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Over the last 13 years of CL, the 1998 Play Off has featured heavily as many supporters most memorable game in their Charlton lives. 

We've cribbed together 40 of our favourite posts that provide variation looking back at this day that have been added to the site over the years. 

Some of the posters and those mentioned in their tales are sadly no longer with us. It's full of highs and lows, family and friends.

It will make you both happy and emotional. 

But it will leave you in no doubt whatsoever that this truly was a special day for our special club. 

Hope you enjoy, and thank you to all of you over the years who have contributed to this.



  • Killers Beard @KillersBeard

    I was operating the VFR Fanzine at the time and was juggling with the prospect of selling an edition on the day or just leaving it and concentrating on the match. I decided on the former and prepared a 'Lottery Style' front cover, with the caption, 'It could be us'. Printed a few thousand and my tiny band of sellers, plus the whole family headed to Wembley, so I passed on the pre match drinkies.

    For some reason early on, it seemed like Wembley Way was full of only Mackems, so sales were sluggish and by the time the armies of Addicks started to filter through, I thought sod this I want to get into the stadium and soak up the atmosphere, so I just started giving them away right outside the ground. Was met by a few of Wembley Security's finest, who said I wasn't allowed to hand stuff out without permission, so I just dropped them all on the floor and invited fans to take them. The perplexed look on their faces was a picture and by the time they radio'd in for advise, they'd all gone, and so was I.

    I didn't wear colours, the last time I'd been to Wembley to watch the Addicks, I was festooned in Red and White and we lost, so superstition took over and I went plain. The rest of my family and friends, 12 of us in all, more than made up for my reticence.

    Many will recollect the game far more eloquently than me, I just remember thinking, shit me if Rufus can score, then anything is possible today. But the level of nervousness I had been feeling all day was higher than I had ever felt at any time in my life before and when we went into extra time and then penalties, I wasn't sure how I could cope with any more, let alone the players.

    My most vivid memory, was looking at my kids just as the penalties began. Now as a parent you're not sure if your kids come along to Charlton because they want to, or because you want them to. But as we anxiously awaited the start of the spot kicks I glanced to my left and saw that the occasion had got to them already and they were crying their eyes out. I can't begin to tell you how proud that made me feel!

    The celebrations that erupted when Sasa made that save were quite phenomenal and I just kept screaming, 'we've done it, we've f**king done it'. I knocked some guys glasses in front of me whilst hugging him and they flew about twenty rows away, don't know if he ever got them back.

    Like so many, I felt I'd been emotionally raped and was so drained I just stayed around the stadium steps when we finally left our seats, for what seemed like an eternity, we'd planned to go to Charlton or Bexleyheath to celebrate in the evening, but I just couldn't, I was just too knackered, so we went home and I flaked out with a beer.

    I ran into some friendly gracious Mackems afterwards, only one barbed a comment to me, saying that we would back down next season, to which I replied, maybe, but you'd swap places right about now eh? He succumbed, agreed and we shook hands and wished each other good luck as he left the train.

  • BDL @BDL

    The previous Wednesday I got a strange phone call from someone at the League, telling me I'd been volunteered to go on the pitch before the game and say a few words of encouragement to the fans. It really cocked up our travel arrangements as I had to be at the ground by 11am! In the end we drove to Wembley. I took my dad and my wife.

    We got there at about 10.45 and found ourselves surrounded by a sea of Mackems. Not a SINGLE Addick in sight. We met up at 11 in the old Conference Centre. Lots of local kids were practising their dance routines for the pre match "entertainment". I remember my opposite number from the Stadium of Light and how over confident he was.

    We had their two mascots with us, two cats, cannot remember their names. Then Helen Chamberlain waltzed in to the room. She told me that we had no chance and it would be a Sunderland Massacre. I confidently predicted that she would be eating her words.

    Eventually we made it into the stadium to meet up with the Wembley announcer. I was a tad "irked" that he spent all his time chatting to the Mackem. Eventually I managed to get up to him and hand over the music - Red Red Robin etc. I'd spent most of the previous night in the studios at Millennium FM recording all the music on to DAT tapes. I was told that their machine was broken and would probably chew our tape! "You should have brought it on Mini Disc" I was told. Well sorry but poor old Millennium FM didn't have a mini disc recorder at this time. So it was fingers crossed.

    I remember waiting by the benches, watching a school from Bexleyheath win the pre match game. Speaking to Mark Bright as he strolled around the pitch. I picked out Mark Mansfield and Paddy Powell doing the Charlton commentary up in the Media Boxes. Peter Reid walked past swearing like a trooper, no wonder he's called the blue monkey.

    We had three slots each, Sunderland having the best slots (surprise surprise). First time I was given the mike and out I wandered onto the hallowed turf. It really was like walking on a shagpile carpet, it's the only description I can find to describe the Wembley pitch. I know I muttered an amount of inane and inaudible words, to be truthful I was bricking myself. Luckily I could see some familiar faces behand the goal, Mark Garvey and Mick Gebbitt - both of them pointing at me and saying "what the Feck are you doing there??"

    Second slot we played some music, yes the tape worked. I went back to discover my opposite number talking about what music would be played when they won - Oh play this, this is what we always play....... To me it was so obvious that no one gave us a chance.

    So my last turn came and out I wandered again. Mike in hand I called on the Valley Faithful to make some noise, wave their flags and this was going to be our day. In unison 38,000 Mackems started to heckle me. Feckin’ Great. Yes we are here, and no we're not here to make up the numbers.

    It was 2.45 by this time and I was told that I could not go round the track to take my seat, opposite the benches. So I legged it round the outside, still thousands of them milling around and managed to get to my seat just as the teams walked out.

    As for the match, well other people have put their own perspective. But it's right what people say about hugging people!.

    Outside, afterwards, we bumped into Bob Bolder. Two idiots hugging and dancing around. What a day.

  • edited May 2019

    Bingaddick @bingaddick

    I had recently moved to Norfolk and was working 18 hour days seven days a week to get my new retail business running right. The game being on a Bank Holiday and an vital selling day, it was difficult to organise the time but in the end I was able to come down and stay with my Dad and Mum in the Bromley area after we closed for business on Sunday.

    I went with my Dad, my Wife, and my Dads best mate, who we picked up on the way to Orpington Station. Caught a train to Charing Cross (with a few other Addicks). Then got the Jubilee Line to Wembley. The driver of the train, who was clearly a Palarse fan gave us some good natured stick over the tannoy and we arrived by about 12.30pm.

