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”?
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?
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 the Eagles?
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.
How to get to Crystal Palace – Travel Information – Distance: 40 miles
Head south on the A1(M) and A1, before switching to the A41 Watford Way. Stay on the A41 heading into London until you reach St John’s Wood Tube station. Here, turn right for Grove End Road and continue onto the B507 (Lisson Grove). This will take you around the Pavilion End of Lord’s Cricket Ground if you’re bothered. You can see it from here.
Keep going straight on and across the Marylebone Road; this is entering the Congestion Charge zone. After a third of a mile, take a right onto George Street and left almost right away onto Stourcliffe Street. This will bring you out onto the A5 Edgware Road. Turn left.
Go round Marble Arch and onto Park Lane; using the middle two lanes to then head onto the A302 Grosvenor Place that takes you round the back of Buckingham Palace. All the sights on this route, eh? Head on through Victoria and look to get yourself onto the A202 Vauxhall Bridge Road.
After crossing the Thames and coming to Vauxhall Station, follow the road around onto the South Lambeth Road (A3036). Stay on South Lambeth Road by bearing left and joining the A203 towards Stockwell. Here, you’ll need to remain on the A203 towards Brixton, turning right onto the A23 soon after.
At Brixton’s Ritzy Cinema, bear left onto Effra Road. As you reach Tulse Hill, turn right onto the A215 Norwood Road. After nearly a mile, you’ll need to turn right onto Ernest Avenue to stay on the A215, before a left around the bus garage. After a couple of miles down here, there’ll be a right turn for the B266 Whitehorse Lane.
Take note of local signs advising of parking restrictions unless you want to come a cropper. Local pay and displays might also come with time limits.
Services to: LONDON VICTORIA
You’ll find Selhurst station just 10 minutes’ walk from the stadium. Look to go north from the station along Selhurst Road towards Prince Road; passing Heavers Meadow on the right. Turn left into Clifton Road, and then right for the ground.
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