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1989/90 revisited

August 4 2009

Andy Gray

Andy Gray

Crystal Palace survived their first season back in the top flight and reached the FA Cup Final.

Andy Gray rejoined Palace from QPR for £500,000. Outgoing players were: Gavin Nebbling to Fulham, Dennis Bailey to Birmingham for £80,000 and Mark Harris to Swansea for £22,500. Youngster John Salako got first team experience on loan at Swansea.


A defeat away to QPR on the opening match of the new campign was not ideal for new boys Palace. But, in front of the brand new scoreboard at Selhurst Park, Palace held Man United to a midweek 1-1 draw when Ian Wright's last minute goal cancelled out Bryan Robson's opener. The Eagles crashed to a narrow defeat at home to Coventry.


Palace collected their first win of the season at home to Wimbledon. But things took a turn for the worse with a midweek trip to Anfield when Liverpool thrashed Coppell's men 9-0. Despite that setback, Palace won a point at Southampton and beat Forest and Everton in the next three league games. It pushed them up to ninth place.

The Eagles lost 2-1 at home to Leicester in their League Cup first leg tie at Selhurst Park.

League Cup record


Home kitPalace booked their place in the next round of the League Cup after beating Leicester 3-2 to level the tie 4-4 on aggregate and progress on away goals. Next up was Forest and the match ended goalless.

In the First Division, Palace lost out to Derby and Aston Villa but a thrilling 4-3 triumph over arch rivals Millwall made up for it. Eagles defender Jeff Hopkins scored a 35-yard own goal to give Millwall the lead but Ian Wright nabbed two and strike partner Mark Bright another to make it 3-1. Goals from Tony Cascarino and Steve Anthrobus got the Lions level only for Bright to hit the winner with a minute left. Palace were now in 13th spot.


The Eagles were thumped 5-0 by Forest in the League Cup third round replay at the City Ground to bow out of the competition.

On the league front, Palace did not fare much better as they lost out to Man City, Tottenham and could only draw with Luton and Sheffield Wednesday. The poor results left Palace in 16th. However, a 4-1 Full Members Cup win over Luton gave them a little cheer.

Palace made Nigel Martyn the first million pound goalkeeper when he signed from Bristol Rovers. Fellow stopper Brian Parkin went the other way as part exchange.

Stan Ternent quit as Coppell's no2 to become Hull City manager.


After QPR completed the double over Palace, Coppell's men came back from a goal down to record a fine 2-1 win over Man United at Old Trafford after two headed goals from Mark Bright.

Palace played Charlton twice in the space of three days in the league and Full Members Cup and beat the Addicks both times. A draw with Chelsea and a home win over Norwich left the Eagles sitting in 12th position.

Andy Thorn was snapped up from Newcastle for £650,000. Richard Shaw joined Hull on loan and Perry Suckling had a loan stint at West Ham.


Away kitArsenal, Coventry and Liverpool defeated Palace in the First Division as the South Londoners dropped to 15th. It was bad news for the Eagles when talisman Ian Wright broke his leg in the Livepool game.

However, the magical FA Cup journey began with a 2-1 win at home to Portsmouth thanks to a last minute Andy Gray penalty, then a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Huddersfield. Chris Powell had a loan spell at Aldershot.

FA Cup record


There was a league reverse at Nottingham Forest, a win over Southampton and a draw with Sheffield Wednesday as Palace remained in 15th place.

Rochdale were seen off in the FA Cup. The Eagles knocked Swindon out of the Full Members' Cup but Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners in the first leg of the following round.


programmeChelsea halted Palace's dreams of Full Members Cup glory with another 2-0 win to go through 4-0 on aggregate. In the FA Cup, a 1-0 win over Cambridge United after Geoff Thomas's goal earned Palace a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Palace lost at Everton and were held to a draw against Derby which saw Wright break down with another broken leg after coming back against Cambridge. The Eagles were victorious over Tottenham, Aston Villa and completed the double over Millwall. Palace were now nine points above the relegation zone.

Striker Garry Thompson came in from Watford for £200,000.

See all the Palace programmes


April saw Palace achieve one of their most famous victories with a titanic 4-3 FA Cup win over Liverpool at Villa Park. Alan Pardew scored a sensational extra-time winner as Palace avenged their 9-0 tonking earlier in the campaign.

In Depth Players look back at 4-3 triumph

The only success in the league was at home to Charlton, as there were losses to Norwich, Chelsea and Luton and a draw with Arsenal. Palace went into the final month of the season four points above the drop zone with two matches to play.


Coppell's troops ensured survival with victory at Wimbledon and had to make do with a last day draw at home to Manchester City to end the campaign in 15th.

Palace faced Manchester United in an epic FA Cup Final which finished all square at 3-3. Eagles scorers were Gary O'Reily and Wright who jumped off the subs' bench to score twice. In a disappointing replay, the Eagles bowed out through a late Lee Martin goal.

After the season, Simon Rodger joined from Bognor Regis for £1,000 and Glyn Hodges was signed from Watford for £410,000. John Pemberton went to Sheffield Utd for £300,000, while Dave Burke, David Madden and Gary O'Reilly were released.

In Depth Palace Hero: Jolly Rodger

Full results for 1989/90

Final 1989/90 league table

1989/90 league table progress graph

Player of the Year: Mark Bright

Young Player of the Year: Simon Osborn

View every Player of the Year winner

Top Scorer: Mark Bright 17 (12 league, 5 cup)

View the top scorers for each season

Average attendance: 17,105

See each season's average attendance

In Depth The 1980s revisited

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