Inside story of Brighton vs Crystal Palace poo-gate and the ‘mystery s****er’

Crystal Palace host Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon in one of English football's most interesting rivalries.

The hatred between the two teams stems from a series of incidents between the clubs in the 1970s when old team-mates and rivals Alan Mullery and Terry Venables were in charge of the two clubs. The animosity has not dissipated in all the time since – and it even reached new levels in 2013 during the infamous "poo-gate" affair.

Take yourself back ten years ago, when Gus Poyet's Brighton took on Ian Holloway's Crystal Palace in a spiky Championship play-off semi-final with the Premier League in their sights.

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In the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final, Wilfried Zaha scored twice to send the Eagles to Wembley after two second-half goals.

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It was his penultimate game for his boyhood club after signing for Manchester United in January that year before Sir Alex Ferguson sent him back to Selhurst Park for the remainder of the season.

And his brace was enough to fend off Brighton, who failed to score in either match after the first leg ended 0-0 in south London.

But there was more to come and drama to unfold as news emerged that inside the Amex Stadium, the away dressing room had been vandalised with excrement smeared all over the floor and toilets.

Poyet was incandescent with rage and immediately blamed someone within his own ranks, writing in an angry email: "For some reason that is still not clear to me, someone during the day had access to the away dressing room and done something terrible, trying to upset everyone related to Palace. To say it in clear English, someone had a 'poo' all outside the toilets, over and around the toilets…

"I am angry that someone within this club could endanger our good reputation and stoop so low. Did they imagine that this would affect the Crystal Palace players? Well, possibly it did. It may just have fired them up more.

"Well, someone made a very bad decision and I think it is time to stand up and take responsibility. Not just the culprit but those employees who are supposed to make our stadium safe and secure."

For a man whose name is a striking combination of the words 'poo' and 'toilet', the lady doth protest too much.

Holloway was furious that someone had done the dirty in the name of gaining an advantage on the pitch.

However, there was another twist to the tale and a snake in the grass – Brighton staff members had been hastily accused of the crime.

Former Crystal Palace striker Aaron Wilbraham has spilled the beans on who dropped the number two – and the results are shocking.

The former striker said: “We turned up at the stadium and the smell in the changing room, it was like someone had s*** and like it was smeared it all over the shower and toilet areas. It was all over the floor, these brown swirls and the smell…

“Holloway went off his head, we arrived fired up anyway and the fact we think someone’s done this in the dressing room. Everyone was, ‘What the f***?’. The smell was hitting the back of your throat, it was horrible.”

But the true culprit came to light just days later in much less insidious circumstances when the Palace kit-man revealed he found the offender brown-handed – the Palace bus driver.

“The changing rooms hadn’t really been done yet so there was no toilet roll and he’s s*** himself,” Wilbraham added to the Undr the Cosh podcast. “There’s no one about so he’s used these blue hard paper towels you get to dry your hands and tried to clear it up with a bit of water.

“He’s probably panicking trying to do it quick. He’s not told anyone because he’s thought he’s done a good job of cleaning it up. We’ve walked in a couple of hours later when it’s dried.

“For us and Holloway, we didn’t know anything about this. We were in the dark as only the bus driver knew. I think when it all came out he probably felt bad and consoled in the kit man.”

Palace would go on to clinch promotion to the Premier League when they beat Watford at Wembley days later, sparking a new chant on the victorious bus journey home with the driver hoping to keep a low profile.

Wilbraham continued: “After we won the final, everyone is buzzing and we have the trophy on the bus. The bus driver is there and keeping his head down and we’ve had a few beers.

“I thought, ‘F*** it’ and stood up and just sang, ‘Our bus driver, he sh*ts where he wants!’ and everyone has gone, ‘He s***s where he wants…!’. Holloway didn’t like it and told everyone to shut up. But it must have been bad to not make the toilet in the first place.”


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