Chicago Addick living in Bermuda
Monday 13 December 2004
  The people you meet Wyn Grant often talks about the 'Bloke who sits behind me' and it got me thinking about some of the people that have sat or stood near me at various places along the way. Here are some that have come to mind.

1. I'll get it, I've got a bike, East Terrace, The Valley, early 80's
I believe this bloke worked on the Woolwich Ferry, so my Dad used to tell me anyway. This was back in the early 80's and everytime someone like Steve Dowman used to hoof the ball out into the vast open spaces on the East Terrace, this bloke used to bellow at the top of his voice: "It's alright, I'll get it, I've got my bike." There was so much room around us in those days, he could have had a bus to be quite honest.

2. Give me a "C", The Valley, Covered End, 80's
I also used to know one of the original blokes who was the perpetrator of the "Give me a C" chant. Still sung I believe to this day but by no way with as much venom. For the uneducated, this song takes on the form of one bloke (in this case Mark, who after retiring from the 'B Mob' stood with us on the East Terrace) screaming with all his might each letter one by one spelling out Charlton and ended with "What have you got?" Charlton, Charlton. It can be quite effective, maybe not in writing though!

3. Sim-mmoooooooo, The Valley Club, 1982/83
My Dad used to take me into the Valley Club before games for a coke and a packet of crisps, which used to be situated near the Harvey Gardens entrance. Of course when we signed Alan Simonsen, we were all of a titter because to this day it must go down as one of the most audacious signings ever. I remember it even made ITN's News at 10. He was a fantastic player though and about 5 steps ahead of anyone else in the side.

Anyway this bloke used to sit by the door in the main lounge of the Valley Club and from about 12.30 to 10 to 3 he just sat there with his pint and sung at the top of his voice: "Sim-mmoooooooo."

4. You Old Barton, The Holmesdale Terrace, Selhurst Park, 1990/91
This was in the depressing days at Selhurst, when the only thing that used to keep us going was a very small light at the end of the tunnel with which held the hope that the dream called Back to the Valley would become a reality. We were in the old First Division then and I used to go to more away games than home. We stood on the shit heap of a terrace behind the goal. The other end used to be shut and the police would put the away fans in the corner - I remember occassionally they would put them with us, surrounded by a few coppers, if there wasn't many of them to save on cost.

We used to stand in front of some young lads who used to go to most of the aways as well. One lad in particular had a look of someone who needed to be pissed before the game and who could blame him. At anything and anyone he would shout out in a drunken slur: "Oi you old barton" and to me and my brother he became known as Barton.

5. Go roooounnnd him, The East Stand, The Valley, mid 90's
A big group of us migrated to the new East Stand and we sat quite near the front and not far from the halfway line which rather strangely was around about the same place as I stood as a kid on the big old terrace.

Everyone was very friendly around us in those days and John Robinson was making his name as a stroppy little winger who gave 110%. Trouble was he never really went around anyone - not like an old fashioned winger anyway. A few rows back a bloke used to meet Robbo's every touch with a long drawn out "Go roooounnnd him," which of course fell on deaf ears as Robbo used to cut inside or take a one step back to go two forward.

6. Red roaring, goalscoring Addicks, away games, 90's
I can kind of picture this bloke in my memory but we only saw him at away games - like a lot of people really, I suppose. Just before kick off when both sets of supporters were increasing the noise levels, I always used to hear from somewhere amongst our brethren the loud chant of: "Come on you red roaring, goal scoring Addicks." This shout, albeit only 8 words took a lot of effort as every syllable was heavily drawn out.

7. Leaburn lover, North Stand, The Valley, 1993/94
Now we all have our favourites but in the early days back at the Valley before we moved our seats to the East Stand - we went for the view and to be honest we were getting tired of the people behind us, particularly 'Leaburn Lover.' Now, if this gentleman had been black I would have been convinced he had spawned him because in his eyes Leaburn could do nothing wrong. Now, I like some others could see that he did occassionally add value to the team but lets face it, in hindsight it is a bit of a farce that he earnt a living as a professional footballer at the level he played.

My brother and the 'Leaburn Lover' almost came to blows once because my brother, how can I put this nicely, thought Leaburn was a pile of cack. So it wasn't a good cocktail so we seeked solace in the East Stand.

8. They haven't got a clue, North Stand, The Valley, 2004
Where my season ticket is now, which is in the North Stand Upper. Me (when I'm there) and my mate sit in front of two blokes who are - and new Addicks don't take this the wrong way - clearly part of the new generation of Charlton fans. Anyway they are reasonably well spoken and have discovered football which is fine. But what is not fine is that they are constantly getting the names of players wrong.

Now we can all do this during the heat & speed of the moment but not for 90 minutes and then loudly discuss how terrible Carlton Cole is playing when everyone else knows he plays for Aston Villa (it was in fact Bartlett). Another one I remember was early in the season when they were giving Holland a torrid old time. Holland of course didn't give two hoots because he was sitting in the stand injured. Maybe they need glasses, I don't know but it drives my poor old mate Vito mad.

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After living in Chicago for four and a half years, I moved to the beautiful if bewildering island of Bermuda in July 2008. This blog is about being an exiled and depressed Charlton Athletic fan and whatever else the day brings.
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