Friday, 27 April 2018

Blackburn Rovers deja vu

Tomorrow's home game against Blackburn Rovers brings to mind what was probably the biggest lost opportunity in the history of our club.

I am reminded by the last time we played Rovers at The Valley in a similar position. It was the last game of the 1957-58 season and all we needed was a point for automatic promotion back to the First Division having been relegated the previous season. We had been in the top flight since Jimmy Seed steered us there 23 years earlier. We had been heavyweights in the English game during that time, finishing 3rd and 4th prior to the War and had won the F A Cup and been finalists after it. Blackburn were a point behind us and needed to beat us to grab second spot.

(Courtesy of the late, great, Colin Cameron) -  A crowd twice the size of the season's average poured into SE7 that day - 56,435 which remains our record gate for a second division fixture and will never be broken.Charlton took the lead after only four minutes but Rovers hit back through National Serviceman, Peter Dobing, who scored twice. Vernon added a third for Rovers before half-time to put them in command.

After the break, Duff conceded a penalty and Rovers took command but in typical Addick-fashion we fought back to 3-4 after Eddie Firmani netted and John Hewie notched an 83rd minute penalty. Those last seven minutes must have been agonising.

Saturday's fixture won't be so binary in terms of the outcome; Rovers are already promoted and we would still need a win at Rochdale just to reach the play-offs. Plymouth and Scunthorpe can both still catch us with games in hand but they have to play each other and a draw won't be enough for both of them. The prize, of course, isn't a return to the top flight but given our recent status, it would probably be as significant.

So, I hope the players are reminded of the consequences of that missed opportunity 60 years ago and how it changed the fortunes of the club so badly for the next thirty years. It was the end of our halcyon mid-twentieth century days and we would have to wait until the start of the twenty-first century to revel in them once again at the Valley.


7 comments:

Trevor Duncombe said...

I remember that game so well and the disappointment I suffered. At 1-4 down I walked out of the ground at the top entrance and then heard a roar and came back as we had scored. I then did this again only to be brought back by yet another roar. All, unfortunately to no avail. If my memory serves me right it was Bryan Douglas, an England international, on the right wing for Blackburn who was man of the match.
Such wonderful days in spite of the defeat.

Anonymous said...

Hi there - Rovers fan in peace. I don't remember this game far before my time although I do remember the 1987 Full Members Cup Final at Wembley - you were in the 1st Division as I remember and we beat you with a late Colin Hendry goal.

You went into a period of decline after that I think but glad to see you back on the up. Our problems have been well documented over the last 8-10 years but hears to good fortunes for both Clubs

Brian Cowan said...

That 1958 game was the only game my mother's mother ever went to...

Dave said...

Thanks Trevor - great to hear from someone who was present at the game.

Dave said...

Rovers fan in peace - I try to forget the Full Members Cup Final. It was not our greatest day. Bit of interest for you - I had been in Glasgow with a mate the day before to see a game and we ended up on the milk train back during the night. We pulled in to Preston at about 5am and a load of Rovers fans boarded the train ready for their big day. They were very surprised to see two Charlton fans already aboard the train and heading to Wembley. Our club will only have a chance of being on the up when the current arsehole of an owner sells up and leaves us to pick up the pieces. Pleased for you that you have won promotion and your suffering in this division is over.

Dave said...

Brian - I think some mothers are only persuaded by the big occasion. MY mum has only been once to the Valley - the Portsmouth Return game!

ChicagoAddick said...

Great memories. That game certainly changed the direction of our fortunes for a long time. Maybe tomorrow can do the same, but in a different direction.

By the way my Mum has seen some right stinkers alongside the rest of us 😆