    I remember the friendly atmosphere as we mingled with the Mackems and eventually decided to take our seats and watch all the pre-match stuff. I was feeling Ok but not unduly nervous as the game kicked off. That changed when Sir Clive scored the first. That "we're most dangerous when we're winning feeling" settled into my brain and the pit of my stomach. I don't remember saying much at half-time, just feeling uneasy.

    I knew somehow that we would concede fairly quickly after the break, (although not that quickly) as Quinn equalises. Then Philips goal - I was expecting it. Typical Charlton. Hope came with Sir Clive’s second but then I didn't expect us to keep them out. Quinn again! The games over I thought. I really had given it up when, almost in slow motion, Rooofus, rises and the ball seems to take ages before nestling in the net. Five minutes of normal time. Dare I believe?

    Extra time starts and then the inevitable happens thanks to Mr Summerbee. 4-3 bloody hell. We've got to a Wembley final, scored 3 and we're still on the losing side. Then the unbelievable goal that was Sir Clive’s 3rd. That goal seemed to sum up our season. A great challenge by Brownie, the ball goes to Jones and his cross, like much of his shooting that season was slightly off course. he pulls it back behind Sir Clive. Suddenly he somehow controls it, swivels and the balls in the net. I'm out of my seat hugging friends family and strangers alike. This wasn't in my pessimistic script, This was not at all what I imagined would be the outcome.

    The rest of extra time was spent in unfamiliar territory, I stared to believe we might win this. Newton’s powerful run and shot into the side netting had me out of my seat again, rubbing my eyes and cleaning my glasses. The final whistle went – Penalties.

    I watched the first 12 taken. Sasa nearly saved the one from Makin, other than that they all seemed unsaveable. Up steps Newts. I could see he was nervous, I just had to look away. The roar around me told me all I needed to know. Michael Gray. I daren't look - a thought, flashed up in my brain, it's 7-6 ,how significant is that scoreline to all Addicks? I did look, Sasa saves it. Cue screaming, cue dancing, cue hugging, cue kissing, cue crying!! A grown man, not easily stirred to emotion crying like a baby. The noise of the crowd around me was awesome. The players lying in a huge heap on top of one Keeper.

    Then Kins lifts the trophy, the fireworks explode, the music plays. Finally the celebration is over and we troop out. As we leave the perimeter of the stadium there is an eerie silence. As if we'd witnessed something shocking. It was shocking. The brutality of the penalty shoot out, the agony of the losers, the thought that it could have been us walking down Wembley way with our hearts on the floor. As other have said, I remember the sportsmanship of Mackem fans, they clapped us from their coaches as they passed us. They were magnificent in defeat.

    We continued to walk in virtual silence towards the underground station keeping our thoughts private as to what we had witnessed

    And so onwards back to my Dads. We watched the highlights on ITV just in case it was all a dream, then headed north for Norwich. It had been a surreal, unbelievable, but totally unforgettable day. I can still feel the emotion now and the tears start to well. My life changed on that day.

  • Black Forest Reds @BlackForestReds

    I queued nearly five hours for my ticket so plenty of time to chat to those around me, none of whom I knew. One guy had left his 9 month pregnant wife (the baby was born between ticket sales day and the match) and by the time we got served it made sense so we all sat together high above the far corner flag (opposite the main stand). 

    What I remember most was trying to kill time for a few hours in the morning, the day just dragged so I called my friend and we decided to go early, met at Orpington station train to Charing Cross, a couple of beers in Covent Garden in All Bar One then on the tube to Wembley. On the way we got talking to some Sunderland fans, nice people and we walked up Wembley Way together. At the top we shook hands, wished each other luck and I warned them about the Sunderland supporting Mendonca...

    For all the heartache, grief, blood, sweat, tears and disappointment you suffer following Charlton the memories thrown up by that one match make everything worthwhile.

  • Pilchard @pilchard

    I always watched great football matches on Tv or exciting Charlton games(and crap ones) over the years and would think to myself 'wouldn't it be great to see Charlton in a game like that, a game as exciting as the 66 World cup final or the 1953 Fa cup final between Blackpool and Bolton'. Knowing our luck, such a thing was unlikely, though in all fairness unlikely for most clubs.

    How wrong I was, I just remember being so excited the night before that I couldn't sleep (I was 25 ffs!) I recall a lot of the game, much of it covered here but the snapshot's for me were nipping off to the stone age Wembley toilets at half time and saying to fellow fans, 'I will be happy with a boring 1-0, that'll do me'. I remember having my hopes tossed around like a rag doll in a hurricane as the match ebbed and flowed, this way and that, I remember feeling gutted and elated at a changeable rate. I remember the ease with which Clive scored his hat-trick with the class you would expect from a Brazilian at the top of his game, I couldn't believe that a Charlton Athletic striker could be this good, I really did pinch myself at one point because I really did expect to wake up any minute!

    What always stuck out in my mind was Richard Rufus' goal, he just seemed to hang in the air for an eternity and the ball moved in slow motion into the net like a British movietone news clip from football's golden age.The heart attack enducing spot kicks, even the neutrals would be loving this thought. It was simply fantastic. At the end, players slide diving on the grass, strangers embracing strangers, even singing along to Status Quo!

    So not only did I get the game I had fantasized about, I got better, this game was old Wembley's finest, and nobody can take that away from me. I even had the arrogance to think that it couldn't have happened to a nicer club and that no real football fan would deny us this moment. Total pride barely begins to describe it.

  • Southend Addick @Southendaddick

    I was living with my girlfriend (now wife) in a flat in Rotherithe at the time which as we know is a bit of a Millwall area. But I was amazed how many Charlton fans were getting on the tube. The whole family met at Baker St at 10 and then we headed to a pub at Finchley Road. The pub was absolutely mobbed up with Mackems but they were all up for a bit of friendly banter.

    All I can say about the game is that Ilic had been playing like Superman during the last few weeks of the season so at 1-0 at half time I was convinced we were home and dry. The Rufus goal in particular and Mendonca's last goal were as bigger high as I will ever get celebrating a goal.

    When Ilic saved that penalty I can honestly say at that time it was the happiest moment of my life. Me, my dad and uncle hugged and jumped around like a load of loonies, better than any drug I have taken. It was also the moment that my missus, who had only been seeing for a year or so, finally saw what all the fuss was about regarding my love of Charlton, and to see her jumping about at the end was great.

