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Why do Crystal Palace and Brighton have a rivalry?

Crystal Palace & Brighton
(Image credit: Getty)

There's no love lost between Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. It's a rivalry that was never based on location, though, with 37 miles separating the two clubs.

In 1974/75, extra police were deployed to control the 26,000-strong crowd in the first match between the two sides for 11 years, as Malcolm Allison and Peter Taylor locked horns in the dugout. During Allison's stint as Palace manager, he complained about overly physical tactics, while the games at Selhurst Park were sell-outs, with both sides vying for promotion. 

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The following summer, Alan Mullery took charge of Brighton, just weeks after Terry Venables had been appointed at Crystal Palace. The two clubs were both in the third division at the time. Mullery and Allison had been team-mates at Tottenham Hotspur and had a friendly rivalry with one another, having fought for the captaincy under Bill Nicholson - and so the rivalry continued.

The first game between the two managers was stopped three times due to smoke bombs being thrown on the pitch, while the second - an FA Cup tie - concluded with Mullery bemoaning Venables's negative style. In the replay, Mullery was escorted off the pitch, flicking v-signs at Palace fans, after confronting the referee following a controversial penalty decision.

In 1977, both sides were promoted with Brighton changing their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls, in direct opposition to Palace's Eagles moniker. Both teams met consistently, with the fixture becoming a source of bragging rights for the winner and the rivalry drawing in big attendances. Both Palace and Brighton were looking for promotion to the top tier - and both got it in 1979. 

During the 1980s, the rivalry only got fiercer. Attendances dropped at Selhurst, following Mullery's appointment at Palace, while in 1985, Palace defender Henry Hughton ended the career of Brighton winger Gerry Ryan following a horror tackle that broke the Seagulls hero's leg in three places. The incident was followed by violence between the two sets of supporters, while a clash in 1987 brought more violence.

In 1989, a record five penalties were awarded in a 27-minute period between the two sides - four for Palace, three of which were missed. 

To date, The two teams have played a 107 games in league and cup, scoring a total of 274 goals. Both sides have 40 wins a-piece with the other 27 being draws. 

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