Here’s an overview about the rivalry's significance and how it led up to the play-off semi-final.
Please note, there are some minor spoilers in the below. If you don't know Palace's story fully and haven't watched When Eagles Dare yet, find out how you can here!
Given the near 50-mile gap between the two clubs, Palace v Brighton is unlike a traditional rivalry between clubs in close proximity to one another. Instead the animosity stems from events that occurred in the mid-1970s between Terry Venables, then-Palace manager, and Alan Mullery, then-manager of Brighton.
In the 1976/77 season the clubs faced each other five times, twice in the Third Division and three times in the FA Cup. The third and final FA Cup tie occurred at Stamford Bridge due to the first two cup games being drawn.
Palace won the tie 1-0 under controversial circumstances as Brighton missed a penalty in the dying moments. Tensions boiled over at full-time as Mullery infamously gestured to the Palace fans before allegedly throwing some coins at the ground and claiming ‘that’s all Crystal Palace are worth!’
From that moment on, the rivalry as we know it today was born. There had been some notable moments along the way since that FA Cup clash, including Palace usurping Brighton at the top of the Second Division on the final day of the 1978/79 season in front of a record crowd at Selhurst Park.
Mullery even had a short-lived stint as Eagles manager from 1982-1984, but what may seem even more surreal is the match the two teams played in 1989, where there were five penalties awarded in 27 minutes. Palace emerged 2-1 winners in that game and ultimately secured promotion via the play-offs that season.
The two clubs only had a few more matches before meeting again after the turn of the 21st century. Andrew Johnson scored a hat-trick in a famous 5-0 win over the Seagulls in 2002, and in 2011 former Brighton striker Glenn Murray netted for the Eagles in a 3-1 win to condemn his former club to their first defeat at their new stadium in 2011.
This rivalry perhaps reached a second peak in the play-off semi-finals, which you can see unfold in the fourth episode of When Eagles Dare. The first-leg was contested at Selhurst Park, ending 0-0 and being overshadowed by a serious injury to Murray.
“I didn’t even know it was a rivalry, but obviously I know about the history now!” explains Kevin Phillips in the fourth episode.
“The fans always let you know how they feel about those games,” Julian Speroni added.
With Palace up against it ahead of the semi-final second-leg, what happened next goes down in history thanks to Palace icon Wilfried Zaha.