Perched on a hill and nestled within a maze of unassuming Victorian streets is one of London’s last remaining residential football stadiums.

Selhurst Park, home to Crystal Palace since 1924, is a sacred place for football fans trying to capture an authentic matchday experience.

The regular rotation of Premier League and women’s team matches sends thousands of supporters to and from the stadium every week. 

But what is it like for residents who live in the shadow of the stadium and its weekly swell of activity? Especially those living on the famous Holmesdale road on the stadium’s south side.

Does the frequent glare of floodlights, crowds and noise tarnish their view of the beautiful game?

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) visited Holmesdale Road to hear residents’ experiences of living on one of the capital’s busiest football roads. 

Caroline has been living directly opposite the towering main stand for the past eight years.

Your Local Guardian: There are LTN bollardsThere are LTN bollards

Her section of the road sees the most footfall on match days, with thousands of fans lining up to get in and out of the ground.

In order to keep the roads clear, Croydon Council requires residents at the top of the Holmesdale Road to move their cars for the duration of the matches or face a parking ticket.

However, not all residents have found this an easy task.

Your Local Guardian: Some residents fear the road is only going to get busierSome residents fear the road is only going to get busier

Caroline said: “It’s really hard to park on match days. I get annoyed that I get parking tickets.

"They tell us there’s a game coming up with two days’ notice.

"Six months ago I got a ticket once despite asking if it was ok to leave the car there for half an hour, and they said it was fine.

"When it came to the match, I found I got a ticket for £65. When I asked them, the council said they wouldn’t help me.

"They washed their hands of it. What should have been a 15-minute journey to try and find a parking spot took two hours. It p*****d me off that day.”

Lifelong Holmesdale resident Osama agreed, saying: “They make you move the cars, and around the corner you used to be able to park on both sides.

"For some reason, they have just stopped that. Now it’s only on certain parts of the road and if you park in the wrong area you get a ticket, which I think is just silly.

"I’m a resident here. What can I do? I live right next to the stadium, and they don’t give us any access to the stadium or spaces. It would have been nice if they did offer.”

He added: “If there’s a cup match they’ll send it a couple of days before, but usually it’s just one day before.

"It can be quite tedious at times trying to get parking, especially when you’re risking getting a ticket as well. A lot of the other roads around here have driveways, so it’s not a problem, but we have no choice but to park on the road.”

While low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) often attract vitriol from road users, they are usually loved by the residents that benefit from them.

This is also the case on the Holmesdale Road, where Croydon Council erected LTN planters at the top of the road during the lockdown.

However, some residents believe their LTN doesn’t stop car users speeding up and down the road before realising it is blocked at one end.

One resident, who wished not to be named, said: “There’s no proper signage at the bottom of Clifton road warning people about the bollards.

"My car was hit-and-run when someone was trying to turn around. It’s usually lorries and delivery vans. I have written to Croydon council about it a number of times and nothing has been done about it.”

Crystal Palace recently announced that the long awaited development of the main stand is set in stone, with works likely to begin next year.

This expansion, which will see the stadium’s capacity increase from 26,000 to 34,000, has been lauded as a necessary step to allow the club to remain financially viable in the Premier League.

 However, some Holmesdale road residents who will witness its construction first hand are not so sure.

An unnamed resident told the LDRS: “As it stands it’s very good living here but I’m very concerned about the new development at the stadium.

"There’s going to be a lot of noise, it’s going to be much bigger and perhaps more unmanageable. I can imagine loads of trucks will be going in and out at all times.

"I think some people around here might get together to ensure they do it fairly.”

Osama added: “We weren’t consulted as such. We were told they were doing this, tell us what you think. We are going to have to see what happens.”

Match day rubbish was another issue that seems to irritate residents nearer to the stadium.

One unnamed resident told the LDRS: “The litter on match day is horrendous. We had a match last Saturday and there was still rubbish left there the next morning.

"A lot of the rubbish is made up of bottles, as people aren’t allowed to bring drinks into the stadium.”

Caroline was more sanguine, saying: “People leave a bit of rubbish now and then, but it could be a lot worse. The front of my house isn’t that tidy anyway.”

Despite these concerns, most residents hold a positive outlook towards the stadium and its weekly attendants, believing that it brings a great atmosphere to the area.

Phoebe Adams, who moved in two years ago, told the LDRS: “It’s usually a nice, vibrant atmosphere. I’ve not seen anti-social behaviour so far, at least not from the Palace fans.”

Another resident, David, said: “You hear the crowd’s shout Eagles but that comes with living here.”

While there have been problems with fan surges on the road, including a recent incident sparked by a ticketing fault, most residents seem content. 

Unsurprisingly, the street is home to a number of Palace fans who feel there’s no better place to live as a fan.

Osama told the LDRS: “It’s great if you’re a football fan like me, you can see the away coach from right past your house and you get to see the players.” 

When asked if she was a fan, long-time resident Sonia, said: “Of course I am a palace fan, you have to be around here.

"While it does have the lion’s share of support, some residents did admit to supporting a rival team.

Holmesdale resident and self-confessed Brighton supporter Tyra said: “I’m glad I’ll be out of the area during the derby in a few weeks time.”

When approached for comment, a spokesperson from Crystal Palace said: “The Club consulted local residents extensively on its proposals for the Main Stand with more than 400 people coming to view the plans and hundreds more engaging through the website, fan forums and on social media.

"More than 85% of the local community supported the principle of the redevelopment of the stand, which will bring enormous economic benefits to the surrounding area, and the Club is committed to an ongoing dialogue with residents about all aspects of the project.”

Croydon Council was approached for comment.