The Valley: Charlton Athletic

Floyd Road, London, SE7 8BL, England

Despite having called The Valley home since 1919, Charlton Athletic have had something of a love-hate relationship with their purpose-built stadium. Between 1905, when the club was formed, and 1919, when The Valley was built, Charlton played at no less than four different grounds. Even when The Valley opened the club didn’t feel totally comfortable, with the 1923-1924 season seeing Charlton play their home games at The Mount Stadium in Catford ahead of a possible merge of the club with Catford South End FC. When that fell apart Charlton returned to The Valley, much to the relief of the the club’s fans.

There is a unique relationship between Charlton fans and The Valley. Though the club might prefer to play their games elsewhere the fans are very much behind the storied old stadium. That is, perhaps in part, because they helped to build it. When the club found an abandoned chalk pit that they believed would be the ideal location for their new ground it was actually an army of Charlton supporting volunteers that cleared the space at the bottom of the pit for the pitch, whilst the excavated material was used to create makeshift stands.

Stats

The Valley Stats
Year Opened1919
Capacity27,111
Average Attendance11,162
Record Attendance75,031 (Charlton v Aston Villa (1938))
Pitch Size102 x 67 (6834)
OwnerCharlton Athletic F.C.
Clubs HostedCharlton Athletic F.C., London Broncos
First FixtureCharlton 'A' Team v Summerstown (13/09/1919)
Charlton Athletic Stats
Year Founded1905
NicknameThe Addicks, Red Robins, The Valiants
Club MascotFloyd
RivalsMillwall, Crystal Palace
Previous StadiumsSiemens Meadow, Woolwich Common, Pound Park, Angerstein Lane, The Mount Stadium, Selhurst Park
KitRed (Home) / Blue (Away)
Training GroundCharlton Athletic F.C. Training Ground
Shirt SponsorBetdaq
Team OwnerRoland Duchâtelet
Record GoalscorerDerek Hales (168)
Record Appearances Sam Bartram (623)

The Valley Photos

The Valley Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By Ncadc2004 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Valley has an unusual style for an older ground. It is part ‘English Style’ stadium, with four stands on each edge of the pitch, part ‘Bowl Style’, where the stands are curved and linked. There are still four distinct sections, though, so here’s a little bit of information on each:

  • The North Stand - This area of the stadium was re-built at the start of the millennium after Charlton were promoted back to the top-flight. It has two-tiers that house the most passionate Addicks fans and the edges curve round to join up with the stands that run along the length of the pitch.
  • The East Stand - Built in the early ‘90s, this single-tier stand features the television gantry as well as the world ‘Valley’ written across the seats.
  • The West Stand - Typically considered to be the main stand at the stadium, this two-tiered section of the ground features the main facilities at The Valley as well as the players’s tunnel and numerous executive suites.
  • The Jimmy Seed Stand - This is the oldest part of the stadium dating back to the 1980s, and houses the away fans. It is also the only part of the ground that has a supporting pillar for the roof, so sight lines are limited from some locations.

Charlton Athletic Ticket Prices

Charlton have refined their ticketing prices recently, keeping things nice and simple. How much you’ll pay to see them live depends on two factors: How old you are and where in the ground you’d like to sit. Here are the cheapest and most expensive prices for adults and concessions:

  • Adults: £17 - £31
  • Concessions: £13 - £22

How To Get Charlton Athletic Tickets

There are three main ways to buy ticket for Charlton games. You can get them online from the club’s website at any time of the day or night, so that’s the best place to start. If you’re more about communicating with humans, though, then you’ll want to either call into the ticket office at The Valley, which is open from 9.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am until 1pm on non-matchday Sundays, or else phone the ticket office, which is open at numerous different times.

Getting To The Valley

Swap Start/End

Charlton is located in South East London, right next door to Greenwich. Because of that the travel options open to you are numerous and plentiful. Here are some of the usual routes you’ll look towards:

Train - Charlton Railway Station is a short walk from The Valley. It is served by Southeastern Trains and services run from the likes of Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge. You can also get the Docklands Light Railway from central London to nearby Greenwich and Lewisham, from where you can get a connecting train. The Jubilee Line, which is on the London Underground system, is also a medium length walk or a short bus ride away.

