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South London derby

South London derby
Crystal Palace playing Millwall at Selhurst Park in the 2012–13 season.
City or region South London, England
Teams involved Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Millwall, AFC Wimbledon
First contested Crystal Palace 3–0 Millwall Athletic[a]
(17 November 1906)
Number of meetings 298[b]
Most wins Millwall (91)
Crystal Palace (78)
Charlton Athletic (44)
Most recent meeting Charlton Athletic 0–0 Millwall
(22 November 2014)
Next meeting Millwall vs Charlton Athletic
(3 April 2015)
Largest victory Millwall 6–0 Charlton Athletic
(3 January 1931)

South London derby is the name given to a football derby contested by any two of Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Millwall and AFC Wimbledon, the four Football League clubs based in South London, England.[1] It is sometimes more specifically called the South East London derby when played between Charlton and Millwall.[2] The close geographical proximity of the teams contributes significantly to the rivalry.[1] Charlton Athletic and Millwall are located in South East London, with Millwall's The Den and Charlton's The Valley being less than four miles apart. Crystal Palace are based further south in the suburb of South Norwood, their stadium Selhurst Park still being only six miles from The Den and eight from The Valley.[3] AFC Wimbledon play at Kingsmeadow, which is eight miles west of Selhurst Park, 11 from The Den and 15 from The Valley.[3]

The rivalry between the teams dates back to 1906, when Crystal Palace and Millwall Athletic first met in the Southern League. Often competing in the same division, the two teams have contested the most derby games, over 130. Charlton entered the Football League in 1921, competing at the same level as their counterparts for the first time. Wimbledon became a Football League club in 1977 and contested their first derby in 1980. In 2003 Wimbledon were relocated to Milton Keynes and rebranded as Milton Keynes Dons. A new team founded by supporters against the move in 2002, AFC Wimbledon, won a quick succession of non-League promotions to gain Football League status. They have contested two South London derbies, both defeats to Millwall in the FA Cup in 2009 and League Cup in 2013.

According to a survey conducted in 2012, Charlton fans regard Crystal Palace as their main rival, with Millwall coming second. Palace fans regard Brighton & Hove Albion to be their main rival, with Millwall placing second and Charlton third. Millwall's main rival is West Ham United, with Palace placing second and Charlton as third. AFC Wimbledon fans regard Palace as their second biggest rival, behind the Milton Keynes Dons.[4] As of the 2014–15 season, Crystal Palace play in the Premier League, Charlton and Millwall play in the Football League Championship and AFC Wimbledon compete two tiers below in League Two, and are yet to play a league game against a South London team. The last time three of the four teams were in the same league was the 2012–13 season. Crystal Palace beat Charlton home and away, Millwall and Crystal Palace drew both their fixtures and Millwall drew with Charlton at the Den and beat them at the Valley.


  • History 1
    • Early rivalries 1.1
    • All in the same league 1.2
    • Ground sharing 1.3
  • Notable matches 2
  • Results 3
    • Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace 3.1
    • Charlton Athletic v Millwall 3.2
    • Crystal Palace v Millwall 3.3
    • Millwall v AFC Wimbledon 3.4
  • Crossing the divides 4
    • Managers 4.1
    • Players 4.2
  • Wimbledon and AFC Wimbledon 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Early rivalries

Millwall were founded in 1885,[5] some 20 years before Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace, who were both founded in 1905.[6][7] Soon after Crystal Palace were formed, they joined the Southern Football League, which Millwall were founding members of. The two teams played against each other for ten seasons in this league.[5] The first contested competitive game between the sides was played on 17 November 1906, with Palace winning 3–0[5] although the fixture was not yet a South London derby — Millwall were based in East London until 1910. Up until that point the most successful team based in South London was Woolwich Arsenal, who were the first Southern member elected to the Football League in 1893. Charlton Athletic's early years were somewhat hindered by the presence of Woolwich Arsenal, who were the closest team in locality and were well supported. Charlton spent the first years of their history playing in non-professional leagues and did not play either Palace or Millwall.[6] Eventually, Woolwich Arsenal moved to North London, losing the 'Woolwich' from their name, in 1913.[8] The same year Charlton adopted senior status. They became a professional team in 1920, joining the Southern League.[6]

Both Millwall and Crystal Palace joined the Football League in the 1920–21 season,[5][7] playing in the Third Division, while Charlton Athletic joined the year after for the 1921–22 season,[6] finally competing at the same level as both their South London neighbours. Wimbledon became a Football League club five decades later in the 1977–78 season, playing their first South London derby against Millwall in 1980.

