Groundbreaking Crystal Palace Investigation Could Change Football History

Written by Robert Sutherland

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There's a general understanding that oldest football clubs are Notts County -- the oldest professional club in football today -- and Sheffield FC, the oldest football club to exist. 
However, a new 20-minute documentary put together by Chris Grierson and the PalaceTV team sheds light on historic documents that would indicate that Crystal Palace are, in fact, the oldest professional football club.  
History dictates that the Crystal Palace we know and love are not the same club as the amateur club that was formed in 1861. 
Grierson meticulously researches the club's history to put together a case that seeks to change the course of history. 

In an interview with Peter Manning, author of Palace at the Palace, he finds that a tankard he bought at auction which was presented at the end of the 1874 season was not the kind that would have been presented by the Crystal Palace building workers. 
Thanks to the wonders of the British Library digitising their archives, Manning finds further compelling evidence that suggests the club formed in 1861 actually had much closer ties to the 1905 establishment than previously understood. 
Throughout the documentary it becomes clear that, due to circumstances surrounding club ownership at the time,  the Crystal Palace Company which founded the 1861 venture, was also a major shareholder in the 1905 club that was founded. It was not, as has been argued in the many years since, founded by a team of local entrepreneurs and workers.  
The matter is likely to be disputed. The assertion that history books are wrong is always going to result in some resistance. But PalaceTV make a great argument that two clubs founded by the same Crystal Palace Company deserve to share that history. 
Now it's time for the FA to establish the facts. 

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