Having had time to reflect on a monumental day in SE7, I'm not sure I enjoyed the experience as much as some might imagine, especially considering the scoreline. Naturally, had the Addicks have held on with the game at 4-3, I would judge differently: perhaps even putting the game alongside the 2003 Boxing Day thriller V's Chelsea. Despite being two down at one stage, any last minute goal conceded, turning a win in to a draw, always feels like a defeat on the walk back to the car. Worst still, Norwich win comfortably again. I can't ask for more from the Charlton players in terms of commitment and desire, but I would sure feel a whole lot better about things if the East Anglian team had a rocky patch!
In truth, the day never started well for me as I'd left my Christmas shopping so late (as usual) that I was left with little option but to trawl the various retail outlets off of Bugsby's Way an hour or so before kick off. There are few things I dislike more than shopping. This had a troublesome effect on my 'preparation' for the most eagerly awaited game in the League One campaign to date. I'm not sure I recovered.
By 13.50 I was nervously looking at the watch with only a pair of slippers (for the wife) to show for my efforts. My brain had turned to mush, and I was getting hot flushes. I looked on jealously at a chap sorting through ladies dresses in H&M, with a number of female garments already laid over his arms. I admired his ability to shop in such a manor and attempted briefly to convince myself I was capable of doing the same by wandering amongst the ladies section. I left it as quickly as I entered it!
I have a routine, like most, I'm sure. Shopping is not part of that routine.
Finally, within the comfortable surrounds of the Valley, I began to turn my attentions to football. The sizable cluster of Millwall fans on Floyd Road clearly had no other intention other than to attempt to intimidate. It was worthy of a quick assessment of risk, but nothing more than that. I was surprised by the low levels of policing on the day, but upon reflection, I think they got it right. They clearly have a low-profile approach where Millwall are concerned and despite the disappointment of seeing Millwall fans in home areas of the ground 'lording it up' approached in any meaningful way by police or stewards alike, I think the day could have escalated far worse.
The game itself was a classic, no doubt about that. I won't cover the details here, many well know Charlton blog sites have covered it already (very well I may add). All I would say is I thought Bailey was outstanding on and off the ball. He is exactly the sort of player you need in a battle. Come the end of the season, players like Bailey, Semedo and Dailly will be so important.
I hope the missus is pleased with her slippers!