Is Adam Sells Opinion Compromised?

Are his opinions as unbiased as they seem?


In the last ten days Adam Sells has caused some controversy among Crystal Palace fans for saying we should not be upset about losing to Brighton, that it was the same as any other game, ‘just 3 points’ and even mocking some of us who questioned the players for lacking passion implying that we were idiots.

Adam Sells caused further outrage by quoting statistics and saying fans should be happy that Palace had better stats than Brighton and that, basically, we don’t know what we are talking about because we haven’t worked in football. So many fans are asking the question – who is Adam Sells and who the hell does he think he is?

Who Is Adam Sells

Adam Sells is the ‘Managing Director’ of Sells Goalkeeper Products which has a number of players on their books, in particular Julian Speroni. (A list can be found here) According to Sells, he has also done some youth coaching at Crystal Palace back in the days when Wilfried Zaha was coming through and is a friend of Steve Parish.

Sells also writes a weekly article for the South London Press and over the last year has appeared on the Five Year Plan ‘extra’ podcast. More recently he has appeared on the weekly podcast too. So, Sells is putting himself in the firing line for criticism and should not be surprised when people react to what he writes and says.

Why Might Sells’ Integrity Be In Question?

First off, fair play to Sells for starting a company and building it to what it is today. I don’t begrudge him anything, he has worked for it and I wish him every success in the future, professionally. However that doesn’t give him the right to take the piss out of the rest of us.

Sells has a number of goalkeepers from other clubs on his books which means he needs to be professional and be on good terms with those clubs. In other words he has to be diplomatic about things, whether he wants to or not is another thing. He makes his living from football so he can’t be openly critical of another club even if he wanted to, and it seems like he genuinely doesn’t want to.

To add to that Sells is a friend of Steve Parish, which also colours his opinion regarding matters relating to the running of Crystal Palace. After all, loyalty in friendship is very important. This isn’t a criticism, it’s natural and is a good personality trait! In addition Sells has Palace goalkeeper coach Dean Kiely as a shareholder in his company, Sells Goalkeeper Products. So that means Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni and Palace’s goalkeeper coach are all involved with his company to which his good friend, Steve Parish, employs both.

To quote Adam Sells in an interview with his US arm “Dean is a shareholder and close friend as well as being a great source of help and feedback.” (Read the full interview here)

So to then go onto a podcast for Palace fans and openly mock them for being emotional, passionate and not knowing what we’re talking about is taking the piss when Palace fans pay good money to watch the game when he sits in the Director’s Box probably for free or comped by either his client Julian Speroni, Dean Kiely or their boss/his friend Steve Parish. It kinda sticks in the throat doesn’t it?

There isn’t anything wrong with it but transparency is very important because it adds to a person’s credibility. If I am trying to tell you a product is good it is important for you to know if I am involved in that company or not. Isn’t it?

But, maybe Sells pays for his own match ticket out of his own pocket (more likely his company does via tax deductions) and if that is the case, fair enough. Either way, sitting with the ‘prawn sandwich’ people, as Roy Keane would say, doesn’t given him the right to criticise the typical fan of which Sells claims to be.

Furthermore to brand us all as middle class because Purley, which has the highest average wage in the UK, is in our catchment area is laughable! Does he really think Norwood is middle class? What about the Roundshaw Estate? Waddon? South Croydon? I could go on but I am not middle class and no other Palace fan I know is middle class. I can only conclude that Adam Sells is so out of touch it is unreal. He is as in touch with our fan base as politicians are with the electorate.

So Why Write This Post?

Basically because I don’t like to be censored, especially when I am not being insulting. Freedom of speech isn’t the prerogative of those who have the loudest voice or a platform to speak. I, for whatever reason, have been silenced.

I wrote a post on the BBS in which I called Sells a “Berkshire hunt” and a “twat” while explaining why I held those views. I used the terms quoted, one of which is Cockney slang for the ‘c’ word and the other a more gentle term for the same thing. A lot of people say ‘Berk’ all the time without knowing what they are actually saying and are quite surprised when they are told what it really means.

