Armchair fans, why not get off the sofa and go see some football in the flesh in south London. Those in the know might say because this is one area (in contrast to our strap line) where south London doesn’t rule. They may have a point; although south London is football’s historic home, with FA Cup finals from 1861 to 1914 generally at the Oval or the Crystal Palace, after 150 years of effort, the trophy haul for south London clubs is just two FA Cup wins, Charlton in 1947 and Wimbledon in 1988. It’s hardly a roll of honour, more a post-it note.
So if you’re someone who just wants to support a winning team, a glory-hunter, south London football may not be your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you want to follow your local team and experience the agony (often) as well as the ecstasy (rarer) you have four professional clubs to choose from as well as a number of non-league or semi-pro clubs. Charlton are the one south London club who nearly made it into the real big time with high league finishes in the 1930s and that cup win in the 40s, but relegation in the mid-50s saw a chequered history after that. We sent our guest blogger, David, down to the Valley to see ‘the Addicks’ take on Leeds United.
“When I arrived at the Valley, heavy rain had delayed the kick-off for 30 minutes but, after sterling efforts by groundstaff the match got under way before a noisy crowd of over 17,000. I’m actually an Arsenal fan so the football was more direct and physical than I’m used to seeing. However, it was high on entertainment value with Leeds taking the lead, then Charlton scoring a cracking equaliser on half-time. Goals were exchanged again in the second period before Leeds quickly made it 2-3 with a goal about twenty minutes from time. End-to-end football continued until Leeds finally settled it with a last-minute score to run out 4-2 winners, leaving Charlton hovering just above the relegation spots in the Championship.
Overall, it was high energy and high excitement with both sets of fans passionately supporting their teams – Charlton fans have drummers who crank up the atmosphere in the home end. At the final whistle the home fans didn’t boo their team off for losing – far from it. I got the feeling that they appreciated the team’s efforts and 100% commitment. I won’t be changing my allegiance, but as an afternoon’s sport it was really entertaining and, with ticket prices ranging from £20-26, it was value for money.”