Charlton Athletic v Watford
Saturday, September 13th 2014, 3pm
Tim Sansom(Neutral Fan)
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
I am on a continued quest to visit as many football grounds as possible in my lifetime. It is a noble ambition. Possibly a stupid ambition and it is not an especially cheap exercise. Watching football is a very expensive business, and it is an ambition that cannot be done every week but it is fun and relaxing entering into the life of fellow football fans, without the stress of shouting at your team.
Although I have ‘done’ most of the current London clubs that are currently in the Premiership, I have not really touched the league outfits. In the early noughties, Charlton Athletic had seemed to be the natural next staging post for Ipswich Town players who needed to progress into the top tier. My beloved Ipswich were in the quick sand of Premiership relegation and crippling administration. It seemed that any player, with any saleable value, was shipped away, and Charlton seemed to be the popular destination.
Things had dramatically changed over the next decade. Charlton had fallen into League One, and came back into the Championship whilst Town had plateaued in English football’s second tier. I still viewed Charlton in the crucible of Matt Holland, Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose, as well as the quiet, folksy but world weary personality of Alan Curbishley. What had been so special about The Valley?
I was visiting The Valley, with an old friend who I had not met for far too long. The friend possessed the positive ‘get up and go attitude’ that defines people who are active in sport. The friend had been a regular player for the university football team, and would look at the game in a much more analytical view than what I could ever offer. He is not an active traveller to games, but was willing to enjoy a late Summer Championship game.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
When I lived away from the Greater London area, I always had this thought that the city ran a full and comprehensive public transport service throughout the weekend, and travellers could go from any ‘A’ to any ‘B,’ with minimal changes and hassle. After a year in this area, I have realised that this is just not the case. The underground is fine if you want to conduct your life in a very defined set of places. If you are travelling from North West to South East, it is a mental and physical strain, and your life is made complicated by Oyster Cards.
As it was a nice day weather-wise, I took the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Bank through to Greenwich. It was at Greenwich station, when I became confused with the whole idea of ‘touching in’ and ‘touching out;’ paranoid that if I did not ‘touch’ anywhere, the full force of the Law would appear at the next station, swoop on me and my offending piece of plastic, and send me off to jail without any argument. Greenwich Station platforms swamp the small trains that travel from London Bridge towards Charlton. I touched out and touched in when I should have just continued with my journey. It was a big error. When I tried to explain my situation to the platform staff, the reaction was a mixture of frustration, embarrassment and distain. I was embarrassing his station for making such an elementary mistake.
I was sent back to the train to Maze Hill station, where the mess was sorted out by a very friendly train person, who behaved like a travel therapist rather than a source of train information. If you don’t want the hassle, the simplest travel option is to take a train from London Bridge going towards Woolwich.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy…. home fans friendly?
The area around Maze Hill station is typical inner London suburbia. There is a gym at the bottom of the hill, if you fancy a work out before a game. There are various nail bars, barbers, petrol stations, the seemingly obligatory Tesco Express and pubs that look like the Queen Vic in Eastenders. I watched a young student walk out of a barber shop, gentling patting his shorn hair with the desperate hope that everything had gone alright in the chair. To kill some further time, I ate at the Trafalgar Café on Trafalgar Road, slumped over Friday’s Evening Standard and Mirror. It was a pleasant café but I really felt that I was in Albert Square, with Phil Mitchell expecting to walk through the door at any moment.
I drank with the friend in The Trafalgar pub in more upmarket Greenwich, turning left at the bottom of Maze Hill. We sat overlooking the River Thames towards the O2 arena. It was a bustling pub, with a proud bust of Nelson near the door. The pub seemed to offer a wide range of food and drink and it is in the tourist trap of Greenwich. I am not sure that the pub would ever struggle for trade.
We took the 177 bus towards the ground. There was no sense in the area that a former Premiership football ground in the neighbourhood; no adverts of Charlton players modelling watches or cars on the bill boards. It is possible to walk from Greenwich to Charlton although you are walking along a main arterial route out of the city towards Kent.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The Valley Stadium is definitely in a ‘valley’ and travelling from the south to the ground means that you will see a great vista of this red-clad Premiership-looking ground with the River Thames in the background. It must be an exciting sight. There is not as much excitement when you are travelling along the A206 Woolwich Road. You begin to see the top of the Main Stand jutting above random shops and 1960s flats, whose owners tolerate the stream of football fans swaggering to their match. The friend and I walked down Ransom Road, under the railway line and the ground dramatically appeared in our faces.
