‘Battle for The Valley’ by Rick Everitt
There is an assumption - or perhaps it is just me and a few of my generation who assume as much - this is a story everyone connected to Charlton already knows.
But the final climatic events told in exacting detail in this updated volume of Rick Everitt’s original now took place more than 20 years ago.
In the case of the controversial departure from The Valley it is actually closer to 30.
A whole new generation has come along to The Valley post-1992, a date of rebirth totally unconnected to any creation of the Premier League as far as Addicks are concerned.
The stories may well be new to many, or merely vague stories handed down with other myths and legends alongside some old programmes.
To put it into context there is now the same time span between the present day and the departure to Selhurst Park than there was between that event and the end of the Jimmy Seed era.
So the story of how Charlton Athletic lost its home, but perhaps refound its soul, is always worth revisiting.
This is not an easy read despite the final outcome (I won’t tell you how it ends just in case you really don’t know).
It is a tale of blunders and missed opportunities from as far back as the 1920s, as well as the telling of valiant (pun intended) struggles just to keep the club going, let alone helping it thrive.
The constant thought of “if only…” haunted this reader.
But it is also a reminder of just what can be achieved, as the author states, when the fans act, when they do not accept owners automatically know best, that fans have an important if not vital role and that while we may have to face the reality of a situation we can still act to change it.
The key reminder for me was that the Battle for The Valley was won not by fans over the board but by fans AND the board seeing that their interests were the same and so fighting alongside each other to achieve victory.
This is not a history of Charlton but it is certainly a more than useful primer.
Hardly a date or figure (usually a debt of some sort) is left out but it flows along easily enough.
That it is written by a fan and an active participant is clear but the praise for others is generous - perhaps more so than in the first edition, although I deliberately didn’t go back to that to contrast and compare.
There are photos which speed the tale, although twice the Jimmy Seed Stand is referred to by the misnomer I refuse to repeat.
The updated version of Battle for The Valley consists of 310 tightly packed pages for £9.99 (plus postage and packing).
You might even see yourself in one of those photos – much, much younger and slimmer of course.
Battle for The Valley can be ordered online from votvonline.com
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