Crystal Palace Football Club - History & Notable Players

Crystal Palace FC

Crystal Palace


  • Name: Crystal Palace Football Club

  • Nickname: The Glaziers / Eagles

  • Founded: 1905

  • Ground: Selhurst Park

  • Ground capacity: 26,255

Selhurst Park

picture of Selhurst Park

Tennants: Crystal Palace F.C. 1924 to present, Charlton Athletic F.C. 1985 to 1991 & Wimbledon F.C. 1991 to 2003
Capacity: 26,255 - Opened: August 1924

In 1922 the site, a former brickfield, was bought from the Brighton Railway Company for £2,570.

The stadium (designed by Scottish stadium architect Archibald Leitch) was constructed by Humphreys of Kensington (a firm regularly used by Leitch) for around £30,000, and was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of London on 30 August 1924.

There was then only one stand (the present Main Stand), but this was unfinished due to industrial action; Crystal Palace played Sheffield Wednesday and lost 0–1 in front of 25,000 fans.

Two years later, in 1926, England played Wales in an international at the stadium.

England amateur matches and various other finals were also staged there, as were other sports including boxing, bicycle polo (in the late 1940s) and cricket and music concerts (in the 1980s). In addition to this, it hosted two games for the 1948 Summer Olympics.

Old picture of Selhurst Park ticket office In 1953, the stadium's first floodlights were installed consisting of numerous poles around the 3 sides of terracing and four roof mounted installations on the Main Stand, but were replaced nine years later by floodlights mounted on, pylons in each corner and six installations on the Main Stand roof.

Real Madrid marked the occasion by playing the first game under the new set of bulbs – a real footballing coup at the time for third division Palace, as it was Real's first ever match in London.

The ground remained undeveloped until 1969, when Palace were promoted to Division One (then the 1st tier of English football) for the first time.

The Arthur Wait Stand was built, and is named after the club's long-serving chairman, who was a builder by trade and was often seen working on the site himself.

Arthur Wait was notable for overseeing Palace's rise from the 4th to the 1st Division in the 1960s.

The Whitehorse Lane end had a new look with a "second tier" of terracing and brick-built refreshments and toilets along the top.

Due to the Safety of Grounds Act, the Holmesdale Road terrace, the preferred stand for the Crystal Palace supporters, had to be split into three sections for safety reasons.

The remaining poorer facilities were mainly where the opposition supporters were situated.

New facilities were subsequently built at the back of the Holmesdale Stand.

Picture of Selhurst Park 1979
In the summer of 1981, the Main Stand terraced enclosure was reprofiled and replaced by seating.

In 1981, Palace sold the back of the Whitehorse Lane terrace and land behind to supermarket retailer Sainsbury's for £2m, to help their financial problems and the size of the terrace at this end was effectively halved when this end reopened.

Charlton Athletic moved in to the stadium as temporary tenants in 1985, and became with Palace the first league clubs in England to agree such a ground-sharing scheme.

The following year, chairman Ron Noades purchased the stadium from the club as a means of raising revenue.

In the summer of 1990, the lower half of the Arthur Wait Stand was converted into all-seater with the assistance of Football Trust Grant Aid, due to the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough Disaster.

Two rows of executive boxes (48 in total) were constructed above the Whitehorse Lane terrace on the roof of Sainsbury's supermarket in 1991 and it was roofed and made all-seater in the summer of 1993.

Centenary year (2005) mural above the entrance to the players lounge at Selhurst Park.

Charlton moved back to The Valley via West Ham's Boleyn Ground, and Wimbledon F.C. replaced them as tenants in 1991.

The Holmesdale terrace was demolished in 1994 and replaced a year later with a two-tiered 8,500 capacity stand.

The roof cladding of the main stand was also replaced, the previous one having started to leak.

Some 15 years on, this remains the most recent major work to be carried out at Selhurst Park.

When Mark Goldberg bought Crystal Palace, he bought just the club.

Former Palace chairman Ron Noades retained Selhurst Park, having purchased it from the club in 1986.

Chairman Simon Jordan took out a ten-year lease on the ground upon his purchase of the club in 2000 and Noades received rent from Palace.

Wimbledon relocated to Milton Keynes in 2003, a section of their fans already having decamped to the newly established AFC Wimbledon in protest, when the old club were given permission by the FA to move in 2002.

Palace chairman Jordan stated he had completed a purchase of the freehold of Selhurst Park from Altonwood Limited (Ron Noades' company) for £12m in October 2006.

However, ownership was in fact held by Selhurst Park Limited, owned by a joint venture between HBOS and the Rock property empire owned by Paul Kemsley, a former director of Tottenham Hotspur.

In April 2008, a 25-year lease was granted to Crystal Palace at an annual rent of £1.2m.

When the Rock group went into administration in June 2009, the management of the freehold was taken on by PwC acting on behalf of Lloyds Bank, which now own HBOS.

PwC expected to sell it within two years.

Simon Jordan never owned the freehold or had any interest in it and his reasons for claiming he had bought it are unknown.

The property company exited administration when purchased by the CPFC 2010 consortium in June 2010, leading to the stadium and Football Club being united in a company for the first time since 1998.

Following from this, January 2011 saw CPFC 2010 announce plans to redevelop the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, the club's original home, in five years' time.

However, opposition from Crystal Palace residents and Bromley council have seen the plans become increasingly unfeasable, resulting in suggestions that Selhurst Park should be redeveloped gradually similar to Molineux stadium (home to Wolves).

In June 2012, Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish approached Rugby Union team London Welsh about a possible ground-share.

London Welsh's promotion to the English Premiership was in doubt, as their plans to play their matches at Kassam Stadium were deemed unsuitable by the RFU.