    Was knackered afterwards so went home for a few beers and a takeaway, walked past a staunch Millwall boozer and got nothing but congratulations.

    The day also has sad memories for me as my old man died shortly afterwards from Leukaemia. Even though he was gaunt from all the chemotherapy he was still able to enjoy it as much as the next man. In a funny sort of way, if that was to be his last ever Charlton game, what a way to go out.

  • edited May 2019
    Nth London Addick @nth london addick

    Me and my brother spent the weekend having a BBQ and Boozing from the Saturday . Headed off to Wembley about 12ish,  head still fuzzy with booze, with my nephew, my missus and some Spurs for company who we had managed to get tickets for. A proper day out was on the cards.

    Upon arrival the heat of the day was feeling intense. I had my nephew on my shoulders and was ready for it, if a little apprehensive,

    The Mackems were about and mostly fine although one donut did try to big himself up whilst i had a 7 year old boy on my shoulders before his pals told him to sit down and shut up apologising for their drunk fool of a mate. Up we went into our seats, tears were flowing down my face. I was here, the one thing I wanted to experience as a Charlton fan, us at Wembley in a game that mattered and that the whole country would take notice of if.

    Could this be the game we shut Alan Brazil and his ‘Sunderland will win’ comments down his neck? Could we outplay them?  Once we score it would be game over no one had scored against us for ages. We looked tight, compact and we had goals but i couldn’t let myself think we could win it. I just feared I was going to understand just how shite it actually feels to loose here.

    The game took an age to kick off.  Clive also took an age to score, or so it seemed. We went crazy when his goal went in it was more tears. Then 1-1. Bollox, here we go.

    2-1, yes I knew it! Bollox, 2-2. Oh well, keep it close. I was now shaking, this isn’t right. My head hurt, hangover kicking in. I don’t feel good and shite me its tense. Is that a heart attack or just stress?.

    2-3, bastards.


    Bet the ref has seen the foul by Brighty. He must have. He hasn’t!! My head is banging, I puke straight ahead of me, all over the man in front. It was only water but it came from my guts. The man’s wife tells him that fella has just puked on you. He don’t fecking care, Rufus has just scored its 3-3 at Wembley and he gave me a hug, He knew how I felt, he knew I just couldn’t take it.

    3-4. That’s it, we are done. Well done lads, you have made me proud we will be told we were unlucky losers but this was a close as we would ever get. My nephew crying his bollox off, what have i done to him the poor little sod.

    Mendonca!!! Fecking great goal. 4-4, I must have been dreaming he couldn’t have done it. More tears of joy.

    I don't know if this bit is in order or if he missed before Super Clive scored but I remember Dichio trying to either volley it when a header would have done and settled the game or Headed it when he should have volleyed it. But I know I was grateful.

    Pens, i watched all of them. Then Sasa done it.

    I couldn’t cheer. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even stand. We were there. How? I don’t know. But we were and I knew I had witnessed the greatest game ever at Wembley involving league teams, the best game since we won the World Cup and i haven’t seen a better hat-trick than the one from that game.

    The way home i couldn’t stop smiling but i had no energy to drink a single beer. The journey back to Nth london was hard and tiresome, I wanted to go to Charlton. I wanted to be close but i did not have the energy in me. I just wanted to go home, be alone and reflect on what had happened.

    My phone didn’t stop ringing. Pals from Newcastle saying thank you, Charlton pals crying in disbelief, Sprus, Gooners, Hammers all phoning.

    Shit, I felt so happy about football back then. And I had deserved it too; home and away for all those years against shite teams at shite grounds with no TV coverage. I was going to enjoy the season ahead and go to every game.


  • edited May 2019

     @Charlton Dan

    Dad and I went up by coach we'd hired and got a few other CAFC fans to join us from our Golf Club.........The day started with one of my Mum's legendary massive fry ups and a few cans of lager to wash it down.

    We bedecked the coach with CAFC flags and we're so surprised that all the way up through London we were given thumbs ups by people at the side of the road. Even up through Bermondsey, we'll I think it was thumbs, but as I said I had been on it from early doors so can’t be too sure!

    The rest of the day and game seem to be a blur, even though the at the time the match clock itself seemed to be on go slow.

    The feeling I had when Micky Gray missed his pen can honestly be compared to when my daughter was born, but yet was so much more intense as I knew she was going to be born, I didn't know we were going to win.

    However, if I can choose one memory to stay with me forever it would be the humble feeling I had when we waiting to get on our coach home, having a few beers in the Car Park at Wembley, all of us chatting excitedly, hugging each other etc and were approached by a bunch of drained and tear filled eyed Mackems, who had the grace to come over and shake all of our hands and wish us the best of luck.....I was gob smacked (those who know me will know that doesn't happen often) and mumbled a few "Cheers Mate”.

    I'm not too sure I'd have been able or willing to do the same had I just been through the mill and lost like they had.

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  • edited May 2019


    Unbelievable day, I was totally exhausted when I came out of the ground. There was about 12 of us and not a word was spoken until we got back to a pub near Leicester Square.

    On the way up Wembley Way we were engulfed by Sunderland fans, and it was a mighty relief to get in the stadium and be amongst our own although we sat in the very last row and the view was pretty appalling.

    How all 7 players scored their pens is a modern day miracle. As someone said, I would have bet my right leg Newts missing his. I wore my Charlton top in bed that night and under my work shirt the next day as I was so proud I couldn't bear to take it off.

    It's funny how a lot of people felt for their Dads at the end of the game - I did too. My old man doesn't say much at football - he normally saves his moaning for the car journey home - but that night, he was probably as animated and fulfilled as I have ever seen him. For anyone who had been going through the 60's, 70's and 80's there wasn't a lot to cheer about being a Charlton fan.

  • edited May 2019

    @Leroy Ambrose

    I remember going up on the tube with my then girlfriend who had been to every game since Port Vale away - which was her first Charlton match and telling her 'I know we'll win - you've never seen us lose'.

    Not being able to believe how jovial the atmosphere was between us and the Mackem fans.

    Buying a shit pie and being charged about three quid for it. Standing with my boss and a couple of other blokes I knew instead of my mates because he got us the tickets.

    Laughing as the fat Mackem twat in front of us, who had been larging it all first half, shut his trap as Clive scored the first - then laughing even harder as he got up and turned round to scream abuse at the bloke behind him - only to find out he was about eight foot tall, got a big ol' clump on the head and was dragged out by the stewards. The only twat of the whole day.