I suddenly lost all sense of bearings and time and wanted to visit all of the facilities all at once. We headed into the Charlton Megastore for no apparent reason, wondering whether it was worth buying a range of branded goods from rubber ducks to flame red Charlton training kits. I then drifted towards the smells of fast food outlets, till the friend reminded me that we could not enter a football ground without tickets. The whole outside ground atmosphere had a Goodison Park feeling about it. Slightly old fashioned in the sense that you were not walking up shiny walkways into a NBL basketball arena or Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, but comforting that you were heading into a comforting football community.
We were in the top of the large home stand facing to the south (in Block Q.) You could tell that Premiership football had been played at this ground and the stadium was impressive, but a big shell. The game was not a sell-out. There were large gaps around the home end. Single men looking slightly depressed that they had made the effort to come to the football on a Saturday afternoon. In contrast, the away end was full and raucous, generating considerable noise drowning out the announcer and the noughties rock music.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
I had gone to the game with very low expectations. Championship football can dramatically vary in quality, and having sat through some serious football dross with the friend during previous years, I did not want to jinx the action. A penalty was slotted away after three minutes, and the home fans had some hope against Watford, who were one of the division’s pace setters. However, the home supporters became considerably fed up with the apparent lack of ambition by their team. Charlton defended well, but did not seem to totally push for the second goal. Playing the ball into the corners with an extra six minutes of injury town was coldly sensible from Charlton but not much of a spectacle.
Championship football is meant to be deliciously unpredictable. Games regularly finish in 5-5, and 4-2. One team scores 6-0 against another, and then gets tanked 7-0 during the following Saturday. It is not quite like that in reality. With so many games in a season, it can seem to be a bit of a trail to marshal yourself through the campaign. The post-match coverage suggested that this game was not the greatest of games. I found it a lot of fun, but if I was a Charlton fan, I would desperately want a bit more cutting edge up front for my team. If my team is going to kill time at the end of games from September to May, it could be a positive but slightly unfulfilled season.
To make yourself feel a bit more uplifted when you watch Charlton, there is a pretty impressive selection of food outlets including the chance to have a salt beef roll cut in front of you by a carvery chef. I had never seen this cuisine before for fans, and it was a pleasant change to the standard pie and cup of tea. During one moment in the game, when Charlton were being resolute in dinner, the friend suddenly presented two Whispa Gold bars to munch on throughout the game. It was a very welcome surprise, and gave me a nice mid half sugar rush, but the usual range on confectionery and fizzy drinks are available to you throughout the game, served by very cheery people in bright Charlton red t shirts.
6. Getting Away From The Ground:
Getting away from the ground was initially easy. It was less than a five minute walk to Charlton Railway Station along Valley Grove and Floyd Road. Not wanting to brutally axe the day at the entrance of a classically dreary suburban London station, we walked back along to A206 to the next railway station along the line, Westcombe Park. The plan dramatically failed as the timetabled trains came passed rammed to the doors with angry football fans.
Realising that a Saturday night could now be spent on a platform of a South East London railway station, I changed direction and heading to Woolwich Arsenal, taking the DLR into Central London. Passing Charlton station at 5:50pm. I could see the opposite platform still three deep with bored and frustrated Watford fans waiting for a train to take them into the city. There seemed to be a lack of additional train services for fans; another example of local failure to put on enough transport to deal with mass participation sports events.
I was lucky. It was a mild and sunny September evening, and I did not have any time commitments. As the DLR rode above the roofs of docklands houses, I enjoyed watching the planes fly away from London City Airport. On a cold Tuesday evening, you will want more from a train service, because the car is not a serious option if you are travelling to football grounds that are close to Central London. If clubs and authorities want their people to travel to football matches by public transport, they have got to make it easy and attractive. It took an hour to travel back into London. You may want to get a bus along the A206 towards Greenwich, and there are multiple bus routes available on this route.
7. Overall Comments on the Day Out:
I enjoyed my trip to this game. Travelling to and from a ground can be a mine field anywhere in the UK, and it did not really affect the day. Charlton may not have the same high profile as other London clubs, without the swagger of the Premiership elite, or the gritty outlook of some of the city’s league clubs such as Milwall. It was difficult to tell quite where the fan base comes from, although there were many coaches that had travelled up from Kent for the game. Travelling back into London, I lost sight of many people with Charlton shirts on, quite soon after leaving The Valley.
