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  • Stephan Hoogerwaard

Selhurst Park – Crystal Palace FC

Photos by Stephen Hoogerward, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Selhurst Park Whitehorse Lane London, England SE25 6PU United Kingdom

Year Opened: 1924 Capacity: 26,309


Into the Eagle’s Nest

Selhurst Park is a football stadium in the south of the British capital city of London, more exactly the stadium is situated in the London suburb of South Norwood (borough of Croyden). Selhurst Park is the home ground of Crystal Palace FC, nicknamed ‘the Eagles’. Selhurst Park is one of the 20 Premier League grounds and has a capacity of 26,309 seats.

The stadium was designed by famous Scottish stadium architect Archibald Leitch and it was opened on the 30th of August 1924 by the Lord Mayor of London (not to be confused with the mayor of London). That same year, the first game at this ground occurred, unfortunately Crystal Palace lost (0-1) in front of a crowd of 25,000. In 1953 the stadium’s first floodlights were installed consisting of numerous poles around the ground. These were replaced in 1962 by real floodlights. Real Madrid marked the occasion by playing the first game under the new set of lights. At the time this was considered a real footballing coup for lower league Crystal Palace, as Real Madrid had never played a match in London before.

The stadium offers a glimpsed of both its past and present with brickwork, steel frames, and turnstiles that look as if they have been in place for decades. There are high arching entrance ways, modern corporate boxes, and narrow aisles that define this classic English Football stadium. Its compact size fits into the surrounding streets of the neighborhood where homes are just mere meters from the perimeter of the grounds.

Nowadays the stadium has a double tiered stand behind the goal, called the Holmesdale Stand. This stands looks very impressive with a capacity of 8,147 (lower tier 5,341 and upper tier 2,806 seats), but is just the second largest inside Selhurst Park. The Main Stand has a capacity of 6,163. This stand was opened in 1924 and includes the Directors Box.

The Whitehorse Lane Stand has a capacity of 2,245, and is the smallest stand at Selhurst Park with two tiers with 42 luxury Executive Boxes and a video screen (Jumbotron) on the roof.

The Arthur Wait Stand (named after the former chairman of the Eagles) is the biggest stand with a capacity just under 10,000 seats, including 2,600 for away supporters. This old stand shows its age and still has wooden seats and roof-supporting pillars, which is very uncommon in the Premier League, but it certainly gives character to the ground.

This summer Crystal Palace was given permission from the Croydon Council to proceed with a £100million stadium redevelopment that will increase Selhurst Park from 26,000 to 34,000. The main stand will have a capacity of 13,500 and offer hospitality and entertainment facilities. It will remain open during the renovation process. The exterior of the stand will feature a glass front with a tribute to the original Crystal Palace.

Food & Beverage 3

You will find your usual concession items at the grounds that include pies and pints. There are handmade pies that include steak and ale, vegetarian, vegan, and mushroom and leek. There are also 100 percent pure beef burgers, hot dogs, sausage rolls, and chicken goujons. There is even more options that include beef chili, chicken curry, and beef stew and dumplings, and fries. The price range is £4 to £4.50 for each hot item.

You can wash it down with Coca-Cola products, wine, and Carlsberg beer varieties and a couple of beers made for the team by Wolf Brewery: Palace Ale (blonde ale) and Palace Ruby Ale (red ale).

Atmosphere 4

The stadium features four stands: the Arthur Wait stand, Holmesdale Road stand, Sainsbury’s stand, in the Main stand. The Arthur Wait stand features the Red & Blue Bar, Sainsbury is home to executive suites and boxes, and the Main stand is home to the 2010 Club, Stephenson Lounge, and Speroni’s restaurant where the man of the match is presented after the game.

The Fanzone is located by entrance 10 and is open three hours prior to the game. Visitors can enjoy food, drinks, and pre-match entertainment from a resident DJ. The kids’ zone offer fun games and interactive sports, and chances to enter competitions to win a place in a halftime challenge on the pitch. You will also find Crystal Cheerleaders and Fanzone Presenters to provide assistance with any questions prior to the match.

During the match against Norwich City, the atmosphere during our match was very vocal. Just what you can expect when two teams fighting for relegation meet each other. Maybe we were lucky to have seats next to the away section. I think that some 2,500 Canaries (nickname for Norwich City fans) made the trip from Anglia to South London. Though Selhurst Park is a very old ground, it is still capable of producing a good atmosphere as both supporter groups make a lot of noise during the match.

Neighborhood 2

Selhurst Park is situated in the heart of the borough of Croydon and has mostly houses around its perimeter. In this area pubs are rare. For a good PMDS (Pre Match drinking Session) you definitely need to go to Selhurst Road. There are many restaurants and pubs. The White Horse and the Selhurst Arms are pubs that are especially for the more fanatic home supporters, though more neutral visitors are welcomed with an open heart. Both pubs are located close to each other at a 15 minutes walking distance from the football ground.

Fans 4

When you have 26,000 supporters packed into the stadium the atmosphere is good. Most of the 2,500 Norwich fans who visited this away match of their team were dressed in their yellow and green club colours. Home supporters are dressed in their red and blue shirts, but not so dominantly as the away support. Before and after the match you’ll notice the friendly atmosphere as home and away fans mingle outside the ground.

Access 2

There are freaking buses that operate from all directions to the stadium. The nearest train stations are Selhurst, Norwood Junction, and Thornton Heath that are all within a 10-15 minute walk. There are also more trains leaving Central London that will assist fans since there is no parking available at the stadium

Most streets around the ground are designated as residents only parking on matchdays, so the best place to park the car in the Edith Road area is close to the Selhurst train station. This area is also where the away fans are advised to park their cars. Takethe M20 towards the London Ringroad (M25 south bound). At exit 7 we took the M23 onto the A23 (London Road North) and followed it for some 11 kilometres. From there the Selhurst Park stadium is well signposted, but we used our navigation set to direct us to Edith Road. From there it was a 5 minute walk to the pubs mentioned before.

The stadium has 14 entrances, 3 retail shops, sore ticket offices, 5 accessible entrances, and one sensory room for patrons who are on the spectrum. The crowds average around capacity at 25,000 plus for games and once you are in your seat most are focused entirely on the game until half-time to move around. You will get somewhat cramped and cozy with a few thousand people, but it can be easy to move around when needed.

Return on Investment 4

Adult Ticket prices range are £22.50 (severely obstructed), £27.50 (obstructed), and £30 (unobsturcted) for home matches. These are very reasonable prices for a Premier League game and one at a historic ground. Affordable parking lot prices are available and food and beverages are quite reasonable.

Extras 3

The Crystal Palace club shop is located on Whitehorse Lane and is open on matchdays (before and after the match). Crystal Palace earns another point for its sensory room that includes a rubber ball and noise-cancelling earphones. Match Day programmes at the stadium or £3.50 at the club store and you can also a download it for just £1.49 on your mobile device.

Final Thoughts

Selhurst Park is an enjoyable experience when staying in London. The cozy conditions of the smaller ground give both fans and supporters a chance to enjoy football in a darling of venue. You are on top of the action and the grounds are always packed with friendly revelers enjoying an afternoon of football.

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