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Premier League Palace: 1992/93

15 June 2013


Crystal Palace sealed their place among the founding 22 members of the newly formed FA Premier League, after finishing 10th in the 1991/92 First Division. 

But it was to prove a difficult summer ahead of the first ever Premier League season, with the Eagles’ star strikers, Ian Wright and Mark Bright, both departing SE25 before the end of September. 

Wright joined Arsenal for what was then a club record £2.5m fee, while Bright, who had scored 22 goals in all competitions the previous season, left for UEFA Cup qualifiers Sheffield Wednesday seven games into the 1992/93 campaign.

A disappointing start to the season results-wise, with no wins in eight, began with a six-goal thriller on the opening day. Bright scored his final goal for the Eagles in a breathless 3-3 draw with Blackburn at Selhurst Park – in a game that saw Alan Shearer announce his Premier League arrival with a stunning brace. But a late equaliser from Simon Rodger deprived Rovers of all three points.

Palace would go on to share the spoils in their next three league games, as trips to Oldham and Tottenham finished honours even, before their return to SE25 ended in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. But defeats to Norwich, Manchester United and Aston Villa followed, as Palace found themselves scrapping for points at the wrong end of the table. 

New signing Chris Armstrong, who joined the club from Millwall, bagged his first two goals in the red and blue shirt in the return game against Oldham, as both sides were again left to settle for a point. 

And Armstrong repeated the feat a week later, on 19th September 1992, as the Eagles won a Premier League match for the first time, defeating Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park. Another eight game winless streak was to follow though, as Palace became embroiled in a relegation dogfight. 

Defeat at home to fellow strugglers Southampton set the tone for the dismal spell, which also included a 1-1 stalemate at home to bottom of the table Nottingham Forest and a 5-0 drubbing at Anfield at the end of November. 



The Eagles’ fortunes changed rapidly in December though, as Steve Coppell’s men won all five games during the month to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer to SE25.

Armstrong was again on target as Palace ended their winless run with victory against Sheffield United, before a second away triumph of the season came at QPR the following week. 

Home victories over Leeds and Wimbledon followed, before a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough lifted Palace up to what would prove to be a season-high 15th place. 

The New Year started with defeat to third-from-bottom Everton at Selhurst Park, as Palace were dragged back into the relegation mire. 

Losses followed at Southampton and Norwich, before another home defeat against Tottenham left the Eagles struggling in 20th place at the end of January.
 
They got back to winning ways with a surprise victory at European-chasing Blackburn, as Chris Armstrong and Simon Rodger got the goals in a 2-1 triumph. And they defied the odds again as second-placed Aston Villa were beaten at Selhurst Park.

That was to prove their last win for six weeks, as a run of four matches without a victory began with defeat at Mark Bright’s new employers Sheffield Wednesday. 

That was backed up by three consecutive draws, including a 1-1 stalemate at the Premier League’s bottom club, Nottingham Forest, which did little to aid either side’s survival hopes. 

Palace moved back up to 17th after a Chris Coleman goal gave Coppell’s men a crucial 1-0 win at Sheffield United in mid-March, as they looked to pull away from danger. But that was to prove their final away victory of the season – a statistic that would ultimately cost them their Premier League place.

 

The Eagles’ home form continued to be relatively solid, taking points from top half sides Liverpool and QPR, before thrashing Middlesbrough 4-1. 

But a 4-0 reverse against Wimbledon and a 0-0 draw at Leeds, followed by a 2-0 defeat at home to league leaders Manchester United during April, left Palace looking nervously over their shoulders with three games to play in May. 

A 3-1 win over Ipswich looked to have secured top flight football at SE25 for another season, but no one had banked on Oldham Athletic’s stunning finish to the season. 

Joe Royle’s men took all three points as they shocked title-contenders Aston Villa at Villa Park, before edging out Liverpool in a five-goal thriller to set up a tense final day. 

Another high scoring encounter at Boundary Park saw Oldham beat Southampton 4-3, despite a magnificent hat-trick by Matt Le Tissier for the visitors.

Ironically, it was former Palace hero Ian Wright who helped seal his former club’s fate, scoring the opening goal for Arsenal at Highbury as Steve Coppell’s side slumped to a 3-0 final day defeat – and were relegated from the Premier League on goal difference. 

Palace’s 49 points from 42 games remains the joint-highest total of any club ever to have been relegated from the top flight of English football. But it was not enough to convince Steve Coppell to remain in SE25, as he resigned as manager of the club he had taken to the FA Cup Final just three years earlier. 

His former right-hand man, Alan Smith, was named as his successor at Selhurst Park, as the Eagles looked to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. 


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