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Crystal Palace FC

Crystal Palace FC Information

Address:   Selhurst Park, LONDON. SE25 6PU
Telephone: (020) 8768 6000
Fax: (020) 8771 5311
Founded: 1905
Stadium: Selhurst Park
Website: www.cpfc.co.uk

Crystal Palace FC History

Crystal Palace Football Club is a football club playing in the FA Premier League, based in London.

Crystal Palace was formed in 1905, with its headquarters at The Crystal Palace in Sydenham. The team played in the Southern League until 1920, when they were promoted to Division Three of the Football League.

The club was forced to relocate from their original headquarters in 1918, and eventually settled at their present home, Selhurst Park, in 1924.

Nicknamed "The Glaziers" - a reference to their original home in the shadow of Joseph Paxton's enormous glass exhibition hall - Palace remained in the lower divisions of the Football League until the 1960s. One of the most loved players of those days was Johnny Byrne (deceased) who had the distinction of being the first player from the old division four to play for England. By 1969, the club was a member of the First Division.

Unfortunately, the only constant in the life of a Palace fan is change, and "The Eagles" - as they became known - plummetted back to the Third Division in the early 1970s. Though FA Cup glory beckoned for a while, it wasn't until the arrival of former Chelsea star Terry Venables as manager that Palace's fortunes took a change for the better. Venables took the team back up to Division One for two seasons from 1979 to 1981, before leaving for more glamorous shores than Selhurst could offer.

In 1981, Ron Noades became chairman of Crystal Palace - now no longer the "team of the Eighties" and suffering dwindling support and mounting debts. Noades appointed another former top flight player, Steve Coppell as manager in 1984. Coppell and Noades began rebuilding the team and the club, and over the next seven years, Palace enjoyed mounting success and a growing reputation for nurturing intelligent, skilful young players such as Ian Wright, Mark Bright, Chris Coleman, Andy Gray, Nigel Martyn, Gareth Southgate and John Salako. The Wright/Bright partnership up front was instrumental in taking Palace to the 1990 FA Cup Final and holding the overwhelming favourites Manchester United to a draw. The replay resulted in yet another win for Manchester United.

Cup glory followed in 1991, when the Eagles won the ZDS Cup. Injuries, selloffs and transfers over the next couple of years culminated in former Holmesdale End favourite Ian Wright scoring the winning goal for Arsenal on the last day of the 1992/93 season.

While Palace managed to maintain a toehold in the Nationwide First Division - occasionally moving up into the new Premier League (and then straight back down again in 1995, up again in 1997, back down again almost as quickly), the club was bedevilled by financial difficulties and frequent coaching staff changes during the 1990s.

Following vociferous calls for change and much wrangling, Noades sold the club to Mark Goldberg in 1998. Under the new chairman, Terry Venables returned to manage the coaching team. However, the club's fortunes took yet another turn for the worse, and by the end of the season, Venables had gone (to be replaced by Coppell - again) and the club was in administration. Despite dire financial straits and the enforced sale of many of its established stars, Palace's young team battled on to retain a respectable finishing position in Division One.

Former mobile phone tycoon and lifelong fan Simon Jordan took over the club from the administrators in July 2000. Jordan replaced Coppell with former manager Alan Smith, and supporters looked forward to a new era. Unfortunately, it was not to be and Palace just about retained their place in the First Division.

Former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce was appointed manager in 2001 and things looked quite good again for about six months, as Palace fought their way into the upper half of Division One. Then Bruce resigned to take up the manager's job at Birmingham City. In a bizarre jobswap, former Birmingham City manager Trevor Francis took over at Selhurst Park, and Palace struggled on as usual. Once again FA Cup glory beckoned, but the Eagles lost out to Venables' Leeds United in the fifth round.

The 2002/03 season saw former Palace star Steve Kember put on the manager's sheepskin jacket once again, following on from his last-minute caretaker's appointment after Francis's departure. A run of desperately mediocre luck also saw Palace slip to 19th place in Division One and the departure of Kember. However, the team's fortunes revived dramatically halfway through the 2003-04 season when Iain Dowie, another former player, took over as manager, and from relegation candidates at Christmas, Palace soared into the play-off positions in April. On the final day of the season, Sunday 9th May, Palace only needed to draw at Coventry to ensure their play-off place, but they were beaten 2-1 and looked to be heading out of the play-offs until a 90th-minute equaliser by West Ham against Wigan deprived the Lancashire club of two points and secured sixth place for Palace.

