hats off to them, there’s no question of that. It is an incredible effort. We’re not talking about people here who are necessarily particularly rich per se, these are people who are actually really digging into their pocket and taking out money that otherwise they might want to use for other matters and they’re doing it because they believe so strongly in the cause.
“Once again, fantastic effort. [I am] really pleased to see money going to a good cause as well and I wish them every success in the future with those ventures because it’s pretty obvious that people like myself and the players we are 100 per-cent behind it.”
Earlier this week, the food bank told the South London Press that money would go towards buying food for the 17,000 people who they have helped during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League have said that the pay-per-view scheme – which allows fans to pay to watch matches that are not selected for live broadcast by BT, Sky or the BBC – will run until at least the weekend of November 6-8.
It will then be reviewed after the November international break, with a reduced price one of several possible considerations.
Palace’s match away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening is also behind the paywall – prompting a further campaign to raise money for the food bank.
The Premier League have released the following statement: “The Premier League today (October 29) confirmed the remaining broadcast arrangements for matches taking place over the weekend commencing Friday November 6.
“In addition to the live broadcast selections already confirmed, the remaining five games played over that weekend will be made available to supporters on a pay-per-view basis, shown via BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.
“In consultation with clubs, all elements of the pay-per-view service, including the price, will be reviewed ahead of Premier League matches returning after the international break later next month.”
On October 17, Hodgson refused to take sides in the debate over pay-per-view and urged for a conclusion that suited all parties. “You’re involving me in the politics and the finances of football, and I have got no desire to get involved in that,” Hodgson said. “I am becoming more and more, as my career continues, to be like, ‘I know where my garden is, and I know what needs watering and what needs doing in the garden.’
“That’s where I am, and I will leave these bigger questions to the people whose job it is to sort them out. Maybe, in this case, [that is] Steve Parish and the Premier League.
“I do have confidence in them to sort it out. In the meantime, I will stay in my garden or on the fence, if you prefer, and not out to the barricades for the Premier League or for the fans. Hopefully it will get sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction.”
You can donate to the Norwood and Brixton food bank here.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.