Some place names can be just a bit misleading; Crystal Palace, for example, missing the one thing that its name dares to promise

Some place names can be just a bit misleading. They build up hope or set expectations of what you’ll find if you paid a visit. Great Wymondley, for example, isn’t as spacious or illustrious as its name suggest. It’s even smaller than Little Wyomondley, would you believe. And how about the famous Crystal Palace; an area in south London that’s missing the one thing you’d expect to see when you step off the bus? Well, it’s bound to get you asking some searching questions – right?

Like “what’s our head-to-head record against their football team”?

Who are Crystal Palace Football Club?

In keeping with that identity crisis, Crystal Palace Football Club don’t actually play in the place they take their name from. The Eagles actually hail from Selhurst, which is two miles down the road. So, what the bloody hell is going on south of the river?

Well, go back to the start of their story and it all starts to sound a little more legit. Back in 1861, an amateur team set up shop at the majestic Crystal Palace Exhibition Building. We won’t dwell on them too much – even though some think this fact makes the Eagles the oldest professional club in the world. Don’t tell Notts County. Anyway, something happened that caused that team to disappear from the records; replaced by the ‘current’ incarnation in 1905.

And the Selhurst link? Well, the club left the Crystal Palace site in 1915 and moved around a bit until moving into Selhurst Park in 1924. So, they’ve been there nearly 100 years now.

Anyway, the Eagles started out in the Southern League – before being announced as one of the founder members of the Football League’s new Division Three South in 1920. And that set them on their way. After spending much of their time in Division Three South during the first 30 years, the 1960s saw them rocket up the rankings; reaching the top flight for the first time in 1969. But it was always a level that seemed to get the better of them.

Why do we know them?

Apart from the halcyon 1990-1 season when the club finished third in the old Division One, they rarely finish in the top half of the top flight. That’s not a dig. It’s just where they’ve often been at as a club. And there were three occasions during the 1990s on which the Eagles were promoted (back) to the Premier League, only to be relegated at the first attempt. Now, it’s about now that you’re thinking “so what?”. After all, it means there’s always been a sizeable gap between us.

That’s one reason why, in actual fact, we’ve never met the Eagles in a competitive fixture. There hasn’t even been a cup draw that has thrown us together.

What is our record against them?

Are we just wasting our time here then? Maybe. It depends how much value you place on those pre-season friendlies where they’ve come to us. And it will have been them coming to us. We’ve not been down to Selhurst Park, that’s for sure. How have we fared in those friendlies? Well, it’s of little importance – isn’t it? Just as losing 7-0 to Arsenal or beating Metropolitan Police by the same distance tells us nothing about our season’s prospects, neither do results against Palace.

Sorry to be dismissive, but y’know – like?

Crystal Palace: Boro’s Record

Our head-to-head: P — W 0 — D 0 — L 0 — F 0 — A 0 — Pts 0 — WR n/a
Our last tango: No competitive meetings

What happened to them?

At the moment, Palace are starting out in their ninth straight season as a Premier League outfit. They’ve literally never had it so good. The Eagles’ longest run in the top flight before that was a four-season run between 1989 and 1993. It means that we have some major work to do if we’re going to finally bag ourselves a competitive tie against them. We’re talking FA Cup Round Three territory. Or an extended League Cup run. It seems unlikely there’s going to be any other way.

After all, it’s now 50 years since Crystal Palace were in the Football League’s basement division.

• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Crystal Palace club profile


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