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First game back at the Valley - were you there ? your memories

edited December 2015 in General Charlton

Happy 5th December everyone (ed. 23 years now.

We are trying to build an archive of people's memories from that day.

But were you even there ? Are you a Johnny Come Lately, or a plastic who couldn't be bothered ???

Where were you sitting, what do you remember etc.

Be great to hear your memories.


  • As mentioned in the article I was playing hockey in Margate that day. I think we lost 3-0 and I remember as I had just been promoted to one of my clubs better teams as prior to that I had been playing in the old men's team.
  • I don't remember that much of the game, more the buzz before the game kicked off.
  • I had a seat in the south stand, more or less central. From what I recall I met up with some mates at London Bridge and walking down Harvey Gardens we all did the same thing - rushed to the gates to get our first view of the Valley on a match day in seven years, then off for a few beers in the Horse & Groom, and then on to the match, with around an hour of introducing old players, releasing balloons and such like. The game was so-so if I recall, broken only by Colin Walsh's goal from a knock-down by Darren Pitcher and although Portsmouth were doing well in the league that season it looked as though they were determined not to be party poopers by doing anything like score a goal. Then back to the Horse & Groom, where we drank the pub dry and a hangover the next day.
  • It was the day before my 21st birthday so, as you can imagine, I had a celebratory beer or two that weekend.

    My main memories are walking across the walkway on the east terrace (we were in the South Stand), the PA playing songs like "The green green grass of home" and "The boys are back in town in the build-up, my mate blubbing when the teams came out and the old Red Red Robin struck up (Gawd bless you Matty - and come back soon) and a particularly well-endowed barmaid serving me in the Valley pub before and after the game. (Yeah, I know that last one's a bit sad to still remember - but you should've seen her!)

    But my most vivid memory is as I was getting off a bus opposite the Antigallican on my way down there.An old girl in her 60's or 70's, who I had never seen before - or since - grabbed my arm and with a big smile on her face said, "I know where you're going". I just looked backed at her, smiled and said "yeah".

    A really quality moment. Brings a tear to the eye just thinking about it now, after all this time.
  • edited September 2006
    Would be interesting to know of those who were there: which was a better day: that big return or the Play Off final?

    Great question. Worthy of a discussion of its own. Will post it now.

    Brissie - Sorry mate, somehow i've managed to delete your post. Sincere apologies
  • i was also in the Valley after mate. Remember Mark Dannett ? I'm sure he fell asleep in there about 8 o clock (was not unusual for him). Lot of lads i remember in there after mainly still go games, which is a suprise considering the amount of others that have drifted away.

    How i remember these things i don't know, but i remember he left his coat / tracksuit jacket, and had to go back the next week to collect.
  • i was working in the VIP lounge (which was then a set of portacabins behind the west)
  • no, im a janet come lately.
  • Didn't go as I had got out of the habit so I'll have to say the Playoff Final was the best, but wished I had gone to the 1st game back. Sounds as though it was amazing!
  • i was in the covered end and it all went so quick. i had to watch the match on sunday lunchtime tv to remind me of the game (probably the last sunday lunchtime that i haven't been in a pub).
    the one thing i do remember from that day (i think) was at half time, paddy powell doing the pitch and discovering a flare or firework had burnt a bit of turf right near the covered end and him gesturing to the crowd with his rake.
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  • was in the jimmy seed top west corner, a few of us had our season tickets moved there from the north bank at upton park. totally surreal at the time because selhurst and upton was all i knew, was only 15 when we moved back but was well involved in the marches, townhall announcement etc.

    me and a few mates were on the tele in the background when they were doing interviews before the game, about 6 of us chaved up in tracksuit bottoms and curtain haircuts. footage never made the dvd though, probably just as well.
  • I was in the Covered End.

    I remember having a pee in the loos below when the 'red red robin' started playing. I started bawling like a baby.

    That and Vince doing his conquering hero bit to Killer.