Bus - The Valley Express operates on match days from locations across the South East, dropping off at the stadium. There are also a number of local buses that run from across London and stop at the ground. Bus numbers 53, 54, 161, 177, 180, 422, 472 and 486 all call to near the ground, dropping off either on the A206 or in Charlton Village, both of which are a short walk away from the ground itself.

Car - From the M25 keep your eye out for the Dartford Crossing. You’ll want to exit the M25 on Junction 2 for the A2, which then becomes the A102M, then get onto the A206. From there you’ll just follow the signs. Alternatively you could take the A205, the South Circular, which leads straight to Woolwich.

By Air - London is served by a number of major airports, such as Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow. London City Airport is also one of the options available to you and is probably the closest to ground.

Taxi - Taxis in London are expensive, perhaps because the best way to get around the capital is via the likes of the underground. If you get a train into Euston, however, and want to get a taxi from there then you might have to pay through the noise for the privilege. It will take you just under an hour to complete the journey and will cost in the region of £50. That’s assuming that everything goes smoothly on your journey. If it doesn’t then it will take longer and cost significantly more.

Parking Near The Valley

Free parking is available at the ground, though you’ll find that it’s restricted to permit holders on match days. If you don’t have a permit then be aware that there are parking restrictions in place on the streets around the ground. There may well be some free parking areas, but you’ll probably have to walk quite far to get to The Valley.

Useful Resources

The Valley Hotels

London is your oyster if you’re hoping to stay somewhere the night before or after a Charlton game. Greenwich itself has quite a few hotels, too. Here are our recommendations for you to consider:

The Antigallican Hotel - £55+

428 Woolwich Road, Charlton, London, SE7 8SU
Less than half a mile from The Valley is this hotel with 21 guest rooms, a bar and even a library. More details.

Holiday Inn Express London Greenwich - £70+

85 Bugsbys Way, Greenwich, London, SE10 0GD
Located in nearby Greenwich, this branch of the Holiday Inn chain promises a restaurant, a bar, self-parking and a free hot/cold buffet breakfast. You’ll also get access to the hotel’s free Wi-Fi. More details.

Aloft London Excel - £100+

1 Eastern Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1FR
About one and a half miles from The Valley is this classy hotel on the waterfront. It has a restaurant, a bar, a conference space and a fitness centre with an indoor pool. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near The Valley

London is a city filled with pubs, clubs and bars for your delectation, with each suburb like a mini-city all of its own. Here are some of our favourites near to The Valley:

The Antigallican

428 Woolwich Road, Charlton, London, SE7 8SU (020 8853 0143)
As well as being a hotel, The Antigallican is a decent pub that welcomes away supporters. It’s traditional Victorian in style, so expect decent ales and good pub grub.

The Rose Of Denmark

296 Woolwich Road, Charlton, London, SE7 7AL (020 8473 0038)
This place is for home supporters only after the match, but it welcomes both sets of fans before kick-off. They serve food, have good drink options and show live sport on big screens throughout the venue.

The Pickwick

246 Woolwich Road, Charlton, London, SE7 7QU (020 8858 0324)
The Pickwick is another pub that welcomes both sets of fans but is more favourable to home supporters. It’s a friendly place with 3D TVs for the sporting events that you might like to watch.

