Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash between Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth at The Valley bears an added significance for the hosts - it marks a quarter of a century since they returned home.
On Tuesday 5th December 2017 the Addicks brought up the 25-year landmark of returning to SE7, following their departure from the stadium in 1985 after the club’s board were unable to retain the freehold of the ground.
However, the Charlton faithful subsequently rallied round and played an integral part in ensuring their side played on home turf once again.
Current manager Karl Robinson declared the supporters can be immensely proud of what they achieved 25 years ago, while stating his side have best made plans to mark the occasion with a winning performance.
“The game has got an unbelievable way of throwing things up,” highlighted Robinson. “It would have been a special day regardless of who we would have played this weekend,
“With it being Portsmouth it just adds to the whole feel of the day. It’s something we are immensely proud of, and we don’t feel worthy of being a part of it.
“We’re looking forward to our job in hand, but we’re also looking forward to reminiscing, and to respect what’s been before.
“We put pressure on ourselves every single week to go out and get results for the football club — that never changes. We still try and do our best regardless, and I put pressure on my players, the players put pressure on me, and we have to deal with that in every game.”
66 years at The Valley preceded the Addicks leaving. The fans were without their beloved home for a period of seven years, and were forced to ground-share with Crystal Palace - the supporters were understandably distraught at being forced away.
Speaking about that spirit which was shown throughout the period of exile, Robinson commended what he proclaimed was a unique feat.
He declared: “I’m not too sure whether it will ever happen again.
“The supporters deserve more and, Charlton’s fans showed 25 years ago, what true fans do, by what they did, how they backed the Valley Party and everything that went with it.
“They went through legal procedures and pushed things way beyond the realms of what people would class as a fan’s role. They believed so passionately in the football club and look what they achieved.”
That commitment and care still rings true, and the 37-year-old highlighted the vital role what those on the terraces have to play as Charlton push for a successful campaign.
“Charlton fans are very passionate about their club; they’re very driven. They want people to work hard; they expect people to work hard, and they expect people to respect the club,” he stated.
“I’ve always said that managers and players are on a revolving door, and the fans are here a lot longer than us — the only one thing which surpasses them is the club itself.”