Roy Hodgson’s Eagles will take to the field for the first time in 2018/19 tomorrow when they head to Denmark to face off against FC Helsingør, but remarkably in Palace’s 113-year history, only two Danish players have represented the club – and none since 1969!
Ahead of his team’s first season in the top-flight in 1969/70, manager Bert Head was looking to strengthen his squad and went across the border to do so, bringing in Roger Hynd from Rangers, Gerry Queen from Kilmarnock and just after their 2-2 season opener against Manchester United, Per Bartram and Borge Thorup were recruited from Morton.
Head had previously signed John Loughlan and Tony Taylor from Morton to bolster the promotion bid, the two teams played a friendly at Selhurst Park where Head was persuaded to add the Danish duo to his ranks.
In those pre-EU days, being a footballer from another country presented its problems and both were granted a work permit as an alien, but it placed restrictions on their movements as they had to report regularly at a police station and confirm what they had been up to recently.
Bartram was the first to debut as a substitute at Sunderland on 20th August and then had a run of five games at centre-forward when both Cliff Jackson and Queen were absent, scoring in the 3-1 home victories over Stoke City and Cardiff City – the former coming against Gordon Banks, deemed to be the world’s best goalkeeper at the time.
When Head’s first-choice strike partnership returned, Bartram found himself sidelined but netted the Palace goal in a 5-1 home defeat by Arsenal and his 12th and final first-team appearance came in December 1969 against Coventry.
Having struggled initially with a knee cartilage injury, that would also be the month that Thorup [above, left] received his one and only Glaziers appearance which also came in a heavy home defeat. The full-back came on as a substitute when Chelsea ran out 5-1 victors on Boxing Day, in front of a then-Selhurst attendance record crowd of 49,498.
The Danes spent the rest of the season in the reserves, and with no first-team chances on the horizon they both departed back to Morton in 1970.
Bartram would later return to his first club Odense in his homeland, where he helped them win a league title and won his only full Danish cap in 1975, while Thorup, who had also been capped once back in 1965, would later settle in Scotland and become an operator on a ferry operator in the River Clyde.