CRYSTAL Palace fanzine editor and Advertiser columnist ROBERT SUTHERLAND isn't keen on the recent takeover talk in SE25...
Speculation is rife that Crystal Palace are subject to a takeover bid from American billionaire Josh Harris, an individual well-versed in how to run sports businesses. And this speculation leaves me a little cold. Let me explain why.
To me, Crystal Palace have been a team that, under CPFC2010, prides itself on doing things differently. An example of how to be frugal and yet relatively successful. A team that challenges the status quo of Premier League billionaire plaything success stories, a side that smiles in the face of hedge funds and international investments and says, 'No thanks.' A team that's South London AND proud.
Selling to an investor like Harris just makes us another faceless Premier League entity. It doesn't rip the core out of the club - the club is its fans after all - but to see our four London owners potentially sell up, it just feels wrong.
Of course, the other side to the coin is that a billionaire owner will bring major, much-needed change to the club's infrastructure. The stadium development might finally kick off in earnest. The club could become the size that many of its previous owners have suggested it should be. The potential we've all talked about could finally be met.
But at what cost? I guess that after two administrations in quick succession, it could be argued that we as supporters shouldn't be principled when it comes to the potential to further secure the club's future. But as a fan who vehemently disagrees with the direction that English football has taken - from the billions thrown at it, to the talk of taking Premier League games abroad - I can't just suddenly change my mind because Palace might be another of those clubs.
Palace are a club proud of their South London roots. A large part of its identity is based on having owners from South London. Owners who understand what the club has been through - people who have suffered the lows and cheered the highs.
Is it too much to ask that a club proud of its South London origins have owners who know what it means to be a Palace fan?
In the name or progress, I guess not. I understand why the owners would consider selling up, and I will always be thankful for what they have achieved over the last few years. But it still feels like a betrayal of what we are.
South London and Proud, indeed.