|Teams||Brighton & Hove Albion
|First meeting||Brighton 0–2 Palace
(25 December 1920)
|Most wins||37 each|
The rivalry began in the 1940s and 1950s but came to full force in the late 1970s when both teams, under the guidance of ambitious young managers, rose from the Third Division to the First Division. Until Crawley Town were promoted to the Football League in 2011, Palace were the nearest other professional club to Brighton. Like Brighton, Crawley's biggest rival is a team from London, AFC Wimbledon.
The two teams are evenly matched with 37 wins each and 24 drawn matches. Palace have won five cup games and Brighton two while Brighton have won 35 league games and Palace 32.
Although the rivalry has its beginnings in the 1940 and 1950s when the clubs met 21 times in twelve years - including two memorable back-to-back matches on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, 1951 - it came to full force in the late-1970s.
In the 1975-76 season, both clubs were vying for promotion from the Third Division. Brighton were managed by Peter Taylor, Palace by the flamboyant Malcolm Allison. The league game between the two sides at Selhurst Park was played in front of a crowd of 25,000, while the return at The Goldstone in Hove saw 33,000 crammed in to the stadium to see a third tier match. That game, which the home side won 2-0, is generally attributed as giving birth to Brighton's nickname of 'Seagulls' - later adopted officially by the club (see below) - as it was sung on the terraces as a counter-chant to Palace's 'Eagles!'.
Both teams narrowly missed out on promotion that year. In the summer of 1976, Terry Venables became Crystal Palace manager and Alan Mullery Brighton manager. The pair had spent time together on the field as players at Tottenham, and 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 them. The two young managers were set the same task: promotion from the Third Division.
The first meeting between the clubs that season was the league match at The Goldstone on 2 October, which ended 1-1; during the game, three smoke bombs were thrown onto the pitch.
The clubs were then drawn together in the first round of the FA Cup, played on 20 November at The Goldstone; the match ended 2-2. A replay took place at Selhurst three days later; the match finished 1-1 after extra time and the teams faced a second replay. Brighton were described as dominating much of the play in the two games, which both attracted attendances of almost 30,000.
The second replay, postponed twice due to bad weather, took place at Stamford Bridge on 6 December. Palace took the lead after 18 minutes through Phil Holder. Brighton’s Peter Ward had a goal disallowed shortly after as he was adjudged to have handled the ball, although Palace’s Jim Cannon later said that 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 disallowed as referee Ron Challis adjudged that players had encroached upon the penalty area. 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 final whistle, Mullery approached Challis to discuss the decision and was escorted off the pitch by police while swearing at the Palace supporters in the stands. The Brighton manager then allegedly entered the Palace dressing room, threw five pounds on the floor and told Venables: "Your team's not worth that." Mullery was fined £100 by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute.
On the 12 March 1977, the two sides met again in the league at Selhurst and Palace ran out 3-1 winners.
That season both teams were promoted with Brighton finishing as runners up, two points in front of Palace. Brighton also changed their official nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls, in direct opposition to the Crystal Palace nickname the Eagles.
The rivalry continued with the clubs meeting with the same objective and same managers in the 1977-78 season and 1978-79 season, this time vying for a spot in the top flight of English football. In 1978, Brighton missed out on promotion on goal difference well ahead of their rivals, but the head-to-head battle continued the following season. Brighton completed their 1978-79 campaign top of the league. Palace, though, still had a game in hand to play against Burnley; Palace won the match, played in front of 51,000 spectators, 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 went on to manage Crystal Palace for two seasons (1982–1984) and then returned to Brighton for the 1986-87 season.
Rivalry between the two clubs carried on throughout the 1980s. Following their joint promotion to the First Division in 1979, the teams met four times in the top flight with Palace failing to record a victory.
With both sides back in the second tier, the 1985 match at Selhurst Park saw the end of Brighton favourite Gerry Ryan's career following a tackle by Palace defender Henry Hughton which broke the winger's leg in three separate places. The game was followed by some of the worst violence seen between the two sets of fans.
In 1989, referee Kelvin Morton awarded five penalties in a Crystal Palace v Brighton game, a Football League record. Palace were awarded four of the penalties, missed three but still won 2-1.
Brighton’s off-the-field problems in the 1990s led to the clubs only meeting four times in the league between 1990 and 2011. The league match between the two sides on 26 October 2002 at Selhurst Park was the first time the teams had met for 13 years. Palace ran out 5-0 winners. Brighton had their revenge three seasons later when a Paul McShane goal gave them a long-awaited victory at the home of their rivals.
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)||2013-2015|
|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), 2013–2015|
|Scott Flinders||Crystal Palace||2006-2009||2007 (loan)|
|John Humphrey||Crystal Palace||1990-1995||1997|
|Paul Kitson||Crystal Palace||2000||2002-2003|
|Glenn Murray||Brighton||2008–2011, 2016– (loan)||2011–2015|
|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 (loan), 2013-2014|
|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
- 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.