Monday, 30 March 2015

First Rule of Watching Football...

'Thou shalt not leave the match early...'
With no Charlton fixture on Saturday my son and me took the opportunity to go and watch our local side, Bishop's Stortford. Fellow relegation threatened Farnborough were the visitors. Stortford huffed and puffed but it was a woeful performance and a minute into stoppage time and with 'The Blues' trailing 2-0 I said to my boy (who's nose had gone blue in the cold) "come on, let's head home". He never argued and feeling despondent we trudged off alongside others who decided they'd seen enough. As soon as I got home I decided to check the league table only to discover goals in the 3rd and 4th minute of stoppage time had given The Blues a most unlikely point! In reality, I doubt I'd even gone 100 yards down the road and by that time I'd missed the most dramatic end imaginable.
I sat on my bed shaking my head wondering how I was going to break the news to my son! What an amazing game football can be!    
Allez Les Bleus! Image by @RedneckNath
I've got previous with this, so you'd have thought I'd learn my lesson. Those with a better memory might recall Charlton's clash with Norwich at the Valley in February '97, when, with just a couple of minutes of normal time left plus stoppage and the Addicks trailing 4-2 I decided to beat the traffic and left early. As always, as soon as I jumped in my car I turned on the radio to get the classified check, only to hear James Alexander Gordon dropping the bombshell that two late, late goals from Jason Lee and the legend that is Carl Leaburn had given us a most unlikely 4-4 draw! I remember having to pretend to my mates that I saw the drama unfold as I was too embarrassed to admit the truth!
I guess both games drew a bittersweet feeling from me: gutted to have missed the drama and the euphoria of the moment, but ultimately immensely pleased that the goals came none-the-less, especially for my home-town club as they are teetering on the edge of the trap door in the Conference South and that point could well prove the difference between survival and relegation. 


  1. I left early when we were being tonked by Spurs at WHL in the Les Reed period.
    I attempted to leave at Millwall when we were being tonked there in League 1 but we were locked in.
    I can understand what I like to think of as the 'Sunderland stroll' whereby you leave in a huff due to not being able to take any more of the dross if it's a once every 5 or 6 seasons event. What I don't understand is the steady stream of regular faces who leave on 85 minutes regardless of how the game is poised.

  2. Good point Marco. Having parted with your dosh you would think you would want to see the whole product. Ive seen people leave their seats on 40 mins to avoid cues in the toilet or refreshment areas thus also missing goals or significant action. Would you buy a book and not read the last page?

  3. I as a rule never leave before the final whistle, but I did walk out of Pardew's last game gesticulating wildly at the large ego in the home dugout.

    My 'favourite' leave before the end story is an old mate of mine who used to travel to games from Birmingham. The Den 1989. 2-0 up with minutes left. He walked out to get the train for his long Tuesday night journey home with a proper spring in his step. No mobile, no social media. It was the next day's morning paper when he found out what had happened.

  4. Thanks for the comments, Chaps - always appreciated.

    I must confess that if I'm going out on a Saturday night so need to get away from the Valley quickly after a game then even making my way up to watch the closing seconds from the vomitory can save me 30mins on the journey time home. Downside is I occasionally miss the tunnel jump, but better that than an angry wife.