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Five time FA Cup winners turned 11th tier side move into historic 24,000 seater stadium

Five time FA Cup winners turned 11th tier side Wanderers FC move into a historic 24,000 seater stadium ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The club revealed this week: “Wanderers are ecstatic to announce that our Men’s 1s will be playing home matches at the stunning Crystal Palace NSC in SE19.”

They added “FA Cup winners 🀝 FA Cup Final venue. Discover our historic connections with Crystal Palace 🧡” with their first game there expected around September.

Wanderers FC went on to add: “In 1862, when Wanderers were still known as Forest Club, they accepted an invitation from @Palace1861 to be their first opponents. Experience shone in a 4-0 win, and captain, CW Alcock, went on to play 199 times for the club, & the Tebbut brothers racked up 70 games between them.

“Just the previous month, Forest hosted the same team in Leytonstone, where Forest won 1-0, the identity of the goalscorer has been lost in the mists of time.

“Wanderers have played numerous games at Crystal Palace, albeit in a slightly different locale within the park;
1861-62 – 1 match
1862-63 – 1
1868-69 – 1
1869-70 – 1
2011-12 – 1
2012-13 – 3
2013-14 – 2
2014-15 – 3
2015-16 – 2
2016-17 – 2
2018-19 – 3
2019-20 – 1
2020-21 – 1

“Pre-20th Century record
v @Palace1861 – P4 W3 D0 L0 F7 A0 – one score unknown

“Post-20th Century record
v @TheAccies – P22 W12 D2 L7 F103 A62 – never a dull game!
v Dolphin FC – P2 W0 D0 L2 F3 A12
v @StreathamRovers – P1 W1 D0 L0 F17 A2
v @CheamVillageFC – P1 W1 D0 L0 F3 A2

“Crystal Palace was the venue for the FA Cup Final between 1895 until 1914.
Finals record (Thanks to @FACupFactfile)
4W @AVFCOfficial
2W, 1L @SheffieldUnited
2W @swfc @OfficialBuryAFC
1W, 2L @Everton
1W, 1L @Wolves
1W @NFFC @SpursOfficial @ManCity @ManUtd @BurnleyOfficial.”

Formed in 1859, Wanderers FC were founder members of the FA, won the 1st FA Cup in 1872 and again in 1873, 1876, 1877 and 1878 but disappeared in 1887.

In 2009, they reformed to raise money for charity and play across south London and currently play in the Surrey South Eastern Combination Intermediate Division 2 (step 11 of English football), finishing the 2022/23 season bottom with 10 points from 16 games played in a league with 9 teams.

They hope to one day get themselves back in the FA Cup, but need three promotions do even be allowed to enter the competition’s qualifying stages


It was in 2020 that Croydon Football Club stirred up plenty of talk by also playing their matches at the Crystal Palace NSC, which in 2022 was also used as the venue for ITV’s The Games.

The Southern Counties East League Division One outfit managed to face Athletic Newham in an 1:45pm kick off in the London Senior Trophy, and what a game it proved to be with the score finishing in a 4-3 win.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, their home ground, Croydon Sports Arena, remained closed with the surface unplayable. However they have since returned there.

Croydon FC said at the time how they were pleased to announce a temporary switch of home ground to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. It has a capacity of 15,500, but can be and has been in the past expanded to 24,000 when including the temporary seating.

Fans and groundhoppers were able to watch at least one match at the ground, whilst others when on non-matchdays to take some snaps.

In the game against Athletic Newham, with 213 in attendance, the hosts pulled off possibly the most impressive comeback some of the crowd had ever seen.

Athletic Newham looked by far the better team in the first half and played lovely attacking football that saw them comfortably 3-0 up by the interval. However, with just 20 minutes remaining, Croydon suddenly sprung to life and grabbed two quick-fire goals, followed by another two to miraculously seal a 4-3 win.

It was all too much for one Trams fan, who decided to make proper use of the facilities and run a full circuit of the athletics track, scarf-above-head every step of the way.

It was a welcome reminder of the moments of pure joy that non-league football is so good at providing.

