Many and varied are the pieces of memorabilia, art and paraphernalia that the football club has gathered about itself over the years. Over the next season or three, we are going to select some of these, in no particular order nor importance, to help tell a tale of Throstles down the years. It’s not a definitive history, might at times be apocryphal and at others completely fabricated, but these odd shafts of light will give you a sense of who we are and where we came from. Confused? You will be…
SALVER PRESENTED BY CRYSTAL PALACE, 20 SEPTEMBER 1969
Given the relative success they’ve enjoyed in more recent times, it’s easy to lapse into thinking that Crystal Palace have long been a fixture at football’s top table, but not so, not by a long chalk.
They joined the lower ranks of the Football League in 1920 and stayed in and around the basement for many years and, indeed, were founder members of the Fourth Division following league reorganisation in 1958.
Yet within 11 years, they were claiming a place into the top division, just as the swinging ‘60s were coming to a close, stepping blinking, into the bright lights of the First Division.
It meant that every game that season was an event, although in those rather less hysterically hyped times, those events were rather lower key than we’d see today. Back then there was a manly nod to the creation of history before moving on to the more important business of playing football.
Nonetheless, the directors at Palace wanted to mark the landmark and invested in a job lot of salvers with which to commemorate the string of firsts at Selhurst Park, adding a bit of, admittedly perfunctory, engraving to finish them off.
Our turn came on September 20th 1969 as we circumnavigated Croydon’s nooks and crannies to find our way to the home of the Glaziers for the first time in league football. We were looking forward to it, not so much for the interminable trip but because we were having a dreadful start to the season after investing heavily in new players that summer.
Just two wins and two draws in our opening ten games was a pretty poor return but happily, Palace provided the ideal tonic for the troops, Albion romping to a 3-1 win courtesy of Jeff Astle, Sir Robert Hope and one of those summer buys, the recently departed Danny Hegan sealing an important 3-1 win for the Throstles.
Cue celebratory digestives all round off the silver tray on the bus home.