Brighton-Crystal Palace rivalry: Why do the clubs hate each other so much?

3rd Dec 2018

The next installment in one of English football's most complicated rivalries will be written on Tuesday night when Brighton & Hove Albion host Crystal Palace.

Bragging rights - and precious Premier League points - are up for grabs at the Amex Stadium as both teams battle to retain their top-flight status.

Tempers are expected to run high on the South Coast, but how did two clubs separated by 45 miles grow to hate each other so much?

We spoke to WeAreBrighton.com's Scott McCarthy to find out exactly why the bad blood runs so deep.

Everything seemed to start with Mullery vs Venables - but why do you think the bad blood has lasted so long even though the teams rarely played each other through the 1990s and 00s?

I think it is largely to do with the fact that for Brighton, we only have one rival and that is Crystal Palace.

Had we been one of those clubs with several rivals - like those in London or the Midlands who have lots of other clubs around them geographically - and we'd been constantly coming up against them when we were struggling in the bottom division and Palace were miles away in the top flight - maybe the hatred of Palace would've died down. 

As it was, the closest we got to another rival in the 1990s was Leyton Orient and that was purely because we seemed to play them about four times a season in League and cup competitions and would always lose to them.

READ MORE: Six players who earned standing ovations from rival fans

That focus on purely hating one club means it is easily passed down the generations as well. My parents first took me to the Goldstone when I was two years old and I had to wait 13 years to see us play Palace, but I knew that hating them was the done thing.

That feeling was confirmed when we lost my first derby game 5-0 at Selhurst. Well worth the wait, that.

The rivalry is seen as odd by many fans - but does it show that geography isn't always the most important factor in a rivalry?

There isn't much in it between Palace and Pompey as to who is the nearest club to us geographically, but definitely the history plays a part.

You've already touched on the Alan Mullery vs Terry Venables issue, but there is so much more tying the two sides up. We're nicknamed the Seagulls because we stole Palace's 'Eagles' chant at some point in the 1970s, for example.

Before that, the Albion were known as the Dolphins. In the 1980s, Palace player Henry Hughton - brother of Chris, ironically - ended the career of one of our most popular ever players, Gerry Ryan, with a horror tackle. 

Then in 1989 we played a game in which five penalties were awarded, with three of them being missed. Throw all that together, and it's little wonder there is such animosity.

Why do you think the hatred is so strong - is it because of a lack of direct rival on the South Coast so Palace have become the focus?

It helps that the other clubs who could potentially be geographical rivals for us both have their own stronger rivalries to be getting on with. For Brighton, the only other team in close proximity is Pompey and they've got Southampton.

For Palace, Millwall will always have bigger fish to fry with West Ham. The fact there is another team that hates you as much as you hate them boosts it.

For example, it must be terrible being a Bournemouth fan and disliking Southampton, but knowing they don't give a toss about you because they've only got eyes for Pompey.

What annoys you about Palace fans?

Their ultras. A load of teenagers probably on a curfew who run around wearing masks and all black, banging a drum and thinking they are some sort of German firm. Absolutely pathetic.

Glenn Murray has obviously played for both clubs - but have the majority of fans been willing to put his Palace history to one side?

It took Glenn a bit of time to win some elements of the Brighton fan base over, but being top scorer in the season you get promoted to the Premier League tends to be a way into people's hearts!

I think in fairness the majority of Albion supporters realise that had Gus Poyet given Murray the slight pay increase he wanted and not decided to go and sign Craig Mackail-Smith instead, he'd have signed a new deal with us, never gone to Palace and who knows how much quicker we'd have made it to the top flight?

Murray wasn't wanted, he didn't want to move away from the Brighton area and the nearest professional club offered him a deal. Essentially, it was a total cock up on the part of the Albion.

How much would it mean to Brighton fans to finish above Palace this season?

We've finished above them twice in my lifetime and they still manage to somehow lord it over us. In 2011/12, they were the first visiting side to win a league game at the Amex. Then in 2012/13, they knocked us out of the play-offs on the way to promotion.

If we could finish above them this season then they will have nothing to fall back on to taunt us with, which would be fantastic.

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