During August 2013, it was confirmed that online bookmakers 12Bet signed a one-year sponsorship deal, although this does not include naming rights and the ground is still known as Selhurst Park.

picture of Selhurst Park 1924

The Stands

Holmesdale Road Stand - Capacity of stand: 8,147
The Holmesdale is a double-tiered stand (Lower tier 5,341, Upper tier 2,806) on the south side of the stadium.

Built 1994-95, this is the newest stand in the stadium, replacing the previous terrace stand.

Arthur Wait Stand - Capacity of stand: 9,754
Part of this stand seats the away supporters (2,600), the 'Arthur Wait' stand named after the then chairman opened in 1969.

Main Stand - Capacity of stand: 6,163
This original stand opened in 1924 includes the Directors Box, new offices / Main Entrance were built at the rear of the stand during the nineties, meanwhile the exterior of the Main Stand has been re-cladded in white replacing the old original blue painted corrugated iron.

New seats were also installed during the summer of 2013, several lounges/Bars and a restaurant are also within the stand.

Whitehorse Lane Stand - Capacity of stand: 2,245 + seating for executive boxes.
The Whitehorse Lane stand is otherwise known as the Family Stand for Crystal Palace supporters and includes 42 luxury Executive Boxes.

picture of wikipedia logo

Roy Hodgson - Left

Picture of Roy Hodgson

The Facts

Crystal Palace Football Club is an English professional football club based in South Norwood, London.

Their home colours are red and blue, although they had adopted a claret and pale blue strip of Aston Villa in their early years.

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, which was played at the sports stadium, in Crystal Palace Park.

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 1969.

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 rivalry with fellow South London team Millwall.

The club captain 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.

For further information check out their Official website or their Fan Forum

Notable Players

picture of Johnny Byrne

Johnny Byrne - 1956 to 62 & 1967 to 68

picture of Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas - 1987 to 1993

picture of Kenny Samson

Kenny Samson - 1975 to 1980

picture of Nigel Martyn

Nigel Martyn - 1989 to 1996

picture of Ian Wright

Ian Wright - 1985 to 1991


Picture of The Crystal Palace stadium 1905

Crystal Palace Football Club, also known informally as Crystal Palace, or just "Palace" are an English football club founded at The Crystal Palace in 1905 to introduce a club to the local population, who regularly supported the FA Cup Final in sizeable numbers. Failing to gain election to The Football League by one vote, Palace instead joined the Southern Football League Second Division, playing home games at The Crystal Palace, their home for the first ten years and 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. A Football League re-organisation occurred in 1920 which saw the majority of the Southern League Division One forming a new Division Three. At the end of the season Palace were crowned champions and gained promotion to the Second Division.

Palace were promoted to the Second Division, where they spent four seasons before suffering relegation to what was then the Third Division South. Here they remained until a re-organisation of the Football League structure saw Palace become founder members of Division Four in 1958. Under the chairmanship of local builder Arthur Wait the club then moved from the lowest rung of the English Football League to the highest over a period of eleven seasons, with Bert Head arriving from Bury F.C. as the manager to guide them to the First Division in 1968. When Head moved up to take the position of General Manager in 1973 Malcolm Allison was brought in as manager, but Palace fell back to the Second Division, and then to the Third. Allison instigated a number of changes at the club, 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 enjoyed a run to the semi-final of the FA Cup under Allison, and stabilised itself in the top two divisions with successive promotions under Terry Venables in 1977 and 1979. Further success came under chairman Ron Noades and manager Steve Coppell, the latter guiding the team to an F.A. 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. The club bounced between the top two divisions over the course of the nineties, and enjoyed runs to the semi-finals of both the League and FA Cups in 1995 under manager Alan Smith, before suffering administration under the chairmanship of Mark Goldberg. Under new owner Simon Jordan the club spent much of its time in the Championship over the next 10 years with a brief spell in the Premier League during 2004–05. Another administration in 2010 saw the club emerge owned by a consortium consisting of several wealthy fans led by Steve Parish. The club then achieved promotion back to the Premier League under manager Ian Holloway with a 1–0 win over Watford F.C. in the Football League play-offs of 2013.

Background and formation
The original Crystal Palace Football Club were an amateur team formed circa 1861 by workers at the main building and although their name was inspired by the building, it is not known if there is an official link between the name of the club and the exhibition centre itself. They were one of the 12 founder members of the Football Association. The club was moderately successful in the pre-Football League era and competed in the first FA Cup reaching the semi-finals where they were eliminated by the Royal Engineers 3–0, in a replay after the first game ended goalless. The team also played in the FA Cup in the next four seasons, disappearing from historical records after a 3–0 defeat to eventual winners Wanderers in the second round of the 1875–76 FA Cup. This was not the end of an association between Crystal Palace and the FA Cup. The Cup Final had been played at the Kennington Oval, but in 1892 Surrey County Cricket Club withdrew permission for the game to be played at the venue, and in 1895 the FA adopted a new permanent home for the tie, at The Crystal Palace. With the owners of the attraction reliant on tourist activity for their income, they sought fresh attractions for the venue, attracting the London County Cricket Club of W. G. Grace before turning their attention to football.

The idea of a new club at Crystal Palace was proposed in 1904 by the Crystal Palace Company. The proposal was rejected by the Football Association, who disliked the idea of the owners of the Cup Final venue also possessing a football club. However a separate company was formed the following year to establish the club under the chairmanship of Sydney Bourne, chosen due to his propensity in buying tickets to the Cup Final.

Crystal Palace Year Book 1912-1913 Southern League (1905–20)
Crystal Palace Football Club was formed on 10 September 1905 playing in the Aston Villa colours of claret and blue. The choice of colours was a result of the important role in the club's formation played by Edmund Goodman, an Aston Villa employee who was recommended to the fledgling club by the Villa chairman, William McGregor. Goodman organised the business side of the club and managed the team from 1907 to 1925. A former amateur player with Villa, Goodman had lost his right leg after an injury led to amputation. Goodman hired John Robson from Middlesbrough to be the team's manager. Robson had transformed his previous club from an amateur side to an established Football League First Division side.

