For four seasons from 2004 to 2008 I wrote a 300-word weekly Charlton fan column in the Kent Messenger's north-west Kent titles, including the Dartford Messenger and the short-lived Bexley Extra.
They appeared under the heading Voice of The Valley, although necessarily the views in the articles were simply mine.
The columns were written under the highly unusual constraint that I was working for Charlton at the time, even though they were not part of my employment. Despite that, they are in places more critical of the club than you might expect.
Given the papers' distribution area it's unlikely they were ever read by many at the club, although then chief executive Peter Varney knew about them.
I was never paid for writing them, and did it because I enjoyed doing so and it allowed me to practise my preferred trade (I had covered Charlton for the SE London Mercury from 1989-98 and edited the Valley Review 1998-2003) at a time when I was generally more involved with ticket promotions and coach travel, as well as projects like the centenary exhibition and DVD.
The columns are of their time and the brevity of them was restrictive in terms of developing a theme. They were written for a wider audience than the committed and I don't make any claim for their literary or other merit. Indeed, they are often pretty bland.
Nevertheless, they are a record of an era when the fanzine was out of print, so I thought I would resurrect them here for anyone who is interested. At worst they may stir some memories, as they did for me.
Here's a first batch (right column), from the 2004/05 season.
VOTV172, the fifth issue of the 2021/22 season, was published on December 23rd. There are three pricing options - for UK (first class), European and worldwide delivery.
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