All in the same league

There have been two occasions where all four South London teams have played in the same league together. In the 1985–86 season, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Millwall and Wimbledon all competed in the Second Division. Charlton finished 2nd and Wimbledon 3rd, both being automatically promoted. Palace finished 5th and Millwall 9th. The 1989–90 season signifies the only time all four teams competed in the First Division together, the top tier of English football. Wimbledon finished the season 8th, Palace 15th and Charlton and Millwall were relegated, finishing 19th and 20th respectively.

Ground sharing

During World War II Millwall's ground The Den was severely damaged by a German bomb and a fire destroyed a stand a few days later. For a brief time the club was invited by their neighbours to play their games at The Valley and Selhurst Park.

In 1984 Charlton went into administration. The club were forced to leave the The Valley just after the start of the 1985–86 season after its safety was criticised by league officials. The club began a groundshare with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, which lasted for six years until 1991. After another year groundsharing at West Ham United's Upton Park, Charlton moved back into The Valley in 1992. Wimbledon groundshared at Selhurst Park from 1991 until their relocation to Milton Keynes in 2003. The relocation prompted the formation of AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, which the team shares with semi-professional non-league side Kingstonian.

Notable matches

  • Crystal Palace 3–0 Millwall Athletic (17 November 1906)
The first meeting between any of the three original teams saw Palace, who were only formed a year prior, secure a comfortable victory over the visitors from East London. It was a Southern League match watched by 6,000 fans at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.[5][9]
  • Millwall 0–3 Crystal Palace (31 October 1910)
This was the first game between the teams since Millwall moved to South London, making this the first true South London derby. 3,000 supporters watched a Palace victory at The Den in a London PFA Charity Fund game. The match against their new neighbours was Millwall's second game at their new ground.[10]
  • Millwall 0–1 Crystal Palace (15 January 1921)
First derby contested in The Football League. Palace won the Third Division (south) game with a second half goal in front of 20,000 fans. Palace also won the reverse fixture 3–2 which was held only a week later on 22 January 1921, to complete the first South London Football League double and continue their early dominance of Millwall.[11]
  • Millwall 2–0 Charlton Athletic (10 October 1921)
This London PFA Charity Fund fixture was the first contest between the two teams, which Millwall won 2–0 in front of 10,000 supporters at The Den.[12]
  • Millwall 0–1 Charlton Athletic (31 December 1921)
On New Year's Eve of 1921 the teams met for their first League match, which Charlton won 1–0 at The Den. This was Charlton's first season as a Football League club and they completed a rare double over Millwall, winning the return fixture at The Valley 2–1.[12] Millwall have completed the double over Charlton nine times, compared to Charlton's three, in 1921-22, 1934-35 and 1995-96.
  • Charlton Athletic 1–1 Crystal Palace (14 November 1925)
The first competitive game played between the teams took place in the Third Division (south), and ended with a 1–1 draw at The Valley.
  • Millwall 6–0 Charlton Athletic (3 January 1931)
This Second Division game between the sides remains the widest winning margin between any of the clubs. Millwall led 1–0 at half-time and scored five more times in the second half.[13]
  • Millwall 2–2 Wimbledon (5 April 1980)
Wimbledon's first South London Derby was away at Millwall in the Third Division. This was the Wombles third season as a Football League club. The game ended in a draw.[14]
  • Charlton Athletic 1–3 Crystal Palace (aggregate score, 12 & 15 May 1996)
Crystal Palace and Charlton met in the 1996 First Division play-off semi-final, after they finished third and sixth in the league respectively. Palace won the first leg at The Valley 2–1, and 1–0 after extra-time in the second leg three days later.
  • Wimbledon 0–1 Millwall (24 March 2004)
A crowd of just 3,043 at the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes saw Wimbledon's last game against South London opponents before they were renamed as MK Dons. A goal in the first half from Tim Cahill was enough to seal a win for Millwall against a Wimbledon side who were finished bottom of the First Division and were relegated.[14] Technically, Wimbledon's last South London derby was at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace on 23 August 2003 (they moved in the September.) Wimbledon were groundsharing and were considered the home team. They lost the game 1–3.[14]
  • Charlton Athletic 2–2 Crystal Palace (15 May 2005)
Despite being ahead 2–1 with seven minutes left to play, Palace were unable to see out a win over their rivals. Charlton defender Jonathan Fortune scored an equaliser in the season's final game. Had Palace won they would have avoided relegation from the Premier League but instead became the first club to be relegated from the top-flight of English football four times.
  • Millwall 4–1 AFC Wimbledon (9 November 2009)
AFC Wimbledon's first competitive South London derby was a match against Millwall at The Den in the first round of the FA Cup.
  • Charlton Athletic 4–4 Millwall (19 December 2009)
The first meeting of the sides since 1996 ended in the highest scoring game between the teams. Millwall went 2–0 up through two Steve Morison goals but Charlton converted two penalties through Deon Burton. Millwall's Jimmy Abdou was sent off early in the second-half and The Lions went twice behind to the home team but Danny Schofield scored a last-minute equaliser.[15] Both teams wore special kits for the match in honour of murdered local teenagers and supporters Jimmy Mizen and Rob Knox. The logos of both clubs' shirt sponsors were replaced by the text, "Street violence ruins lives".[16]


Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace

As of 2 February 2013.
Played Charlton wins Drawn Palace wins Charlton goals Palace goals
The Football League 56 17 13 26 55 78
FA Cup 2 1 1 0 2 0
League Cup 5 0 1 4 4 9
Anglo-Italian Cup 1 1 0 0 4 1
Full Members Cup 1 0 0 1 0 2
League play-offs 2 0 0 2 1 3
Total[17][18] 67 19 15 33 66 93

This table only includes competitive first team games, excluding all pre-season games, friendlies, abandoned matches, testimonials and games played during World War I & II.

Last two results
Venue Date Competition Charlton Palace
Selhurst Park 2 February 2013 Football League Championship 1 2
The Valley 14 September 2012 Football League Championship 0 1

Charlton Athletic v Millwall

Millwall and Charlton welcome Alan Dunne onto the pitch for his testimonial on 30 July 2011.
As of 22 November 2014.
Played Charlton wins Drawn Millwall wins Charlton goals Millwall goals
The Football League 69 11 25 33 62 111
Anglo-Italian Cup 2 1 1 0 4 3
Sub-total 70 12 25 33 66 114
Kent FA Challenge Cup finals 18 9 5 4 36 31
London Challenge Cup 1 1 0 0 1 0
Football League Jubilee Fund 2 1 1 0 2 1
London PFA Charity Fund 5 2 1 2 7 5
Total[17][19] 97 25 33 39 112 151
Last two results
Venue Date Competition Charlton Millwall
The Den 15 March 2014 Football League Championship 0 0
The Valley 22 November 2014 Football League Championship 0 0

