The Charlton squad head to Blackpool this Saturday looking to continue the club's highly impressive recent run of results at Bloomfield Road. Our last visit was March 2015 when Eagles, Church and Gudmundsson were the scorers in a 3-0 win as Blackpool plummeted towards relegation. The previous year it was a Callum Harriott hat-trick that sealed a result which ensured our safety. And in October 2012 Leon Cort and Chris Solly scored second half goals to see us home 2-0.
However, supporters of a slightly more seasoned vintage will vouch for the fact that the sweet taste of victory can't be guaranteed. There was that 3-5 reverse in 2008. Don't forget the January 1978 1-5 thrashing. And, worst of all, the 0-5 humiliation which confirmed our relegation in April 1972, much to Bob Stokoe's delight. John Dunn even saved a penalty in that game. And the fact is that, although this was our most significant defeat up there, it wasn't by any means the worst. How many Charlton fans were in the crowd of 6,711 on 25th September 1963 when, after taking a first minute lead, we were dumped out of the League Cup 1-7? And, of course, our first two visits to Blackpool in 1930 and 1936 resulted in 0-6 and 2-6 defeats.
But recent form suggests that Charlton should be able to gain revenge for that sickening last minute equaliser headed in by Armand Gnanduillet at The Valley in December. Blackpool lie 17th in League One just three points above the relegation places. They have only one win in their last 14 league games and it is three months and eight games since their last home win (2-1 v Bury). They haven't scored in their last four, if you include their EFL Trophy game with Shrewsbury. Charlton, buoyant after that second half display against Walsall, will be expected to gain all three points and regain the place in the top six that Rotherham stole on Tuesday night. With Bradford on a bad run of form and Scunthorpe stuttering it no longer appears that sixth place is the best Charlton can achieve, even though the top two spots look to have been reserved by Wigan and Blackburn.
Off the field, supporters are celebrating the fact that both clubs are officially for sale. Many Charlton fans were greatly relieved to hear Richard Murray say that he was sure that Roland Duchatelet will have sold the club by the summer at the very latest. Blackpool fans have been watching with some amusement as Owen and Karl Oyston have been conducting a fire sale of properties in order to meet their High Court obligation to pay former shareholder Valeri Belakon a £10m instalment by the end of this month. In the meantime, however, they have appointed Karl Oyston's son Sam as chief executive and his daughter Natalie Christopher has become a club director. This has not been received well.
However, protests have been put on hold on Saturday out of respect for Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield who died this week. He played 627 games for The Seasiders over 17 seasons and was a man of great loyalty and generosity. After stints as manager of Bolton and Leeds he became known to a whole new generation as a good humoured summariser on Radio 5. Charlton supporters will be joining the gathering at his statue at 2.30pm.
We anticipate that they will enjoy the following ninety minutes plus whatever time is added to shred the nerves.