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Crystal Palace's first official handbook from the 1906/07 season

21 April 2020

With clear lineage to the 1861 side set-up by the Crystal Palace Company, Crystal Palace Football Club can claim to be the world's oldest club still playing professionally.

Despite popular belief today, in 1905 Crystal Palace entered its debut season in the Football League system with over 40 years' of experience as a football club.

Below is some interesting, amusing and still-relevant-today advice from the club's first official handbook for players, supporters and match officials from the 1906/07 season.

  • Referees do your best to have the matches started punctually at the time appointed.
  • Players remember that you are paid to play. Be loyal to your club and supporters.
  • Spectators please put away the idea that your admission ticket entitles you to own the ground.
  • Players remember that it is impossible for a Referee to hope to please everybody. Remember his difficult position and do not make it more so.
  • "How's that?" can not in any way be taken as an appeal.
  • Holding includes the obstruction of a player by the hand or any part of the arm extended from the body.
  • Let the Referee give "hands" on his own initiative.
  • The only time a player may be charged in the back is when he is facing his own goal and at the same time intentionally impeding an opponent.
  • Under no circumstances whatever must a player push an opponent with his hands or arms. Using the knee against an opponent is a most dangerous practice and should be severely punished.
  • Players cover your goal-keeper as much as possible.
  • Spectators always be loyal to your favourites and ring out encouraging cheers, but do not fail to cheer good play by the opposing side. Don't despair of your chosen club because of a defeat. Don't blame the referee for every defeat.
  • Get rid of the ball at once is naturally the best advice that can be given to a goal-keeper.
  • Referees are to refuse to sanction play if danger is likely to accrue to players from the state of the ground. As to the weather, they must use their own judgment, but not needlessly spoil sport.
  • Play a gentlemanly game. Don’t allow yourself to lose your temper. Don't “talk." When you do claim say what for and not shout out "foul" which may mean one of a dozen offences. If "hands" say "hands," and so on. The Referee then knows what you want.
  • Don't stop at home when the team goes away. They want your support more than ever when on opponent's ground.
  • Let visitors go away with the impression that the Crystal Palace crowd are good sportsmen.
  • Whether at home or away, don't forget to shout "Play up, Glaziers!''

READ NEXT: Crystal Palace: The world's oldest professional association football club

The handbook also included a list of the club's former amateur internationals, who had represented England while with Palace before 1905. They included: A.Morton (England v Scotland, 1873), A.H. Savage and C.E. Smith (both England v Scotland, 1876). This inclusion shows that Crystal Palace as a professional club recognised its lineage to the team founded in 1861.

With thanks to Peter Manning for the information used above. His book 'Palace at the Palace' can be purchased via Amazon


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