Henry Ford never actually uttered the immortal words always associated with him, but the sentiment surrounding ‘all history is bunk’ stuck with him. It is, of course, errant nonsense. The past informs the present – and the modern society is made richer if we learn from previous lessons. Fulham famously don’t win much, but our loveable club by the Thames has an illustrious history that dates back to 1879 – making them London’s oldest professional football club.

It needs to be said at the outset that I have no particular problem with Crystal Palace. In fact, the opposite is true. They remain a wonderfully run community club, with one of the best outreach programmes into their local boroughs in the country, and were revived by the wily management of Roy Hodgson in recent years. They have benefited both from the defensive nous of Joachim Andersen and Patrick Vieira’s first year at the helm, but their annual claim on the mantle of the world’s oldest professional football club is starting to wear a little thin.

Palace unveiled a new club crest on their website this morning, claiming the world’s oldest football club mantle because the Crystal Palace Company, who held a controlling stake in the professional club established in 1905, were linked to the team set up in 1861 for their cricketers. The amateur club was dissolved in 1876 and reformed as a new entity, which invalidates Palace’s claims in the eyes of most experts. When they tried to put forward this argument last summer, the renowned historians of nineteenth century football Mark Metcalf and Clive Nicholson compiled a 84-page submission to the FA and the EFL completely debunking the idea.

The salient details are as follows:

• The Crystal Palace supporters’ magazine from October 1947 is categorical: “to prevent misunderstanding, it should be pointed out that the Crystal Palace Club in existence before 1905 was a purely amateur concern and had no connection with the present club.”

• Three matches in the mid-1890s under the banner of Crystal Palace all contained eight or nine players from Corinthian FC.

• It was Crystal Palace FC in name only – and only a football spectacle to entertain the crowds at the Crystal Palace.

• Reports in 1895 and 1905 said any club set up would be a new one with no mention about any connection to the 1861-1875 Crystal Palace FC.

• Press reports of a new Crystal Palace FC in the mid-1890s always reported it would be a new club.

• Claims by Crystal Palace FC that the failure at this time was due to the proposed club being barred from playing on the cricket pitch at The Crystal Palace are “shown to be wrong”.

• All articles in the year leading up to and including September 1905 specifically mention this is a new club.

• The earlier claim comes up just once in a club handbook in 1906 and was then hidden for more than a century.

• Crystal Palace FC’s claims are “largely hypotheses of unproven facts such as the claim that as other professional clubs were set up out of cricket clubs then so must CPFC in 1905.”

We do live in a world of ‘alternative facts’ these days where the internet allows anyone to make excitable claims. History should be cherished – and be above cheeky clickbait. Palace have plenty to be proud of and they should stick to celebrating both their provable history and their current successes.

If any Eagles fans want to visit London’s oldest professional club, they will be most welcome at Craven Cottage on May 20, 2023 when Vieira’s men take on Fulham.