Known of course as the home of Charlton Athletic Football Club, The Valley football stadium is one of the most recognisable in the country despite Charlton not having played too much in the way of Premier League football over the years.
Situated in south-east London, The Valley is only four miles away from Millwall’s home, The Den. It has been home to Charlton since 1919. Although some modern records put this at as recently as 1992 given that it was closed for a while with the Addicks playing elsewhere.
History of The Valley Football Stadium
While in Charlton’s early years they moved around rather a lot, it was decided in 1919 that they needed a permanent home and so The Valley came about to house The Addicks.
Charlton Athletic began playing at The Valley even before any proper facilities were added to the venue. There were no terraces and no seats, rather simply a pitch which was roped-off as the crowd gathered around it and made themselves comfortable in whatever way they could!
Because of these rather strange circumstances, Charlton fans immediately became rather fond and protective over The Valley. It was a disappointment for many when they moved to Catford in the 1920s. When a merger between Catford South End and Charlton fell through, however, they moved back here. Much to the delight of their staunch supporters.
The Valley was continuously updated over the following four or five decades and the team was moderately successful, that is until debts in the early ’80s led to the club almost folding completely.
When Charlton was bought by a supporter-based consortium in 1984, The Valley was still owned by the club’s former supremos and given that it could not be updated to comply with safety regulations, the club had to take the decision to move. Charlton left in 1985 to enter a ground share with Crystal Palace and The Valley was officially closed.
The club eventually regained ownership of the stadium in 1988 and, much in line with the early Charlton supporters of the ’20s, fans of the club volunteered to attend the by now dilapidated ground to clean up and even burn rubbish.
Eventually, in 1991, the money was found to totally rebuild The Valley and so while the club was moving to Upton Park to entre a new ground share with West Ham United, construction began on Charlton’s proper home with the excitement by now palpable among the Addicks faithful.
The new Valley finally opened in December of 1992 and since then, more development has been undertaken by the club to ensure this ground remains modern and up to speed. Three sides of the stadium have been all but completely remodelled or rebuilt over the years and since 2001 the ground has had a very competitive 27,000 total capacity.
The Valley’s Key Stats
The Valley football stadium was once one of the largest sports venues anywhere in Britain. Despite now only being able to accommodate a fraction of what it once used to, the stadium has reached its full capacity on at least six occasions for Premier League matches from 2005 to 2007.
- Capacity: 27,111
- Record Attendance: 75,031 (Charlton Athletic v Aston Villa, FA Cup Round 5, 1938)
- Pitch: 102m x 67m, made up purely of grass
- Stands: The Covered End, East Stand, West Stand and Jimmy Seed Stand. Both the Covered End and the West Stand can accommodate 9,000 people
Memorable Moments at the Valley
As well as packing in 75,000 in 1938, The Valley also managed to create some awesome atmospheres at other times in its history. It's attracted huge crowds for Charlton Athletic games. Two years earlier in the First Division, Charlton drew 68,160 people to the Valley to see them play Arsenal.
On Boxing Day back in 2003, Roman Abramobvich’s big-spending Chelsea side came to The Valley. They were blown away by Charlton. Hermann Hreidarsson scored in the first minute to set the tone. The Addicks going on to land a famous 4-2 victory.
Further back in December 2000, Charlton managed one of their greatest ever comebacks here. Grabbing a draw against Premier League champs Manchester United.
In front early on, Charlton quickly found themselves 3-1 down seemingly heading for defeat. Until late goals from Shaun Bartlett and John Robinson ensured a dramatic 3-3 draw for the home side.
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