Crystal Palace @ Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace @ Selhurst Park with thanks to Above All Images/Ian Hay

The following text is taken from the book, Football Grounds, and was written by Cassandra Wells.

“Crystal Palace was formed in 1905, when the club took up residence at the Crystal Palace ground, which was then England’s national stadium.  In 1915 the team moved to the Herne Hill cycle and athletics ground as the Admiralty took over its ground.  In 1918 Palace moved to the Nest, a ground situated opposite Selhurst station.  In 1919 Crystal Palace paid £2,570 for the former brickfield, Selhurst Park.  It took a further five years for the site to be prepared.  The club’s plans for development were fairly conservative, with one stand and minimal terracing.  The Main Stand was built to a similar design to those at Chelsea and Fulham.  A healthy rise in gates followed its opening, despite the club being relegated.  In the 1950s the ground fell into a state of disrepair as the Eagles languished in the Third and Fourth Divisions.  The 1960s were more successful.  Following the installation of floodlights in 1962, chairman Arthur Wait, persuaded Real Madrid to play a friendly at Selhurst Park.  The uncovered Park Side was developed in 1969 into a stand with a 42m deep shed-like roof covering the original banking.  In 1979 a record 51,482 saw Palace win the Second Division championship.  Palace spent the next 12 seasons yo-yoing between the First and Third Divisions.  The 1980s also signalled the first ever long-term ground-sharing plans at Selhurst Park, firstly with local rivals Charlton Athletic and then with Wimbledon.  The 1990s saw more major development: the Arthur Wait Stand was converted to all-seater, a hospitality block was built behind the Main Stand and the Whitehorse Lane Stand was developed.  The most significant development, however, came at the Holmesdale Road Stand.  Built into a natural embankment and surrounded by houses, building work was always going to be difficult.  However, structural engineers worked their magic and a massive structure, which took more than a year to build, was finally opened in August 1995, raising the capacity to 26,309”.

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