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Crystal Palace History – All about the Club

Crystal Palace history begins by letting us know that Crystal Palace, commonly known as Palace, is a professional football team located in Selhurst, South London, England.

Established in 1905 at the renowned Crystal Palace Exhibition building, they initially played within its grounds until the outbreak of World War I in 1915.

In 1924, they relocated to their current home at Selhurst Park.

After joining the Football League in 1920, Palace primarily competed in the top two tiers of English football.

They achieved their highest league finish of third place in the 1990-91 season.

Regarding Crystal Palace trophies history, they won the Full Members Cup in 1990, which of course it’s worth noting that this tournament does not exist anymore.

Despite narrowly missing out on qualifying for the UEFA Cup that year, Palace made their mark by reaching the FA Cup Final in 1990 and becoming founding members of the Premier League in 1992.

Despite experiencing financial difficulties and periods of decline, including entering administration in 1999 and 2010, Palace rebounded and returned to the Premier League in 2013.

They reached another FA Cup final in 2016, finishing as runners-up to Manchester United.

Palace’s traditional kit colors were claret and blue until 1973, when they transitioned to their current red and blue vertical stripes.

The club boasts intense rivalries with Brighton & Hove Albion, Millwall, and Charlton Athletic, adding to the excitement of South London football.

Crystal Palace History

  • Full Name: Crystal Palace Football Club
  • Nicknames: The Eagles, The Glaziers
  • Year of Formation: 1905
  • Place of Origin: Selhurst, South London, England
  • Home Stadium: Selhurst Park
  • Owners: Steve Parish, Josh Harris, David Blitzer, John Textor
  • Chairman: Steve Parish
  • Manager: Vacant
  • League: Premier League
  • Market Value: €309.95m

Starting off as a Cricket Club

Crystal Palace history - Starting off as a Cricket Club
credit: britannica.com

Following its relocation from Hyde Park to South London in 1854, the Crystal Palace Exhibition building became the centerpiece of the newly named Crystal Palace area near Sydenham Hill.

The surrounding Crystal Palace Park featured various sports facilities, prompting the Crystal Palace Company, the building’s owners, to establish the Crystal Palace Club in 1857, initially for cricket.

Members of the cricket club advocated for year-round sporting activities, leading to the formation of an amateur Crystal Palace football club in 1861.

The football club shared the same pitch as the cricket club within Crystal Palace Park.

As one of the original founder members of the Football Association in 1863, the amateur club participated in the inaugural FA Cup competition in 1871-72, reaching the semi-finals but losing to the Royal Engineers.

They continued competing in the FA Cup for the following four seasons before disappearing from historical records after a match against Barnes F.C. on December 18, 1875.

In 1895, the Football Association secured a permanent venue for the FA Cup Final at a sports stadium within the Palace grounds.

Later, the Crystal Palace Company, seeking to attract more visitors, decided to establish a new professional football club to play at the stadium.

The aim was to capitalize on the large potential crowd in the area and provide a source of entertainment.

The professional Crystal Palace football club was established on September 10, 1905, with the assistance of Aston Villa’s assistant secretary, Edmund Goodman.

In Crystal Palace history, initially, the club sought election to the Football League but was denied entry.

Instead, they found themselves in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905-06 season.

Palace experienced a successful debut season, earning promotion to the Southern League First Division as champions.

Competing at the Lower Tiers

Competing at the Lower Tiers
credit: cpfc.co.uk

They also participated in the mid-week United League, finishing as runners-up to Watford.

Their first match took place in this competition, resulting in a 3-0 victory against New Brompton.

Remaining in the Southern League until 1914, Palace’s notable achievement during this period was their surprising victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup’s First Round in 1907.

With the outbreak of World War I, the Crystal Palace and its grounds were requisitioned by the Admiralty.

As a result, the club was forced to leave and temporarily relocated to the home of West Norwood F.C. at Herne Hill Velodrome.

Three years later, they moved again to the Nest following the folding of Croydon Common F.C.

