This is why Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace is such a fierce rivalry?

Brighton prepare to face their bitter rivals Crystal Palace this Monday night in the Premier League.

Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace is often a fiercely contested affair
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace is often a fiercely contested affair

The "M23 Derby" is often a pretty tense affair but why and how did one of the more confusing rivalries in football take hold?

The two stadiums are around 50 miles apart and it takes more than an hour to get there on a clear run - it's fair to say this is not a local derby but there is however good reason for this bizarre derby.

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Mullery and Venables

Brighton fans will be in full voice at Selhurst Park once again

Back in the 1976-77 season Allan Mullery was in charge of Brighton while Terry Venables was the manager at Crystal Palace. The two men didn't always see eye to eye in their playing days at Tottenham and they seemed to carry this forward into their respective managerial careers.

They met five times in total that season and Palace were undefeated in all five - winning twice and drawing three. It was in the third match, an FA Cup tie, where things began to get feisty.

Mullery claimed a Palace fan threw hot coffee over him as he walked to the tunnel. The Brighton boss responded by grabbing a handful of change from his pocket and throwing it to the floor. He then screamed at the Palace fans, "That’s all you’re worth, Crystal Palace!" He was then dragged away by the police.

Fans also clashed in the streets following the match and so began a rivalry that has simmered every since. Bizarrely, Mullery later went on to manage Palace in 1982.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace celebrates with team-mate Aaron Wilbraham after scoring his first goal during the Championship play off semi final second leg at Brighton in 2013

Leg breaker

Another flash-point arrived in 1985 when Crystal Palaces’ Henry Hughton dived in on Brighton’s Gerry Ryan. It broke his leg in three places and pretty much ended his playing career.

Unwelcome surprise

It reached boiling point once more in the 2012/2013 during the Championship play-offs. Palace arrived for the second-leg at the Amex and were met with an unwelcome surprise in the away changing room.

Crystal Palace supporters at Selhurst Park

It turned out someone had smeared excrement throughout the toilets and an angry Palace team accused Brighton staff of trying to put off their opponents. Palace went on to to win that match and advanced to the play-off finals. Brighton issued an apology and the then manager Gus Poyet demanded the culprit be found and sacked.


The two teams are now well established in the Premier League, with Roy Hodgson's Palace in 10th and Graham Potter's Brighton 12th. Both have been highly-competitive in the Premier League this season and both sets of players will be determined to continue their good form. It's set to be raucous atmosphere once more at Selhurst Park and hopefully without any coffee throwing, leg breakers, or unwelcome surprises. Enjoy the match.