Crystal Palace v Millwall

Millwall and Crystal Palace line-up at The Den on New Year's Day 2011.
Millwall fans celebrate Theo Robinson's winner against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the 2010–11 season.[20]
As of 30 April 2013.
Played Palace wins Drawn Millwall wins Palace goals Millwall goals
The Football League 86 26 26 34 106 126
FA Cup 10 2 4 4 11 16
Football League Trophy 1 0 0 1 0 3
Anglo-Italian Cup 1 1 0 0 3 0
Sub-total 98 29 30 39 120 145
Southern Football League 20 12 3 5 28 11
Western Football League 2 0 0 2 3 5
London Challenge Cup 1 1 0 0 4 3
London PFA Charity Fund 3 1 0 2 5 4
Kent FA Challenge Cup finals 1 0 1 0 1 1
Kent Senior Shield 5 1 2 2 7 4
Southern Floodlight Cup 2 1 1 0 4 3
Total[18][21][21][22] 132 45 37 50 172 176
Last two results
Venue Date Competition Crystal Palace Millwall
Selhurst Park 20 October 2012 Football League Championship 2 2
The Den 30 April 2013 Football League Championship 0 0

Millwall v AFC Wimbledon

As of 6 August 2013.
Played Millwall wins Drawn AFC Wimbledon wins Millwall goals AFC Wimbledon goals
FA Cup 1 1 0 0 4 1
League Cup 1 1 0 0 2 1
Total 2 2 0 0 6 2
Last two results
Venue Date Competition Millwall AFC Wimbledon
The Den 9 November 2009 FA Cup 4 1
The Den 6 August 2013 League Cup 2 1

Crossing the divides


Jimmy Seed, Alan Mullery, Iain Dowie and Ian Holloway have all permanently managed two of the three South London clubs. Seed was in charge of Charlton for 23 years from 1933 to 1956, leading them to one of the most successful periods of their history, with successive promotions to the top-flight and an FA Cup Final win in 1947. He was sacked in 1956 after a bad run of form and took over at Millwall in 1958. Seed's start at The Den was poor, with the team going nine matches without a win. The team finished in 23rd place in Division Three (south). The following year saw The Lions playing in the new Fourth Division in which they finished 9th. Seed resigned at the end of that season, but stayed with the club as a director until his death on 16 July 1966.

Dowie was in charge of Crystal Palace between 21 December 2003 and 22 May 2006, when he was allowed to resign from his post, apparently to return to northern England because his wife was homesick. However, eight days later Premier League club Charlton unveiled Dowie as their new manager. Simon Jordan, Palace's chairman, immediately issued Dowie with a writ, claiming that he had misled him about his reasons for leaving the club; Dowie, however, insisted this was not the case, and was publicly backed by Charlton chief executive Peter Varney, who branded the writ "a sad and pathetic publicity stunt", and chairman Richard Murray, who was adamant that his legal team could find no grounds for the writ to be upheld, and suggested that there may be more personal reasons behind the writ being issued. The case was heard in the High Court in the summer of 2007 where a judge ruled that Dowie had lied when negotiating his way out of his contract. His spell at Charlton was largely unsuccessful and they parted company on 13 November 2006, after just 15 games in charge.

Mullery was in charge of Charlton from 1981 to 1982 and left to take the helm at Crystal Palace, where he remained manager until 1984. Theo Foley was Charlton manager from 1970 to 1974 and was briefly in charge of Millwall as a caretaker manager in 1977. Steve Gritt, who was joint-manager at Charlton with Alan Curbishley from 1991 to 1995, was also caretaker at Millwall briefly in 2000. Lennie Lawrence was Charlton's manager from 1982 to 1991 and was assistant manager at Crystal Palace, before joining former manager Dougie Freedman at Bolton Wanderers.

Holloway took charge of Crystal Palace in November 2012.[23] He guided them to promotion to the Premier League via the 2013 Football League play-offs, after beating Watford 1–0 with a penalty converted by Kevin Philips in extra time. On 23 October 2013, Holloway left the club by mutual consent after less than a year in charge.[24][25] He managed to gain only three points from their first eight games in the top flight.[26] On 6 January 2014 he signed two-and-a-half-year deal with Millwall, taking over from Steve Lomas.[27]


This sports-related list is ; you can help by .
Players who have played for at least two of the four clubs are listed below. As of 7 May 2011, Darren Ward has played the most games for South London teams, with 317 appearances in total (232 for Millwall, 69 for Crystal Palace and 16 for Charlton). Peter Burridge played 114 games for Palace, 87 for Millwall and 44 for Charlton. He holds the record for most goals scored by a player for South London clubs, with 104 in 245 appearances.

