In the summer of 1998 84 members of the Charlton E mail list responded to an electronic questionnaire about their links with the club. This page reports the results of that questionnaire. It is not claimed that the responses are typical of Charlton supporters in general or listers in particular.
All but four of the respondents were (apparently) male. Over two-thirds of them were between the ages of 25 and 44, with 33 in the 25-34 age group. Nine were 24 or under, thirteen were 45-54 and only three were 55+ . This may reflect the familiarity of different generations with information technology. Indeed, over a quarter of those responding had a job connected in some way with information technology. All the respondents either had jobs that could be described as AB in terms of the standard market research classification or ran their own small businesses (apart from student respondents). In this respect, they are certainly atypical of the Charlton support as a whole. Reflecting their ages, most of the respondents had started supporting Charlton in the 1970s (24) or 1980s (23). Only four were 1990s supporters and only two dated from before 1950, with eleven from the vintage years of the 1950s and eighteen from the 1960s. Many could remember their first match, but few were as precise as the Finnish respondent who said that he started supporting Charlton at about 2.50 p.m. on 30th August 1997.
Family tradition was overwhelmingly the most important reason (50 respondents) with some being third generation supporters (and in a few cases able to trace a continuous tradition of support back to 1921). Thirteen supported the club because it was their local team and five had been taken for the first time by family friends. One respondent cited 'lack of brains' and one had been attracted by Lennie Lawrence as a manager ('Something about Lennie Lawrence being a supoorters' manager by telling it like it was.'). The most unusual reasons are worth quoting:
When they started supporting Charlton, the majority of the listers lived in the Charlton heartland in the London boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley. Within these boroughs, 6 came from Charlton itself; 5 from Blackheath; 5 from Eltham; 4 from Plumstead Common; and three each from Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Bexleyheath and Welling. If one adds to these 48, those who lived in traditional Charlton areas of support nearby (e.g., Bromley 3; Lwisham, 2; Chislehurst, 2; Catford, 2) then the overwhelming majority of respondents (68) came from the traditional areas of support in S.E.London. If one looks at where they live now, a rather different picture emerges, although one must remember that the list is particularly attractive to exiled Addicks. Thus, four respondents lived in the United States and four in Australia. Under a third lived in Greenwich and Bexley (26), and those that still lived there had largely moved away from their original location. (One respondent had moved to Woolwich in part to be nearer the ground, and one respondent had found themselves back in their original area). There were very few respondents (four) in other areas of S.E.London outside Greenwich and Bexley. Those who had not gone abroad had moved further afield in England (e.g., Manchester, Newcastle) or had moved out to Kent or Sussex.
As listers sometimes express interest in schools attended, it can be reported that the following secondary schools were attended by more than one lister: Roan, 6; St.Joseph's 6; St.Olave's, 4; Colfe's, 3; Raines, 2; Eaglesfield, 2. Of primary schools, St.Margaret's C of E, Plumstead Common, was mentioned most (by three respondents, including the writer, and it would have been four if Tom Morris had completed a questionnaire!)
The all time favourite is Derek 'Killer' Hales with 18 votes, followed by Robert Lee with 14, and Colin Powell with 9. Other players with more than one vote were: Keith Peacock, 5; Gary Nelson, 4; John Humphrey, 4; Sam Bartram, 3; Eddie Firmani, 3; Colin Walsh, 3; Mike Flanagan, 2; Scott Minto, 2; Carl Leaburn, 2. Kim Grant got one 1 vote, his backer explaining 'I always like to think I can play better than someone in the squad, unfortunately this is no longer possible.'
Of current players the favourite (once again not necessarily the best) was John Robinson with 19 votes, followed by Mark Kinsella with 13 and Clive Mendonca with 11. Other votes were: Steve Brown, 7; Keith Jones, 6; 5 each for Paul Mortimer, Richard Rufus and Eddie Youds; 3 for Sasa Ilic; 2 for Steve Jones and for Danny Mills; and one each for Bowen, Newton and Parker.
By far and away the favourite choice was losing in the play off finals to Palace, mentioned by twelve respondents. Otherwise, there was a lot of diversity in the responses with some long forgotten humiliations being recalled, e.g. a 0-3 at Aldershot, a 2-4 to Southend, and a 1-5 to Luton. Three respondents mention ed a 2-2 draw at Millwall where Charlton were 2-0 up one minute from the end. Each of the following incidents was mentioned twice:
There were also some poignant individual stories in response to this question:
Because of an oversight (i.e., a cock up) this question failed to state that any answer should not refer to the TGG. Hence, 38 answers referred to Wembley and another five specifically to Sasa's save. Of the other replies, five referred to winning promotion to the (then) first division at Carlisle, three referred to half time in the cup fixture at Old Trafford when Schmeichel had been sent off, two referred to the famous day when everyone got together to clean up The Valley, and two mentioned discovering the web page and list.
