Crystal Palace F.C.

Crystal Palace Football Club was formed in 1905, with its headquarters at Crystal Palace in Sydenham. The team played in the Southern League until the early 1920s, when they were promoted to Division Three of the Football League.

The club was forced to relocate from their original headquarters in 1918, and eventually settled at their present home, Selhurst Park, in 1924.

Nicknamed "The Glaziers" - a reference to their original home in the shadow of Joseph Paxton's enormous glass exhibition hall - Palace remained in the lower divisions of the Football League until the 1960s. By 1969, the club was a member of the First Division.

Unfortunately, the only constant in the life of a Palace fan is change, and "The Eagles" - as they were now known - plummetted back to the Third Division in the early 1970s. Though FA Cup glory beckoned for a while, it wasn't until the arrival of former Chelsea star Terry Venables as manager that Palace's fortunes took a change for the better. Venables took the team back up to Division One for two seasons from 1979 to 1981, before leaving for more glamorous shores than Selhurst could offer.

In 1981, Ron Noades became chairman of Crystal Palace - now no longer the "team of the Eighties" and suffering dwindling support and mounting debts. Noades appointed another former top flight player, Steve Coppell as manager in 1984. Coppell and Noades began rebuilding the team and the club, and over the next seven years, Palace enjoyed mounting success and a growing reputation for nurturing intelligent, skilful young players such as Ian Wright, Mark Bright, Chris Coleman, Andy Gray and John Salako. The Wright/Bright partnership up front was instrumental in taking Palace to the 1990 FA Cup Final and holding the great Manchester United to a draw. The replay resulted in yet another win for Manchester United.

Cup glory followed in 1991, when the Eagles won the ZDS cup. Injuries, selloffs and transfers over the next couple of years culminated in former Holmesdale End favourite Ian Wright scoring the winning goal for Arsenal on the last day of the 1992/93 season.

While Palace managed to maintain a toehold in the Nationwide First Division - occasionally moving up into the new Premier League (and then straight back down again in 1995, up again in 1997, back down again almost as quickly), the club was bedevilled by financial difficulties and frequent coaching staff changes during the 1990s.

Following vociferous calls for change and much wrangling, Noades sold the club to Mark Goldberg in 1998. Under the new chairman, Terry Venables returned to manage the coaching team. However, the club's fortunes took yet another turn for the worse, and by the end of the season, Venables had gone (to be replaced by Coppell - again) and the club was in administration. Despite dire financial straits and the enforced sale of many of its established stars, Palace's young team battled on to retain a respectable finishing position in Division One.

Former mobile phone tycoon and lifelong fan Simon Jordan took over the club from the administrators in July 2000. Jordan replaced Coppell with former manager Alan Smith, and supporters looked forward to a new era. Unfortunately, it was not to be (told you life as a Palace fan wasn't easy) and Palace just about retained their place in the first division.

Former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce was appointed manager in 2001, and things looked quite good again for about six months, as Palace fought their way into the upper half of Division One. Then Bruce resigned to take up the manager's job at Birmingham City. In a bizarre jobswap, former Birmingham City manager Trevor Francis took over at Selhurst Park, and Palace struggled on as usual. Once again FA Cup glory beckoned, but the Eagles lost out to Venables' Leeds United in the fifth round.

The 2002-3 season saw former Palace star Steve Kember put on the manager's sheepskin jacket once again, following on from his last-minute caretaker's appointment after Francis's departure. A run of desperately mediocre luck has also seen Palace slip to 19th place in Division One and the departure of Kember.


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