Along with two other newly formed London clubs, Chelsea and Clapton Orient, Palace applied to join the Second Division of the Football League. Chelsea and Clapton Orient were accepted, but Crystal Palace were not. Unfortunately Palace were too late to be considered for the First Division of the Southern League and were forced to settle for a place in the Second Division. To increase the number of club fixtures, they also joined the United Counties League. Robson established a team of 16 professionals, mainly drawn from Middlesbrough. The club's inaugural campaign in Division Two of the Southern League, which consisted mainly of other clubs' reserve sides alongside Southall, Southern United, St. Leonards United and Grays United was a successful one. Their opening match was against Southampton Reserves, and approximately 3,000 people paid 6d to stand or a shilling to sit. Palace led 3–0 after 30 minutes, before fading and losing 3–4. However, that was the club's only defeat in the League all season, and Crystal Palace won the championship and were promoted to the Southern League First Division. The season included a run of 17 straight victories, and a 9–1 win over Grays United at Crystal Palace. Attendances for the season were regularly between 2,000 and 3,000 although 4,000 attended the 4–0 defeat of Watford Reserves in March.

Following their championship win, Palace started their second season as a club in the Southern League First Division, placing 19th at the end of the season but enjoying better form in the FA Cup. Beating Rotherham County in a qualifying tie, Palace were then drawn away to Newcastle United in the First Round proper. Newcastle had played in the previous two FA Cup Finals, were league champions in 1905 and were on their way to another championship. In what still stands as one of the club's greatest ever wins, Crystal Palace scored through Horace Astley against the run of play and then held off Newcastle to come away with a shocking 1–0 win. The second and third rounds saw Palace dispose of Fulham and Brentford respectively, the latter after a replay, and the quarter-finals saw Palace drawn at home to First Division Everton, currently flying high in second place. In front of a record crowd of 35,000, Palace took the lead, but their opponents equalised taking the tie to a replay, where Everton proved too strong, running out 4–0 winners.

John Robson left Palace to manage neighbours Croydon Common for the 1907–08 season, and Edmund Goodman took over as manager and club secretary. The club had a good season, finishing fourth. Bill Davies became the first player from the club to win an international honour when he was called up for Wales. The club could not sustain their league form the following season, finishing the league in a disappointing sixteenth place. In the FA Cup they fell to their heaviest defeat, a second round replay to Burnley which finished 0–9, a record defeat for Palace and a record victory for Burnley. Palace managed to finish fourth again in the following season, losing just one game in the first twelve, and repeated their fourth place finish again the following season, with league attendances as high as 12,000. The club won the London Challenge Cup in 1913, overcoming West Ham United 1–0. After seventh and fifth place finishes, Palace enjoyed good form in the 1913–14 season, the club putting together some long unbeaten runs and finishing the season runners-up to Swindon Town on goal average. They also retained the London Challenge Cup, defeating Spurs 2–1 at Highbury, and provided their first England representative in Horace Colclough, who played in the team that beat Wales in Cardiff on 16 March.

Following the outbreak of the First World War on 4 August 1914, Palace had three players called up as Reservists before the season started. Former Palace players Ginger Williams and Joe Bulcock were amongst those killed in the conflict. In March 1915, The Admiralty, who had taken over the ground at the start of the war, ordered the club to leave. Palace chose to move to Herne Hill Stadium, but the 1918–19 season found Palace at a new ground. Croydon Common failed to return to business after the war, and it was to their ground, The Nest opposite Selhurst Station, that Crystal Palace now moved. Palace finished the season without a win in the last nine games, ending in seventh place, building on that position to finish third the following year.

Picture of Crystal Palace FC c.1921 Lower divisions (1920–58)
Crystal Palace became a league club in 1920 when the Football League accepted the entire Southern League en bloc as associate members in a new Division Three. In their first season as a league club, Palace lost their opening game at Merthyr Town 1–2 with A.G. Milligan scoring Palace's first ever Football League goal. Milligan's Palace career was short-lived however, and he made just one more appearance for the club. Palace's first ever home Football League match was a disappointing 0–0 draw against Plymouth Argyle but Palace then went on a run of six consecutive wins. Goalkeeper Jack Alderson, who had been signed in 1919, kept a clean sheet in six consecutive games. Palace lost just six more games all season, were unbeaten in the final sixteen games of the season which included an eight-game winning streak and went on to win the championship by five points from Southampton. The feat earned them promotion to the Second Division. The club conceded just 34 goals over the season, a record that stood until 1978–79, and they joined Preston North End, Small Heath, Liverpool and Bury as the only clubs to have won a championship in their first season as a League club. Palace also won the London Challenge Cup, beating Clapton Orient at White Hart Lane 1–0 through a goal from forward John Conner.

The following season, 1921–22, saw the formation of a Northern section of the Third Division and the Third Division became Division Three South. This arrangement would continue until 1958 when the Third and Fourth Divisions were formed, but for the moment, Crystal Palace were above all that, and in 1921 they opened their second season in the Football League as a Second Division club, finishing in fourteenth place. The highest attendance of the season was 20,000 for the Fulham game. Palace remained in the lower reaches of the table in the following season, 1922–23, finishing fifteenth. The club also made a significant purchase that season.

