|| As any passionate
footy fan from South East London will tell you, football
in this area is packed full of high drama and emotion,
thanks to the bitter rivalry that exists between Charlton
Athletic and Crystal Palace.
Charlton Athletic play at The Valley [map],
Floyd Road, Charlton, but this hasn’t always been
the case. Once the proud owners of the biggest ground
in the land, Charlton spent most of the 1980s in poverty
and was forced to share a ground with rivals Crystal
Palace. Thankfully, the Valley is revamped and looking
good while the team find themselves in the lower half
of the Premiership. Charlton Athletic is known as the Addicks and the Valiants.
Crystal Palace Football
club gets its name from the great glass building
that was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and
moved to South East London after the event. The structure
itself was destroyed by fire in 1936, but many famous
landmarks in the area – including the Crystal
Palace Athletics Stadium – retain the name.
The original Crystal Palace club was formed in 1861 and
was one of the 15 teams that took part in the first
ever FA Cup competition of 1871/72. The original stadium,
built around where the athletic stadium now stands, hosted
a number of early FA Cup Finals. The present club was
formed in 1905, by workers at the original Crystal Palace.
Palace’s early history was fairly inconspicuous
- a classic lower division team, never rising near the
top flight until the late 60s. Few players from this
era are now household names. Peter Simpson,
the club’s greatest scorer, is not widely known
in the game. Likewise, in this era, there were no really
During the early 60s Palace gained promotion from the
fourth division, and two years later from the Third. By
the end of the 60s they had wom promotion to the top flight
afetr a stint as a second division side.
Always out of their depth, and lacking the financial
clout to strengthen the team, the club stayed in the
First Division for four years, largely on the back of
great commitment and effort.
The 1980s saw Palace relegated, largely due to the fact
that many of the youngsters failed to fulfil their promise,
and a series of desperate moves by club officials, which
saw no fewer than four managers and a change of ownership
during the 1981 season. This happened again in the 1990s
and it wasn’t until Alan Smith took over as manager
in the mid-1990s that Palace began to taste real success.
Dubbed the “Yo-Yo Club” by the British media
for its mixed fortunes, Crystal Palace will probably continue
to enjoy the best highs and biggest lows of league football.
If you want to witness a home match, head to Selhurst
Park, Whitehorse Lane, London.