The last time I sat with friends enjoying a pre-match beer in the Plume of Feathers in Greenwich was on Valentines Day when there was a very distinct lack of love for what was going on at Charlton, both on and off the pitch. At that point of the season we were without a win in 15 games, with just 4 wins from 30 and we sat 20th in the table, staring at the dark abyss below. I was certain we would go down as nothing whatsoever suggested otherwise. But that day we would beat Brentford three-zero with a great performance that came out of nowhere and the transformation since then has been nothing short of amazing. 7 wins out of 9 to be exact! Up to 11th and with 54 points on the board.
No, I don't get it either!
I've said before, football has a habit of making an absolute arse of your opinions. Luzon is a case-in-point with many, me very much included. Whatever impact he has had is quite astonishing and I am already excited about the prospect of this team moving forward together next season. For the time being, I'm going to enjoy the positivity and blatantly ignore that niggling, persistent voice in my head telling me Roland's ready to cash in on our star performers in the summer and leave us with a whole new squad of unknown continental players and untried youth.
I'm also going to hope I've got Mr. Duchatelet wrong, just as I did Guy Luzon. The summer will speak volumes about his ambition for our club. Build on this current team and I may dare to dream next season. And why shouldn't I after seeing the performances of late?
Ironically, the last victory before that Brentford game was against yesterday's opposition, Reading. Charlton started OK, but fell away slowly as Reading's neat and tidy passing just about gave them the edge. Charlton struggled to make anything happen up top with Eagles proving a better wide man than a second striker. Reading's Pogrebnyak was a thorn in our side with great movement and link-play and he found space in the box to score from pretty much the only goalmouth action of the half. It wasn't great viewing, but so often a different Charlton immerge from the tunnel in the second half.
Thankfully that was the case yesterday...
If Luzon is the influence, then once again he must take the credit for the turnaround. Charlton moved the ball much quicker and with purpose and as the pressure mounted we got a penalty that is as good as a goal with the super-cool Buyens around. The Belgian midfielder then put us in front 10mins later after a decent cross from young Gomez. The ever-popular, Church, added a third from close range on 80mins after some fantastic play from our new hero, Tony Watt, Watt, Watt (you Watt, You Watt...).
Reading's stoppage time goal left us with a nervy finish, but Charlton held firm. A great day topped off by a good win.
There is nothing better than a matchday when everything goes right. Literally nothing better. I'd started the day by meeting up with Marco and Al for pie & mash at Goddard's in Greenwich and then enjoyed a few pints before the game in the Feathers. And before you ask, I fancied gravy instead of liquor! Marco and Al kept a very polite silence on that even if they were inwardly frowning. If I thought I'd got away with that, Marco did remind me via a text later in the evening that proper pie & mash should be eaten with a fork and spoon.
An otherwise perfect day ruined by my inability to choose the correct utensil!