Back in 1919, the Palace minute book contained an entry instructing the Secretary to investigate the possibility of obtaining a lease on the 'ground at Selhurst'. Calling it a 'ground' was a little misleading since at the time it was a piece of wasteland valuable only to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company. At one time it had been a brickfield, and two chimney stacks still remained. On 3 January 1922 the club purchased the ground at a cost of £2,750, and renowned football ground architect Archibald Leitch was commissioned to design Selhurst Park. Leitch had designed stands at Craven Cottage, Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane and Leeds Road, but the design for Palace was unusual in that it had no roof gable. The other three sides of the ground remained open banking with just the lower parts being terraced. Construction work was delayed by industrial disputes, and when the ground was opened by the Lord Mayor of London on the first day of the 1924–25 season, 30 August, the stand was not finished. It did however boast many luxuries, including "offices, tea rooms, training quarters, plunge, slipper shower and needle baths". The opening fixture was against The Wednesday, and in front of a crowd of 25,000, Palace lost 0–1, with the first goal at Selhurst Park being scored by Billy Marsden. That defeat set the tone for the season, and the club finished in twenty-first place – relegated along with Coventry City. A win in the last game at home to Oldham Athletic would have secured survival, but Palace went down 0–1 and it would be almost 40 years before Palace would again grace the second level of English football. One small consolation was the decision by the FA to stage the England versus Wales international at Selhurst Park on 1 March 1925. It remains the only full international staged at the ground, and Wales won the game 3–1.

After one season in the Third Division South and eighteen in total, Edmund Goodman stepped down as manager and returned to administrative duties, and a succession of managers attempted to plot Palace's climb back up the table. However, Palace's stay in the division was to last as long as the Third Division South itself. With only the champions gaining promotion, it was a hard division to escape from, although Palace came close on more than one occasion. In the fourteen Division Three South seasons pre-Second World War, Palace finished in the top seven ten times, and never lower than fourteenth. Palace finished runners-up no less than three times, and when the 1939–40 season ended, Palace were sitting fourth. Unfortunately the season was only four matches old, cancelled with the onset of the Second World War.

The war years of 1939–45 saw football enter a period of disarray with the creation of wartime Leagues. Palace joined the South League "A" Division in 1939, but also joined the South League "D" in 1940, winning the latter competition, and then promptly winning an improvised South Regional League the following season on goal average. Palace then joined the London League for 1941–42, the sides in London refusing to accept the ad-hoc competitions the Football League were organising. This division lasted one season before the London clubs were back in the Football League fold, Palace joining the Football League South for the next four seasons. Crystal Palace fielded 186 different players during the seven wartime seasons.

Kit changes had been introduced in the late 1930s. The 1937 season saw Palace field a shirt of claret and blue stripes, before adopting white shirts and black shorts for the following eleven seasons. The club reverted to claret and blue in 1948, but any attempt at changing the kit to change their luck backfired as the club had their worst season to date, finishing bottom and celebrating twenty-five years in League Football by applying for re-election for the first time. Palace kept their place, changed the kit back to white shirts and black shorts, and finished seventh the following season. They followed this up with another bottom place and re-election in 1951, with the unwanted record of scoring the lowest number of goals in a Division Three South season. Palace would remain in the bottom half of the table until the League was restructured in 1958, requiring re-election a third and final time in 1956, with only Swindon keeping them from bottom spot that season.

Arthur Wait years (1958–74)
1958 was a period of change, with Arthur Wait taking control of the club as chairman and Division Four football being enjoyed by the club. Palace had failed to qualify for Division Three, falling outside the top eleven finish required by three places. The 1958–59 season saw the club finish seventh, with the team going slightly worse the following season with an eighth place finish. The club then enjoyed a successful 1960–61 season, finishing second behind league newcomers Peterborough United, who thus matched Palace's 1921 achievement of winning a championship in their inaugural league season. Palace themselves set the Fourth Division records for highest average attendance of 19,092, and the highest attendance at an individual match; 37,774 for the Good Friday game at Selhurst Park between Palace and Millwall. Surrey born Johnny Byrne scored 31 of Palace's 110 goals, and his strike partner Roy Summersby netted 25 as Palace moved up to Division Three.

Palace finished fifteenth in the 1961–62 season. In November, Byrne was called up to the England team, despite playing outside the top two divisions at the time, one of only five people ever to achieve this. He played the whole of the 1–1 draw against Northern Ireland, part of the 1962 British Home Championship, at Wembley Stadium. After international recognition, Ron Greenwood paid a British record transfer fee of £65,000 and ex-Palace striker Ron Brett in exchange to take "Budgie" to West Ham United in March 1962. This was a record fee between two British clubs at the time. Byrne left having scored 96 goals for Palace, then a post-war record.

On Wednesday 18 April 1962, Real Madrid made their first appearance in London to celebrate the opening of Palace's new floodlights, with Byrne returning to the Palace line-up as a guest player. Real Madrid ran out 4–3 winners. The 1962–63 season saw Palace finish 11th, before the following season saw the team finish second behind Coventry City on goal average and gain promotion to the Second Division. The Dave Clark Five's chart-hit "Glad All Over" became a crowd favourite at Selhurst, with fans banging on advertising hoardings in time with the drum beat in the chorus of the song. The club began to play the song regularly, and it remains the club's anthem today.

For the following four seasons Palace achieved respectable top half finishes, and poached the Bury manager Bert Head after persistence from chairman Arthur Wait in early 1966. Head had been with Bury less than a season. The new manager promoted from the youth team and transferred in players new and old, delighting fans by re-signing Johnny Byrne. His work paid dividends in the 1968–69 season when Palace, not fancied as promotion candidates at the beginning of the season, finished second behind Brian Clough's Derby County. The club had achieved a place in the First Division for the first time in their history, clinching promotion with a 16 game unbeaten run to end the season.

Palace's life in the top division of English football in the 1969–70 season began with a home game against Manchester United. Scoring the first Division One goal for the club was Mel Blyth after 6 minutes, and a second goal from new signing Gerry Queen saw Palace hold Manchester United to a 2–2 draw with goalkeeper John Jackson denying George Best and Brian Kidd. The next match was another home game versus Sunderland which Palace won 2–0. After a season long struggle against relegation, Palace were eventually able to secure safety, finishing in twentieth place above demoted Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland. Palace managed to gain three new records for the First Division at the end of this season: the fewest goals scored; the fewest wins recorded by a non-relegated team; and the tally of 27 points was the smallest number with which a team has avoided relegation from the top flight. Palace staved off the drop for two more seasons, and followed the trend of many other top flight clubs by introducing a new "Player of the Year" award which has been presented at the end of every season since the 1971–72 campaign. The first recipient was John McCormick.

