|Full name||Charlton Athletic Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Addicks, Red Robins, The Valiants|
|Founded||9 June 1905|
|2019-20||Championship, 22nd of 24 (relegated)|
Charlton Athletic Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Charlton, south-east London. They currently compete in League One, the third tier of English football, having been relegated from the Championship in the 2019-20 season. The club was founded on 9 June 1905 when a number of youth clubs in south-east London, including East Street Mission and Blundell Mission, combined to form Charlton Athletic. Their home ground is the Valley, where the club have played since 1919, apart from one year in Catford, during 1923-24, and seven years at Crystal Palace and West Ham United between 1985 and 1992, due to financial issues, and then safety concerns raised by the local council. The club's fans formed the Valley Party, nominating candidates to stand in local elections, in a bid to return the club to The Valley.
Charlton turned professional in 1920 and first entered the Football League in 1921. Since then the club has had four separate periods in the top flight of English football: 1936-1957, 1986-1990, 1998-1999, and 2000-2007. Historically, Charlton's most successful period was the 1930s, when the club's highest league finishes were recorded, including runners-up of the First Division in 1937. After World War II, Charlton reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing in 1946, and winning in 1947.
The club's traditional kit consists of red shirts, white shorts and red socks, and their most commonly used nickname is The Addicks. Charlton share local rivalries with fellow South London clubs Crystal Palace and Millwall.
Charlton Athletic F.C. were formed on 9 June 1905 by a group of 15- to 17-year-olds in East Street, Charlton, which is now known as Eastmoor Street and no longer residential. Charlton spent most of the years before the First World War playing in youth leagues. They became a senior side in 1913 the same year that nearby Woolwich Arsenal relocated to North London. After the war, they joined the Kent League for one season (1919-20) before becoming professional, appointing Walter Rayner as the first full-time manager. They were accepted by the Southern League and played just a single season (1920-21) before being voted into the Football League. Charlton's first Football League match was against Exeter City in August 1921, which they won 1-0. In 1923, Charlton became "giant killers" in the FA Cup beating top flight sides Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, and Preston North End before losing to eventual winners Bolton Wanderers in the Quarter-Finals. Later that year, it was proposed that Charlton merge with Catford Southend to create a larger team with bigger support.:30 In the 1923-24 season Charlton played in Catford at The Mount stadium and wore the colours of "The Enders", light and dark blue vertical stripes. However, the move fell through and the Addicks returned to the Charlton area in 1924, returning to the traditional red and white colours in the process.
Charlton finished second bottom in the Football League in 1926 and were forced to apply for re-election which was successful. Three years later the Addicks won the Division Three championship in 1929 and they remained at the Division Two level for four years. After relegation into the Third Division south at the end of the 1932-33 season the club appointed Jimmy Seed as manager and he oversaw the most successful period in Charlton's history either side of the Second World War. Seed, an ex-miner who had made a career as a footballer despite suffering the effects of poison gas in the First World War, remains the most successful manager in Charlton's history. He is commemorated in the name of a stand at the Valley.:19 Seed was an innovative thinker about the game at a time when tactical formations were still relatively unsophisticated. He later recalled "a simple scheme that enabled us to pull several matches out of the fire" during the 1934-35 season: when the team was in trouble "the centre-half was to forsake his defensive role and go up into the attack to add weight to the five forwards.":66 The organisation Seed brought to the team proved effective and the Addicks gained successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division between 1934 and 1936, becoming the first club to ever do so. Charlton finally secured promotion to the First Division by beating local rivals West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground, with their centre-half John Oakes playing on despite concussion and a broken nose.
In 1937, Charlton finished runners up in the First Division, in 1938 finished fourth and 1939 finished third. They were the most consistent team in the top flight of English football over the three seasons immediately before the Second World War. This continued during the war years and they won the Football League War Cup and appeared in finals.