In 1913, the Palace stadium narrowly avoided destruction during an attempted terrorist bombing plot by suffragettes belonging to the Women’s Social and Political Union.

The suffragettes targeted the stands as part of their campaign for women’s suffrage, carrying out politically motivated bombing and arson attacks across the country.

In the 1920-21 season, the club became founding members of the new Football League Third Division.

They enjoyed immediate success, winning the championship and earning promotion to the Second Division.

Palace’s achievement placed them in an elite group alongside Preston North End, Small Heath, Liverpool, and Bury as the only clubs to win a championship in their inaugural season as a league club.

In Crystal Palace history, in 1924, the club moved to their current stadium, Selhurst Park, where they continue to host their home games.

Selhurst Park’s opening fixture saw Palace face The Wednesday, resulting in a 0-1 loss in front of a crowd of 25,000.

The club finished in twenty-first position, leading to relegation to the Third Division South.

Arthur Rowe with an Exciting Playing Style

Arthur Rowe with an Exciting Playing Style
credit: lcfc.com

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Palace made consistent efforts to secure promotion, often finishing in the top half of the table and becoming runners-up on three occasions.

During the war, the Football League was suspended, and Palace achieved success by winning two Wartime Leagues.

Following the war, the club had mixed fortunes in the league, with their highest finish being seventh.

On three occasions, they had to apply for re-election to retain their league status.

Crystal Palace remained in the Third Division South until the conclusion of the 1957-58 season when a league restructuring occurred.

Clubs in the bottom half of the Third Division South merged with those in the bottom half of the Third Division North to form a new Fourth Division.

Crystal Palace history tells us that Palace finished fourteenth, just below the cutoff, and consequently found themselves in the lowest tier of English football.

However, their time in the Fourth Division was short-lived.

In April 1960, Palace chairman Arthur Wait appointed Arthur Rowe, a former manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

Rowe’s exciting style of football brought joy to Palace fans, and in the 1960-61 season, the club achieved promotion.

Palace also earned distinction in 1962 by playing against the renowned Real Madrid team in a historic friendly match.

It marked the Spanish giants’ first-ever match in London and occurred just two weeks before their scheduled European Cup final against Benfica.

A full-strength Madrid team emerged victorious with a 4-3 win over Palace.

Although Rowe resigned in late 1962 due to health reasons, the promotion proved to be a turning point in the club’s history.

All The Way To The Very Top

Crystal Palace history - All The Way To The Very Top
credit: cpfc.co.uk

Under the guidance of Dick Graham and later Bert Head, Palace experienced successive promotions in 1963-64 and 1968-69, rising through the Second Division and reaching the pinnacle of the First Division.

The club enjoyed a spell in the top flight from 1969 to 1973, achieving notable results along the way.

One of their most memorable victories was a 5-0 home win against Manchester United during the 1972-73 season.

During that season, Arthur Wait stepped down as chairman and was succeeded by Raymond Bloye.

Malcolm Allison was appointed as manager in March 1973, with Bert Head assuming the role of general manager.

Unfortunately, the managerial change came too late to save the club from relegation back to the Second Division.

Following the disappointment of relegation, Crystal Palace faced further setbacks.

Under the management of Malcolm Allison, the club suffered an immediate relegation, finding themselves back in Division Three for the 1974-75 season.

During Allison’s tenure, the club underwent several changes, including a new nickname.

They transitioned from being known as “The Glaziers” to “The Eagles.”

Additionally, Crystal Palace history says that Palace abandoned their claret and blue kit colors and adopted the iconic red and blue vertical stripes still worn today.

Despite the challenges, Palace had a commendable run in the 1975-76 FA Cup, reaching the semi-finals after defeating Leeds and Chelsea along the way.

However, they suffered a 0-2 defeat in the semi-final at Stamford Bridge against eventual winners Southampton.

Allison resigned at the end of the 1975-76 season after failing to secure promotion from the third tier.

