In 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. Some years later the owners, who were reliant on tourist activity for their income, sought fresh attractions for the venue, and decided to form their own football team to play at the Palace stadium. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, but they had disappeared from historical records around 1876. The owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Although the Football Association disliked the idea of the owners of the Cup Final venue also possessing their own football team and initially rejected their proposal, a separate company was established to form and own the club.
Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed “The Glaziers”, was 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 was 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.
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.
Palace has had several periods competing in the top level of English football. They enjoyed a successful period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during which the club achieved its highest ever league finish of third place in the top division in 1990–91, and were only denied a place in Europe because of the partial UEFA ban on English clubs at that time following the Heysel Stadium disaster. The club were also one of the original founding members of the Premier League. Palace has reached two FA Cup finals, finishing runners-up to Manchester United on both occasions in 1990 and 2016.
The club’s traditional kit colours were originally claret and blue, but in 1973 they decided to change to the red and blue vertical stripes now worn today. At the same time the current nickname of the Eagles was established as Malcolm Allison took over. Allison’s Eagles also played under a new team crest as the club was reinvented to some extent.
Our home record against Palace is formidable –
Of our remaining fixtures this game should be our easiest; Palace have only beaten us once at home in the EPL and I fully expect Arsenal to win again. (though it’s always wise not to count your chickens before they hatch, especially at Easter)