Crystal Palace Football Club is an English professional football club based in South Norwood, London. During the 2012–13 Football League season, Palace finished fifth and gained promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs. Their colours are red and blue, although they had adopted a claret and pale blue strip of Aston Villa in their early years and later played in white shirts inspired by Real Madrid. The club was founded at The Crystal Palace in 1905 to introduce a team to the local population, who regularly supported the FA Cup Final in sizeable numbers. Failing to gain election to The Football League, Palace instead joined the Southern Football League Second Division, playing home games at The Crystal Palace, inspiration for the club's initial nickname, "The Glaziers". Palace won the Division and promotion in their first season, and played in the Southern League First Division for the next fifteen years.
In 1920 the Southern League Division One formed the Football League Third Division. Palace won the division and gained promotion to the Second Division, where they spent four seasons before suffering relegation to the Third Division South. In 1958 a league re-organisation saw Palace become founder members of Division Four. Over the next eleven years the club moved from the lowest rung of English Football to the highest, reaching the First Division in 1968. In 1973 the club modernised its image, changing the nickname from The Glaziers to "The Eagles" and ending the 68-year association with claret and blue by introducing the red-and-blue vertical stripes now associated with the club. The club stabilised itself in the top two divisions with successive promotions in 1977 and 1979. The period from 1989–91 saw Steve Coppell guide the team to an FA Cup Final and third place in the First Division. Palace became founder members of the Premier League in 1992, but were relegated the same season. Palace entered administration in both 2000 and 2010, and are now owned by a consortium of four. The club achieved promotion back to the Premier League under manager Ian Holloway with a 1–0 win over Watford in the Football League play-offs in May 2013.
Crystal Palace initially played their games in the grounds of The Crystal Palace, but the First World War saw them forced to move out, and they enjoyed a number of seasons at both the Herne Hill Velodrome and The Nest. Since 1925, Palace have played their home games at Selhurst Park. They have a fierce rivalry with M23 neighbours Brighton & Hove Albion, with whom they have contested the M23 derby 98 times. They also enjoy rivalries with fellow South London teams Millwall and Charlton Athletic. The club's kit is currently made by Avec, a subsidiary of Nike, and the shirt sponsor is GAC Logistics. The club captain is Paddy McCarthy and the current player of the year is Mile Jedinak. Edmund Goodman is the club's longest serving manager, and Jim Cannon has made the most appearances for the club. Peter Simpson is the club's top scorer for both one season and overall, netting 54 and 165 respectively. The highest transfer fee received has been for Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United in January 2013 and the highest paid has been to Peterborough United for Dwight Gayle in July 2013.
The original Crystal Palace football club was an amateur team founded circa 1861 and who competed in the first FA Cup, reaching the semi-finals where the team was eliminated by the Royal Engineers. The team disappear from historical records after a 3–0 defeat to Wanderers in the second round of the 1875–76 FA Cup. However, this was not the end of an association between Crystal Palace and the FA Cup. In 1895 the FA adopted a new permanent home for the final, at The Crystal Palace. With the owners of the attraction reliant on tourist activity for their income, they sought fresh attractions for the venue, and it did not take long for the idea of forming their own team to play at the ground to occur.
The modern Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed "The Glaziers", was formed on 10 September 1905 under the guidance of Aston Villa assistant secretary Edmund Goodman. The club applied to enter the Football League alongside Chelsea and Southampton, but was the only unsuccessful team of the three. The club instead found itself in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. The club was successful in its inaugural season and was promoted to the First Division, crowned as champions. In their first season Crystal Palace also played in the mid-week United Counties League, finishing runner-up to Watford, and it was in this competition that the club played their first match, winning 3–0 away to New Brompton.
Palace remained in the Southern League up until 1914, their one highlight the 1907 shock First Round victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The outbreak of World War I led to the Admiralty requisitioning The Crystal Palace and the club was forced to move to the home of West Norwood F.C., Herne Hill. Three years later the club moved again to The Nest due to the folding of Croydon Common F.C. The club joined the Football League Third Division in the 1920–21 season, finishing as champions and gaining promotion to the Second Division. Palace moved to the purpose-built stadium Selhurst Park in 1924, the ground the club plays at today.
