OUR columnist and Crystal Palace fanzine editor ROBERT SUTHERLAND says it's time for the likes of radio host Adrian Durham to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to modern football...
THE weekend's Holmesdale Fanatics banner, upon which Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's role in English football was criticised, has seen plenty of column inches dedicated to it – some just describing the HF's work, others such as Adrian Durham's stating that they should be subject to legal action from Chelsea's billionaire owner.
We fans have grown used to Durham's infrequent yet furious critiques of Palace. He doesn't like the club or its fans.
His argument that Chelsea's owner should be lauded rather than criticised is perhaps the general consensus amongst the Premier League's hoard of lemming supporters, but there are plenty of fans who see what Abramovich has done (without the backdrop to how he made his billions) and feel sad at the state of the English game.
The lemmings will argue that the Premier League has profited greatly from Chelsea's investment; that it is because of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and co. that the league has become a greater spectacle.
But at what price?
Durham states that Palace fans are hypocrites. That the club has seen administration twice and shouldn't chide a chairman who has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in their club.
But what Durham fails to see is that it's because of the total imbalance that we now see in English football that clubs like Palace risk everything to reach the pinnacle of the league pyramid.
Ask any Palace fan whether they regret the administrations the club suffered and all will say they do. Our fans were disgusted by the state the club was in prior to CPFC2010 buying it; so much so that we fans came together to raise the money that the St John Ambulance service were owed. No business owner should suffer as a result of one organisation's mismanagement; Palace fans suffered too, with a fair few being creditors.
Durham's ad hominem attack on our supporters doesn't change the fact that Abramovich's millions (and the millions invested by other billionaires) have critically affected the competitive integrity of the Premier League.
Where once a club like Palace could compete at the top level and even challenge for the title within a season or two, now an investment of £200m at the very least would be required to even have a hope of reaching the top six. Investment that, in many cases, is loaded on to the club in debt.
Perhaps Durham (and those who agree with his stance) should look a little deeper at the issues surrounding the English game and the role that the likes of Abramovich have played in its decay, than criticise a group of supporters who have the temerity to make their concerns public.