Jim Daly of FYP said he thought I was out of order and on reflection I thought I could have phrased things differently and I apologised.

I am a working class lad who has worked in a working class environment with men who used the actual ‘c’ word to describe each other without being offence being taken. Sometimes I forget people are not as thick skinned as I am, which was why I apologised.

I then wrote another post which contained the information below. It wasn’t insulting or abusive, just answering another poster and putting some context as to why I took what Sells said personally. That post was deleted for reasons that have not been explained to me.

My History with Sells

I first met Adam Sells back in the late 1980s when we used to go to away games. At the time we used to goal on ‘coach 1’ which was mainly full of older fans close to pensionable age. They preferred a quieter coach whereas being 17 me and a couple of friends were a little louder.

Over time we had some disagreements with him about different things and there was some tension between us. Nothing stupid ever happened (violence or threats) but there was a lot of what would be called ‘banter’ in his direction.

Sells was the same age as me but acted a lot older and proceeded to ‘grass’ on us (nobody likes a grass) and we were encouraged to move to ‘coach 2’ which was stewarded by Robbie Tobin. It worked out well in the end as coach 2 was a much better coach as it had many good characters on it such as Neil Witherow and his (then) girlfriend (now wife) Sue.

It was at that time that Joanne Budd, Palace’s head of PR and media relations, worked in the ticket office at the club shop with Robbie. Joanne and Sells were dating at the time and a friend of mine knew Joanne from from her previous job. We never had a problem with Joanne and she was/is a nice girl.

At away games Joanne would come over to our group of lads before the game or at half-time and have a chat. Sells wouldn’t come over, he would stay where he was or walk around with a sulking look on his face. He looked like he hated the fact she fraternised with us.

The main problem I had with Sells then is the same as the controversy he caused recently. He is the same age as me yet he talked down to us like we were ‘Berks’ and he knew it all, openly mocking me and my friends for being passionate and for being ‘Neanderthal’ for chanting and signing at games.

That wasn’t his thing, fair enough, but to look down on us really irked us especially as it was supporting the team.

Another bone of contention was that many Palace fans at the time were anti-Ron Noades while Sells and another coach 1 regular, Don Madgwick openly defended Uncle Ron so they got the label ‘Ron Noades Propaganda Machine. All in all it was a clash of cultures.

It seemed like he resented having to stand with the rest of us at away games so when Sells took aim at the ‘average Palace fan’, mocking us, telling us we don’t understand football, etc… Yeah, I took it personally.

Note: It was not my intention to imply that Neil or Sue, mentioned above, had any problems with Adam Sells themselves just that there were other people on Coach 2 who did. I am happy to make this clarification.

  1. Neil Witherow says

    Hi fella, firstly, thanks for the nice comments about the ‘Coach 2 Crew’, although I’m pretty sure not everyone enjoyed some of our loud behaviour. I just wanted to clear up any potential misunderstanding, due to the way your piece is worded. Sue and I both started travelling away on Coach 2 rather than coming across from Coach 1 after a disagreement, neither had we had (or indeed have) any problem with Adam ourselves. Adam and I used to chat to each other at Reserve games at that time and I certainly don’t recall him being derogatory towards Sue or I. There was certainly banter between the respective coaches, for our part, it meant as good-natured. Perhaps some took it to heart, more than we did.

    1. Expat Eagle says

      Hi Neil!

      Sorry, my intention wasn’t to imply that you and Sue came across from coach 1 or that either of you had a problem with Adam. I have edited the section, please let me know if the edit isn’t ok.

      I would say for the most part it was just as you said, banter. I used to go to reserve games too at the old Tooting & Mitcham ground but we mainly avoided each other. I don’t know if there was more to it from Adam’s side because my mate knew Joanne and was quite friendly with her, he just seemed to have a disliking of us (as in my mates and me) or maybe it was just me. 🙂


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.