Spyin' Kop: Charlton Athletic Away

Posted by raptor on February 7, 2006, 12:50:33 PM

After a disappointing couple of weeks the reds look to bounce back to winning ways with a visit to the Valley and mid table Charlton Athletic on Wednesday evening.

Charlton have been a typically mixed bag so far this season with a mixture of some excellent performances including a recent well deserved away point at Stamford Bridge some three months after knocking the league leaders out of the Carling Cup,  coupled with some diabolical performances such as the home capitulation to Manchester City by a 5-2 scoreline.

Last seasons corresponding fixture, of course saw the first goal from Fernando Morientes in a red (or was it yellow ;) )shirt in a rare away win, and what a goal it was. Here’s hoping one of our misfiring strikers can find the net in a similar manner this season. First goal for Robbie anyone?

Charlton Athletic v Liverpool
Wednesday 8th February
The Valley, London
K.O. 8pm

Referee, Andre Marriner

Charlton Athletic FC
Nickname: The Addicks
Founded: 1905
Ground: The Valley, London
Record Attendance: 75,031
Chairman: Martin Simons
Chief Exec: Peter Varney
Manager: Alan Curbishley

FA Cup Winners: 1947
Runners Up: 1946


Founded in 1905 by a group of teenagers on East Street (later known as Eastmore Street) it wasn’t until 1920 that the club adopted professional status. Walter Rayner was appointed as their first manager and the following year were elected to the football league.

The next significant progress in their history came following the appointment of Jimmy Seed as manager in 1933 as he led the club to successive promotions, reaching the first division in 1936.

Legendary goalkeeper Sam Bartram made his debut the following season and went on to record a club record 623 appearances. (Any travelling reds interested can find a statue of this fella outside the Charlton club shop)

Helped by Bartram Charlton went on to record their highest ever league finish in 1936/37, finishing second in the top flight. They also took the fourth and third spots in the next two seasons before World War Two caused league football to be abandoned for six years.

The steady progress under Seed’s stewardship continued after the war, with Charlton reaching successive cup finals. The team reached it's first ever FA Cup final in 1946 but is beaten 4-1 by Derby County after extra time. The following season they returned to Wembley on this occasion overcoming Burnley 1-0.

From that point on it was all downhill for Charlton, Seed was sacked in 1956 following 23 years at the helm. Fast forward 30 years of mediocrity and the club are in grave trouble. The club records its lowest average attendance of 5,104. On September 21st,1985 Charlton leave The Valley. Robert Lee scores the last goal in a 2-0 win over Stoke City in front of 8,858 supporters. Several years of financial turmoil including a bankruptcy hearing at the High Court in 1984 leads to the club's exile from its home as it embarks upon a five-year groundshare at Selhurst Park.

Despite the troubles Charlton did find a way back into the top flight of English football. Lenny Lawrence the new manager, worked wonders on a shoestring and managed to keep them there for four years before they succumbed to the inevitable relegation after being involved in dogfight after dogfight. Lawrence resigned a year later and reserve team coaches, Steve Gritt and Alan Curbishley took over.

Meanwhile plans were afoot to redevelop the Valley. However the deadline of August 1991 wasn’t met and this led Charlton to another groundshare, this time with West Ham United. Following further financial disputes the Valley was eventually finished, financed to a large degree by the sale of Robert Lee to Newcastle Utd in September 1992.

In 1995 Alan Curbishley took sole charge of the side and since then it has been a continual upward curve for the Addicks. Promotion followed in 1998, despite the earlier sale of star midfielder Lee Bowyer for a then record transfer fee for a teenager. The Addicks won an epic play-off final against Sunderland at Wembley; Richard Rufus scores his first goal for the club, Clive Mendonca gets a hat-trick and it's 4-4 after extra time. Charlton goalkeeper Sasa Ilic saves a Michael Gray penalty during a sudden death shoot-out and Curbishley's team win 7-6 on penalties. Around 33,000 Charlton fans witness the famous victory.

Top flight football returned to The Valley in 1998 after 41 years. The upper tier of the west stand opens and the club reaches its 20,000 target attendance, as 20,043 turn up to see Charlton versus Coventry. Plans for further development of the north stand are published. The Addicks are relegated from the Premiership the end of the season. Despite this setback Curbishley retained the faith of his board and guided Charlton back to the premiership at the first time of asking where they have comfortably remained since.

Recent Form

L: Tottenham Hotspur (Away)    3-1
D: West Bromwich Albion (Home)     0-0
W: Leyton Orient (Home)      2-1
D: Chelsea (Away)         0-0
W: Birmingham City (Home)      2-0
W: Sheffield Wednesday (Away)    4-2

Spyin’ Kop

Unfortunately my good friend Mark, a season ticket holder at Charlton, has decided to not answer his phone for the past 24 hours so we have to make do with the very eloquent, and some not eloquent, replies from a couple of the good people from www.boards.footymad.net.