Charlton reached the 1946 FA Cup Final, but lost 4-1 to Derby County at Wembley. Charlton's Bert Turner scored an own goal in the eightieth minute before equalising for the Addicks a minute later to take them into extra time, but they conceded three further goals in the extra period. When the full league programme resumed in 1946-47 Charlton could finish only 19th in the First Division, just above the relegation spots, but they made amends with their performance in the FA Cup, reaching the 1947 FA Cup Final. This time they were successful, beating Burnley 1-0, with Chris Duffy scoring the only goal of the day. In this period of renewed football attendances, Charlton became one of only thirteen English football teams to average over 40,000 as their attendance during a full season. The Valley was the largest football ground in the League, drawing crowds in excess of 70,000. However, in the 1950s little investment was made either for players or to The Valley, hampering the club's growth. In 1956, the then board undermined Jimmy Seed and asked for his resignation; Charlton were relegated the following year.
From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Charlton remained a mainstay of the Second Division before relegation to the Third Division in 1972 caused the team's support to drop, and even a promotion in 1975 back to the second division did little to re-invigorate the team's support and finances. In 1979-80 Charlton were relegated again to the Third Division, but won immediate promotion back to the Second Division in 1980-81. This was a turning point in the club's history leading to a period of turbulence and change including further promotion and exile. A change in management and shortly after a change in club ownership led to severe problems, such as the reckless signing of former European Footballer of the Year Allan Simonsen, and the club looked like it would go out of business.
In 1984 financial matters came to a head and the club went into administration, to be reformed as Charlton Athletic. (1984) Ltd. although the club's finances were still far from secure. They were forced to leave the Valley just after the start of the 1985-86 season, after its safety was criticised by Football League officials in the wake of the Bradford City stadium fire. The club began to groundshare with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and this arrangement looked to be for the long-term, as Charlton did not have enough funds to revamp the Valley to meet safety requirements.
Despite the move away from the Valley, Charlton were promoted to the First Division as Second Division runners-up at the end of 1985-86, and remained at this level for four years (achieving a highest league finish of 14th) often with late escapes, most notably against Leeds in 1987, where the Addicks triumphed in extra-time of the play-off final replay to secure their top flight place. In 1987 Charlton also returned to Wembley for the first time since the 1947 FA Cup final for the Full Members Cup final against Blackburn. Eventually, Charlton were relegated in 1990 along with Sheffield Wednesday and bottom club Millwall. Manager Lennie Lawrence remained in charge for one more season before he accepted an offer to take charge of Middlesbrough. He was replaced by joint player-managers Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt. The pair had unexpected success in their first season finishing just outside the play-offs, and 1992-93 began promisingly and Charlton looked good bets for promotion in the new Division One (the new name of the old Second Division following the formation of the Premier League). However, the club was forced to sell players such as Rob Lee to help pay for a return to the Valley, while club fans formed the Valley Party, nominating candidates to stand in local elections in 1990, pressing the local council to enable the club's return to the Valley - finally achieved in December 1992.
In March 1993, defender Tommy Caton, who had been out of action due to injury since January 1991, announced his retirement from playing on medical advice. He died suddenly at the end of the following month at the age of 30.
In 1995, new chairman Richard Murray appointed Alan Curbishley as sole manager of Charlton. Under his sole leadership Charlton made an appearance in the play-off in 1996 but were eliminated by Crystal Palace in the semi-finals and the following season brought a disappointing 15th-place finish. 1997-98 was Charlton's best season for years. They reached the Division One play-off final and battled against Sunderland in a thrilling game which ended with a 4-4 draw after extra time. Charlton won 7-6 on penalties, with the match described as "arguably the most dramatic game of football in Wembley's history", and were promoted to the Premier League.
Charlton's first Premier League campaign began promisingly (they went top after two games) but they were unable to keep up their good form and were soon battling relegation. The battle was lost on the final day of the season but the club's board kept faith in Curbishley, confident that they could bounce back. Curbishley rewarded the chairman's loyalty with the Division One title in 2000 which signalled a return to the Premier League.
