If you have not caught any of Heather McKinley’s football stories and articles before then you are missing out. The Glasgow based Addick writes mostly for the Scottish football magazine Nutmeg, but somehow finds the time in between running her own strategic marketing business to write some excellent other stuff such as her chance meeting with Roger Alwen’s wife, also called Heather, for football journal The Blizzard.
The article about Heather Alwen’s role in their families ownership of Charlton and the struggle to get back to The Valley is superbly written and stirs some strong memories for me and my own family who lived game by game not knowing if we had a club to support the next week.
Even the bombshell that Roger Alwen and Mike Norris had planned the famous Valley clear up as a PR exercise did not stop me getting dewy-eyed reading Heather’s article. The personal commitment, both financially and emotionally put into rescuing, stabalizing and rebuilding the club was immense as Heather tells in her story. This way before the days of Arabs, Russians,
Belgian’s and American’s appearing with wads of money post gentrification to shore up and profit from our beautiful game.
Roger Alwen and I are (were, as Roger is now retired) in the same business and our paths had crossed a couple of times, even though I was a wet behind the ears young nobody and he ran for decades his own successful business. Nonetheless I was always proud to talk of how pivotal he was in the return of the club, my club, to The Valley, even though I know he would keep most of his non-business related activities pretty quiet.
Those were heady, growing up days and call me sentimental, but they were some of the best times of my life.
So… I reckon Heather (McKinlay not Alwen) is about the same age as me and was inducted into Addick-dom about the same time as I was, around the mid-70’s. Heather and I both blame our Dad’s, she may have stood further back than us on the East Terrace. We were about three crush barriers back, close enough to get the half time peanuts and to talk to Paddy before the 2nd half kicked off as we attacked the noisy Covered End. But Heather, in a sparse crowd, was I suspoect immediately behind us on that vast open space.
My first season was the year after we won promotion from Division 3 (Saturday’s opponents Plymouth joined us too) when we were back in the division we have always really belonged in. After a little absence my Dad, following promotion got a renewed interest in Charlton, and I was his excuse to disappear on a Saturday afternoon.
In my first game I saw Derek Hales get sent off. Talk about love at first sight! Heather starts her article talking of Keith Peacock. He has been the ultimate constant for many of us during decades of support. Captain Peacock was 30-years old that 1975/6 season and the game may have changed beyond all recognition from those mid-70’s ideals but people like Peacock and the Alwen family keep memories alive. Thank you to the two Heather’s for jogging them again today.
Just read the article with Heather by Heather.
Thanks for pointing it out.
8337 – who would have thought that 26 years on our crowds would have gone full circle…