Sunday, 19 July 2009

My favourite Charlton

I was musing as I was journeying up and down the M1 over the last few days, for my son's graduation. My mind wandered to players, teams and Charlton that I followed over the years and the team that would be my favourite, not my view on the best players, but the players I liked most. Fortunately, next season we can choose 7 subs so that gives me more licence. If we start with the management:-

Chairman Roger Alwen - Roger was at the forefront of the fight to get to the Valley, but the reason I choose him is because I bumped into him one day in Pall Mall, it was just before we played then top fight Blackburn and the Valley was a sell out - RA wanted instructions to a club called the Athaneum - an old school gentleman's club. I got into conversation with him and gently hinted that I had not secured a ticket for the cup game, true to all good Charlton fans he ignored the hint and went on his way.

Director Of Football - Lennie Lawrence. With the euphoria of the Premiership years Lennies contribution to Charlton's history during dark years has largely forgotten. Lennie built a team on a shorter shoestring than Curbs at a ground that was not our own. He kept us in the top flight under serious constraints and deserves to be in any hall of fame.

Manager - Alan Curbishley - Say no more. I have met Curbs three times at the sponsors evening on his table thanks to Wyn Grant,when he has been unable to make it. A really nice guy, less dour in real life than on TV.

Keeper - John Dunn - Who? I loved John Dunn, successor to Charlie Wright, he was a real character. I remember watching him collect the ball in the penalty area, run past the opposing forward and throw himself to the ground to be awarded a free kick by the referee.

Full Backs - Mark Reid & John Humphrey, they go together and were too fantastic defenders for us during the wilderness years - also known as the Selhurst years. Johnny H's only blemish being that he then went to Palace, obviously enjoying the pitch there. That said he can now been seen every home match as a hospitality host for the club. Mark Reid was a great defender who also put a mean penalty away. His classic after Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the "Battle of The Bridge" - "Ref when you watch Match of the Day tonight, you'll see it was outside the area", followed by the retort "When you watch Match of the Day tonight you'll see you were booked"

Centre Backs - Colin Pates - just because he was a class act and Richard Rufus, any player that refuses to score until after his 100'th game so that he can push his club into the premier league at Wembley, has to be hailed and Rufus is hailed amongst all addicks as the best player we have ever had never to made an England place. In reality, I don't think Rufus was quite international class, but he was so close. Another player I have met.

Central Midfield - Eamon Rogers was an Irish international who turned up with a swashbuckling beard and looked like a pirate in midfield. Wasn't that good or that bad, he was just our pirate in the centre!! Peter Garland - well when you have an affinity for pies and a waist line like mine you have to support a fellow fatty.

Wide men - Johny Robinson was all heart, not the most skillfull and he took a while to replace Robert Lee, but he epitomised everything that the Charlton fan looked for in a player - heart and commitment. One incident I remember had nothing to do with skill, the ball went out of play into the unkept shrubs around base of the floodlights and Robbo leapt over the hoardings into the shrubland, looking just like a park player - which in heart he was. Paul Mortimer one of our class acts, once he left us he never reached the heights being treated badly at Villa by fat Ron and then going to Palace before returning to us and now being the manager of the Charlton women - I wonder if he gets to visit the shower room.

Forwards - Andy Hunt, whose career was cut short so cruelly by not a career destroying injury but by illness. I preferred Andy (and I know this is sacrilege) to super Clive and so regretted his demise, his last game lasted about 15 minutes, was capped by a goal and a substitution as he sat in to the dug out his lips mouthed "I am fxxxed" and apart from an abortive attempt to come back he was gone. Kenny Achampong, from the great in Andy Hunt we have the real result of no money the utterly useless Kenny, Lennies folly - not a lot you can say about him really he was just rubbish.

The Subs - Charlie Wright (Keeper) The original maverick keeper, modelled himself on Liverpools flying pig - Tommy Lawrence. Harry Cripps - Give me a break, he took me for football training at school and made a real impression on me, I think it was his left elbow, Carl Leaburn,my real choice as a striker, I felt sorry for Carlo, if he had been able to learn his trade he would have been a much better goal scorer, but instead he served his apprenticeship in the top flight, due to our financial constraints, getting kicked by lumps of central defenders week in week out. Talal El Kakouri - if ever you wanted to award points for dives with a twist, then here is your man, a thoroughly entertaining defender with a mean free kick well 1 in 10), Clive Mendonca - say no more! Bob Curtis, this player was a swashbuckling long haired, distance shooting full back, who apparently enjoyed a pint and a fag. And finally, the 1st star I had when I supported Charlton - Alan Campbell.

This is my team, my favourites, no one will agree with it and probably tomorrow I would come up with a different one .... I wonder what it would be ... whatever, its better than thinking about our current situation.


Ketts said...

Music to my ears KK. Andy Hunt is my all time favourite Charlton player & better than Sir Clive in my book.

I was priveleged to get him to answer some questions for Doctor Kish last year. He is a top bloke as well as a top player.

Pleased to report he is well and enjoying life.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate it's a personal choice, but some omissions are surprising.

Two forwards who surely have to be considered are Nelson and Jones. Neither the greatest talent, but for attitude impossible to fault them.

Kappacino Kid said...

There are a whole list of players that should be included, darren bent, Ray Tracy. My list is a biot of seriousness and a bit of fun (Achampong, Harry Cripps)and favourites is not about good or best but about players that have given pleasure in one way or another - Achampong being apleasure derived from the masochism of watching him continually cock up).

charlton north-downs said...

Bloody hell KK what a good post for bringing back great memories. Charlie Wright what a character . On more than one occasion the crowd would throw sweets at him and he would pick them up and eat one of them whilst play was going on. Had a great season when we finished third in 1968. Alan Campbell was pretty dire when I first start going down to the Valley but suddenly his game flourished and he became a great player which unfortunately meant a transfer to Birmingham. Could go on and on. Andy Hunt I have to agree with you and Ketts. His all round game for me made him the best striker ever to wear a red shirt.

Ketts said...

KK/CND- Amazingly, in Paul Clayton's 'Essential History Of Charlton Athletic' book, Andy Hunt doesn't make the top 50 players!