Johnnie Jackson's splendid, heart-warming act for Kyle Andrews has had the response it deserves (see Chicago Addick). Perhaps the best testament for the skipper is that none of us are really surprised by the gesture, we already know enough about the man for him to have earned our admiration and affection. But it did send my mind off at a tangent on a quiet Friday morning: who would be in my Charlton XI for pure commitment to the cause? And perhaps also who would be in the team to face them, those who quite clearly didn't give a monkey's?
Now we're not talking outright ability here, rather some base level of contribution to the club and evidence that for good reason the fans took them to their hearts, that they truly cared (or for the other team even when it was clear the player had ability but was just looking after number one). I've tried (a bit) to balance out special cases with pure longevity (it would be easier just to pick the players with the most appearances for the position), and to distinguish between commitment to the cause and just a liking for kicking the opposition (which is why Phil Warman and Paul Miller are edged out) as well as commitment to our cause over commitment to any (eg Andy Peake). For sure there's a bias towards players I've actually seen, so with one obvious exception apologies to any player pre-1960s.
There are some tough calls - and given that my teams have been put together rather quickly and off the top of my head no doubt I've missed out some who merit inclusion. So please help out with suggestions for improvement, with reasons why your guy should be included instead of someone listed.
With those provisos, here's my heroes team (managed by Curbs rather than having Sir Chris as player-manager):
Powell (Sir Chris)
Subs: Kiely (apologies to Charlie Wright and Bob Bolder), Curtis (just ahead of Humphrey and Reid), Kishishev, Morrison , Jones (Keith), Walsh (Colin), Hales, Horsfield (with apologies to Matt Tees and Carl Leaburn)
Tough on Deano to not make the first team (and Bob Bolder and Charlie Wright not to be on the bench) but even though I never saw him play how can you not select Bartram? Firmani over Hales? No question that Killer is in every Charlton legends team. But in a team chosen for true commitment to our cause I'd opt for Firmani and Kermorgant as the starting front two (forget whether they could actually work as a pair), with Hales and King Arthur on the bench (even though this meant no place for my boyhood hero Tees).
The Villains? Again, I've tried not to just pick the duffest players but rather those who stood out for their attitude (which is why there's no place for Lepoint; just not really his fault). But sometimes you just have to choose the useless one, beginning with ... (actually beginning with the manager, one Roland Duchatelet; it's a job he seems to think he's qualified for and with the help of his Boy Scout he does have a good knowledge of some of the players in his team, albeit mostly ones on the bench as they were so bad they couldn't even make this team):
Subs: Uytenbogaardt, Koc, Nego, Sarr, Tucudean, Crawford (Ray), Makienok
Now Uytenbogaardt may for all I know have been the most committed Charlton player in history; and you can't criticise just because he was always second-fiddle to Bartram. But come on, six years at the club and six appearances has to be some kind of record for extracting the Michael. And I have to have a reserve keeper. It was either him or Lee Harmsworth, which would have been a tad unfair. Danny Mills? I could be wrong here but, while there was nothing wrong with his full season for us (and no, we'll never forget the free kick at Villa Park), when he came back on loan I'd swear he got himself deliberately sent off, ensuring he'd be banned over the Christmas/New Year period and able to put his feet up.
Pitcher would make everyone's team I'm sure. Maurice Setters features not least as I've still got a newspaper cutting (from my scrapbooks of the era) covering his arrival headlined 'I'll raise the Jolly Roger at Charlton', talking of what he will do for the club in their fight against relegation. Played eight games, the last of which was 0-5 against Leicester, Firmani sacked, end of story. Eamon Dunphy was a decent player, but anyone who is responsible for a book and TV dramatisation where having signed for us from Millwall he tries to console one of their released youngsters by saying 'things could be worse; I've got to go and play for Charlton' has to be included.