The stadium is on the same site that hosted 20 FA Cup finals between the years of 1895 and 1914. It also hosted 5 international matches and was home to Crystal Palace in the early 1900’s.

3 April 1897 – England 1–2 Scotland
30 March 1901 – England 2–2 Scotland
1 April 1905 – England 1–0 Scotland
3 April 1909 – England 2–0 Scotland
4 March 1911 – England Amateurs 4–0 Belgium

21 teams competed in the twenty FA Cup Finals staged at Crystal Palace, with ten different winners. Four more teams won the FA Cup during this time, after replays at other grounds. Newcastle United appeared in the most finals at the ground, five, but never lifted the cup there, whilst Aston Villa won all four of their games there.

1895 – 42,560 – Aston Villa 1 – 0 West Brom
1896 – 48,036 – Sheffield Wed 2 – 1 Wolves
1897 – 65,891 – Aston Villa 3 – 2 Everton
1898 – 62,017 – Nott’m Forest 3 – 1 Derby
1899 – 73,833 – Sheffield United 4 – 1 Derby
1900 – 68,945 – Bury 4 – 0 Southampton
1901 – 110,802 – Tottenham 2 – 2 Sheffield Utd – 3–1 in replay at Burnden Park, Bolton
1902 – 76,914 – Sheffield Utd 1 – 1 Southampton
Replay 33,050 – Sheffield Utd 2 – 0 Southampton
1903 – 64,000 – Bury 6 – 0 Derby – Largest ever cup final victory
1904 – 61,734 – Man City 1 – 0 Bolton
1905 – 101,117 – Aston Villa 2 – 0 Newcastle
1906 – 75,609 – Everton 1 – 0 Newcastle
1907 – 84,584 – Sheffield Wed 2 – 1 Everton
1908 – 74,967 – Wolves 3 – 1 Newcastle United
1909 – 67,651 – Man Utd 1 – 0 Bristol City
1910 – 76,980 – Newcastle 1 – 1 Barnsley – 2–0 in replay at Goodison Park, Liverpool
1911 – 69,098 – Bradford 0 – 0 Newcastle – 1–0 in replay at Old Trafford, Manchester
1912 – 54,434 – Barnsley 0 – 0 West Brom – 1–0 in replay at Bramall Lane, Sheffield
1913 – 120,028 – Aston Villa 1 – 0 Sunderland

It was opened in 1964 in Crystal Palace Park, close to the site of the former Crystal Palace Exhibition building which had been destroyed by fire in 1936.

The current stadium built in 1965 has hosted international athletics events and me open air concerts where world famous artists have performed including Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Sex Pistols and Depeche Mode.

Fans reacted as the five time FA Cup winners turned 11th tier side Wanderers FC move into the historic 24,000 seater stadium…

@thecoldend: Fantastic news for a great club. I’ll defo be along to a game now

@theinsidelefty: Brilliant news!

@JohnBurr10: Not forgetting that just down the road is where the World Cup was found in 1966 by Pickles!! Here’s to Wanderers FC.

@SurreySteve3: Wow thats a interesting move πŸ‘ Hope you guys retain your Division 2 status next season πŸ‘ A great move for the club good luck πŸ‘

@stevechandlerr1: Good luck , the stadium needs alot TLC , have happy memories racing on the track, hope the reported plans of redevelopment go ahead , it’s needed

@JimKMcCollum: We should do a game @CMRLee

@s_webb83: Love this. Well done guys.

@_andysmith: Great location – hopefully they get and keep the pitch up to scratch!

@BertieB24: As a Wycombe Wanderers supporter.. it’s nice to see the Original β€œWanderers” finding a new home. It is believed that my club formed in 1887 is named after your team following a visit to High Wycombe on 15/12/1877 -you winning 9-0 in FA Cup on route to your 5th & final FA Cup win!

@HC15OnTour: Great historic venue so congratulations. Interesting thread as well πŸ˜Šβ¬‡οΈ

@Palace1861: This is great news. All the best to @wanderersafc and fans. Slightly jealous though, look after her for us. We could be back there one day!! #CPFC

@Kate_bob: Just the best news, so pleased for this club, long overdue. If you need a team to support, grassroots is where it’s at.

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