Why is Crystal Palace FC nicknamed ‘The Eagles’?

Crystal Palace Football Club (FC) was formally founded, as a professional team, at what is now Crystal Palace Park, in the London Borough of Bromley, in 1905. At the time, the site was home to the Crystal Palace, a giant plate glass and cast iron structure, originally built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, but dismantled and re-erected on Sydenham Hill, South East London three years later. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the football club was originally known as ‘The Crystals’, before becoming known by a more familiar nickname, ‘The Glaziers’, circa 1910.

At the start of World War I, in July, 1914, the Crystal Palace and its grounds were commandeered by the Admiralty and, the following March, Crystal Palace FC was forced to leave its original stadium on the site of what is now the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Thereafter, the club played its football at Herne Hill Velodrome and Croydon Common Athletic Ground, a.k.a. ‘The Nest’, before moving to its current home, Selhurst Park, in 1924.

‘The Eagles’ nickname was a much, much later development and was, in fact, ‘borrowed’ from perennial Portuguese champions Benfica by Malcolm ‘Big Mal’ Allison, who succeeded Bert Head as manager at Selhurst Park on March 31, 1973. A flamboyant, outspoken and often controversial manager, Allison sought to revolutionise the club, as he had done previously, alongside Joe Mercer, at Manchester City.

However, despite his rebranding efforts, Crystal Palace FC was relegated to the Second Division in 1972/73 and relegated again, to the Third Division, in 1973/74. By the time the club was promoted back to the Second Division in 1976/77, Allison had been replaced by Terry Venables, who had worked as his coach the previous season.

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