Wimbledon and AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon and Millwall players met for the first time at The Den in 2009.

The 2003 relocation and 2004 renaming of Wimbledon as Milton Keynes Dons meant that a South London derby team was lost.[28]

Wimbledon's record in all competitions against Crystal Palace, with whom they ground-shared Selhurst Park for 12 years stands as: won 8, drawn 5 and lost 15. They did however hold superior records over Charlton (won 8, drawn 5, lost 5) and Millwall (won 12, drawn 8, lost 6).[14]

Some Wimbledon supporters formed a new team, AFC Wimbledon, [29] in 2002, based at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames. The non-League club started in the Combined Counties League, and played their first competitive South London derby on 9 November 2009, losing 4–1 away at Millwall in an FA Cup first-round match.[30] Having worked their way up through a quick succession of non-League promotions, AFC Wimbledon were promoted into Football League Two for the 2011–12 season.[31]

See also


a ^ The 3–0 win for Palace over Millwall on 17 November 1906 was the first ever meeting between the sides. Millwall were still based in East London at that time and did not move to South London until 1910. The first true South London derby was played on 31 October 1910, a 3–0 win for Palace at Millwall's new ground based in New Cross, The Den.
b ^ 72 games played between 1980 and 2004 by now-dissolved club Wimbledon F.C. against Charlton, Crystal Palace and Millwall have not been included in this total. Games played by AFC Wimbledon are included, since they became a Football League club in 2011. Wimbledon F.C.'s final win count against all three of their South London rivals stands at 28, with 18 drawn and 26 lost.


  1. ^ a b "The Millwall Rivalry - Crystal Palace FC Supporters' Website - The Holmesdale Online". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  2. ^ "Millwall v Charlton". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  3. ^ a b list of the closest major sports grounds to a given postcode "Closest major sports grounds to a given postcode". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  4. ^ "2012-13 Football Rivalry Survey Results". Football Fans Census. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Millwall: A Complete Record, 1885-1991". Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Charlton Athletic - Club History". Charlton Athletic FC. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Crystal Palace Club History". Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Soar & Tyler (2005). The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal. p. 40. 
  9. ^ Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 276. 
  10. ^ Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 284. 
  11. ^ Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 304. 
  12. ^ a b Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 306. 
  13. ^ Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 324. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Wimbledon head to head results". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  15. ^ "Charlton Athletic 4 Millwall 4". Millwall FC. 19 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Game played in honour of murdered teens Jimmy Mizen and Rob Knox". NewsShopper. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Charlton Athletic head to head results". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  18. ^ a b "Crystal Palace head to head results". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  19. ^ Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 488. 
  20. ^ "Crystal Palace 0 Millwall 1". BBC Sport. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Tarrant. Millwall: The Complete Record. p. 489. 
  22. ^ "Millwall head to head results". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  23. ^ "Holloway enters his new Palace". FFO. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "Crystal Palace boss departs Premier League strugglers". BBC Sport. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Holloway leaves Palace by mutual consent after club calls press conference... with ex-gaffer's 'best mate' Pulis favourite for job". Daily Mail. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  26. ^ "D-Day for struggling Holloway at Palace as under-fire boss will learn his fate". Daily Mail. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Fifield, Dominic (6 January 2014). "Ian Holloway appointed Millwall manager on two-and-a-half-year deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Wimbledon become MK Dons FC".  
  29. ^ White, Jim (2003-01-11). "Pitch battle".  
  30. ^ "Millwall 4 AFC Wimbledon 1". London: BBC News. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  31. ^ "AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Luton Town (4-3 on pens)". BBC. 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  • Tarrant, Eddie; Richard Lindsay (2010). Millwall: The Complete Record. DB Publishing.  

External links

  • Charlton Athletic official website
  • Crystal Palace official website
  • Millwall official website
  • AFC Wimbledon official website
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