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Nickname: The Addicks/The Robins
Ground: The Valley
Stadium Capacity: 27,111
Song: The Valley Floyd Road
There’s something fishy about Charlton Athletic. The club is nicknamed the Addicks, which is not a corrupted form of Athletic but derived instead from ‘haddock’.
When Charlton was building its stadium, players and directors would eat fish after every match. If Charlton lost, the club would save money by eating cod. They would have splashed out on a haddock supper if the team won. As Charlton became more successful, it became known for its haddock, and it became known as the Addicks.
Although the club was formed in 1905, it was fourteen years before it could play at its ground, now known as The Valley.
The club had purchased an abandoned sand and chalk pit in the Charlton area but didn’t have the funds to develop it. Charlton supporters volunteered to help. They dug out a pit for the pitch and used the soil from the excavation to build up the sides. The ground’s name most likely comes from its original valley-like appearance.
As the club’s supporters helped build the stadium, they have a strong bond with it. This is reflected in the club song: ‘The Valley Floyd Road’ (sung to the tune of ‘Mull of Kintyre’), which includes a verse about its 14-year wait to build a home.
A version of the song was released in April 2003 by 3 Blokes From F Block and Friends, including former stars Kevin Lisbie, Claus Jensen, Mathias Svensson, and future England International Scott Parker.
The club’s greatest success (and most haddock suppers consumed) came in the 1930s under the stewardship of Jimmy Seed.
Seed had an unusual background. He fought in the First World War and had only just survived a gas attack. He led the club to successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division. In Charlton’s first season in the top-flight, it finished runners-up. It then finished third and fourth in the final two seasons before the outbreak of the Second World War.
During the 1940’s Charlton made it to Wembley four times. Twice to contest the “war cup”, a tournament that replaced the FA Cup for the Second World War. Charlton didn’t capitalise on the success, and the club refused to invest money in new players or facilities, which meant that although Jimmy Seed ‘discovered’ England legend, Stanley Matthews, he wasn’t allowed to sign him.
Charlton has also been known as the ‘Robins’ after its red shirts, which it had originally borrowed from local rivals Arsenal to save money when it started. Charlton is not the only club to begin in a borrowed kit. Its benefactor’s Arsenal also started with borrowed kit from Nottingham Forest.
In honour of its second nickname, the team enter the Valley at every home game to the tune of the ‘Red, Red Robin’ by Billy Cotton.
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