Indeed, only nine players in Palace’s storied history have ever scored 100 or more goals for the club: Simpson (165), Smith (124), Ian Wright (118), Mark Bright and Clinton Morrison (both 113), Dougie Freedman (108), George Clarke (106) and, for Palace Women, Gemma Bryan (104).
But it is Scottish striker Simpson – born on this day (13th November, 1904) 119 years ago – who holds the club record, notching 165 goals in 195 appearances in just six years between 1929 and 1935, an eye-catching ratio of 0.85 goals per game.
What’s more, Simpson not only holds the record total in a single season (46 goals in 1930/31), but also for most goals in a single game: six against Exeter City, a feat achieved in October 1930.
The record haul arrived a mere two years into the Leith-born forward’s career with the Glaziers, Simpson having moved to English football in 1926/27 after the national General Strike caused severe financial implications for his Edinburgh-based club St Bernard’s, prompting a switch to non-league Kettering Town.
It was there that Simpson caught the eye came to the attentions of Palace supporters and management, facing the Glaziers – then in Division Three South – in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1928.
Although he failed to find the net – being well-marshalled by another Palace great of the era, centre-half Jimmy Wilde – his talent was apparent enough for manager Fred Mavin to recruit him the following summer after missing out on promotion on goal average.
Simpson’s impact was almost immediate, the striker introduced in the fifth match of 1929/30 – and promptly dispatching Norwich City 3-2 with a debut hat-trick at Selhurst Park.
It was a sign of things to come. Simpson scored five times in his next six games and, by the end of the season, had 36 goals in 34 Palace games to his name, topping the division’s scoring charts – always able to find that extra half-yard of space or gusto to beat an opponent.
His game reached new heights in 1930/31 as Palace recovered from a slow start – in which he still scored nine times in the opening eight matches of the season – to mount a promotion push in the latter half of the season.