    Physically crying after they went 3-2 up.

    Crying again as Rufus equalised.

    Knowing - just KNOWING that we were going to equalise even as Summerbee made it 4-3.

    My missus telling me that Newton's marker was knackered and that he would get the winner - less than 10 seconds before he tore down the flank and cut inside & hit the side netting... wondering whether the 'good luck charm' was losing its lustre...

    Being utterly convinced that Mendonca would score his pen, and that Robbo was going to miss his (I knew Newts would score his).

    The split second after Sasa saved - before the world exploded. Crushing my boss half to death, screaming at the top of my voice, turning to my girlfriend and crying my eyes out blubbering 'you don't know what this means to me - you can't know - but I love you - and I want to marry you'... and her laughing and crying at the same time...

    Hugging Sunderland fans on Wembley way on the way home, and laughing and joking with them on the tube all the way back to Baker St - genuinely special fans - I'll never hear a bad word said about them as long as I live

    Six non-Charlton supporting mates ringing me before we'd even got back to the tube station to tell me it was the best game of football they'd ever seen
    Secretly crying again that night, for no reason other than being completely, and utterly drained

  • edited May 2019


    What a day, Mendonca was awesome, Rufus rising majestically for his goal, Brownies tackle and the Steve Jones cross - it was all about determination and wanting it more. The bloke in front of me didn't watch any of the pens he just watched me and my reaction before turning around to celebrate or cringe.

    On the tube heading back a mate said bad luck or some such to a female Sunderland fan she said thanks and then burst into tears !!

    We got back to the Oak at Blackheath Standard in what seemed like twenty minutes, there was no-one around we got back so quick. It was quiet sitting outside the pub smoking celebratory cuban cigars and them more and more people arrived and the celebrations took off, one bloke sitting on the back of a convertible BMW waving a flag nearly got pitched a**e over elbow when it zoomed over a speed bump doing about sixty.

    Got back to High Wycombe at some point in the evening and finally walked up the garden path to see a Charlton scarf proudly hanging up in my baby daughters bedroom window...At this point I nearly balled my eyes out as I was truly 'tired and emotional' by then...

  • edited May 2019

    The lasting memory is how drained i felt. Can’t remember ever being so f**ked it was even an effort just to have a good beer!

    Pre-game, a few of us wandered around the pubs up town. Mostly Sunderland about. Then we met up with a larger group in some boozer over West London. About 40 of us, no colours on and the rest of a very large boozer all Sunderland. Much singing and they couldn’t believe we were CAFC as no colours, so it became "I’ll show you my tattoo if you show me yours". No hint of trouble at all.

    The game, I thought we had won it at 1-0. Our strength for the last two months of the season was our defence. Still what do i know? 

    One thing I’ll never forget was Rufus`s goal. I went mental. Trod all over these two guys sitting behind me to go equally mental with a mate who was 2 rows behind. Screaming till it felt my lungs would burst "RUFUS---RUFUS F**KIN RUFUS".

    Quin was actually my MotM. He was the guy who caused us so much trouble. I thought when they scored the 4th "well done Charlton it was such a brave effort and what a game". I couldn’t see us coming back again, after all it was Charlton.

    Watched the pens until it went 5 v 5 and walked out to the concourse. Stood there with two huge black guys who were doing security at the game and both Spurs fans. They watched -- i couldn’t and when Sasa saved that pen, we were dancing around like mad men and they weren’t even Charlton.

    Don't remember Kins and the Cup. I do remember how quiet it was in Wembley way. I went up to some young Sunderland kid crying his eyes out and said" don’t worry son you’ll be Champions next year". They were.

    We stayed up town after the game. Mostly Sunderland about who made a good effort of drowning their sorrows. We on the other hand mainly sat and looked at each other as if we couldn’t believe it.

    Next day 2 of us went to The Valley, not many about. Then to the Royal Oak at first opening, again not many about. Then onto The Director General in Woolwich. I remember saying this parade will be sh*t no one’s turning up. After a few hours the pub was packed, but then its only one pub. When someone said the Team bus is coming we couldn’t actually get out of the pub as there were so many people! 

    Woolwich was full they estimated 30,000 and from where I was that could have been true. Pub has gone now and Woolwich isn’t a place to go at night, but the memories can’t die.

    The greatest game we will ever see? well i can’t believe i would be lucky enough to see another like that. I never thought I would see us at the Home of Football, let alone be in one of its greatest ever games.

  • edited May 2019


    It was certainly in the top 5 days of my life - and I was in bloody Australia!

    It was such a magical ‘night’. Watched it in Cheers bar, George St, Sydney. Cheers is an underground bar (literally) and the place was packed with Sunderland fans. I joined the four Charlton boys (from Bexleyheath) and the game began.

    Needless to say it was exhausting and I couldn’t get over that the team decided to ‘turn it on’ when I was on the other side of the world - I left in January 98, just before our barnstorming run to the Play Offs (after successive season tickets at Selhurst and Upton Park, I might add!).

    But that night/day in Sydney was amazing.

    A group of suited Sunderland fans, who’d bought several bottles of champagne and cigars in anticipation of their win, were really sporting at the end, shook our hands and gave us the lot. My last memory is of walking out of Cheers at 8am to searing heat (which only added to the drained feeling), passing commuters on their way to work, with a cigar in one hand and a bottle of half drunken Moet in the other.

  • edited May 2019

    @Rock Spectacle

    With the exception of the day I met my beloved, quite simply the best day of my life. A whole week and a half of work totally and utterly vindicated as Charlton finally delivered after all of those years of frustration. I was saying to Mrs S just earlier about the Ipswich games and how they were an absolute high, but that balmy (and barmy) May afternoon just summed up what it is to be a Charlton fan - they can put you through every emotion that you could ever know, but somehow we managed to condense it into one afternoon!

    Had the privilege of being on the inside to a degree in my Supporters Club capacity at the time and I can honestly say that getting 146 coaches to Wembley (with the car park passes not turning up until the Friday - no panic at all!), seeing all of those people following Charlton and us winning still brings a tear to my eye. Actually slept in a portakabin at The Valley for a couple of nights whilst sorting said coaches to make sure that no-one was let down for such a great occasion in our history and I sincerely hope no-one was. My abiding memory of the pre-match operation was on the Saturday morning before the game when a handful of tickets remained and we were selling the from the CASC office and at the front of the queue was Charlie Revell - no way he was paying!

