Charlton in 1960s

I'm writing a book about the 1961-62 second division season and I'm looking for any Charlton fans who remember the Valley back in those days. If you have memories of that season, let me know.
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  • Can you tell us more about the book
  • John15 Member
    The book follows Liverpool's promotion campaign of 1961-62, a couple of years after Bill Shankly arrived. For each away game, I'm trying to capture the flavour of football in that era. Liverpool visited the Valley at the end of September 1961 and I'd be interested in anyone's memories about following Charlton around that time, whether or not they can remember that particular game. Things like differences in the ground then from now, where the away fans generally congregated, what the home support was like, what the Valley's reputation was and anything else that gives an insight into what it was like watching football back then.
    Hope you can help. Cheers.
  • StigStig Moderator
    Thanks for the double-whammy John. First I have to contend with the disappointment that it's not a book about Charlton, then I look up the match I find out we got beat 4-0 :-(

    I am far too young to remember back then, but I do know that our ground was the largest in the country in those days. I believe the official capacity was 66,000 but I don't know for certain. The largest part of the ground was the huge east terrace. I'm sure if you google it, you'll get some pictures. Unfortunately a prolonged spell in the second division meant that we were no longer getting anywhere near to filling the ground. The crowd on the day that Liverpool played was 14,238 - our average for the season was 18,711.

    The four nil defeat to Liverpool cost our manager his job two days later. The following is an extract from Home & Away by Colin Cameron:

    "Sacked: Jimmy Trotter, who joined Charlton on 15th MAy 1934, was sacked on 2nd October 1961 - although, of course for the fans' consumption, the 63-year-old boss had resigned. Fans who were expecting to find a tribute in the next programme, or even the following one, were to be disappointed because the only action Charlton took was to delete the name of the manager".

    Good luck with the book.
  • I did not see many games in '61-62, and sadly for the purposes of your book (which I hope goes well, btw) my most vivid memory of that season is a home 4th round Cup match against Derby. It might give you some insight about The Valley itself, however.

    The stadium was largely undeveloped, as pictures of the era will show. It was basically a bowl made from an old sand pit excavated out of the slope which runs up from the floor of the Thames flood-plain. The Romans would have loved it - The Valley is really an amphitheatre. The ground was dominated by the open East Terrace and the South Terrace which was almost as high. The view from the top was right across industrial South-East London and northwards to the Royal Docks on the other side of the river. The players appeared far below almost as matchstick figures.

    There was a small Grandstand halfway along the west touchline, and the terrace behind the north goal had a roof and was known as The Covered End. The whole ground was accessible apart from the Grandstand, for which you had to buy a separate ticket. There was ample open flattish space behind the Stand, so the whole place felt free and unrestricted. The players' entrance was just a doorway, and only some years into football's more violent era was a cage-like structure erected around the back of the Grandstand.

    This meant that anyone could stand or move anywhere. Mass migrations took place at half-time when those who liked to stand behind the goal changed ends, and also when rain sent thousands scuttling off the towering East to find shelter under The Covered End.

    On the day of the Derby match Charlton had London almost to itself, and a wholly-unexpected 34000 attended a pulsating game which ended 2-1 to the hosts, thanks in no small part to a wonderful display by our magician of a centre-forward Stuart Leary.

    The match, at the end of January, took place under floodlights, which were still very much of a novelty. They had only been introduced that season. Because the ground was so open the weather often played a significant part. On this particular afternoon the prevailing mist was very thick, and the houses in Charlton Church Lane silhouetted against the sky to the south and west were soon lost to view. The floodlights took over, and like any night match brought that special feeling of theatre. The surrounding gloom was held at bay as the large crowd was treated to a marvellous match, the bright green of what grass remained on the pitch deep into the winter being the stage on which the black and white of Derby met the vivid scarlet of Charlton. It was brilliant !!

