As regular and unconditional as my attendance at the Valley has been for the last two decades, sadly away from home I remain an occasional face amongst the travelling Addicks. The problem I have is my job can mean sporadic weekend work and my careful planning to avoid clashes with home fixtures is more often than not to the detriment of away games. This and the fact it's asking a lot of 'er Indoors to have our two kids all day Saturday, every Saturday! Whether my bank balance could handle an uplift in my support is a whole different thought.
For me, following Charlton on a matchday in any other way than in person still fills me with utter dread. I've always felt like the very moment I turn on a radio commentary I am condemning the team to certain failure and our appalling record when appearing live on the box is very well documented, although I can't accept responsibility for those defeats at the Valley. I don't even like following Sky's Soccer Saturday if I'm home as I can remember so many occasions when I've sunk to my knees in the front room following a goal conceded, more often than not within a split second of me turning the T.V on! I must confess, I never renewed my CAFC Player subscription last year as I was never using it out of fear of hearing the quite brilliant Peter Finch deliver some devastating news.
There have been the occasional exceptions. Norwich earlier this season springs to mind and I'll always remember that amazing game at Boundary Park in April 2012 when Charlton somehow held on to a one-zero scoreline against Oldham, despite having two men sent off by a referee who seemed hell bent on giving the home team the points. I dared to listen in from afar and was rewarded. Ultimate joy, but still utter agony to listen to.
To avoid jinxing the teams, I often plan a long run for a Saturday afternoon. Unhindered by the temptation to 'tune in' I can lose myself for part of the match at least. That's what I done last Saturday and it was brilliant to be met with those extended O's, A's and L's from the club's excellent media team on Twitter when I got back. Those 6 mins of injury time nearly drove me back outside to pound the streets once again. Agony. Utter agony.
I have nothing but admiration for those Addicks who travel away from home regularly. Of the half dozen occasions I go away each season I know I'm likely to get at least one of those days like Saturday just gone, when all that time and effort is worth every penny spent.
It would be nice to have a pound for every time I hit refresh on my Twitter feed when Charlton are playing away. A little less stress would be nice as well!