Writer: South East Poolies
Date:Saturday May 7 2011
A guide to ticket prices, the best pubs, food and travel advice for our trip to Charlton.
HOW TO GET THERE
Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and follow the A2 towards London. When the A2 becomes the A102(M), take the A206 towards Woolwich and you will come to the ground on your right. If you cross over the Thames or reach Blackheath, then you have gone too far.
There is no parking at all in the immediate vicinity of the ground, so do not bother even looking. The best bet is to drive along the Woolwich Rd which is the main road that runs close to the ground. Along this road you will find numerous industrial units, some of which open their doors for match-day parking. Prices for these vary and traffic will be quite congested for a long time after the game.
Charlton has its own train station that is a short walk from the ground. You will see the ground clearly as you arrive, but head across the road into Floyd Rd, which will lead you towards the away end.
Yes this title is correct and for those living in the Kent/Surrey towns there is an excellent service available to get you to and from the game. The Valley Express is well known in the South East and buses travel to every home game from most major towns.
The cost is £7pp and they generally arrive around 1½ hours before kick-off and depart straight after the game. Although this service is for home fans only, I have seen well-behaved away fans use it but remember to keep colours covered. I have found this service to be excellent and you can book by visiting http://www.cafctv.co.uk/page/valleyexpress/0,,10267,00.html.
If you do plan to have 8 pints at your local pub before boarding the coach then please be aware that they do not have toilet facilities onboard, something I found out in rather embarrassing circumstances when I went on there with our lass one time. The stewardess was less than impressed with yours truly taking a leak in front of Gravesend Police Station!
I have visited Charlton Athletic on many occasions for games both in the Premier League and in their current position. There are plenty of decent pubs in the area, but most away fans tend to head for the same pub, which is functional at best.
There are no pubs that will give you any problems from Charlton fans, but some of the pubs further along the Woolwich Rd, heading towards Thamesmead are in areas that are best not visited. These tend to be more for those coming by road than train.
Here are your options;
ntigallican - This pub is hugely popular with away fans (actually exclusive to them on my last visit), but you will be hard pressed to find any Charlton fans with good things to say about it. It is a typical away pub in the fact that standards are set quite low and the management take pride in meeting these 90% of the time.
The pub is a 3 minute walk from Charlton Train Station, just turn left on the main road and head down the hill. You will find the pub on the right hand side surrounded by the Met Police. Inside the pub is huge and many fans tend to hang about in the large side room where they can watch Sky TV and play pool.
They serve a poor range and quality of beers/lagers in plastic glasses and prices are average for the area. The police do not allow fans to stand outside and drink, which is a bit of a relief as there is just the traffic jams on the Woolwich Rd to keep you occupied.
Naturally the South East Poolies will be heading there as part of their '2010-11 Crap Pub Tour`.
The Rose of Denmark - A popular and highly regarded match-day pub that attracts home and away fans. It has more of a proper pub feel and serves a good pint, including a good selection of real ales. The decor is very much CAFC related, but not exactly plush. Fans tend to meet here for a good chat, meaning that the atmosphere is lively but relaxed.
They also allow fans to sit outside and soak up the fumes of the Woolwich Rd. To get here follow directions to the Antigallican and then turn left onto the Woolwich Rd. The pub is a few minute`s walk on the left hand side.
Bugle Horn - This pub is located in Charlton Village which is located up the hill from the ground, just turn right as you leave the train station. It is not the smartest of pubs but does serve a decent enough pint. They do have Sky Sports but please be aware of the sign above the TV that reads 'LEGAL Sky/Setanta costs £[thousands] per year. You are required to purchase two drinks when sport is being shown. If you don't like it, p*ss off to another pub where they like showing sport for free". With this in mind do not go here if you are someone that likes to nurse a pint of best for 3 hours in order to watch a live game.
White Swan - This is another pub located in Charlton Village and popular on a match-day, although mainly with home supporters.
Pickwick - To find this pub, walk along the Woolwich Rd past the Rose of Denmark. Although it is nothing special, it is welcoming and serves a decent pint.
There are many better pubs to be found in the Greenwich area, where you can sit overlooking the river and also see the famous Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark Pub is also highly regarded. Also be aware that the police are quite fond of shutting the local pubs for 1 hour after home games, which then means a lot of people trying to catch the same trains! A little walk to some of the latter pubs may be the answer to this.
THE VALLEY - Capacity 27,111 (ALL-SEATED)
The ground is Premier League quality on 3 sides and dominates the local area with stands that tower over the tight terrace streets below. Away fans are housed in Jimmy Seed Stand, which is the ground`s poor relation, a stand that looks sorry in comparison to its bigger and flasher neighbours.
This makes the stand appear far worse than it actually is. It is located behind the goal and houses up to 3,000 away supporters. The stewards are friendly and take a sensible approach to managing fans. There is quite a steep rake to the stand and it is covered, allowing supporters to make a lot of noise with relative ease.
The catering facilities at the side of the stand are uncovered, but are at least licensed (just think the Town End). For smaller followings the stand is normally sectioned off which means that we should be all together for a good old sing-song!
To the right is the East Stand. This single-tiered stand used to be the largest terrace in England many moons ago and the stories are legendary, locally. It is still a decent size and is a covered stand with posh boxes at the back. The facilities at the back of this stand are again uncovered, but offer a large area for fans to get wet in the February rain (trust me as I have experienced this). This area curves round with a single-tiered corner stand, which houses the clubs junior fans, complete with squeaky voices.
Behind the opposite goal is the North Stand, which is large 2-tiered stand, linked to each of the side stands with corner stands. This stand is smart looking and fully covered, whilst it is also popular with the home fans. The upper tier is where most of the very non-offensive singing starts and also houses the obligatory drummer. Facilities in this stand are covered and very good.
To the left is the 2-tier West Stand which is of similar height to the North Stand and linked by a corner stand. Again it looks the part and can be seen from all around the surrounding areas. This is where the clubs directors are housed as well as the office areas and club shop (in the corner section with the North Stand).
As I have mentioned I have visited the ground on quite a few occasions and have yet to meet an offensive Charlton fan. The feel around the place is probably about as relaxed and friendly as you will experience and the fans are always happy to have a chat and bit of banter.
This does not mean they are not passionate and they are generally knowledgeable on football matters. Be careful when venturing away from the ground as there are some not so good estates within a few miles of the ground.
SOUTH EAST POOLIES
Before the game, the SEP will be heading the Antigallican at midday. Feel free to pop and have a drink with us. Keep in touch via Stu on 07789 734790.
Seniors (60+)- £17.50
Under 18`s- £1
Ambulant Disabled- £17.50
Wheelchair Disabled + Carer- £17.50
Date:Saturday May 7 2011
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