Crystal Palace Football Club: The Complete Guide

Crystal Palace is one of the oldest soccer clubs in England. If you’ve been a fan since it was first founded in 1905, then you’ve been in for quite a ride. Crystal Palace has managed to bounce up and down the league tables, never quite settling in any one place. Luckily for supporters, the last few years have seen them settle a bit more comfortably at the top.

Crystal Palace may not be one of the first names you think of when it comes to soccer, but they have managed to create quite a reputation for themselves. From top-level players to some unbelievable results, Crystal Palace manages to (slightly inconsistently) produce quality play. No wonder they’ve earned more than a few celebrity supporters.

This South London team may not always be at the top of the table, but their frequent appearances in the English top-flight soccer league is an impressive feat. Fans love them for their down to earth attitude, determination, and loyalty. Also, sometimes there’s a real life eagle.

Basic Facts

  • Formally founded in September 1905, Crystal Palace can trace a history back to 1861, making them one of the oldest soccer clubs in the world.
  • Located in Croydon, South London.
  • Moved to their home grounds of Selhurst Park in 1924.
  • Known as “The Eagles” (formerly the Glaziers).
  • Have spent time across the tiers of English soccer leagues, with some wonderful highs often followed by sudden lows. Since the early 2010s, Crystal Palace has settled more comfortably into the top-flight of English soccer.

Home Grounds

The home grounds for Crystal Palace is Selhurst Park, located in the London borough of Croydon. It’s been the home of Crystal Palace since first opening on 30th August 1924. 

Main Trophies

  • Second Tier Champion, 1993-94 season
  • Second Tier Champion, 1978-79 season
  • Third Tier Champion, 1920-21 season
  • Second Tier Runner-up, 1968-69 season
  • 4 Times Second Tier Play-Off Winners (record), 1988-89, 1996-97, 2003-04, 2012-13
  • Second Tier Play-Off Runner-up, 1995-96 season
  • Third Tier Runner-up, 1928-29, 1930-31, 1938-39, 1963-64
  • Fourth Tier Runner-up, 1960-61 season
  • English First Tier Highest Finish: Third Place, 1990-91 season.
  • Full Members Cup Winners, 1990-91 season.
  • FA Cup Runners-up, 1989-90, 2015-16

Club History

Officially, Crystal Palace Football Club was formed in 1905, Unofficially, Crystal Palace can trace their lineage to the Crystal Palace amateur soccer team, who first formed in1861. Although the amateur team stopped playing in 1876, some historians claim they can be directly linked to the current Crystal Palace. This makes them one of the oldest running soccer clubs in the UK.

During this long history, Crystal Palace have found themselves moving up and down the divisions. In the 1950s, they slipped to the bottom rung of English soccer, before climbing their way to the top tier in the late 1960s.

Management changes in the 70s found them once again in the Third Division, but they were back to the first by the late 70s. At the start of the 1980s, they were poised to become one of the top clubs of English soccer.

However, funding cuts and big-budget transfers that didn’t work out led to some rocky times for the club. Luckily, things seem to be back on track now, and Crystal Palace have remained fairly consistent in the Premier League over the last few seasons.

Club Timeline

  • Crystal Palace Football Club was established in 1905. They played in the FA Cup Final stadium, now the Crystal Palace National Sports Center.
  • Having previously played for the Southern League, they join the Football League in 1920, in the Third Division. They finish the season as champions, and move to the Second Division.
  • Selhurst Park opens in 1924, with a loss against Sheffield Wednesday. Crystal Palace are relegated to the Third Division.
  • Following a long period of disappointing seasons which find them in the Fourth Division, ex-Tottenham manager Arthur Rowe is hired. His exciting style revitalizes the team, and they’re promoted.
  • In 1962, Crystal Palace play a friendly against Real Madrid, the first time the Spanish team had ever played in London.
  • Dick Graham is hired as manager in 1963, bringing Crystal Palace up to the Second Division.
  • Newly appointed manager Bert Head guides Crystal Palace to the First Division, where they stay until 1973.
  • Chairman Arthur Wait steps down, to be replaced by Raymond Bloye. Malcolm Allison is bought in as manager in 1973. Crystal Palace are relegated to the Second Division.
  • Palace find themselves relegated back to Division Three in 1974.
  • 1974, Crystal Palace change their nickname from “The Glaziers” to “The Eagles”. They also change their kit to red and blue vertical stripes.
  • Allison retires in 1976, and Terry Venables takes over. Palace moves up to Division Two in 1977, and are crowned Division Two Champions in 1978.
  • A new team of young players, dubbed “The Team of the Eighties”, take the Eagles to the top flight of English soccer. Financial issues break the team apart, and they move back down to the Second Division in 1981.
  • Steve Coppell takes over in 1984. Under his leadership, the Eagles move back to the First Division, and make it to the FA Cup Final (eventually losing to Manchester United). They win the Full Members Cup in 1991, and become a founding member of the newly formed Premier League.
  • In 1993, Alan Smith takes over as manager, and Crystal Palace bounce back and forth between divisions. By the time new owner Mark Goldberg takes over, they’re again out of the Premier League.
  • Between 1998 and 2010, Crystal Palace continues on its yo-yo streak, compounded by financial difficulties.
  • In 2010, a consortium of wealthy fans, led by Steve Parish, purchase the club and grounds. 
  • New manager Ian Holloway guides the Eagles back to the Premier League in 2012.
  • American investors David Blitzer and Josh Harris sign on as partners.
  • After several management changes, Alan Pardew takes over, and Crystal Palace find themselves in the FA Cup final – losing in extra time to Manchester United. 
  • Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer, and Roy Hodgson all have short stints as manager of Crystal Palace (some significantly shorter than others). Palace maintains its place in the Premier League.