    That's why The Valley captivated so many and why the memories are so strong. That's why we had to come back. Nothing much to do with Liverpool, of course, but, well, you did ask ....
  • Terrific write-up @GlassHalfFull - almost felt like I was there!
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  • LenGloverLenGlover Member
    edited June 2013
    http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVZVODSrIDysr_lGplz6Bua8aJHW9UxSp9-4zTYS-V3Uzilqy2


    The linked photo shows some of the massive old East and South terraces.

    There was no segregation of supporters in those days and the whole ground was accessible to all.

    However away fans, such as there were fifty plus years ago, would have congregated on the South Terrace (the one on the right of the photo behind the goal as you look at it).

    Hope this helps. I'm afraid the match in question came a season too early for me to actually be there!
  • Brilliant, vivid description, GlassHalfFull! When are you going to write your book?
  • Brilliant, vivid description, GlassHalfFull! When are you going to write your book?

    seconded

  • LenGlover said:

    Brilliant, vivid description, GlassHalfFull! When are you going to write your book?

    seconded

    Thirded
  • Think you'll find I said it first...nah nah!
  • John15 Member
    To Stig (apologies for the double-whammy!), GlassHalfFull and LenGlover, many thanks. It's exactly what I was looking for and the additional information is really useful. I looked it up and learned the sacked manager was Jimmy Trotter. Coming to the story from the outside, his sacking is precisely the kind of thing I wouldn't trip over so many thanks for that. Such descriptions of the Valley at that time are not easy to find. As for your piece, GlassHalfFull, I wouldn't mind including that as you've written it. If you could email me (johnkennedy@uk2.net) your name, I'll include it as written and name you in the acknowledgements. Cheers, fellas. Much appreciated
  • I was at the 4-0 drubbing, although I can't say I remember much about it except for the fact that it was a drubbing. I remember that my Dad told me that Liverpool would go up and be a power in the First Division. He was right.

    However, without going into the loft and finding the programme, I can almost remember the Liverpol team - I think I pinned the programme on a board in my bedroom amongst my Charlton press cuttings. I think it was 1-Lawrence 2-Byrne 3-?? 4-Milne 5-Yeats 6-Leishman 7-Callaghan 8-Hunt 9-St John 10-Melia 11-A'Court.

    Byrne may have been left back but it was definitely before Lawler. Can anyone save me climbing into the loft?
  • Best of luck with the book, John15. Let us know when it's published.
  • Thanks for the comments, gents. Aw, shucks ....

    John15 - you're very welcome. I'll have my people speak to your people ....

    As to my book .. ?? Well, AFKA has got some acreage to fill this summer so maybe that's a good place to start.
  • Thanks for the comments, gents. Aw, shucks ....

    John15 - you're very welcome. I'll have my people speak to your people ....

    As to my book .. ?? Well, AFKA has got some acreage to fill this summer so maybe that's a good place to start.

    Go for it GHE, would love to read more stuff.
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  • John15 Member
    To thai malaysia addick - you're right about the Liverpool team and Gerry Byrne was, indeed, the left-back. The player you're missing is Dick White, captain at the time, but whose Liverpool career was in its final weeks. Although Liverpool won 4-0, newspaper reports of the time agree the score flattered the visitors. The Reds took the lead just before the break through Roger Hunt, but there was little in it until full-back Brian Kinsey had to leave the field with a head injury fifteen minutes from time. Charlton were reduced to ten men and, subsequently, Liverpool scored three times in the last twelve minutes. The book, by the way, has a working title of 'The Hard Road Back' and I'll keep you posted as to its progress. Cheers, everyone.
  • nice one GlassHalfFull... enjoyed that a lot, almost makes me want to burst out a bit of the old anthem... "valley Floyd road, the mist rolling in from the thames, my desire..."
  • Hi John.
    I believe the Liverpool manager at the time was Bill Shankley. Shanks would've been particularly pleased with the result because he was manager of Huddersfield Town some years earlier (1958) when, with the injured Dennis Law sitting alongside him on the bench, he witnessed his team go from 5-1 up against ten man Charlton, with 22 minutes left to play, to end losing 7-6. A match which to this day represents so many all-time records in football it is certainly the most amazing come back of all time.
    Although Liverpool gave us a drubbing, I bet Shanks didn't relax until the final whistle.
  • ahhhhh ... nostalgia is not what it was .. the windswept valley terraces .. colder than the Siberian steppes .. lonelier sometimes than being on the moon .. but oh what fun was to be had for a young lad who was sports mad .. Eddie (the perfect human) Firmani, Lenny Glover, Frank Haydock, Bob Curtis, Brian Kinsey, Mike Bailey, Keith the Peacock .. we will n'er see the like of them again !!!!!
  • agreed 4d for a wagon wheel ,1/6 to get in ...add a little bit of Mike Kenning ,Peter Burridge,Ron Saunders,Brian Tocknell and Noel Dwyer
  • Lincs - you sure ?? We have heroes among us still - always have had, always will. They just look and sound a bit different these days. And days like the Hartlepool match would grace any era.