Despite some good performances in the 1972–73 season, notably a 5–0 home win against Manchester United in December, Palace succumbed to the drop in their fourth season in the top division. Arthur Wait, having overseen the rise of the club from Fourth to First, was replaced as Chairman by Raymond Bloye in November 1972 and the club appointed Malcolm Allison in March the following year, replacing Bert Head. Although the club saw a record average attendance over the season, neither the crowd nor the managerial change were able to keep the club at the top level. Allison's first game in charge did see some changes, however. He gave young Scottish defender Jim Cannon his debut in the home game against Chelsea. Palace had never won a London derby in the top flight to this point, but Jim Cannon, who had risen through the youth ranks at Palace, marked Blues striker Peter Osgood out of the game and then scored the second goal in a 2–0 win to begin a long career in SE25.

The coming of The Eagles (1974–80)
Despite relegation, the 1973–74 season started with much optimism among supporters. Malcolm Allison had a strong recent record as a coach, having won trophies with Manchester City as an assistant to Joe Mercer. Allison, or 'Big Mal' as he was nicknamed in the press, also had a flamboyant personality which was something of a change for the club. Palace had previously enjoyed something of a conservative image. "The Glaziers" became "The Eagles" and the club changed its colours from the original claret and sky blue to a red and dark blue scheme inspired by Barcelona. The Eagle was also introduced as the club mascot at this time, an idea borrowed from Benfica, and the club badge was redesigned. The new season saw the introduction of a three-up, three-down promotion and relegation system, and Palace struggled to find their feet in the Second Division, failing to win any of their first 15 league games. In bottom place for most of the season, the club, aided by the signing from Southend United of pacey winger Peter Taylor climbed to seventeenth place with a 3–1 win at Fulham on Good Friday. The club then turned in three consecutive losses which saw them needing to win the last game of the season at Cardiff City to remain in the second tier of English football. They could only draw 1–1, and were demoted for a second successive season.

The 1974–75 season was the club's first season in Division Three since 1963–64, and although the team had a good season, and attendances were the highest in the division, they missed out on promotion, finishing in fifth place. Allison acquired Terry Venables and Ian Evans from QPR in exchange for Don Rogers, a trade that was to be significant to Palace's, and indeed England's, football future. It was also around this time that Allison persuaded the club to put more resources into developing a strong youth team, a decision that would lead to both success at youth level, and the emergence of a number of promising players. The following season Palace again failed to gain promotion, distracted in part by their best effort in the FA Cup to date. Palace enjoyed a run to the semi-finals, beating Leeds United and Chelsea along the way, before losing 2–0 to Southampton at Stamford Bridge on 2 April. Allison was sacked at the end of the season, in part because of his off the field antics, famously getting himself photographed in the team bath with porn star Fiona Richmond.

Allison was replaced as manager by Terry Venables, who had been his assistant the previous season, and he guided Palace to promotion at the first attempt. The Palace youngsters also won the FA Youth Cup with a side including Kenny Sansom, Vince Hilaire and Billy Gilbert. The following season, 1977–78 saw the youth team became the first team to win the FA Youth Cup in successive seasons since Chelsea in 1960 and 1961. The 1978–79 season saw Palace vying not only for promotion but also the Second Division Championship. The final game of the season was a Friday night match at home to Burnley. In front of the club's record home crowd of 51,801, there was all to play for: a Palace win, and the club would be champions; a draw, and Palace would be promoted, but hand the championship to fierce rivals Brighton; a loss and Palace would stay down, with Sunderland clinching the final promotion place. At half-time the deadlock had not been broken despite Palace's dominance, but a second-half cross from Vince Hilaire allowed Ian Walsh to head the opener, before a great run by Dave Swindlehurst was completed by a finish from outside the penalty area to give the Eagles a 2–0 win. Palace were champions, and the club also gained a new record after being drawn away for the tenth successive tie in the FA Cup.

As an increasing number of players from the FA Youth Cup winning team began to establish themselves in the first team, the press gave Palace the title of the "Team of the Eighties". The Eagles began the 1979–80 season well and stayed unbeaten longer than any other club in the top flight. They also occupied first place in the top flight for the first and to date only time in the club's history after beating Bobby Robson's Ipswich Town side by four goals to one at Selhurst Park. Sadly however the young starlets could not keep this form up, and a slide down the table resulted in the Eagles finishing 13th, at that point the club's highest ever finish.

Top tier football (1981–98)
"It was the blind leading the blind. I'd go into a dressing room after a game we'd lost and the players would be looking at me for the reasons why and I'd sit there thinking how did we get beat? I also didn't have much clue what we were going to do about it. But you get better as the years pass and there's also more understanding of the vagaries. When you win, great, but don't get carried away. And when you lose, shit, but don't kick anyone."
- Steve Coppell, on his early days of management at Crystal Palace.
Picture of Crystal Palace player lifting trophy

The slide continued into the 1980–81 season, with nine defeats in the first ten games, and Venables quit Selhurst Park for QPR. The side were virtually relegated by the start of February when another, even bigger change occurred. Ron Noades, formerly chairman of Wimbledon, took financial control of the club, purchasing it from Raymond Bloye's consortium. After a couple of seasons flirting with the drop and numerous managerial changes, Noades appointed 29-year-old former Manchester United and England midfielder Steve Coppell as manager for the 1984–85 season. Coppell's playing career had been cut short by a knee injury, and, assisted by Ian Evans, he worked on rebuilding Palace, eventually signing Ian Wright from non-league Greenwich Borough and Mark Bright, the pair forming the "Wrighty & Brighty" strike partnership. Coppell stabilised the club in his first season, and after two seasons of narrowly missing out on the play-offs, followed up by narrowly missing out on automatic promotion by a single point. The club instead entered the 1989 Football League Championship play-offs, beating Swindon in the semi-finals to set up a two legged final against Blackburn Rovers. The first leg at Ewood Park saw the Lancashire club defeat the Eagles 3–1, but a 30,000 full house at Selhurst Park saw the Eagles triumph 3–0 in extra time in the second leg to end their eight-year exile from the top flight. Ian Wright, who scored 24 league goals, and 33 in all competitions in the promotion campaign, was voted player of the year by the club's supporters.