    On the day itself, ended up on BBC News 24 previewing the game, the Sunderland fan not turning up, so it must have been an omen. Brilliant atmosphere on the train on the way up, then into the Allsopp as well for a livener or two. Inside the ground, it was like a family had come together and the game cannot be put into words - so many can try but I doubt I'll ever see anything remotely comparable in my lifetime.

    Afterwards, powered only by adrenalin, it was back to Charlton to watch the game again, then the following morning back into Charlton to watch it again - then off to Woolwich to the DG just as GH has mentioned, before witnessing something I never believed could be possible - Charlton parading a trophy having at won at Wembley. Went on one agin big time, luckily my guvnor at the time was a Charlton fan so he understood, though it took a fair bit of overtime to catch up thereafter as I didn't make it back until the Thursday! Greatest day ever!

  • edited May 2019
    @Oliver Street

    I went with my Dad; it was his last ever Charlton game... What a way to bow out! We parked near the stadium and I'll never forget the endless lines of coaches full of Charlton fans. That brought out the first tears of the day!

    Nothing to add on the match itself but I wanted a photo of my Dad and me and hadn't brought my camera. An Addick near us took a couple of photos and my address and kindly posted them on. Still very grateful for those special photos.


  • edited May 2019


    I had a sweat on about getting the tickets, needed 5 and just managed to get them. Went with my wife, daughter (her first game), son (his third but until that day he was a confirmed Man U fan) and my brother in law who's a season ticket holding Gooner but always had Charlton down as his second club. The brother in law was living in a flat up by Tower Bridge at the time so we drove up there in the morning and left the car in his parking space and headed off on the Tube. Worried too after reading reports of how many Sunderland fans would be there and the apparent lack of Charlton support in great numbers. Even more worried when I saw the amount of Sunderland support on the tube closer to Wembley and on first heading up Wembley Way. But as we got closer I came across a great swathe of Charlton fans. I remember seeing Glenn Tilbrook just ahead of me and then on entering the stadium I was chuffed to bits to see our numbers.

    After Clives first goal I started to get one of those clammy sweats on and the rest of the game was just a tangle of emotions, remember thinking back to the Full Members Cup Final and wondering if we'd end up losing again. I really thought we were out of it before Rufus scored but after that I was fairly confident we'd win - until the penalties. I think I saw the first and after that, until Michael Grays, I just couldn't watch. For some reason I thought I start looking at that point and that was the one.

    Can't really describe what I felt very well, but there was a sort of fast forward replay of all my Charlton experiences from when I first started watching them in the mid sixties up to that point and like many others I just felt I'd been through the wringer. I was really emotional but didn't or couldn't cry but remember hugging many people and simply not believing that Charlton, my Charlton would be playing the big boys of the prem at THE VALLEY!!!

    When we left, again like many others, there were a fair few Sunderland fans offering congratulations whilst we offered condolences and the only time we had any sort of grief was at Baker Street when a Sunderland kid, around 14 years old, spat at us from outside when we were on the train.

    Once back to the Brother in laws I just wanted to get home and go on the lash, but most of my drinking buddies were away in Holland on a kids football tournament and by the time we'd actually got home we felt so tired and it was a bit late on so we just headed off to bed.

    I had to be up early next morning to go on a course for work and at the station I grabbed a few papers and just read and re-read the reports.

    I bought the DVD and have watched it often, but when I do, I go through exactly the same emotions as I did at the stadium and I still watch it and wonder if we'll win!

    Result was my son was converted to CAFC immediately, my daughter started supporting them and my wife was just amazed by it and whilst she'd supported us from a distance it changed her into a fully fledged Addick. To this day my sons Charlton all time hero is Clive and the play off final remains the greatest game he's seen ever. Couldn't convert the Brother in law unfortunately, but his soft spot for us got larger and in fairness he did get my son and I tickets for the Charlton games at Highbury.

    Certainly the most emotional footballing experience of my life, but matched in many ways now by the final game this season against Hartlepool. To me, there's something about the way the club is set up again now and the bunch of players and our manager that reminds me of the spirit of '98.

  • edited May 2019


    I flew over from California for this one. Only knew we were in the final a few days before so bought a last minute ticket with British Airways that cost a fortune. Arrived in London on the Saturday. Went to the game with my brother-in-law and Dad. My half brother was at the game but sat on his own somewhere else.

    I just remember the game being like an emotional roller coaster and at the final final whistle being overwhelmed with the emotions and just the cacophony of noise all around as all the fireworks were released. My ears were popping.

    Remember walking from the ground in a daze, not quite believing that we had actually done it and we were in the Premier League.

    I flew back to California the following day so it really was a flying visit. A nice touch from British Airways - there was I at the airport with my Charlton clobber on including jester's hat. They upgraded me to First Class and gave me a bottle of champagne. Probably one of my best weekends ever.

  • edited May 2019


    The day was magical from beginning to end, the journey started in the morning with a hearty breakfast, we then got a train to Charing Cross which was Already full of the red and white stripes of Sunderland, but that was fine everyone was in good spirits, the only competition amongst supporters was who could sing 'red army' the loudest and super Clive versus super Kev chants (little did we really know how relevant that would really be). 

    The walk up to Wembley felt amazing as a Charlton supporter, sort of felt like we'd made it, even if we lost we still got to play at this landmark with the legendary twin towers, in front of 80000 people. I had never been to Wembley before and I'm glad to this day that the experience of Wembley was with Charlton and not just any old game/event on a whim.

