Fans involved in clashes with police ahead of Brighton vs Crystal Palace

Fans have been involved in clashes with police ahead of the Premier League match between fierce rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton on the south coast.

A group of supporters were apparently involved in a dispute with officers on Saturday morning before the lunchtime kick-off.

There was a heavy police presence both in the city centre and outside the ground such is the ill-feeling between the two sets of supporters.

One man appeared to suffer a head injury and was attended to on the pavement near to Brighton train station.

Brighton and Palace are connected by the M23 motorway – which gives the 'derby' its name – and they have been huge rivals since the mid-1970s.

After an intense FA Cup fixture between the two sides in 1967, then Seagulls boss Alan Mullery made a gesture towards Palace supporters.

He said of the incident in his autobiography: "As I walked back down the tunnel, Palace fans spat all over me.

"I gave them two fingers, then did an awful interview bad-mouthing their supporters and saying I wouldn’t give a fiver for any of the Palace players.

"I could have handled things better, but I just totally lost it. It didn’t go down too well at Selhurst Park and I knew the fans there still held a grudge."

Prior to kick-off, the two clubs were separated by just two places and five points in the Premier League table.

Brighton were just four points clear of the drop zone ahead of the clash at the Amex.

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