March 26 2012
With the London Olympics almost here it's worth remembering the part Selhurst Park had in the last London-hosted, all amateur, games in 1948, writes Philip Dring.
Crystal Palace hosted two matches in the soccer tournament with one featuring, arguably, one of the greatest players to have ever graced the Selhurst turf.
The Olympics hadn’t been held since 1936 because of the war. A ‘make-do-and-mend’ philosophy was central in what became known as the Austerity Games. This meant making use of existing resources.
Venues pulled into service included exotic locations like Finchley Outdoor Swimming Pool and the Guiness Sports Club, Park Royal.
Soccer was also played at Fulham and Spurs and some less likely grounds such as Lynn Road, Ilford, Champion Hill, Dulwich and the Goldstone Ground.
Eighteen nations competed and in round 1 Selhurst hosted Denmark v Egypt (3-1 aet). The attendance was a creditable 12,000.
Great Britain had an extra time victory over the Netherlands at Highbury (attendance 21,000).
A mainly barefooted India lost 2-1 to France. The US lost 9-0 to Italy with four members of the side that, infamously, defeated England at the 1950 World Cup.
In the quarter finals, Selhurst hosted Sweden v Korea. The attendance of 7,100 was disappointing in that the Swedish side included a player set to become a legend both in Sweden and Italy.
Gunnar Nordahl’s goalscoring feats were extraordinary – 215 gaols in 213 appearances in Sweden and, after moving to AC Milan in 1949, 210 goals in 251 appearances. In professional internationals he scored 43 goals in 33 outings.
At Milan, Nordahl linked up with two other Swedes from the 1948 side in Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm. With all three playing at Selhurst Sweden, unsurprisingly, saw off Korea 12-0.
Sweden went on to win the tournament beating Yugoslavia 3-1 at Wembley.
However, all players in Sweden were amateurs as the Swedish FA had banned professionalism. Yugoslavia had seen off the GB team 2-1 in the semis and we lost to Denmark for the Bronze medal.
Perhaps the most prominent member of the GB team, coached by Matt Busby, was the Scottish goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson.
Only 17 at the time of the Olympics, Simpson became famous as a member of the legendary Celtic side that became the first British team to win the European Cup in 1967. He also won two FA Cups with Newcastle and made five appearances for Scotland.
Post this story to:
Sign Jerome? at 10.26am by essetwentyone
last on MOTD again at 10.26am by fmhall
Can we get anything at Chelsea at 10.25am by Kiwi
New players in Jan? at 10.23am by MONITORGEEZER
FA CUP 3rd Round Draw.. at 10.23am by staffie
All images and text on this site are copyright © 1999-2013 The Holmesdale Online, unless otherwise stated.
Web Design by Guntrisoft Ltd.