The Crystal Palace and Brighton rivalry which is referred to as the M23 Derby or A23 Derby stretches back to the 1970s. Every time Palace and Brighton play, someone asks the question on Twitter why there is such a heated rivalry when the teams are more than 50 miles apart. Well, that’s what we’re going to cover today, why are Brighton and Crystal Palace rivals?
History of the Brighton and Palace rivalry
The Palace and Brighton rivalry was born when the teams were managed by former Tottenham Hotspur players Terry Venables (Palace) and Alan Mullery (Brighton). In the season of 1976-77, the teams faced each other five times, but it was the second-round replay in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge that really created this rivalry.
Brighton was awarded a penalty and Brian Horton converted it. But, the referee said that it had to be retaken as a Brighton player had encroached on the penalty box. Horton missed the retake though and Mullery was furious at the decision.
He got a red card and as he was walking off got a barrage of abuse from the Palace fans, and his reaction at the time was to swear back at them. There is this iconic image of him giving the two fingers to the Palace fans.
Since then, every match between the two fans has been deemed a rivalry even if they aren’t local rivals. The fact that Brighton hadn’t made it to the Premier League before 2017 meant that these rivalries would only occur in cup games or when Palace was in the Championship.
Also, many Palace fans head down to Brighton for weekends away and it’s the same for Brighton fans heading to London, so even though they’re not close like with most rivalries there is a connection between the two.
Brighton also didn’t really have a rivalry with any team back in those days so after this Cup event in that season, Palace became the perfect rival.
Here’s the story of that match told by Alan Mullery himself. It’s a great tale that has created some amazing moments in the following years between the two sides.
Brighton Official Nickname Change
Before 1977, Brighton and Hove Albion FC were referred to as the Dolphins, it was due to the rivalry with Crystal Palace that this changed to the Seagulls.
This was only five years after Palace changed their nickname to the Eagles. The Crystal Palace fans chanting ‘Eagles Eagles’ was much better than Brighton fans chanting Dolphins…so as Brighton is on the sea and packed with seagulls this name suited better, is easier to chant, and sounds similar to Eagles. This meant the Brighton fans could respond with ‘Seagulls’ when the famous ‘Eagles’ chant was started by Palace fans.
This is another part of the now historic rivalry as Palace fans find it ridiculous that they’ve been copied and to a less inferior bird. Who would win a fight between an eagle and seagull? Our money is on the eagle!
Who has come out on top the most?
Brighton is currently leading the all-time head-to-head results by two wins and this dates back to 1920.
- Palace wins – 38
- Brighton wins – 40
- Draws – 28
This data is from 11v11.com, which you can find here.
Players that played for both teams
Over the years there have been some players that have played for both Crystal Palace and Brighton. The most notable was probably Glenn Murray who got promoted to the Premier League with both sides.
The current state of the rivalry
Both teams have had above-average results in the first half of the season and don’t look to be involved in the relegation battle like in previous seasons. But, both Palace and Brighton will be aiming for the highest possible finishes, and getting the win over the other main rival will be influential, or either team that manages it.
Palace fans and players were furious at the last-minute equaliser from Brighton back in the first match between these sides in the first match of the season in September 2021. The players will be up for this game after that and Viera believes the team has matured since then.
Do Crystal Palace Still Have Cheerleaders?
Yes, Crystal Palace still have cheerleaders and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going away anytime soon. The Crystals are the group of cheerleaders that perform at every home match and have even been on This Morning with Holly and Phillip recently.
Crystal Palace are the only Premier League side that still has a cheerleading outfit and a few years back there was some controversy over this which we’ll look at later in the article.
Whilst cheerleading is seen as an American thing here in the UK, The Crystals actually started performing for the club in 2010, years before the majority of the Crystal Palace owners were American businessmen. This was shortly after Steve Parish and Martin Long had taken over at the club.
Keep reading to find out more about The Crystals and even a video of them performing.
The Crystals – Crystal Palace Cheerleaders
The Crystals is the name of the Crystal Palace cheerleaders’ dance troupe. They are a group of women aged over 21 who perform at The Eagles’ home matches and have done since their first appearance back in December 2010!
Some of The Crystals are professionally trained dancers whilst others in the group do it as a hobby. A few of the girls have even been Palace season ticket holders before they joined the troupe. Now, of course, they are all Palace fans!
With COVID disrupting fans at matches in 2020, The Crystals weren’t able to perform, obviously. But, in the 2021/22 season, they have been performing in the Palace Fanzone and returned to the pitch for the 3-0 win over Arsenal at Selhurst Park.