    The match was something else, the atmosphere was electric, we were sitting just across the aisle from the drum I was chuffed with that. Regardless of being so close to the premier league I never started star gazing and thinking about playing the Man Uniteds and Chelsea and Arsenal until just after 20 minutes when Mendonca scored, the elation filled the stand the drum was louder the super clive chants were deafening and the mood changed from 'wow we're at Wembley whatever happens we are here' to 'we can do this Charlton we can play premier league!' We went to half time 1-0 up this was now a realistic probabilty we were potentially just 45 mins away from playing with the big boys, all we had to do was hold on. When Niall Quinn scored you could actually hear the gulps for a split second before the quick come on Charlton attitude resumed it was like a huge reality check, we were ok until kevin phillips made it 2-1 to them, gut wrenching kick to the ego that was, hearts sunk tears in my eyes already, I knew it was too good to be true, well at least we tried, we could still do it though, the Sunderland supporters had come alive snd so had their team, the premiership so close but now is getting further away, the clock seemed to running be down so fast our boys were attacking every opportunity and working their socks off, we were cheering them with everything we had as we all wanted that equaliser, to get to extra time at least would give us a fighting chance, then goal... super Clive done it again hopes alive again we went crazy everyone was hugging strangers, screaming with elation the raw surrounded us we were jumping up and down chearing clapping "SUPER. SUPER CLIVE, SUPER SUPER CLIVE SUPER CLIVE MEN..noooooooo!" within 90 seconds of being overcome with joy Quinn kicks us in the gut again! hands on heads heads in knees hand over faces, Sunderland had erupted their cheers cut through us like a blunt blade, the drum beat the applause forced through and we once again got behind them, our boys had done us proud we still had a small chance and we owed it to them to get behind them with everything, as full time was quickly approaching i noticed a few people get up and leave, even if we were 3 down it was wembley ffs, Iwould love to know what they feel like now, 'Charlton til i die started by the guy behind us then the most amazing roar 'ruffffusssss'!!! couldnt believe it, absolutely shocking , what a game and what a time to score your first goal. The atmosphere changed again hearts racing again but now its close if we can hold on we have a real chance but if they do it to us again its finished. Boy did Sunderland throw absolutely everything but the kitchen sink at us nail biting done through to skin now heart is beating so hard I thought I was going to have a heart attack at 16! the whistle finally went and big sighs of relief echoed around us. I remember my dad looking at me and saying "I don't know if I can take another 30 minutes of that" I understood him completely!

    Extra time hit everyone hard I think, the emotional roller coaster was already exhausting I remember looking at the players all 22 of them and thinking wow whatever I feel now they feel it too but they must be physically exhausted with it, that was probably the moment when I realised I will always have respect for Sunderland regardless of what happens next. Less than 10 minutes and Summerbee scores, didn't feel quite as heart wrenching as the other goals they scored we had plenty of time they are tired mistakes can be made, maybe I just had a feeling it wasn't over yet, within minutes Super Clive got his hat trick, this really was incredible 4-4 and still over half of extra time to go, heart beating so fast now. I dont think a single person in that stadium wanted it to go to penalties everyone willing that 9th goal, heart stopped everytime the ball approached either goal, Phillips wanted another goal badly he seemed relentless, my dad looked seriously drained even my brother did and he didn't even support us. Everything somehow seemed to be moving in slow motion sounds just sounded distant, even my own singing, I was just part of the crowd going with the motions it felt very strange indeed, i still say that second half of extra time was the longest 15 minutes of my life. 4-4 AET.

    Penalties, I was convinced that this wouldn't go very well on either side they were all so drained, we were all drained. I remember watching each keeper take position and each player place the ball, however i don't remember watching a single penalty my hands covered my face and were only removed when us and then them each time in turn roared, i just couldnt bear it anymore. when it was 5-5 i had never seen this before I asked my dad what happens now? he said sudden death, I looked around and joked if this carries on then very likely! Each penalty was more nerve wracking than the last, I felt for everyone of them someone eventually had to miss. 7-6 My dad turned and said to me "We'll win this now, this is our number" Michael Grey approached Sasa Ilic stood tall, I covered my face yet again, until the out of turn roaring from around me. We had won, we're premier league, Sasa Ilic saved. I dont think I or anyone else could put into words the euphoria of that moment, not only was we Charlton Athletic, who I had taken abuse for supporting all my short life because I wasn't on the Liverpool/Man u/ arsenal bandwagon, now going to be playing those very teams. But the up and down emotional, heart wrenching game was over, all that was left was celebrating, and congratulating that wonderful team. I whole heartedly felt for sunderland, everything we went through they went through, everything we felt, they felt, only difference is they had a different outcome, there were some idiotic charlton fans trying to wind up sunderland at the tube station but mostly I think everyone showed compassion and respect. 

    The amazing thing about the day was how many different emotions you can feel in a short period of time. There were 80000 people going through it but only half can look back and say it was 100% worth it. It was my first and last trip to wembley, it was the first time I have had admiration for an opposition team, the first time I ever cried tears of joy and remains in my opinion for those reasons the best game I have ever had the pleasure of attending.

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  • edited May 2019


    Remember being up at Trafalgar Sq about 8am, me giving it the big un to a square full of Mackems then the whole square singing “you fat bastard” made me laugh. The Old Bill turned up, jumped out the van and we thought ‘shit’ but the coppers were great, congratulating us on being the first Charlton fans they had seen that day.

    Can't really remember too much of the game due to far too many liquid refreshments.

    Then got back to the Railway Taven at Blackheath and Sky replayed the game which from what I can remember was better than the game its self. Then how we done it I dont know, but we managed a curry after all that.

    What a day. We then we got up the next day to do an 11 hour drinking session for the bus parade!

  • edited May 2019
    Mr.Happy @Mr. Happy

    I was 16, went with my Dad (who I still go to every home game with), my brother and two family friends.

    Don't really remember much about the morning - only reading an article about Ilic and Perez, hyping them up as important pieces of that days bizarre jigsaw puzzle which, one important save apart, they really weren't! I also remember arriving to a sea of Sunderland fans, and wondering whether any of us had actually bothered to turn up.

    It was the second time I'd been to Wembley - the first being England/Spain at Euro '96. I vividly recall making some kind of joke to my dad pre-kick off about not being able to handle another penalty shoot-out... of course the game actually proved to be one great big long penalty shoot out.

    Mendonca scored, clearly having read the script, and with a goal that really summed up his season: classy turn/dummy, then made the finish look easy. Went absolutely mental. 

    This is actually happening. 

    We're going to win. 

    My Charlton in the Premier League. I never signed up for this, I never expected this, but I'll take it. Thank you.

    Then, of course, came the second half. Back to reality. After all these years, having watched the highlights (and occasionally the full game) more times than I care to admit, and knowing full well what the outcome of the game is, watching that Niall Quinn header hit the back of the net STILL knocks the stuffing out of me. 

    How could I have been so stupid? 

    This was obviously Sunderland's day... then Phillips scored. Of course Phillips scored. Can we just go home now? Oh no, wait, Mendonca. What? Happy to say that I was right in line with him as he took it down with his studs and had a fantastic view of it crossing the line... but of course, Quick as a flash, that Quinn bloke turns up again. Game over...

