Crystal Palace’s newly-released third kit is a special edition design that celebrates the club’s 160-year-old origins.
It is based on the colours and design worn by the first team from the Crystal Palace Club, with a sky blue and white half-and-half pattern and a range of subtle touches to commemorate our history.
Here’s what you need to know on the new third kit, celebrating 160 years of Crystal Palace.
In April 2020, Crystal Palace staked a claim to being the world's oldest league club in existence still playing professional football after new research uncovered archive material that found a direct connection to the team established in 1861, who were founder members of the Football Association, and today’s professional club, founded in 1905.
Historian Peter Manning showed how the Crystal Palace Company formed a cricket club in 1857 which then formed its own football club in 1861 to keep its cricketers fit in the winter months. This club went on to become founder members of the FA and played organised matches between 1862-1875.
Crystal Palace stopped playing organised football games in 1875 – likely due to the damage they caused the cricket pitch – but continued to play cricket. Football resumed in 1895 when the Crystal Palace Company built a stadium to host the FA Cup finals. The ground was also home to the revamped Crystal Palace Football Club but the amateur club’s friendlies failed to attract large enough crowds.
So a new limited company was set up to form a professional club in 1905 by the Crystal Palace Company, who retained enough shares to have a controlling interest. Without the Crystal Palace Company there would have been no Crystal Palace and no Crystal Palace Football club, either in 1861 or today. The Crystal Palace Football Club was always the team of the Crystal Palace with a lineage that continued from 1861 through to today’s Premier League side.
When the professional club published its first handbook in 1906, having joined Division 2 of the Southern League, it listed some of the internationals who had previously represented Crystal Palace, including Alex Morten in 1873 and Arthur Savage and Charles Eastlake Smith in 1876, showing that they recognised themselves as a continuation of the original amateur team.
Crystal Palace’s third kit was launched for the 160th anniversary of the club’s founding in 1861, and is based on the strips worn by the first ever team.
Manning explains that we don’t know the exact style and colours of the original kit as no photographs of the amateur team survive, but we do know the amateur team wore blue and white because Charles Alcock’s football annual – the primary source of information on Victorian football – stated so.
Why was this? The most logical reason is that the external ironwork of the Palace was “painted in such a way it almost blended in with the sky” making the Palace look as though it was entirely made of glass.
As to the configuration of the shirts, in Victorian times shirts were typically one of four styles: bars, hoops, stripes or half-and-half. Alcock would usually describe a club’s design if they were bars, hoops or stripes, but said nothing of Palace’s common approach – simply saying it was “blue and white”.
“If it was anything other than half and half it would have been mentioned,” Manning believes. Of course Alcock also had first-hand knowledge of the club’s shirts, having played for the club in the 1870s.
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This kit is covered in small, subtle touches paying homage to Crystal Palace’s history.
Perhaps most strikingly, the original Crystal Palace building is emblazoned across the front of the shirt, going from top to bottom much like the eagle does on the new away kit.
The club crest has also been modified to a blacked-out special edition, blending in smartly with the wider designs.
Then, on the back of the shirt, supporters will find a CPFC 1861 stamp and the black trim running across the collar and hems.
The 1861-inspired Crystal Palace third kit and Manning’s book, Palace At The Palace, are available online here now, and in-store in the three Club Shops.