After the club's return, Curbishley proved an astute spender and by 2003 he had succeeded in establishing Charlton in the top flight. Charlton spent much of the 2003-04 Premier League season challenging for a Champions League place, but a late-season slump in form and the sale of star player Scott Parker to Chelsea, left Charlton in seventh place, which was still the club's highest finish since the 1950s. Charlton were unable to build on this level of achievement and Curbishley departed in 2006, with the club still established as a solid mid-table side.
In May 2006, Iain Dowie was named as Curbishley's successor, but was sacked after 12 league matches in November 2006, with only two wins.Les Reed replaced Dowie as manager, however he too failed to improve Charlton's position in the league table and on Christmas Eve 2006, Reed was replaced by former player Alan Pardew. Although results did improve, Pardew was unable to keep Charlton up and relegation was confirmed in the penultimate match of the season.
Charlton's return to the second tier of English football was a disappointment, with their promotion campaign tailing off to an 11th-place finish. Early in the following season the Addicks were linked with a foreign takeover, but this was swiftly denied by the club. On 10 October 2008, Charlton received an indicative offer for the club from a Dubai-based diversified investment company. However, the deal later fell through. The full significance of this soon became apparent as the club recorded net losses of over £13 million for that financial year. Pardew left on 22 November after a 2-5 home loss to Sheffield United that saw the team fall into the relegation places. Matters did not improve under caretaker manager Phil Parkinson, and the team went a club record 18 games without a win, a new club record, before finally achieving a 1-0 away victory over Norwich City in an FA Cup Third Round replay; Parkinson was hired on a permanent basis. The team were relegated to League One after a 2-2 draw against Blackpool on 18 April 2009.
After a change in ownership, Parkinson and Charlton legend Mark Kinsella left after a poor run of results. Another Charlton legend, Chris Powell, was appointed manager of the club in January 2011, winning his first game in charge 2-0 over Plymouth at the Valley. This was Charlton's first league win since November. Powell's bright start continued with a further three victories, before running into a downturn which saw the club go 11 games in succession without a win. Yet the fans' respect for Powell saw him come under remarkably little criticism. The club's fortunes picked up towards the end of the season, but leaving them far short of the play-offs. In a busy summer, Powell brought in 19 new players and after a successful season, on 14 April 2012, Charlton Athletic won promotion back to the Championship with a 1-0 away win at Carlisle United. A week later, on 21 April 2012, they were confirmed as champions after a 2-1 home win over Wycombe Wanderers. Charlton then lifted the League One trophy on 5 May 2012, having been in the top position since 15 September 2011, and after recording a 3-2 victory over Hartlepool United, recorded their highest ever league points score of 101, the highest in any professional European league that year.
In the first season back in the Championship, the 2012-13 season saw Charlton finish ninth place with 65 points, just three points short of the play-off places to the Premier League.
In early January 2014 during the 2013-14 season, Belgian businessman Roland Duchâtelet took over Charlton as owner in a deal worth £14million. This made Charlton a part of a network of football clubs owned by Duchâtelet. On 11 March 2014, two days after an FA Cup quarter-final loss to Sheffield United, and with Charlton sitting bottom of the table, Powell was sacked and leaked private emails suggested that this was due to a rift with the owner.
New manager Jose Riga, despite having to join Charlton long after the transfer window had closed, was able to improve Charlton's form and eventually guide them to 18th place, successfully avoiding relegation. After Riga's departure to manage Blackpool, former Millwall player Bob Peeters was appointed as manager in May 2014 on a 12-month contract. Charlton started strong, but a long run of draws meant that after only 25 games in charge Peeters was dismissed with the team in 14th place. His replacement, Guy Luzon, ensured there was no relegation battle by winning most of the remaining matches, resulting in a 12th-place finish.
