Charlton Athletic Football Club


Introduction

Charlton Athletic Football Club, or the Addicks as they are otherwise known, was formed in 1905. The club is based in South-East London, their main rivals being Crystal Palace, Millwall and West Ham United. The club plays its home games at the Valley.


Early years

Charlton Athletic was formed in June 1905, by a group of 14 and 15-year-old youths living in streets by the Thames in the area that now borders the Thames Barrier. However, the club’s progression was hindered by the dominance of nearby Woolwich Arsenal FC, which later became Arsenal FC. Woolwich Arsenal eventually moved to North London in 1913, and Charlton Athletic joined the Lewisham League.

The club’s progress through the local leagues was so rapid that after the First World War they joined the Kent League in 1919, where they spent a season before turning professional and joining the Southern League in 1920. A year later the club was elected to join the Football League Division Three South.

With Alex Macfarlane now in charge at the club, Charlton finished as Division Three South Champions on goal average in the 1928/29 campaign. The team largely struggled in Division Two, and were eventually relegated back to Division Three South in 1933.

Sam Bartram joined the club in 1934, and went on to make a record 583 appearances for the Addicks. By this time, Ralph Allen was in scintillating form, and scored a record 32 goals in the 1934/35 season to fire Charlton back to Division Two as Division Three South Champions.

The Addicks continued this good form into the following campaign, and achieved promotion to Division One after finishing as runners-up. Don Welsh and Jonathan Wilkinson were also instrumental in Charlton’s domestic success during this period, and the Addicks finished as Division One Runners-up in the 1936/37 season. The 1939/40 Football League programme was then abandoned after only three matches due to the outbreak of World War Two.


Post World War Two

Charlton produced indifferent league form when football eventually resumed in 1946. With many former players having left the club, manager Jimmy Seed was forced to build a new side capable of winning trophies. Seed brought in a number of new faces, including Harold Phipps, William Johnson and Charles Revell. However, it was the acquisition of goal-scoring sensations Chris Duffy and especially Charles Vaughan that had the most impact on the club’s fortunes.

Charlton reached the FA Cup Final in the 1945/46 campaign, after seeing off the likes of Preston North End, Brentford and Bolton Wanderers. However, the Addicks came up against a very strong Derby County side in the final, and eventually lost 4-1 at Wembley.

The Addicks once again reached the FA Cup final the following season, after hammering Newcastle United 4-0 in the Semi-final to get to Wembley. In a closely fought final, Chris Duffy scored the only goal of the game to ensure a 1-0 victory for Charlton.

Despite the club’s league form not necessarily matching their FA Cup heroics, Charlton still managed to attract crowds of over 70,000 to the Valley. However, with the club’s board refusing to further invest in the playing staff, Charlton began to slip further and further down the league. Many players left the club in the early 1950s including Chris Duffy, Charles Revell and Charles Vaughan. This crippled the team, and eventually led to Charlton’s relegation to Division Two in 1957.


Foreign influence at the Valley

With goal scoring clearly a serious problem for the Addicks, Charlton began to look further afield for their strikers. The Italian Eddie Firmani and South African Stuart Leary were brought to the club to supplement Gordon Hurst in attack. Despite scoring a club-record 107 goals in the 1957/58 campaign, Charlton were only able to finish in third place.

The club went on to suffer a record 11-1 defeat to Aston Villa two years later, on their way to finishing seventh in the 1959/60 season. Jim Ryan scored 72 goals in 75 games for the Addicks and manager, Frank Hill, suggested a set of gold cuff-links to commemorate the achievement. Ryan asked for a gold watch instead, and eventually received one for his efforts.

The Addicks narrowly escaped relegation to Division Three on goal average during the 1962/63 season. Charlton continued to finish in the bottom half of the table year after year, with the club uncharacteristically rising to fourth in the table in the 1963/64 campaign. Another poor season in 1970/71 culminated in Charlton’s relegation to Division Three.