Crystal Palace began their first top flight campaign in nearly a decade by re-signing Andy Gray from QPR for £500,000. In November, Palace hit the headlines when they signed Bristol Rovers goalkeeper Nigel Martyn for £1million – a record for a goalkeeper in Britain. Mixed form meant that the Eagles ended the season fifteenth after spending most of the first half in the top ten. However it was in the FA Cup that Palace really shone. After a succession of ties against lower division teams (Portsmouth, Huddersfield Town, Rochdale and Cambridge United), Palace reached the semi-finals, drawing the same Liverpool side that had beaten them 9–0 earlier in the season. The tie was played at Villa Park, and saw Liverpool score first and hold a seemingly comfortable 1–0 lead at half-time. However, Palace emerged from the half-time interval with a sense of purpose, and within a minute of the restart were level with Bright equalising. After going 2–1 up, they found themselves 3–2 down late in the match and were seemingly out. A late equaliser took the game into extra-time, with the winner scored by Alan Pardew. The team secured a thrilling 4–3 victory and for the first time in their history, Palace were in the FA Cup Final.

Their first ever appearance at Wembley Stadium saw the Eagles facing Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. Gary O'Reilly opened the scoring and substitute Wright an equalised immediately after coming onto the pitch to take the tie to extra time, before scoring again early in the extra period. Mark Hughes scored a third for United to leave the game drawn 3–3 and requiring a replay. In the second tie the Eagles wore a new yellow and black striped shirtbecause the club did not have time to find their away strip. This second final saw United left-back Lee Martin cap a 40-yard run by slotting past Martyn to win the Cup for the Red Devils.

The club built on the success of the previous season and for a while challenged for the league title. However Palace fell just short of champions Arsenal and runners-up Liverpool, finishing a club-best third in the league. Although the ban on English clubs in European competitions following the Heysel disaster of 1985 had now been lifted, there would only be one place for English clubs in the 1991–92 edition of the UEFA Cup, and this went to Liverpool rather than the Eagles. Success was achieved that season however when Palace made their third trip to Wembley in twelve months, beating Everton 4–1 in the final of the Zenith Data Systems Cup, the Eagles' only cup win to date.

The following season was to become one marked by controversy in another way. Critical Eye – Great Britain United, a Channel 4 documentary of 12 September featured interviews with a number of club personnel. Amongst them was chairman Ron Noades, who commented "when you're getting into mid-winter in England, you need a few hard white men to carry the artistic black players through". Noades claimed he was reported out of context, an allegation rejected by the programmes makers, and his comments stunned Palace's many black players. Ian Wright left the club soon after, transferring to Arsenal for £2.5million. Palace finished tenth in the First Division, losing rising England star John Salako to a cruciate ligament injury. A breakaway by the top 22 clubs saw Palace become founder members of the new FA Premier League for the 1992–93 season. However, they would be without the services of another key player – Mark Bright – who was sold to Sheffield Wednesday and the Eagles struggled to score goals without him. They were demoted on goal difference, after Oldham Athletic's 4–3 victory over Southampton. Palace's 49 points from 42 games that season became the joint-highest total of any club ever to have been relegated from the top flight of English football, and remains a Premier League record. Palace's drop prompted the resignation of manager Steve Coppell after nine years at the helm, and he was succeeded by his assistant Alan Smith.

Smith immediately guided Palace back to the Premier League as runaway champions of the second tier, Chris Armstrong top-scoring with 23 league goals. During this period the badge was changed with the bird being replaced by one which Ron Noades felt more closely resembled an eagle. 1995 again saw the club making news for off the field reasons. On 25 January 1995 Palace played Manchester United at Selhurst Park. Following a bad tackle on Richard Shaw, United midfielder Eric Cantona was sent off. As he walked towards the tunnel he was taunted by Palace fan Matthew Simmons. This angered Cantona, who launched a flying kick at him with both feet. Manchester United suspended Cantona for the remainder of the season, while the French Football Federation dropped Cantona from the France national football team, and stripped Cantona of the captaincy of Les Bleus. Cantona was sentenced to two weeks in jail; this was reduced to 120 hours community service on appeal. Simmons was immediately banned from Selhurst Park, and in 1996 was found guilty of two charges of using threatening words and behaviour towards Cantona. More was to follow at Selhurst in March, when Chris Armstrong was suspended by the FA for failing a drugs test. In 1995 Palace reached the semi-finals of both domestic cups, but a shortage of Premier League goals counted against them alongside the introduction of a fourth relegation place. The Premiership was being cut from 22 to 20 clubs at the end of the 1994–95 season, and Palace found themselves demoted on the last day of the season once again.

Smith left by "mutual agreement" within days of failing to secure a place in the Premier League, and Steve Coppell returned as technical director, with Ray Lewington and Peter Nicholas handling first team affairs. This set-up was augmented after only seven months with Dave Bassett joining as manager, overseeing a run of form which took them to the play-offs, losing the final against Leicester City at Wembley after a long range Steve Claridge goal in the final minute of extra time. Bassett moved to Nottingham Forest in March 1997, but Steve Coppell returned as manager to secure a play-off spot. Palace beat Sheffield United at Wembley, with David Hopkin scoring a long-range goal in the 90th minute. When asked what promotion meant to him, Coppell famously replied "ten months of misery".

