Sadly, I won't be amongst the travelling Addicks this weekend for the long trip to Carlisle. My wife and I have been married 10 years tomorrow and some months back I booked us an all-to-rare weekend away without the kids to celebrate our anniversary. I knew it would be risky given the way the season was gearing up, especially as a good number of Addicks had already predicted this could be the fixture to get the champagne popping. I'd give anything to be there, but this is one commitment that I wouldn't dare try and get out of. You may have worked this out already, but I'm not the most romantic chap in the world, and I've already pre-warned my missus that I may well be poor company for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon (and yes, to her credit she quipped back with the obvious).
I never got too involved in the preparation for my wedding back in 2003. Other than very strongly insisting the DJ never played Mariah Carey or Celine Dion (much to the annoyance of said DJ), I also insisted we got married on a Friday to avoid any possibility of a clash with a Charlton home fixture. It was a good call; the day after my wedding we played Southampton at The Valley and I shrugged off the odd raised eyebrow to ensure I was in my usual seat come 3pm. I remember the game being a rather dull 1-1 draw and I actually nodded off very briefly during the second half as the events of the day before began to catch up with me. I even managed to mention Charlton in my speech when I opened with the line "you may have heard of the saying 'love me, love my football team'..." much to the merriment / groans of our guests.
In truth, I've got the best wife in the world. She's not a Charlton fan but she knows how I feel about The Addicks and has never once made any attempts to change me. I honestly admire her for that. I'm not sure she'd admit it, but I'd hazard a fair guess that she'll actually be quietly relieved herself if results go Charlton's way this weekend. Charlton's demise in recent years has been really tough to take and I don't doubt I've been very difficult to be around on more than the odd occasion. In reality, my missus deserves a change in fortune as much as I do!
So, in the words of Billy Cotton...Live, Love, Laugh & Be Happy! Fingers crossed for all those things this weekend.
Safe journey to all of you that are heading north: I will be with you in spirit. Enjoy your day. As much as I'd want to be there in person when we finally cross the finishing line, I hope we don't have to wait too much longer. Sadly, I think a score draw is likely this weekend, which would delay the impending celebrations for a week.