Achieving the top spot in English football was a feat that had never been done before and hasn’t been since by Crystal Palace…………

The top spot in English football was attained by Crystal Palace on this day (September 29) 44 years ago, a feat that had never been done before and hasn’t been done since.

Ipswich Town, one of English football’s most potent forces, came to Selhurst Park on a sweltering afternoon near the end of an Indian summer to play an iconic Palace squad.

Palace’s team featured players like John Burridge, Jim Cannon, Paul Hinshelwood, as well as promising young players Kenny Sansom, Vince Hilaire, and Jerry Murphy on a Saturday afternoon kickoff for which the program cost just 25p.

Many had predicted that the group of players will form one of England’s most intriguing teams in the future.

The Eagles undoubtedly deserved the hype surrounding their talent after winning the FA Youth Cup in 1977 and 1978—the first team to do so back-to-back during that decade—but after only two seasons of playing in the top division, they were back in Division Two by 1981.

However, after playing Ipswich for 90 minutes and completely dismantling players like Terry Butcher, Steve McCall, and Paul Mariner as well as future Palace manager George Burley, Palace topped the English football pyramid in their debut season. All of these players were coached by Sir Bobby Robson.

Ipswich won the FA Cup in 1978, followed by finishing third, second, and second in each of the following three league seasons before capturing the UEFA Cup in 1981. They were a group with a ton of talent.

One individual in particular found reason to rejoice and did it in the most extraordinary manners. The renegade goalkeeper for Palace, Burridge, said last week on the team website: “We played Ipswich at Selhurst Park in the first game of the season. Whole house. In those days, they were one of the league’s top clubs. Powerhouses. We take a 1-0 lead early on. Great. We scored in the second half right after the break to go up 2-0. One more appears. Game over, I take it.

“Therefore, at Whitehorse Lane, I said to myself, “Bo***cks to it. I ascended onto the crossbar’s junction. Great game from up here, fellas, I was remarking to the fans as I sat there. They had started peeing themselves.

Palace concluded the season in 13th place.

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