Mike Flanagan joined the club in 1971, and helped Charlton achieve promotion back to Division Two in 1975. During the following season, the Addicks celebrated their 2000th League match, entertaining Southampton at the Valley on the 31st October 1975. The crowd included former Charlton legends Peter Croker and Benny Fenton, with Charlton winning the game 4-1.

Despite a promising first few years back in Division Two, the team was unable to perform well consistently, and suffered relegation back to Division Three in 1980.


Addicks in administration

Charlton responded well the following season, and achieved promotion back to Division Two, despite missing out on the runner-up spot on goal difference. Lennie Lawrence was brought in as Charlton’s new manager in 1982. He immediately set about improving the squad, and was responsible for bringing Robert Lee and Mark Stuart to the club during his early years.

However, the club was plagued by financial problems during this period, and at one point looked like it might fold. The signing of Allan Simonsen for £300,000 in 1983 proved to be a bad move for the club. Charlton had severe difficulties paying the former European Footballer of the Year’s wages, and he was sold on to Vejle BK soon after.

The club went into administration in 1984, and began to ground share at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park due to the Valley struggling to meet the necessary safety requirements. Despite the team’s off-the-field problems, things were beginning to improve for Charlton in the league. The Addicks achieved promotion to Division One after finishing the 1985/86 season as league runners-up.

Charlton narrowly maintained their Division One status the following year after a Play-off against Leeds United. The two teams drew 1-1 on aggregate in the final, but Charlton went on to win 2-1 in the replay and remain a Division One side. The team continued to play poorly even after this relegation scare, and was eventually relegated to Division Two in 1990.

Lennie Lawrence chose to leave the Addicks for Middlesbrough in 1991, and was replaced by the joint managerial team of Steve Gritt and Alan Curbishley.


The Alan Curbishley years

When Wimbledon moved into Selhurst Park alongside Crystal Palace, Charlton again uprooted and began playing their home games at West Ham’s Upton Park. Division Two was then re-designated as Division One after the formation of the FA Premier League in 1992.

Charlton eventually secured a move back to the Valley in December 1992, and celebrated their return with a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth. The managerial duo brought in many new faces, including midfielders Shawn Newton and John Robinson. Both players went on to play for the Addicks for many years.

The team achieved a number of safe mid-table finishes, before Steve Gritt handed the managerial reins over to Alan Curbishley on a full-time basis in 1995. Curbishley began to stamp his authority on the team, and captured the signings of Keith Jones and Richard Rufus.

Charlton’s success continued, as they reached the Play-off Semi-finals in 1996. However, the team’s progress was halted there as they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Crystal Palace.

The 1997/98 campaign proved to be pivotal in the club’s history, as the team won promotion to the FA Premier League. The team first beat Ipswich Town 2-0 on aggregate, before facing Sunderland in the final at Wembley. A thrilling final which ended 4-4, was eventually settled by a penalty shoot-out which the Addicks won 7-6.


Promotion to the Premiership

Charlton’s promotion instantly attracted higher profile players to the Valley, including Sasa Ilic, Graham Stewart and Dean Kiely. Despite the new signings, the team’s success was short-lived. Charlton struggled in the Premier League, and were relegated after their first season back in the top-flight.

Curbishley’s next move was to bring in an all-new strike force comprising Shaun Bartlett and Jonatan Johansson. Mark Fish and Claus Jensen were also added to the team, and the new-look Addicks were immediately promoted back to the Premier League as Division One Champions.

Charlton were able to survive and ultimately progressed in the Premier League for a number of years to come. Jason Euell was also added to the team’s attack, as Charlton looked to progress further up the league table.


Curbishley’s era comes to an end

The highlight of Alan Curbishley’s time at the Valley came when he so nearly took Charlton into the Champions League in the 2003/04 season. The team had been justifying their collective potential, but fell away at a crucial point in the season. Scott Parker was also sold to Chelsea, which left a gaping hole in Charlton’s midfield. The team ultimately finished seventh, but still recorded their highest ever Premier League finish.

