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'The Darkest Hours'

OK, I have nicked the title of the new film on Churchill's (and this country's) darkest days in 1940 - so, of all the downs in our history what do you consider the 'worst of times' (Dickens this time!); our relegation from the First Division in the fifties and the failure to make it straight back; when we were first relegated down to the old Third Division for the first time; the leaving of the Valley or the last three years or any other?

Comments

  • Leaving The Valley, without a shadow of doubt. Our brightest hour was 25 years ago.

    The good times will come again.
  • Having to go the Shithouse Park to watch us "at home"
  • stevec said:

    Having to go the Shithouse Park to watch us "at home"

    This. It ruined everything for seven years. Winning promotion back to the First Division for the first time in 28 years was diluted because it was at Shithouse Park.
  • Definitely the years spent at Sellout Park, especially the first 18 months or so when a return to SE7 seemed as likely as Duchatelet admitting he got in wrong when he bought CAFC.

  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

    That's an interesting response, and I would be genuinely interested to know more about why you say that.

    (For me it is the Selhurst years, as although I was going, I asked myself why, because the identity, the connection with "home", had gone. Fortunately VOTV appeared just in time)

  • Moving to Catford, wearing their colours and being known as 'The Kittens'.
  • Players come and go
    Managers come and go
    Owners come and go eventually.

    But the valley is what holds us all together
    So for me the sellhurst years were our darkest hour's
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  • I think the last 2 seasons have been.

    Within 6 months of being at Selhurst we were in the top flight & playing Liverpool at home - something I'd only dreamed of when I started supporting Charlton in the late 70's when we were playing in front of 4k crowds & Liverpool we kings of Europe.

    It can't get much darker when we are happy to scrape a 1-0 win against a poor side in the 3rd tier of Englsh football, having spent an entire half camped in our own half & knowing that we will have to play the same players, with the same tactics for the rest of the season.

  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

    At the time, Glikstens were spending a lot more time in Oz if i remember correctly. Can anyone remember what the name of the company/farm was that they had an interest in in Oz?
  • My first game was the last at The Valley. I spent years going to Selhurst, thinking it was normal cos I really didn’t know much better. When dad was in that shitty Crystals bar, I would sneak out a side door and check out the pitch. I’d be really excited to see the fresh green grass.

    Selhurst Park was a major part of my footballing childhood and defined football for me aged 5-12 years. It doesn’t get darker than that.
  • President. Was it Adelong?
  • The darkest hours have to be 1983-84 during the various High Court winding-up orders when you never knew from one day to the next whether the club would be in existence next day. And there was almost no news coverage and no way to follow what was happening. The situation seemed hopeless. The full horror is documented at p156 -177 of Richard Redden's book 'The story of Charlton Athletic 1905-1990'. Several matches at that time really could have been the last ever. Things have regularly been bad for CAFC supporters but nothing has been worse than that.
  • Sevensix said:

    The darkest hours have to be 1983-84 during the various High Court winding-up orders when you never knew from one day to the next whether the club would be in existence next day. And there was almost no news coverage and no way to follow what was happening. The situation seemed hopeless. The full horror is documented at p156 -177 of Richard Redden's book 'The story of Charlton Athletic 1905-1990'. Several matches at that time really could have been the last ever. Things have regularly been bad for CAFC supporters but nothing has been worse than that.

    This. Despite all the shit that has gone since, as a 12 year old, I can remember listening to the radio in my room in the dark, having gone to bed sobbing knowing that my beloved Charlton were going out of existance at 23:00 that night. As the time drew near on the hour there was a news update to report that we'd been saved, at the 11th hour. I cried with joy as the news came in. Can't remember feeling as sad as that night until the news came in, despite many challenging moments since. Relegation or tosser owners is one thing. 'No Charlton' is on a different level!!
  • Selhurst. It came close to destroying my relationship with CAFC.
  • President. Was it Adelong?

    Cheers Isaw, i think that was it - what a memory!

  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

    That's an interesting response, and I would be genuinely interested to know more about why you say that.

    (For me it is the Selhurst years, as although I was going, I asked myself why, because the identity, the connection with "home", had gone. Fortunately VOTV appeared just in time)

    @PragueAddick

    Certain events could have led to the end of the club. As others have mentioned the High Court cases and the move to Selhurst. To these could be added the proposed move to Milton Keynes, and the possible effect of defeat in either the game at Stamford Bridge or at St Andrews in the 80's. But we survived these events and came back stronger.

    Albert Gliksten's death led the club into a decline from which we have never overcome nor are ever likely too. AG got an excellent manager and backed him. Had AG lived or been replaced by someone like him, the combination of huge crowds (only really rivalled by a few clubs in London and perhaps Manchester), good ownership and good management could have seen Charlton now as one of the elite, with trophies and European glory to match.
  • March 1984.....no club!
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  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

    That's an interesting response, and I would be genuinely interested to know more about why you say that.

    (For me it is the Selhurst years, as although I was going, I asked myself why, because the identity, the connection with "home", had gone. Fortunately VOTV appeared just in time)

    @PragueAddick

    Certain events could have led to the end of the club. As others have mentioned the High Court cases and the move to Selhurst. To these could be added the proposed move to Milton Keynes, and the possible effect of defeat in either the game at Stamford Bridge or at St Andrews in the 80's. But we survived these events and came back stronger.

