It's been a while since we had opposition from North of the border..
..meaning the Scottish Border and not the Thames of course.
The last team that did venture this far South to SE7 was also here for a testimonial. Heart of Midlothian or Hearts, visited drawing 1-1 way back in August 1998 as Alan Curbishley celebrated 10 years and the Addicks were about to embark on a return to the English top flight.
The name Inverness Caledonian Thistle is one of those archetypal, evocative and dare we say exotic names you hear on t'wireless classified results, that probably most English fans at least have no other knowledge of. Sadly no longer to be heard from the voice of the BBC's James Alexander Gordon who was forced to retire recently due to ill health.
The recently promoted SPL outfit finished a pleasing 4th place last season, so should prove a decent test for Charlton in the last pre season match. Former England hero Terry Butcher currently manages and is seemingly doing a pretty decent job, as well as being fairly active in the transfer market this summer.
They play at the Caledonian stadium, not too far up the Loch from where a certain large watery beastie is reputed to hang out, and you may not be disappointed to know that the club's mascot may bear a resemblance.
They also have a thriving Supporters' Trust, something which of course we always like to mention.
So a warm South London welcome from us.
Pre season progress?
Speaking of watery beasties, the main hindrance to Paddy Powell's testimonial would appear to be the weather, although the forecast seems to be letting up for the match time period. Let's hope as many fans as possible make it down to the Valley which is looking resplendent and green, as good as any tribute to the work of the man in question.
Chris Powell's 'make and mend' squad, is doing pretty good thank you very much, and why not? It has the mainstays from last season's near miss and some would say successful return to the Championship.
The Addicks are still striving to fill the gaps in the squad, but despite that haven't struggled to find the net even with a lack of options up front - with Kermogant and last seasons' breakthrough player Harriot; and resurgent Hollands and Green all making their mark. Reportedly Chris Powell is still in the hunt for last season's loanee Obika, perhaps a deal can be done; and now Hull's no7 wideman Stewart has been linked, there's even mention of return for Fuller if a new deal can be worked out, but only time will tell.
Chris Powell has some proven and talented players, as well as upcoming starlets. If the gaps can be filled, and perhaps some contracts renewed, his men might just have enough to reach the playoffs.
Good luck to him and the team. Up the Addicks!
And Now, a Word from the Oppo..
Davie Balfour of the Caley Jags (ICT ST)
We’re a young club, in fact young enough for us to have rarely ventured as far south as London. At least we’ve made it – it’s more than the Jacobites did!
Inverness Caledonian Thistle were born in 1994 after a merger of two highland league sides, and have never looked back since. Building season upon season, we have reached the heights of the premier league and, with the exception of a one season blip, stayed there. The Tulloch Caledonian Stadium side, who play in one of the most picturesque venues in the land, have an equally picturesque set of followers who formed their supporters trust back in 2005 and currently sit at a membership of almost 500. They are a colourful and friendly lot, as you are soon to find out!
Last season saw us finish fourth in the SPL, missing out of Europe by a single point – our best season by far. The management team of Maurice Malpas and Terry Butcher (I understand he’s well known in these parts) have forged a unique side with no big names, a free flowing style and a team mentality second to none. Our preseason has been an undefeated affair so far, and it will be interesting to see just how we fare against opposition of the standard of Charlton. Look out for Billy Mackay. You might regret it if you don’t! It’s a game that both team and fans have looked forward to eagerly since it was announced.
We look forward to seeing how we fare on the field, but just as importantly we look forward to seeing how many friends we make off it. The Caley Thistle media team will be there in force and if we stop you in the street to interview you, we’re just being friendly!
Chairman, Caley Jags Together