Ten suspected football hooligans were arrested in dawn raids just hours ahead of the Palace vs Albion crunch match this weekend.
The arrests were in connection with a mass brawl between the two sets of fans in London’s King’s Cross area in November.
Officers have been praised for “snuffing out potential trouble” ahead of Saturday’s much-anticipated fixture by ensuring the alleged hooligans were in custody well before kick-off.
Liz Costa, vice chair of the Brighton and Hove Albion supporters club, said: “All I can say to the police is thank you for snuffing out any potential trouble early in the day.
“We don’t want hooligans associated with our club, they are not real football fans.
“Most people don’t even know why there is a rivalry. They fight Palace because their dads did. That’s a real problem.”
The arrests were made in connection to an organised brawl in the King’s Cross area on November 10.
Albion fans were returning from the midlands having played Wolverhampton Wanderers while the Eagles had just beaten Peterborough at home.
Around a dozen supporters from each side came together at the junction of a busy road and were seen hurling glass bottles and scrapping.
Among those arrested were four men, aged 21, 23, 32 and 41 in Sussex along with others in London, aged 19, 21, 25 and 28.
When The Argus went to press last night they were still being held at a south London police station on suspicion of violent disorder.
'Not real fans'
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes, from the Met’s specialist crime and operations directorate, said: “These people are not genuine football fans, they are hooligans who went to King’s Cross looking to engage in violence that day.
“The MPS has worked closely with colleagues from Kent, Surrey and Sussex Police to ensure these offenders are caught and brought to justice.
“We share a firm commitment to tackle and eradicate football hooliganism and will seek football banning orders where appropriate.
“Our investigation continues, and I would urge anyone who has any information about individuals who use football as a cover to commit violence and disorder to contact police on 101.”
Saturday’s match, which Albion lost 3 – 0 after playing most of the game with 10 men, passed without major incident.
Chief Superintendent Adrian Roberts, from the Met, said: “The behaviour of a very small proportion of fans, including a minority of Brighton fans inside the stadium causing criminal damage was disappointing.
“However, overall the match has passed off with no major incident and no reports of anybody hurt and all fans have been safely dispersed away from the stadium.
"The vast majority of fans were well behaved and we were able to prevent the minority from spoiling the day for the rest.”
Albion took a number of their own stewards to help keep control inside the ground at the request of the supporters club.
Ms Costa said: “It all went extremely well – apart from the result.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Onlookers foil attempted robbery - man arrested in street
- Two men sentenced for spraying graffiti at railway stations over Christmas
- Southern Railway's owners to appeal driver strike decision
- Council misses its target for building cheaper homes in Brighton and Hove
- Single vehicle crash causes delays