As far back as 1854, the famous glass exhibition building known as The Crystal Palace had been relocated from Hyde Park, London and rebuilt in enlarged form in an area of South London next to Sydenham Hill. This area was renamed Crystal Palace including the park surrounding the site where various sports facilities were built. An amateur Crystal Palace football team played here as early as 1861. Then in 1895, the Football Association adopted a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final which was to be played at the sports stadium situated inside the historic grounds of the Palace. With the owners also reliant on tourist activity for their income, they sought fresh attractions for the venue, and founded the London County Cricket Club of W. G. Grace before turning their attention to football.
The idea of a new club playing at the Crystal Palace stadium was proposed in 1904 by the Crystal Palace Company. The proposal was rejected by the Football Association, who disliked the idea that the owners of the Cup Final venue would also possess their own football club. However a separate company was established the following year to form the club under the chairmanship of Sydney Bourne, who was chosen due to his propensity in buying tickets to the Cup Final.
Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed "The Glaziers", were founded on 10 September 1905 under the guidance of Aston Villa assistant secretary Edmund Goodman. The club applied to enter the Football League alongside another newly formed London club Chelsea. Unfortunately for Palace, it was Chelsea that were accepted and the club found itself in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. The club was successful in its inaugural season and were promoted to the First Division, crowned as champions. Palace also played in the mid-week United Counties League, finishing runners-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 the First World War led to the Admiralty requisitioning the Crystal Palace and it's grounds, thus the club was forced to leave and they moved to the home of West Norwood F.C. at Herne Hill Velodrome. Three years later they 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 then moved to the purpose-built stadium Selhurst Park in 1924, which is the ground the club still 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 in twenty-first position, the club was relegated to the Third Division South. Before the Second World War Palace made good efforts at promotion, never finishing outside the top half of the table and finishing second on three occasions. During the war years, the Football League was suspended, and the club won two Wartime Leagues, the South Regional League and the South 'D' League. After the war, the club were less successful in the league, 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 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 fourteenth – just below the cut – and found itself in the basement of English football. Their stay proved brief. New chairman Arthur Wait appointed Arthur Rowe as manager, and the 1960–61 season saw Palace gain promotion. Palace also achieved distinction in 1962 when they played the great Real Madrid team of that era in a friendly match. This was the first time that the Spanish giants had played a match in London. Although Rowe then stepped down for health reasons towards the end of 1962, 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.
Palace stayed in the top flight from 1969 until 1973, but then 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 also 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 were promoted in 1976–77 and again in 1978–79, the latter saw the club crowned as Division Two champions.
That team from 1979 was dubbed "The team of the Eighties" and were briefly top of the whole Football League in the early part of the 1979–80 season, before financial difficulties suffered by the club caused the break up of that talented side, and this ultimately led to the club being unable to maintain their position in the top flight. They were relegated from the First Division in 1980–81, coinciding with Ron Noades takeover of the club.
On 4 June 1984, former Manchester United and England player Steve Coppell who had recently retired from the game due to injury was appointed as manager, and it was under his stewardship and rebuilding that the club achieved promotion via the play-offs back to the First Division in 1988–89. Palace 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 were able to build on this success and the 1990–91 season saw them achieve their highest ever league finish of third place in the top flight. Palace were to be denied a European place at the end of that season because of the partial UEFA ban on English clubs at that time following the Heysel Stadium disaster. The club also returned to Wembley and won the Full Members Cup. Palace beat Everton 4–1 (after extra time) in the final. During the following season star striker Ian Wright left the club to join 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, but failed to rebuild the squad adequately, and Palace struggled for consistency throughout the season. The club found itself relegated with a total of 49 points, which is still a Premier League record for a relegated club. 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 back 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 inconsistent and Palace once again found themselves 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 1996 play-off final in dramatic fashion, Steve Claridge scoring a last minute goal for Leicester City to win the tie 2–1. 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 they 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 Palace were relegated back to the First Division for the 1998–99 season. The club competed in European competition during the summer when they played in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Palace then went into administration in 1999, 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, replaced by Alan Smith for a second time.
Palace were almost relegated in Jordan's first season, in 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 County 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, succeeded by Trevor Francis, who had ironically been his predecessor at the Midlands club.
Under Francis, Palace finished mid-table for two successive seasons, but he then departed 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 the club 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 were relegated on the last day of the season after drawing at local rivals Charlton Athletic.
