Sunday, 13 February 2011
If anyone thinks footballers don't give a s#+t, then you need only to watch Pawel's reaction to his deflected goal yesterday to sense his immense relief. To say he's had a tough time of it recently would be an understatement, but for 45 minutes he looked everything you'd need to compliment BWP up top. His deflected goal proved to be the winner: good on you, Pawel, now go on and turn yourself into a cult hero in the mould of a Leaburn. Why would any reasonable human being ever assume that he was playing poorly because he preferred it that way? Perhaps the idiots that booed Charlton off the pitch at half time were disappointed they never got the chance to take another swipe at the big man and laugh at his shortcomings. This is League One, don't forget.
But those unsupportive idiots aside, yesterday was all about the growing sense of hope that Chris Powell has bought along with him. Guard against it you may - I wouldn't blame you, this is Charlton after all - but the matchday experience felt notably different. In recent years you could be as close as a mile from The Valley an hour before kick-off and not realise there's a game on, but you sense that's changing. Anticipation and excitement fills the air and there was a genuine buzz before kick-off. The big screen was back on: an unaffordable and painful reminder of better times that sat like a tombstone in the south east corner was bought back to life in glorious new form. It's significance mustn't be underestimated and the 'This Is The Valley' montage sent shivers down my spine once again. Just before kick-off the names of the Addickted who have fallen in the last 12 months rolled over the screen in high definition, and as the entire stadium stood to honour our fellow fans, I glanced over to Chris Powell who stood like the Pied Piper with the matchday mascots gathered around him. Sir Chris has bought his infectious smile back to where it belongs, and I've barely stopped grinning since. You need look no further than our East End neighbours to see what happens when an uninspiring manger takes up a post at a club.
Better bloggers than me will summarise the game far better, so as always, I won't go in to details. Needless to say it wasn't faultless. Far from it. Possession was still given away too freely for my liking, particularly in the first half, but Sir Chris got his tactics spot on in the second period, bringing on Abbott and moving Eccelston out wide. For me, it is proof that although inexperienced as a manager, Powell clearly knows the game inside out. I though Doherty was immense in the second period, as was Abbott and Semedo (of whom I can't help but view as some sort of dark superhero-type-figure, thanks to Arthur's vivid imagination in his 'Cometh The Haddock' posts) .
There will inevitably be the same boring story about how we're ridding our luck, playing poorly but somehow won, and how that luck will change and we'll be found out and become s#+t again. Maybe so: but maybe, just maybe, we have the best asset you can have in football...momentum. It's picking up pace, game by game.