Thursday 31 December 2020

R.I.P. Tom Morris

I was deeply saddened to hear today of the death of one time club photographer, Tom Morris.  He started covering Charlton in 1969.

Tom was a fellow pupil at St. Margaret's Church of England Primary School, although a couple of years ahead of me.   He lived very close to me in Ennis Road.

Rick Everitt summed it up well: 'news today of Tom's death is a terrible end to a rotten year. He was both a good friend and a great photographer. Tom leaves us a rich legacy of CAFC images covering decades.'

That will be a very fitting and continuing memorial.

Rick's obituary is here:

Garry Nelson tweeted from a former player's perspective: 'So talented and so unassuming.  Always took our endless teasing with patience and good humour.'

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Happy 80th birthday to a Charlton stalwart

 John Window with the Herminator

At a time when we have had a lot of sad news about Charlton stalwarts, I would like to commemorate the 80th birthday of John Window.

John Window was born in Didcot, but at an early age his family moved to Catford and he soon developed an Addicktion.   Sam Bartram was a particular hero and I know that John took particular pride in a spell in goal in a post-season kickabout at The Valley.

John started life as a gas fitter and I have photo of him as a young man tending a motor bike with a large patch of oil underneath it on a Catford street.

Starting with one horse on a waste piece of ground, in 1966 he established Mount Mascal Stables in Bexleyheath which is still run by the family:

Through the stables business he was an active sponsor of Charlton in the years after the return to The Valley.   John always talked horse sense about Charlton.

One of my memories of John is when Charlton went to play FC Roda in the Netherlands during the Premier League years.  We found ourselves in the same hotel and John offered us a lift in his very smart car.   When we arrived at the ground, John wound down the window and said 'Charlton directors' and we were allocated a special parking place.

On another occasion we stayed in the same hotel in Totnes for friendlies in Devon.   The manager knew I was there as an Addick, but he seemed to be strangely deferential to me.  It took a while to work out that he thought I was the owner of John's car (if not a Rolls, it was a Bentley) in the car park.

A picture a Charlton fan has sent me on Facebook suggests it may have been a red Jag, certainly the poshest car I have ever been in, even counting the one laid on for me to go to Brenda's place.

John has had some health challenges in recent years and I haven't seen him for a while, but I know he remains Charlton through and through.

Thursday 24 December 2020

Christmas quiz

 Like many families we won't be able to meet up in person this Christmas, but we will meet up online and have been enjoying a family video quiz which brings in the family branch now living permanently in Spain.  I thought that I would devise a Charlton Christmas quiz.  

The person who gets most questions right has a choice of prizes.  You can have a free copy of my forthcoming book which states in the opening paragraph: 'I recall catching the Number 53 bus from Plumstead Common at the age of six with my parents, walking with the crowds through Maryon Park and standing on the huge East Terrace at The Valley, the home of Charlton Athletic.'   The cover has Charlton and Millwall Subbuteo figures having an exchange of views.

However, it won't be out until June and you may prefer a choice of a Charlton shirt from the Curbishley era.

Here are the questions:

1. The attendance at Charlton v. Wolves on December 25th 1956 was a disappointing 15,968.  What was the explanation offered at the time?

2. Why did Charlton not play a completed game from 22nd December 1962 to 9th February 1963?

3. Charlton played Plymouth Argyle at The Valley on Boxing Day 1960.  What was the score?

4. There was a home and away format at Christmas time in the 1950s. In which year did Charlton last play a Christmas Day match?   It was an away fixture.  Who were the opponents?

5. When was the last home fixture on Christmas Day at The Valley and against which team (the second half was broadcast on radio by the BBC)?

6. Finland is known for its Father Christmas experiences in Lapland (we took the grandchildren when they were little rather than paying mortgages).   I travelled to northern Finland for a summer Charlton friendly when Jonatan Johansson played for us.  What was the city?

7. Which language did JJ customarily speak at home when he was growing up?

8. Trains used to run on Christmas Day, enabling the team to return from an away fixture and there were even restaurant cars.   What were the Charlton team alleged to have done  on one such trip?

