At the time it was hailed as something very unique, but it is only in hindsight that it can be seen as one of the most pivotal moments in Charlton’s history, and a catalyst for the resurrection of our football club.
Twenty years ago, frustration amongst Charlton supporters that the Labour-run Greenwich Council were deliberately putting obstacles in the way to prevent the club returning to its spiritual home, had grown to such an extent that the supporters announced plans to form a political party at the forthcoming council elections.
The sole objective of The Valley Party
was to see Charlton end its temporary residence at Selhurst Park and return to its Greenwich roots, and to put pressure on the councillors who objected to the move.
For many it was clear, the very existence of Charlton Athletic depended upon it as the club went through a slow, painful death ground-sharing with Crystal Palace. “Wherever we may roam, The Valley is our home….Show me the way to go home”
the supporters used to sing, and the most organised and militant of those fans decided they were going to do whatever it took to ensure that happened.
What was originally scoffed and dismissed by the council and other public groups, grew bigger, stronger and gained momentum. Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of the candidates and volunteers involved, it resulted in what has been classed as the greatest result ever recorded by a single-issue party.
Not only did it prove on a local level that the people of Greenwich wanted their football club back, it successfully brought Charlton’s plight and campaign to a far wider audience. And in the process, it helped unseat a number of the councillors who had proved most unhelpful to Charlton’s hopes of returning to The Valley.
Over the next few days, we will be publishing a series of article remembering, and celebrating, the 3rd May 1990, when 14,838 said YES !
There is an insightful interview with Simon Oelman, then Chair of the Planning Committee (and successfully unseated in the election), and we will be speaking to a number of the candidates and campaigners involved. We will see how the campaign was viewed from the club’s perspective, while there will also be a look at the advertising campaign that captured the imagination and ensured The Valley Party was taken as a serious entity. Finally, we’ll be looking at whether twenty years on, Charlton supporters could ever organise themselves to such an extent again.
But most importantly, we want to receive YOUR memories and anecdotes
from this historic event.
sees Steve Sutherland, then Commercial Manager of the club, share his thoughts and memories on the period surrounding the election, from the perspective of a club employee.
is an interview with Simon Oelman, then Chair of the Planning Committee, as he reflects on the campaign from the Council perspective
is a fascinating ten-minute video from the current affairs programme for the London region, Thames Reports, which highlighted the campaign
sees Richard Hunt give an insight into the brilliant poster campaign which helped transform the Valley Party presence
sees Peter Cordwell, then Sports Editor of The Mercury, give his memories of the role the local paper played in helping bring the club home.
a number of the Valley Party campaigners share their memories on the events