Crystal Palace Profile

Major Honours Second Division/Championship (2)
Year Founded 1905

A club with a sizeable fanbase, a unique rivalry and laying claim to being the oldest club in professional soccer, Crystal Palace have an interesting story to tell.

Crystal Palace are a football club based in Selhurst, south London, England. They play in the Premier League. Known as 'The Eagles' or simply 'Palace', they won the English second tier in 1978/79 and 1993/94. Until the mid 1970s, they were known as 'The Glaziers'.

Among the great players to play for Palace are Ian Wright, Julian Speroni, Vince Hilaire, Jim Cannon, John Jackson and Geoff Thomas.

The club was founded in 1905, although an amateur club by the same name was founded in 1861 and it could be claimed that this is when Crystal Palace was born. They play their home matches at Selhurst Park, which has a capacity of 25,456. The stadium was opened in 1924.

The early history of the Eagles

An amateur soccer club called Crystal Palace was formed in South London in 1861 and was among the founding members of the Football Association. Due to the club believing they're a continuation of the amateur club, that founding date of 1861 would make them the oldest professional soccer club in the world. After the 1875/76 FA Cup, which saw Palace lose 3-0 to Wanderers in the second round, the amateur club disappeared from the history books.

The professional Crystal Palace FC was founded in 1905, 10 years after the FA had turned their ground into a permanent venue for the FA Cup final. The club started out in the Southern League Second Division after seeing their Football League application rejected. They won promotion to the First Division in their inaugural season in the Southern League. Palace also played in the midweek United Counties League.

Palace remained in the Southern League until 1914, the first year of the First World War. Afterwards, they were among the founding members of the Football League Third Division in 1920/21. They won the league and promotion in their first season. In 1924, Palace moved into Selhurst Park.

The era leading up to the Second World War was not particularly successful for Palace, as they were relegated to the Third Division South. However, they did twice manage to win the Wartime League.

Crystal Palace players and management pictured in 1949

From the bottom to the top in the 1960s

Palace stayed in Division Three South until after the 1957/58 season. After a restructuring of the league, they then found themselves in the new Fourth Division. In April 1960, Palace chairman Arthur Wait appointed Arthur Rowe to manage Palace. He proved to be hugely important in the club’s history.

The Glaziers were promoted in 1960/61 - scoring a club-record 110 goals in 46 matches - and in 1962 became the first team to play Real Madrid. A full-strength Real Madrid travelled to London to beat Palace 4-3 in the friendly.

Rowe resigned near the end of 1962 for health reasons but Dick Graham steered Palace to promotion to the Second Division in 1963/64 and then Bert Head won them another promotion into the top flight in 1968/69.

Palace's promotion to the First Division featured an excellent run of form when they won 10 games out of 16 to make promotion possible.

After recovering from a 2-0 deficit to beat Fulham 3-2 in front of a packed crowd of 36,126, defeat for promotion rivals Charlton Athletic saw the Eagles take their place in England's top flight for the start of the 1970s.

The highs and lows of the 1970s

Despite beating visitors Manchester United 5-0 in 1972/73, Palace were relegated at the season-end - bringing four years in the First Division to a close.

Malcolm Allison, former manager of Crystal Palace

Palace were immediately relegated again under Malcolm Allison's management and found themselves back in Division Three for the 1974/75 campaign - a steep drop in a short space of time.

A big change at the club occured with the unveiling of a new badge and nickname, 'The Eagles'.

On the pitch, Palace went all the way to the semi-finals of the 1975/76 FA Cup, beating two of the most successful teams in England at the time in Leeds United and Chelsea along the way. However, they were unable to win promotion after two consecutive fifth-placed finishes in Division Three.

Terry Venables took over from Allison as a result of their failure to get promoted and Venables was able to steer Palace back into the Second Division in his first season.

That campaign also saw several meetings against Brighton & Hove Albion in the league and FA Cup - with the intense encounters and bad blood between the teams setting the basis for a rivalry between the two clubs which still exists today.

Venables then led the Eagles to the Second Division title in 1978/79 and Palace were a First Division club again.

The team from 1979 was predicted to be the 'Team of the Eighties' and Palace were top of the league early in the 1979/80 season. However, financial troubles saw the great side disbanded and Palace were relegated again in 1980/81.

The Steve Coppell years

Steve Coppell took over as Crystal Palace manager in 1984 following the departure of the unpopular Alan Mullery. Coppell was just 28 years and 10 months old at the time of his appointment.

