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Season Ticket Stories: 'The Boy with the Shirt' and Grandma Jane

5 April 2021

With Crystal Palace Season Tickets for 2021/22 open for renewal from next Tuesday (6th April), we hear from some of the voices that make the Palace faithful so special. Here, Ethan – Andros Townsend’s young fan who took home his shirt after that famous strike against Man City – and his Grandma Jane explain why after more than half a century coming to Selhurst Park, the Sadler family are keener to return than ever.

For Jane Sithole-Sadler, Selhurst Park holds huge emotional significance. Her husband was a Season Ticket holder for decades.

“He started coming here when they were still standing up around the ground,” she says. “When these seats were put up in the Holmesdale End, him and his friends paid for them and they got their first Season Tickets.”

“He himself had been supporting Crystal Palace for about 56 years by the time he died.”

When their grandson Ethan was born, they made it their mission to turn trips to Selhurst Park into a ritual.

“Grandad bought him his Season Ticket when he was three, but he was really scared of the noise,” she remembers, “so we used to bring him but he used to fall asleep! So I always carried a blanket. I still carry a blanket, up to now.

“His grandad took him, even though he was a gentleman who was born here in Croydon. He was white. But that colour never showed.

“He was Grandad to Ethan from the day he was born, and they had a very strong bond.”

Soon Ethan was the Palace-obsessed boy that his Grandad had always hoped he would become. In his bedroom hangs Andros Townsend’s shirt from the famous victory at Manchester City – Townsend handed it personally to Ethan at full-time.

But Jane and her husband were more than just grandparents to Ethan.

“Support that comes from social services stopped at the age of five,” she says, “and my daughter couldn’t look after Ethan.

“So Ethan used to go to school late and unkempt, not having been bathed or fed. I offered at that point, myself and my husband, to put in a special guardianship request with social services which had to be done through the courts.

“We applied and whilst it was still in progress, my husband died. He had lung cancer.”

As he said goodbye, he thought of Ethan.

“When he was dying, he asked me: ‘Can you continue to take Ethan to the football?’

“‘To bring Ethan to the football,’ I promised him, ‘that I will do.’”

And that’s just what she has done.

“That’s why you find I’m here all the time with him,” she says. “We continued to buy our season tickets. And up to now, we still occupy these seats. They have been under the Sadlers since it was started.

“It’s lovely, it just fulfils. I’m sure wherever my husband is he’s very happy to see that.”

The easiest way to renew your Season Ticket for 21/22 is online. Make sure you have a Palace account and have linked your Client Reference Number to make this process as smooth as possible.

To find out the latest details on Season Tickets for 21/22, and for a detailed FAQ, click here.

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