    But then again .... the 60s had more than their fair share of immortals. Think just of Matt Tees, as thin as a stick, crumple up under a tackle then slowly get up, unfold himself and hobble away, and moments later deliver a devastating header - in my view the equal in the air to the legendary Gilzean. Ron Saunders - as unstoppable (and graceful) as a tank. Marvin Hinton - peerless. In those times good seasons were a rarity but we were never short of heroes.
  • Lincs - you sure ?? We have heroes among us still - always have had, always will. They just look and sound a bit different these days. And days like the Hartlepool match would grace any era.

    But then again .... the 60s had more than their fair share of immortals. Think just of Matt Tees, as thin as a stick, crumple up under a tackle then slowly get up, unfold himself and hobble away, and moments later deliver a devastating header - in my view the equal in the air to the legendary Gilzean. Ron Saunders - as unstoppable (and graceful) as a tank. Marvin Hinton - peerless. In those times good seasons were a rarity but we were never short of heroes.

    re Matt Tees .. I was in hospital just under a year ago recovering from a mild stroke .. my next bed neighbour on the day I was wheeled into the ward had a scots visitor, a tidy, smart older chap .. later when we discussed our relevant football memoirs my neighbour told me that his visitor was Matt Tees, one of the regulars in his local pub. Unfortunately Matt never visited again during my (far too long) stay.
    AND, I agree, every generation has its heroes and villains, its wonderful and shocking memories .. I was in my very early teens in the 60s, and at my age looking back on those days it seems like a golden era .. like I say .. nostalgia aint wot it woz
  • GlassHalfFull Member
    edited June 2013
    Sorry, John15 - the original topic has momentarily been derailed and we're currently thundering off down a branch line .... Matt Tees : as the saying goes, the last time I saw legs like that they were hanging out of a nest. That fragile-looking figure used to invite some real industrial-strength tackling, leaving him collapsed like a deck-chair in a high wind. (Remember the lethal Coventry game in Feb 67 - I've never thought that J Hill Esq was anything but a fake.) But in the air, what a player, especially partnering Ray Treacy - between them they conjured up some all-time classics. A pity you did not have the chance to meet the old boy again in the ozzie, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to track him down. I wonder if he realises how venerated he still is for those two short years at The Valley ?
  • LincsaddickLincsaddick Member
    edited June 2013

    , leaving him collapsed like a deck-chair in a high wind. (Remember the lethal Coventry game in Feb 67 - I've never thought that J Hill Esq was anything but a fake.) But in the air, what a player, especially partnering Ray Treacy - between them they conjured up some all-time classics. A pity you did not have the chance to meet the old boy again in the ozzie, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to track him down. I wonder if he realises how venerated he still is for those two short years at The Valley ?