Coppell made a string of impressive signings, the most notable being Ian Wright, who had previously been playing non-league soccer. Palace won promotion to the First Division via the play-offs in 1989.

Palace made the 1990 FA Cup final and drew 3-3 with Manchester United in the initial match, losing the replay 1-0.

In 1990/91, the Eagles finished third in the top flight, behind only Arsenal and Liverpool. They missed out on a European place because English clubs were unranked in the UEFA coefficient used that season. This was as a result of the five-year ban from European competitions which had only just come to an end following the Heysel Stadium disaster.

Palace beat Everton 4-1 after extra time in the final of the Full Members Cup and Wright left to join Arsenal the following season.

After Mark Bright was sold to Sheffield Wednesday and Palace failed to rebuild their squad, they were relegated at the end of the 1992/93 season, the first in the Premier League era. Coppell resigned and was replaced by Alan Smith, although his involvement with the club did not end there.

Coppell served as Palace's director of football and joint-first team coach during a stint at the club between 1995 and 1996, returning again as chief scout and then manager between 1997 and 1998.

Coppell's final stint as manager came between 1999 and 2000 and he was once again eventually replaced by Smith.

Up and down again in the 1990s

Palace dipped in and out of the Premier League throughout much of the 1990s. They won the First Division title in Smith's first season in charge, 1993/94. However, they were relegated again in 1994/95. After narrowly missing out on promotion at the first attempt in 1996, they achieved it under Coppell in 1997.

Palace were relegated again in 1997/98 after a sole Premier League season and Venables returned for a second spell as manager in March 1998.

Although Venables led Palace into the UEFA Intertoto Cup, they went into administration while he was manager and nearly went out of business.

The Eagles were in administration for 16 months before the club was finally bought and saved from liquidation.

Palace in the Premier League era

Palace emerged from administration under the ownership of Simon Jordan in 2000. Under Iain Dowie, they were promoted to the Premier League in 2004. However, once again, they were relegated immediately.

The Eagles went into administration again in January 2010 and were forced to sell key players such as Victor Moses and Jose Fonte due to their precarious financial position.

After being purchased by the CPFC 2010 consortium led by Steve Parish, Palace earned promotion to the Premier League in 2013 with Ian Holloway as manager.

Palace have a history of yo-yoing between the divisions in the Premier League era, having won promotion to the top flight four times since the league's inception in 1992 - three of which coming through the drama of the play-offs.

Crystal Palace supporters at Wembley Stadium prior to the 2016 FA Cup final

Palace have remained steady in the top flight ever since. In 2016, they made the FA Cup final under Alan Pardew, losing 2-1 after extra time to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United.

After a rocky start to the 2017/18 campaign under Frank de Boer, Palace were stabilised by Roy Hodgson, who remained in charge until his departure in 2021.

After Hodgson left the Eagles, Palace announced that former OGC Nice manager Patrick Vieira would take over from the club veteran for the 2021/22 campaign.

Vieira's first season at the helm saw him guide to club 12th place in the 2021/22 Premier League season and an FA Cup semi-final. Building on the foundations set by Hodgson, Palace remained in mid-table for most of the season and even managed to beat champions Manchester City.

Palace's biggest rivalries

Palace have a fierce rivalry with Brighton & Hove Albion despite Selhurst Park being located around 40 miles away from Brighton's AMEX Stadium. The rivalry dates back to the 1970s, with the personal rivalry between then-Brighton manager Mullery and Palace boss Venables a key factor in igniting it.

Mullery's appointment as manager was particularly unpopular with Palace fans given his past connection to Brighton and it caused a short-lived supporter boycott.

In south London, Palace have rivalries with Millwall and Charlton Athletic.

Crystal Palace and their fanbase

Palace's support base comes mostly from south London, Kent and Surrey. They have celebrity supporters including comedian Eddie Izzard and actor and writer Simon Bird.

Palace's passionate home support is largely a result of the Holmesdale Road Stand, where ultras group the Holmesdale Fanatics sit. The group was founded in December 2005 by a group of longstanding Palace supporters.

Club finances

Following the CPFC 2010 consortium's purchase of Crystal Palace from Jordan, American investors Josh Harris and David Blitzer entered into a partnership with Steve Parish in 2015. Parish remains as club chairman to this day.

Crystal Palace announced a £58m loss for the 2019/20 season as a result of Covid-19's impact on their season.

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