Under the management of Terry Venables, Palace experienced a resurgence and achieved promotions in 1976-77 and 1978-79, with the latter resulting in the club being crowned as Division Two champions.

Steve Coppell Reshaping the Squad

Steve Coppell Reshaping the Squad
credit: cpfc.co.uk

The team that emerged in 1979, often referred to as the “Team of the Eighties,” consisted of highly talented young players who had emerged from the club’s successful youth team, which had won the FA Youth Cup in 1976-77 and 1977-78.

They briefly held the top position in the entire Football League during the early part of the 1979-80 season.

However, financial difficulties plagued the club, leading to the breakup of this talented group of players.

Consequently, Palace struggled to maintain their position in the top flight and were relegated from the First Division in 1980-81.

This period coincided with Ron Noades taking over the club.

Back in the second tier, Palace faced challenges, and Noades’s decision to appoint former Brighton manager Alan Mullery proved to be unpopular among the Palace fans.

Steve Coppell, a former Manchester United and England player, was appointed as Crystal Palace’s manager on 4 June 1984.

Despite his recent retirement due to injury, Coppell embarked on the task of rebuilding the club.

His efforts paid off as the Eagles achieved promotion back to the top flight through the playoffs in the 1988-89 season.

Building on this success, Palace reached the FA Cup Final in 1990, drawing 3-3 with Manchester United after extra time in the initial match but losing the replay 0-1.

Crystal Palace history states that the club continued to make progress, culminating in their highest-ever league finish of third place in the top flight during the 1990-91 season.

However, Palace missed out on a European place due to the UEFA ban on English clubs resulting from the Heysel Stadium disaster.

Back to the Premier League But Struggling to Stay There

Back to the Premier League But Struggling to Stay There
credit: twitter

Although the ban had been lifted by that time, England’s unranked status in the UEFA coefficient rankings meant that only one European place in the UEFA Cup was allocated to the English top flight, which went to the runners-up Liverpool.

Palace did secure a victory in the Full Members Cup, defeating Everton 4-1 after extra time in the final, further adding to their achievements.

In the subsequent season, star striker Ian Wright departed to join Arsenal.

Palace struggled to adequately rebuild their squad, particularly in terms of scoring goals, and faced difficulties throughout the season.

Crystal Palace history shows that despite accumulating a total of 49 points, which remains a Premier League record for the highest number of points by a relegated club, Palace were unable to avoid relegation.

Following this setback, Coppell resigned from his position, and his assistant Alan Smith assumed the role of manager.

Alan Smith’s debut season as Crystal Palace manager was a triumphant one as the team clinched the First Division title, one of Crystal Palace honors, earning promotion back to the Premier League.

However, their return to the top flight was marked by a series of notable and controversial incidents.

During a match against Manchester United on 25 January 1995 at Selhurst Park, United’s Eric Cantona was sent off after being taunted by Palace fan Matthew Simmons.

Cantona responded with a flying kick, leading to his sentencing to two weeks in jail, later reduced to community service.

Simmons was immediately banned from Selhurst Park and found guilty of threatening Cantona.

In March of that year, Palace striker Chris Armstrong was suspended by the Football Association (FA) for failing a drugs test.

Further Victories & Defeats

Crystal Palace history - Further Victories & Defeats
credit: thetimes.co.uk

Despite these off-field controversies, Smith guided the team to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup.

However, their league performance was inconsistent, resulting in relegation once again as the Premier League reduced its number of clubs from 22 to 20.

Palace finished fourth from the bottom.

Following Smith’s departure, Steve Coppell returned to the club as technical director in the summer of 1995.

Crystal Palace managers history says that with the coaching support of Ray Lewington and later under the management of Dave Bassett, Palace reached the playoffs.

However, they suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the 1996 First Division play-off final, conceding a last-minute goal to Leicester City’s Steve Claridge, who secured a 2-1 victory in extra time.

The following season, Coppell took charge as the first-team manager after Bassett’s departure for Nottingham Forest.

