‘We’re Charlton Athletic, and we’re on our way back!’

That’s been heard from The Valley terraces for the best part of 18 months.

Fans felt that with Lee Bowyer at the helm promotion to the Championship was a possibility, and with it the first step to getting back to the glory years experienced under club legend Alan Curbishley at the turn of millennium.

Bowyer made that first step.

He and his team of meticulous, astute and hard-working staff delivered the impossible in the 94th minute of a Wembley Play-Off final thanks to Patrick Bauer’s now infamous six-yard ‘worldy’ against Sunderland.

The most impressive thing was it was all done with a turbulent back-drop containing all the off-field drama’s that came with then owner Roland Duchatelet.

Unpaid bonuses, no investment, no bottled water at the training ground, all some of the reasons why fans protested around The Valley and boycotted games.

In October 2017, just 741 fans showed up for their Checkatrade tie against Fulham, their lowest ever recorded.

That figure compared with the 38,000 that witnessed Bowyer’s discombobulated two-yard celebratory dash down the touchline at Wembley makes you scratch your head.

Are Charlton fans fickle enough to just want a day out at Wembley?

Was it a case of just being able to say, ‘I was there?’

Is it just a dislike of Sunderland?

No, to all.

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The answer is the same as to why The Valley saw 27,000 fans fill every last seat towards the end of the 2018/19 season, culminating in the memorable pitch-invasion celebrating the dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the play-off semi-final.

Led by a man passionate about the crest and his infectious desire to succeed, they were there because of what the club means to SE7.

They want their club back to where it belongs.

Nkw though, they feel Bowyer has emptied the tank, utilised the resources at his disposal and in need of reinforcements, and not just financially.

With the novelty of being Championship-newbies worn off, points drying up and sliding towards the league trap door, the joy that came with promotion was soon replaced with reality.

There needed to be a change.

Bowyer and his crew papered over cracks but if the club were to succeed they’d need stewardship, stability and investment from above.

Duchatelet was never going to be that man.

Step forward East Street Investments and Matt Southall, the club’s new Chairman.

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Instinctively fans have taken to Southall.

Not because he’s an upgrade on the previous owner, he may not be. It's not because he’s offered Bowyer a FIVE-YEAR deal, he may not sign.

It’s because he has ideas, he has plans, and above all he’s made it his priority to be open with the supporters that have inevitably forced a change of owner.

“There’s no guarantees in life,” Southall said of what assurances he can give the Addicks of their relationship not going the same way as his predecessor.

“What I’ve said is I’ve been open and transparent, I’ve been visible, I’ve been to all the games.

“I’m looking at the long-term stability of the club, some fans may not like it, but ultimately I will sit here and say ‘this is the decision and what I feel is right for the club,’ as long as I can say its justifiable.

“I can’t say where it’s going to go, but I can be open, transparent and engaging with the fans.”

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Combining his scheduled meetings with supporter’s trusts and councils with his vocal support from the stands, Southall’s arrival has been met with the fanfare usually reserved for a major signing.

The marquee player may not have waltzed through The Valley gates yet, but fans are getting excited about the possibilities because of the sense of belonging they’re beginning to feel in their club again.

Southall speaks of “reconnecting with the community” and repairing the “disconnect between fans and owner,” music to the ears of any fan left disillusioned from the Duchatelet era.

“It’s not about luring the fans back, it’s not about tempting them back, they should want to come back,” he says.

“The support is massive, we should be filling this stadium week in week out.

“We play some great football, we’ve got good players and looking at bringing in better players, so we will get back up that league.

“We are here to move that club forward and be successful, and do it together as a collective, because ultimately moving as one is better than moving as three or four.”

“Come back.”

With West Brom the visitors for the first home league game since confirmation of the takeover, the result against the promotion chasers seems irrelevant.

A win would be welcome but the announcement of Bowyer signing that five-year deal would surely win the fans over and start their "new dawn" on the right foot.