Yesterday afternoon’s 2-0 win over Tottenham was played out in front of a Holmesdale Road end which saw the Fanatics once again shifted to the centre of the stand in a trial run of next season, with the results speaking for themselves.
The thinking behind the shift had always been that noise will spread far more organically from the middle of the stand than it would from the bottom corner and despite some opposition from supporters, the general tide of opinion has always been that the move is in the best interests of the club as a whole, given the extra noise it will help to create from week to week.
Stationed at the back of Block E, the Fanatics made superb and constant noise throughout our clash with Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs, watching the team put in a performance which suggested that they fed off the backing they received from the stands and flourished because of it.
Indeed, just before the half-time interval, the visitors were awarded a penalty in front of the Holmesdale, only for Kieran Trippier to step up and push his effort wide of the post with Julian Speroni very close to having it covered with a full-length dive regardless. It may have been pure coincidence but I am genuinely struggling to remember the last time an opposition player missed the target with a spot kick in front of the Holmesdale, suggesting that the fans situated behind the may well have made a slight difference in Trippier’s mindset as he ran up to strike it.
It’s impossible to fully grasp how well the shift will work in the long-term but so far, results with the Fanatics sat in E rather than B have been overwhelming positive. There can be no argument that the general atmosphere is improved, whilst visually it is also far more impressive. Separately and arguably most important of all, results on the pitch have worked in our favour, hinting at a potentially bright future, as we all attempt to turn Selhurst Park into a fortress after years of patchy results on home turf.
We live in hope.