|Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 Leeds United|
Saturday, 28th September 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Wednesday, 25th Sep 2019 23:07 by Tim Whelan
Our first visit to Charlton Athletic for several years is on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm. If you’re not sampling the delights of South-East London, there is always the beamback at Elland Road.
If you’re driving it would be best to go round the M25 to Junction 2, rather than trying to get through central London. From there you need to follow the A2 towards London, and after around 12 miles the road splits with the A2 going off to the left and the right hand lanes becoming the A102. Follow the A102 towards the Blackwall Tunnel, but leave the A102 at the next slip road (sign posted Woolwich & Ferry A206). At the bottom of the slip road turn right at the traffic lights towards Woolwich/Charlton.
If you’re thinking of street parking you need to make a right turn as soon as you see the ‘Rose of Denmark’ pub. Parking at the ground is for permit holders only, and a local residents parking scheme in the streets immediately around the ground and Charlton railway station. Alternatively, you could try and park in the Industrial Estates to the north of the ground, which you’ll find by staying on the A206 and turning left once you’ve got past the Stone Lake Retail Park.
By train it’s pretty straightforward, as there are seven trains an hour from London Bridge to Charlton station, which is only a few minutes walk from the ground. Four of these hourly trains start from Cannon Street, with two from Charing Cross and the other a Thameslink service from St Pancras.
A good pub for away fans is the aforementioned ‘Rose of Denmark’, though bizarrely this becomes a home fans only venue after the game. Another option is 'The Antigallican’, a large pub which is also on Woolwich Road, but closer to the ground and the railway station, and between the two is the ‘Pickwick’, which usually admits away fans. If you’re looking for grub, there is a decent fish and chip shop at the top of Floyd Road, which you pass on the way to the away fans entrance.
At one time the Valley had the largest ground capacity in the country at over 60,000, thanks to the huge terrace which was built onto a natural hillside down the east side. But by the 1985 the terrace had been closed for safety reasons, and the club’s desperate financial situation led to a controversial move to Selhurst Park, as Charlton’s then owners wanted to sell the ground for housing. It was only after a determined campaign by the supporters that they finally moved back to the Valley in December 1992, and one of the first games back home was an FA Cup replay against good old us.
Once they were safely back the redevelopment of the Valley could begin, to bring it up to the standards demanded by the Taylor Report. The old terrace on the East side was replaced by a new stand and an extra tier was added to the north stand, including the two corners to either side. The current capacity is 27,111.
Inevitably, the away end is the oldest part of the ground, but the view isn’t too bad if you don’t get stuck behind the pillar which is directly behind the goal. On the plus side, the stewarding is relaxed, and they tolerate the fact that we stand throughout the game. There are two food kiosks selling the usual sort of football ground scoff, and if you’re very lucky, you might even be able to get alcohol inside the ground.
The away allocation is 3,060 tickets for the bigger clubs who get the whole of this end, which obviously includes us. For once the Leeds tickets weren’t sold through the ‘attendance tracker’ scheme, but they have now sold out. Like most clubs, Charlton have a category system , and inevitably our visit has been chosen as one of the Gold fixtures (we’re not famous any more!) with prices to match. So it will cost us £27 for adults, with various categories of concessions from £5 to £21.
If you didn’t get one, there is always the ‘beamback’ in the centenary pavilion at Elland Road, for the usual £10, including a free drink. This wasn’t announced until Monday, presumably because they had to wait until the Leeds end at the stadium had sold out. Home tickets at the Valley are on “restricted sale”, so to get one anywhere other than the Leeds end you would have need to have been on Charlton’s database before September 6th.
Charlton have all sorts of exciting plans as to how they could increase the capacity in the future. A second tier on the East Stand and a new South-East corner would take it to 30,900, and if they replaced the current away end with a double decker stand it would go as high as 40,600. So we may have an unobstructed view one day, and they now have planning permission from Greenwich Council , but so far they don’t have any idea of when this will become a reality.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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