Some of the more interesting anecdotes were:
This time I did remember to exclude Wembley, which would have been an almost universal answer. Fifteen listers chose the 3-0 defeat of Middlesbrough at home, a number referring specifically to Merson's temper tantrum which enhanced their enjoyment. For seven listers, it was Newton's goal in the home play off against Ipswich which was the high point. As one lister commented, 'Fabulous strike and instantly calmed down. And I've always liked Shaun.' Two other listers made general references to this match, one stressing the fantastic atmosphere. Defeating Forest at home in the league was selected by seven listers, while for six it was the departure of Carl Leaburn that was their high point. Four mentioned the away play off at Ipswich, while for three it was the relegation of Palace. Three chose the very special atmosphere of the away match at Port Vale: 'Driving home on Easte r Monday and passing all those coach loads of Charlton fans on the motorway was an amazing experience.' Another Addick commented, 'Great support and we nicked three points EXACTLY in the manner that promotion candidates are supposed to.' Singing in the rain at Swindon was remembered by two people, while two chose Norwich away and another two chose the last home league match against Tranmere, for the atmosphere and the parade afterwards rather than the match. For two respondents, Sir Clive's arrival was the key event. For two, it was discovering the list and the web site. As one exile in the States put it, 'It has been a miracle for me.' Finally, there were some very personal memories:
With the Wembley game excluded, this question brought a greater diversity of response than any other. The favourite with seven votes was the play-off replay against Leeds at St.Andrews which kept Charlton in the then First Division. Without that victory, would Charlton have survived? The 3-1 victory over Preston that secured promotion from the 3rd division was remembered by four listers. Three chose the 4-3 win at Brighton and three the FA Cup win at Blackburn while three were old enough to remember the 7-6 win over Huddersfield. The home playoff also got three votes, as did the two leg league cup fixture against Wimbledon, especially the 5-4 win at Sellout Park in the first leg. The home match against Middlesbrough in the Premiership promotion season was chosen by two respondents. The quarter final away to Manchester United in the FA Cup got two votes and a lister reaclled, 'Schemeichel got sent off and we spent the whole of half time outsinging the Old Trafford crowd. Doesn't matter that we lost the game - the atmosphere was fanatstic and such a party.' Other matches attracting two votes were the 3-2 win at Carlisle; Newcastle 4-3; and a 4-4 draw with Ipswich, 'pouring with rain and we came back from 4-2.' The 2-0 win against Millwall in the snow was a fond memory for two listers. One respondent selected a 0-3 Addicks defeat at home to Stoke in September 1962 because he saw Stanley Matthews play. Perhaps the most unusual answer was, 'All the games when we had the "South African< Connection". Hewie, Lawrie, Tocknell etc. We weren't a very good side in those days, but you ALWAYS had the feeling that the players were enjoying themselves, and that feeling transferred itself to the spectators.' As for the 8-1 victory against Middlesbrough in 1953, it is one of my earliest footballing memories!
The shock is that the Spanners are in third place. Palace came first with 35 votes, followed by Manchester United with 18 and Millwall with 16. As one respondent commented, 'Millwall are just a joke.' In relation to Palace, many respondents said 'need I say more?' or 'need I explain?'. A typical detailed response was 'No tradition, no loyal supporters, crap ground, Ron Noades (formerly), Croydon and their (fickle) supporters.' Another lister revealed that his favourite event in history was the burning of Crystal Palace. As far as United was concerned, a typical comment was 'the first club to be "supported" by youngsters everywhere, even if the y couldn't tell you where Manchester was. This seems to me to be alien to what supporting a football club is about.' Glasgow Rangres and Birmingham City got two votes each. Other candidates were France, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Manchester City, Brentford, Everton, Forest and Swansea City (don't ask!) One lister specifeid 'any team with Shearer' and 'any George Graham team.'
Respondents were asked to choose one player they would buy for Charlton (the rather artificial restriction was that they should be British or playing for a British team). Twenty-one chose Michael Owen. Rob Lee got eight votes, Sol Campbell five, Petit three and Shearer three. Supposed Addicks target David Johnson got two votes, as did Dion Dublin. The two votes for Beckham were a little misleading, as one was so that 'I could boo him at every match.' There was a scattering of single votes for other players, including one for Wimbledon sharp shooter Carl Leaburn and one for Peter Smith (you know, the guy who plays for Brighton and Hove Albion).
Most respondents were pessimistic about how Charlton would do in 1998/9. Only three put the Addicks in a relegation position (one vote for each of the three bottom slots), while one respondent said '16th with my heart, 19th with my head'. One suspects that some of the 25 listers who chose 16th or 17th thought we might be relegated, but didn't want to say so. 65 respondents put us in the bottom half of the table, with one lister saying that we would be champions and four forecasting that we would qualify for Europe.
So there you have it - a snapshot of some of the Listers, their views and their memories in 1998. Does it mean anything? Probably not, but it's a bit of fun. Up the Addicks!
The picture below shows some Listers when Wyn and Maggie Grant sponsored the Match Ball in a Nationwide match against Reading (photo courtesy Tom Morris). Lister Robin of Covered End Choir fame is holding aloft the famous Yorkey's Knob shirt worn by Antipodean photographer Brian Cassey.
East Stand, Row Q, Seat 100
Addick since 1953