It was my fellow blogger, Marco, that caused me to choke on my cup of tea this morning by posting a picture on twitter of this truly shocking story in The Greenwich Visitor (pic left). The morning after yet another deathly quiet Charlton transfer deadline day and we now learn we have made a 'new signing' after all; the questionably named 'Charlton Cherubs'. Now right from the outset I want to make it perfectly clear that I have nothing whatsoever against young ladies (or men, if that's your choice) engaging in a pastime that they enjoy and are passionate about (I would debate the bit about it being a sport, mind), but there is absolutely no justifiable place in British football for pom-pom waving cheerleaders. Never has been and never will be. EVER!
Apparently Charlton approached Greenwich University looking for some ideas to 'strengthen the relationship', which I can only applaud, but this is just not the way to do it. For the good of both parties, let's please try something else.
I'm not going to even bother commenting on their desire to "get things like the Mexican wave started" other than to wish them the very best of luck but not to get too disappointed when it doesn't happen.
Football culture just doesn't lend itself to cheerleaders. It's not a laddish thing to say that. It just doesn't. It may well work in American sport where the fan experience is very different, but not in football. For a start, in most American sports there is not the tradition of 'away fans' offering a healthy balance to a charged atmosphere. We don't lack that element here, generally speaking.
In British football, the chants and songs sung passionately from the stands are what gives clubs identity and individualism, and no amount of encouragement from attractive young ladies in mini-skirts will influence the Covered End to give anyone a 'C' and an 'H'...and so on.
Of course, I might well be getting worked up over nothing - God knows there's been plenty of that going on amongst Addicks lately - so perhaps I should stick to my own well used principles of reserving judgement until I've seen it. After all, just down the road Palace have been using Cheerleaders for some time now and not quite everyone laughs at them.
Palace also use goal music; another awful sporting Americanism. Palace also have 'Ultras'...
I'm very, very keen for these similarities with our neighbours to end immediately.
A brief look over the Charlton hashtag on twitter and it's obvious the groundswell of opinion against the introduction of cheerleaders gathers momentum. Let's hope the club listens carefully. It is not these young ladies fault and they don't deserve to be booed (as some are suggesting they will do). I'm sure their dance routines and pom-pom antics would be great to watch in the right environment.
Let's not beat around the bush here, no matter what perfectly good intentions may be behind this initiative, it will not improve the atmosphere at The Valley and will serve to irritate far more than it entertains.