    Oh and did I tell you I know who's got Colin Walsh's signed (and framed by Garry Nelson) Charlton top from that day? [;)]
  • Was there with my old man and his mate. Row Q in the South Stand (the one directly behind the walk way) in the middle of the goal (so that blooming post obscured the left hand post of the goal at the North end). Remember trotting around half a dozen pubs pre-kick off and walking across the east terrace walk way for the first time). Truly a great day, when the teams came out was a great moment.
  • [cite]Posted By: Addickted[/cite]
    Oh and did I tell you I know who's got Colin Walsh's signed (and framed by Garry Nelson) Charlton top from that day? [;)]

    Wow, what a momento.

    how did you get that ??
  • The lass & I were there in the temporary West stand. I remember the empty East Terrace, the emotion (tears) of seeing our Charlton come out on the Valley pitch to the Red Red Robins, Colin Walsh's goal and the certainty that Paul Walsh would score when he came on as a Pompey substitute.
  • Breakfast in the York cafe at about 9.00am
    In the Pickwick as it opened.
    Cracking atmosphere considering there was only 8,300 in the ground, nice to see Pompey not wanting to take part that day. (apart from the village idiot withthe bell who was sitting 10 seats to my right.)
    Back in the Pickwick after the game and waited for my wife to pick me and my 4 mates up.
    One of the highlights I've had in 30 odd years and to that point in time probably the highest
  • edited September 2006
    [cite]Posted By: pettswoodaddick[/cite] nice to see Pompey not wanting to take part that day.

    that always struck me how little fight Pompey put up that day. It was if they knew it was meant to be 'our day'.
  • I was on the open top bus from the early morning pick up via Bromley and lots of other south london area stopping at the big pub on the Sidcup by pass/ Then roaring down towards the valley surrounded by a band,crying fans, ladies with robins in their hats and singing, singing, cheering and blubbing all the way for the last 30 minutes. Then a seat with some Greenwich planning officers in the east stand followed, after the victory, by champagne in the portacabin 'bar' and reading all the congratulatory telegrams from all other league clubs. Better than the play offs? Not arf - think - without the first you would never have had the second!
  • remember the bus turning up outside the clubshop and the ladies with the robins in their hair.
  • I remember the day well.I was 17,but not really a boozer in those days so was completely sober for it.Me and my mate got on the train from home (Harpenden) where no other Charlton lived and as we boarded we were serenaded with a chorus of 'they're going back to the Valley' from some Chelsea fans.Nice touch.I remember the programme costing a whopping 3 quid,being in my seat in F block Covered End by about 130pm,seeing Vince make a dart for it,the balloons being released,the lush pitch for the time of year,the beautiful red and white seats that spelt out cafc,the red and white goal nets,the Ribero 'back at the Valley shirts',the funny little railings as the players walked out,Walshie's goal,blimey who started this thread i'm welling up...
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  • edited September 2006
    We marched from Woolwich Town Hall to retrace the steps of one of the Back to the Valley Marches. I even wore a replica shirt (which I never do). Remember paying £5 for the BTTV badge and then drinking in the Oak (ticket holders only that day.) I have some photos I took which If I can find I will send to you AFKA.

    I was sitting in the north stand about 8 rows back in the middle. Was really full of it and had a lump in the throat when the Red, Red Robin was played. Don't care how naff that song is it has to stay. I was desperate that we scored the first goal and when we did even the Pompey fans cheered. Not that I remember that as I was going mental but was told later. After the goal I was hoping Charlton would hang on. Well it was a home game and I wanted us to win. Back to normal almost. In the Oak after and then a pub on Plumstead Common where Andy Lopata had an asthma attack (long time ago as you can tell). Not actually sure how I got to Plumstead or got home to Crystal Palace where I was living then but got a few of funny looks and plenty more "well done"s and "good luck. glad to see you going home"s from other teams fans on the way over on the train.

