Sunday, 3 March 2013

28 Years Later...

So another disappointing home defeat followed by yet more bickering between fair-minded Addicks hopeful of consolidation in the Championship and those who seem to believe we have thrown away certain promotion to the Premier League. The truth of the situation may sit somewhere in between, but one thing is for certain, booing the team off at half time was an absolute disgrace and those who done so must understand they are adding to the problem.

It is little wonder Charlton are struggling to find form at the Valley when sections of the home support seem so eager to get on the backs of what is essentially a League One team trying to hold it's own in the Championship. Brian of the excellent 'Stickleback' blog sums this up perfectly here.

You need only to remember this glorious evening at the Valley to understand how important backing the team is...

It is plainly obvious that significant funding to the playing staff is required, but with the greatest of respects, Johnnie Jackson, for example, is not going to turn into Lionel Messi just because he's stepped up a division. Where technical quality is lacking, we can only ask for 100% commitment.

By the way, if you're going to loose a game of football, let it be to a goal like that! Austin, take a bow.

So we move on to Tuesday's game at Peterborough, when, given our rather more impressive away form, we should be confident of getting some form of result. P'Bro had a great victory at Blackburn yesterday, but as hard as it is to believe, their home form is actually marginally worse than ours!

I'll be joining the travelling Addicks at London Road tomorrow, some 28 years since I last made the same trip. Back then, I was a young and impressionable lad of 11 years old, dreaming of a giant killing when my local non-league side, Bishop's Stortford, took Boro' to a 1st round FA Cup Replay. My Dad and me headed north on a freezing cold November evening (thinking back, it must have been a school night - thanks Mum & Dad for letting me go!) but I would be left heartbroken when Boro' scored two goals in the last 5 mins to run out 3-1 winners. Bishop's Stortford's scorer that night was a chap called Tony Flynn, who I met a few years ago when I worked on the construction of Colchester United's new stadium. Tony is the current physio at Colchester United. We shared a conversation over a cup of tea one day as he was moving his operations in to the new ground, and all the while I knew I'd seen his face before. As soon as he said he played amature-pro football my mind flashed back to a moment frozen in my mind and noted in the black and white image below. Tony had scored Bishop's Stortford's only goal that night.

Tony was hugely embarrassed when I told him I'd spent weeks recreating that goal in my back garden and he asked for a copy of that image (which appeared in the local paper) so he could prove to his family he was 'once a player'. A real lovely fella.

Further links to Bishop Stortford are in the shape of current Boro' forward, Dwight Gayle, who was prolific for 'the Blues' during a loan spell in the 2011-12 season. I saw him a few times and knew he'd be moving on to bigger things soon enough. Dwight's father, Devon, used to play for Bishop's Stortford as well, and he was a decent centre forward himself back in the day. Dwight scored a first half hatrick yesterday, so hopefully he has a quieter night Tuesday!


  1. Well said about the booing! As someone who in 1976 travelled up to Swindon to see my local non-league team Bromley get trounced 7- 0 by Swindon, I particularly enjoyed you account of your last visit Peterborough away trip!


  2. Cheers Crispy. My formative years were spent following non-league football and the fortunes of my local team. Back then, London Road would have seemed huge!