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Charlton Athletic F.C.

Founded in 1905, Charlton Athletic F.C. plays at The Valley, in southeast London. Charlton was elected to the Football League in 1921, and was promoted to the First Division in 1936. They remained in the First Division, winning the FA Cup in 1947, until 1957, when they were relegated.

From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Charlton remained a mainstay of the Second Division. The Valley was the largest football ground in the League, drawing crowds in excess of 70,000. Relegation to the Third Division in 1972 caused the team's support to drop, and even a short-lived promotion in 1975 did little to re-invigorate the team's support and finances.

From the mid 1980s Charlton played at Crystal Palace[?]'s football ground, Selhurst Park, as the team's financial situation prevented much-needed refurbishment of The Valley. Winning promotion to the First Division in 1986 did little to aid the failing club.

In 1990, the club again faced relegation. That same year, club supporters formed their own political party in response to Greenwich Council's refusal to allow the proposed stadium refurbishment. The Valley Party won 15,000 votes and was able to force through plans to renovate The Valley.

The next year, Charlton left Selhurst Park for West Ham United's ground, Upton Park. In 1992, at last, they returned to a new and improved Valley. Under the leadership of manager Alan Curbishley, Charlton returned to the First Division (by now the Premiership) in 1998, only to be relegated again on the last day of the season.

They returned to the Premiership in 2000, where they look likely to remain for some time. After a poor start to the 2002 / 2003 season, losing all of their first four home games, the team found its form with runs of four and five consecutive wins taking them up the table. Curbishley was rewarded for this success with the Manager of the Month award for February 2003.

While Charlton remains a club with a reputation for spending its money sensibly, the current squad boasts an encouraging blend of quality players from home and abroad, including the Danish international Claus Jensen and the young English midfielder Scott Parker. In February 2003 Parker and his team-mate Paul Konchesky (both graduates of the club's youth academy) were selected for the England football team's squad for a friendly against Australia. While only Konchesky actually played in the match, it was the first time ever that two Charlton players had been picked in the same England squad.

Charlton is rare among football clubs, in that it reserves a seat on its director's board for a supporter. Any season ticket holder can put themselves forward for election, with a certain number of nominations, and votes are cast by all season ticket holders over the age of 18.

Charlton's fans are known as The Addicks. Among the theories on the etymology of the name are that 1) many original supporters worked in the fish markets, and Addicks comes from Haddocks; or, 2) it's a southeast London form of Addict. The team's home kit is red, and they always come onto the pitch at The Valley to the tune of "When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob-, bob- bobbin' along."

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