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Kit or Miss: Reviewing Palace's standout shirt from 97/98

30 January 2021

In every matchday programme, we review some of the best - and worst - Crystal Palace kits ever produced.

As the Club Shop launches its huge kit sale, look back to one of the most eye-catching strips in history: 1997/98 away.

What a season. If points were awarded for sartorial brilliance in ’98, Crystal Palace could have finished at least second bottom, if not third.

Mirroring the iconic home strip between ’96-98 (see programme v Liverpool), the 97/98 away kit was a design for the ages – the insanity of adidas’ late ‘90s design team blended with Palace’s inherently bold style and that oh so handsome shield.

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On paper, it shouldn’t work. A yellow background with a blue band and haphazard red touches screams headache like six pints of Stella at a Manowar concert.

We can only imagine the planning meeting before this creation came to glorious life. But we’re glad it happened, and, perhaps barring the early ‘90s, it’s hard to pick out a home and away kit both so excellently designed and with such satisfying synergy.

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What we like: This has got to be the only Palace kit in history to get away with such obnoxious yellow and red. Well handled.

Even better if: The predominantly blue shorts feel like a bit of a cop-out. Could Palace have gone full yellow? Possibly.

Wore it best: Bruce Dyer.

Story of the season: 97/98 saw Palace playing comfortably in mid-table until Christmas dawned. Then, with financial unrest behind the scenes, Steve Coppell’s star-studded squad lost their momentum and collected just three league wins from 24th November onwards.

Management changed from Coppell to talisman Attilio Lombardo, but the Italy international was unable to prevent relegation, and Ray Lewington was left to see out the season in the dugout.

Undoubtedly, this season’s kits provided fans with their highlights.

The finest hour: An away-day draw with FA Cup and league champions, Arsenal, in front of nearly 40,000 at Highbury. This 0-0 clash came at the heart of Palace’s bleakest period as the Eagles were winless in 11 games.

Palace stunned the rampant north Londoners to threaten their eventual double-winning celebrations, but back in the home kit 10 days later, lost 2-1.

Where are they now? The club’s desire to blend yellow with red took a back seat from this garish kit until recent years, when red became a subtle touch on away strips in 2012/13 and 16/17. In similar fashion, yellow complemented redder home kits in 12/13, 13/14 and 18/19.

Buyers’ guide: This shirt is easier to buy than you’d imagine, but it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, many of the stand-out, more unique products from the late ‘90s can be found online if you’re willing to splash out up to £100. Beware, though, this particular shirt is listed on a lot of sites without being in stock.

But don’t be disheartened, plenty of shorts from this era seem to be floating around on eBay, if that’s your thing.

Add to your collection with our eye-catching range of 20/21 kits in our HUGE kit sale here!

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