Colin Walsh was so hopeful of Charlton’s Valley return that he bought a house near the stadium - and still lives in it today.

Walsh will drive from his Bexleyheath home on Saturday for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Addicks’ first game back in SE7.

The former Scottish midfielder, 55, scored the game’s only goal against Portsmouth to write his own chapter in the club’s history after Charlton spent seven years ground-sharing with Crystal Palace and West Ham.

Walsh told News Shopper: “I bought a house in Bexleyheath, it wasn't that far from the Valley.

“But when I signed, Charlton were playing at Selhurst Park, they promised me they'd return home - and six years later they did it.

“The club told me to buy a house near the Valley because they hoped to get back, even in the early days.

“The people I was speaking to, they were so keen on getting back. I believed them and it worked out all right.

MORE: Where are they now? Charlton team that won first game back at Valley 25 years ago today

“Lennie Lawrence told me to buy a property near the Valley. He was the manager at the time, the one who took me to Charlton.”

Walsh, who now works as a concierge for accountancy giants PricewaterhouseCoopers in London, added: “It was strange playing at another home. It took us ages to get there and back.

“The games were just inconvenient to play in because it was a dreadful journey. Once we moved to West Ham, it was closer.

“We were always late arriving at Selhurst Park, it was a natural thing. You’d put money aside every week to be fined for being late.

“You could get there in 50 minutes but getting home was a nightmare because the away supporters were trying to get out as well.”

Charlton were forced to leave the Valley due to financial troubles in 1985.

Fans campaigned for a return and even formed a political party to put pressure on Greenwich Council, which played a huge role in their homecoming. 

The Addicks take on Portsmouth in a commemorative match on Saturday.

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Colin Walsh in the Back to the Valley anniversary kit

Former Charlton defender Stuart Balmer will drive down from Edinburgh at 4am on Saturday to attend the game. He is going to stay with Walsh in Bexleyheath. 

Balmer also played against Pompey at the Valley on December 5, 1992.

Recounting his memories of the day, Walsh added: “It was the best moment of my career. The goal was so important to a lot of people.

“I was fined £50 by [joint-manager] Steve Gritt for being late on the day. Supporters decided to walk from Woolwich to the Valley.

“I was stuck by Charlton Park because I had about 2,000 fans in front of my car.

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“The noise in the stadium was incredible. After the game, the club took the kit off us and auctioned it to raise money to keep us at the Valley.

“Myself and Stuart Balmer, who is staying with me this weekend, went to see Jim Davidson perform in the evening.

“Jim mentioned Charlton and made a joke saying ‘my team played today - Charlton-nil’ implying we never scored goals.

“And Stuart had a few words to say. He decided to give him a bit of abuse during his act. I can’t repeat what he said - it was quite a late night!”

Click here to buy tickets for Charlton v Portsmouth on Saturday.