The match was fun, although with some ‘classically Championship’ frustrating moments, but the atmosphere is welcoming, and The Valley does have a certain character about it. The stadium obviously yearns for the return of Premiership football. Looking at half empty standards does affect the atmosphere, and gives a bit of a slightly faded image of the club. At the time of writing, Charlton were being christened the Championship “pacemakers.” Whether they are still there at the end of next May, it is very hard to tell.
Eventually, the club's debts led to it almost going out of business in the early 1980s. A consortium of supporters successfully acquired the club in 1984, but the Valley remained under the ownership of the club's former owner.Why did Charlton leave The Valley? ›
They were forced to leave the Valley just after the start of the 1985–86 season, after its safety was criticised by Football League officials in the wake of the Bradford City stadium fire.How much does charltons away end hold? ›
Away fans are housed in the Jimmy Seed (South) Stand at one end of the ground, which is slightly raised above pitch level, making for a generally good view. Up to 3,000 away fans can be accommodated in this end.What is charltons ground called? › Who was the first Death Valley? ›
It wasn't until 1959 that LSU's Tiger Stadium was first called Death Valley. Previously known as Deaf Valley because of the crowd noise, the name transformed to Death Valley after the 1959 Sugar Bowl in which LSU beat Clemson.What happened at Valley Parade? ›
The Bradford City stadium fire occurred during a Football League Third Division match on Saturday, 11 May 1985 at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, killing 56 spectators and injuring at least 265.Where do away fans drink at Charlton? ›
Improvements to the stadium in 2002 transformed The Valley into a 27,000 capacity stadium with up to around 3,000 away fans able to be housed in the Jimmy Seed South Stand. Food, drinks and toilet facilities are all located in the concourse below the stand.Who are charltons biggest rivals? ›
Sutton United play at Gander Green Lane in west Sutton, five miles south of Plough Lane and nearly eight miles west of Selhurst Park. According to a 2013 fan survey on football rivalries, Charlton considers their main rival to be Crystal Palace, with Millwall being their second biggest rival.What are Charlton fans called? ›
Why is the Charlton Athletic Football Club called “the Addicks”?How much does blackburns away end hold? ›
This has 11,000 seats and also contains the home and away dressing rooms as well as the media facilities. There is also a statue in his honour which is situated behind the Ronnie Clayton Blackburn end.
Away fans are normally housed in the Mears Stand at one end of the stadium, where around 2,500 supporters can be accommodated. If only a small away following is expected then part of the Ben Bennett Stand (towards the Mears South Stand) is allocated instead.How much does Old Trafford away end hold? ›
Away fans visiting Old Trafford are located in the adjoining section of the South and East stands, with a typical allocation of around 3,000.What is Hartlepools ground called? ›
The Suit Direct Stadium has a capacity of 7,865 and has been home to Hartlepool United since our inception in 1908. The Cyril Knowles Stand is all-seated and houses the Family Enclosure within Victoria Park. It is also the stand in which the players tunnel is situated.What is Northamptons ground called? ›
St Mary's Stadium is an all-seater football stadium in Southampton, England, which has been the home stadium of Premier League club Southampton F.C. since 2001.What is Stockports ground called? ›
Edgeley Park is a football stadium in Edgeley, Stockport, England. Built for rugby league club Stockport RFC in 1891, by 1902, the rugby club was defunct and Stockport County Football Club moved in. Edgeley Park is an all-seater stadium holding 10,900 spectators.Why Death Valley is called Death? ›
Why is it called Death Valley? Death Valley was given its forbidding name by a group of pioneers lost here in the winter of 1849-1850. Even though, as far as we know, only one of the group died here, they all assumed that this valley would be their grave.Can a human survive Death Valley? ›
More than 300 people live year-round in Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth. Here's what it's like.Was Death Valley once a sea? ›
The limestones and sandstones found in the Funeral and Panamint Mountains indicate that this area was the site of a warm, shallow sea throughout most of the Paleozoic Era (542 - 251 million years ago.) Time passed and the sea began to slowly recede to the west as land was pushed up.What caused Valley Parade fire? ›
The official inquiry by a high court judge, Mr Justice Popplewell, heard forensic evidence that the fire, at the final game of the season for a sparkling young side who had already won promotion from the old Third Division, was caused by the "accidental lighting of debris" under the stand.What football ground was used in a touch of frost? ›
Denton FC football ground is in fact the real football ground of Halifax FC . It was used for two different episodes of "A Touch Of Frost". The other episode was filmed there in 1994. The football ground is nicknamed The Shay & is in West Yorkshire.