The 2015-16 season began promisingly but results under Luzon deteriorated and on 24 October 2015 after a 3-0 defeat at home to Brentford he was sacked. Luzon said in a News Shopper interview that he "was not the one who chose how to do the recruitment" as the reason why he failed as manager.Karel Fraeye was appointed "interim head coach", but was sacked after 14 games and just two wins, with the club then second from bottom in the Championship. On 14 January 2016, Jose Riga was appointed head coach for a second spell, but could not prevent Charlton from being relegated to League One for the 2016-17 season. Riga resigned at the end of the season. To many fans, the managerial changes and subsequent relegation to League One were symptomatic of the mismanagement of the club under Duchâtelet's ownership and several protests began.
After a slow start to the new season, with the club in 15th place of League One, the club announced that it had "parted company" with Russell Slade in November 2016. Karl Robinson was appointed on a permanent basis soon after. He led the Addicks to an uneventful 13th-place finish. The following season Robinson had the team challenging for the play-offs, but a drop in form in March led him to resign by mutual consent. He was replaced by former player Lee Bowyer as caretaker manager who guided them to a 6th-place finish, but lost in the play-off semi-final.
Bowyer was appointed permanently in September on a one-year contract and after finishing third in the regular 2018-19 EFL League One season, Charlton beat Sunderland 2-1 in the League One play-off final to earn promotion back to the EFL Championship after a three-season absence. Bowyer later signed a new one-year contract following promotion, which was later extended to three years in January 2020.
On 29 November 2019, Charlton Athletic were acquired by East Street Investments (ESI) from Abu Dhabi, subject to approval from the English Football League (EFL). Approval was reportedly granted on 2 January 2020. However, on 10 March 2020, a public disagreement between the new owners erupted along with reports that the main investor was pulling out, and the EFL said the takeover had not been approved. The Valley and Charlton's training ground were still owned by Duchâtelet, and a transfer embargo was in place as the new owners had not provided evidence of funding through to June 2021. On 20 April 2020, the EFL announced that the club had been placed under investigation for misconduct regarding the takeover. In June 2020, Charlton confirmed that ESI had been taken over by a consortium led by businessman Paul Elliott, and said it had contacted the EFL to finalise the ownership change. However, a legal dispute involving former ESI director Matt Southall continued. He attempted to regain control of the club to prevent Elliot's takeover from going ahead, but failed and was subsequently fined and dismissed for challenging the club's directors. On 7 August 2020 the EFL said three individuals including ESI owner Elliot and lawyer Chris Farnell had failed its Owners' and Directors' Test, leaving the club's ownership unclear; Charlton appealed against the decision. Meanwhile, Charlton were relegated back to League One at the end of the 2019-20 season after finishing 22nd. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final games of the season were played behind closed doors, which will remain the case indefinitely for the following season.
Later in August, Thomas Sandgaard, a Danish businessman based in Colorado, was reported to be negotiating to buy the club. After further court hearings, Elliott was granted an injunction blocking the sale of ESI until a hearing in November 2020.
On 25 September 2020, Sandgaard acquired the club itself from ESI, and was reported to have passed the EFL's Owners' and Directors' Tests; the EFL noted the change in control, but said the club's sale was now "a matter for the interested parties". However, on 12 November 2020, doubt was cast on Sandgaard's ownership after Elliott's company, Lex Dominus, was granted ownership of ESI after Nimer failed to provide documentation to the High Court.
The club's first ground was Siemens Meadow (1905-1907), a patch of rough ground by the River Thames. This was over-shadowed by the Siemens Brothers Telegraph Works. Then followed Woolwich Common (1907-1908), Pound Park (1908-1913), and Angerstein Lane (1913-1915). After the end of the First World War, a chalk quarry known as the Swamps was identified as Charlton's new ground, and in the summer of 1919 work began to create the level playing area and remove debris from the site. The first match at this site, now known as the club's current ground The Valley, was in September 1919. Charlton stayed at The Valley until 1923, when the club moved to The Mount stadium in Catford as part of a proposed merger with Catford Southend Football Club. However, after this move collapsed in 1924 Charlton returned to The Valley.
