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Our own Patrick Higgins has penned a tribute to his friend Alan, who will always be associated with Charlton Athletic WFC and his love and support of the Addicks over the years:>
Everyone at Women's Soccer Scene was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Alan Watts and women's football - as well as our magazine - has lost one of its biggest supporters.
Our own Patrick Higgins has penned a tribute to his friend Alan, who will always be associated with Charlton Athletic WFC and his love and support of the Addicks over the years:
Very little is certain in sport. But for as long as I can recall, a Charlton Athletic Women goal was accompanied by the ringing of a bell. Whether at Durham or Plymouth, Cardiff or The Valley, Alan Watts was there with his bell. Sadly for his numerous friends throughout the women's football community, we shall no longer enjoy his cheery welcome and friendly manner at CAWFC matches, when we are permitted to return.
I didn't know Alan as well as his many friends at Charlton. Their eloquent tributes on the announcement of his passing just before Christmas spoke volumes. My visits to Thamesmead, VCD Athletic and The Valley were infrequent but Alan would always make a point of seeking me out for a chat, worry that he was distracting me from my match reporting and invite me to join him in the bar after the match.
Alan would detail the amazing journeys he had undertaken by public transport at silly o'clock on Sunday mornings, replete with rail replacement buses, taxis and uphill walking to see his beloved team. He always maintained that away versus Forest Green Rovers at Slimbridge FC and two successive Sundays at Ystrad Mynach against Cardiff City were his biggest challenges, but I suspect Manchester United away - with a midday kick off - ran it close. All this in his mid to late seventies.
Alan had seen it all at CAWFC. Title challenges, an FA Cup Final triumph in 2005, defeat in 2007 followed by disaster as the men's club withdrew funding. A superb long term plan for recovery with a brilliant youth policy leading to that triumphant day at Bramall Lane when Charlton regained their place amongst the elite. All accompanied by that bell ringing loud and clear wherever they played.
Addicks and ex-Addicks were his specialist subject. If he spotted an ex-Addick in my match reports, he would be on the phone for an update on form and progress. In the joyful days of the WSL summer league he would wile away the weeks till Charlton were back by going to matches...but only if there was a former Addick to watch. Otherwise, no deal!
Over the years, Alan revealed that he had played at a decent level and had lived in other cities but I will always associate him with the SE postal area. His unbroken run of CAWFC matches was formally honoured in a variety of ways in recent years but it was the small details that made him special.
As someone from whom ‘getting the line ups' is vital, Alan's hand written portable team board displayed before matches at Thamesmead was a most welcome detail, done to make other people's experience more enjoyable and typical of his thoughtfulness.
His last contact was a call in July during which he asked it was ‘all right' to phone up for a chat. Yes, my friend, it was more than ‘all right', it was a pleasure to have known you.
Photo courtesy of Charlton Athletic WFC
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