Crystal Palace launch plan to claim title of oldest Football League club

Crystal Palace existed as a cricket club during the formative years of the Football League, though their stadium did provide a home for the FA Cup final between 1895 and the outbreak of the first world war. The Palace club historian and author Peter Manning believes this unfashionable and somewhat contrary decision – given the booming popularity of professional football at the time – was made to protect the cricket surface. Once a new stadium was built within the Crystal Palace Company’s parkland attractionspecificallyto stage FA Cup finals the footballers had a pitch they could call their own and were in a position to join the league, which they did as professionals in 1905. The Company would have been extremely proud of what has been achieved.” The Palace chairman, Steve Parish, said: “I would like to thank Peter Manning for the incredible work he has undertaken researching the definitive history of the club. As a lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace I find it amazing that we have a legitimate claim to be the oldest professional league club still in existence, that we were in the very first FA Cup meetings andthat our history dates all the way back to Victorian cricketers and even involves the great WG Grace.” Related: Football Gossip [Read Sport]