Thursday 4 January 2024
Nothing happening on the transfer front just now. So far I have completed 3 sessions of my ‘30 Day Yoga Challenge’ so beating the number of transfers Charlton are involved in this month should be a doddle! Note to self ‘Be more patient in 2024 Robert!’
So a few thoughts today on my Charlton journey which started way back in the midst of time, well 1966 to be exact. Some will have heard me tell my story of how my dad liked his football and would go to watch nearby teams to where we lived in Blackheath, without having a strong allegiance to any of them. A walk up Baizdon Road where we lived to the Heath and a turn left would be a 30 minute walk through Deptford and New Cross to the Den in Coldharbour Lane where Millwall plied their trade. A turn right and it was a half hour walk to the Valley. I have often said how fortunate I was that my dad turned right on the day he took me to my first game. Thinking more on this I suspect that the cold December evening would not have involved us tramping across the Heath, through the Standard and along the back streets to the hallowed ground of the Valley. Instead I think we probably took a train from Blackheath station to Charlton. It was also most unlikely that Millwall would have had a home game on the same day that Charlton were at home. I must look up their 1966/67 fixtures to check that at some point!
So it was that my dad and older brother Michael decided to take the ten year old Robert to his first game at the Valley. This was the Valley with the famous east terracing, one small grandstand opposite and the old covered end. We stood on the big terracing somewhere near the halfway line, resting against a barrier in order to get a good view of both ends of the pitch. It was an evening kick off for my first visit and a game against Ipswich Town on Tuesday 20 December 1966. Charlton won 2-1 with two Mike Kenning goals which produced much euphoria amongst the Anderson clan. It was probably the first time I was treated to a big bag of roast chestnuts as we made our way back up Floyd Road to catch a train back to Blackheath.
I was hooked and would return to the Valley three more times that season, witnessing two defeats and then a 1-0 victory against Carlisle United.
Over the next two seasons I got to visit the Valley on six occasions ( 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats which kind of sums up life as a Charlton supporter!) The 13 year old Robert had found new freedom and happily made his own way to the Valley so by the 1969/70 season I invested the hard earned wages of a paper boy in a Charlton season ticket and made 27 pilgrimages to the Valley that season. I also made my first away trip to see Charlton draw 1-1 at Loftus Road against QPR.
I have maintained a record of every professional football match I have attended and who knows might have been stood near other future Charlton Fans in Scotland at games back in the day!
More of my Charlton story in days to come but suffice to say Charlton’s ups and downs were a big influence on my life in the days when at my school, Brockley County Grammar, I was the only Charlton supporter and my two best friends supported Millwall and Crystal Palace!
On the subject of the denizens of the now New Den, Charlton under 21’s start their 2024 fixtures with a game against Millwall under 21’s this afternoon (1.30 pm kick off) at the Millwall training ground. The game isn’t being shown on Charlton TV so I’ll be picking up updates on Twitter (sorry X!) Here’s hoping for a Charlton win and a few more goals from the likes of Henry Rylah, Michel Mbick and Patrick Casey.