Time to name the stands
In my mind the Centenary Season
has been a damp squib so far. The official website dedicates a section to it but it hasn't been updated or added to for a while. In fact only 13 news items have been inked by the website staff regarding the 100 year celebration since April 2004 including a report on an obviously slow day for news, of a bloke living in Bexleyheath called Tony Blair who bought the Centenary shirt.
Ah, the Centenary shirt. You will not find my name on the list of people that have purchased the 2nd biggest selling replica kit in the clubs history (according to the club shop). Joma with a glorious opportunity to design something collectable have given us a white stripe with 1905 - 2005 on it. Tonnes of imagination there!
According to most people I speak too, the shirt is also very poor quality with the colour fading and the letters peeling off. This is not a shirt that will stand the test of time, either in memory nor in condition unlike the sorry supporters that bought it of course.
Then there was the Centenary Calendar which the club were obviously so desperate to get out that it pretty much runs out before the proper anniversery of the Centenary on June 9th.
The programme, which admittadly I don't get to see very often, does devote a couple of pages to the Greatest Games in 100 years. I love these trips down memory lane and as I have said on here before
we are lucky to have wonderful sources such as Peter Burrows, Colin Cameron and all the other old heroes who must have so much to tell. Why aren't the club using them more?
The only memorable thing to come out of the Centenary season so far is the Bartram Statue
. Paid for mostly by the fans and in particular a gentleman called David Smith
, the statue which is being sculptered by Anthony Hawken (above) will be a lasting tribute to the great man. It will be unveiled on June 9th, the clubs 100 year birthday, by Sam's daughter Moira.
So what more can the club do to raise awareness of the wonderful and incident packed history of our club? Well, I have an idea. Surely after more than 12 years back at The Valley it is time to give the stands proper names. After fan power brought back to life the Jimmy Seed Stand and the Bartram Gates I would like us to ditch the North, East and West monikers as it's bloody boring and unoriginal.
In fact upon investigation very few clubs actually have names for their stands and stick with the four points of a compass. There are a few titled after benefactors such as the Matthew Harding Stand (remember him?), the Jack Walker Stand and the Doug Ellis Stand.
And some clubs stick with tradition like Arsenal who still have the Clock End and the North Bank and Chelsea who have the Shed Stand. Our club of course steadfastly denies to confuse the North Stand with the Covered End, a name met with blank stares these days from anyone under 20 years old.
West Ham have the Bobby Moore Stand, Burnley the Jimmy Mcllroy Stand and Preston the Tom Finney Stand, but there are surprisingly not many tributes, especially so at the sterile, sponsored new stadia's. So come on lets be different and after 100 years of fine history lets remember some of the people that helped make Charlton Athletic.
Lets name each end, each lounge and each turnstile after a Charlton legend. Ok, we can start with the stands but what with the proposed expansion of The Valley and 2005 being a very special year, it would be a fantastic idea for the Centenary season.
My, this is the kind of thing the Supporters' Representative Director
should be doing, making a difference not shaking buckets for poxy decorative gates. The bloody club can cough up for that!
Ok, I'm not going to suggest on here who I think but surely some of the following (and others) deserve to be recognised as part of the history of our club: Derek Ufton; Keith Peacock; Derek Hales; Stuart Leary; Eddie Firmani; Richard Rufus; Johnny Summers; Richard Murray; Alan Curbishley?
What do you think? I would be interested to hear your views.