Crystal Palace plan 160th anniversary celebrations and new crest despite FA snub over 1861 origin

·2-min read
Getty Images
Getty Images

Crystal Palace's claim to be the oldest professional club in existence is unlikely to be officially recognised by the Football Association, though the decision will not prevent them from marking it themselves.

The Eagles published research by author Peter Manning on Tuesday proving an ownership link between an amateur Crystal Palace formed in 1861 and the professional club, which dates back to 1905.

The side formed in 1861, which played its first game in March 1862, was made up of cricketers who played in the grounds of the Crystal Palace, owned by the Crystal Palace Company, who took a controlling stake in the professional club once formed.

While the well-founded claims have raised a lively and interesting debate, they are very unlikely to see Notts County, formed in 1862, dethroned as officially the oldest professional football club.

The FA, who were sent an early copy of Palace's findings and a fascinating 17-minute film outlining the club's case, are not expected to recognise 1861 as Palace's official founding year. The sticking point for the governing body is that, while there may be a link between the amateur side and the professionals, the former were not paid as footballers and did not compete in any official league, only playing friendlies and in the FA Cup.

However, while the FA may not officially recognise 19th century side as professional, Palace are already planning to mark the 160th anniversary of their formation in 2021, instead of their 116th, having discovered the true origin of the club.

Crystal Palace could launch a new look from 2021-22 season (Getty Images)
Crystal Palace could launch a new look from 2021-22 season (Getty Images)

Discussions over how best to celebrate the findings and the anniversary have already begun, and could include a new badge from the 2021-22 season. The current club crest includes the date 1905 and could be updated to recognise the findings, though with next season's kit all but finalised, any change would likely have to wait until the season after.

“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," said Palace chairman Steve Parish.

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