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Palace Pioneers: Marcel Gaillard

August 11 2011

Marcel Gaillard

Marcel Gaillard

Marcel Gaillard was the first foreign player to represent Crystal Palace.

The Belgian was signed from Tonbridge in February 1948 and played during one of the club's darkest periods.

Charleroi-born Gaillard scored on his Palace bow in a 5-0 rout of Watford in the Third Division (South) to also become the first overseas footballer to score for the club.

The elegant left winger helped the Glaziers to a respectable 13th-place finish in his debut season at Selhurst Park.

But he could do nothing to stop Palace becoming the worst team in the land after they ended the 1948/49 campaign bottom of Third Division (South) and having to apply for re-election to the league.

Gaillard made 21 appearances overall, finding the net on three occasions before joining Portsmouth in February 1951. He later had spells in non-league at Weymouth, Yeovil Town and Dorchester Town.

Defender Kenny Verhoenen and goalkeeper Nico Vaesen are the other Belgians to have featured for Palace.

*Foreign is outside of the British Isles.

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