Bradford City Football Club has sold its historic Valley Parade home for £5 million to ensure the club can start the new season tomorrow.Can you drink in the stands in football? ›
The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 prevents: drunken entry into a football ground (which, in practice, to be an arrestable offence includes disorderly behaviour);Can you take alcohol into football stadiums? ›
It is an offence to enter or try to enter a ground whilst in possession of alcohol. The provisions also apply to drinks containers that are capable of causing injury to someone if they are struck with it. Anyone who is drunk at a football match or whilst trying to enter the ground is also guilty of an offence.Can you take drinks into a football stadium? ›
Glass bottles are a no no, and aluminum cans could be a problem. Plastic bottles should be ok. Some clubs may take a dislike to bringing food and drink in, preferring that you buy it there.Who is Chelsea's biggest rival? ›
Considering derby rivals, they are Fulham, Arsenal, Tottenham, QPR. but if you listen to the opinions of individual Chelsea fans, most of them will say Manchester United, in recent years, there has been no other joy as it has been defeating United.Why do Blackburn hate Burnley? ›
Snitches and cheats. Two great incidents really kicked off the hatred between both teams in the early stages of the league. We've said before that English teams in the north were inundated with Scottish players at this time. The Preston North End 'Invincibles' who won the debut league season were almost all Scottish.Who is Leeds biggest rival? ›
Leeds United vs Millwall
Millwall is, without doubt, one of the most hated rivals of Leeds United. The rivalry between the teams is intensified by both club's passionate fans and association with football hooliganism.
Formed in 1899 as Boscombe, the club adopted their current name in 1971. Nicknamed "The Cherries", Bournemouth have played their home games at Dean Court since 1910. Their home colours are red and black striped shirts, with black shorts and socks, inspired by that of Italian club A.C. Milan.What are Liverpool's fans called? ›
Liverpool fans often refer to themselves as Kopites, a reference to the fans who once stood, and now sit, on the Kop at Anfield. In 2008 a group of fans decided to form a splinter club, A.F.C.Why are Chelsea fans called plastics? ›
The origin of the phrase plastic fans, in reference to Chelsea supporters, began in 2007, four years after Roman Abramovich bought the club. Before the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, the Chelsea hierarchy distributed plastic flags for supporters to wave during the match.
What is it like for away supporters? Away fans are mostly housed on one side of the Brian Moore Stand (on the Medway Stand side) where around 1,500 supporters can be accommodated.How do I get to Arsenal away end? ›
However, you can still take the Piccadilly line and get off at Arsenal tube station, which is only a few minutes walk to the stadium. When you exit the station, take a right and follow Drayton Park Road around to the left. You can then walk over one of the large bridges that run over the railway line to the stadium.How much does Port Vale away end hold? ›
Up to 4,500 away supporters can be accommodated in the Signal One Stand, where the view and facilities located on the concourse behind the stand are good.Is the shed end the away end? ›
Away fans visiting Stamford Bridge are located in the Shed End lower tier, nearest the East Stand, with a typical allocation of 3,000.How big is Spurs away end? ›
Away fans are housed in the lower tier of the North East corner of the stadium, where up to 3,000 fans can be accommodated for Premier League matches. A much larger visiting allocation of up to 9,000 can be made available for domestic cup ties.Is Millmoor still standing? ›
The work was never finished and the main stand remains half-built. Rotherham United have now moved to a new community stadium.Where do away fans drink in Manchester? ›
Pubs For Away Fans
Also in Salford Quays is the Matchstick Man pub, which is part of the Hungry Horse chain and also serves visiting fans. There is also an outside bar that is open on matchdays at the nearby Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
At the other end of the scale, you can buy a pint of beer at Man United's Old Trafford for just £3. While a pint of beer will set you back £3.30 at Liverpool's Anfield.Do they have sniffer dogs at Old Trafford? ›
Greater Manchester Police have deployed detection dogs at Old Trafford, following the abandonment of the Premier League match between Manchester United v Bournemouth due to 'security fears'. The dogs, commonly known as 'sniffer dogs', were seen working through the stands and on the side of the pitch.What is wigans ground called? ›
A baseball field, also called a ball field or baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The term can also be used as a metonym for a baseball park.Are Southampton fans good? ›
