Roast ’em Paddy!
Colin David Powell has always been in my life, since the very first time I first walked down those steep steps of the East Terrace that made Chichen Itza look like a sandcastle.
Paddy Powell is a proper Charlton legend. Although there was that one time in 1978 that he deserted me as a 12-year old and went to play in America for the New England Tea Men.
He and Flash Flanagan almost got us relegated that season, while they were whopping it up in Boston we couldn’t score a goal for toffee and only just escaped relegation to Division 3. I soon forgave them though, especially Colin, and in later life I realised that Paddy went for the money and I do not begrudge him that at all and of course he kept coming back.
When Charlton signed Paddy from Barnet in 1973 Andy Nelson doubled his weekly wage to £40. He once said that he would have to have played for 80 years to earn what David Beckham made in a week.
If Paddy was born in 1988 and not 1948 he would be a multi-millionaire. Sky Sports would have loved Paddy Powell. If he played today they’d fill hours of their daytime schedules just showing repeats of goals that Paddy ‘assisted.’ You got nothing for an assist in Paddy’s day, the word didn’t exist.
But to watch Paddy hug the touchline, jink in and out of defenders lunges, defenders that were built like gorillas and then go back and do it again before dropping his shoulder and serving up a cross on a six-pence to the waiting Derek Hales, Mike Flanagan or Arthur Horsfield was priceless. Both flanks, down the middle, the pace of David Beckham the vision of David Beckham, the haircut of Colin Powell.
Every Saturday evening whilst the old man was making the egg and chips I would be in the back garden recreating one of Paddy’s ‘assists’ after an afternoon at The Valley when we’d probably won 4-3. My Dad always said we’d needed 4 to win, and he was often right.
I am sure they didn’t, but my memory tells me that most of our goals came in the 2nd half always kicking towards the noisy Covered End. At start of the half Paddy would run over to the East Terrace and chat to the kids, me included. He would accept the odd peanut and being a smoker would breath in the smokey air and then stand on the touchline waiting for the referee to restart the game.
Powell played with a smile on his face, he was doing what he loved and we loved that he was doing it in one of our famous red shirts. Tomorrow he will be centre stage again.
I can’t attend his well deserved testimonial at The Valley against Terry Butcher’s Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but I noticed that Dave at Drinking During the Game was still buying a ticket even though he was away, and I asked him to get me one too. Just so I could contribute to a man I grew up with and would be in awe of his every twist and turn.
Paddy still makes me smile whenever I see him patrolling the sidelines of his beloved Valley pitch, with a shovel at his feet and not a football, I know he is thinking the exact same as me and others of a similar generation…. take him on, take him on, come on roast him….
Good luck tomorrow Paddy
Thank you so much for this! What a lovely, lovely piece! Im Paddy’s daughter Lisa, and we are all really touched by your words – its brilliant. Are you coming tomorrow?
oops just seen you cant make it. will post you some pics if thats ok! thanks again 🙂
Lisa, I would love to see some photos. Thank you. You can email me at email@example.com
I hope you and your Dad and the rest of the family enjoy your day.
CA – saves me posting – very fitting to the Charlton player I have most enjoyed watching more than any other in 36 years. He won’t get anything like he deserves but hope it’s a bumper crowd.
For some reason , I only just got round to reading this . A great blog , really excellent piece .
I echo your views entirely . Paddy Powell was really one of the relatively few bright spots we had in the 70’s – a great player – cheers