You can follow The Crystals on social media here:
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thecrystalscpfc/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CrystalsCPFC/
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/crystals_cpfc
- TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@thecrystalscpfc
Crystal Palace Cheerleaders Controversy
Back in 2018, there were suggestions in the media that Crystal Palace should part ways with The Crystals. This came off the back of the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) and Formula One announcing that they’d be removing the walk-on women and grid women from both sports.
As Crystal Palace then and still are now, the only team in the Premier League to have cheerleaders this has remained a hot topic in the British press. This led to the club releasing a statement in support of having The Crystals perform at home matches. This is the statement from 2018:
”The Crystals are a semi-professional dance troupe who have been performing at Selhurst Park for more than seven years and contribute to the unique atmosphere inside the stadium, which is widely recognised as one of the best in the Premier League.
“They also raise substantial amounts of money for good causes throughout the year. We are proud of our association with them.”
The fact that Crystal Palace still have cheerleaders in 2022 shows that they continue to support them. As was reported in 2018 in the inews.co.uk article, there were videos and images of the women in bikinis. However, this isn’t the case now in 2022 so there’s clearly been some dressing room changes over the years.
As we mentioned earlier, in 2021, they even appeared on the popular ITV show This Morning to perform a routine that you can watch below.
List of Crystal Palace Managers in the History of the Club
Here you have the full list of Crystal Palace managers since the club was founded in 1905. We’re going to start with Crystal Palace’s current manager, Patrick Vieira, and work our way back through the history of the club.
Below you can see the time period that each manager spent with the Eagles, how many matches they were in charge of, and their overall results.
Obviously, everywhere you see a low number of matches these were caretaker managers filling in the interim.
|Frank de Boer||2017-2017||5||1||0||4|
|Curtis Fleming/Lennie Lawrence||2012-2012||2||1||1||0|
|Terry Bullivant/Steve Kember||2001-2001||4||1||0||3|
|Ron Noades/Ray Lewington||1998-1998||2||0||1||1|
|Fred Dawes/Charlie Slade||1950-1951||40||8||10||22|
|R. S. Moyes||1936-1936||23||6||6||11|
Crystal Palace New Academy Training Ground
Back in October 2021, the new Crystal Palace training ground for the academy was opened. Former Palace academy graduate and current England manager, Gareth Southgate, did the honours of officially opening the training facilities.
This project cost the club £20m and has been possible with the investment from the new Crystal Palace owners since 2015. The plot of land which is opposite the first team training ground Copers Cope Road in Beckenham was bought in 2018. Planning permission was granted in March 2020 and it took 19 months for completion. Still to be built is the medical rehabilitation centre which will feature hydrotherapy pools.
Keep reading to see what the facilities have to offer and what Southgate and Parish had to say in the academy opening speeches.
Drone Fly-through Video
As you can see in the drone fly-through video the new facilities are full of state-of-the-art equipment. Here is a list of what is available now for the Crystal Palace academy players.
- Players’ dining room & recreation room
- Private offices
- Chairman’s office
- Open plan work area with a terrace
- Analysis room
- State of the art gym
- 13 changing rooms
- 4 full-size hybrid pitches, one is a show pitch
- Full-size 3G floodlit pitch
- Indoor dome with full-size 3G pitch & viewing gallery
- Medical rehabilitation centre with hydrotherapy pools
You can see this impressive new training ground in the video below.
Comments from Parish & Southgate
Here is what Palace co-owner and Chairman, Steve Parish and England manager Gareth Southgate had to say in the official press release.
“The new Academy will have a transformative effect on the future of the football club and the local community, not only enabling us to attract and retain the best players in one of England’s richest footballing areas but also to help scores of young people and local schools enjoy the facilities.
“We will also be able to offer a comprehensive educational and player care programme, ensuring that even those players who don’t make it have an improved set of life choices. Outside of football, the classrooms, together with our Foundation, will be used to run evening classes, enhancing the educational and life choices of young people in south London.
“Gareth was a pivotal part of creating the current academy system and his success is testament to the type of person and player this club strives to produce. He is an immensely proud part of our history, and we also hope we can produce some home-grown talent to help England win a major tournament.
“It is fitting that he should open our new facilities to mark this monumental step forward for our football club.”
“Crystal Palace have always had a philosophy of producing home-grown players and have a hotbed of talent to choose from in south London. As a young player, they instilled in me a toughness, adaptability and resilience that was important throughout my career.
“I was delighted to be asked to open the club’s fantastic new Academy facilities, which are a world apart from the conditions I remember as a young player here, and an investment for the future.
“I am impressed by the club’s vision to develop well-rounded, educated individuals with good life skills who can be role models in the community, as well as technically gifted young players who can excel on the pitch”.
It’s also worth watching the opening speeches from both Parish and Southgate at the official academy opening ceremony. Southgate discusses his 10 years at Palace and Parish details how this is going to benefit the club and the local community. Below is the video so you can watch it for yourself.
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