    This game has oft been discussed on here.. Matt 'Lino' Tees v George 'Grizzly' Curtis .. they don't make em like they used ... Ironically Curtis was a Man of Kent or a Kentish Man, an ex Snowdon Colliery miner, he should have been an Addick !! .. He and Paul Went would have been some defensive partnership .. Tees & Treacy nearly got us promotion that year (or was it the next?), along with Moore, Campbell, Gregory and co.
  • MT joined in Jan 67. That season featured the return of Eddie Firmani in March and culminated in the winner-takes-all epic against Northampton. In Sep 67 Firmani took over as manager from Bob Stokoe, and 67/68 had its moments but was nothing special as a season. 68/69 was the year of spectacular goals and we finished 3rd. MT left that summer, I think.

    Coventry 66/67 bludgeoned and cheated their way up. They were brutal in defence, none more so than the gorilla Curtis, and up front Bobby Gould was a combination of Dickov, Speedie and K Davies, only much nastier. The puppet master was Jimmy Hill, who bailed out before he got found out. How ironic that Coventry stayed up for 33 years.

    It's also a little ironic than this thread shd have appeared today. Being pwopa Charlton I have Parkinson's (just downgraded from its aggressive cousin MSA) and I saw the neurologist this afternoon. She asked me how was my memory so to tease her I asked her to repeat the question .... I told her that if I read say a 7-digit number and have to enter it on the screen I have to write it down first - my short-term memory is not good. On the other hand, I said, I was on a football forum this morning lucidly recalling matches played over 50 years ago ....



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  • John15 Member
    This is excellent, fellas. Sounds to me your man Matt Tees makes a teenage Phil Thompson look like a Sumo wrestler!
  • MT joined in Jan 67. That season featured the return of Eddie Firmani in March and culminated in the winner-takes-all epic against Northampton. In Sep 67 Firmani took over as manager from Bob Stokoe, and 67/68 had its moments but was nothing special as a season. 68/69 was the year of spectacular goals and we finished 3rd. MT left that summer, I think.

    Coventry 66/67 bludgeoned and cheated their way up. They were brutal in defence, none more so than the gorilla Curtis, and up front Bobby Gould was a combination of Dickov, Speedie and K Davies, only much nastier. The puppet master was Jimmy Hill, who bailed out before he got found out. How ironic that Coventry stayed up for 33 years.

    It's also a little ironic than this thread shd have appeared today. Being pwopa Charlton I have Parkinson's (just downgraded from its aggressive cousin MSA) and I saw the neurologist this afternoon. She asked me how was my memory so to tease her I asked her to repeat the question .... I told her that if I read say a 7-digit number and have to enter it on the screen I have to write it down first - my short-term memory is not good. On the other hand, I said, I was on a football forum this morning lucidly recalling matches played over 50 years ago ....



    That's wonderful, GHF - long may your memory serve you well! I too remember vignettes of Matt Tees, and that season when we finished third - but as for the dates, without your recollections I'd have to look them up!

  • bloodnutbloodnut Member
    edited June 2013
    sorry to read that GlassHalfFull, good luck to ya!

    enjoyed reading through you and others 'history' lesson on this thread, cracking stuff.
  • I swear if Matt Tees swallowed a marble he'd look pregnant !! If he was an android he would be made of flight recorder black-box material. He was painfully resilient - he would almost be cut in half but he'd stagger to his feet and carry on.

    In those days we rarely got to know our idols. It would be great to hear from this modest and talented guy, even or maybe especially after all these years. We were only a short part of a very productive career, but as I said earlier he might be amazed at the regard in which he is so rightly still held in SE7.
  • Lincs - you sure ?? We have heroes among us still - always have had, always will. They just look and sound a bit different these days. And days like the Hartlepool match would grace any era.

    But then again .... the 60s had more than their fair share of immortals. Think just of Matt Tees, as thin as a stick, crumple up under a tackle then slowly get up, unfold himself and hobble away, and moments later deliver a devastating header - in my view the equal in the air to the legendary Gilzean. Ron Saunders - as unstoppable (and graceful) as a tank. Marvin Hinton - peerless. In those times good seasons were a rarity but we were never short of heroes.

    Great memories of Matt Tees I can still see him winning every header against Ian Ure ( then Scotland Centre half) in an FA cup game at highbury around 1968.
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