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Ground history

September 9 2002

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Crystal Palace have played at four grounds in their history. Here's all you need to know about the first at the Crystal Palace right up to Selhurst Park today...

Selhurst Park (1924 - present)

The grand opening of Selhurst Park

Palace's final ground move was only a few minutes' walk up the road to Selhurst Park, which was bought for 2,570 in 1922 from the Brighton Railway Company.

The 15-acre site was mainly used as a brickfield and it had two large banks on either side, which was ideal for terracing and was within walking distance of three railway stations.

The famous football ground architect Archibald Leitch designed the stadium, it was built by Mr Humphreys for around 30,000, and was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of London on August 30, 1924.

The only stand - the present Main Stand today! - was unfinished due to industrial action, but Palace played Sheffield Wednesday and lost 1-0 in front of 25,000 fans.

In 1926, England played Wales in an international at Selhurst and England amateur matches and various other finals were also staged here. Other activities such as boxing, bicycle polo in the late 1940s along with cricket in the 1980s took place at Selhurst Park.

The year 1953 saw the first floodlights installed, they can be seen on the Main Stand roof today. Nine years later, the antiquated lights were replaced with a new set mounted on four pylons in each corner. Real Madrid marked the occasion by playing the first game under the new set of bulbs - a real footballing scoop at the time.

Selhurst Park
International match
Mar 1, 1926 England 1 Wales 3

Record attendance
League: 51,801 May 11, 1979 v Burnley
FA Cup: 45,384 Mar 10, 1965 v Leeds Utd
 

The ground holds the record for the old Division Four (now Division Three) attendance for Palace v Millwall in 1961 when 37,774 turned out.

The ground remained undeveloped until 1969 when Palace were promoted to Division One for the first time and the Arthur Wait Stand was built. It was named after the club's long-serving chairman, who was a builder by trade and was often seen working on the site himself.

The Whitehorse Lane end had a new look with new terracing and brick-built refreshments and toilets along the top.

The record attendance was achieved in 1979, when 51,801 people saw Palace beat Burnley 2-0 to clinch the Second Division Championship.

Due to the Safety of Grounds Act, the Holmesdale Road terrace (or the Kop as it was known) had to be split into three sections for safety reasons and this meant the poor facilities fell in the away part. So new facilities were built at the back of the other two parts. At that time, the Main Stand enclosure was replaced by seating.

In 1983, Palace sold the back of the Whitehorse Lane terrace and large carpark behind to Sainsbury's for 2m, to help their financial problems and the size of the stand was halved.

The Whitehorse Lane end

Charlton moved in as tenants in 1986 and became the first league clubs in Britain to agree such a scheme. A year later, the lower half of the Arthur Wait Stand was converted into all-seater. The Whitehorse Lane end then got two rows of executive boxes and later a roof and it was made all-seated.

Charlton moved back to the Valley via Upton Park and Wimbledon replaced them as tenants in 1991. The Holmesdale terrace was demoilished in 1994 and replaced a year later with a magnificent two-tiered 8,500 capacity stand. A new roof replaced the leaking Main Stand one which was untouched since 1924.

Mark Goldberg bought Crystal Palace in 1998, but he couldn't afford the ground, so former chairman Ron Noades kept hold of Selhurst Park.

Palace plunged into administration a year later, and when new chairman Simon Jordan bought the Eagles in 2000, he took out a 10-year lease on the ground with Noades.

Noades received rent and bar revenue from Palace and Wimbledon before they moved out in 2003.

In October 2006, Jordan secured Crystal Palace's future by buying the freehold to Selhurst Park off Noades for 12m. Jordan had four years left on the 10-year lease and the pair had been at loggerheads for several years over the sale.

Newspaper reports suggested Noades was going to sell to property firm Structadene which owns Bournemouth's Dean Court. But Jordan managed to strike a deal and can look to redevelop the dilapidated stadium.


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