The 1997–98 season saw a new board member and new arrivals on the pitch. Mark Goldberg was the new board member who had aspirations to take over the club and spent the season negotiating with Ron Noades. Goldberg's initial plans involved the club becoming part owned by Juventus, and it was from this source that the club gained two Italian players: Attilio Lombardo and Michele Padovano. Goldberg agreed a deal to gain control of the club in February 1998, with Palace bottom of the Premiership, and moved Coppell to Director of Football. The club appointed Lombardo as player-manager, with former Swedish striker Tomas Brolin as assistant. The two failed to achieve a turn-around and Palace fell through the trap door back to the second tier, having won just two home games and finishing bottom of the table with 33 points. Lombardo and Brolin were replaced as the management team by out-going Chairman Noades and Ray Lewington for the last three games of the season.Despite finish bottom, the beginning of the next season saw Palace get their first experience of European football in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Goldberg's takeover of the club finally went through in early June, although Noades maintained ownership of the ground, leasing it back to the club, and granting them an option to buy.

Crystal-Palace-cheerleaders Two administrations (1998–2010)
Palace's European venture was brief, entering the Intertoto Cup in the Third Round with a tie against Samsunspor, of Turkey. Palace lost by two goals to nil at both Selhurst Park and the Samsun 19 Mayıs Stadyumu. Terry Venables had been appointed head coach, but the dream of success for the 1998–99 season quickly soured as Goldberg was unable to sustain his financial backing of the club and they were placed into administration.

Venables left and Steve Coppell returned to manage the club once again, while, with the approval of the administrators Peter Morley was installed as chairman. Coppell guided Palace to two mid-table finishes, and in July 2000 Singapore financier Jerry Lim purchased an almost bankrupt Crystal Palace, immediately selling the club to mobile phone tycoon and lifelong fan Simon Jordan.

Jordan replaced Coppell with Alan Smith after taking control, but despite reaching the League Cup semi-finals, Smith was sacked in April 2001 with demotion to the third tier looking imminent. Long serving coach Steve Kember was put in temporary charge of the first team alongside Terry Bullivant, and demotion was staved off on the last day of the season with an 87th-minute Dougie Freedman goal away to Stockport County.

Palace turned to Steve Bruce as manager for the 2001–02 season. A good start gave the club 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 Division One campaign, which put Palace at the top of the table, but he was sacked in November after a terrible loss of form saw them slip towards the bottom three. Caretaker player-manager Kit Symons, was put in charge of first-team duties for a month and oversaw an improvement in form before the appointment of Iain Dowie as manager was made. Dowie, a former Palace player, transformed the club from relegation candidates at Christmas into play-off contenders in April, where they overcame West Ham United in the Play-off Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday 29 May 2004. A goal from captain Neil Shipperley was enough for them to win the match 1–0, and with it a return to the Premiership.

Palace once again could not maintain their seat at the top table, however, and again dropped down a division in spite of the 21 Premiership goals struck by Andrew Johnson, the second highest goalscorer in the division. Palace now held the distinction of being the only team to have been relegated from the Premier League four times.

The following season saw Palace make the play offs for the third time in four seasons but they failed to progress to the final, losing to Watford. Palace also lost another manager, as Iain Dowie left the club stating that he wanted to be closer to his family in Bolton. Jordan had accepted Dowie's reasons and waived a £1million compensation fee in the manager's contract. However, when Dowie was appointed as manager of Charlton Athletic Jordan pursued him through the courts, eventually settling the affair in April 2008. Peter Taylor succeeded Dowie as manager for the 2006–07 season. Taylor was unsuccessful in getting Palace promoted, and was replaced by Neil Warnock two months into the 2007–08 season.Warnock guided the team to the 2008 Football League Championship play-offs where they lost in the semi-finals to Bristol City.Palace followed this with a fifteenth place finish the next season.

The 2009–10 season started poorly, with the club failing to pay bonuses to former players, as well as £250k owed to Bristol City for the transfer of Australian international Nick Carle twelve months before. The Football League placed a transfer embargo on the Eagles in early August, which was lifted near the end of that month. However, it was only another three weeks before a second embargo was put into effect, this time due to an unpaid portion of a transfer fee owed to Ipswich Town for Alan Lee. The financial problems came to a head at the end of January when the club was placed into administration by creditor Agilo Finance, and Brendan Guilfoyle took over the running of the club. Victor Moses departed for Wigan Athletic days later, and Neil Warnock left one month later to take over at Queens Park Rangers. Paul Hart was brought in to keep the Eagles up, with Dougie Freedman and John Pemberton both returning to the club they played for as assistant and coach respectively. Before administration, the Eagles appeared to be building towards a run for the play-offs, but the ten-point deduction for going into administration turned the season into a battle against relegation. Survival was achieved on the final day, with a memorable 2–2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, who went down to League One instead of Palace. Following the end of the season, Freedman took over as caretaker manager and the club emerged from administration owned by a consortium of wealthy fans, CPFC 2010.

New era (2010 onwards)
The CPFC 2010 consortium, consisting of businessmen Steve Parish, Martin Long, Stephen Browett and Jeremy Hosking, appointed former Scotland boss George Burley as the club's new manager for the 2010–11 season, with Freedman remaining at the club as his assistant. The club was short on players, with several members of the squad from the previous season having departed. One of Burley's first signings to bridge this gap was former Netherlands midfielder Edgar Davids.Palace started poorly in the League, however, and by November sat bottom,with Davids departing after less than impressive performances for the club. The club's away form in the first half of the season was poor and a heavy South London derby defeat to Millwall on New Year's Day saw Burley sacked, with Palace second-from-bottom in the Championship table. Dougie Freedman was appointed manager, Lennie Lawrence was brought in as his assistant to provide some much-needed experience, and the duo successfully guided Palace to safety with a game to spare.