Club Net Worth

Crystal Palace is estimated to be worth roughly 225 million pounds sterling, or 312 million US dollars.


Since its opening in 1924, Crystal Palace has played in Selhurst Park. It was designed by legendary stadium architect Archibald Leitch. Built specifically for Crystal Palace Football Club, it has hosted international matches, and even part of the 1948 Summer Olympics.

As well as being home to Crystal Palace, Selhurst Park has hosted some other notable teams throughout the years. In 1985, Charlton Athletic Football Club moved in briefly. When they left in 1991, Wimbledon F.C moved in until 2003.

Over the years, Selhurst Park has gone through numerous expansions and renovations. The current capacity is 25,486. The highest level of attendance was achieved in 1979, when 51,801 people turned up to see Crystal Palace beat Burnley F.C 2-0. It also has the slightly dubious record of the lowest attendance for a Premier League game – only 3039 fans turned up to see Wimbledon play Everton in January 1993.


Crystal Palace is owned by Steve Parish, Joshua Harris, and David S. Blitzer. Steve Parish is chairman and co-owner, alongside American businessmen Harris and Blitzer. Parish first bought the club, alongside other investors, in 2010, saving Crystal Palace from financial hardship. 

The club had been placed into administration in 1999, and again in 2010, and consistently struggled to secure financial support. A consortium of wealthy fans, led by Steve Parish and known as CPFC 2010, came together to purchase both the club and Selhurst Park. In 2015, Harris and Blitzer joined, with an 18% share.

Notable former owners and chairmen include Arthur Wait and Ron Noades, who both oversaw the club during highs and lows.

Best Players

Despite having some years of ups and downs, Crystal Palace has consistently attracted high level players to the team. Wilfried Zaha is one of the best players currently competing for the Eagles, alongside Vicente Guaita, and Christian Benteke.

Trying to name the best player ever for Crystal Palace isn’t an easy task, but one obvious option is Attilio Lombardo. Despite only making 49 appearances for Palace, he left an impressive mark on the minds of fans. Affectionately known as The Bald Eagle, his limited tenure carries quite a legacy.

Jim Cannon, who made over 660 appearances with Crystal Palace, remains a perennial favorite of Eagles supporters. As does Geoff Thomas, who racked up an impressive 249 appearances during his time with the club.

Ian Wright, the third top goal scorer for the Eagles, is another of the all-time greats. However, his reputation with Palace supporters took a knock after he left the club. One particularly painful memory: having moved to Arsenal, he taunted Palace fans during a match that saw the team relegated. 

Other popular names include Andy Johnson, Kenny Sansom, and Mark Bright, who won the Golden Boot as the highest scoring player in the Second Division for the 1987-88 season.

All-Time Top Scorer

The All-Time Top Scorer for Crystal Palace is Peter Simpson. He scored 165 goals, over 195 appearances, between the years 1929 and 1935.

Other top scorers include Edwin Smith, who scored 124 goals between 1911 and 1920, and Ian Wright, who between 1985 and 1991 scored 117 goals.


Luca Milivojević has been the captain of Crystal Palace since 2018. Notable captains include Jim Cannon, who made 663 appearances for Crystal Palace between 1972 and 1988. He spent 11 years as captain, starting in 1977, and finishing in 1988.

Geoff Thomas, considered to be among one of Palace’s all-time greats, was captain between 1989 and 1993. He was followed by Gareth Southgate, another notable name in the team’s long history. 


Current goalkeepers for Crystal Palace are Jack Butland, Vicente Guaita, and Remi Matthews. 

Crystal Palace has had more than a few noteworthy goalkeepers in its history. Most recently, Julian Speroni, who played 405 matches for the club. John Jackson made 222 consecutive appearances for Crystal Palace, helping them reach the top flight for the first ever time in 1968-9.

Another notable goalkeeper is George Wood, who was their first choice keeper for 4 and a half seasons, with 192 appearances. He won the clubs “Player of the Year” award in 1986. 

Bill Glazier, best known for his time at Coventry City, also had a successful career with the club. Crystal Palace was also one of the 29 clubs that John Burridge played for.


Joel Ward, James Tomkins, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Nathaniel Clyne, Tyrick Mitchell, Jaroslaw Jach, Martin Kelly, Sam Woods, Nathan Ferguson, Reece Hannam, Joachim Andersen, and Mark Guéhi are all current or recent defenders playing for Crystal Palace. 