    Can't compare to the Play-off game as that was about the result and 5/12/06 was just about being there.
  • I sat in the West Stand with my bro as a tribute to my dad - who was a west stand season ticket holder and died before the move to Selhurst. My bro spread his ashes in the Covered End goal mouth! For some reason we drank in the Anti before the match. We were never going to lose that day and I remember the noise and atmosphere as being one of the best ever at the Valley. We also managed to get some of the West Stand singing "he's got no hair but we don't care, stevie, stevie Gritt" after the game up when he did an interview in front of the old portacabins.

    It was one of the most memorable days in my life, along with Peter Shirtlift scoring at St Andrews and the Play-off Final...
    [oh yeah, I suppose I should say marriage and kids as well......]
  • bumped for the 15 year anniversary
  • It *did* go really quick. Was in the South Stand.

    Seeing Derek Hales come out onto the pitch made it for me.

    It wasn't a patch on Upton Park though.
  • edited December 2007
    It was a sad but poignant day for me. Met up in Woolwich for a McDonalds with a few people that I'd got to know over the time at Selhurst and Upton Park. Went on the march from Woolwich Town Hall to the Valley and was one of the first in the ground. Didn't fancy a drink, I just sat there watching the ground fill up and thinking to myself if only my dad was still alive. He would have loved this. The last time he saw Charlton was against Stoke in 1985 and, quite rightly, he refused to go to Selhurst and Upton Park. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite hold out until 5th December having died from a brain tumour in the September.
  • Glad you bumped this AFKA Bartram - missed this when it first was done.

    I was 15 at the time.

    I remember getting two tickets for this. Was supposed to go with my dad but at the last minute he had to work, he was gutted but my mate was ecstatic when I told him he could have it!

    Remember walking across the huge east stand toward the south stand being amazed at the ground.

    Got the train from London Bridge and even had Millwall fans coming up to us saying how happy they were that we were going back.

    Just wandered around outside the ground soaking up the atmosphere.

    the game, well i was just on a natural high, was so buzzing.

    I've got a soft spot for Pompey now for their behaviour that game. they knew it was our party.

    Jeez, still get a lump in my throat and goosebumps thinking about it.
  • Wwas a great day - was sat in the Jimmy Seed that day and had a fantastic day - remember the goal vividily and remember going absolutely mental and that's about it because it was such a buzz of a day.

    Must be the last time i got to a ground 20-25 minutes early .

    Can anyone remember the team

    Seem to recall Lee Power played obviously walshie, leaburn, nelson, minto???, pardew, webbo, pitcher,bolder or salmon,
  • was on the walk from the Town Hall, I was carrying 'return ticket' sign (still in my shed I think !).

    Then sat in the Covered End block E and still have the same seat to this day....
  • Was in Block D covered end, just remember Walshie's shot going in, in front of us really and a feeling of YES! and kind of relief for some reason (tho god knows why as we had to hold out the rest of the game - but yeah Pompey dint seem particularly up for it).

    I seem to remember Steve Gritt wasn't on the teamsheet but did come out and play anyway as he obviously wanted a bit of history.

    A fantastic day. And slightly surreal having only seen "home" matches at Selhurst or Upton Park up to that point.
  • edited December 2007
    I wasn't a Valley Golder or ST holder and coudn't get a ticket. My Dad who was a VG holder and could have applied for tickets forgot to send in his application. I said to him that I had to go, even if we couldn't get in, as I wanted to share the atmosphere. We mingled with the crowd in Charlton Church Lane. I tried to see if anybody would sell their tickets and found one bloke who said he'd sell for £100. i was prepared to pay that but I needed two.

    We walked up to Lansdowne Mews from where we coould see some of the pre-match celebrations taking place - former players being presented etc. I thought, well I can see some of the pitch so we'll stay here for the duration. Before kick off though, the Old Bill decided that the twenty or so people we were standing with were about to riot and so had to be moved on. To this day I still wonder why this was necessary.

    At that point my Dad and I decided to go back home. We walked back to the car and turned the radio on to hear that Walshie had scored.

    I'm bloody glad I made the decision to go to the ground and at least experience the atmosphere which was more like a carnival than a football game. My abiding memory was of all the smiles on faces of people we passed. Can't believe it was 15 years ago - that does my head in.
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