Keith Peacock a Legend
Like many who had the privilege to have seen Keith Peacock play over 591 games for the Addicks the new Valley Pass is a must. It was of no surprise to hear that Keith involvement with the Addicks spanned over 45 years.
Keith goes into details when he became part of the Charlton set-up from his youth to what he has become now. The early days of his playing career were far from glamorous. The Charlton then had some of the trademarks of the Charlton now. Although the Addicks had very good players he recalls we still struggled to maintain our league status and suffered relegation from the then second division to the third which was a total disbelieve to most in the club.
The Valley back in those days suffered lack of support especially when the team were relegated. Attendance dipped below 8k. Talking in depth to Ollie Groome, Keith`s involvement in football was rich with many challenges that took him to America, Gillingham, QPR and Maidstone Utd, and a few games he was in charge at the Valley. Keith recalls the one game he was in charge at Gillingham when they played Chesterfield who were second from top at the time and who had not lost a game home and away. What happened in this game could not have been forecasted by anyone unless they had a crystal ball.
Anyway he went on. The game started and to his surprise goals flew into the opponents net at the rite of knots. By the time half-time came around Gillingham were 5-0 up. Second half resumed and by the time the final whistle sounded, Gillingham were 10-0 winners. It came to light that this Kent side had scored 18 goals in two games. Keith was then ask, was this feat ever repeated, the answer to this question was an emphatic no. Keith said he was shocked at this result and he felt very sorry for the manager of Chesterfield.
Although he took the Gillingham job that lasted for six years, he admitted his first love was always Charlton. Keith other success prior to this ten nil win were against Southend Utd where he won 8-1 at home. But like any team who performs above their norm, goals can dry up and they did at Gillingham, Keith accepted this in the true spirit of the game.
He admits that Charlton was never far from his mind and he always knew he would return to the club that gave him the start to his footballing career.
Keith talked about the years we were away from the Valley having to ground share with Palace and West ham 84-92. Not an ideal period for Charlton and the return to their spiritual home was aperitif. When it finally happened in 92 and the first game back against Portsmouth was the rebirth of the Addicks.
Many managerial changes were made until the combination of Grit and Curbishley finally put the club on the map, Keith recalls. The premiership time were the pinnacle years of Charlton Athletic, he recalls. The 1997-98 season has to go down as one of the most productive in the history of Charlton. That unbelievable game against Sunderland at Wembley where we played for a place in the big times. Although our return to the big times only lasted one season, the relegation did not deter the Addicks to return stronger under the guidance of Curbishley as the sole manager. Seven seasons we stayed amongst the best teams in the country. On route we had great wins. Keith recalls the 4-2 win at Highbury against the Arsenal, we even made 7th place in the premiership.
Keith spoke about a few player who he regarded as special in his thoughts. Players such as Paul Went, Arthur Horsfield, Flannigan, Hales, Mendonca, just to name a few. Keith had a special word for Les Reed who he regarded as a very sound person who took the reins for a while but he knew it was only a short period he would be team coach.
Keith recalls how the Addicks had twelve wins on the trot when we pushed to return back to the premiership under leadership of Curbishley. The only down was we lost to bottom club Swindon Town 1-0 which spoiled the good season we had. Many players passed through Charlton. Decanio he said was a great signing. The fiery Italian was a great hit with the supporters and also scored a goal or two.
It is true to say, every club has a player who stands out from the rest. Keith Peacock was one of those players. Other no doubt will follow him down the road to individual stardom. The video has lots more to offer than I could possibly write. It is really worth a look. A heartfelt interview.