1999-2006: The Glory Years

Sir Alex Ferguson leads the applause for Alan Curbishley

1999: Premier class

1998/99 marked the return of top-flight football at The Valley for the first time in 41 years and Charlton got off to a flyer in their inaugural Premier League season.

After a goalless draw at Newcastle United on opening day, Clive Mendonca bagged another hat-trick as Southampton were put to the sword 5-0 in the first home game of the season.

Clive Mendonca celebrates scoring Charlton's fourth against Southampton in 1998

A 0-0 draw at Arsenal was followed by a dramatic 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, but despite Alan Curbishley’s side picking up a number of good results, the season would ultimately end in relegation back to Division One.

2000: Promoted to Premier League as Division One champions

After relegation from the Premier League, Alan Curbishley managed to keep together the core of his side with Danny Mills the only major departure in the summer of 1999 when he joined Leeds United for £4.1m.

That consistency proved key and Charlton bounced back at the first time of asking, winning the Division One title, while breaking records along the way.

Sadly, Clive Mendonca would play his last first-team game for the club in 1999/2000 as injury curtailed his career, but fellow striker Andy Hunt stepped up to take over the goalscoring mantle, finishing as top scorer with 25 goals, including back-to-back hat-tricks against Norwich City and Stockport County.

An incredible run of form saw the Addicks win a record 12 league matches in a row with a stretch of results that began with a victory over Crystal Palace at The Valley on Boxing Day and ended with defeat to bottom club Swindon Town on March 11th thanks only to a freak own goal.

Charlton would finish the season with 91 points, sealing promotion a day after drawing 1-1 with Portsmouth in SE7, with Ipswich Town’s defeat to Queens Park Rangers meaning they could not be caught. The title, meanwhile, was secured following a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers on April 24th, with captain Mark Kinsella lifting the Football League title trophy at The Valley five days later.

Graham Stuart and Mark Kinsella celebrate

A memorable season was also marked with a cup run which saw the club reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, beating Swindon Town, QPR and top-flight Coventry City before losing to fellow second-tier club Bolton Wanderers in the last eight.

2001: North Stand extension complete

The Valley’s capacity increased to over 26,000 following extensive work to the North Stand which saw an upper tier added as well as both the north-west and north-east corners of the ground filled in.

An aerial view of The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic

Meanwhile, one of the highlights of a positive 2001/02 season saw Charlton defeat Arsenal 4-2, sealing a first victory at Highbury since 1956.

2004: Highest Premier League finish

Charlton enjoyed comfortable mid-table finishes in their first three seasons back in the top flight, but it would be the 2003/04 campaign in which the Addicks would excel themselves, securing seventh place – their best ever Premier League finish.

Champions League qualification was a realistic dream for much of a season that saw Alan Curbishley’s side secure a double over Liverpool, including a first win at Anfield in over 50 years, while a 4-2 victory over Chelsea at The Valley on Boxing Day ensured that the South Londoners could be seen as a credible threat to European qualification.

Kevin Lisbie celebrates after scoring against Liverpool

Academy graduate Scott Parker ran the show against the Blues on that day, but it would lead to a transfer saga that would end in the England international moving to Stamford Bridge for £10m in January 2004 in controversial fashion.

The lynchpin of the finest Charlton side in the modern era, Parker’s departure disrupted the season and the Addicks would eventually finish in a still-very-respectable seventh.

2006: Alan Curbishley leaves/decline to League One

Alan Curbishley’s time as Charlton Manager came to an end after 15 years at the helm. Having steered the club to its greatest successes since the days of Jimmy Seed, his resignation was announced prior to a defeat to Blackburn Rovers in SE7 on April 29th, 2006.

A week later, he said his farewell at Old Trafford, receiving a standing ovation from both Manchester United fans and the travelling Addicks who showed their thanks for what he had achieved at The Valley. In total, Curbishley managed Charlton for 729 games, just one short of Seed’s record.

Alan Curbishley

On May 30th, former Crystal Palace Manager Iain Dowie was announced as his successor.