Curbishley left the Valley in 2006 having been at the club for 15 years. The club effectively went through a state of shock following his resignation. Iain Dowie had enjoyed a great deal of success at London rivals Crystal Palace, and was installed as the new manager in May 2006.

However, Dowie failed to live up to previous expectations, and was subsequently sacked later that year. Les Reed proved to be a stop-gap manager from then on, until Alan Pardew eventually took over on December 24th 2006.


Back in the Championship

To Pardew’s credit, he battled valiantly to keep Charlton up for the remainder of the season. However, the Addicks paid the price for their poor early season form, and were relegated at the end of the 2006/07 campaign.

Many players were sold on to other clubs, with England striker Darren Bent heading to Tottenham Hotspur for £16,500,000.

Pardew began to build a side capable of winning promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Chris Iwelumo and Luke Varney were immediately brought to the club to bolster Charlton’s attack. The club did manage to hold onto club captain Andy Reid, as well as the experienced pairing of Chris Powell and Matt Holland.

The team currently sit sixth in the table, with every chance of earning promotion back to the Premiership. With the exciting new signing of Andy Gray from Burnley, Charlton fans will be quietly optimistic that Premiership football may soon be back at the Valley sooner rather than later.


Club Honours

  • Football League Division One Champions: 1999/2000
  • Football League Division One Runners-up: 1936/37
  • Promoted from Division One (via Play-offs): 1997/98
  • Football League Division Two Runners-up: 1935/36, 1985/86
  • Football League Division Three South Champions: 1928/29, 1934/35
  • Promoted from Division Three (3rd): 1974/75, 1980/81
  • FA Cup Winners: 1947
  • FA Cup Runners-up: 1946
  • Football League Cup (best season): 4th rd, 1963, 1966, 1979
  • Full Members’ Cup Runners-up: 1987


Club Records

  • Record League Victory: 8-1 v Middlesbrough, Division One, 12 September 1953
  • Record Cup Victory: 7-0 v Burton Albion, FA Cup 3rd rd, 7 January 1956
  • Record Defeat: 1-11 v Aston Villa, Division Two, 14 November 1959
  • Most League Goals: 107, Division Two, 1957/58
  • Highest League Scorer in Season: Ralph Allen, 32, Division Three South, 1934/35
  • Most League Goals in Total Aggregate: Stuart Leary, 153, 1953-1962
  • Most League Goals in One Match: 5, Wilson Lennox v Exeter City, Division Three South, 2 February 1929; 5, Eddie Firmani v Aston Villa, Division One, 5 February 1955; 5, John Summers v Huddersfield Town, Division Two, 21 December 1957; 5, John Summers v Portsmouth, Division Two, 1 October 1960
  • Most Capped Player: Jonatan Johansson 41 (70), Finland
  • Most League Appearances: Sam Bartram, 583, 1934-1956
  • Youngest League Player: Paul Konchesky, 16 years 93 days v Oxford United, 16 August 1997
  • Record Transfer Fee Received: £16,500,000 from Tottenham Hotspur from Darren Bent, June 2007
  • Record Transfer Fee Paid: £4,750,000 to Wimbledon for Jason Euell, July 2001


Longest Sequences

  • Longest Sequence of League Wins: 12, 26/12/1999 – 7/3/2000
  • Longest Sequence of League Defeats: 10, 11/4/1990 – 15/9/1990
  • Longest Sequence of League Draws: 6, 13/12/1992 – 16/1/1993
  • Longest Sequence of Unbeaten League Matches: 15, 4/10/1980 – 20/12/1980
  • Longest Sequence Without a League Win: 16, 26/2/1955 – 22/8/1955
  • Successive Scoring Run: 25 from 26/12/1935
  • Successive Non-Scoring Run: 5 from 6/9/1922