The last time we were relegated to the third tier was in 1979/80, with probably the poorest team ever to wear the famous red shirt until now. That season the team only amassed 22 pts from 42 matches, surely a record low for that division. P42 W6 D10 L26 F41 A78 pts 22, which was a massive 13 pts from safety . It was a dire season but with one big difference for me and that was I could identify and relate to those players and I felt that they were one of us feeling the pain. Today's team consist mainly of loan players who I have little rapport with .
1979/1980 Players of note
Nicky Johns . A great shot stopper
Lawrie Madden - Underrated and went on to have a great career with Sheffield Wednesday
Colin Powell - My Mums favourite along with Keith Peacock
Martin Robinson -Always worked his socks off
Phil Warman -Great character and surely if he was be playing today would be at least 2 stone lighter.
Derek Hales Say no more
Steve Gritt Never shy'd away from a battle but took a lot of stick from the Valley faithful
Phil Walker Always looked good on the ball, what he did with it was not always so good
Les Berry Old school and as skinny as Nicky Johns- good old Les
Peter Shaw Not the greatest but never really let Charlton down
Paul Walsh With only a handful of games towards the end of this dismal season he was the only shining light and I think we could see the potential in a great young player( he looked about twelve) who always looked so comfortable on the ball -The following season he was to become one of the most influential players along with Hales and Powell when we bounced straight back to Division Two .
Probably my most enjoyable and carefree time with total commitment as a Charlton supporter I can remember me and my Dad attended every home game . In 68/69 Charlton narrowly missed promotion finishing third behind Palace - Matt Tees (The skinniest football player ever) Ray Treacy along with Alan Campbell had the greatest season of their lives and the Original Mr Brick house Graham Moore controlled the midfield like a marine on an commando mission Brian Kinsey- Pictured right( -were players fit enough to do somersaults) what a full back -made it a fantastic season. The highlight for me was watching Ray Treacy score a thunderbolt against a very good Derby side then managed by the great Brian Clough . Being amongst 55, 000 at Highbury in the fourth round of the Old FA Cup (it meant something then) and even a 3-0 defeat was a memorable day out. At the time I think Arsenal were top of the First Division and Charlton were top of the Second for one week only.
The following season with higher expectations than normal we failed to live up to our potential and avoided relegation by beating Bristol City 2-1 on the last day of the season . Great celebrations amongst the 16,000 crowd and it was the first and only time I walked on the pitch . Strange but I recall many programmes and scarves being thrown in the air in sheer joy of the club avoiding relegation.
The next season was a total disaster with the club relegated by a point . Charlton last 10 matches of that season was P 10 W 0 D 3 L 7 which well and truly sealed our fate
1971/72 players of note
John Dunn Great Goalkeeper- Derek Bellotti ( He hardly ever dropped kicked the ball because he could throw it well over the half-way line and the crowd used to shout" throw it"and he would normally oblige)
Phil Warman Never gave up
Dennis Bond Mr Tubby actually not a bad footballer
Dietmar Bruck Built like a German Paratrooper
Keith Peacock What a great servant for the club
Ray Treacy One great season but still scored a lot of great goals in this disastrous season
Paul Went Another great reliable player who was at least three stone overweight
Peter Reeves Never ever stopped running
Bob Curtis The greatest full back never to have played in the top tier
D Shipperley A giant of a man and never took any prisoners
Players who you wonder how they ever made it in the professional game but they were great characters who always gave a hundred percent and we loved despite their lack of ability
Barry Endean, Cyril Davies and the great Dickie Plumb (what a name)
With an average gate of 7,200 and an opened East Terrace that in bad weather would freeze you to the bone, despite what was a cataclysmic season I still loved being there and I think that was something to do with my personal circumstances as well as the players. As free as a bird with no Mortgage, no regular girlfriend OK maybe for a short while, a job that was just a job with no particular commitment to it. Low expectations with any win met with shear joy.
My current circumstances might explain my apathy towards today's crises with our beloved club.
The great things in my life are a Wife and two -now adult children, a reasonable house and car , as the kids are older we are starting to travel and plan to catch up with Chicago Addick and surpass his travelling exploits (No chance unless we live to the ripe old age of 150)
I'm playing the best tennis of my life with three promotions this season(08/09) two with the vets to seal top tier tennis in Kent and playing for the under 45's mainly youngsters(in tennis that normally means about 30) and gaining promotion to the third tier.
Unfortunately my job is hanging by a thread as publishing is always the first a take a massive hit in any recession - fortunately its normally the first to come back. At nearly 53 I'm too young to retire but the job opportunities are almost impossible for any one over 50.
Charlton is a big part of my other life and will continue to be so but I like many other bloggers have declined writing about the club at the moment because my opinions are so negative and who the hell wants to read those sort of posts and I will only be stating the bleeding obvious anyway.
Come on you Reds - I need the good feel factor back in my other life supporting Charlton.
Next season I will buy match day tickets as I cannot justify spending over £400 in these dire financial times.
Come on You Reds