Thank God that's over! Head and shoulders the most forgettable season in the two decades and more I've been regularly watching Charlton. From what I actually saw in person, there will not be a single moment played out on the pitch that I will remember fondly in years to come. There are countless moments I will sadly remember for all the most depressing of reasons.
I've missed more games this season than in the last 22 years combined and of the 11 games I endured, I witnessed a grand total of 3 wins. On 4 occasions I
was stupid enough to purchased tickets in advance, only to later decide not to attend, one of which I got as close to sitting by my front door, shoes and coat on, car key's in hand, before accepting with a very heavy heart that I just couldn't face another depressing night at The Valley.
Thanks Roland. Thanks Katrien. Another wasted season full of empty rhetoric, empty stands, repeated mistakes, lies, arrogance and apathy. The distance between club and its fanbase continues to grow. Still, at least we never went down and don't forget there's some heavy plant at the training ground moving earth around, so it's not all bad.
Thank heavens for that top 6 budget and the 3 managers who contributed to our survival...
Pre-match a few hundred fans gathered behind the North Stand before marching to the rear of the West. I joined in, but it all felt a bit anti-climatic, if I'm being honest. I thought we'd long-since agreed that shouting at the rear elevation of a building just doesn't work.
Inside the ground black and white was the dominant colour, and the anti-Duchatelet sentiment from the vast majority of the crowd was ever-present throughout the game. But in truth, it felt like an opportunity missed. Much of the anticipation built up across social media with hashtags like 'Take Back The Valley' and 'End Game' hinted at something big being planned, but in the end, we've seen far more hard-hitting days of action.
Not that I will criticise CARD or any other high-profile protest groups. In fairness, without CARD many (including me) may not have bothered yesterday, and whilst it might not have been militant enough for some, it would have unquestionably been an uncomfortable afternoon for Meire and Murray et al. The message was loud and clear. Some may prefer the sight of angry fans storming the directors box or invading the pitch during the game, but let's be fair about this, CARD will never advocate that. Whatever your opinion, groups like CARD, B20 and WAR are still more responsible than anyone for the continued pressure on this regime and that is something I'm very grateful for.
Charlton won, by the way. Not that it mattered. Here's Kyle's report.
One undoubted positive in these dark times is the universal love for our skipper, Johnnie Jackson, who busted a gut second half to get on the score sheet, perhaps for the last time. For me, Johnnie's service to our club - his club - rightly puts him up there with Kinsella as the finest Charlton captain of the last 20 years, and he deserved every bit of his standing ovation yesterday.
As I walked back to my car I couldn't help but wonder when the next time I will make the journey to The Valley. Sadly, it's become too easy to find something else to do on a matchday as my priorities shift. This isn't about being one of those 'through thick and thin' supporters anymore; it's about not being taken for a mug by an ownership that doesn't value my emotional or financial investment in Charlton.
But then again, my absence will only hurt me as Roland or Katrien couldn't give a toss if I don't come. I miss caring. I miss feeling hurt when we lose. I miss felling happy when we win.
Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking.
My gut feeling is Duchatelet may well be sounding out potential bidders, but that is a long, long way from him actually selling. Worst of all, the sheer stubbornness shown by him and the hapless Meire, and their inability to accept and learn from their never-ending list of failures, leaves me with zero confidence that this is about to end any time soon.
As always, I will sign off by saying thank you to anyone who's dropped by this very occasional blog this season and especially those who take the time to comment. Hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing summer. Let's hope Charlton's fortunes look considerably different come August.