The opening fixture at Selhurst Park was against Sheffield Wednesday, Palace losing 0–1 in front of a crowd of 25,000. Finishing 21st that season, the club was relegated to the Third Division South. Before World War II Palace made good efforts at promotion, never finishing outside the top half of the table and finishing second on three occasions. They were less successful after the war, their highest position being seventh, and conversely on three occasions the club had to apply for re-election. The club remained in Division Three South until 1957–58. A league reorganisation would see clubs in in the bottom half of the table merge with those in the bottom half of Division Three North to form a new Fourth Division. Palace finished 14th – just below the cut – and found itself in the basement of English football. Their stay proved brief. With Arthur Rowe appointed manager, the 1960–61 season saw Palace gain promotion. Although Rowe stepped down for health reasons, the promotion proved a turning point in the club's history. Dick Graham and then Bert Head guided the club to successive promotions in 1963–64 and 1968–69, taking the club through the Second Division and into the heights of the First Division.
Despite surviving in the top flight from 1969 until 1972, the club once again experienced great disappointment. Under the management of Malcolm Allison the club was relegated in consecutive seasons, finding itself back in Division Three for the 1974–75 season. It was under Allison that the club became nicknamed "The Eagles" and they enjoyed a run to the semi-final of the 1975-76 FA Cup, beating Leeds and Chelsea along the way. Allison was sacked at the end of the 1975–76 campaign, and it was under Terry Venables' management that Palace was promoted in 1976–77 and again in 1978–79 back up to the First Division. The club could not maintain their position in the top tier, however, and was relegated from the First Division in in 1980–81, coinciding with Ron Noades takeover of the club. Steve Coppell arrived as manager on 4 June 1984, and under his stewardship and rebuilding the club achieved promotion via the play-offs back to the First Division in 1988–89. The club followed this up by reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final, drawing 3–3 with Manchester United in the first match but losing the replay 1–0. The club built on the success of the previous season in 1990–91 by achieving its highest league finish of third and returning to Wembley to win the Zenith Data Systems Cup. The club beat Everton 4–1 (after extra time) in the final, its only cup win to date. The following season saw star striker Ian Wright leave the club for Arsenal. Palace finished tenth, allowing the club to become a founding member of the FA Premier League in 1992–93.
The club sold Mark Bright to Sheffield Wednesday the following season, but failed to rebuild the squad adequately, and Palace struggled to score throughout the season. The club found itself relegated with a record 49 points. Steve Coppell resigned and Alan Smith, his assistant at the club, took over. His first season saw the club win the First Division title and gain promotion to the Premier League. Their stay on this occasion proved eventful. On 25 January 1995 Palace played Manchester United at Selhurst Park in which Eric Cantona was sent off. He was taunted by Palace fan Matthew Simmons, and retaliated with a flying kick. Cantona was sentenced to two weeks in jail, reduced to 120 hours community service on appeal. Simmons was immediately banned from Selhurst Park, and found guilty on two charges of threatening Cantona. More was to follow in March, when Chris Armstrong was suspended by the FA for failing a drugs test. On the field, Alan Smith guided the club to the semi finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup, but League form was a concern and Palace once again found itself relegated, finishing fourth from bottom as the Premier League reduced from 22 to 20 clubs.
Smith left the club and Steve Coppell returned as technical director in the summer of 1995, and through a combination of the first-team coaching of Ray Lewington and latterly Dave Bassett's managership Palace reached the play-offs. Palace lost the final in dramatic fashion, Steve Claridge scoring a last minute goal for Leicester City to win the tie 1–0. The following season saw Coppell take charge as first-team manager when Dave Bassett departed for Nottingham Forest in early 1997 The club was successful in the play-offs at the second time of asking when the club defeated Sheffield United in the final at Wembley.
This stay in the Premier League was no more successful than the previous two, and in true yo-yo club fashion the club was relegated back to the First Division for the 1998–99 season. This season also saw the club plunged into administration when owner Mark Goldberg was unable to sustain his financial backing of the club. The club emerged from administration under the ownership of Simon Jordan, and Steve Coppell left the club, replaced by Alan Smith for a second time. The club flirted with relegation in Jordan's first season, 2000–01. Smith was sacked in April and Steve Kember managed to win the two remaining fixtures that would guarantee survival, Dougie Freedman scoring the winner in a 1–0 victory over Stockport in the 87th minute on the final day of the season. Steve Bruce was appointed manager for the 2001–02 season. A good start to the season gave Palace hope for a promotion challenge, but Bruce attempted to walk out on the club after just four months at the helm to take charge of Birmingham City. After a short spell on 'gardening leave', Bruce was eventually allowed to join Birmingham City, succeeded by Trevor Francis, who had ironically been his predecessor at Birmingham.
