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Crystal palace

      Meet Brazilian club based on Palace – despite no connection


      With a population no larger than a half-full Selhurst, you wouldn’t expect to find a Crystal Palace connection in Cruz do Espírito Santo, a small village on the eastern tip of Brazil’s nose.

      There are 4,500 miles between SE25 and the Estadio Municipal O Carneirão, but there play footballers wearing a quasi-Palace crest for a team called São Paulo Crystal.

      Formed in 2008 as Lucena Sport Clube, São Paulo Crystal rebranded in 2017 when Múcio Fernandes became president. In doing so he renamed Lucena to São Paulo Crystal, honouring both São Paulo Futebol Clube, based 1,600 miles away, and Crystal Palace.

      The team’s badge is based on Palace’s, with an eagle on a ball in a circular crest, much like the Palace for Life Foundation logo, and they play in São Paulo colours.

      Beyond that, the connections seem to stop. So why did a Brazilian club pay homage to Palace? Executive Director of Football Arthur Ferreira tries to explain.

      “The Club President, Mr Múcio Fernandes, already had a connection with football,” he says. “The family business, an engenho de cachaça – a typical Brazilian distilled-drink factory – of which the president is a partner, had an amateur soccer team since 1965, named after São Paulo.

      “In addition, the company also had a social project, where children and teenagers from low-income families participated in soccer classes, a project that still exists today.

      “In 2017, the opportunity arose to acquire Lucena, so, upon acquiring it, President Múcio Fernandes had the idea of ​​honoring two clubs, São Paulo Futebol Clube, a traditional club in Brazil, and Crystal Palace in England.”

      President Múcio Fernandes (left) and Director of Football Arthur Ferreira
      President Múcio Fernandes (left) and Director of Football Arthur Ferreira


      “In 2002, when visiting England, President Múcio Fernandes went to watch a Crystal Palace match. From then on, he began to admire the English team and follow the games on television.

      “With the tribute to Crystal Palace in the club's name, the board also had the idea of ​​also honoring them through the shield. In fact, the tribute is described in the statute of our club.”

      Ferreira’s not wrong, with the club’s 2017 statute reading (in translation): “[Our name] originates from a tribute to two great clubs in world football, both for their achievements and for the strength that the fans and teams represent on the world stage.

      “The first is Sao Paulo F.C… The other is the great English club Crystal Palace F.C, a century-old association, winner of two English Second Division championship titles, an FA Youth Cup and runner-up in the fierce FA Cup. These two teams, models of excellence in football, management and dissemination of the sport to the world, inspired the creation of the team.”

      Fernandes is a Palace fan, says Ferreira, “having fallen in love with the club,” but no other staff have visited yet. “We really want to get to know the club that gave rise to our name and crest. We hope one day to be able to get to know the structure of the club and, who knows, make partnerships for the development of our club and exchange promises of Brazilian football.”

      While the link may be a little tenuous, São Paulo Crystal’s passion for Palace still runs deep.

      Ferreira says: “I follow the Premier League games a lot. Crystal Palace is on a rise – despite being in the middle of the table, it has been developing good football. This season, we see a more offensive team, which is not just defending, providing better football. I believe that this season Crystal Palace has more chances to be at the top of the table.

      “We have a business model idea inspired by Crystal Palace. We are a new club, but we already have a project to build a new training centre, with modern equipment for the development of the professional team and the youth teams. We will also seek training club certification from the Brazilian Football Confederation – CBF, so that we can become a great training centre for young athletes.”

      From little acorns…