Charlton Athletic Football Club was founded in 1905 by a group of teenagers from youth clubs in the local area. Nicknamed The Addicks, the club's early years were hindered by the presence of Woolwich Arsenal, who eventually moved to North London in 1913, allowing Charlton to expand. In 1921 the club was elected to the Football League.
During the 1980s, Charlton Athletic suffered severe financial problems, partially due to mismanagement of the club's finances. This mismanagement included signing former European Footballer of the Year Allan Simonsen, despite being in the Second Division. Simonsen was put up for sale after playing just 16 games, as the club could not afford to pay his wages. The financial problems became so severe that the club had to arrange a groundshare with Crystal Palace, as they could not afford to redevelop their own stadium, The Valley, in order to meet safety requirements after the Bradford City stadium fire. Charlton Athletic eventually went into administration before bouncing back.
The club's most successful period came about during the late 1930s and the 1940s. During the Second World War, Charlton won the Football League War Cup. After the war, the club reached two successive FA Cup finals, losing the final in 1946 against Derby County Football Club before winning the cup in 1947 versus Burnley Football Club respectively. Charlton's highest ever league finish was 2nd place, in 1937.
Derek Hales is the club's record goalscorer, amassing 168 goals in two spells at the club. Noteable former players include Ralph Allen, Scott Parker, Darren Bent and the afforementioned Allan Simonsen.
The Valley has served as the club's home for the majority of its existence, including an uninterrupted period from 1919-1985. At one point, the stadium was the largest club football stadium in London, with a capacity of 75,000. After the Bradford City fire, the stadium was essentially rebuilt around the original pitch and the club returned to the stadium in 1992. Its current capacity stands at 27,111. The attendance first matched this capacity in 2005, for a Premier League match with Chelsea.