Former Premier League club had stadium bigger than Arsenal and Liverpool, hosted loudest ever gig, before being condemned
EPL

Former Premier League club had stadium bigger than Arsenal and Liverpool, hosted loudest ever gig, before being condemned

Nov 22, 2023

Charlton Athletic have been languishing down in League One for several seasons, with attendances showing steady decline.

Their average crowd at home last season was 13,436, a far cry from their capacity of 27,111.

The Valley is one of the biggest stadiums in League One

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The Valley is one of the biggest stadiums in League OneCredit: Getty

As results slump on the pitch, those have dropped even further with fewer than 12,000 watching games at The Valley several times this season.

It is a far cry from the sellouts the club had during their Premier League years, where they expanded and renovated their stadium to be the biggest in south east London.

The club even wanted to expand that capacity to more than 40,000, before relegation from the top flight ended that dream.

The Valley is undoubtedly one of the best stadiums in the third tier of English football, but used to look very different.

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The club could once upon a time boast about having one of the biggest grounds in world football.

The famous East Stand terrace was among the largest around and helped boost the capacity to well over 70,000.

Charlton’s record attendance is an incredible 75,031 for a 1938 fifth round FA Cup game against Aston Villa.

To put that into context, that is the 17th biggest crowd to attend a football match ever in the United Kingdom.

The Valley used to hold crowds in excess of 70,000

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The Valley used to hold crowds in excess of 70,000Credit: Getty

That is more than the record home attendances for Arsenal [73,707] and Liverpool [61,905], while Old Trafford’s capacity is currently at 74,310.

Jimmy Seed’s Addicks spent 15 years in top flight football, interrupted by the Second World War, and attracted huge crowds to The Valley before relegated to the second tier in 1957.

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During that period, however, the club won their only major honour when they lifted the FA Cup in 1947.

Football was not the only attraction that drew huge crowds at The Valley, with The Who playing two famous gigs there in the 1970s.

The Who played famous gigs at The Valley

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The Who played famous gigs at The ValleyCredit: Getty

Around 76,000 people squeezed into the south east London stadium, while the second gig in 1976 even made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

It was officially the loudest ever gig, having measured at 120 decibels at 50 metres away.

Attendances dwindled as the club struggled both on and off the pitch, that culminated in them nearly going out of business.

Charlton were forced away from The Valley in 1985 and ground shared with rivals Crystal Palace and then West Ham before returning in 1992.

The Valley lay abandoned after financial issues

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The Valley lay abandoned after financial issuesCredit: Getty
The club eventually returned to their home in 1992

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The club eventually returned to their home in 1992Credit: Getty

However, that famous East Stand terrace had been condemned and was rebuilt in 1994. 

Several other redevelopments and improvements were made to the stadium to bring it to how we know it looks like now.


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