Facilities

Though the ground’s newest stand was redeveloped in 2000-2001, the whole place is starting to look its age. You’ll still get everything you’d expect to find from a football ground, such as a place to buy a drink and a bite to eat, just don’t expect the concourses to look as shiny and new as some other grounds in the Football League.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.60
  • Cup of tea: 2.10
  • Beer: 4.00

Hospitality

Like most clever clubs in the Football League, Charlton have realised that hospitality is an area where they can make good money if they offer decent options. They cater for both large-scale corporate events as well as for smaller, more intimate parties. Here are some of the choices available to you:

  • Centre Circle Dining - This package is all about the experience of watching the match itself. Yes you’ll get a glass of champagne on arrival, a five-course meal and complimentary drinks at half-time, but far more important is the seat located smack bang on the halfway line from where you can watch The Addicks play.
  • The Royal Greenwich Suite - Named after the local area that is home to The Valley, this package promises a reception drink, a five-course carvery meal, hosting by a Charlton legend and the chance to watch the Man Of The Match presentation after the game.
  • The Vista Lounge - This newly refurbished lounge is a much more chilled out option than the other suites. It offers more of a ‘pub’ feel to your experience, with roast baps, homemade pies and other British classics on option as well as access to a cash bar.
  • The Millennium Suite - This is something of a halfway house between the classy suites and the more relaxed atmosphere of The Vista Lounge. You’ll be able to buy yourself some nice drinks and a selection of premium food offerings, plus you’ll get free tea and coffee at half-time.

Private Hire

Charlton have an events website dedicated to The Valley’s private hire options, so it’s fair to say that the club offers a number of great packages for those hoping to host an event at the home of The Addicks. Whether you’re hoping to hold a conference in the club’s vast North Stand, with the executive boxes offering the ideal location for breakout meetings, or you’re hoping to host a more intimate gathering in one of the smaller suites, Charlton Athletic have got you covered for events in South East London. They even do weddings!

Stadium Tours & Museum

Tours of The Valley take place on the last Friday of every month. They take in the likes of the dressing rooms, the Director's Box and the dugouts. For more information, including prices, contact Charlton directly.

About Charlton Athletic

Statue of Sam Bartram - Kenneth Yarham [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Though the club has the bizarre claim to fame of being the first in the Football League to make a substitution, which happened when Keith Peacock replaced Mike Rose after eleven minutes of their game against Bolton Wanderers in 1965, they have more to be proud of than that. Charlton was formed in 1905 when numerous youth clubs in South East London decided to join forces to become Charlton Athletic.

The club turned professional in 1920, entering the Football League for the first time the following year. They have played in the top-flight on four separate occasions. The first time was from 1936 until 1957, then from 1986 to 1990, again for one season from 1998 to 1999 and most recently from 2000 through to 2007. In 1937 the club were runners-up in the First Division, whilst in both 1946 and 1947 they reached the FA Cup final, losing 4-1 to Derby County first before going on to beat Burnley 1-0 the year after. They won the Second Division in 2000 and their most recent trophy came when they won the country's third division in 2012.

The Valley History

One of Charlton's early grounds, Siemens Meadow, Maryon Park - See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The stadium’s name comes from the valley-like appearance of the area it was built in, with the first game at the ground being played before any seats or terraces were in place. Instead there was a roped-off section for the pitch and the crowd stood or sat on the earthworks in the surrounding area. In 1967 it seemed as though Speedway could be coming to The Valley, with an application for a track around the perimeter accepted by the local council. In the end the plans were abandoned due to the fact that Speedway racing would be considered a noise nuisance.

In the mid-1980s Charlton faced financial difficulties, with the club going into administration and being bought out by a consortium of fans. The Valley was still owned by the old club owners and this led to Charlton entering into a ground share of Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace. In 1988 the club’s finances were sorted and they were ready to move back to The Valley, with supporters working together to clean it up. They wanted to build new stands, too, but the local council refused them permission. This led to fans forming their own political party, The Valley Party, to run in local elections, putting pressure on the council to approve plans for a new stadium in 1990.

Future Developments

Away End 1995 - Martin Thirkettle [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The club have got permission from Greenwich Council to increase the capacity of The Valley to over 30,000, with a second-tier being added to The East Stand. The Jimmy Seed Stand is also primed for redevelopment. Ultimately the ground can be increased to about 40,600, though no developments are likely unless Charlton can establish themselves as a regular Premier League team.

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