Charlton’s concerns about relegation to League 1 have ended with the news that the club will be leaving the Football League and joining a new competition, the Atlantic League, next season. The idea of an Atlantic League has been around for about fifteen years as a means of boosting football in smaller European countries, but it has now been brought to fruition by Charlton owner Roland Duchâtelet . It is more ambitious than his plan to merge the Belgian and Dutch leagues.
The new league will take six of the top teams from the Belgian and Dutch leagues. It will also be joined two teams from Scotland: not Celtic or Rangers, but probably one of the Edinburgh clubs and Aberdeen. Both cities have good links with Schipol Airport for players and fans.
How to bring Luxembourg, as a Benelux country, into the new league was a challenge as the Grand Duchy’s clubs are semi-professional at best. However, a solution copied from Guernsey has been adopted. The successful non-league team, Guernsey FC, draws the best players from all the island’s teams. Luxembourg FC will operate in a similar fashion, using one of the Luxembourg City grounds.
Charlton will be the sole English team competing in the new league. The proximity of London City Airport, which even has services to Luxembourg, will be a great help for away matches. It also planned to start a ‘reverse Rickshaw’ service using the Channel Tunnel for some of the most attractive games in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Two mysteries solved
Two years ago during the London mayoral election plans were announced to build a Jubilee line spur from North Greenwich to The Valley. Jubilee Line Unfortunately, funding was not available, but a start was made at the Charlton end on the stabling siding under The Valley pitch. Unfortunately, during this work the drains under the pitch were damaged, leading to the problems this season.
The new owners decided to see what use could be made of this tunnel, given that some additional Northern Line tunnels that were never utilised were recently converted to grow crops. Tunnels
However, when an inspection party went down to the tunnel, they had something of a surprise. There has been speculation about the whereabouts of midfielder Mark Gower, but no one realised he had a fully equipped bedsit under the pitch, complete with a periscope that came up by the touchline to allow him to watch games.
An even bigger surprise was the discovery of a chamber containing a printing press and two of Rick Everitt’s helpers working on the second edition of Back to the Valley. In relation to the latter discovery, a club spokesman commented, ‘We have always said that Everitt was trying to undermine the club, but now we have proof positive.'