Crystal Palace Football Club was founded on 10th September 1905. To celebrate last week's 110 year anniversary, we will be reliving a key moment from the club's history each day until Sunday, continuing today with the opening of Selhurst Park in 1924.
On 30th August 1924, the Lord Mayor of London officially opened Selhurst Park just a few minutes before the teams ran out onto the pitch for the opening game of this Division Two season.
The club initially purchased the site in 1922 for £2,750, but the stadium was a further two years in the making – and even then some fittings were incomplete by the time Palace played their opening fixture at their new home against The Wednesday (who eventually became Sheffield Wednesday in 1929), which they lost 1-0. The newness of the corrugated iron surrounding the Main Stand was gleaming, rather like the current white cladding of today, while the other three sides of the ground were open terracing and banks.
The only new addition on the playing side at kick-off was goalkeeper Bill Harper, who had come in to replace the long-serving Jack Alderson after he failed to agree a new contract that summer. The debutant glovesman had the unfortunate task of conceding the only goal of the game after just four minutes in front of a crowd of around 25,000 spectators, well above the capacity of our previous ground, The Nest.
Two weeks later, on 13th September, Cecil Blakemore had the honour of scoring Palace’s first goal at Selhurst Park in a 1-0 victory over Hull City. From that point until December, the team easily held its own in the top half of the table, with the highlights from this period coming in the form of home victories over table-topping Derby on 1st November and a 4-1 win over Bradford City a fortnight later, which featured the first ever Selhurst Park hat-trick, scored by George Whitworth. That memorable afternoon also saw Palace move up to fourth in the Division Two table.
With thanks to Ian King for providing information for this article.