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Football in South East London 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 famous matches.

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.

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Crystal Palace FC

Find out more about the history of this "Yo-Yo" South East London football club...

  Charlton Athletic

With a history that dates back to the 1900s Charlton Athletic continue to play a major part in the lives of their many loyal fans...


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