Powell to join in Valley applause tribute

News Shopper: Chris Powell signs the Jimmy Mizen Foundation peace car at Millwall last week. PICTURE BY ALAN STANFORD. Chris Powell signs the Jimmy Mizen Foundation peace car at Millwall last week. PICTURE BY ALAN STANFORD.

CHRIS Powell says he will join in a planned round of applause at 3.07pm on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of Colin Walsh’s winning goal against Pompey.

Walsh’s strike came on 5 December 1992, the day the club finally ended an unwanted seven year nomadic existence ground sharing at Crystal Palace and then West Ham.

This Saturday’s anniversary game with Brighton promises to be a memorable one and the manager is all in favour of the proposed applause from the stands at the time Walsh hit the target two decades ago.

“I do like that,” said Powell.

“Obviously it is happening at Chelsea now and I’m led to believe it was done for Ricardo Fuller at Stoke.

“I do feel it is a real fitting way to applaud someone or something that has happened. For us to do it on Saturday will be excellent.

“Hopefully we might score in that seventh minute, which would be even better.

“I hope Brighton don’t score because that would kind of be a bit bizarre!

“I tell you what, I think I will join in because I think it is a mark of respect for the team that day, for Colin Walsh – it is forever up there that sign in the North Stand with regards to Colin Walsh 3.07pm – and I think it is superb.

“I hope everyone joins in and we can obviously over the 90 minutes do ourselves proud, do the team proud and do the club proud in respect of what happened 20 years ago.”

Powell also accepts Saturday will be an emotionally charged occasion for many in the ground.

He said: “I think it will be and it will be a real mark of respect to all of the supporters that worked so hard all those years back in getting our club back to its rightful home.

“I was a youngster at Palace at the time remembering Charlton being there every other week and seeing what it was like for the supporters.

“Little did I know 20 years later I would be manager of the team in a superb stadium now at The Valley.

“Even against Portsmouth the hard work that everyone put in to get that game on with the portacabins and the training rooms in the corner, the club was home.

“A lot has happened in the 20 years since of course.

“We hit the heady heights of the Premier League and then Championship and League One.

“We are doing our best to work our way back and I think it is a fitting game really against Brighton, a club that have been through a similar scenario to us.

“They are now at their new stadium back in their home town.

“It is great that the two clubs - but more importantly for us - that we are back home playing at a wonderful arena and looking to get three points in our Championship season.”

Powell also cited the recent FA Cup meeting between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon as an example of just how important football and identity is in our society.

The Valley chief explained: “I think people sometimes underestimate what football clubs mean to supporters.

“We’ve seen recently with MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon exactly what it means to people who support their club.

“Can you imagine if that happened to us?

“I suppose we were in a scenario where it could have happened many years ago.

“It is quite amazing what football clubs mean to people and how they feel about their clubs, the running of it, the players and the manager and all that encompasses being a football supporter.

“So I just feel our club is special in many ways, not only because of that but it does help a togetherness and a bond amongst the small band of supporters that were involved in the fight at the time, the band of supporters that went to Selhurst every other week and went to Upton Park.”

Powell added: “I remember people saying there were 3,000 at certain games.

“Charlton can draw upon big support but you can look at the amount of support we would have lost at that time and how we’ve worked so hard to get them back.

“We are now getting regularly good crowds at our ground and we know we can fill it out, especially when we were in the Premier League and we are hoping to get those days back.

“We’ve got a real hardcore support that will always support the team and I suppose it was borne out at that time but also over the years.

“We’ve always had good crowds, we’ve had good teams and good players at The Valley over many, many years.

“Obviously that is what we are trying to emulate now that we have a team and players all of our supporters will be proud of.”

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