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Burnley 1979

March 31 2003

Selhurst Park

Selhurst Park

The 1978/9 season was one of the most memorable in Palace's history and most fans will remember it by just one game.


I was 12 at the time, I remember that 'butterfly' feeling during the day at school, then legging it home. My dad and uncle took me up - I was living in Crawley at the time.

What a fantastic night. I remember being 'placed' down the front of the old Holmesdale. I couldn't see my dad or uncle during the match and jumped on the pitch at the end and nearly got one of John Burridge's socks when the players threw their kits into the crowd. I'm 35 now - don't think of myself as a veteran -but I feel honoured that I was there!!


I was 12 too and my brother took me to the game. He was 20 and he also took his small Malaysian girlfried who didn't see a thing the whole game.

I was passed over people's heads and sat at the edge of the pitch, we were standing at the north east corner of the ground.

I remember thinking that they needed a bigger ground (I hadn't been to many games and thought that they always had crowds like this).

My brother was apparently a bit worried that I might never be seen again but I had a great time and remember running onto the pitch and watching the players throw their kits into the crowd.

What a great atmosphere. Like Garyb, I don't feel like a veteran but the Eagles got into my blood that night and they'll be there until I die and beyond.

Looking forward to seeing the photos, you won't see Valerie (my brother's girlfriend, she never went to another game... the relationship didn't last!)

WA Eagle

The gates were locked an hour before kick-off but people were still managing to get in before and after the start. Burnley were already relegated and had nothing to lose.

The atmosphere was getting tense until Ian Walsh scored from Vince's (he played the entire game) cross about half way through the second half (relief all round).

After that the players relaxed and big Dave got a second. The key to Palace's success that season was a superb defence that was almost ever present and very few injuries (Mike Elwiss excepted).

All the pubs were packed after the game and as it was a warm night many were drinking outside and on the streets.

I was celebrating in the car park at the Fountain Head in Thornton Heath afterwards myself with many others.

This was a famous victory not for the actual game but for the result, because it had taken us six years to get back to the 1st (old) Division after enduring two relegations and trips to Halifax, York etc in the Third Division.

As for the nonense about maraudering Millwall fans, they wouldn't have had to look very far for Palace supporters as thousands were said to have been locked out and either waited outside or retreated to nearby pubs.

How about recollections from Villa Park, now that was a match!

Geoff Thomas

What a night as an eight-year-old going to the game with my brother's friends and family in one of the VW campers (the ones that Aussies travel about in!)and having champagne in the fridge waiting!

Remember getting in the Holmesdale early at 5pm and sitting on a cushion on one of the bars! Then I recall a group of skinheads unable to go to the toilet so just emptying out in front of everyone to my mother's horror.

Still worse was to come as one of them tried to remove the other bloke's eye as he said he could put it back (was it you?).

Much of the game a do not recall other than the crush when we scored and a female being passed to the medics at the front of the terrace.

The after match celabrations were great as everyone ran on the pitch and waved white Palace flags with the red and blue sash on.

Back to the van afterwards to rack open the bubbly although I was too young to partake!


I was there, aged 11!! Stood by the base of the floodlight on the hill, at the Holmesdale end. Hey Crofton, I could have been stood next to you!!!!

I managed to find myself a small tuft of grass to "teeter" on. It wasn't big enough to stand on properly!!

I remember it being absolutely manic. I don't remember much of the game because at 11 the world is full of giants!! I remember the goals though. I lost my dad twice!


Walsh and Swindlehurst scored against Burnley and according to the 'Complete Record' Vince Hilaire started.

I was at the game - 11 at the time - and can't remember much about it. My brother's car broke down and we had to get the train. We could hear the singing as soon as we got off at Selhurst (how I long for that again).

I remember Walshie's looping header but didn't see Swindles' goal. Other than that I just remember some bloke open the train door at East Croydon and asked us if we won. When we told him we had, he replied "Oh Bollocks!" and sloped off.

The next day Saint and Greavsie (On The Ball) showed the goals. An absolutely amazing night.

Team: Burridge, Hinshelwood, Sansom, Kember, Cannon, Gilbert, Nicholas, Murphy, Swindlehurst, Walsh, Hilaire.

I've still got the programme in the roof.


I went with my brother "Geoff Thomas", but I was 16 at the time so me and my mate decided to stand in the middle of the Holmesdale.

My abiding memories are of groups of Brighton and Sunderland fans that were in the Whitehorse, having aching legs prior to kick-off, looking at my watch praying that we would score and take the championship from the Brighton scum, my feet not touching the ground when we scored and the drinks afterwards.

I kept a scrapbook at the time, which my dear old nan used to assist with by providing clippings from the Croydon Advertiser. I have a picture of the Holmesdale in my scrapbook which is amazing, as someone said before, it was a sea of heads. According to the Advertiser there were over 23,000 in the Holmesdale alone that night!

Have to say though, that this night was overshadowed by the trip to Wrexham in 1977!! That was pure drama.

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