Fans support Coppell's bid for raising Palace funds

"We firmly support the views expressed by Steve Coppell, the Crystal Palace manager, who has called on the fans to get together to raise money to save the club. He in turn has given us his full backing.

"We firmly support the views expressed by Steve Coppell, the Crystal Palace manager, who has called on the fans to get together to raise money to save the club. He in turn has given us his full backing.

"We believe that a football club should belong not to an individual or even to a small group of individuals, but to its local community.

"Chairmen, directors, managers, coaches and players come and go; the supporters are always there and their interests should be paramount.

"We believe that many Palace fans are unaware of the seriousness of the club's situation. The so-called 'City consortium' put together by Mark Goldberg has so far failed to materialise and we see little prospect of the club being saved in its present form by any of those parties who have so far declared an interest in taking it over.

"We welcome investment by anyone with the club's interests at heart, but in the meantime we believe that our organisation represents the club's best chance of a healthy future.

"The Crystal Palace Supporters' Trust will be wholly independent of any other organisation and in particular will have no connection with the 'City consortium,' the 'Directors' bid' or Ron Noades, who owns the freehold of Selhurst Park.

"We recognise that, if successful, we will at some stage have to negotiate with Mr Noades as he is the club's landlord.

"In addition, if we raise insufficient funds to take control of the club ourselves we recognise that we may also need to negotiate with other parties interested in keeping Crystal Palace alive.

"In the meantime we will maintain our independence. Peter Morley, the Palace chairman, and Simon Paterson, the club's administrator, have been kept informed of our ambitions.

"We are vigorously investigating ways and means of setting up a fund to which Palace supporters can contribute.

"We are committed to setting up a fund which supporters can be assured will be used only in the interests of saving the football club.

"This is a complex area of the law, but we hope to have a scheme in place within the next fortnight.

"We urgently need help in a variety of areas. The Trust will be formed by working people who are devoting their spare time to the cause, but we badly need support. We especially need help from people with good experience and knowledge of fund-raising, advertising, marketing, finance, law (especially trust law) and telecommunications.

"Anyone who can offer support for our campaign should make contact via e-mail (rayb.cpfrisatbtinternet.com) or by post via the Croydon Advertiser, which has agreed to help us.

"Letters should be sent to the Crystal Palace Supporters' Trust, c/o The Croydon Advertiser, Advertiser House, Bartlett St, S Croydon, CR2 6TB.

"Previous supporter-led proposals and current initiatives have led to hundreds of supporters pledging financial support for a fans' rescue package.

"While previous schemes have been well-intentioned, we do not believe they have been launched with sufficiently broad-based support.

"We are bringing together a wide range of CPFC supporters' organisations with the aim of providing a clear and united voice for the fans' attempt to save the club. We believe that we can only succeed if we have the whole-hearted support of all fans' groups.

"We are collating pledges of support received by Operation Bootstrap, a Palace fans' movement launched earlier this year, by the Crystal Palace Internet Bulletin Board, other Internet services and by individual supporters and club officials. We also plan to embark on a series of fund-raising schemes which we believe can win widespread support.

"We will be seeking talks with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Football Trust, Croydon Council and local MPs with a view to their assisting us in our cause.

"We welcome the recent initiative announced by Chris Smith, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, to help fans in their attempts to have a say in the running of their clubs. We have already made initial inquiries on this front and have received an encouraging response.

"Crystal Palace are a great club with a proud history. We have been to Wembley five times in the 1990s and played with distinction at the highest level. We have a vast catchment area and huge potential. Last year, in the midst of our greatest crisis, we enjoyed average gates of 17,000.

"Crystal Palace play a large part in the lives of tens of thousands of people in the Croydon area and beyond. We must not let the club die."

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