Palace Detectives have been an amazing success story. Formed in 1990, primarily as a small luncheon club for Police Detectives who support Crystal Palace FC, we have since gone from strength to strength.
We received a tremendous boost initially by having Steve Coppell at our inaugural lunch at Strikers' Restaurant, Selhurst Park on 11th January 1990, with about twenty officers in attendance. Steve has attended subsequent functions and as someone who is not over enamoured with public speaking has often stated that he feels most comfortable in the company of the 'Detectives.'
There is no doubt that the cup final of 1990 was a massive coup for Palace Detectives as we suddenly discovered that there were considerably more than twenty of us. We advertised for members throughout the country and had an excellent response, not just from the Home Counties. Including family and friends we took around 200 supporters to the final. Not long after, the club was officially constituted and the membership quickly climbed to a fairly consistent 75.
Whilst we can afford to congratulate ourselves for our 15 successful years, there it’s no doubt that we would not have achieved so much without the wonderful assistance of our two good friends and associate members, Barry Williams and Steve Kember. Barry the well known after-dinner speaker, avid supporter and a man with family police connections himself, hosted a number of our early lunches and helped to increase our popularity. Originally our plan was to have four lunches a year and to invite various Palace connected guests. We started with this format and a number of our early functions were at the Croydon wine bar owned by Palace Legend Steve Kember, whose father and brother were highly esteemed Met Police Detectives. Thanks to Steve, with one exception, we have had the privilege of entertaining, and being entertained, by every Manager since our inception, not to mention the three Chairmen as well as a long succession of players and ex-players.
It was Barry, with his considerable sporting and show business connections, who suggested an annual 'Sports Evening' concept, which have been very popular and highly successful. They, as well as the three lunches a year, have guested numerous stars and speakers from various walks of life. They are too many to mention but include Roger de Courcey, Malcolm Allison, Jimmy Greaves and John Conteh. Our final lunch of the season always honours the 'Palace Detectives Player of the Year' and we have been delighted to welcome all of them from Geoff Thomas through to Andy Johnson.
Our original aim was, in our own small non-commercial way, to assist Palace by sponsorship, which we have managed to maintain throughout the years, mainly through one of the players, currently Danny Granville. Additionally, in the dark days of limited funds and administration we were able to supply much needed equipment to the club. Our success however was such that it has given us great pleasure to have been able to support a number of local charities over the past 30+ years to the tune of something in the region of £100,000.
We always welcome new members who must be supporters as well as serving, or retired, police officers who have had Detective experience. We do have a number of female members.
As a small club who are now celebrating our first fifteen years, we congratulate Crystal Palace Football Club on its centenary year. We are proud to be associated with the club and look forward to a close partnership for many years to come.