Charlton Athletic: The Legacy of Alan Curbishley

Miles KentCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2008

Alan Curbishley was manager of Charlton Athletic for fifteen years, and took an obscure South London club from the pits of Division Two to an established Premier League team in a spell of success that will be unmatched for years to come.

His ability to bring through youth players and turn them into regular first team players gradually became regarded as second to none by his fellow professionals.

Paul Konchesky and Scott Parker sit amongst some of his better examples of such work, and they were part of a team that helped maintain a high level of consistency that kept Charlton challenging in the upper half of the Premiership for a number of seasons.

He was a thoughtful tactician and a knowledgeable football man, who made careful investments in the players he brought to The Valley—including the likes of Darren Bent and Dean Kiley—during his stint as manager.

He was instrumental in the club's rise to the Premiership as he oversaw the rejuvenation of the Addick's home ground after their promotion in 2000. The Valley now seats just over 27,000, and is a far cry from the horrific image of the ground in the main picture.

Funnily enough, Charlton's record attendance is an astonishing 75,000, in a match against Aston Villa the late 1930's. A figure that rivals the likes of the San Siro, the Santiago Bernabeu or Old Trafford at the Valley is a frightening thought that makes you wonder were the risk assessment team were hiding.

In the history of the club Curbishley will always be considered a legend for how far he brought a small club. Initially joining as a part time 34-year-old player, Curbishley won over the trust of a board that kept faith in him and supported his decisions for a very long time, even after relegation in 1991.

Even with all the accolades one can give Curbishley, he never won a lot of domestic trophies during his entire time at the club—apart from the trophies recived for gaining promotion.

He still proved himself to be a capable manager, however, when he helped West Ham narrowly survive a relegation battle that saw them escape in the 2006-07 season by three points.

It's unlikely another manager will come close to mirroring the sort of dedication Curbishley gave the Addicks, and the days of 15-year managers seem to be grinding to an end.

His presence at West Ham eventually became unappreciated, but what he helped Charlton Athletic achieve will always be regarded as a great service to the club by the fans.