Palace once again reached the play-offs and, this time, emerged victorious, securing promotion to the Premier League by defeating Sheffield United 1-0 in the final at Wembley.

However, Crystal Palace history shows that Palace’s stay in the Premier League was short-lived as they suffered relegation back to the First Division at the end of the 1997-98 season.

Additionally, the club underwent a change in ownership, with recruitment tycoon Mark Goldberg completing his takeover in June 1998.

Terry Venables returned to Crystal Palace for a second managerial stint, and during the summer, the club participated in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, competing in European competition.

However, in 1999, Palace faced financial difficulties and went into administration when owner Mark Goldberg could no longer sustain the club financially.

Venables left his position, and Steve Coppell once again took charge as the manager.

More Struggles

More Struggles
credit: birminghammail.co.uk

Under the ownership of Simon Jordan, Palace emerged from administration, and Alan Smith replaced Coppell as the manager for a second time.

The club narrowly avoided relegation to the third tier in Jordan’s first season in charge in 2000-01.

Smith was dismissed in April, and Steve Kember, a long-serving coach, became the caretaker manager.

Kember managed to secure victories in the final two fixtures, ensuring Palace’s survival.

Dougie Freedman scored the winning goal in the 87th minute on the last day of the season in a 1-0 win over Stockport County.

Former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce took over as manager for the 2001-02 season.

Palace had a promising start to the season, fueling hopes of a promotion challenge.

However, Bruce attempted to leave the club after just four months in charge when Birmingham City approached him for their managerial position.

Following a short period of gardening leave, Bruce was eventually allowed to join Birmingham, and Trevor Francis, his predecessor at Birmingham, was appointed as his replacement at Palace.

Under Francis, Palace finished mid-table for two consecutive seasons before he was sacked.

Steve Kember, who had previously served as caretaker manager, took over as the permanent manager.

In Crystal Palace history, we read that Palace made a strong start to the 2003-04 season under Kember, winning their first three games and topping the table.

However, a significant loss of form led to his dismissal in November, as the team slipped towards the relegation zone.

Former Palace striker Iain Dowie was appointed as the new manager and guided the club to the play-off final, securing promotion with a 1-0 victory over West Ham.

Fans Buying the Club

Fans Buying the Club
credit: cpfc.co.uk

Once again, Palace struggled to maintain their position in the top flight and were relegated on the final day of the season after a draw against local rivals Charlton Athletic.

In the following years, Simon Jordan struggled to stabilize the club financially.

In January 2010, Palace faced another administration initiated by a creditor.

As a consequence of the Football League’s regulations, the club incurred a ten-point deduction.

Key players, including Victor Moses and Jose Fonte, were sold by the administrators.

Additionally, Neil Warnock, who had been appointed as manager in 2007, left the club earlier in 2010.

Paul Hart assumed the caretaker manager role for the season’s final weeks, and Palace narrowly secured their Championship status on the last day by drawing 2-2 against Sheffield Wednesday, who were subsequently relegated.

By looking at Crystal Palace history, we see that at the end of the season, CPFC 2010, a consortium of passionate fans, successfully purchased Crystal Palace.

The consortium, led by Steve Parish and including Stephen Browett, Jeremy Hosking, and Martin Long, also acquired the freehold of Selhurst Park, with the fans’ campaign playing a significant role in pressuring Lloyds Bank to sell the ground back to the club.

George Burley was swiftly appointed as the new manager by the CPFC 2010 consortium.

However, a poor start to the following season left the club near the bottom of the table by December.

Burley was subsequently sacked after a 0-3 defeat to Millwall on 1 January 2011.

Dougie Freedman, his assistant, took over as caretaker manager and was later appointed as the full-time manager.

Under Freedman’s guidance, Palace climbed up the table and secured safety from relegation with a 1-1 draw against Hull City on 30 April.

