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Steve Parish warns: 'Abuse me on Twitter and you'll be banned from Crystal Palace'

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CRYSTAL Palace co-chairman Steve Parish has warned that he will ban any supporters who continue to abuse him with expletives on the social networking site Twitter.

After last Sunday's defeat to bitter rivals Brighton & Hove Albion, a number of supporters made their feelings known to some of the players and Parish, with one fan in particular taking it too far in the supremo's eyes.

He said: "People ask why I engage with them – these people are giving our club a bad name.

"They damage your club financially and they boast about not paying to get in. It's a tiny minority of fans who ruin it for people and cause problems, and they expect me to accept it.

"Well I'm not going to accept it. If you come on Twitter and call me this and that, you're going to get banned.

"If I know who you are, you're banned from the ground until you learn how to speak to people properly."

Parish attributed the abuse to a small minority of fans, but admits he has been shocked by the level of abuse he's received.

"What is an eye-opener for me is that they think it's OK to talk to people like that.

"I think I've been brave, and you can have any opinion you like, but the vile language and the abuse?

"And what worries me is that they think it's OK to talk to somebody like that.

"There was one guy in particular last Sunday night calling me this and that, and a couple of weeks ago he had to queue up for tickets and he started swearing, saying we had to sort our box office out.

"And he expects me to say 'oh, yes, I'll get right on that'? If you went into a shop or a hospital and you used that language, you'd get arrested.

"If they're upset and disappointed about a game and they want to have a go at me or the manager, that's fine, that's football."

And he revealed a few fans are still reeling over Dougie Freedman's departure last October, while he says he will continue to talk to fans online – as long as they are polite and do not start ranting.

"I don't want to get it twisted that you're not allowed to have an opinion or you're not allowed to disagree – that's not what football is about – it's about opinions," he said.

"I embrace every single fan and a couple of them have now learnt not to swear at me and I have conversations with them.

"Some of them are still upset Dougie Freedman went and the way he went. Fine, I'll have that debate with them, this isn't a dictatorship, we embrace people that care about the club.

"But I won't be abused by people and then be expected to engage with them.

"As far as I'm concerned, with that particular fan last Sunday, he's in a minority. At least most of them are bright enough.

"Half of these people, you don't even know if they're Palace fans."

Parish revealed he and fellow board members are constantly fighting battles with the authorities to protect supporters who cause trouble on a regular basis.

"We spend an enormous amount of time defending these people and our supporters against the police," said Parish.

"Stephen Browett and I are constantly having debates with the club and through Phil Alexander because of interest that arises from Palace fans, and we're defending them.

"The problem is, the police are around this all the time. They get this attitude verbally, and in the end, these people end up treating everybody like it."

And Parish says he and other senior figures at the club are keeping a watchful eye on Twitter users who decide to abuse when things go wrong or when they have a problem with the club.

"This one guy last Sunday was saying 'we know how untrustworthy you are', but on what basis?

"We're all just doing our best at the club, and you just stop and think 'do you really need this?' We're trying to go for promotion.

"It's like there's a group of them that think somehow their support of the club transcends everybody else's.

"I mean, you have to go back through some of the tweets from some of these people and see just what they're saying – these are the people I don't want at the football club."

Steve Parish warns: 'Abuse me on Twitter and you'll be banned from Crystal Palace'


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