Under Francis, Palace finished mid-table for two successive seasons, and Francis left to be replaced by long-serving coach Steve Kember. Kember guided Palace to victories in their opening three games of the 2003–04 First Division campaign, which put Palace at the top of the table, but he was sacked in November after a terrible loss of form saw the team slip towards the relegation zone.Iain Dowie was appointed manager and guided the club to the play-offs, securing promotion with a 1–0 victory over West Ham. Again Palace could not maintain their footing in the top tier and was relegated on the last day of the season after drawing at local rivals Charlton Athletic.
Jordan was unable to put the club on a sound financial footing after 2008, and the club was placed in administration once again in January 2010.The Football League's regulations saw the Eagles deducted ten points, and the administrators was forced to sell key players including Victor Moses and José Fonte. Survival in The Championship was only secured on the final day of the season after a memorable 2–2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, which was itself relegated as a result.
During the close season CPFC 2010, a consortium consisting of several wealthy fans successfully negotiated the purchase of the club. Led by Steve Parish, the vocal representative for a consortium of four that included Jeremy Hosking and Martin Long. Crucially, CPFC 2010 also secured the freehold of the ground, the consortium paying tribute to a fans' campaign which helped pressure Lloyds Bank into selling the ground back to the club. The consortium swiftly installed George Burley as the Eagles' new manager. However a poor start to the season saw the club hovering around the bottom of the table by December. On 1 January 2011, after a 3–0 defeat to Millwall, Burley was sacked and his assistant Dougie Freedman named caretaker manager. Freedman was appointed manager on a full-time basis on 11 January 2011, with former Charlton boss Lennie Lawrence as his assistant and Tony Popovic as first team coach. Palace edged up the table and by securing a 1–1 draw at Hull City on 30 April, the club was safe from relegation with one game of the season left. Freedman departed to manage Bolton on 23 October 2012, and in November 2012 Ian Holloway became the club's manager. He guided Palace to the Premier League after an 8-year absence by defeating Watford F.C. 1–0 in the Championship Play-Off Final.
When Crystal Palace were founded in 1905, they turned to one of the biggest clubs in the country at the time, Aston Villa, to seek advice. Villa helped the club in a number of ways, not least by donating their kit. As a result, Palace's colours were originally claret and blue shirts paired with white shorts, socks tending to be claret. They kept to this formula fairly consistently until 1938. The 1937–38 strip saw them try vertical stripes of claret and blue on the jersey rather than the claret body and blue sleeves, but then in 1938 they abandoned the claret and blue and adopted white shirts and black shorts with matching socks. Although they returned to claret and blue from 1949–54, the 1955 season saw them return to white and black, now using claret and blue as trim.
Variations on this theme lasted until 1963 when the club adopted the lucky away strip of yellow jersey as the home colours. 1964 saw them adopt an all-white strip modelled on Real Madrid whom the club had played recently in a friendly, before they returned to claret and blue jerseys with white shorts in 1966. The club employed variations upon this theme up until Malcolm Allison's arrival as manager in 1973. Allison overhauled the club's image, adopting red and blue horizontal stripes for colours and kit, inspired by Barcelona. The club have played in variations of red and blue ever since, bar the centenary season of 2005 which saw them deploy a version of their 1971–72 claret, blue and white kit.
The club were relatively late in establishing a crest. Although the initials were embroidered onto the shirt from the 1935–36 season, a crest featuring the façade of the Crystal Palace did not appear until 1955. This crest disappeared from the shirt in 1964, and the team's name appeared embroidered on shirts in 1967–72. 1972 saw a round badge adopted with the club's initials and nickname "The Glaziers" before Allison changed this too. The nickname became "The Eagles", inspired by Portuguese club Benfica, and the badge adopted an eagle holding a ball. This emblem remained until 1987 when the club married the eagle with the Crystal Palace façade, and although updated in 2006 and again in 2013 the crest retains these features.
