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25 years

25 years ago today. That was some day.

There were 12 of us, friends and family, at the old Wembley, ablaze with noise and emotion unlike the time we were there for the Full Members final. The game itself seemed to last for days. and we went spinning through a tornado of every emotion possible.

I remember thinking that once Niall Quinn had put Sunderland 3-2 ahead that was our lot. A regular tale of plucky old Charlton did their best but will come out second. We were sat, or stood, high up to the left of the halfway line across from the benches. Rufus’ header, his first ever goal, reminded us that anything was possible.

In extra time when they went 4-3 up I was more confident of us getting another goal, and we did just a few minutes later. Oh Clive, you will forever live in Addick’s fans memories.

That hat-trick was a thing of beauty. Steve Jones’ cross, the finish, the race across the pitch. Absolute bedlam in the stands.

13 penalties dispatched. I was sure Newts would miss. But as calm as a millpond. And then Sasa, and then delirium.

I, like many thousands of others, Sunderland fans included, didn’t know what to do after. Sunderland fans outside, magnanimous in defeat as they were again 21 years later. I was dumbfounded, and exhausted. The 12 of us did not speak a single word until we were a long way back to home.

Drinks in Blackheath, a late night, singing my heart out walking back down the road to my flat in Catford. Suuuuper, Super Clive.

25 years. It will never get old.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. houndal #

    What a day. I went with my then 12 year old son, but even that game could not convert him from a Gooner.
    He did though get why I sang myself hoarse with I am sure intolerable renditions of Super, Super Clive……for days after.
    Clive Mendonca – the ultimate Charlton legend in my book.

    May 25, 2023
  2. Chris #

    Like you CA I was at the game and had the privilege to attend a pre-match drink at a TV studio belonging to Michael Grade before sitting in the stadium…..the match was a roller coaster of emotions and one the best games ever witnessed at Wembley.
    After the match we went back to the TV studio and welcomed all the players and staff back and celebrated with them.
    I had the pleasure of chatting to most of the players who understandably were high with emotion.
    Later that evening I attended the celebration dinner and all the emotion and and positive atmosphere was inhaled as well as an overdose of Alcohol…
    A day that will live in my memory forever.

    May 25, 2023
  3. Nick #

    It’s great to remember that day, although it is somewhat fragmented due to high emotions and maybe the odd sherbet. Penalties, who’d of thought we would win, as an addick somehow you don’t expect it. A very close friend was playing for Sunderland and stepped up to take a pen, I was desperate for us to win but desperate for him not to miss, I got my wish. The rematch felt in its own way just as dramatic.

    May 25, 2023
  4. Steve #

    Wonderful memories CA thanks for sharing and my how time flies.
    Was also sat high left of halfway, so remember Perez coming for that corner and Rufus’ header looping seemed to take an age but knew it was going in. Also the sound of Sumerbee’s shot in ET more or less opposite us, knew that was going in as well.
    Legs like jelly and a sick feeling in pens, couldn’t stand up between them.
    It’s funny, also travelled back in silence think I fell asleep on train so drained. What a wonderful day to have experienced.

    May 25, 2023
    • I have read that so many times from fans that afterwards the feeling was just of shock and exhaustion.

      It felt different in 2019, more euphoric.

      May 25, 2023
  5. I was in a big bar in faliraki, the only Charlton supporter amongst over a hundred plus Sunderland supporters. The atmosphere was unbelievable, the noise incredible. I like you thought we were done at 2-3 but at 3-4 was strangely confident we would score again. I was given the verbal support my all as of course the Sunderland supporters were, but to be fair when we won the tie on pens quite a few Mackems came over, shook my hand and wished The Addicks all the best for the following season. A great day.

    May 25, 2023
  6. danny benstead #

    Funny enough I was watching the play off final on YouTube today and just thought to myself what a day that was I had my hands over my face too for the last penalty my mate dragged me up when illic saved it
    We then back to the Rochester way club in eltham and got very drunk
    The one thing that got me today watching it again was what a bunch of rag tag players from so many different divisions but just gelled perfectly
    Newton Robinson bright Bowen rufus jones and jones the bloke on loan from Man City and of course a man called mendonca
    What a team what a day what a club

    May 25, 2023
    • Also in that squad was Matty Holmes, Morts, Stuart Balmer, Bradley Allen and a young Scott Parker, Paul Konchesky and Kevin Lisbie.

      May 25, 2023
      • danny benstead #

        Was Matty Holmes’s the player on loan from Man City

        May 26, 2023
  7. Shadow Play #

    You must have been sat near where I was…

    The day really started with a five hour queue for tickets a fortnight before and I didn’t care where I sat as long as I was there.

    On the day itself I remember time dragging, I arranged to meet a friend at the station at maybe 11AM or something, he called a couple of hours before and said he couldn’t stand waiting, neither could I so we caught an earlier train and went for a couple of beers. On the tube I got talking to some Sunderland fans and walked up Wembley way with them. At the stadium they went left and we to the right. My last words to them as we shook hands were as it turned out prophetic – to watch out for the Sunderland supporting Mendonca who had been on fire all season. The rest we know. That it took 8 goals and 13 pens shows how close the game was. I maintain that the difference was that while they had the better players we had the better team which we needed to drag ourselves back in it at 2-1, then 3-2 and finally at 4-3.

    On the way home I wandered around Covent Garden simply unsure what to do eventually I decided I was simply too drained even for a beer and just went home. I started to watch the highlights but gave up after a couple of minutes, it took me several years before I watched the goals. Normally I’d watch something like that again and again, in that era we were very rarely on television but I had no appetite to relive what I had just seen. How could highlights do that match justice?

    May 25, 2023
  8. Mike #

    Fantastic Day at Wembley and can’t believe until you said that was 25 years ago! Just wish we had that same team and spirit now and we would have walked this league, this year!

    May 25, 2023
  9. … well, well worth the flight round the planet from Cairns Australia … the most emotion in 3 hours I’ve ever experienced (tho’ don’t tell my children that 😉 ! )

    May 25, 2023
  10. … also remember wandering post match around Charing Cross station when, seeing my Charlton colours, an Arsenal supporter and a Brighton supporter came up me and insisted that they buy me a few pints to celebrate ! The pints grew in number when they discovered I’d travelled from Aus just for the match !

    May 25, 2023
  11. Daggs #

    For the first time ever I attended a Charlton match with my wife and both sons. I reminded them all yesterday “it was 25 years ago” A joint “incredible” was the response.
    What a day, what a game. We should have been deliriously loud and raucous on the return coach. But we sat in silence, absolutely exhausted.

    As an aside; At this time (1998) few people had Sky at home. My mate who called himself a Man.U. fan (though he had never been to a MU game!) always asked me to go to the pub with him when MU were featured. I did it for the friendship.
    The day after Wembley I asked if he had watched our game. “No I didn’t bother, what was the score?” he said. How I maintained that friendship for years after, I have no idea.

    May 26, 2023
  12. Brian Murphy #

    Hi CA, I will always remember the day, my son Sam went to Wembley, but I watched from a bar in Spain. We had a few warm up drinks prior to the game and I managed to get all the locals chanting for Charlton, but best of all was group of Geordies who didn’t need any persuading to support Charlton. Every time we scored I was running up and down the bar in an increasingly demented state. I had a very sore head the next morning.
    The next time we were at Wembley I was due to attend a wedding in Newcastle, which I tried desperately to get out of, but I weighed up the threat of a divorce or going to Wembley and after considerable thought went to the wedding. I then watched the match again in a Geordie pub with friends and the atmosphere was incredible. When the game was over, everyone in the pub was shaking my hand saying thank you. Happy days.

    May 26, 2023
  13. I Left Sevenoaks on one of the many coaches outside The Farmers Pub and we had a police escort onto the M25. After an amazing day, it was an incredibly eerie silence on the way back as though we couldn,t believe what we had witnessed. End to end football and apart from seeing our legendary team, you have to give credit to being able to see the likes of Quinn and Phillips for Sunderland.

    May 26, 2023

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