|Full name||Crystal Palace Football Club|
|Ground||Crystal Palace Park|
Crystal Palace F.C. was an amateur football club formed in 1861 who contributed a major role in the development of association football during its formative years. They went on to become founder members of the Football Association in 1863. The club is thought to have disbanded around 1876 due to a cost-cutting measure by the Crystal Palace Company.
The book called "Palace at the Palace" released in 2018 has made claims that the original amateur club is directly linked to the professional Crystal Palace football club that exists today and currently competes in the Premier League. The book has provided supporting evidence that they should be regarded as the same club, the theory being that the original club was re-formed as opposed to a completely new club being created, as they were both owned by the same Crystal Palace Company. This would make the current professional club the oldest professional football club in the world. However to date, the claims have not been officially ratified, although the current professional club does include the early years of the amateur club in its own chronicled history.
The club was formed in 1861 by the Crystal Palace Company who owned the Crystal Palace Exhibition building. It had been lobbied by existing members of the Crystal Palace Cricket Club to provide a continuation of sporting activities during the winter months. All of the football club’s management-committee and most of its original players were previously members of the Cricket Club, which had been founded in 1857 by the Crystal Palace Company and played on the same pitch within Crystal Palace Park.
Although both the cricket and football clubs were amateur, they formed part of the Crystal Palace Company’s commercial enterprise, which was intended to generate revenue. Membership of the club was by subscription only, at a price of one guinea per season, and spectators who wished to watch the games had to pay the one-shilling entrance fee into Crystal Palace Park.
The football club’s players were not company employees; typical membership was formed from wealthy upper-middle-class businessmen who could afford the subscription and who had the leisure time to participate in sport. Walter Cutbill and A. Cutbill were prominent members, and both former pupils at Forest School, a leading school in the early development of the game.
Committee member and goalkeeper, Croydon-born wine merchant James Turner (1839-1922) became the first proper treasurer of the Football Association after its formation, and numerous Palace players were influential committee-members of the F.A. during its formative decade.
Four players from the club appeared for England:
The club became founder members of the Football Association in 1863, and along with Wanderers F.C., Barnes F.C. and the N.N. Club were described by Charles W. Alcock as being the four clubs who formed ‘the backbone of the Association game’ in its early years.. Delegates of the club attended every AGM of the Football Association for its first crucial decade, during which time the Laws of the game were evolved. In 1867 when only five delegates turned up at the AGM, it was only the vote of Crystal Palace’s representative Walter Cutbill (1844-1915) which prevented the adoption of two major Sheffield Rules laws. Proposals to adopt rouges (secondary goals either side of the main goal) and the virtual abolition of offside were defeated by a single vote.
At the F.A. Committee meeting held on 16 October 1871 to discuss the creation of the FA Cup competition, Crystal Palace Club captain and share-registrar Denison Allport (1844-1931) proposed the formation of a committee to draw up the rules for the competition. He was also part of the delegation which selected the trophy. Palace competed in that first competition, reaching the semi-final stage where they lost to the Royal Engineers after a replay. The club played in the FA Cup in the next four seasons, their last recorded match was a 0–3 defeat to eventual winners Wanderers in the second round of the 1875–76 FA Cup.
The Crystal Palace Company experienced a financial crisis in 1875 as a result of being sued by its refreshment contractor. As a consequence it engaged in a number of cost-cutting measures among the attractions being offered in its park, one of which was the football club which is thought to have disbanded the following year. At this time the football club were still very active: they included current England international players in their team and were also still on the management committee of the Football Association.
The Crystal Palace Company began hosting the FA Cup Final on a regular basis in 1895 which was played at the sports stadium in Crystal Palace Park. The company then decided in 1905 to form a new football club to play at the stadium. The current Crystal Palace F.C. was formed as a professional outfit and played at the Cup Final venue until 1915.