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Palace in the Attic uncovers player contract from 1937

6 May 2020

The latest remarkable find from our Palace in the Attic campaign comes from our Club Historian, Ian King, who owns an original player contract from 1937.

The forms are for Harvey Pritchard, a player who had represented England against Scotland at Junior level before he joined from Coventry City for a “nominal sum.”

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Ian cannot remember how much he paid for the item several years ago but had to own the artefact as “it is hardly something I had ever seen and I thought: ‘No matter who the player is, it will be fascinating to read.’”

Interestingly, it appears to be a standard contract that you’d give to any Crystal Palace player at the time, with just minor bits of admin to be filled in such as the player’s name and address.

Amusingly, Ian points out that written within the contract is perhaps something that you’d assume wouldn’t have needed to be put into words: “The player agrees to play in an efficient manner and to the best of his ability for the club.”

Pritchard joined as a 19-year-old in the summer of 1937 and was with the club for just nine months, playing in every one of the 35 league and cup games – scoring eight goals in the process – from either the left of right-wing.

Those performances would’ve earned the winger a nice sum with terms and conditions of his contract stating that he would receive a £1.10-shilling bonus when playing for the first-team, on top of his £5.10-shilling basic.

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Matchday programmes that Ian has from the time offer further information on our former player. In each programme in the 1937/38 season there was a segment titled ‘A Palace Personality’ and Pritchard was described in one from November, 1937 as “a young, natural player who should have a big future. He only needs experience to place him in the top class.”

The spell with Palace was short lived due to Pritchard’s form catching the attention of Manchester City, and further documents Ian has suggested Palace made a significant profit with Pritchard moving on for “a sizeable fee” in March, 1938.

Pritchard would go on to make a total of 22 league appearances for City in the 1938/39 season before the outbreak of war curtailed the campaign. After the war Pritchard returned to football and joined Southend United in February, 1947 when he was 29.

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