Palace Pioneers

The original Crystal Palace FC was a famous club that blazed a trail for world football.

It helped found the Football Association to create a unified set of laws that saw the birth of the game.

Palace were involved in devising the FA Cup competition and reached the semi-final in its first season, while they also provided players for the early England international matches.

Brief history

A Crystal Palace football team is formed by members of the Crystal Palace Cricket Club in 1861.

The footballers play their first game against Forest FC in March 1862. Their home fixtures take place on a portion of the cricket ground.

A year later, officials from Crystal Palace help found the Football Association with 10 other clubs and they agree on the first set of laws for the game.

CPFC then host their matches on the Crooked Billet Ground, in Penge. Their February 1864 clash with Barnes is only the second ever FA-sanctioned football match.

Palace make a return to Crystal Palace Park for their home venue in 1867.

They are the original participants of the FA Cup in 1871 and it’s likely the team played the first-ever tie. It is football’s first knockout cup competition and CPFC reach the semi-final. Palace captain Douglas Allport helps source the original trophy.

Palace forward Charles John Chenery is selected for the world’s first-ever football international, Scotland v England in 1872.

Alexander Morten is England’s second captain when he skippers his country against Scotland in March 1873.

CPFC play their last recorded game against Barnes in December 1875.

Charles Eastlake Smith and Arthur Henry Patrick Savage win call-ups for England against the Scots in March 1876.


The club disbands in 1876 with no further matches reported in the press. It is no longer affiliated with the FA. The Crystal Palace cricket side continues with its fixtures.

Playing kit

Contrary to reports, there is no evidence the team played in light blue and white halves. The Football Annuals of the time described the kit as: “Blue and white jersey, (navy) blue knickerbockers and dark blue stockings.” It is likely the shirts were one-inch hoops as that was the most popular style of this time.

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Palace Pioneers: How the first Crystal Palace FC helped create the modern game

Palace Pioneers tells the story of the first Crystal Palace FC, the team’s acclaimed history and its legacy. There is an in-depth review of each season, 59 player profiles, over 100 photographs, plus extensive facts and stats. This book is a complete record of the celebrated club that all football enthusiasts will enjoy.

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