Jim Cannon and Kenny Sansom are both well-loved defenders who have spent time at Crystal Palace. Kenny Sansom is widely regarded as the greatest defender Crystal Palace has ever had, before he got poached by Arsenal.

Another highly regarded defender is Chris Coleman, who was voted the Eagles “Player of the Year” in 1994. Former captain Andy Linighan is another popular defender, and the “Player of the Year” for 2000.


Current and recent strikers for Crystal Palace include Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew, Jean-Phillippe Mateta, and Christian Beneteke. 

Undoubtedly, Peter Simpson, the all-time top scorer for the Eagles, is worth a mention as a notable striker. Ian Wright and Mark Bright are two other highly regarded strikers who made a mark at Crystal Palace.

Ian Wright is possibly the best striker Crystal Palace ever had, before he was enticed away by other, bigger teams. Andy Johnson, another player who regularly features in conversations about the Eagles best players, was also a striker.


Patrick Vieira is the current in a long line of managers at Crystal Palace. Having had a successful career playing for Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan, and Manchester City. Before moving to Crystal Palace, he managed the French Ligue 1 team Nice.

Vieira took over from Roy Hodgson, who was hired in September 2017 to try and save Palace, who had crashed their first four league games and failed to score a single goal. He secured their place in the Premier League, and kept them there for the rest of his tenure.

The longest serving manager at Crystal Palace is Edmund Goodman, who helped to found the team before taking over as chairman and manager in 1907. He eventually retired in 1925.

Former Palace goalkeeper Dick Graham briefly managed the team, getting them into the Second Division in 1964. He was succeeded in 1966 by Bert Head, who took Crystal Palace to the top flight of English soccer, and kept them there for several seasons. His successor, Malcolm Allison, took them back down to the third division.

Terry Venables had a fairly turbulent time as Manager of Crystal Palace between 1976 and 1980. High profile signings propelled them up the leagues and to a well-placed finish, before other high profile signings and a heap of financial issues propelled them back down.

Crystal Palace’s most successful manager is Steve Coppell. In charge for 13 years, he took Palace to the FA Cup final, twice Second Tier play-off winners, and third place in the top flight. 


After Dave Reddington coached the first team at Crystal Palace for 8 seasons, Kristian Wilson has now taken over in the role. Dean Kiely is the goalkeeping coach, following on from long term Crystal Palace coaches such as George Wood and Vic Bettinelli. Alongside multiple management shake ups, Crystal Palace has also gone through significant coaching shake ups over their long, yo-yo, history.

Assistant Coach

Osian Roberts is the current assistant coach at Crystal Palace. Previous assistant coach Ray Lewington left with Roy Hodgson, as part of a fairly comprehensive shake up of the Eagle’s backroom staff.

Home Kit

The blue and red vertical stripes of Crystal Palace’s home kit are among the most iconic jersey designs in soccer. 

Away Kit

The Crystal Palace away kit plays on the blue and red stripes of the home kit, with a yellow jersey intersected by two stripes. Past away kits have featured a similar design on a different background, including black and white.

The Crystal Palace logo plays on their nickname of “The Eagles”. It features a blue eagle, wings raised, clutching a soccer ball in its talons. Below is the iconic facade of the Crystal Palace Exhibition Building. This image was adopted in 1987, but has been updated in the years since.

Club Academy

Crystal Palace Academy has established itself as a quality soccer academy, developing well-rounded players to join the first team. It underwent significant redevelopment to secure category 1 status in 2020, marking it among the best soccer academies in the country.

Notable graduates include Kenny Sansom and Gareth Southgate, as well as recent Crystal Palace heavy hitters like Wilfried Zaha.

Crystal Palace Academy aims to educate players about the game itself, the science behind the sport, and their own attitude and health. With this solid support behind them, academy graduates can play around the world in top tier divisions. The academy values are to be: respectful, honest, resilient, and disciplined.

League Titles

  • Second Tier Champion, 1993-94 season
  • Second Tier Champion, 1978-79 season
  • Third Tier Champion, 1920-21 season

Other Titles

  • Full Members Cup Winners, 1990-91 season.
  • FA Cup Runners-up, 1989-90, 2015-16

Fun Facts

  • Crystal Palace is the only English soccer club to have cheerleaders in the style of the NFL. They’re known as the Crystals, or Crystal Girls. First established in 2010, you can spot them at any home match, both before the game and during half-time.
  • An American bald eagle known as Kayla was the team mascot from the mid-2010s until her death in June 2020. She was quite the sight, swooping from one end of the pitch to the other at any home game, and will be sorely missed.
  • There are more than a few notable supporters of Crystal Palace. Actors Liam Neeson and Bill Nighy both count themselves as Eagles supporters, as does Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Ultimatum and Captain Phillips.
  • Crystal Palace have a few rivalries to contend with. Brighton & Hove Albion are perhaps their fiercest rivals, after both teams rose through the ranks in the 1970s. Nowadays, they contest the M23 derby. Other South London rivals are Millwall and Charlton Athletic. 
  • A Crystal Palace supporter was involved in the infamous Eric Cantona flying kick debacle.