    Albert Gliksten's death led the club into a decline from which we have never overcome nor are ever likely too. AG got an excellent manager and backed him. Had AG lived or been replaced by someone like him, the combination of huge crowds (only really rivalled by a few clubs in London and perhaps Manchester), good ownership and good management could have seen Charlton now as one of the elite, with trophies and European glory to match.
    Was Albert superseded by Mike, and was Mike his son? When did Albert die? (sorry for showing my historical ignorance, and I know i could look it up...)

    I guess the thing is, it was a slow decline then, wasn't it? i wonder whether the fans in the 50s felt that those were hours as dark as some of the more recent ones, and which seasons in particular. If only my Dad was around to ask...

    A very interesting take, though.

    I guess in 1984 I somehow just thought something would get sorted out. I had no reason to think that, nor any inside track (although my brother was mates with Mike Norris's son, maybe i heard some positive noises). I can remember where I was, when the news was coming through. Just don't remember thinking that it really could be gone.

  • edited January 7
    Albert then Stanley (brother) then Michael (son of Stanley)

    Albert died early 50's

    Doubt it would seem as dark then, after all we were a top flight side, but in terms of consequences....
  • Nothing has stopped me from watching my team play. Crap football, third division, Selhurst, Upton Park, last ever game(s).......

    My darkest hours are right now. This multi millionaire Belgium bastard has ripped the heart and soul out of this Club. And he doesn't give a shit.

    40 years a season ticket holder, yet for the past two seasons, I've been to The Valley five times. Mainly to protest. I'll never, ever forgive him.

    Still the darkest hours are always the last before the dawn.

    Whoever you are, please hurry up and buy the Club.

  • Albert then Stanley (brother) then Michael (son of Stanley)

    Albert died early 50's

    Doubt it would seem as dark then, after all we were a top flight side, but in terms of consequences....

    @JamesSeed will know more. I think Jimmy Seed might be his grandfather.

    Jimmy Seed's book implied that Albert was more of a football enthusiast than Stanley so when he died the incentive to seriously invest in the team died with him.

    Stanley died in 1962 and Michael took over as chairman at the ripe old age of 23!

    Hardly surprising he made mistakes when you consider his inexperience.
  • edited January 8
    @LenGlover My granddad was apparently very upset when Albert died as they were close, and yes, of the two brothers he was more the football man. But it was clear fairly early on that the brothers had taken risks investing in CAFC before JS was recruited (they were 'owed' £105,000) and wanted their money back. There would be be no further investment that could be seen as non essential.

    So no 'name' players could be bought, and there was the famous refusal to develop the stadium without a guarantee of top flight football for three seasons- which JS couldn't, or wouldn't give. Had he given that guarantee, or had they invested anyway, who knows where we'd be now.

    As documented in detail in his book, he spent just £55,000 on players in his 23 years at the club, but brought in £177,000, and the income from the gates increased enormously as crowds were from a few thousand the the increasingly large crowds of the late thirties onwards. As Seed said, we could have been the Arsenal of SE London with proper investment. I suspect the Glikstens more than covered their losses over the years.
  • Message to our supporters. Definitely our darkest hour, and yes First Division football at Selhurst was a waste when it could have been at the Valley.

    But conversely it was also the making of the club. No need to recount why here.

    We're in a dark time, but I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Someone close it up when he's taken his last train back to Belgium...

  • The death of Albert Gliksten, altered the club for the worse more than any other event.

    Leaving The Valley was a very bad moment, but one we recovered from.

    That's an interesting response, and I would be genuinely interested to know more about why you say that.

    (For me it is the Selhurst years, as although I was going, I asked myself why, because the identity, the connection with "home", had gone. Fortunately VOTV appeared just in time)

    @PragueAddick

    Certain events could have led to the end of the club. As others have mentioned the High Court cases and the move to Selhurst. To these could be added the proposed move to Milton Keynes, and the possible effect of defeat in either the game at Stamford Bridge or at St Andrews in the 80's. But we survived these events and came back stronger.

    Albert Gliksten's death led the club into a decline from which we have never overcome nor are ever likely too. AG got an excellent manager and backed him. Had AG lived or been replaced by someone like him, the combination of huge crowds (only really rivalled by a few clubs in London and perhaps Manchester), good ownership and good management could have seen Charlton now as one of the elite, with trophies and European glory to match.
    Was Albert superseded by Mike, and was Mike his son? When did Albert die? (sorry for showing my historical ignorance, and I know i could look it up...)

    I guess the thing is, it was a slow decline then, wasn't it? i wonder whether the fans in the 50s felt that those were hours as dark as some of the more recent ones, and which seasons in particular. If only my Dad was around to ask...

    A very interesting take, though.

    I guess in 1984 I somehow just thought something would get sorted out. I had no reason to think that, nor any inside track (although my brother was mates with Mike Norris's son, maybe i heard some positive noises). I can remember where I was, when the news was coming through. Just don't remember thinking that it really could be gone.

    I had no inkling in 1984 it would get sorted. We even had the Blackburn game postponed because we were in receivership. There was no internet so supporters like me who weren't ITK just had to sweat and get bits from the Evening Standard or Thames News. It was horrible.

    And to think only 7,000 turned up to the dawn of the new era (v Grimsby).
  • Having supported the club since the mid 50s,the brink of extinction in the 80s was without doubt for me the worst period in Charltons history.It just felt like a major part of your life was being ripped away.We recovered from that disastrous period to have some really great times,but football goes in cycles for clubs like ours and hopefully our turn will soon be here again.
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Roland Out!