9. I was born in early January 1947.   My father went to The Valley for a FA Cup game and then to the hospital at Greenwich where I was born around 7.30 pm.(Oddly, you can find my astrological chart online).  Who were Charlton's opponents?

10. My father had supported Charlton since the early 1920s.   In 1972 my parents retired to the town my mother's family had originated from.  Hence I watched the town's non-league team at Christmas with my father at their Bickland Park ground.  The Cornish pasties at half time were superb.   The football wasn't bad either as they won the Rothmans Western League four times in succession from 1974/5.   Name the team.

Send your answers to:

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Ufton going strong at 92

Unfortunately I missed the 7-6 win over Huddersfield because we were Christmas shopping in Woolwich. However, this is surely an appropriate time for a tribute to Derek Ufton, one of the Charlton team I admired in the 1950s:

Derek often suffered a dislocated shoulder, but he is still going strong at 92, even after some ups and downs in his life.

The defensive midfielder was the first Charlton player to be appointed to the board of the club.

He came from an era when in the summer quite a few players also played cricket (or baseball) while others earned a crust doing maintenance work on the ground.   Wages were reduced in the summer and in any case were no more than a skilled worker would earn which is how owners saw them.

Derek played 277 games for Charlton, scoring 14 goals.  Colin Cameron says in The Valiant 500: 'There has never been a more loyal one-club player than Derek.  Had he left Charlton for a more fashionable club, he would have undoubtedly won more than one England cap which he deserved.'

Saturday 19 December 2020

From Bartram to Amos

Ben Amos has been Charlton's most consistent performer in my view this year and he could be in line for his first promotion with the Addicks:

Sam Bartram was my number one childhood hero and ever since I have been interested in goalkeepers.   Bartram's play was a bit eccentric by the standards of his day which is perhaps one reason why he never broke through into international football, although a Portsmouth fan of my acquaintance dismissed him as a 'showman'.

Ever since I have taken a special interest in Charlton's keepers.  My favourite of modern times was Dean Kiely.  His parents lived just down the road from me.   I bumped into him once at Leamington FC and introduced myself as a Charlton fan and he couldn't have been more courteous.

Actually, former Leamington keeper and barmy binman Tony Breeden was also someone I saw as being in the Bartram mould.   Not only a penalty taker (I saw him score against Wolves at Molineux), he also managed to score with free kicks and goal kicks.   Unfortunately, he blotted his copybook by breaking the nose of the captain in training.   Now playing for Nuneaton, he was sent off the other week.

The hallmark of Ben Amos's play is that of the thorough competent professional, but one who also makes some superb saves.   He is a free agent in June but he hasn't made any decisions about his future.   I think if we got promoted he would stay with the right offer which we are now capable of providing.

He also has confidence in the team in front of him.  He told Richard Cawley: 'With the squad we’ve got and strength in depth, we all know we’ve got the ability in the team to do it,” I wouldn’t say there is a feeling of pressure, it’s just what we expect of ourselves and the standards we set. We’ve blown a bit hot and cold at times after that consistent streak where we won six on the bounce. Hopefully we’ll go on another run now.' 

Friday 18 December 2020

Solly bares his soul

Richard Cawley does some great Charlton interviews and this one with Chris Solly is particularly good:

Of course, Solly is giving his version of events, but it is clear that he is not happy with Lee Bowyer and Steve Gallen who warned him in January that his Valley career was coming to an end.   As he puts it, 'There are still a lot of people at the club I've got a lot of respect for.  The likes of Keithy Peacock, Steve Avory and Chris Parkes - some of the best people I know are working at that club.  I'm grateful and thankful for people like that, who did so much for me.''

For him, Chris Powell was the best boss he played under and Yan Kermorgant was the best player he played with.

Solly is trying to rebuild his career in the non-league at Ebbsfleet United.   I have seen players do that in their early twenties at my non-league club and go on to play in League One or Two, but it is more difficult when you are 29.  Solly has had to postpone his wedding.

I hope this loyal servant of Charlton is able to rebuild his career, but I also respect the right of those in charge to make difficult choices.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

'Crystal Palace, we're coming from you'

A lot of people are still missing out on our stories because Forever Charlton doesn't link to the Third Division Diary.  The Talksport interview with Thomas Sandgaard was especially interesting:

See more here: