Friday, 6 November 2015

Wallowing in past glories

Not everything was glorious in the past as this example of poor design from a 1978 programme shows

Katrien Meire has said that we mustn't wallow in the past glories of the club, but to me they are very real and a welcome distraction from present woes. It was therefore a great pleasure to make my first visit to the Charlton Athletic museum last night. There is already an excellent display and more donations are coming in all the time (I took the framed set of historic items we received when we sponsored the match against Bradford City in 2000). The museum does need more money for display cases and I am taking out membership.

A chance to tour the museum was followed by two talks. The first provided video and audio of what was then believed to be the last match at The Valley. There was a lot of hoof and hope in the game but we did beat Stoke 2-0. The second, by Steve Sutherland, looked at the Crystal Palace years and had many fascinating anecdotes about the personalities of that era. Clubcall was then the main way of communicating with fans and in order to provide material in the summer months it ran an interview with the laundry lady who discussed her favourite detergent!

Steve's basic theme was that the Selhurst Park years tended to be air brushed out of our history. However, if people hadn't kept things going through that dark period, there wouldn't have been a club to come back to The Valley.

He struck a chord when he said that his most important relationship with is father was football. My life diverged sharply from what my father experienced, and I am sure that I was a puzzle to him, but we continued to share a love of football and Charlton in particular.

Ben Hayes of the museum is featured in an article in the latest Four Four Two. He stumbled across a neglected cinema newsreel clip entitled Charlton Match Filmed to Aid Training. Numerous cameras were set up around The Valley for a game against Burnley in 1947. The players then went to a local cinema to watch the game. It was probably the first time they had seen themselves play. There's a great posed clip of Jimmy Seed looking over the stills, none of which the supporters ever got to see. 'It must have been used as a coaching tool - and a PR gimmick,' said Hayes.

You can se the film here (don't be put off by the fact that it starts with a clip of Princess Elizabeth and Phil the Greek: Movietone film Charlton

Apparently, Jimmy Seed's grandson is about to retire and may address a future meeting at the museum. How time flies.

BTW, don't try to visit the museum today as the lift is broken.

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