    ...then Robinson won a corner, and I remember feeling just a tinge of hope as Micky Gray seemed to be pleading with the ref not to give it. His little bit of fear just about allowed me to think "maybe". It didn't, however, for even one second, lead to believe that the best defender I've ever had the pleasure of watching week-in, week-out would pop up with his first ever goal. Right, something special's going on today. Suddenly I wasn't in the least bit worried or scared at all... we're going to win. Oh, and thank you Lionel Perez for doing... well, whatever the hell it was you were doing! Nutter.

    Extra time and Summerbee scores. OH BUZZ OFF (summer bee? Having that? No? Ok, sorry). I tried to say something along the lines of "it's fine, we'll just have to score another goal", but no words or noise came out... then THAT Brown tackle, Kinsella's pass, Jones' (slightly over hit) cross and Mendonca's glorious control and finish... and there's the return of that noise. Football is clearly scripted. Bless whoever wrote the script, while also informing them they owe me some new underwear.

    Then penalties... hmmm, from being supremely confident just minutes ago, I've only gone and lost my nerve again. Mendonca will score. Mendonca always scores. Steve Brown? Yeah, probably. Then we've got... oh bugger.

    The first two proved me right, and happy to say the next five players proved me wrong. Keith Jones will pass it sideways. Wrong. Kinsella nailed on to hit the bar. Wrong again.

    The clearest memory I have of that day though, was Chris Makin's penalty. Ilic got his hands to it, and me and my brother both screamed in celebration. I was certain he'd saved it. We jumped around like idiots until a complete strangers hand came down on my shoulder. "Sorry son, he hasn't saved it". Of course he hadn't saved it. There'll be no saves today.

    Back to being proved wrong by Bowen, Robinson, and Newton. By this point I was numb. I was prepared to watch penalties fly in all night. It was gong to take a truly awful penalty to lose this game. Arise Sir Michael of Gray. One last burst of energy from the Charlton fans as we exploded. I grabbed my brother. We took a slight tumble down the stairs, but no harm came to us. We were invincible.

    Post match is all a blur, but I remember a Sunderland fan consoling his young son: "Naw we didn't win, but we did score a few gooools". The other memory of the journey back was on the train back to Charlton. A bunch of lads who still had the energy to sing sung "Super Clive Mendonca" ALL the way home. Too drained to join in, I just sat there, listened, and smiled... thinking about tomorrows papers.

    A really magical day. Just writing about it has made me all the more aware of just how lucky I am to have been able to experience it.

  • edited May 2019


    That day was the only occasion i have ever painted my face. Doubt i'll ever do it again, but it was a worthy event. My friend Keith, who has now deserted us and moved to the USA, decided driving up to Wembley was a great idea. Stupid man. Drive we did though, with Charlton flag flying proud from the sunroof. By the time we got home, the flag looked like a dog had been attached to one end of it.

    I remember standing on a grass bank with a Sunderland fan before the kick off, arm in arm trying to out-sing each other. I still have photos of this. He was singing Super Kev, me Super Clive. I think this early version of X Factor ended in a stalemate. It was however all so good natured, the Mackem giving me one of his beers was a nice gesture, he must have felt i won.

    I had been lucky enough to attend both semi finals against Ipswich, and for sheer delight, i didn't think the feeling i had leaving The Valley after the second leg could be topped, how wrong could i have been. The build up to the final was such a good time though. Buying the Squeeze cd, queing for Wembley tickets, then watching the vets play a youth side from the East stand that same day. Good, happy times.

    Seeing my mate Mick Gebbett in the loos and the two of us moaning about how a handful of Sunderland fans had managed to get tickets in our end is an odd thing to stick in the mind, but it does. Obviously, the game was a rollercoaster of emotions, but with each Charlton goal i seemed to find someone new to hug. Sang my heart out to the point of losing my voice in the process as well. When we left the stadium, everything seemed so quiet. I think we were all so drained that no-one had anything left in them to break the silence. The Sunderland supporters on coaches clapping us as they drove past were just awesome and duly applauded back. I felt like we had really made friends that day, a footballing bond between two sides that would last for years to come.

    There is still a group photo of the side celebrating with the trophy framed on my bedside cabinet. Much to the amusement of my wife!

  • edited May 2019


    I was running The Commonwealth Brewery in The Bahamas at the time. I flew over on the Saturday, with a case of Kalik, and put this behind the bar in the Royal Oak on Sunday night.The Director Mike Stevens arrived in the pub and said that he had heard about a number of us flying in. He gave us tickets for the immediate after-match celebration that was held in a TV studio only about 5 minutes walk from Wembley.

    The game itself: I was with one of my brothers and his two daughters. For most of the second half I was breathless. At 3-2 and at 4-3 I thought we had had it! Funnily when it came to penalties I was calmer...kind of resigned to whatever the outcome would be at that stage.

    Like others, Sean Newton's short run-up scared the pants off me but it was a good penalty. As soon as I saw Michael Gray walk up I thought Sasa had a really good chance to save. Then pandemonium!

    Met the players at the post-match bash and shook Sir Clive's hand; quite a shy character. The bit I loved was talking to Richard Murray with him saying wonderingly..."this is f***ing brilliant". Then back to my brother's mates for some beer and a smoke. Burnt a hole in my jumper.

    Had to fly back the next day, but have never felt better on a flight. This will stay in my memory for all time, as others have said it was the culmination of years of hurt, late 60s, 70s, 80s, and the Battle For The Valley. I still watch the youtube clip every now and again.

  • edited May 2019


    It was a few weeks before my 10th Birthday, I can remember the day like it was yesterday. 

    Was down in Bournemouth for half term holidays so got a train with my Dad down to London and met up with the rest of the family. We had a block of about 20 seats, seemed like everyone I'd ever met or was related to was sat with us that day!

    I just remember hardly being able to breathe after the 4th I was in disbelief. Despite my age I was still fully aware of what was at stake and how huge it would be if we won. I didn't see a single one of the penalties, I couldn't watch.

    We were sat right behind the goal towards the bottom in the seats without backs. I sat turned away from the pitch with my head on my dad's knees and my eyes shut tight. Illic got a palm to one of their pens and everyone thought he'd saved it. My dad yanked my head up and nearly tore it off. 

    Then when Ilic did save from Gray I stood on my seat jumping up and down and just remember suddenly stopping and bursting into tears. 

