Monday, 17 January 2011
3, The Magic Number...
I suppose it was inevitable that I'd be drawn to Chris Powell. Anyone who knows me well enough will be familiar with my obsession with the number 3. As we all know, Chris played for the Addicks over 3 different periods, he typically wore the number 3 jersey, he scored 3 goals in total for Charlton (I feel privileged to say I saw every one hit the back of the net!), and, without wishing to trivialise the point, when sang by his adoring public, "Chri-ssy Powell, Chri-ssy Powell, Chri-ssy Powell" carries that all-important, chant friendly 3 syllables that almost guarantees popularity (Phil Parkinson never stood a chance in this regard). To put it bluntly, Chris Powell is a Charlton legend of the highest order, and easily my favourite Addick of all time. I can't smile wide enough that he's returned once again to my club...his club. We all knew he would.
It is a measure of the quality of the numerous Charlton related blogs out there (links to the bottom right) that the return of Chris Powell has sparked quality debate as to whether this managerial appointment is too early in Chris's coaching career, but no matter your stance, the common theme shared by everyone is one of total admiration for one of the greatest players to don a Charlton shirt in the last 15 years. My heart aches with a desire to see Chris Powell lead my favourite football team to glory. My head has never made the wisest decisions anyway, and I don't care for it's opinion now.
I was privileged enough to have been at The Valley on the 4th May 2008 when Powell came on as a late substitute in what was his last ever playing appearance for Charlton. Latching on to a ball into the box, Powell sent The Valley into total and utter delirium by scoring the most unlikely of goals. Even the most inventive of minds could not have wrote that story. The goal was the last in a 4-1 victory. Never has such a meaningless goal been greeted with such pandemonium.
I stood alone in my front room, with tears rolling down my cheeks during the national anthem when Powell was amongst the starting line-up for the England national side. On the wall in my office at home is the very poster that came free with the Charlton matchday programme around the time, commemorating the event. It has faded over time, but never once have I thought about taking it down.
But you may be surprised to learn that my favourite Powell moment is actually far more random. In the 2007-08 season, in a forgettable evening game against some opposition or another there was a break in play that saw an opposing player receive some lengthy treatment. As the lull in play took hold, cue the Covered End and a rousing rendition of "Chri-ssy Powell, Chri-ssy Powell, Chri-ssy Powell" that morphed in to "Stand Up, If You Love Chris Powell". With almost the entire stadium stood in unison, Powell, who was stretching out in front of the East Stand (just in front of me) was desperately trying to keep his emotions together as the entire stadium focused on him. When the chant morphed further to "Chrissy, Chrissy give us a wave, Chrissy, give us a wave", Powell tapped his finger on his temple, trying to dull the chant by suggesting he was trying desperately to concentrate on the game. The chant continued...but he never waved, over emphasising his desire to remain focused on the game. A humble man who never sought the adulation, and yet I admired him so much more for it.
Some years back, around the late 90's, I paid good money in Carnaby Street for a pair of Valsport Green Star football boots, just because Chris Powell wore them (at the time, only John Barnes was sporting this now familiar Italian boot). I was mocked in the changing room of my Sunday League side as nobody had heard of Valsport. The best boots I ever owned and the only boots I still have in my garage.
I also wore the number 3...