Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Would Charlton ever move?

This is thinking the unthinkable territory. Our name for Arsenal is the 'Woolwich Rejects', although their move north of the Thames created a space in which Charlton could develop as a club. Oddly enough, I recall talk in the 1950s of a plan to move the club to the Romford area of Essex, rebranding it as 'Athletic'.

Charlton have, of course, moved twice. The move to Catford in the 1920s was a disaster which did nothing to improve the club's fortunes. Then we were forced out to a ground attached to a supermarket and eventually to Upton Park. The Valley as the club's home has a particular significance for the fans. And have clubs like Derby, Leicester and Southampton really prospered since their moves to new homes?

Nevertheless, Charlton is located on the edge of its catchment area. Apparently, only just over a quarter of regular supporters have SE London post codes. The club has been making a big effort to promote itself in Kent where major housing developments are planned. Indeed, we jokingly suggested some time ago that the club could rebrand itself as Thames Gateway.

Now a lister has suggested that Charlton could abandon plans for the expansion of The Valley and build a new stadium near the international station at Ebbsfleet, although I also seem to remember Gillingham having a similar idea. Apparently it was as a joke but some of the most serious things are first said in jest.

Perhaps a hundred years from now Charlton, by then known as the Red Dragons after their Chinese owners, will be located on an artificial island on the Thames Estuary linked to both north and south shores by an underground railway known as the 'Rickshaw' which the owners think is an affectionate tribute to them.

All speculation, of course, at a time when not much is happening in terms of new signings. But the strength of the debate provoked by the decision to move reserve games reflect perhaps not a real concern about where the stiffs play, but more fundamental issues about Charlton's changing identity. For all the necessary changes, the club will remain anchored to its home at The Valley.


Blogger Ric said...

Er, I think you will find that was a joke !!!!!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Steve0 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Steve0 said...

So it appears that blogs also have a silly season to compensate for the dearth of real news!

11:02 PM  

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