The Valley - Charlton Athletic
I'll refrain from making reference to the punk classic Skids record but instead this season; take direct from the good book itself:
'Yea tho' I (we) walk into the valley of death, I (we) will fear no evil'.
Charlton are down on their knees, they need the Lords prayer more than us but how ironic that the scene of our biggest defeat on the road last season can provide us the opportunity to surely clinch safety with a win this.
Our away record speaks for itself. We've lost less on the road than the Champions in waiting. 6 defeats and at least 2 of them shouldn't have been (Reading & Coventry) it's our home form that has proved our undoing. Our last trip to the smoke this season can prove to KO at least that the streets of London are paved with gold that next season in the Championship arrives via the BBC money and not at a tribunal seeking compensation for a long gone manager.
How to get there
M55, M6 South (don't forget to gesture as you pass the Knobber exits) all the way to the M1. Welcome to the M25 (Dartford Bridge / Tunnel bound) - here's hoping the frogs aren't causing Operation Stack to add to the inevitable delays from Kent destined lorries- leave the 25 at J2 & follow the A2 towards London. Heading into London along the A2, the dual carriageway becomes the A102M - the approach road to the Blackwall Tunnel. Leave at the junction after the A2 exit and take the right-hand exit at the roundabout - the A206 Woolwich Road. After the major set of traffic lights at Anchor and Hope Lane and Charlton Church Lane, travel around second roundabout and take the last exit to drive back on your self. Then take the first left into Charlton Lane. Cross the railway line and continue up the road, then right into Harvey Gardens. The stadium is on the left.
Sat Navvers - SE7 8BL.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us:
Frequent services depart from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge, with limited departures from Victoria and Cannon Street. Some services come through Dartford continue to Charlton, while connections for others can be made at Blackheath, Lewisham and London Bridge.
The Docklands Light Railway from east London connects with rail services from Greenwich and Lewisham to Charlton, while the Jubilee Line underground station at North Greenwich is a short bus ride from The Valley.
The station is a short walk from the ground - Come out Charlton station into Charlton Church lane (all exits lead onto this road). and turn right and cross over to the other side. Take the next left into Floyd Road and then right into Valley Grove for the away section entrance.
For anyone over 40 the mention of The Valley brings back memories of the old ground that was the largest in England. It had a capacity at one time of 75000. Bankruptcy was followed by the first ever ground share - with Palace at Selhurst and then West Ham at the Boleyn in 1992 Charlton returned home.
It's an impressive looking ground. The new valley has a capacity of 27000+ we'll be sat behind the goal in the Jimmy Seed stand. When we played here for the first time in the cup we sold our allocation, about 1000 will make the trek this weekend so it will probably be shared with the home fans. There's the solitary pillar, smack bang behind the goal but the atmosphere that can be generated is good and if the results go our way then we'll be singing long after the final whistle.
Where to drink
'The Antigallican', near Charlton station is a favourite of away fans -come out of Charlton station and turn left into Charlton Church Lane and the Antigallican pub is down on the right hand corner.
The 'Rose of Denmark' on Woolwich Road is our POC on Saturday.
The Pickwick Arms is close by and about a 10minute walk from the ground.
Charlton Liberal Club opens to away fans for a £1 entrance fee. The club can be found by turning right out of Charlton station and walking 300 yards up the hill on the left hand side of the road, past the row of shops.
Ale is on sale in the away end inside the ground.
Stewards & Plod
It's the Met - need I say anymore. Stewards are normally ok, in fact the club have been very helpful towards us with regards to the flag making a trip there this weekend.
Fear Factor rating: 3
Would have been a 2 but as we may end their stay in the Championship you may get 1 or 2 upset after the match, and I'll always remember the cup game years ago when some knobs tried giving it large towards little old Blackpool at the end of the game walking back to the car.
Psalm 23:4 provides the quote at the start of this article - and here's hoping that come 5pm on Saturday we still aren't looking for divine inspiration and a prayer to keep us in the Championship next season.
Onwards + Upwards