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Millwall ticket arrangements are over the top for casual Palace fans
4:29pm Thursday 18th October 2012 in Sport
EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS is not happy with the strict ticket arrangements in force for the Millwall game and asks if the club are scaring away potential new supporters who may have wanted to come back after the recent successful Family Day.
WITH the international break out of the way, life in the Championship couldn't get back to a better start than the prospect of Millwall at home.
Palace's home record against the Lions doesn't make encouraging viewing for the Eagles with their last win at Selhurst coming back in 2002.
But despite the result I hope there is a much better atmosphere and attendance this Saturday than there was in the London derby at Charlton last month.
The away support of Palace fans was fantastic but it was disappointing to see empty seats in the home sections at The Valley for what was such a hugely built up game.
Fans of Palace and Millwall are used to these derbies but my main worry now is whether it will be a sell out from the home crowd.
Millwall sold out their reduced allocation of 2,600 in the Arthur Wait Stand in just an hour, meaning many Lions fans missed out on tickets, which has in turn affected home fans buying tickets.
A ticket for this Saturday's match is extremely hard to get hold of and many fans I know, some of whom used to be season ticket holders a few years ago, have been refused the chance to buy tickets through fear of trouble makers.
Tickets can only be bought online if you are a current season ticket holder, while you can only buy tickets through the box office if you have a full booking history.
And even then you get quizzed on your 'loyalty' as a fan.
Palace's last home game against Burnley was on Family Day, which saw Selhurst packed and fans highly entertained in a 4-3 win.
But those potentially inspired to return for this weekend's game as new admirers of Palace now have no chance.
If your booking history as a fan isn't quite extensive enough, you can expect to be asked questions ranging from who the owner of Palace is, what the name of the bar in the upper Holmesdale is called and to name the score of a certain pre-season match involving Palace.
I understand the club want to avoid trouble and don't want to allow Millwall fans into the Palace end but they are excluding genuine fans who have previously paid to watch Palace play on regular occasions. The over the top commitment to making sure those fans stay away frustratingly proves how the minority spoil it for the majority, who purely want to go and witness a good old fashioned derby.
On Thursday morning the club were still advertising tickets were on sale and if there are as many empty seats at Selhurst as there were at The Valley it would be huge and frustrating loss. The game itself could see Palace go joint top with the Championship's top three sides Cardiff, Leicester and Wolves all having tough away fixtures against teams in the top half of the table, as well as producing some great battles on the pitch.
Alan Dunne has already started trying to wind Wilfried Zaha up with his remarks, while Darius Henderson is bound to cause the Palace defence some trouble and for once there could be goals in this fiery south London affair.
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