Premier League football club, Crystal Palace FC has been in existence since 1905. The team has enjoyed being in the top flight of English football since 2013, when they were promoted from the Championship.
The club’s long history began after the owners of the Crystal Palace building – built in Hyde Park in London as a venue for the Great Exhibition of 1851 – needed to find a new use for the stunning cast-iron and plate-glass structure.
The exhibition of technology that developed during the Industrial Revolution attracted around 14,000 exhibitors and thousands of people to the site but after the exhibition ended, the building’s owners relied on income from tourism and they were looking for new ways of attracting people.
The Football Association decided that the Crystal Palace building would permanently house the FA Cup Final from 1895. As a result, the attraction’s owners decided to launch their own team – hence Crystal Palace FC was born. Records show there was an amateur Crystal Palace football team from 1861 to 1876 but this club wasn’t connected to today’s Crystal Palace.
The official launch date for Crystal Palace FC, whose nickname was ‘The Glaziers’, was 10th September 1905. They joined the southern football league in the second division with their first manager, former Middlesbrough boss John Robson. He brought a few players with him including Ted Birnie, a former Newcastle United captain. They lost only one match all season and won promotion to the southern league’s division one in 1906.
In 1920, the Football League invited the first division teams of the southern league to form a new national Third Division for the new season. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace purchased a former brickfield as the site for their new stadium – designed by architect Archibald Leitch and constructed by Messrs Humphreys of Knightsbridge, costing a total of £30,000. Selhurst Park was open in time for the start of 1924/25 season on 30th August 1924.
Some legendary players and managers have graced Crystal Palace over the years. The first player to become a club legend was Peter Simpson, who arrived in 1929. He was the club’s record goal scorer for five consecutive seasons, scoring a total of 165 senior goals.
The league structure was suspended during World War II but in the post-war years, manager Ronnie Rooke spent what was a huge amount in those days – almost £30,000 – on new players in 1950. Arthur Rowe was appointed manager in 1960 and his skilled tactics led Palace to five wins from the first seven matches. They finished second and won promotion that season.
Rowe’s squad broke many club records that season: they scored 110 goals in 46 league matches, 30 of which were scored by Johnny Byrne, who broke the previous record of 25 set by Roy Summersby. There was also a record club attendance of 37,774 when they played Millwall.
Terry Venables was appointed manager and led the team to promotion to the Second Division in 1977. The following season, Palace won the season’s final game against Burnley, claiming the Second Division title. During the summer transfer window in 1979, Mike Flanagan and Gerry Francis joined the club for record transfer fees.
In 2004, Palace was promoted to the top flight of English football, the Premier League, under manager Steve Kember but a series of ups and downs saw the club fall into administration in 2009, suffering a 10-point deduction. The club’s future was in doubt but at the eleventh hour, Selhurst Park was saved following urgent meetings with Lloyds Bank. George Burley was appointed manager.
This heralded a new era for the club and from the 2013/14 season until the present day, they have remained in the Premiership.
The Holmesdale Fanatics, a group of Palace supporters also known as the “ultras”, create fantastic displays at home games to keep the atmosphere lively. Banners and flags flying in the wind, singing, drumming and other organised celebrations are a common sight at the club – to such a degree that Crystal Palace often uses the Fanatics’ displays on its marketing material to promote the brand.
Selhurst Park is already famous for having one of the best atmospheres in the Premier League, with the Holmesdale and Main Road stands being the largest at the ground and the Whitehorse Lane stand boasting newly-refurbished executive boxes.
The club’s training ground in Beckenham – around 15 minutes away from Selhurst Park – enjoyed a refurbishment of its facilities, when Crown Sports Lockers was commissioned to supply and install new changing room lockers. Working in partnership with a top-flight football club such as Crystal Palace is further testament to the high-quality lockers that we provide and the reliability of our services. We’re proud to be associated with a club with such a long and prestigious history. For information on our complete range of locker room solutions, please contact us today.