Club: Charlton Athletic FC | Opening: 1919 | Capacity: 27,111 seats
History and description
Charlton Athletic had already played at various ground when they first moved to The Valley in 1919. The stadium was built with the help of their fans, though initially only consisted of a pitch and large earth banks, giving it the appearance of a valley.
In 1923, Charlton moved shortly away to The Mount at Catford, but after a proposed merger fell through, moved back to The Valley.
The stadium got gradually developed over the next decades, most of all by turning the earth banking into concrete terraces and by the construction of a covered main stand.
In the late 1930s, The Valley was one of England’s largest stadiums, and the massive east terrace the largest in the country. The stadium set its record attendance of 75,031 spectators during an FA Cup match with Aston Villa in 1938.
Few changes were made in the following decades, until in the late 1970s a modest new main stand was built and a few years later the new covered Jimmy Seed Stand at the southern end.
Soon after, however, the club went into administration, and while a supporters’ trust managed to acquire the club, the stadium remained property of the previous owner.
Charlton therefore moved to Selhurst Park in 1985 to ground share with Crystal Palace. The club got hold again of The Valley in 1988, but the stadium had then fallen into disrepair and a proposed redevelopment was blocked by the local Greenwich council.
Charlton fans therefore founded a new political party, and after it had gained several successes in the 1990 elections, the local council finally approved the plans. The club played one more year at Upton Park, but finally moved back to a renovated The Valley in 1992.
Proper redevelopment works started soon after with the construction of a new East Stand, and continued in 1998 with the erection of a new two-tiered West Stand. The North Stand got rebuilt soon after, and then linked up with the West and East Stand.
In the mid 2000s, Charlton presented plans to create a fully enclosed 40,000-seater stadium by rebuilding the East Stand and Jimmy Seed Stand, but plans were never realised due to the relegation of the club.
(photos of the present The Valley below)
The Valley is located in the south-east of London on the south bank of the river Thames. The stadium lies about 6 kilometres from central London and 2 kilometres east of Greenwich.
If coming by car, the stadium is best reached from the A2, which connects with the M25 further east. Follow the A2 into the city for about 11 miles (the A2 turns into the A102), and leave for the A206 Woolwich & Ferry. Turn right onto the A206 (Woolwich Road) toward Charlton (with an odd U-Turn), and follow for about a mile until the second roundabout. Make a full turn, heading west on the A206 again, and take the first left onto Charlton Lane. Cross the railway tracks, and a few hundred metres later turn right into Harvey Gardens. The stadium lies shortly ahead.
Parking is available on non-matchdays, but limited to permit holders on matchdays.
Charlton Rail station is a small walk away from the station. There is frequent service to Charlton from Cannon Street, London Bridge, and Lewisham stations, and rather frequent service from Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations. The journey takes 15 to 25 minutes depending on where you get on.
Various buses connect the stadium with other parts of London. Bus 53 is particularly useful as it can be taken from Parliament Square and other stops on the south bank. Get off at stop Charlton Park Road. Other buses mainly connect the stadium with parts of London further south or east.
Address: Floyd Road, London SE7 8BL
Tickets for Charlton Athletic matches can be bought online, by phone +44 (0) 871 226 1905, or at the ticket office at The Valley.
Tickets are also available on the gate on the day of the match. Charlton rarely sells out in the Championship.
Standard tickets cost either £20.00, £22.00, or £25.00. Prices are raised for a few high-profile games to £22.00, £25.00, and £30.00.
Relevant Internet links
Cafc.co.uk – Official website of Charlton Athletic FC.
Visitlondon.com – Official London city guide.
Tfl.gov.uk – Website of the London Underground and other London public transport.
Journeyplanner.org – London public transport journey planner.
Nationalrail.co.uk – Check train times and fares.