Crystal Palace have today launched a new special edition third kit which celebrates the origins of the club 160 years ago.
The sky blue and white half and half shirt is based on the colours and design worn by the first ever team from the Crystal Palace Club, which was set up by cricketers who wanted to keep fit during the winter months.
The CPFC 1861 logo on the back of the shirt recognises the club’s pivotal role in developing modern football as the oldest league club in existence still playing professional football.
The club was only the second organised football team to be set up in London and, after playing its first official game the following March, seven of its members were involved in founding the Football Association in 1863 and agreeing the rules of the sport, as documented in the original FA minutes book.
In 1871 it played an important role in establishing the FA Cup, football’s oldest cup competition, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Also featured on the shirt is a silhouette of the original Crystal Palace, the giant cast-iron and glass structure which was moved to Sydenham after hosting the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. The 200-acre site was owned and operated by the Crystal Palace Company, which set up the cricket club in 1857, from which the football team was born. It played in blue and white as a nod to the colours of the Crystal Palace. A special edition blackout crest features on the shirt and shorts.
Crystal Palace’s place in footballing history emerged after five years of research by historian Peter Manning, who established the unbroken connection between the original amateur team and the professional club founded in 1905.
Although the team stopped playing matches for several years in the late 19th century, the professional club’s 1906 handbook acknowledged its historical links to the amateur club, proudly listing some of its early amateur England internationals from the 1870s.
Peter Manning said: “The Crystal Palace football team that played under that name at the Crystal Palace started off as an amateur team in blue and white and eventually became the professional team, owned by the Crystal Palace Company, playing in red and blue in 1905. The football club, Crystal Palace and Crystal Palace Company are all part of the same DNA.
“Charles Alcock’s football annual, which is a valuable primary source, listed the club’s colours as blue and white and if you look at old colour prints of the Crystal Palace at the time, they show the iron work painted in a light blue and white. Some of the written descriptions of the Crystal Palace say that it was painted in such a way it almost blended in with the sky.”
Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish said: “As a lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace, I was proud to discover that our history dates all the way back to the Victorian cricketers of 1861 and that we played a central role in the very first FA meetings, which shaped the game we all love. I am delighted that we are finally recognising our unique history in this very special 1861-inspired kit”.
The historic kit will be worn for the first time in tomorrow’s pre-season friendly against Charlton Athletic at Selhurst Park (6pm kick-off with tickets available, and live on Palace TV+).
The 1861-inspired Crystal Palace third kit is available now online here, and in-store in the three Club Shops from 9am on Tuesday, 27th July.