Today the club announced that on Saturday there would be "no restrictions on how supporters from either side are dispersed after the full-time whistle, nor will any fans be held back in the ground". Considering the amount of Charlton fans who were left frustrated and angry the last time we met Millwall at the Valley when the sanctions seemed only to hinder us home supporters, this press release comes as a bit of a surprise.
But a welcome one? I'm not sure. It seems to me the club are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this as relying on everyone to behave themselves is like placing Homer Simpson unsupervised in a room with a big red button and asking him not to press it. It's just not going to happen. Place sanctions on our noisy neighbours from South Bermondsey and Charlton run the risk of having the Jimmy Seed wrecked, whereas another set of sanctions for the home support will keep away fans and serve only to piss off the regulars yet again.
The caveat to the announcement is the police saying "should there be any disorder on the day then plans could change at short notice on safety grounds".
Hmmm! Expect plans to change at short notice on safety grounds then...
A few years back I worked on the construction of Colchester United's new stadium and I got to know the stadium and safety manager quite well. Their approach when the knuckle-dragging idiots came to town was simple and straight forward: they deliberately lowered their steward allocation and the police stayed out of sight. The aim was to deprive them of a target and thus, most games went off without any major incidents. He did say that few clubs saw Colchester fans as worth the effort 'in a battle' and that was factored in to the decision. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Charlton, who have their own fair share of idiots ready to take up the challenge.
The contrasting results of our two clubs last night have only added spice to the simmering cauldron with Millwall giving themselves a much needed home win and confidence boost and Charlton taking a blow with an away defeat. As an Addick it pains me greatly to admit that history has this down as a pretty one sided derby match, but soon enough our luck has to change.
One positive and powerful initiative from both clubs that should help to ease the tension is that Saturday will be 'Rob and Jimmy's Day'. Rob Knox, who was an Addick and Jimmy Mizen, who supported Millwall, were both murdered in 2008 after standing up to bullies. Regardless of your colours, both sets of fans should respect the families of both of these lads by behaving themselves.
Keep safe, enjoy the game and 'Come On You Addicks!!!'