In the midst of the managerial change from Burley to Freedman, the club announced plans to relocate the club back to the site of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, built on the club's original home, redeveloping it into a 25,000-seater, purpose-built football stadium. The following season started well, with a League Cup run that saw Palace beat Crawley Town, Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough, and by late October the club were third in the league. A League Cup victory over Southampton set up a quarter final tie away at Manchester United. League form began to slip though and Palace went six games without scoring immediately prior to the match at Old Trafford. Entering the tie as the underdogs, a screamer from Darren Ambrose and an extra time header from Glenn Murray saw Palace win at Old Trafford for the first time in 22 years. The club then announced potential plans to update the image of the club through a new badge. On the pitch, league form remained patchy, and the semi-final of the League Cup ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Cardiff. Palace finished the season in seventeenth place, an improvement on the previous season.

The 2012–13 season saw Dougie Freedman take charge for a third season – the club's eighth consecutive in the Championship – before departing to manage Bolton on 23 October. Lennie Lawrence and Curtis Fleming acted in caretaker roles, with Lawrence managing for the away games against Barnsley and Leicester which saw Palace take four points.

Picture of Crystal Palace players with Play-off trophy Although Ian Holloway was appointed manager on 3 November, Fleming took charge for that day's home win against Blackburn. Holloway's first game in charge was the 5–0 home win against Ipswich which saw the club climb to the top of the table. A poor end of the season saw them scrape into the play-offs by finishing 5th. They played Brighton in the semi-finals, achieving a scintillating 2–0 win away from home after a 0–0 draw at Selhurst in the first leg. Both goals were scored by Wilfried Zaha, appearing in his penultimate game for Palace. Palace met Watford at Wembley in the Final.

It was Palace who won 1–0 courtesy of a Kevin Phillips penalty given for a foul on Zaha, holding on in the face of Watford pressure with the help of a goal line clearance from Joel Ward in the final minute, resulting in promotion back to the Premier League after an eight year absence.

At the end of the 2013–14 season, Palace had secured 11th place in the Premier League. Although they had previously enjoyed four-year spells in the top flight under Bert Head (1969–1973) and Steve Coppell (1989–1993) and a two-year spell (1979–1981), this was the first time since the top division had been rebranded as the Premier League that Palace had survived beyond one season.

Ian Holloway had quit as manager in October, with the club having only taken three points from the first 8 games of the season. He was replaced by former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, who led the team to a remarkable run of results and subsequent safety achieved with three weeks of the season still remaining. Pulis then resigned just two days before the start of the 2014–15 season. Neil Warnock returned to the club for a second spell as manager on 27 August, after Palace had lost their first 2 league games under caretaker manager Keith Millen. However, Warnock was sacked by the club at Christmas after a poor run of results.

On 2 January 2015, former Palace player Alan Pardew was confirmed as the new manager, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract with the club after a compensation package of £3.5 million was agreed with Newcastle United.

Two days later, in his first match in charge, Palace won 4–0 away to Conference club Dover Athletic in the third round of the FA Cup.

Pardew then guided the club to comfortable mid-table safety and a third consecutive season in the Premier League. During the following season, Pardew led Palace to their first FA Cup Final for twenty-six years. Their opponents would be Manchester United again, who they lost to back in the 1990 final. But Palace would suffer disappointment again when they lost 2–1 after extra time.

On 22 December 2016, Pardew was sacked by the club for its poor run of results in the start of the 2016–17 campaign.

On 23 December 2016, Sam Allardyce was appointed as the new manager of the club under a two and a half year contract with immediate effect. On 26 December 2016, Allardyce took charge of his first match as manager of Crystal Palace against Watford, in which the result was a 1-1 draw.

After successfully keeping Palace in the Premier League, Allardyce resigned unexpectedly at the end of the season, citing a wish to spend time away from the game.

On 26th June 2017, Palace announced that Frank de Boer would be their new manager, on a 3 year deal. However after just 4 league games, and 77 days in charge, he was sacked on 11th September 2017.

Crystal Palace then appointed Roy Hodgson the following day, 12th September 2017 on a 2 year deal. On 18 May 2021, the club announced Hodgson would be leaving at the end of the 2020–21 season, upon the expiration of his contract. He achieved a fourteenth place finish in his last season at the club.

On 4 July 2021, Palace appointed the former Arsenal player Patrick Vieira as their new manager on a three-year contract. Vieira led the club to a twelfth-place finish and an FA Cup semi-final in his first full season. However, he was dismissed in March 2023 after a dismal winless run of 12 games, which had left the club in a relegation battle. On 21 March 2023, Roy Hodgson was re-appointed Palace manager until the end of the season.


  • First Division (level) 1
  • Third place: 1990–91

  • Second Division (level 2)
  • Champions (2): 1978–79, 1993–94
  • Runners up (1): 1968–69

  • Play Off winners (4): 1988–89, 1996–97, 2003–04, 2012–13
  • Runners up (1): 1995–96

  • Third Division (level 3)
  • Champions (1): 1920–21
  • Runners up (1): 1963–64

  • Third Division South (joint level 3 with Third Division North)
  • Runners up (3): 1928–29, 1930–31, 1938–39

  • Fourth Division (level 4)
  • Runners up (1): 1960–61

  • Southern Football League Division One
  • Runners up (1): 1913–14

  • Southern Football League Division Two
  • Champions (1): 1905–06

  • FA Cup
  • Finalists (1): 1990

  • London Challenge Cup
  • Winners (3): 1912–13, 1913–14, 1920–21

  • Full Members Cup
  • Winners (1): 1990–91