During the 1930s and 1940s, significant improvements were made to the ground, making it one of the largest in the country at that time. In 1938 the highest attendance to date at the ground was recorded at over 75,000 for a FA Cup match against Aston Villa. During the 1940s and 1950s the attendance was often above 40,000, and Charlton had one of the largest support bases in the country. However, after the club's relegation little investment was made in The Valley as it fell into decline.
In the 1980s matters came to a head as the ownership of the club and The Valley was divided. The large East Terrace had been closed down by the authorities after the Bradford City stadium fire and the ground's owner wanted to use part of the site for housing. In September 1985, Charlton made the controversial move to ground-share with South London neighbours Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. This move was unpopular with supporters and in the late 1980s significant steps were taken to bring about the club's return to The Valley.
A single issue political party, the Valley Party, contested the 1990 local Greenwich Borough Council elections on a ticket of reopening the stadium, capturing 11% of the vote, aiding the club's return. The Valley Gold investment scheme was created to help supporters fund the return to The Valley, and several players were also sold to raise funds. For the 1991-92 season and part of the 1992-93 season, the Addicks played at West Ham's Upton Park as Wimbledon had moved into Selhurst Park alongside Crystal Palace. Charlton finally returned to The Valley in December 1992, celebrating with a 1-0 victory against Portsmouth.
Since the return to The Valley, three sides of the ground have been completely redeveloped turning The Valley into a modern, all-seater stadium with a 27,111 capacity. There are plans in place to increase the ground's capacity to approximately 31,000 and even around 40,000 in the future.
The bulk of the club's support base comes from South East London and Kent, particularly the London boroughs of Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley. Supporters played a key role in the return of the club to The Valley in 1992 and were rewarded by being granted a voice on the board in the form of an elected supporter director. Any season ticket holder could put themselves forward for election, with a certain number of nominations, and votes were cast by all season ticket holders over the age of 18. The last such director, Ben Hayes, was elected in 2006 to serve until 2008, when the role was discontinued as a result of legal issues. Its functions were replaced by a fans forum, which met for the first time in December 2008 and is still active to this day.
Charlton's most common nickname is The Addicks. The most likely origin of this name is from a local fishmonger, Arthur "Ikey" Bryan, who rewarded the team with meals of haddock and chips.
The progression of the nickname can be seen in the book The Addicks Cartoons: An Affectionate Look into the Early History of Charlton Athletic, which covers the pre-First World War history of Charlton through a narrative based on 56 cartoons which appeared in the now defunct Kentish Independent. The very first cartoon, from 31 October 1908, calls the team the Haddocks. By 1910, the name had changed to Addicks although it also appeared as Haddick. The club also have two other nicknames, The Red Robins, adopted in 1931, and The Valiants, chosen in a fan competition in the 1960s which also led to the adoption of the sword badge which is still in use. The Addicks nickname never went away and was revived by fans after the club lost its Valley home in 1985 and went into exile at Crystal Palace. It is now once again the official nickname of the club.
Charlton Athletic has also featured in a number of book publications, in both the realm of fiction and factual/sports writing. These include works by Charlie Connelly and Paul Breen's work of popular fiction which is entitled "The Charlton Men". The book is set against Charlton's successful 2011-12 season when they won the League One title and promotion back to the Championship in concurrence with the 2011 London riots.
Timothy Young, the protagonist in Out of the Shelter, a novel by David Lodge, supports Charlton Athletic. The book describes Timothy listening to Charlton's victory in the 1947 FA Cup Final on the radio.
Charlton have used a number of crests and badges during their history, although the current design has not been changed since 1968. The first known badge, from the 1930s, consisted of the letters CAF in the shape of a club from a pack of cards. In the 1940s, Charlton used a design featuring a robin sitting in a football within a shield, sometimes with the letters CAFC in the four-quarters of the shield, which was worn for the 1946 FA Cup Final. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the crest of the former metropolitan borough of Greenwich was used as a symbol for the club but this was not used on the team's shirts.
