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NEW ARTICLE: Why I Tried to Give you a Leaflet (Nov 2015)


Long before before the smoking, chip-munching masses start to steadily shuffle by, I’ve always found there is something very special being around The Valley early on a match day. Camouflaged by dirty streets and standard suburban residence, it is not until you advance down Floyd Road to such an extent that you virtually touch the club shop with your fingertips that you find yourself ‘there’.

Hours before KO, that vantage point replicates the opening scene of a film as the quiet stillness is suddenly replaced by a hive of activity emerging ahead. Programme sellers busily drag their stands into position, deliveries are being rushed in and out of vans, and burger sellers are busy frying their onions. The sounds, the smells, the buzzing energy not too dissimilar to the early morning preparation of a popular street market from a bygone era; the awakening signs that somewhere is about to 'come alive'.

I love this place. London is awash with landmarks and viewpoints, but for me there is no better sight than walking down Floyd Road and seeing that ground slowly emerge behind Number 84. Nowhere else generates that bit of excitement and adrenaline that you get at that point in anticipation of what lies ahead. I first walked down this road with my dad in 1984, and I didn't get to do it again for a matchday until 1992 as a 16 year old. By the latter visit I was already in love with Charlton Athletic, and from that point on I become steadily smitten with this nostalgic SE London landmark that has grown to feel like my second home.

Passing the ground early is not a novelty; since 1992 it has been a frequent walk of mine on the way to the Oak to meet pals for a few pre-match beers. In recent years, that social interaction and alcoholic numbing has increasingly become the main factor that continues to draw me habitually to what has always been, to me at least, a happy Valley.

But as I meander down Wellington Gardens towards the shops by the station, I think of why I’ve made this early journey today when I’m not going to the pub? Why I am donning a black and white scarf? Why have I come away from my kids to stand on a cold November morning to hand out leaflets trying to rally support for a protest.

The answer is simply because I am not happy. I just don’t like what Charlton has become and aside from ‘stop going’ (which thousands of others have clearly done), this is my only way of showing it before it gets to the point where I join them.

But why am I not happy?

Why am I doing this?

Why am I’m aligning myself with a campaign which, if I’m honest, I don’t really give a damn about its core aims and objectives? I don’t really care about working groups, meaningful dialogue, sharing budgets and timeframes etc. Sure, I can see why some are, and its collectiveness is an indicator of some of the communication issues negatively impacting this regime.

But that is not what angers me; I can go with all of that if things on the pitch are going ok, and I can also live with the fact we are owned by someone who is clearly a bit different, who never watches us, and I can’t for the life of me understand what pleasure he must get from his ownership.

But the football decisions / strategy of the Club I just can’t get on board with, and I haven’t been from pretty much since Day 1. The interference in team affairs from outside the club’s football management, the short-term dumping of a host of underperformers off the wage bill of other network clubs onto ours, the continued lack of respect giving to the importance of knowledge of English football (and the Championship specifically), the continued provision of a completely unbalanced and bare squad, and the bizarre signings and disappearance of numerous players such as Polish Pete, Tucudean and LePoint.

The managerial appointments have been bonkers. As much as I love Chris Powell, I can fully understand that when RD arrived he wanted his own man in, that happens all the time in football. Riga brilliantly won over a hostile crowd to a level not seen since Rocky triumphed in Russia, and was promptly rewarded with the heave ho. It just didn’t make sense and should have sent alarm bells ringing to every single fan, but it didn’t. Peters was exposed within a couple of months of being a terrible man manager, whilst it took a few more months for Luzon to be equally found out as tactically rigid, and unwilling to utilise the Championship knowledge from insiders like Damian Matthew and Phil Chapple.

The latest choice for the job is a man who has never properly managed, and is effectively a statistics man; a computer scout. With him is a well-respected ex-player, but an inexperienced coach who only has just one year of teaching youngsters under his belt and no experience of senior coaching. Once again, a cheap option of shifting people around already on the payroll with no sign of seeking to address the fundamental most important thing about a football club.

And two years on, our player recruitment is still be governed by a computer and a couple of analysts in Belgium. Saturday was the biggest example you will ever see of an opposition not particularly better than us, but tactically experienced enough to know how to win, and win comfortably.

continued below....


  • Nicely put.
  • hear hear - excellent AFKA
  • edited November 2015

    And that's why I and many others took one.
  • My brother handed the out & me, him & my son all stood up & sung lustily for that minute, However, watching it back on TV later I felt it looked v poor with not many standing up & not v loud. Not sure what others felt but I dont think it really came across that well.
  • I felt the reality is Golfie that very little will come across well with so few in the ground, and that any singing is totally dependent on the North Upper, which is where it seems the strongest point of the protest was and well supported. Yet even that area was pretty much deserted by NU standards and soulless on Saturday, and nothing vocal never really emerged until the anti-Belgium stuff once we went three down.
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  • Sums up a lot of my feelings Dan. Well put.
  • Excellent stuff Smudge, and sadly, all very true.
  • Brilliant article Dan and I think sums things up for me as well
  • Brilliant stuff Dan. Feel exactly the same with so much of what you've written.

    Although you once said we are around the same age....if you were 16 in 92 then you can jog on with that assumption you cheeky old git! ;-)
  • I am no expert in these matters but I would define that as Proper Charlton.

  • edited November 2015
    Great article, very well put and sums up the feelings of so many of us.

    I am grateful to all those involved with the protest/campaign as following it online has pulled me back from that apathetic abyss of just not caring anymore & if it had been possible for me to have got to the Valley for such an early kick off Saturday I would have liked to have been able to offer my help but I am sure I will get my chance as this is going to be a long battle for our club that we all love so much.
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  • Superbly put. Couldn't disagree with any of that, and I'm good at disagreeing.
  • image

    Long before before the smoking, chip-munching masses start to steadily shuffle by

    As a matter of interest, what time do the players start to arrive? :smiley:

    Seriously, very good post @AFKABartram sums up my feelings nicely.

    There will have to be either change of ownership or change of mind by the owner as the current strategy won't give RD a shot at promotion any time in the foreseeable futur.

    Sooner or later the penny will also drop about whether KM was as good an appointment as each of the coaches (excl. Riga) have been.
  • ....Yea but, do you do aways.
  • Spot on AFKA
  • Well said, nodding along to an awful lot of this.
  • Very good article. Totally agreed with all of it. I worry for our club!
  • 100%
    Spot on
    walking down Floyd road still gives me goosebumps and I'm still mesmerised when our great home comes into view
    But the current state of our club has detached me from it at present
    I hope this comes back to me very soon or I fear it will be lost forever as each day passes I feel less like I want to return any day soon
    Come rain or shine I would get myself there sometimes starting work at 3 or 4 am on Sat morning so I could get away early and make kick off
    Results never really matered
    At the moment you couldnt drag me there
    Cheers rd
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