#PrideOfTheValley | Keith Hollands

This season, BETDAQ launched the #PrideOfTheValley to reward die-hard Charlton fans. Each home league game, a fan is selected to win the reward and the individual will be presented with a signed shirt on the pitch.

This week Keith Hollands has been nominated. Keith has a fantastic record of attending home matches, missing just one fixture since August 1968. That fateful match came against Middlesbrough in 2013 on the day of his son’s wedding. We asked him for some of his Charlton memories. 

Why I became a Charlton fan: As a boy in the early 1960s I enjoyed spending the weekends at my nan’s in Woolwich from where my uncle Ron used to take me down to The Valley for home games, either the first team or to see the reserves playing in the Football Combination. I’ve been coming ever since. 

My first away day with Charlton was: October 1967. A 3-2 defeat at Ipswich Town. I remember travelling on a Lewis’ coach from Greenwich, which was a right old bone-shaker. But to be fair to the company over the decades, they drove us hundreds of thousands of miles around the country, rarely missing the kick-off, even though there were few motorways around in those days.

On May 25th, 1998 I was: At Wembley and it is all a haze. I remember getting home and my wife had attached red and white balloons to the front of the house.

My favourite Charlton game (not including play–off final): I’ve seen so many contenders over the years, but one that I have fond memories of was in April 1974 at Boundary Park, Oldham Athletic had already won promotion and thought we would be a soft touch on their way to clinching the Championship. Over 18,000 turned up to see their heroes. But their champagne went flat as goals from Arthur Horsfield and Mike Flanagan earnt us a 2-0 victory.

My favourite Charlton player is: Once again, a dozen names come to mind, but I’m going for Carl Leaburn. Fans used to moan at him for not scoring 20 goals each season, but that wasn’t his game. He was, however, the best around at holding the ball up and bringing his team mates into the play. I also saw him score a hat-trick at Ipswich Town in a 5-1 win. 

My favourite Charlton kit: Season 65-66, a white strip with red shoulder flashes. As a home kit it looked smart and was a bit different from the usual. 

The best part of being a Charlton fan is: Belonging. We are a great club for all the family. 

My Charlton starting XI would be: Phillips, Solly, Bauer, Sarr, Purrington, Bielik, Cullen, Aribo, Williams, Vetokele, Taylor. 

The Charlton player of the season will be: Lyle Taylor has to stand out, but not too far behind comes Josh Cullen who has really impressed me since he joined us.

The game I’m most looking forward to: Any of the 46 games in the Championship next season – we’ve been away far too long!

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