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A derelict Valley

Tough times for us Addicks, and no sugarcoating where we find ourselves, possibly heading for our lowest league finish since 1926.

Nonetheless it does do us good once in a while to think back to when the position of club was even more daunting.

1988 and incredibly we were playing in the country’s top league. 1987/88 was the season that we sent Chelsea into the play-off’s on the last day of the season. Some day that was!

That same season Rick Everitt, Steve Dixon and a cameraman took an uninvited tour of a derelict Valley, three and a half years after we had deserted it, and left a thing of beauty to rot.

Rick published the video taken in early 1988 and it is here. Watch the half hour video below and have a hanky close.

Often on a Sunday I’d say to my brother “shall we go for a drive?”

He knew what I meant and I would drive my old car with him sat next to me from Catford to Harvey Gardens and we’d ‘break-in,’ to what we still all considered our home. You didn’t have to break in of course as there were plenty of points of open entry.

We would walk and sit and watch and listen. It was eerie, it was sad, it was tragic.

Amazing to think we were back playing there four years later. Good things can happen, but sometimes you have to go through the bad times first.


11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bill Skudder #

    Made me jump when I saw that footage, going up those steps at the covered end, that was my very first view of the Valley, my dad held me uo on those steps all through the game, it was as near as we could get, I think it’s the biggest crowd we’ve ever had, the Cup semi final against Preston in 1947, I had never seen so many people, a bit frightening for a six year old, I never knew that years later I would be sitting there in my season ticket seat, travelling 400 mile round trip for each game, can’t do that now at 81, so watch it on the telly. Bill Skudder

    February 21, 2022
    • Great memories Bill. My Dad first introduced me to The Valley from that vast east terrace. Often empty, but like clockwork would always stand on the same step, in front of the same barrier.

      February 22, 2022
  2. KeithSearle #

    Just like you I used to go there and take my children just to see the old place. Couldn’t believe we would not be back. It was very eerie. Not seen that video so thanks for posting. Funny old business supporting a football club. Grown men all emotional about an empty stadium. My dad used to take me to Mountsfield Park to show me where Charlton used to play(albeit very briefly)

    February 22, 2022
    • Keith – We used to live very near Mountsfield Park and went to school next door. Pretty much used to live up there in the summer.

      Good times trying to map our where the ‘stadium’ once was

      February 22, 2022
      • Yeh we lived in Glenfarg Rd and Mountsfield was my play ground.If I was lucky my dad would walk through the park round the Mount (with lots of stories about Catford Southend and Catford Wanderers FC’s) and onto to the Dartmouth for a shandy and packet of crisps.
        I guess you also went to Catford School?

        February 22, 2022
        • We were in Sandhurst Road. And indeed I did attend the Catford School of Life!

          February 22, 2022
  3. greg brown #

    We moved to Coxmount Road (opposite Harvey Gardens) in 1963….I was 10, As kids me and my friends then became Charlton supporters.We used to get in free at half time when they opened the gates in those days.Whenever there was a home game we were there,even midweek when the ‘reserves’ played in the Football Combination or the Metropolitan League.
    Sometimes when we didnt have any money we would ‘bunk in over the gates’ as there were no stewards or security in those days and at those midweek games there were very few people.
    We delighted in being unofficial ball boys, whenever the ball was kicked onto the terraces there would be a race to return it.
    Those were the days of John Hewie,Mike Bailey,Frank Haydock,Brian Tocknell,Keith Peacock etc etc.
    Happy days,and have been an Addick ever since.That video brought all those memories flooding back.

    Greg Brown….North Yorkshire

    February 22, 2022
    • Simple times Greg. Love hearing these stories.

      February 22, 2022
      • greg brown #

        One of my friends mother had a large house in Kinveachy Gardens which backed onto Maryon Park,and she ran that as a boarding house where young Charlton players would stay when they were apprentices.
        I can remember three of the young players who boarded there that had come down from Scotland to join the Charlton apprenticeship scheme….they were Alan Campbell,John Kiers,and John Bingham and they would regularly come out into Maryon Park and have a kick about with us young kids.How times have changed,wouldnt be allowed now would it.
        If I remember correctly Alan Campbell actually won caps for Scotland !!!!

        February 22, 2022
  4. danny benstead #

    I was from ladywell in lewisham and went to catford boys school on brownhill road what a place lol my dad worked for the council and I nicked his keys and me and my mates used to go down to the boiler room in the old building for a smoke what a great life for a 15 year old lol
    I looked for catford mount for ages never found it
    As for the valley I never new much about cafc until I started my apprenticeship at 16 where I met my mate Trevor
    His brother was a long life Charlton fan and myself Trevor and John decided to just go and walk into that abandoned valley it just stirred something in me I never saw a game there before it got closed down i used to just go to different games as a teenager around London apart from the one crap one near a incinerator
    I can’t remember the opposite team that day but my first game watching Charlton over the shopping trolly ground made me fall in love with them the fans which was probably only 600 odd outsang the other fans and just had a great time
    I was lucky enough to be at that game in 1992 against Portsmouth and yeah I cried what a moment
    Onwards and upwards COYR

    February 22, 2022
    • What a place indeed Lee!

      The Shopping Trolley Ground 🤣. Great stories Lee. Thanks for commenting.

      February 22, 2022

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