Crystal Palace want to be recognised as the oldest professional club in the world after new research claims to have found a direct connection to the team established in 1861.
Sheffield FC are the oldest club on the planet after being founded in 1857 and Notts County, formed in November 1862, are recognised as the oldest professional side, despite dropping into non-league last season.
Palace, formed in 1905, were never going to get anywhere near that conversation, only for author Peter Manning to unearth evidence that is seeing the club claim a link back to the Crystal Palace football team established in 1861, playing their first match in March 1862.
Crystal Palace Football Club: The Pride of south London since 1861.#CPFC1861— Crystal Palace F.C. (H) (@CPFC) April 21, 2020
“The Crystal Palace was the world’s first major theme park,” Manning said. “It was owned and run by the Crystal Palace Company.
“Everything within the Palace and its grounds was part of the Crystal Palace’s and the Crystal Palace Company’s business, including the Crystal Palace Cricket Club, set up in 1857, the emergence of the football club in 1861, through to the setting up and the taking of a majority share stake in the professional football club in 1905.
“Without the Crystal Palace and the Crystal Palace Company there would have been no Crystal Palace Football Club.
“It was always one club and always part of the Crystal Palace Company’s business.
“As the founding of the football club dates back to 1861, it can claim to be the oldest professional league club in the world.
“It’s ironic that today the one surviving remnant of the Crystal Palace Company, Crystal Palace Football Club, is now the big crowd puller, the big money earner that the Crystal Palace Company always wanted it to be.
“I’m sure it would have been extremely proud of what it has now achieved as a football club.”
As a lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace, it’s amazing that we have a legitimate claim to be the oldest professional league club still in existenceSteve Parish
It would mean Palace will celebrate their 160th anniversary in 2021, with the news taking aback chairman Steve Parish.
“As a lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace, it’s amazing that we have a legitimate claim to be the oldest professional league club still in existence, that we were in the very first FA meetings, and that our history dates all the way back to the Victorian cricketers of 1861 at the Palace even involving the great W.G. Grace,” he said.
“I would like to thank Peter Manning for the incredible work he has undertaken researching the definitive history of the club.
“It’s a fascinating tale and one I hope supporters will very much enjoy seeing brought to life in this film.”