Charlton Athletic 1922/23

Charlton Athletic 1922/23

Charlton Athletic F.C. were formed on 9 June 1905 by a group of 15- to 17-year-olds in East Street, Charlton which is now known as Eastmoor Street and no longer residential. Charlton spent most of the years before the First World War playing in youth leagues. They became a senior side in 1913 the same year that nearby Woolwich Arsenal relocated to North London. After the war, they joined the Kent League for one season (1919–20) before becoming professional, appointing Walter Rayner as the first full-time manager. They were accepted by the Southern League and played just a single season (1920–21) before being voted into the Football League. Charlton's first Football League match was against Exeter City in August 1921, which they won 1–0. In 1923 The Addicks became "giant killers" in the FA Cup beating top flight sides Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion & Preston North End before losing to eventual winners Bolton Wanderers in the Quarter-Finals. Later that year it was proposed that Charlton merge with Catford Southend to create a larger team with bigger support. In the 1923–24 season Charlton played in Catford at The Mount stadium and wore the colours of "The Enders", light and dark blue vertical stripes. However, the move fell through and the Addicks returned to the Charlton area in 1924, returning to the traditional red and white colours in the process. Charlton finished second bottom in the Football League in 1926 and were forced to apply for re-election which was successful. Three years later the Addicks won the Division Three championship in 1929 and they remained at the Division Two level for four years.

After relegation into the Third Division south at the end of the 1932/33 season the club appointed Jimmy Seed as manager and he oversaw the most successful period in Charlton's history either side of the Second World War. Seed, an ex-miner who had made a career as a footballer despite suffering the effects of poison gas in the First World War, remains the most successful manager in Charlton's history. He is commemorated in the name of a stand at the Valley. Seed was an innovative thinker about the game at a time when tactical formations were still relatively unsophisticated. He later recalled "a simple scheme that enabled us to pull several matches out of the fire" during the 1934–35 season: when the team was in trouble "the centre-half was to forsake his defensive role and go up into the attack to add weight to the five forwards." The organisation Seed brought to the team proved effective and the Addicks gained successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division between 1934 and 1936, becoming the first club to ever do so. Charlton finally secured promotion to the First Division by beating local rivals West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground, with their centre-half John Oakes playing on despite concussion and a broken nose.

In 1937, Charlton finished runners up in the First Division, in 1938 finished fourth and 1939 finished third. They were the most consistent team in the top flight of English football over the three seasons immediately before the Second World War. This continued during the war years and they won the "war" cup and appeared in finals.

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