Exiled Charlton fan Gordon Martin will be a travelling Forest Green supporter on Tuesday evening but here he fondly remembers his days at The Valley:
I shall be visiting The Valley on the evening of 13 September as a Forest Green Rovers (FGR) fan, although I’m a lifelong Addick. I adopted local club FGR some years ago when they were struggling to survive in the 5th tier.
My first game at The Valley was against the Bluebirds in the 1966/67 season. We won 5-0 and by the same score in the following home game against Bristol City. Dad and I stood behind the goal which is now the away end. The flats were not there at that time but the urinals were open to the elements. I found a ten bob note on that terracing.
We later decided to stand on the open terrace near the half way line. It was the days of bobble hat, plain red & white scarf and wooden rattle (wish I kept it). I would occasionally watch from the top of the terracing which gave a birds-eye view of the game.
Dad often took me to evening games. In the 1967/68 season we were losing 1-3 to the Canaries and dad said let’s leave now and get the early train home. When we later checked the score, the Valiants (as we were known as at that time) had secured a draw. I’ve never since left a game early.
I became a member of the supporters club on 3 October 1967. Paul Ellis was much later my point of contact for many years.
I received a 13th birthday dedication of In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry.
I proudly wore this lapel badge (below) in secondary school. An older Millwall fan would jokingly try and persuade me to switch allegiances to the Lions.
At that time league attendances at The Valley generally ranged from 3,000 to 8,000. The largest attendance I recall was 30,300 against QPR in the FA Cup 4th Round on 24 January 1970. This was in the days of the flamboyant Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh.
I believe this to be the autograph of Keith Peacock?
Dad and I became season ticket holders for the 1981/82 season.
I was working abroad from 1984, coming home once to see a game in League One (today’s Premier League) at our temporary home of Selhurst Park.
In 1987 my new home became the west country but I would regularly visit dad and family of a weekend and take in a game with friends.
I was fortunate to attend our return to the Valley on 5 December 1992. The 8,337 sell out saw Colin Walsh score the only goal against Pompey.
Attended the acclaimed ‘best play-off final ever’ win over the Black Cats on 24 May 1998 which saw Charlton promoted to the Premier League. My secondary school friend Roy (Royston) King was Valley stadium manager at this time.
It would be great should I see by chance my old mates at the game who I’ve long lost contact with. They are: Chris Blade, Clive Chivers (was the Charlton girls coach), Dennis Fox, Steve Edwards, Roy Mann and Graham Pike. Some are in this dressing room photograph.
Irrespective of the result I can’t lose.
Gordon P MARTIN
1 August 2022