In 1905, the owners of the FA Cup Final venue, The Crystal Palace Company wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the crowd potential of the area. A new club, Crystal Palace F.C., was formed to use the ground. When World War I broke out the Palace and grounds were seized by the military, and in 1915 the club were forced to move by The Admiralty. They found a temporary base at the Herne Hill Velodrome. Although other clubs had offered the use of their ground to Palace, the club felt it best to remain as close to their natural catchment area as possible. When Croydon Common were wound up in 1917, the club took over their old stadium at The Nest, but in 1919 they began the purchase of the land on which they would build Selhurst Park, their current home.
Archibald Leitch, the renowned stadium architect, was employed to draw up plans, and the club constructed and completed the ground in time for the 1924–25 season. It remained relatively unchanged, with only the introduction of floodlights and maintenance and updating until 1969 when the Arthur Wait stand was constructed. The Main Stand became all-seater in 1979 and more work followed in the 1980s when the Whitehorse Lane End was redeveloped to allow for a Sainsbury's supermarket, club offices and a club shop. The Arthur Wait stand became all seater in 1990, and in 1994 the Holmesdale Terrace was redeveloped, replaced with a two tier Stand. Selhurst's attendance record was set in 1979, with an official total of 51,482. After all the redevelopments to the ground and safety requirements due to the Taylor Report, the ground's current capacity is 26,309. Proposals were put forward to move the club back to the Crystal Palace National Stadium in 2010, but after the club gained promotion to the Premier League in 2013 there has been a renewed focus on redeveloping their current home into a 40,000 seater stadium.
Crystal Palace have a fan base drawn predominantly from the local area which draws on both South London, Kent and Surrey. The club's original home, The Crystal Palace, was in the boundary of Kent, while Selhurst Park was within Surrey's borders until the London Government Act 1963 saw Greater London encompass Croydon. The fans have established at least two supporters groups. The Palace Independent Supporters Association was set up to raise supporter concerns with the club, while the Crystal Palace Supporters' Trust was originally established to enable fans to purchase the club during the administration of 2000. The Trust remained in existence, and now lists one of its aims as building "a new state-of-the-art training ground to lease to the Club".
A number of fanzines have been produced by the fans over the years. Eagle Eye launched in 1987 and ran until 1994, with a number of contributors launching the replacement Palace Echo in 1995, running until 2007.The Eastern Eagles, So Glad Your Mine and One More Point were also published by fans in the 1990s. When One More Point ceased publication, Five Year Plan launched in its place, and maintains an online presence. Supporters also congregate on two internet forums, The BBS and Holmesdale.net which the club use as channels to communicate with fans.
Being a London club means they compete against a number of other local clubs for the attention of supporters but the club does have a recognisably large catchment area of 900,000. When the new owners took control of the club in 2010, they sought the fans' input into future decisions. They consulted on a new badge design, and when their chosen designs were rejected the club instead opted for a design based on a fan's idea from an internet forum. The club are also strengthening their ties with the local community, and through the Crystal Palace F.C. Foundation they work with local London boroughs of Croydon, Bromley and Sutton to provide sports and educational programmes. Through this work the club hope to develop their supporter base and geographical base. The Foundation's work was recognised by The Football League in August 2009 with their Silver Standard Community Scheme Award.
Because of their location in the capital, Crystal Palace are involved in a number of local derbies, mostly across South London. Their most prominent are with Brighton & Hove Albion and Millwall, with a smaller rivalry enjoyed with former tenants Charlton. The club's rivalry with Brighton, known as the M23 derby, did not develop until Palace's relegation to the Third Division in 1974, reaching its height when the two teams were drawn together in the first round of the 1976–77 FA Cup. The game went to two replays, but the controversy was based on referee Ron Challis ordering a successful Brighton penalty be retaken because of Palace player encroachment. The retake was saved, Palace won the game 1–0 and a fierce rivalry was born.
The club also maintains a healthy celebrity support. Kevin Day and Jo Brand host an annual comedy night for Comic Relief and the Palace Academy, and the club also count fellow comedians Eddie Izzard, Harry Enfield, Sean Hughes, Ronnie Corbett and Roy Hudd amongst their fans. Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrisey developed Palace Ale, a beer on sale in the ground, while actor Bill Nighy is patron of the CPSCC, a Crystal Palace based charity. Two of the stars of The Inbetweeners, James Buckley (actor) and Simon Bird are also Palace fans.Smooth Radio DJ David Kid Jensen is chairman of the Crystal Palace Vice Presidents Club and acted as spokesman for the CPFC 2010 consortium during their takeover bid for the club. Actor, writer and producer John Salthouse was on the books of Crystal Palace from 1968 to 1970, and was also a mascot for the club as a child. He incorporated the club into his role as Tony in Abigail's Party.
