A Few Questions Regarding Block E’s Statement Over The Holmesdale Fanatics

2 Posted by - October 16, 2018 - Daily Thoughts, News

Monday afternoon saw a statement released on behalf of season ticket holders in Block E of the Lower Holmesdale which has created quite a stir online and whilst I do have real sympathy for the supporters affected by the proposed seating shift, there are a few questions which I feel compelled to ask.

Perhaps the most important takeaway of all from the words put forward of behalf of Block E is the lack of any tangible solution on their part. Whilst their statement makes noticeable reference to the positive impact the Holmesdale Fanatics have had on Selhurst Park’s atmosphere over the last 10 years, (it’s actually 13 but who’s counting between friends?) it ends by asking for an “equitable solution” to be found without giving any hint as to what that might be.

Quite clearly, there is a huge groundswell of support for the Holmesdale Fanatics reintroduction at Selhurst, meaning that somewhere across the lower Holmesdale, a group of supporters will be displaced. Is that ideal? Not at all. Is it necessary if the proposals are to prove workable? Of course. To my knowledge, the lower tier of the Holmesdale Road stand seats some 6,000 supporters, with well over 5,000 of those being season ticket holders. Clearly, any plan to relocate the Fanatics will result in a group of fans being left to feel frustrated but in Steve Parish’s defence, he is merely attempting to implement what a huge number of fans have asked for over the last few weeks.

By putting together a package with discounted season ticket rates with other (albeit minor) benefits thrown in as a form of compensation, there is a genuine effort on behalf of the club to soften the blow for those affected when in reality, there is no solution which leaves everyone feeling fully satisfied.

The Fanatics themselves had informed the club that their previous residency in Block B was no longer workable towards the end of last season, given the lack of room to expand and welcome new people into the section. I’ve seen plenty of fans suggest that the Fanatics “threw their dummy out of the pram and demanded a move” but in truth, the decision was taken for logistical reasons before being brought back onto the agenda thanks to a remarkable level of support from supporters across the club’s fan-base following their disappearance from Selhurst on match days.

With that in mind, a 400-seat section has been earmarked at the back of Block E and whilst some are questioning why it was to be so large, the club themselves are no doubt trying to guard against the shift fizzling out before it’s been given room to flourish. Were Palace to offer every single incumbent Block E season ticket holder the chance to stay put, stand and sing amongst scattered Fanatics members, there is a possibility that everyone would opt to do so, thus voiding the entire point of the move in the first place.

I should stress that I feel a huge amount of sympathy for those who are being told that they must leave their current seats in Block E, but by placing support for the Holmesdale Fanatics within the statement, I’m left wondering what their solution would be? Steve Parish has been placed between a rock and a hard place on this and is choosing to go with what thousands of supporters have requested. It doesn’t mean he’s over the moon at the thought, with the compensation package (which he is under no obligation to offer) acting as proof but given the unique dynamics of the situation, I struggle to see another way around this for him.

I’ve seen countless comments from fans referring to the Holmesdale Fanatics as “kiddies” “teenagers” “children” and “brats” with claims that a small group of supporters are trying to influence the club, all of which are ironically being made by a separate small group of supporters who are doing exactly the same thing.

I’m not trying to take sides, my sole aim in penning this article is to highlight the difficulties and possibly accidental contradictions being put forward by Monday’s statement on behalf of Block E season ticket holders. If you are to put yourself in Steve Parish’s shoes, there simply is no perfect win-win solution. By choosing to implement the shift he will have expected a degree of unrest but after such huge support for the proposals, he would have been continuously berated for standing idly by had he chosen to ignore them.

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  • Mike Ward October 16, 2018 - 10:14 am Reply

    The sooner we get the HF back the better.

    I agree with the sentiment in this article that there is of course sympathy for fans being moved, but this is a bigger issue.

    All (I assume) Palace fans are rightly proud of the atmosphere generated by the HF and I think it is foolish to think they have any agenda other than to try and make their impact bigger and broader. There is obviously a demand among many fans to join the HF ranks and this should be (and is) supported by the club to further improve the atmosphere and our reputation.

    The sooner this is sorted out and HF are back, the sooner we can all get back to supporting the club and the team on the pitch in a manner to which they were accustomed.

  • Jim October 16, 2018 - 10:20 am Reply

    Perhaps if people in favour were losing their seats they may have felt differently.

  • Gordon October 16, 2018 - 10:44 am Reply

    This seems a classic case of a minority being disdvantaged in the interests of the majority – for “the greater good”. As unfair as it will seem to the loyal fans being displaced, it’s something the Club needs to do. This said, I don’t think either the Club or the HF has handled this matter well. I agree that the Club has no legal need to compensate the season ticket holders who will have to make way for the HF, but I’d argue that there’s a strong moral case for compensating them & compensating them well – a generous package rather than a token gesture.

  • Lynne October 16, 2018 - 11:05 am Reply

    Firstly because, unlike HF, no one at the club spoke to E ST holders, we have no idea why there are no other viable solutions. No one can propose anything else when they don’t know the perameters the club is working within. Why can’t Block B expand? Why is another area of the ground off limits? I expect with HF this was discussed but not with anyone else.
    Secondly the timeline of events is what makes the HF look manipulative. Don’t get the Block E area they want, then move out with little explanation as to why, two home defeats means the ground is quieter, release a highly emotional, idealistic vision of a statement many buy into as a result of those two games without considering its implications. Boom.
    All E ST holders would like is a level of consultation, equitable treatment and understanding. What most have had is insults like ‘suck it up’.
    Whatever else it is, the way it’s happened feels unfair. As it is I’m losing the community around us we’ve had since 95. But I’m not sure the 4 of us will find a seat together after end of renewal without it being far inferior. The financial thing is irrelevant – that feels like being pushed aside.
    No way would I write this on Tw. The insults and lack of empathy have been awful.

  • Pete Burch October 16, 2018 - 11:19 am Reply

    What about the club offering those displaced, in addition to the current package on offer, first choice of ST seats in the new main stand when it’s built? Maybe at the same price that their current Holmesdale tickets would? In perpetuity and with an undertaking to seat groups of friends next to each other.
    Just an extra idea to help get through this impasse.
    I’m generally in the ‘greater good’ camp, but feel that the club can afford to be generous and magnanimous whilst making this happen.

  • Eaglecoops October 16, 2018 - 12:40 pm Reply

    What has not been mentioned is that when you have a large group standing in the middle of the stand, then that means those sitting on either side can see nothing when the ball is in certain parts of the field, so not only are fans being displaced they are also being disadvantaged by this move. It will effectively force all in that lower stand to stand up if they want to see all of the action.

    Cmon all those in favour of this, how do you resolve that?

    • Gordon October 16, 2018 - 5:10 pm Reply

      Whilst I’m in favour of a larger HF singing section, the practilcalities must surely be for the Club to arrange. I despair if, as Eaglecoops suggests, the Club isn’t capable of doing this without spotting a fundamental flaw.

  • Sharpy October 16, 2018 - 8:27 pm Reply

    The HF have tottally thrown their toys out of the pram on this and done everything they can to get their own way like spoilt kids ! There is a simple solution to this that I’m sure would have worked for everybody and that is for the HF to have entered talks with the club about a new larger area when the staudium expansion has been completed which would have given the affected supporters some exciting new options as far as moving is concerned but no ! it has to happen now and they wont play if they can’t do it on their terms.

    What have the HF done to help the situation, why could they not carry on while talks were carried out ?

    I would like to also say that I love the HF and have spent many wet mid week games with an almost empty ground in the Championship loving the support they give to the team. Long live the HF !!!!

  • Gordon October 16, 2018 - 8:51 pm Reply

    Well, yes, the HF have not covered themselves in glory over this issue. But neither has the Club. It’s a mess! And an avoidable mess at that.

  • Sharpy October 16, 2018 - 8:55 pm Reply

    What could the club have done Gordon ? I just can’t see how they could come out in a posative light mate

  • Gordon October 17, 2018 - 7:44 am Reply

    It seems strange to me that the HF, whose image is welcomed by the Club & used in its publicity, seemingly has to force a dialogue between the two. I would have thought that the Club could have been more proactive. I would have expected the Club to develop some sort of vision for the future involving all season ticket holders addressing the differing needs of supporters – including those who want to stand & sing and those who don’t. I’m not aware of this having happened. I don’t know what the Club has in mind regarding the related issue of safe standing areas when (in all likelihood) they’re permitted.
    I totally agree that the HF should not have disbanded as they did. It wasn’t at all constructive and, yes, it did smack of toys & pratms. But I suspect they felt they were being taken for granted by the Club, and, if so, I think they might have had a point.

  • Phil H October 17, 2018 - 9:43 am Reply

    The club as owners decide who gets season tickets and where they sit. They try to meet preferences and achieve continuity if seats in one place have been held for a long time.

    So the issue is where does the loyalty lie? Should the club owe loyalty to longstanding season tickets fans who don’t want to move? Or should the club owe loyalty to itself by having a raucous home support seated in the most optimal place?

    Classical political theory is that those in positions of power should try to do the greatest good for the greatest number. That means giving priority to HF.

    However the club should recognise two things: displaced season tickets holders will feel aggrieved, and that grievance will be because their loyalty to the club has not been reciprocated. Displaced season ticket holders whould be very handsomely rewarded in terms of financial compensation and any non-financial compensation the club can offer.

    Not easy but the club has to do what’s best for the club rather than what’s best for a minority of longstanding season ticket holders.

  • Eaglecoops October 18, 2018 - 7:06 am Reply

    I’m just waiting for the HF to start demanding reduced price or free tickets otherwise they will remove their singing services. The club have capitulated. It’s a shame they can’t do the same with their transfer policy.

  • Rob October 18, 2018 - 7:14 am Reply

    I think they should just play recordings of HF over the tannoy and tell them to go do one. I understand what a difference they provide but what next? Unless their season tickets are cut in price they won’t turn up? Free drinks at half time?

    If they were true supporters they would of still stayed in block B and asked to be moved when the new stand was near to completion, why the rush?

  • Gordon October 18, 2018 - 7:46 am Reply

    Has the Club capitulated? Or seen sense?
    As for the HF, maybe they should have stayed in their little box, kept on waving their expensive flags & banners, expending all their energy to generate the atmosphere the fans, the Club & the players all like and kept their thoughts about the future to themselves. No, credit where it’s due, imo they’ve contributed a great deal and deserved to be taken seriously rather than taken for granted.

  • Eric The Ninja October 18, 2018 - 10:25 am Reply

    Good article.

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