The #PrideOfTheValley campaign launched last season to reward the most dedicated Charlton fans. Each home league game, a fan is selected to win the award and the individual is presented with a signed shirt.
Last Saturday saw Charlton fan Ian Wallis become the latest recipient. Ian has been a Charlton fan for 54 years and dedicates much of his time to supporting his club. He is a trustee of the Charlton Museum, chairman of Bromley Addicks supporters group, a member of the Fans’ Forum and part of the Valley Centenary Committee.
We asked him for some of his Charlton memories…
Why I became a Charlton fan: My family lived near Maidstone and when I was old enough to travel on my own to watch a Football League match, Charlton was the easiest train journey. I bought a season ticket when I left school in 1965 and have had one continuously for 54 years, through thick and thin.
My first game at The Valley was: 23rd April 1962 against Bristol Rovers. We won 2-1 and Stuart Leary scored twice. I was hooked for life.
My first away day with Charlton was: Away at Tottenham in January 1961 . This was even before I had been to The Valley and Spurs won 3-2 in the FA Cup and went on to complete the League and Cup double. Charlton were very unlucky that day. Leary and Sam Lawrie scored and Brian Tocknell hit the post. lf he had equalised, we might have won the replay and denied Spurs their double. This was the only occasion when I saw the great Johnny Summers play.
On the 25th May 1998 I was: At Wembley of course. That was the greatest football match that I have ever seen as I was too young for the 7-6 with Huddersfield. The whole occasion now seems like a dream, but we have Clive Mendonca's shirt, boots and medal in the Museum as a constant reminder of an incredible day.
On the 26th May 2019 I was: Back at Wembley and although it did not quite surpass 1998, it got remarkably close. I guess we must wait another 20 years to go back and play Sunderland there again. The horrific own goal, Jonny Williams coming on and changing the game and then Patrick's goal in the dying seconds. Only Charlton can inspire the full range of emotions in just 90 minutes. Like everyone else, I was left drained and mentally exhausted.
My favourite Charlton game (not including the play-off finals) is: So many to choose from, but the 4-2 win at Highbury on 4th November 2001 takes some beating. Claus Jensen scored an incredible goal and little ol' Charlton completely outplayed Arsenal. I will never forget how a wretched Arsenal supporter rang Radio 5 that evening and complained bitterly that they had been beaten by a 'Pub Team'.
My Favourite Charlton Player is: A toss up between Derek Hales and Clive Mendonca who were two very good strikers (l wish I had seen more of Stuart Leary). I think Hales just edges it. What a great character and a much better player than is realised by people outside Charlton circles. But there have been so many favourites:- Harry Gregory, Mark Kinsella, Matt Tees. I could go on forever.
My Favourite Charlton shirt is: I have no interest in shirt designs. So long as they are red, I am quite content.
The best part of being a Charlton fan is: The camaraderie and the many friends that I have made through my time following Charlton. My own support has intensified over the years and I am currently the Chairman of the Bromley Addicks supporters group, a member of the Fans Forum, a Trustee of the Charlton Museum and part of The Valley Centenary Committee. I am also at an advanced stage in writing an updated and expanded version of the late Colin Cameron's book, 'The Valiant 500', which will be in two volumes and titled 'The Valiant 1000'.
I am also the organiser of the Hall of Fame initiative and this season will be the tenth year that along with Jean Huelin, I have arranged the Player of the Year vote and the annual dinner.
My all time Charlton XI would be: This needs weeks of thought but off the top of my head: Kiely, Humphrey, Rufus, Costa, Young, Colin Powell, Kinsella, Parker, Hales, Tees, Robinson. Subs to include Johns, Went, Mortimer, Firmani and Mendonca. I think we would all pay to see that team play.
The Charlton player of the season will be: Well I have seen all the matches so far and if I was voting today it would be Jonny Williams.
The game I am most looking forward to is: I really look forward to all of them and do not care who the opposition are nor even what division we are in. I go to see Charlton play.
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