Sunday, 17 January 2010

Oh, Nicky Bailey...You Are The Love Of My Life!

In yesterday’s matchday programme, there was a feature on Charlton Legends of the past. I won’t get drawn in to debating the notable names it left off the list, but if it had attempted to predict a name for the future, then the writer would have needed only to have followed our copper-topped, talismatic captain throughout yesterday’s game. I noted on the clubs website an excellent, passionate summery of the match, and in particular the statement “his sheer bloody-mindedness saw him snatch the loose ball, take a touch, and crash a superb shot past the home keeper”. Spot on! Nicky Bailey leads by example. He epitomises the ‘never say die’ attitude. In this division, that extra effort and desire will overcome obstacles more often than not, and succeed where his talent alone may not be enough. The way the players universally responded to Bailey’s goal shows how much the team values these magical moments as much as we did behind the goal. How refreshing, also, to see a pro-footballer able to kick comfortably with both feet, as can Shelvey and Burton. The rewards of this under-valued talent were highlighted yesterday.

It is easy to compare Bailey with Kinsella, and in fact, as I drove home I reminisced about a game at Norwich in the 1996-97 season. From memory, I seem to recall we lead the game, conceded a disappointing equalizer, only for Kinsella to thunder a 30 yard effort in to the roof of the net to give us 3 immensely valuable points as we struggled just above the relegation places.

So all in all it was another good day for the Addicks, and those travelling would have been grateful the game was on after the continuation of the thawing snow and heavy rain. Hat’s off to Wycombe in this regard. Despite the rain, I had a good, trouble-free drive to High Wycombe, stopped off for a nice bite to eat and arrived plenty early enough to have a good look around Adams Park’s surroundings and chat to a few locals and Charlton faces. As usual, and if I’m honest, as I prefer (being a man who values solitude), I travelled alone to the game. I off-set my carbon footprint by telling the missus she and the kids couldn’t have the heating on whilst I was away! Adam’s Park is a pleasant enough stadium, set against the back-drop of the picturesque Chiltern Hills. It was a little spooky seeing the fog drift off them and hover over the stadium towards the end of the game, but the brief chant of “The mist rolling in from the Hills…” made me laugh! In fact, the Charlton faithful are showing great humour with their vocal support, not least of all with the generous offers made to young Nicky Bailey! It’s good to hear, and the enthusiastic manor in which the Charlton fans cheered the local under 8’s team, on the pitch at half-time taking spot kicks, is a measure of the feel-good factor I think we all have at the moment. Long may it continue! Wycombe are a decent club with what I’m guessing is a hardcore of 3-4,000 local supporters. It’s nice to see their young fans wearing the colours of their local team despite the fact they’re unlikely to see glory days too often, if at all.

It was disappointing that Norwich hammered Colchester, but Leeds defeat made up for it. It’s funny how the anxiety I sensed at our last game at Brentford regarding Norwich’s run of good form seems to have lifted, and all of a sudden, with some attractive looking home fixtures ahead of us, we can concentrate on the top two with real confidence.

Yes, that’s the top two…

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