Following that relegation, Simon Jordan was unable to put the club on a sound financial footing in the next few years, and in January 2010 the club was once again placed in administration, this time by a creditor. 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. Neil Warnock had also departed as manager in the early part of 2010. He had taken over as manager in 2007, replacing Peter Taylor who had a brief spell as manager. Paul Hart took over as caretaker manager for the final weeks of the season. 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 the consortium of four that also included Stephen Browett, Jeremy Hosking and Martin Long. Crucially, the consortium also secured the freehold of the ground, and paid 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 new Palace 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. Palace moved 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. After another year and a half as manager, Freedman departed to manage Bolton Wanderers on 23 October 2012.
In November 2012, Ian Holloway became the club's manager. He guided Palace back to the Premier League after an eight-year absence by defeating Watford 1–0 in the Championship Play-off Final at the new Wembley, but resigned in October 2013. Following a brief spell under Tony Pulis, and an unsuccessful second tenure as manager for Neil Warnock, former Palace player Alan Pardew was confirmed as the new manager in January 2015.
In his first full season, Pardew led Palace to the 2016 FA Cup Final, their first for 26 years, losing 2–1 after extra time to Manchester United. In December 2016, Pardew was sacked and replaced by Sam Allardyce, who kept the club in the Premier League but resigned unexpectedly at the end of the season. On 26 June 2017, Palace appointed their first permanent foreign manager in former Dutch international Frank de Boer, who was dismissed after only 77 days in charge, after Palace had lost their first four league games at the start of the 2017–18 season. His replacement, Roy Hodgson, was appointed the next day.
** – Colours / Crest – **
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 in 1938 they decided to abandon the claret and blue and adopt white shirts and black shorts with matching socks. Although they returned to claret and blue from 1949 to 1954, the 1955 season saw them return to white and black, now using claret and blue as trim.
There were variations on this theme until 1963 when the club adopted the away strip of yellow jersey as the home colours. In 1964 the club adopted 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 continued with variations on this theme up until Malcolm Allison's arrival as manager in 1973. Allison overhauled the club's image, adopting red and blue vertical stripes for colours and kit, inspired by FC Barcelona. Palace 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 1996 and again in 2013, the crest retains these features. Since mid-2010, the club has made use of an American bald eagle, called Kayla, as the club mascot, with the bird flying from one end of the stadium to the other at every home game.
In 1905, the Crystal Palace Company who owned the FA Cup Final venue situated inside the grounds of The Crystal Palace, wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the crowd potential of the area. They formed a new club called Crystal Palace F.C., to play at the stadium. When the First World War broke out the Palace and grounds were seized by the armed forces, 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 F.C. were wound up in 1917, the club took over their old stadium located at the Nest, but in 1919 they began the purchase of the land on which they would eventually build Selhurst Park, their current home.
The renowned stadium architect, Archibald Leitch, 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. Revised plans for a new 13,500-seater Main Stand (extending overall stadium capacity to 34,000) were approved at a Croydon Council meeting on 19 April 2018.
After the band The Dave Clark Five performed "Glad All Over" at the stadium in 1968, the song became synonymous with the team, and the fans sing it at every match.
** – Facilities – **
The club offers tickets for disabled areas in all stands. There are currently 128 spaces available for wheelchair users, and these can be found on a raised platform. Spaces for wheelchair users can be found on a raised platform in the away section for opposition supporters. Disabled supporters will be charged the concession ticket rate for the appropriate area of the ground, but their personal assistant gains free admission.
** – Getting to Selhurst Park – **
Selhurst Park is situated in the heart of Selhurst, just a 10-minute walk from both Selhurst and Norwood Junction stations. The Whitehorse Lane stand houses their newly-refurbished executive boxes, whilst additional Premium Seating is in the Main Stand. Away supporters are situated in the corner of the Arthur Wait Stand.
Getting to Selhurst Park By Train
The nearest railway stations are Selhurst, Thornton Heath and Norwood Junction. From each of these local stations, it is then a 10-15 minute walk to the stadium. Please note that Crystal Palace station is 2 miles from the ground, so it is not advisable.
Travelling from central London?
Getting to Selhurst Park by Bus
Frequent bus services operate from all directions to Selhurst Park. For more information visit Transport For London.
Getting to Selhurst Park by Taxi.
Taxis can drop off at the corner of Park Road and Whitehorse Lane which is located at the visiting supporter end of the stadium. Some local taxi numbers if required are:
Location : Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Rd, London SE25 6PU
Transport: Selhurst (National Rail) OR Norwood Junction (National Rail) then 10 minutes. Bus Routes: 130, 468, N68 and X68 stop at the stadium.
Capacity : 26,074
Tel: 0208 768 6080