Crystal Palace Month

And now, for something somewhat different;

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With five mondays in April having come and gone, the following articles have gone live for the Crystal Palace theme month;

Club 25 Football as a website has, since launching in early 2017, become a massively overgrown archive of interesting, ugly, beautiful, rare, matchworn, signed, and otherwise noteworthy items from our private collection of football shirts. Via the main page and shirt archive, readers are invited to trawl through close to 150 different kits and their accompanying stories to learn more about the clubs, players, brands, and sponsors that appear on a given shirt.

However, up until today, there has been little rhyme or reason to our posting behaviour; we simply wrote about whichever shirt we felt like writing at the time – possibly because the player who wore it made headlines, or the club in question had clinched promotion, or because a particular design had caught our fancy.

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Coinciding with what one can reasonably expect to be the first full month of societal lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at Club 25 are going to try something a little different; a theme month centering around one single club and its bewitching catalogue of diverse and memorable kits to entertain its fans (and our general readers) for a long stretch of time. That club, as you may have already noticed, being Crystal Palace.

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‘Cool beans’, existing readers will exclaim, followed by the question ‘why Palace?’. Well, because this London-based sides ticks a few important boxes for us; they have a delightful kit history with plenty of shirts well-suited to our style of article, we’ve followed the club with above-average interest since 2005, they’ve never featured on this site previously, and, perhaps most importantly, we recently won an auction involving a job lot of five of their shirts for 38 quid. So, one could say that the time for a Crystal Palace theme month is now.

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Our first season of following football was 2004/2005, and that year, a blood-curdling relegation battle unfolded in the Premier League. Norwich City, who we support, was locking horns with Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, and Crystal Palace as to which of this quartet of clubs would finish 17th, and which would be relegated to the Championship. The final day of the season saw all four in with a shout, but the 15th of May proved to be a tearjerker. Norwich were routinely beaten at Craven Cottage, a 6-0 win for home side Fulham sending the Canaries down. Already heartbroken, we then took note of Palace and Southampton, two teams we had come to respect during the run-in to the end of the campaign, had been similarly consigned to the second tier by West Brom – the only team out of the four relegation candidates we absolutely didn’t like – beating Portsmouth.

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Besides the heartbreak on the final day (Crystal Palace were leading Charlton and would have survived if not for a late equalizer scored by the Addicks; this was especially painful coming after a similar result a week earlier against Southampton), the 2004/2005 season was mostly memorable to Palace fans for being a rare outing in the Premier League (their only foray into the top flight in that specific decade) and Andy Johnson’s incredible 21 goal tally – although he didn’t particularly enjoy the home match versus Norwich, as seen above.

For us, Crystal Palace being relegated alongside Norwich meant that we have since used the Eagles as a bit of a benchmark for the Canaries’ performance, even if doing so doesn’t make complete sense. After all, we started watching English football with zero historical awareness in 2004/2005; what better way for us to judge the team’s performance than by contrasting it to their fellow relegation victims? In the years thereafter we thus steadfastly kept an eye on the result of Norwich, Palace, and the Saints as all three teams conveniently remained in the Championship. Both Norwich and Southampton ended up relegated to League One, but the Eagles were spared further embarassment and instead built towards their famous play-off win 2012/2013, which catapulted Crystal Palace to the Premier League from whence they haven’t been relegated since.

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To celebrate the club, its shirts, and our theme month, we will be giving away a Palace shirt to one lucky winner via our Twitter competition. To be in with a chance to nab it, simply head on over to Twitter and do the following;

  1. Follow our Twitter account
  2.  Like and Retweet the giveaway post, and….
  3. Tell us in the comments what your favourite shirt on our site is

Mind, what shirt you pick does not influence your chances of winning, so have some fun, click around, and see which shirt catches your fancy the most! The winner will be chosen via a random draw (which we hope to show live on Twitter) on Saturday the 2nd of May, with postage costs covered by Club 25 Football (we’ll even throw in some foreign football stickers for added fun).