    Sadly, I think it's the happiest I've still ever been in my life!

    I still have the image in my head of Ilic jumping over the board while the photographs were being taken. 

    The next day back in Bournemouth I had my Wembley flag flying from my window and wore my Charlton shirt all week and got a load of well dones and congratulations whilst I was about and about, I remember being so bloody proud. I made my Dad buy every newspaper so I could cut out all the match reports and pictures. Still have them somewhere at home.

    What a day. Wish I was 9 again.....

  • edited May 2019


    I was 14 at the time, wish I would of been a bit older to appreciate it more. Although glad I experienced it sober.

    I remember me, my best mate and my dad queuing round the entire Valley for tickets, was there for about 7 hours queuing during which time my mum was knocked over by a Land Rover in Chislehurst. Luckily she suffered minor injuries and the first thing the police woman said to my dad when they called on his phone was was - 'first of all, your wife says, don't you dare leave that queue!'.

    As for the day, I remember being in awe of my surroundings, in awe of the atmosphere, there also seemed to be about 20 Sunderland supporters for every Charlton fan I saw on the way in. The game itself was a bit of a blur, remember celebrating the first goal like a mad man and then when Sunderland got ahead kept assuming it was over. Remember Rufus' goal like it was yesterday and then the penalties were torture. The relief and joy when Sasa made the save was completely overwhelming and ended up sobbing like a baby. Completely surreal experience.

  • edited May 2019


    This was my 1st full season with season ticket and odd away game, after my dad took me to my first game the previous season and I caught the Charlton Addicktion. I never expect a season as good as that one having finished 15th the season before, and the way that 97/98 season ended was a fitting for one that was so great.

    That team and that game will always have a place in my heart and the memories it left me with will never be forgotten.

    Steve Brown's Challenge to set up the fourth goal. Rufus's 1st goal. The teams fighting spirit and togetherness that made you feel even at 3-2 Sunderland it wasn't over (I will admit I was starting to doubt at 4-3 but I'm glad I was wrong).

    Mendonca's hat trick.

    Choking my brother as he was in the row in front every time we scored and him pleading with me to try not to do it for every penalty.

    Ilic's penalty save and everything going mad and hugging people I'd never met and would probably never meet again. And that's just to recall a few just wish I'd been a bit older so I could have celebrated it after like I would have done now.

    A great day.

  • edited May 2019


    What I do remember is Mendonca stamping the ball down on his way through to slot home. 

    Watching the ball float over and for some reason just knowing 100% that Rufus would score.  I watched him from that point onwards as he rose up and nodded it in which to me seemed to take about a hour in slow motion.  I am pretty sure I didn't but I convinced myself I was already celebrating way before it went in!

    Just shouting "PREMIER LEAGUE" as loud as I could when Sasa saved that penalty with just a complete sense of awe and fulfuilment.

    Laughing at half time because one old(ish) fella walked backed to his seat in the row in front with a trail of loo roll stuck to his shoe.

    Can remember walking past a bunch of Sunderland fans after leaving the pub at baker st (no idea which one it was).  One fella was absolutely slaughtered and starting singing and chanting towards me (all in friendly banter) but he being so pissed staggered and fell against a wall and had to be propped up by his mates and helped back towards the pub.  Walked away thinking he'll never make the game only to watch the highlights the day after and low and behold the cameras panned into the crowd and showed a close up of the exact same fella!  I can still see his face now and always wondered what he remembers from the game and how he felt.

    Last memory was getting off the quietest train journey home to Bexley and going straight to Trax in the village to see who was about.  Opened my mouth to talk and absolutely nothing came out, not even a croak that was partially understandable.  Took about 2 days before I could speak again.  Had one drink and had to go home, the exhaustion of the day just can't be described to those that weren't there.

  • edited May 2019

    @JohnboyUK (Spurs fan)

    I passed out seconds after Rufus equalised when we were jumping up and down celebrating the goal. After several people standing near us tipped their bottles of water over me, I came around again, only to be told the game was going into ET. Anxiety wasnt the word for it. The highs and lows of that first 90mins was probably the most exhausting 90mins of watching football I've ever watched.

    Absolutely fantastic game to watch and was amazing to share the atmosphere. Will never forget the Mackems on the coaches crying their eyes out but still clapping every Charlton fan that they passed. Puts sport into perspective.

    Ranks up there with one of the best games I've ever seen at Wembley (alongside our FA Cup Semi-Final win against the Ars*nal in 1991!).

    The best memory though will be when we got back to the Camden in Bexleyheath with AFKA when our Palace fan friend paid up a rather large bet that Charlton wouldn’t win the game!

  • edited May 2019

    @Henry Irving

    Drunk at the Swiss Cottage. Rammed with Sunderland.

    Some guy learning over my shoulder as we walked up Wembley way and asking if we were all alright for tickets. Realising it was Richard Murray.

    Thinking, "yeah 1 - 0 will be enough."

    Having money on Rufus for last goal at 50 - 1 Get in there!

    Screaming "look at the score, look at the score, we always win 7-6" after Newts scored the worst pen of the shoot-out (until the next one)

    Drinking our mates mate's box dry of beer and being told to leave by the Wembley staff as they wanted to go home.

    Wandering out on the the Olympic gallery for one last look and seeing Brownie and Kinsella walking across the pitch with the trophy. shouting "MARK!" across the empty stadium, Kins hearing me and holding up the trophy just for me.

    Bumping into Sasa and Robbo outside but not realising that Curbs was just behind us with the Trophy.

    Singing "Carl Leaburn, Carl Leaburn, what a difference you have made" at the tube station on the way back as a response to Kevin Nolan and Mark Mansfield assertion that we wouldn't go up without him and Mark Bright was a bits and pieces player.

    Feeling knackered on the way home to Charlton, so much so we couldn't even raise a jeer at the new Den.

    Considering packing in following Charlton after the game thinking that nothing would be that good again.

    Refreshing ourselves in the packed Liberal club and watching the highlights on the TVs standing on seats. Place going mental again.

    Walking into work the next day with big Charlton badge in lapel of suit. Walking past Mick McCarthy with huge smirk on my face. He saw the badge and half smiled.

    A friend lost his father (big fan) in the week coming up to the game. He mentioned it to Keith Peacock at the celebrations. Keith said "I bet your dad is looking down and smiling at us all know" I'm not religious but I thought it was such a touching thing to say.

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