Roy Hodgson and his Palace squad head to Scandinavia this week as their pre-season preparations step up a notch, with friendlies scheduled against Danish side Helsingor and Halmstads of Sweden – a country the Eagles have a long history with.
It stretches back over a century to May 1914 when Palace played two games against Gothenburg, claiming 3-1 and 4-1 victories, but there would be a gap of 40 years until the Glaziers faced Swedish opposition again when Esbjerg came to Selhurst Park in December 1954 as one of a number of clubs entertained in floodlit friendlies at the time.
The next venture to Sweden was in the summer of 1973 to take part in the July Cup alongside Sheffield Wednesday and four Swedish clubs divided into two groups. Manager Malcolm Allison chose to take 13 senior players and six from the junior ranks, including Jim Cannon, Paul Hinshelwood and David Swindlehurst.
Based for two weeks in the mountains above Stockholm, Palace won the competition with a victory over Vӓsterhaninge while a similar trip took place the following year on a smaller scale with the Eagles unbeaten in three encounters with Helsingborg, IF Saab and IFK Noorköping.
Scandinavia then became a familiar destination for pre-season training as Sandvikens IF and IK Sirius were faced again in 1978, producing an aggregate score of 11-1 in Palace’s favour that also marked the first games for new boy Mike Elwiss. Two years later it was even better as another four games produced 20 goals without reply.
Moving into the eighties, Gothenburg visited Selhurst for a friendly as practice for a forthcoming UEFA Cup game in February 1982, but later in the decade Steve Coppell appreciated the benefit of visits to Scandinavia as the club travelled over there for six successive years between 1987 and 1992.
These encounters not only provided opportunities to see new players but also produced some high-scoring feats by the Eagles. The first of these trips saw Geoff Thomas and Neil Redfearn in Palace shirts for the first time while Mark Bright bagged five goals in an 8-0 victory over IF. A year later four games were played in Sweden when Dave Madden made his bow and Vӓsterhaninge were defeated 9-0.
The 1989 trip brought added drama, when during a game against Vederslöv Dӓnningelanda a thunderstorm broke and play was halted for 15 minutes after an official holding a microphone was struck by lightning. Fortunately, he was quickly taken to hospital where he recovered and the Eagles went on to win 5-1.
In the 1990s players making their Eagles debuts in Sweden first time included John Humphreys and Glyn Hodges in 1990, when 36 goals were scored over the six games, and Chris Coleman in 1991. The following year, injuries struck so badly that in the final game against Bankeryd, Coppell only had nine fit players towards the end and was forced to name goalkeeper Andy Woodman as an outfield player, who ended up scoring one of the 11 goals during another rout.
Following a final tour to the region in 1996 when just one fixture was held in Sweden, the only meetings with Swedish clubs were in November 1997 and July 2007 when IFK Gothenburg were again our hosts, the latter year also including a game against Oddevald.