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Everything you might have missed from Palace's 1861 claim

21 April 2020

Crystal Palace has outlined its claim as the world's oldest football club still playing professionally after comprehensive evidence uncovered links between the professional side from 1905 and the amateur club founded in 1861.

If you missed out on the announcement, or want to find out more about the club's near-160-year heritage, we've rounded up all you need to know and more below.

The world's oldest professional football club

That's right, the Crystal Palace known today has a strong lineage to the Crystal Palace founded in 1861, making the club the oldest professional outfit in the world.

While the majority of football fans believe Palace were founded in 1905, new evidence from independent historian Peter Manning suggests otherwise.

You can read the argument in full by clicking here, and check out the timeline below for the quick-fire key points.

Timeline 1861.jpg

Crystal Palace has a central place in modern football history

Crystal Palace were founding members of the Football Association in 1863, with representative Frank Day attending its inaugural meeting. Crystal Palace was one of the core clubs that pushed through the association football rules against stiff opposition from the Rugby clubs, sending more delegates to the six inaugural meetings than any other club.

Palace provided three players for the first official match to be played under the new association football rules in Battersea Park in January 1864, a 14-a-side game between the President’s team and the Secretary’s team. Palace’s first reported game under the new rules was a 2-1 defeat to Barnes on 27th February 1864.

Later, in 1871, Crystal Palace’s captain Douglas Allport was closely involved in the inauguration of the FA Cup, proposing an FA sub-committee that drafted the rules for the cup competition; he was also one of three FA members who selected and bought the first trophy. Crystal Palace played in the first ever round of the FA Cup – the only surviving league club to have done so – reaching the semi-finals in 1872.

Another unique part of footballing history where Crystal Palace becomes significant can be seen below, with the club being awarded what is believed to be the oldest association football club trophy in existence - dating back to 1873/74.

1873 trophy (2).jpg

You won't recognise our first kit

The club's original colours are thought to mirror the colours of the Crystal Palace itself: light blue and white, which, for Victorian times, was a bold combination.

The two colours became closely associated with the Palace and were eventually fondly regarded aspects. 

1861 Kit.jpg

The first recorded description of Crystal Palace's football strip comes from Charles Alcock's football annual: a "blue and white jersey with blue serge knickerbockers and stockings."

The unique pattern of the jersey was, in fact, common for the time - with teams wearing uneven 'quarters' and sleeves in opposing colours.

We took a while to get going

Eleven games, to be precise. Crystal Palace didn't record a win until 4th March, 1864 - almost exactly two years after their first match. Eventually, Barnes were the south Londoners' first scalp - with Palace ending their meeting as 2-1 victors.

You can find a fuller record of Crystal Palace's earliest matches by clicking here and, below, check out the teams from our first game: a clash with Forest F.C. in 1862.

1861 teamsheet latest.jpg

Famous names

There were a range of famous faces involved in the club's earliest years, including cricket icon W.G. Grace, writer, politician and sportsman C.B. Fry, and members of the Lloyds family who owned the centuries-old bank bearing their name. 

Cricket fans and history buffs, you can read all about Grace's involvement here.

We recognised our heritage back in 1906

It's not just recently that Palace has recognised its 19th-century lineage, with the club publishing a direct link as early as 1906.

In its first handbook, Palace listed its former amateur internationals - who all played between 1873-76: A.Morton (England v Scotland, 1873), A.H. Savage and C.E. Smith (both England v Scotland, 1876).

There is also a variety of slightly dated 'tips' for supporters, players and officials alike: including "Get rid of the ball at once is naturally the best advice that can be given to a goal-keeper," and "Spectators always be loyal to your favourites and ring out encouraging cheers, but do not fail to cheer good play by the opposing side."

You can read all of the 114-year-old tips here.

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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