Behind Enemy Lines: Interview With Palace Website on Pulis, Warnock & Holmesdale Fanatics

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Palace Supporter Hardcore

The Holmesdale Fanatics Ultras have impressed many Villa supporters with their displays and support. How have Palace fans taken to them as a whole?

Palace fans have always been a group of fans to create an atmosphere but the Holmesdale Fanatics have taken that to another level this past few years. They get a bad reputation for their ‘ultra’ name but the organisation of displays at Selhurst Park has been second to none. No doubt you will have seen them down by the corner flag in their residence in the Lower Holmesdale stand.

There is a real lack of atmosphere at some top level football matches up and down the country and this is just something that football should just simply have, it should come natural to support your team through thick and thin. Encourage your team through the good times and the bad. Enjoy the experience of being a supporter and backing those players out there representing your club. That is what a supporter is but that identity has been lost with what the game has become of late.

Villa have a budding ultra group in the Brigada 1874 and they’ve had problems with the club accepting them and other Villa supporters being suspicious of them and thinking they are fascists, communists or separatists etc, etc, (because of the ‘ultra’ tag) when their only motivation is to simply support the team through 90 minutes… Any such problems with the Holmesdale Fanatics?

I do think the ‘ultra’ tag is something that most people frown upon. That is the word that seems to relate to such groups that you have mentioned there. In truth, the use of the word has a lot to do with the fanatical support of the club that you follow through thick and thin. I am not involved in the HF group but admire what they do.

They have been targeted by stewards and police at games though, more so away from home and the problem is there will always be one or two people that associate themselves with such a group that will do stupid things just like there among the football supporting community. You kind of get tarred with the same brush. It is just how things are but the fact remains, from before the game even kicks off until after the final whistle has gone, this group sing, chant and bounce throughout and they are to be applauded for that as it is infectious.



What’s the relationship between them and the club?

The club have backed them with the displays that they have organised as well as helping organise group bookings for away games such as the play off final at Wembley where they had a whole section together. It is a good relationship at the moment as the owners see that the atmosphere that they help create is a real part of what Palace have become these last few years – a real fighting spirit.

Do they pay for their own displays or do the whole Crystal Palace supporter base contribute?

The displays are rather costly as you will have seen so they ask for donations from only Palace supporters. They were given a donation by the current club shirt sponsors for one display but they gave it to the Palace Ladies Football Club instead which the company agreed with. It was not out of disrespect, they wanted the display to be paid for by fans and done by fans.



Villa Game

Do you look at Aston Villa as a potential three points nowadays? And why?

I think you will forgive me for saying that most Palace fans will almost be expecting three points in this game. I add caution however, as the last night game was the very same and we ended up losing 3-1. Football is an odd game at times, just when you think you are certain something is going to happen, something throws the form book wide open. I just see a Villa side struggling with direction under Lambert unfortunately and should we manage to get ahead in this game I cannot see us letting it slip especially at home. You do have something though and I’ll mention that in the next question …

If you could have one Villa player in the Palace team, who would it be?

Christian Benteke. Absolute quality who I really felt for getting injured and missing out on the World Cup. Then returning from injury and being sent off. It’s not been the best few months for him I have to admit and I really hope that he does not take that frustration out on us!

Prediction for the game?

This is a fixture that can quite easily come back and slap us in the face but I think we will have learnt from the home defeat to Sunderland and will make amends in this one and win 2-1.

What’s the ethos of your site/group?

We are a site run by fans, for fans. Self funding to share the enjoyment of the club we support with a passion. The game may have changed but the passion of support for our team has never wavered. We have no agenda, we just offer a platform for fans to write about their experiences or share their frustrations on the modern game. We have built a solid team over the last couple of years and offered something a little different to Palace fans which we genuinely think they, and opposition fans, enjoy.

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