Due to the Football League not wishing the owners of the FA Cup Final to also own a team, a separate company was established to found and own the team. The first chairman, Sydney Bourne, was found by club secretary Edmund Goodman after he had examined records of FA Cup Final ticket purchasers. Goodman noted his name as one that had bought a number of tickets every year, and so he met with Bourne and found him very agreeable to the idea of the new club. Bourne was invited onto the board of directors and elected chairman at the club's first ever meeting. Bourne remained chairman until his death in 1930.
Arthur Wait established a consortium of seven businessmen to purchase the club in 1949, and initially they rotated the chairmanship. In 1958 Wait became the Chairman, before being replaced by Raymond Bloye in 1972. Bloye's ownership lasted until 26 January 1981, when property developer Ron Noades and his small consortium took control of the club. Noades eventually sold the club to Mark Goldberg on the 5 June 1998, becoming the second longest serving chairman behind Sydney Bourne. Goldberg's tenure of the club was not a success and the club entered administration in March 1999. Although the fans established a group, The Crystal Palace Supporters Trust in a bid to gain control of the club, millionaire Simon Jordan negotiated a deal with creditors and the administrator, and a new company, CPFC 2000 took control. This company entered administration in January 2010, leaving administration in June of that year after a takeover by a consortium of four wealthy fans, CPFC 2010.
Crystal Palace F.C. is currently owned by CPFC 2010 Limited, a Private Limited Company registered at Company House. CPFC 2010 was established by a consortium of four businessmen, Steve Parish, Martin Long, Stephen Browett and Jeremy Hosking in 2010, each owning a 25% share of the company. The four successfully negotiated a take-over with the administrator Brendan Guilfoyle and a company voluntary arrangement was formally accepted by company creditors on 20 August 2010. CPFC 2010 also purchased the ground from Lloyds Bank after a demonstration by fans put pressure on the bank to agree terms.
Jim Cannon holds the record for Crystal Palace appearances, having played 660 first-team matches between 1973 and 1988. He also holds the record for most League appearances, making 571. Cannon joined the club as a trainee, and of his appearances only four of them were made as a substitute. His first appearance was made aged 19, scoring in a home win against Chelsea on 31 March 1973. Cannon's last game was on 7 May 1988, a home win against Manchester City.Peter Simpson holds the record for the most goals scored in a season, 54 in the 1930–31 season in Division Three (South). Simpson, who signed for the club from Kettering Town, is also the top scorer over a career – 165 between 1929 and 1935. He died in 1974. Aki Riihilahti holds the club record for most international caps, with 36 appearances for Finland while at Palace.
Crystal Palace hold a number of records and achievements. They are one of a small group of clubs to have won a Football League Division at the first time of asking, winning the Third Division in 1920-21. Their average league attendance of 19,092 achieved in the 1960-61 season and the attendance of 37,774 for the Good Friday game at Selhurst Park between Palace and Millwall the same season are Fourth Division attendance records. The club's widest victory margin in the league was their 9–0 win against Barrow in Division Four in 1959, while their heaviest defeat in the league was by the same scoreline, 9–0, against Liverpool in 1989 in Division One.
Palace's record home attendance is 51,482 for a Division Two match against Burnley, achieved on 11 May 1979. With the introduction of regulations enforcing all-seater stadiums, it is unlikely that this record will be beaten in the foreseeable future. The highest transfer fee received for a Palace player is £15 million, from Manchester United for Wilfried Zaha in January 2013, while the most spent by the club on a player was the signing of Dwight Gayle for £4.5 million from Peterborough United F.C.. The club's highest league finish was third in the Football League First Division in 1990–91, achieved under the management of Steve Coppell. The club were runners-up in the FA Cup in 1990 and have also reached the semi-final twice. In 1991 they won the Full Members Cup, and they have reached the semi-finals of the League Cup four times, most recently in 2012.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
To celebrate Crystal Palace's centenary in 2005, the club asked Palace fans to vote for a "Centenary XI" from a shortlist of ten players per position, provided by the club.
Crystal Palace's honours and achievements include the following: