|Locale||Southern England (Brighton/South Norwood)|
|Teams||Brighton & Hove Albion
|First contested||Brighton 0–2 Palace
(25 December 1920)
|Number of meetings||98|
|Most wins||Both teams (37 each)|
The M23 derby, also known as the Brighton & Hove Albion–Crystal Palace rivalry and the A23 derby, is the name of the association football local derby between the two English league teams Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. The name comes from the motorway that stretches from Sussex to south London. It is one of the fiercest derbies in English football, with both sets of fans recognising one another as their team's main rival.
Though Crystal Palace is Brighton's geographically-closest club (excluding the recent promotion of Crawley Town into the Football League), Crystal Palace have a number of nearer clubs to call rivals, making the rivalry one of the strangest in English football. Although the rivalry has its beginnings in the 1940/50s where the clubs met a total of 21 times in 12 years; it truly came to full force in the 1976/77 Season.
The two teams have been evenly matched across the years with 37 wins each. They have drawn 24 matches. In total, against each other Palace have won 5 cup games and Brighton have won 2, but Brighton in turn have won 35 league games while Palace have won 32.
Although the rivalry has its beginnings in the 1940/50s where the clubs met a total of 21 times in 12 years; it truly came to full force in the 1970s. In June 1976 Terry Venables was announced as the Crystal Palace manager, and a month later Alan Mullery was named as Brighton manager. The two managers had spent time together on the field as players at Tottenham, in fact Venables was second in command to Mullery’s captaincy at the club; Mullery has described this power dynamic as a reason for the rivalry between the two managers. Both managers were set the same task at the two clubs; promotion from the Old Third Division.
The clubs first met in the league that season at The Goldstone on 2 October where it ended all square at 1-1, though during the match three smoke bombs were thrown onto the pitch. The two clubs were then drawn in the first round of the FA Cup to be played on 20 November at The Goldstone; the match ended 2-2. A replay then took place at Selhurst three days later; once again the sides could not be separated and the match finished 1-1 after extra time and the teams faced a second replay. In both matches Brighton were described as dominating much of the game.
The second replay, which was postponed twice due to bad weather, took place at Stamford Bridge on 6 December and “was prefaced by much verbal propaganda of the chest-thumping variety”. Palace took the lead at the 18 minute mark through Paul Holder. Brighton’s Peter Ward had a goal disallowed shortly after as he was adjudged to have handled the ball; though Palace’s Jim Cannon later admitted this only occurred due to him shoving the Brighton striker. In the 78th minute Brighton were awarded a penalty which was converted by Brian Horton only to be promptly disallowed as referee, Ron Challis, adjudged players encroached the penalty area, though it is believed only Palace players encroached. Horton retook the penalty and this time it was saved by the Palace keeper, Paul Hammond. The match ended 1-0 to Crystal Palace.
After the match Mullery approached Challis to discuss the decision. As Mullery walked away down the tunnel a Crystal Palace supporter poured coffee over him. In response Mullery pulled some loose change from his pocket, threw it to the floor and exclaimed ‘That's all you're worth, Crystal Palace!’ with, what the Guardian described as "none too polite signs". Mullery was led away by police and charged £100 by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute.
On the 12 March 1977, the two teams met again in the league at Selhurst and Palace ran out 3-1 winners.
That season both teams were promoted as runner ups, with Brighton finishing two points in front of Palace. Brighton also rebranded that season, changing from the Dolphins to become the Seagulls, in direct opposition to the Crystal Palace Eagles.
The rivalry continued with the clubs meeting with the same objective and same managers in the 1978/79 season, this time vying for a spot in the top flight of English football. Brighton completed their season top of the league but Palace had a game in hand to play against Burnley; Palace won the match and took the title by one point.
Mullery states that the rivalry was fuelled by both competition between the teams and directly between the managers. Mullery would go on to manage Crystal Palace for two season (1982–1984) then would return to Brighton for the 1986/87 season.
Brighton’s off the field problems in the 1990’s would lead to the clubs only meeting 4 times in the league between 1990 and 2011.
The first game between the two teams at Brighton's new stadium was won by Crystal Palace, 3–1. The most recent derby was won 0–2 by Palace at the Amex Stadium in the 2012–13 Championship Playoff Semi-finals.
Players who have represented both clubs
The following footballers have played for both Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace:
|Player||First Club||Dates at First Club||Dates at Second Club|
|Kemy Agustien||Crystal Palace||2011 (loan)||2013-|
|Ade Akinbiyi||Brighton||1994 (loan)||2002-2003|
|Calvin Andrew||Crystal Palace||2008-2012||2009 (loan)|
|Trevor Benjamin||Crystal Palace||2001-2002 (loan)||2004 (loan)|
|Gary Borrowdale||Crystal Palace||2002-2007||2009 (loan)|
|Steve Claridge||Crystal Palace||1988||2004|
|Paul Dickov||Brighton||1994 (loan)||2007 (loan)|
|Stephen Dobbie||Brighton||2012–2013||2013 (loan), 2013–|
|Scott Flinders||Crystal Palace||2006-2009||2007 (loan)|
|John Humphrey||Crystal Palace||1990-1995||1997|
|Paul Kitson||Crystal Palace||2000||2002-2003|
|Simon Rodger||Crystal Palace||1990–2002||2002–2004|
|Neil Smillie||Crystal Palace||1975-1982||1982-1985|
|Jamie Smith||Crystal Palace||1999(Youth)-2009||2009-2012|
|Steven Thomson||Crystal Palace||1994-2003||2008|
|Matthew Upson||Crystal Palace||2001 (loan)||2013-|
|Eric Young||Brighton||1982-1987||1990-1995 & 1997|
Match History - Summary
The two teams have played a total of 98 games in league and cup. Scoring a total of 266 goals (2.7 per game), Brighton scoring 130 (1.3 per game) and Palace 138 (1.4 per game)
|Brighton wins||Draws||Palace wins|
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion
|26 November 1932||Selhurst Park||
|FA Cup: Round 1||14,870|
|30 September 1936||Selhurst Park||
|Third Division South Cup||2,822|
|10 December 1938||Goldstone Ground||
|Third Division South Cup||3,877|
|20 November 1976||Goldstone Ground||
|FA Cup: Round 1||29,510|
|23 November 1976||Selhurst Park||
|FA Cup: Round 1 replay||29,174|
|6 December 1976||Stamford Bridge||
|FA Cup: Round 1 replay 2||14,118|
|16 October 1985||Selhurst Park||
|Full Members Cup: South Round 1 Group 4||2,207|
|18 February 1991||Goldstone Ground||
|Full Members Cup South Round 3||9,633|
|10 May 2013||Selhurst Park||
|13 May 2013||Amex Stadium||
|Brighton wins||Draws||Palace wins|
Footnotes and references
- Brighton-Crystal Palace Head to Head, Statto. Retrieved 03 Sept 2011
- "Football Fans Census" (PDF).
- How Brighton v Crystal Palace grew into an unlikely rivalry, The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2013
- "Statto". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
- "Brighton 1-3 Crystal Palace". Retrieved 2 December 2012.