Club Classics: Let’s do a Charlton!

As Charlton Athletic return to the Championship we turn the clock back to celebrate a classic Premier League Addicks kit.

There once was a time when the name Charlton Athletic was a byword for stability, survival and prosperity in the Premier League.

After a period where The Addicks had suffered such financial strife that they needed to ground share with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and West Ham at Upton Park, they returned home to The Valley in 1992 after 7 years away from home.

Charlton-Athletic (1)
This Le Coq Sportif shirt was worn across three highly eventful seasons

With the football world changing all around them, The Valiants set about securing the foundations for a rich future in the top flight of English football.

The Valley was improved and once again became a comfortable home, and in Alan Curbishley, Charlton found their most successful manager since Jimmy Seed took the club from the Third to the First Division in successive seasons in the 1930s, to become a powerhouse either side of the Second World War.

Curbishley’s boys ultimately brought Premier League football to SE7 with Clive Mendonca’s hat-trick over Sunderland helping to secure promotion through the 1997-98 Division One Play-Off final.

Charlton Athletic, Le Coq Sportif, Clive Mendonca
Charlton’s Wembley hat-trick hero Clive Mendonca

Le Coq Sportif issued the following season’s kit early for that dramatic day in the Wembley sunshine, as Charlton won a heart-stopping penalty shoot-out after a 4-4 draw.

The red shirts with white side panels were sponsored by Mesh Computers with smart branded taping down the sleeves.

Charlton wore those shirts for the next two eventful seasons.

Unfortunately, Charlton’s first Premier League campaign ended in relegation on the final day of the 1998-99 season but having kept their faith in Curbishley, they bounced back to finish the following campaign as First Division champions.

Charlton Athletic, Le Coq Sportif, Mesh Computers
The Addicks achieved 2 promotions in these Le Coq Sportif shirts

After that yo-yo period, some astute spending and some skin of the teeth survivals, Charlton slowly established themselves in the Premier League recording a highly creditable 7th place finish in 2005; their highest league position since the 1950s.

The phrase, “Let’s do a Charlton” became popular among chairman of football clubs looking to repeat the sensibly sourced success but sadly, that meaning turned on its head when the Addicks parted company with Alan Curbishley and suffered relegation in 2007 after 7 top-flight seasons.

Charlton have since spent a total of 6 seasons in English football’s 3rd tier, but have returned to the Championship this season after Lee Bowyer’s boys heaped more play-off misery on poor old Sunderland.

Charlton fans have become used to the roller-coaster nature of life as a football fan and with a long-rumoured takeover of the club still in the offing, they can expect many more dips and twists over the coming season.

Classic football kits take us back to a golden moment or period in a club’s history and for their smart look and association with high drama at the Valley, these Le Coq Sportif shirts are worthy of their Club Classic status.

What memories do you have of this Charlton Athletic shirt?

Please let us know in the comments section below!

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