Image by D I C K S D A I L Y
What's interesting about this story beyond the boundaries of Selhurst Park's legal and statistical departments, however, is the reason behind the penalty. According to the Football League, on May 3rd the club fielded an ineligible player, namely Rui Fonte, in a home match which they drew 1-1 (hence the single point deduction). Fonte's illegibility stemmed from the fact that his loan deal from Arsenal had expired prior to the match.
That the match in question was against Sheffield United brings into place the final piece of this curious puzzle, namely Neil Warnock. The current Palace boss, and ex-Sheffield United manager, is still fighting for justice over West Ham United's "illegal" fielding of Carlos Tevez during the 2006-2007 season, during which the Argentine almost single-handedly saved the east Londoners. The long-running case ended up with the Hammers paying compensation to the Blades, but Warnock's animosity is rarely abated, and the Palace boss is still known to bristle over what he considers an outrage.
Seeing as the match in question was the last of the regular season, and Sheffield United were playing for a promotion spot, it could all have gone very wrong indeed, and we may have been faced with the bizarre spectacle of Warnock being sued by the club where he spent his best years. As it happened, results elsewhere meant United were destined to finish 3rd regardless of events at Selhurst Park. But it could have been an entertaining twist in what is now a long-running, and largely tedious, saga.