When I emerged from underneath the railway tunnel on Ransom Walk and viewed the vast expanse of the Valley for the first time this season I was very quickly reminded of how much I missed the buzz and anticipation that Saturday afternoons at the football give you.
When Stephens scored our first goal this afternoon I was reminded of quite how powerful the emotion of following the Addicks can be and just why I could never give it up, no matter what. It was good to be back at the Valley: a Valley once again full of optimism. Let's hope it lasts.
But let's not get carried away. It did feel different by virtue of the numerous new and fresh faces on show, and perhaps equally as importantly, the lack of old faces who may have had the best intentions, but just represented a low period best forgotten.
We had central midfielders capable of running, tackling and...wait for it...passing!!! Hollands looks to be a great purchase, and young Stephens could well be a great acquisition and revelation.
The tough start to the season will test Powell's gameplan and young squad to the fullest, but with an encouraging performance (that's the point, it's encouraging...judgement reserved going forward), a clean sheet and 3 goals comes confidence and belief, which bodes well for the next month.
Well done lads, the start we all wanted. What next?