Crystal Palace Ultras

Crystal Palace vs Brighton: from play-offs to the Premier League

Crystal Palace host Brighton at Selhurst Park in another chapter of this fixture’s intense history this Saturday.

This fixture is an intense yet often misunderstood rivalry, stemming back from the days of Alan Mullery and Terry Venables at the helm.

The coaches had played together at Tottenham Hotspur yet they clashed behind the bench during Palace and Brighton’s bid for promotion in the third tier.

The 1976/77 season was where the rivalry began, as Palace played Brighton five times including an ill-tempered and controversial first round FA Cup affair which resulted in a 1-0 Palace victory.

In what was a second replay of the cup tie, Brighton were forced to retake a converted penalty that was missed and had a goal disallowed for a handball.

Mullery, then managing Brighton, famously said after the match that he wouldn’t pay £5 for a single Crystal Palace player.

A rivalry is born

Some fans of both teams agreed that the Mullery-Venables spat was the catalyst for the rivalry.

Crystal Palace fan James Howard said: “You arrive and can feel tension in the air, you have to keep your wits about you in these types of games.

“I remember taking a turn and walking up a sideroad at the old Brighton ground and seeing about a thousand Brighton fans all walking towards me, so I quickly made sure to take another turn to get out of the way.”

Howard’s most memorable Palace game was the Championship semi-final playoff clash ten years ago when Wilfried Zaha’s brace was enough to send Palace to Wembley.

Long-time Brighton fan, Warren Morgan said: “I was about ten but almost got into a scrap with a Palace ball boy at one of the Selhurst games.

“We’d still be the Dolphins if the club hadn’t enthusiastically adopted the Seagulls nickname as a club badge the following season after Albion fans responded to the Palace ‘Eagles’ chant.”

The clubs have clashed across the third, second and first tiers of English football and look destined to fight forever.

Palace v Brighton this year

Saturday’s game at Selhurst Park expects thrill and tension much like last season’s game in which then-Brighton forward Neal Maupay scored a last-gasp equaliser.

Brighton are favourites due to their incredible season so far, challenging for European qualification under Roberto di Zerbi’s guidance.

However their last win against the Eagles came in 2019 and a tense Selhurst Park atmosphere could be just what Patrick Viera needs to stop the high-flying Seagulls.

The teams will face each other again at the Amex on the 16th of March.

Image Credit: UngryYoungMan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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