Tuesday 9 February 2021

The Charlton diaspora

The upcoming 'Kent derby' with Gillingham led me to reflect on the locations of Charlton supporters.  Of course, they are to be found all over the world.    I have met them in Canada and Australia.

There are more Addicks than I thought in Scotland, including one in Shetland.   Before the pandemic I used to go to Orkney once a year, but the only League One supporter I encountered was someone who was Ipswich Town.

Outside of London itself, one finds the greatest concentration of Charlton supporters in Kent, as reflected in the pattern of Valley Express services when they were at their peak.   For example, someone I know from my old road in Plumstead Common now lives in Maidstone which is a centre of Addicktion.

There is a bit of an issue about what one calls 'Kent'.   When I was growing up, my mother somewhat resented the fact that her slightly more prosperous sister lived in Belvedere, Kent.   It's a consolation that the house, ironically called 'The Den', is lived in today by a Charlton supporter.

I do get a bit irritated with Pointless contestants who say they are from Bromley, Beckenham or Welling in Kent (recent examples).   You are in Greater London and ought to be proud of the fact!

Somehow the Kent coast attracts some of the most diehard supporters.  VOTV editor Rick Everitt lives in Ramsgate and is leader of Thanet District Council.

The coast facing France is a strong area of Charlton support including Derek from Dymchurch and Desmond from Deal.   I often wonder if Desmond ever runs into author, broadcaster and podcaster Charlie Connelly at Deal Town.   I think that their perspectives on life and football are somewhat different.

When we left London we moved to Essex and Chelmsford City was the club of choice for my friends.

Here in Warwickshire Addicks are thin on the ground.  Indeed, I was so shocked when I saw someone walking down The Parade in Leamington wearing the shirt that I didn't speak to him.

When I was mainland football correspondent for Radio Scilly, the original station management told me that people wanted to hear about the Manchester clubs and Liverpool.   The new management told me to focus on Plymouth Argyle and Truro City.

In reality many different clubs were supported.   Once I was accosted by a Hibernian supporter in Hugh Town who complained about my lack of coverage of Scottish football.

I had better be careful what I say about Gillingham, but the pundits on The Football League Show on Sunday noted that manager Steve Evans now has more bookings than any of his players.  They also forecast that Charlton were about to go on a run.  Gillingham are a bogey team so beating them would be a start.

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