Well, we didn’t have much to say about Charlton Athletic until they inflicted our biggest-ever defeat upon us; Boro’ losing 8-0 at home in the Checkatrade Trophy in October 2018. Up to that point, things were pretty so-so when it came to our head-to-head record against the Addicks. Our first-ever encounter – in October 2011 – went in our favour. But the South Londoners claimed success on the three following occasions. Mind you, the third of those required penalties to separate us. It’s a defeat only in eventual outcome.
Boro’s promotion to League One in 2023 meant that we’d be competing on equal terms with the Addicks for the first time in more than a decade. And we had some lost ground to make up on them.
Formed in 1905, you do have to commend Charlton Athletic – for consistency if nothing else. Not since a Division Three South title win in 1935 have they found themselves in the Football League’s lowest league. A second successive promotion then lifted them into the top flight; a period that would last 20 years and would include their maiden FA Cup success in 1947. All things must pass, though, and relegation in 1957 meant a return to the second tier; a level at which we’d argue the Addicks are most familiar?
But for four campaigns, the club would remain in the second tier well into the 1980s. It would be in 1986 that we’d see the Addicks back in the top flight. But it came at a time when the club were coming off the back of some tricksy off-field issues. First, they plunged into administration in 1984, and technically had to be reformed. Then, just after the start of the 1985-6 campaign, major safety issues in the wake of the Bradford City disaster forced them out of their home at The Valley.
The Addicks moved across London and in with Crystal Palace. The good news was that it didn’t stop the club returning to the top flight in 1986. The bad news, although unrelated, is that it wasn’t as long a stay up at that level. Relegation in 1990 took them away from the top table just as those teams were about to breakaway and form the Premier League. In the end, the Addicks would have a piece of that money-rich pie in 1997 – so not too long a wait. They went up, came straight back down, and went straight back up.
In 2007, the club were relegated from the Premier League for a second time. It marked a shift in what the club was about. No longer did they bounce between tiers one and two; instead finding themselves up or down between tiers two and three. It wasn’t helped by changes in ownership that weren’t always for the best nor seamless transitions either. In more recent times, faith in Thomas Sandgaard (owner from 2020) hasn’t been the strongest. But a thing to note from history is you can’t keep the Addicks down for long…
How to get to Charlton Athletic – Travel Information – Distance: 51 miles
There are a few options for getting to Charlton, although we’re going with one that avoids as much travel through inner parts of London as possible. Therefore, head southbound on the A1(M) and clockwise on the M25 until you reach Junction 27 for the M11.
Join the southbound M11 for nearly eight miles towards London (NE). At the end of the motorway, exit onto the A406 North Circular Road (S) towards the A12 and A13. At the junction for the A12, exit the A406 and take the fifth exit; this will be the A12 for Central London.
Continue ahead on to the A102 after more than seven miles for the Blackwall Tunnel. After emerging south of the River Thames, exit for the A206 and take the second exit towards Woolwich and Charlton. Continue over the roundabout with Halfords on your left.
At the next roundabout, take the third exit to double back on yourself before turning left into Westmoor Street. This will become Charlton Lane; continue ahead for 0.1 miles and turn right onto Harvey Gardens. You will now be behind one of the goals at The Valley.
As you come up the Woolwich Road from the Blackwall Tunnel, it might be possible to find street parking in the industrial estates to the left hand side (of which there are plenty). Otherwise, continuing along and getting nearer the ground may present further street opportunities, but this is a residential area and has a local scheme in force.
Services to: LONDON CHARING CROSS
Charlton railway station is handily located for The Valley. Leave the station and turn right down Charlton Church Lane to come back across the railway. Take the first left into Floyd Road and the ground should become visible. For the away end, turn right into Valley Grove and then left into Sam Bartram Close to get behind the necessary stand.
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