Fittingly, as the club celebrates the 160th anniversary of its founding in 1861, Palace have again reached the FA Cup semi-final; as they did in 1872.
One-hundred-and-fifty years on from that very first cup run, historian and author Peter Manning, who proved the club’s links to the 19th century team, explains our role in knockout tournament history.
Supporters who have followed Palace’s history at their spiritual home, the Crystal Palace, will know they were one of the most important clubs of the time. They helped to found the FA in 1863 and took an active part in its management in the difficult early years.
Football in those days was an entirely amateur game and there were no football leagues, just local friendlies. In an attempt to broaden football’s appeal in July 1871, the dynamic FA secretary, Charles Alcock, proposed at an FA committee meeting that a “Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association.” This would become the world’s first national knockout cup competition now known as the FA Cup.
Alcock, who lived in West Dulwich and occasionally played for Crystal Palace, was a good friend of Palace captain Douglas Allport, who was a member of the FA committee. Allport was directly involved in the FA Cup’s founding, having been at the July 1871 meeting that approved it. That October he then proposed the establishment of a sub-committee to create the cup’s rules.