Recent Times and Significant Achievements After A Long Time

Recent Times and Significant Achievements After A Long Time
credit: cpfc.co.uk

After a year and a half as manager, Freedman left the club to join Bolton Wanderers in October 2012.

Ian Holloway became the new Palace manager in November 2012 and led the team back to the Premier League after an eight-year absence, winning the Championship play-off final against Watford.

However, Holloway resigned in October 2013.

Tony Pulis had a brief spell as manager before Neil Warnock took charge for a second time.

Alan Pardew, a former Palace player, was appointed as the new manager in January 2015.

Pardew guided the club to the 2016 FA Cup Final, their first in 26 years, but they lost 1-2 after extra time to Manchester United.

Pardew was sacked in December 2016 and replaced by Sam Allardyce, who successfully kept the club in the Premier League but unexpectedly resigned at the end of the season.

Crystal Palace history lets us know that Roy Hodgson, the former England manager, was appointed as the new manager.

Under Hodgson, Palace finished 11th, 12th, and 14th in the Premier League in consecutive seasons.

Hodgson announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2020-21 season, and Patrick Vieira, a former Arsenal player, was appointed as the new manager in July 2021.

Hodgson was then re-appointed as the manager until the end of the season in March 2023.

Regarding Crystal Palace Champions League history, the fact is that the club never managed to enter the lower-tier European tournaments in order to qualify for the Champions League.

Feel free to check out another one of our biography-style articles: Luton Town-All about the Club

Crystal Palace Kit History

Crystal Palace Kit History
credit: telegraph.co.uk

The original amateur club of Crystal Palace wore blue and white hooped shirts with blue shorts, although there were some variations.

In Crystal Palace history, it is believed that their first-ever kit in 1861 consisted of light blue and white halves.

When the professional Crystal Palace club was established in 1905, they initially chose claret and blue shirts paired with white shorts and claret socks, influenced by Edmund Goodman, an Aston Villa employee who later became a manager at Palace.

The club predominantly stuck to these colors until 1938, when they decided to switch to white shirts and black shorts, accompanied by matching socks.

From 1949 to 1954, they briefly returned to claret and blue, but in 1955, they reverted back to white and black with claret and blue trim.

There were further variations in the kit until 1963, when the club adopted yellow shirts as their home colors.

Crystal Palace jersey history shows us that in 1964, they switched to an all-white strip, taking inspiration from Real Madrid, whom they had recently played in a friendly match.

However, in 1966, they went back to claret and blue jerseys with white shorts.

These colors saw some modifications until the arrival of manager Malcolm Allison in 1973.

Allison made significant changes to the club’s image, introducing red and blue vertical stripes for the team’s colors and kit, drawing inspiration from FC Barcelona.

Since then, Crystal Palace has predominantly played in variations of red and blue, except for the centenary season of 2005, when they wore a kit reminiscent of their 1971-72 claret, blue, and white design.

Crystal Palace Badge History

Crystal Palace Badge History
credit: wallpaperaccess.com

The club was relatively late in adopting a crest.

In Crystal Palace logo history, we see that while the initials were embroidered on the shirt starting from the 1935-36 season, it wasn’t until 1955 that a crest featuring the facade of The Crystal Palace was introduced.

This crest was then removed from the shirt in 1964, and between 1967 and 1972, the team’s name was embroidered on the shirts instead.

In 1972, a round badge was adopted, displaying the club’s initials and the nickname “Glaziers,” but even this was changed by Malcolm Allison.

In Crystal Palace history, inspired by Portuguese club Benfica, the club’s nickname became the “Eagles,” and the badge featured an eagle holding a ball.

This emblem remained in place until 1987, when the club combined the image of the eagle with the Crystal Palace facade.

The crest has undergone updates in 1996 and 2012, but it still retains these elements.

In June 2022, the year displayed on the crest was changed from 1905 to 1861, reflecting the year when the original Crystal Palace Football Club was founded.

From the middle of 2010 until 2020, the club employed an American bald eagle named Kayla as its mascot.

