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The HOL history

July 18 2003

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Everything you wanted to know about the Holmesdale Online, but was too scared to ask, as the site enters its fifth season...

The website in 1999
The Holmesdale Online in 1999

The Holmesdale Online (HOL) was created in the summer of 1999 when two school mates teamed up to produce a website for their favourite football team.

Web developer Peter Guntrip and journalist Gordon Law worked hard to make a Palace website which was a bit different to the rest and during the summer months put it together to be launched in time for the 1999/00 season.

The HOL went down well amongst the Palace web community and slowly the hits increased and increased as word got around as fresh content was added. It was the first Palace site to have a chat room, audio, downloads, photo gallery, fun and games and prediction league.

Card display
Card display at Selhurst Park

A message board built by Peter was eventually added and it quickly became by far the most popular section. Members rushed to sign up to join the discussions on the boards. Blackburn at home, saw a mini card display organised by the HOL message board community in the Holmesdale Road Stand.

Keeping the website contantly updated is a time-consuming task and Dutch Palace fan Joey helped out in the early days by adding news stories. Palace Radio and Capital Gold commentator Gary Taphouse started writing a popular column From the Press Box.

Then in February 2000, the HOL team were awarded the Guardian newspaper's unofficial football site of the season award, beating off competition from thousands of football websites from around the UK.

The Guardian felt "The Holmesdale Online was unmatched in the way it combined both news and information on their chosen team with the irreverent humour and fun of a fanzine. There was also more than one impressive technical innovation to be admired." The Guardian article

Vincent Elphick presents Steve Coppell with a plaque
Vincent Elphick presents Steve
Coppell with the HOL plaque

At the end of the season, HOL site members chipped in to buy a special plaque for Steve Coppell for the fantastic work he did in keeping the Eagles up and it was presented on the pitch after Palace's last game of the season by a HOL member.

Soon after, the team was approached by the newly-formed Rivals.net corporation and asked to join their fan site network.

Rivals.net
Rivals.net in 2000/01

It was a tough decision because joining Rivals meant the HOL would have to use Rivals' rigid, boring, template design and lose its unique identity. But Rivals would host the website on its server and generate cash through promotions and advertising. It was a tempting offer and it just about swayed the decision to join.

Due to the popularity of the Rivals.net network and the community of fans from clubs around the country, the hits increased. But Gordon and Peter became frustrated with the lack of control, Rivals' poor technology and excessive advertising as the dot.com bubble began to burst.

The HOL decided to become independent again and over the coming months started preparing a new super site which was launched shortly into the 2001/02 season to the delight of the majority of users.

More unique content has since been added such as Palace ringtones, email news alerts, feature articles, player ratings and an extensive archive. The HOL sponsored Simon Rodger for his last two seasons at the club and Tony Popovic for 2002/03.

It has been featured in Sport First, 442 and Match of the Day magazines and regularly in The Observer. Also awarded the coveted Golden Crust award from All the Pies webzine - probably the most prestigious prize on the web awarding football web sites of merit and distinction All the Pies Golden Crust awards.

Special thanks must go to members of the HOL team who helped out in the past and also to our current team: Joey (match score updates); Jamesey (columnist); Cucking Funt, Old Chap, Moose, Pikey Eagle, rach_d_cpfc and jcreedy (message board moderators) and Elliott Hutchins (preview stats).

If you want to help improve the site by writing any articles or sending in any of your photos, then email: editor@holmesdale.net

Comments and suggestions are always welcome so don't hesitate to email in.


HOL in the press

Editor Gordon Law on BBC Radio One's Newsbeat programme
17th July 2004
When Colonel Gaddafi was rumoured to have made an enquiry about buying Palace, Gordon spoke to Radio One.

News Shopper - Feburary 2000  The Observer - Feburary 2000
Palace fans celebrate

News Shopper
February 2000
Click picture to enlarge
 Palace clean up

The Observer
February 2000
Click picture to enlarge

News Shopper - Feburary 2000  The Observer - Feburary 2000
Love birds to tie knot

The South London Press
February 20, 2004
Click picture to enlarge
 The nest is yet to come as Eagles' mascots agree to wed

The Croydon Advertiser
February 27, 2004
Click picture to enlarge

Sandor browsing the Holmesdale Online

Sandor Torghelle browsing the Holmesdale Online


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