There can be few occasions in which I will leave a football stadium having seen my side lose 0-4 and yet still be bursting with pride and full of hope. Given that anyone likely to be reading this will be Addickted, I know I can safely say without fear of embarrassment that the scoreline meant absolutely nothing and was never going to long before a ball was even kicked. Talking to some of the faces that I recognised from around my usual East Stand seat, it was clear that there was a common thought amongst us all: Saturday represented a public show of unity and support for our club outside of the Valley. And what an impressive show it was.
I felt honoured to have stood with 7,000 of my fellow fans in the Putney End Stand, who, like me, have felt the agonising pain of our demise and cling desperately to these brighter days, ever hopeful of more to follow. So many more would have loved to have joined us if the capacity allowed. It's not like they would have doubted it before, but Sir Chris and the team will be under no illusions that we are 100% behind them.
The noise was relentless and those moments in which the entire stand bounced in unison will long live in my memory. My attempts at recording 'the bounce' on my iPhone proved futile as the footage and audio blurred and distorted despite my best efforts to remain still. As Johnnie readied himself to take a free-kick towards the end of the game (with Charlton already 3 goals down) the Charlton fans sang "one goal, we only want one goal", but it was not to be. Probably for the best really. Even if we'd have scored a consolation in injury time I think we'd have razed that stand to the ground!
Better bloggers than I have covered the details of the game, and you'll know where to find them. All I would say is that this game was far closer than the scoreline suggested, and other than some spectacular goalkeeping from Stockdale in the Fulham goal, we may have got the goal our efforts deserved. There was no questioning the difference in class, but perhaps this was more evident up front where chances are invariably taken at the highest level.
This was just a meaningless FA Cup game. Getting out of League One is all that matters. I couldn't help but allow my mind to drift a little on the tube journey home, dreaming of such an atmosphere if we can hold firm our position come May.
Forever hopeful. Proud to be an Addick.