1) Charlton have an extremely good home record and an abysmal away record so far this season. What do you put that down to?

FJ: Extremely good home form, your havin' a laugh, the main problem is Curbs always playing Bryan Hughes when he's awful, and Curbs don't play Jerome Thomas (our best player), and Curbs keeps taken off our best player Darren Ambrose during the match instead of Hughes. OUT WITH CURBS, dreadful manager.

DV: Our away form was great at the beginning of the season when we won 4 or was it 5 on the trot. Somehow there was complacency creeping into the play and although we were playing good football things were slipping defensively and we were leaking too many goals. Curbs had to reverse that by getting the team to defend more solidly with the midfield playing its part; ok the football is not as attractive while we have been grinding out results but our home form has improved. The away form has been disappointing, where we fail to seize the initiative and give the other team too much space just like the Spuds (Tottenham) yesterday.

My mistake chaps, got your home and away records the wrong way round!

2) What did you make of Danny Murphy and what is your reaction to his departure?

FJ: The sale of Danny Murphy?  I say good riddance! He was useless!!!!!!!!! I'm glad he's gone.

DV: Murphy's departure was very disappointing and I was gutted by it. He was by far our most creative midfielder and his overall vision and reading of the game with I think more assists than any other premiership midfielder who would set up Darren Bent to score so convincingly at the start of the season. The Spuds obviously saw this and went for him before the transfer window closed. I wished the club had stopped it happening as it was a breach of contract however Murphy has hardly endeared himself to fans with his moronic comments about our Away supporters. I go to most games and whenever he played we always chanted his name and gave him good support - it should not matter that we haven't got the thousands of away some other teams have but the chants are just as loud and we give as good banter as we get, if anything the Home support can be a bit too quiet. He could have walked away without being disrespectful to the very fans that supported him and that has turned many of us against him, hence the chants Murphy is a ****er at the Spuds game.

3) Is Alan Curbishley the right man for the England Job? Reasons for yes or no? (Apologies to all the England haters on the boards, me being one, but it seemed a decent way to get a good opinion about the Charlton boys opinion of their own manager.)

FJ: Curbs for England Job HAHAHAHAHA, ur havin' a bubble, he's s**t, he'll get everything wrong, subs, team selection, he'll play Crouch up front on his own, and poo like that. Curbs don't have a butchers in what he's doing, he don't have a clue, and then he says after the Spurs away game that the players that played have to play better then that next game, which is wrong, he needs to play different players, i.e. our best players, and not Kish, Hughes and Marcus Bent. Play Bothroyd, Thomas and Ambrose, Smertin and Holland. Holland is better then Kish and Hughes put together. Also Play EL KARKOURI in central defence all the time, our best defender who is fit and back from African cup of Nations, play him instead of Fortune and move Herminator to left back instead of Powell, then when Sorondo comes back from being injured, which is what’s been the case with him all season play Sorondo with El Karkouri at centre back with He***dasson at left back and Young at right back with Powell on the bench, not Spector, yes that’s right not Spector, and Fortune on bench as well, with Andersson, M.Bent and a midfielder.

DV: Curbs could be but he needs to manage the prima donna players better like Murphy for example. He has done a good overall job with Charlton with the players we have. As a club we are unlikely to attract big names and international stars. But his success has been to keep Charlton as an established premiership side, some fans seem to easily forget the history of our club when we were financially in dire straits and homeless. To achieve what we have is respectable, of course we would all like to see us do better, but I cannot see many other Managers achieving what Curbs has achieved with the squad we have and funds we have staying up has been based on hard graft and gritty Charlton displays which we need far more of against Liverpool and for the rest of the season.

4) Where do you see yourselves finishing this season?

FJ: We are going down!

DV: I do not see us being relegated. We need to win 4 more games at the most to stay up and we should be able to do this. A top 10 finish would be brilliant but realistically I think anywhere between 11th and 15th.

5) Where do you see Liverpool finishing this season?

FJ: Don’t care!

DV: I am looking forward to this game against Liverpool as I have never seen them play live before so I hope it is a great game of football and that Charlton put up a similar performance to the one against Chelsea. Liverpool are a great side and I think they could finish 2nd this season - and that would be deserved - with their great run of form of late after a slow start.

6) Score prediction for Wednesday nights game?

FJ: We’ll lose!

DV: I just hope it will be a great game and that Charlton manage to win by a Darren Bent goal. I hope your fans have a good trip down and back to the 'Pool.

A big thanks to Darren for his considered opinion and a big thanks also to ‘FJ’ for some slightly different but equally relavent answers.

© Huyton Phil 2006

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