Palace achieved a 3-2 victory against Sunderland in the first leg of the play-off semi-final at Selhurst Park on Friday 14th May. In the second leg at the Stadium of Light, Palace dominated most of the first half and had achieved the very rare feat for a southern club of almost completely silencing north-east supporters. However, two goals for Sunderland at the end of the first half, much against the run of play, looked to have taken them through until Palace, who had squandered many chances during the second half as well as the first, equalised through defender Darren Powell in the final minute. The aggregate score was now 4-4 - under the away goals rule Sunderland would still have won, but that rule does not operate in the play-offs so after a goalless period of extra time, when a demoralised Sunderland did not have a single shot on goal and Palace to a lesser extent were also playing for penalties, it went to a shoot-out. The lead and the impetus in the shoot-out changed hands several times, with a succession of penalty saves after it had gone to sudden death - after Sunderland goalkeeper Mart Poom had saved two penalties which would have won it for Palace, Sunderland's Jeff Whitley "shot" one of the weakest and least powerful penalties ever seen in such an important match, and Michael Hughes then scored the winning penalty for Palace.

Crystal Palace played West Ham United in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday 29th May 2004 and won the game 1-0, with a goal from captain Neil Shipperley that was enough for them to claim the match, and with it a place in the Premiership.

Due to a production error at Diadora's factory in Romania, Crystal Palace's Replica Kit for 2004 was misprinted with "Chrystal Palace" on the Quality Control label.

Famous fans include the musician Captain Sensible, the comedian Eddie Izzard, the comedian Sean Hughes and Mark Holland of Shadyside FC fame.

Most famous manager

The most famous manager of Crystal Palace Football Club is Steve Coppell (born at Birkenhead in 1955). He had proved himself as a successful player with Manchester United before being forced into retirement by a knee injury at the age of 28. In May 1984, aged 29, he was appointed manager of Crystal Palace who were at the time a struggling side in the old Second Division. Within a few seasons he had transformed the clubs fortunes and a high quality set of players including Ian Wright, Eric Young, John Salako, Mark Bright and Alan Pardew had guided the club to victory in the 1988-89 Second Division promotion playoffs. This meant that Palace would be returning to the top division for the 1989-90 season, after eight seasons in the division below.

The 1989-90 season saw Crystal Palace reach their first and only F.A Cup final to date. In the semi finals they secured a shock 3-2 win over league champions Liverpool to secure a place in the final against Manchester United. The first game was a 3-3 draw, in which Palace's Ian Wright scored twice. But in the replay five days later, a Lee Martin goal saw Manchester United lift the trophy and the Palace players were forced to settle for runners-up medals. The following season, 1990-91, saw Crystal Palace secure a club record third place finish in the league and qualify for European competition (UEFA Cup) for the very first time. But key striker Ian Wright was sold to Arsenal for 2.5million during the 1991-92 season, and Steve Coppell quit as Palace manager in May 1993 after their relegation from the inaugural Premier League. He took a seat on the club's board and handed team affairs over to assistant manager Alan Smith.

By the time Steve Coppell began his second spell as manager in August 1995, Crystal Palace had been promoted back to the Premiership and gone back down to Division One again. But he was unsuccessful in mounting a promotion challenge and quit the club in February 1996, handing over the reins to ex Sheffield United manager David Bassett - who helped the club reach the playoffs, although they lost in the final to Leicester City.

For 54 days in the autumn of 1996, Coppell was manager of Manchester City. The Maine Road club had just been relegated to Division One and Coppell seemed to be looking forward to mounting a promotion challenge for a Premiership place. But after 2 months at the helm he handed in his resignation, claiming he couldn't cope with the pressures of the job.

In March 1997, Steve Coppell became manager of Crystal Palace for the third time in 13 years. The club was well on course for the Division One playoffs and they beat Sheffield United in the final to secure a Premiership place. But the 1997-98 season saw Palace relegated from the Premiership with just two home Premiership wins, and Coppell was again 'moved upstairs'. This time team affairs were placed under the responsibility of Terry Venables, with new owner Mark Goldberg hopeful of transforming Palace into a European force by 2003.

Coppell was appointed Crystal Palace manager for the fourth time in February 1999, by which time the club was struggling in Division One with massive debts following Mark Goldberg's withdrawal of investment in the club. At one point it looked as though Palace would go out of business - less than a decade after they had reached the F.A Cup final and played in European competition. But Palace were rescued by new owner Simon Jordon and Coppell secured the club's Division One survival for two seasons until he finally left the club in June 2000.

In June 2001, Steve Coppell returned to management with Division Two Brentford, now controlled by former Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades. They narrowly missed out on an automatic promotion place and lost to Stoke City in the playoffs. Coppell handed in his resignation within days of Brentford's failure to win promotion.

Steve Coppell was named as the new manager of Brighton and Hove Albion in October 2002, faced with the challenge of rejuvenating a club which was bottom of Division One with 10 defeats from 12 league games. He gradually improved the club's league form and although the great escape eventually proved beyond them, he at least kept their survival hopes alive until the very last game of the season - when their relegation to Division Two was confirmed.

Since October 2003, Steve Coppell has been manager of Reading who are currently well placed for a playoff place in the new Coca Cola League Championship.

Crystal Palace FC Honours, Trophies & Awards


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