Tonight Charlton take on Dagenham & Redbridge in the First Round of the League Cup. Charlton fans will be hoping for a better performance than last time out in 2011 when they beat us in League One and a better performance still than in 2001 when Premiership Charlton came within four minutes of defeat to the non-league Daggers.
Charlton fans will also be hoping to do rather better in the League Cup than we have in the past. This will be Charlton’s 142nd match in that competition and we have currently won only 52 of those. Since our first match in 1960, for some reason wearing blue jerseys, where we conceded three goals against West Ham, including a 25 yarder from Bobby Moore, things have not looked good.
Many fans will remember recent humiliations against the likes of Yeovil and Hereford, the wasted opportunity against Wycombe or the ridiculous capitulation to Shrewsbury having taken a 3-0 lead. The pain isn’t all recent though. If there are any fans still around who visited Bloomfield Road in 1963, they must still be smarting from the 7-1 drubbing handed out that night – thankfully still our biggest defeat in the competition.
You may wonder why, in a competition just over fifty years old how come Charlton have played so many matches if they’ve been beaten so much. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it wasn’t until the 1990s that penalties superseded replays as a way of decided drawn ties. Secondly, and something which can only be explained by the mis-placed greed of the footballing authorities, in the last quarter of the 20th Century early rounds were played over two legs.
When Charlton’s record is scrutinised leg by leg it looks even worse than on a match by match basis. Of a total of 101 rounds played Charlton have only progressed through 45 of them.
|Number of Rounds Won in a Season||Number of Occasions|
|Won 0 rounds||26|
|Won 1 round||17|
|Won 2 rounds||11|
|Won 3 rounds||2|
The worst time span in the club’s League cup history was soon after the competition started. On the 13th October 1965 Charlton lost 4-3 to Peterborough, it wouldn’t be until the18th August 1970 that we’d register a win, putting three past Southend. That’s 58 months to get a decent result. Although that’s a long time span we have had worse sequences of results. Between 1991 and 1994 we played six matches, notching up just one draw. Then between 2007 and 2012 we played seven matches, recording five defeats and two draws.
Despite this poor record we have had our moments. On two occasions we have notched up three consecutive wins. We’ve won 14 rounds on aggregate (despite not winning all of those matches). On four occasions we’ve put five goals past the opposition – Brentford, Peterborough, Chesterfield and Wimbledon. We’ve also won three penalty shootouts, most notably against Chelsea leaving Sr. Mourinho in a state of denial. And best of all (though most disappointing in the end) in 2006-07 we reached the Quarter Finals.
So Charlton can do good things in this competition. What we need though is for the club, the management and the players to take it seriously. A win against Dagenham tonight could be the springboard to great things, but we’ve got to believe that and want it. On too many occasions in the past we’ve entered this competition in a half-hearted manner and got our just deserts.