In 1919, Charlton Athletic were looking for a new ground. The club found an abandoned sand and chalk pit, but without any cash to fully develop the site, an army of volunteer supporters dug out a flat area for the pitch at the bottom of the chalk pit and used the excavated material to build up makeshift stands.
This 00-scale Valley, is a celebration of three moments in time.
The working pit with much work being done!
The abandoned pit - getting overgrown and reclaimed by nature.
The fans on the terracing for the first ever game on 13th September 1919. Charlton ‘A’ v Summerstown in the South Suburban League.
The Chalk Pit
...volunteer supporters dug out a flat area for the pitch at the bottom of the chalk pit and used the excavated material to build up makeshift stands....
Bloke in the hat: "This'll do just fine. If you chaps can dig out the rest of it, we've got ourselves an association football pitch."
Bloke on the right: "He's 'aving a laugh!"
The club played its first game at the ground before any terraces, were installed; there was simply a roped-off pitch with the crowd standing or sitting on the adjoining earthworks.
Bloke in the hat, just to the left of the bloke in the grey cap: "I say Smithers, be a good chap and fetch my armchair."
Smithers: "Certainly sir, shall I build you a corporate box while I'm at it?"
For some morning games it can get a bit foggy
Bloke in the red hat: "Why did we have to sit right behind the buffer stop?"
Bloke in the blue top with arms in the air: "The buffer stop isn't actually there you numpty. It was there maybe 10 years ago."
Bloke in the red hat: "It's still blocking my view though..."
Bloke in the blue top with arms in the air: "You don't really get art do you Salvador. You've no imagination."
Bloke in the red hat: " Yes I do - I can imagine that we, as two bits of plastic are actually having a conversation."
A quick pan...
The whole scene...
It was a chance bit of photography by Riccardo Bertone that started the whole project of. He took some pics of his home set up and the flash made it look a bit foggy.
So,... foggy pitch... playing Subbuteo in the fog... who in their right mind could ignore this inspirational challenge? 😂
Certainly not the Friends of Old Subbuteo!
...and after bit of thought and some 'low-fogger' research, a plan was hatched to feed fog through the tunnels of the terracing. Needless to say there were many teething issues, but we now have Subbuteo in the fog...at The Valley! 😄
A chance neighbourhood conversation created the concept of 'Ron's Gaff'.
Ron is a lifelong Charlton fan and now about to enter his 10th decade, he remembers standing on the terraces cheering on the likes of Len Glover and Derek Hales, as they donned the red and white kit in the hope of achieving great things for the club.
Ron also remembers the TV advert, where a team was losing hopelessly at half time, wins the game after drinking some Mackeson stout. He recalls the many times where "give 'em a Mackeson" rang out in The Valley, chanted by the good natured stoic supporters! 😂
Charlton Athletic v Summerstown - 1919
A neighbourly game
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