Staking claim to the title of the oldest professional soccer club worldwide builds with it a huge amount of pride and likely revenue. There has been a good number of claims to the title of oldest professional club since the dawn of organized soccer. Prior to when the first official competitions of 1863 could take place, the Football Association was established and formed the laws of the game.
The oldest professional club title is now being claimed by the Crystal Palace Football club, a team of the Premier League. The title of oldest professional soccer club went to the Notts County team formed in 1862 until the Sheffield FC claimed the title as they were formed in 1857. Peter Manning, the official Crystal Palace historian believes that the London based club is the oldest professional club as he has uncovered new information supporting his theory.
According to Sky Sports the club historian has uncovered evidence that the Crystal Palace team was formed in 1861. In 1862, the Crystal Palace Company started playing on the Crystal Palace site as part of the world fair.
The controversy comes as the Crystal Palace team formed to place cricket but would play soccer around the summer cricket season. It was originally thought the soccer team was disbanded in 1876 to avoid damaging the cricket pitch. The team continued to play, according to Manning over the apparent 20 year break before starting to play in the dedicated soccer stadium built by the Crystal Palace Company.
Peter Manning was praised by Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parrish for his impressive work on the history of the club that could add even more prestige to the Premier League team. The club has a rich history that dates back to the 1863 formation of The Football Association and played in the first FA Cup competition in 1871. The development of the Crystal Palace Football Club began in earnest when the cricket team merged with the legendary London County Cricket Club that was once the home of the iconic cricketer W.G, Grace.