The poll has seen Southampton come second in the league, beaten for top spot by AFC Bournemouth. It means that football supporters across the south could now be considered the most attractive in the UK. The poll was open to more than 1,000 fans who were asked which rival supporters they'd be happy to date.How big is St Marys pitch? ›
Floodlit pitch with ideal football and Hockey located in the heart of Astley. Measuring approx 90m x 60m including a 5m run off it is suitable for football training and both Hockey training and fixtures.How many people does Bramall Lane hold? ›
Bramall Lane is the home ground of Sheffield United Football Club. Expanded in both 2001 and 2006, the 32,050 capacity stadium is thought to be the oldest in the world to be still hosting professional football matches today.Why is Stockport County so called? ›
Formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers, they were renamed Stockport County in 1890 after the County Borough of Stockport. The team have played in blue and white kits since 1914; their original colours were red and white. The club are nicknamed "The Hatters" after the town's former hat-making industry.Who owns Edgeley Park? ›
Edgeley Park can now accommodate 10,900 spectators. In 2015, Stockport Council purchased the stadium for around £2 million, leasing it back to the football club, in order to prevent it from being demolished and redeveloped.When was Edgeley Park built? ›
Edgeley Park was originally built for the rugby league team, Stockport RFC, who leased the ground owned by the Sykes family in 1891. The first rugby match was played here on September 3, 1891, with the initial construction of a small covered main stand on the north side and terraced stands on the east and south sides.When did Charlton move to the Valley? ›
Charlton Athletic had already played at various ground when they first moved to The Valley in 1919. The stadium was built with the help of their fans, though initially only consisted of a pitch and large earth banks, giving it the appearance of a valley.What happened to Sir Bobby Charlton? ›
Sir Bobby was appointed a director at Old Trafford in 1984. Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with dementia and Man United have released a statement pledging their support to him and his family. Sir Bobby Charlton's dementia diagnosis was confirmed just days after Nobby Stiles' death.When did Charlton become part of London? ›
'Charlton next Woolwich' was an ancient parish in the county of Kent, which became part of the metropolitan area of London in 1855.
|Hull City||7 December 2017||30 June 2019|
|Charlton Athletic||18 March 2021||21 October 2021|
Charlton is more residential and suburban than its neighbouring districts, but still offers its charms. Living in Charlton, you'll enjoy a mix of green spaces, sports centres and riverside views.Why is Dunfermline called the pars? ›
When Dunfermline gained league status they were called the Pars because they were nor on par with other teams. 4. When the team first sported black and white stripes they were called the Pars because their colours resembled the parr, a fish.How large is the town of Charlton? ›
"Twenty-one men—among them some of the brightest stars in British football—were feared to have died in the crash. Seven of them were members of the champion Manchester United football team. Twenty-three of the forty-four people aboard the plane survived, including Matt Busby, two air hostesses and a baby.How long did Duncan Edwards survive? ›
One of eight players who died as a result of the Munich air disaster, he survived initially but succumbed to his injuries in hospital two weeks later. Many of his contemporaries have described him as one of the best, if not the best, players with whom they had played.Did Bobby Charlton go to his brother's funeral? ›
One of football's favourite sons was given a funeral fit for a hero. Thousands lined the streets to pay tribute to England World Cup winning legend Jack Charlton. His fellow star of 1966 and younger brother Sir Bobby, 82, was too ill to attend. His poignant floral tribute read: "Rest in Peace Jack.What does Charlton mean? ›
English Baby Names Meaning:
In English Baby Names the meaning of the name Charlton is: A, meaning peasants' settlement. Derived from a surname and place name based on the Old English. Free men's town. Famous bearers: American actor Charlton Heston.
Charlton station is just a 20 minute walk away, or a short ride on either a 486, 472 or 161 bus from North Greenwich station.When did Ikea in Charlton open? ›
The first weekend of trading at east Greenwich's new Ikea store will coincide with a big match at Charlton Athletic's ground, threatening serious traffic issues across the area. Yesterday the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant confirmed it would open its doors on Thursday 7 February.
'Always learning', Adkins took the injury as an opportunity to add a string to his bow. He's also become a qualified coach and sports scientist in the years since.How old is Nigel Adkins? › Who does Nigel Adkins manager? ›