So, after another eventful weekend of League One football, things seem a whole lot clearer this morning. No longer are we distracted by the faint hopes and dreams of automatic promotion, and whilst the path back to the Championship may still twist and turn considerably, it is at least clearly defined now. If the Addicks are to be promoted, we must out-score Swindon over the next two games and win the resulting final! As simple as it reads in a sentence, the task is a hugely difficult one, but on current form, I’m confident. In fact, dare I say it, I even feel a little excited rather than anxious! If the Addicks are to go up, then I will have a day out at Wembley.
I have just returned from The Valley to purchase my ticket for the semi-final away game at Swindon. Thankfully, I was in a position to get down to the ground, but even so, there were some very concerned faces in the long queues leading to the commercial centre. It’s likely the tickets won’t last the day, in my opinion. With an away allocation of just 2,042, and with tickets on sale to all Season Ticket and Valley Gold members regardless of an away purchasing history this season, there will inevitably be some very frustrated and angry people unable to get a ticket for the away match that arguably will deserve one. It is not an ideal situation and I suspect the club will get some strong criticism in the next couple of days. My guess is the club felt the relatively short time period before Friday left them with little option but to limit the restrictions to take in to account purchasing history – and that may be a fair point – but that will be no comfort for those hardy soles who have followed the team away from home regularly this season.
As for me, I have been away from home 7 times this season. Not a huge amount maybe, but if family and working circumstances allowed, I would go to them all. None the less, I take my away ticket for this game without shame, but made the choice to purchase only one of the two tickets I could have (despite a West Ham supporting friend of mine offering to come along with me for some support and to spread the cost of travel). I would urge fellow Addicks to show the same respect. In the hour or so I was in the queue I got speaking to a lovely elderly lady who has been following the Addicks since the hugely significant year 1947 and attends every match – home and away – with her son. Surely it can’t be right this lady should be sweating on getting a ticket? Even today she has had to endure a lengthy public transport run to get to the Valley to get her tickets for Friday. She got the two she required – I swear I’d have given her mine if she hadn’t. I joked with her that if I had my way I’d let her give the teamtalk before the game on Friday to explain to the players what it is to be an Addick. It did make me laugh when I overheard her telling another lady that she’s had to postpone ‘having her hair done Friday’. Probably for the best given the lack of a roof in the away end at Swindon.
At least she’s there…