Was Alfie May always destined to become a Charlton player? If so, it has taken a long time.
He was born in Gravesend thirty years ago and was part of the youth set up at Millwall before being released, apparently because of his size (he is now 5' 9'').
From the age of twenty he spent four seasons in local non-league football at Billericay, Bromley, Chatham, VCD Athletic (Crayford), Erith & Belvedere and Hythe Town. In 2014/15 at Erith (in the Southern Counties East League) he scored 38 goals in 45 League matches and he followed that up at Hythe (Isthmian League South) with 37 in 45. During those years he had unsuccessful trials at Crewe and Stevenage.
It was League Two Doncaster Rovers who eventually decided to take a punt on him in January 2017. It was indeed a punt as he had never even played at National League level and only had four appearances in National League South. It was a jump up three tiers of the game - the same as Jamie Vardy when he joined Leicester from Fleetwood in 2012. Nevertheless he played sixteen times for Doncaster and scored three goals as they gained promotion to League One.
He was to stay at Doncaster for another two and a half seasons although it wasn't an unmitigated success. In 92 League appearances he only scored ten goals, although most of those appearances were as a substitute. In 2018-19 for example only eight of his 34 appearances were starts as he found himself behind Marquis, Coppinger and Wilks in the pecking order. In our play-off games he was brought on in the 84th minute at The Keepmoat, the 86th minute at The Valley and he didn't take a penalty in the shoot-out.
When he joined Cheltenham in January 2020 it was a step down to League 2, although not for long. He played in 44 games and was the club's leading goal scorer (with nine) as they gained promotion as champions the following season. However he is certainly no ‘one season wonder’ as he has repeated that feat for the last two seasons back in League One with 23 goals in 46 games in 2021/22 and 20 in 39 last season. It was May who scored at The Valley last December to spoil the ‘Back To The Valley’ party and he was at it again in the last game of the season with an 88th minute left-footed equaliser. This was on top of the right-footed thunderbolt that Maynard-Brewer couldn't hold which had led to Cheltenham's first goal.
It will be fascinating to watch his progress as a Charlton player and we hope very much that he is still to reach his prime. After all, he is only one year older than Vardy was when he led Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016.
Dean Holden talks about Alfie's arrival at the club: