Former Charlton striker Jonatan Johansson returned to The Valley to watch The Addicks claim all three points against Derby County on Saturday.
The ex-Finland international scored 33 goals in 167 appearances for Charlton Athletic across his six year tenure at the club and told CAFC.co.uk how it felt to be back.
“It feels great, walking from the station with the fans and seeing the old lounges. A few fans said 'hello', they recognised me. There’s a few faces that were working here in the lounge when I played, so it’s great to be back. The stadium, it’s fantastic - there’s a great atmosphere here.” he said.
Standing on the sideline, Johansson explained how he felt a sense of nostalgia being back at The Valley.
“I have so many memories playing at The Valley. My first season was special because people thought we were going to go down and never gave us a chance and we finished 9th.
“The derby games against the likes of Arsenal and West Ham were fantastic for me, so they’re the memories I have. The camaraderie and young team we had, being able to do well in the Premier League for six years was something special. This club will always have a special place in my heart.”
Johansson scored over 100 goals across his career but described how one of his best came during his time in SE7.
“The overhead kick against West Ham was probably the best goal I’ve scored! It was an important game and we were 4-3 down with a minute to go, or something like that. It was live on TV, I had family over watching. It was a fantastic day all around. It’s one of those days to look back on. You don’t score an overhead kick everyday, so it was good!” he explained.
Since his retirement in 2011 Johansson ventured into coaching and acted as assistant manager for Rangers throughout the 2017-18 season. His most recent role in management was as manager of Greenock Morton in the Scottish Championship.
“I’m not working at the moment so it’s important to see my clubs. Charlton is one of my clubs so it’s important to come and visit.”
Johansson may have been in familiar surroundings, but being at The Valley was a completely new experience for his son who was watching his first game at Floyd Road.
“My son is really keen on football, he watches a lot of it on TV and I thought I have to bring him down to Charlton. It’s been way too long, he’s almost nine but he’s finally here and he’ll remember this day.I hope my son and I can come more times.”
The former Addick was full of praise for Lee Bowyer and the team, who currently sit 8th in the Sky Bet Championship table.
“I have to say, Lee Bowyer has done a fantastic job. Last season, winning the playoff final was great and getting back to the Championship, at least where we belong. The start of the season has been excellent. It’s good to see the club getting back to where we belong.”
Article by Nicks Emms
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