In 1963, a competition was held to find a new badge for the club, and the winning entry was a hand holding a sword, which complied with Charlton's nickname of the time, the Valiants. Over the next five years modifications were made to this design, such as the addition of a circle surrounding the hand and sword and including the club's name in the badge. By 1968, the design had reached the one known today, and has been used continuously from this year, apart from a period in the 1970s when just the letters CAFC appeared on the team's shirts.
With the exception of one season, Charlton have always played in red and white. The colours had been chosen by the group of boys who had founded Charlton Athletic in 1905 after having to play their first matches in the borrowed kits of their local rivals Woolwich Arsenal, who also played in red and white. The exception came during the 1923-24 season when Charlton wore the colours of Catford Southend as part of the proposed move to Catford, which were light and dark blue stripes. However, after the move fell through, Charlton returned to wearing red and white as their home colours.
The sponsors were as follows:
|Year||Kit Manufacturer||Main Shirt Sponsor||Back of Shirt Sponsor||Shorts Sponsor|
|1998-00||Le Coq Sportif||MESH|
|2009||Kent Reliance Building Society|
|2014-16||University of Greenwich||Andrews Sykes||Mitsubishi Electric|
|2019-20||Children with Cancer UK||Cannon Glass|
|2020-||KW Holdings (home)|
Vitech Services (away)
In 1985, Charlton was forced to ground-share with Crystal Palace after safety concerns at The Valley. They played their home fixtures at the Eagles' Selhurst Park stadium until 1991. The arrangement was seen by Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades as essential for the future of football, but it was unpopular with both sets of fans. Charlton fans campaigned for a return to The Valley throughout their time at Selhurst Park. In 2005, Palace were relegated by Charlton at the Valley after a 2-2 draw. Palace needed a win to survive but with seven minutes left Charlton equalised, relegating their rivals. Post-match, there was a well-publicised altercation between the two chairmen of the respective clubs, Richard Murray and Simon Jordan. Since their first meeting in the Football League in 1925, Charlton have won 17, drawn 13 and lost 26 games against Palace. The teams last met in 2015, a 4-1 win for Palace in the League Cup.
Charlton are closest in proximity to Millwall than any other club, with The Valley and The Den being less than four miles (6.4 km) apart. They last met in July 2020, a 1-0 win for Millwall at the Valley. Since their first Football League game in 1921, Charlton have won 12, drawn 26 and lost 37. The Addicks have not beaten Millwall in the last twelve fixtures between the sides and their last win came in March 1996 at The Valley.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Club officials as of 13 November 2020
|Assistant Manager||Johnnie Jackson|
|Technical Director||Ged Roddy|
|Director of Football||Steve Gallen|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Andy Marshall|
|First-Team Lead Sports Scientist/ Fitness Coach||Josh Hornby|
|First-Team Strength & Conditioning Coach||Ian Jones|
|First-Team Development Coach||Grant Basey|
|Club Doctor||Chris Jones|
|Head Physiotherapist||Danny Murphy|
|Assistant Physiotherapist||Steve Jackson|
|Head of Performance Analysis||Brett Shaw|
|Kit Manager||Wayne Baldacchino|
|Academy Manager||Steve Avory|
|Senior Professional Development Lead Coach (U18-U21)||Jason Euell|
|Professional Development Phase Coach (U17-U18)||Sergei Baltacha|
|Professional Development Phase Coach (U16-U18)||Anthony Hayes|
|Youth Development Lead Phase Coach (U12-U16)||Adam Lawrence|
|Foundation Phase Lead Coach (U5-U11)||Rhys Williams|
|Academy Physiotherapist||Joe Ranson|
|Performance Analyst (U21)||James Parker|
|Performance Analyst (U18)||Jonny Dixon|