Kayla would fly from one end of the stadium to the other during every home game, adding a unique touch to the matchday experience.

Unfortunately, Crystal Palace mascot history informs us that the bird died in June 2020, marking the end of its tenure as the club’s mascot.

Crystal Palace Stadiums

Crystal Palace Stadiums
credit: preconstruct.com

In 1905, the Crystal Palace Company, which owned the FA Cup Final venue located within The Crystal Palace grounds, wanted to establish a professional club to play there and take advantage of the area’s large potential crowd.

Thus, they created a new professional football club called Crystal Palace to compete at the stadium.

However, when the First World War erupted, the Palace and its grounds were seized by the armed forces, leading the club to be displaced by the Admiralty in 1915, a fact in Crystal Palace history.

As a temporary solution, they found a base at the Herne Hill Velodrome.

Despite other clubs offering their grounds to Palace, the club believed it was best to stay close to their original fanbase.

In 1917, when Croydon Common F.C. ceased operations, Crystal Palace took over their former stadium known as the Nest.

However, in 1919, the club began acquiring land to construct their current home, Selhurst Park.

They enlisted the renowned stadium architect Archibald Leitch to design the plans, and construction was completed in time for the 1924-25 season.

Selhurst Park remained largely unchanged, with minor additions such as floodlights and maintenance updates, until the construction of the Arthur Wait Stand in 1969.

The Main Stand became all-seater in 1979, and further redevelopment took place in the early 1980s, including the transformation of the Whitehorse Lane End to accommodate a Sainsbury’s supermarket, club offices, and a club shop.

The Arthur Wait Stand became an all-seater in 1990, and in 1994, the Holmesdale Terrace was replaced with a new two-tier stand.

The record attendance at Selhurst Park was achieved in 1979, with an official figure of 51,482 spectators.

However, following redevelopment work and safety regulations outlined in the Taylor Report, the current capacity of the stadium is 25,486.

Crystal Palace Rivalries History

Crystal Palace Rivalries History
credit: football.london

Being situated in the capital, Crystal Palace engages in several local derbies, predominantly against teams from South London.

They have intense rivalries with both Millwall and former tenants Charlton Athletic.

However, their most notable and longstanding rivalry is with Brighton & Hove Albion, which intensified following Palace’s relegation to the Third Division in 1974.

The rivalry reached its peak when the two teams were drawn against each other in the first round of the 1976-77 FA Cup.

The cup tie between Palace and Brighton went to two replays, but the second replay was marred by controversy.

Referee Ron Challis ordered a successful penalty scored by Brighton to be retaken due to encroachment by a Palace player.

The subsequent retake was saved, allowing Palace to win the tie with a 1-0 victory.

Crystal Palace history says that this incident fueled animosity between the two clubs and marked the birth of a fierce rivalry that continues to this day.

Crystal Palace Players

Crystal Palace Players
credit: twitter

Jim Cannon holds the record for the highest number of appearances for Crystal Palace in all competitions, having played 660 first-team matches from 1973 to 1988.

Crystal Palace history states that he also holds the record for the most appearances in the league, with 571 matches.

In terms of goals, striker Peter Simpson holds the record for the most goals scored in a season.

He netted an impressive 54 goals during the 1930-31 season in Division Three (South) and remains the top scorer in the club’s history, with a total of 165 goals between 1929 and 1935.

When it comes to international representation, goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey holds the record for the most caps earned while being a Crystal Palace player.

He has represented his national team on numerous occasions.

On the transfer front, the highest fee ever received for a Crystal Palace player stands at £50 million.

Manchester United paid this amount to acquire Aaron Wan-Bissaka in June 2019.

Conversely, the largest transfer fee paid by Crystal Palace to date was for Christian Benteke, who joined the club from Liverpool in August 2016 for a fee of £32 million.

Damian Cade
Damian Cade
He is an enthusiastic senior writer for Footbalium who leans towards writing and researching the history of football clubs and players' life stories.
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