Thursday 19 August 2010

Wish I was There...

Saturday's game at the Valley will be a little odd for I won't be there. For only the 5th time in over 16 years, I will miss a competitive Charlton game at the Valley due to a wedding taking place in Sicily. I have been able to influence the arrangements of so many social events around the fixture list of my favorite team over the years, but on this occasion there was no movement!

Not since Feb 2005 - an FA Cup defeat at the hands of Leicester City - has my seat in the East Stand been vacant on a matchday, and in that case I was attending the stag doo of one of my closest friends. Before that, I blame two other weddings and a pre-planned holiday for my disappointing lack of support!

When I was much younger, I would have been secretly praying for a freak weather front to bring snow to South London (or something similar) in the hope of a postponement, but, as I've got older, I take a far more relaxed view on this subject. Ok, I admit, what I mean is I realise the chances of snow in August is remote and unrealistic! As I have resigned myself to the inevitable, all I'll be hoping for in my absence is another 3 points. If I'm honest, my away support over the years has not been even remotely as consistent, so I'll try and mentally treat the day as though we're away from home.

When writing this, I recall a story from some years back that was broadcast on a radio football phone-in show hosted by that Deptford-born friend of Chris Evans where the theme was something like 'to what lengths have you gone to get a game of football postponed?' There was a chap who took a shovel to a football pitch in the dead of night on the eve of a game to ensure the resulting holes he dug would postpone the cup final he was evidently suspended from. Without wishing to leave you on tenterhooks, I can't recall the outcome, other than the radio station's chubby host lording the caller and perpetrator as some sort of hero for the common man.

It's got me thinking.....

Thankfully, the wedding is Friday, so I can hopefully keep abreast of the action in SE7 on Saturday.....with a cool Peroni in hand looking out across the Med!

Not quiet the same though, is it?

Come on you Addicks.....Wish I was there!!!

Saturday 14 August 2010

East End Goals

A quick look over the usual bloggers and I realise I’ve nothing much to add to the positive comments following last nights hugely enjoyable victory at the Orient! It was a memorable and highly dramatic night in the East End, that’s for sure. It’s still way too early in the season for me to be dreaming of glory, but what the hell, without hope you have nothing! Even ending up soaking wet from the rain on the way home could not wash away the smile from my face! The ever-impressive travelling Addicks support seemed to be greater in volume than last season’s game at Brisbane Road, despite being only half the number. I wonder if that constant wall of noise came out on the Sky TV coverage.

Even at this early stage of the season, it’s certainly a common opinion that we appear to have a team better suited for League One football, and for that I must once again praise Parkinson and Mr. Murray et al. If we are to escape this back-water of English football, that’s exactly what we need. It’s encouraging to see a sizable and experienced back line - all of whom stood taller than 6ft - repeatedly heading away the bombardment of Orient balls in the second half with a welcome consistency, unity and confidence. We have creative and energetic midfielders who are prepared to get behind the ball and graft when needs must, and strikers that appear willing to run and run, even without the carrot of personal glory.

Collectively they will get better; and with that brings great hope. We may well be shy of cover in certain areas, but the signs are already there that the Addicks have the foundations of a side capable of challenging for the top 6...or perhaps better. Better still, a team made up of Charlton players who have chosen to be at this club for the long-haul.

For the second year running I’ve enjoyed my night out at the O's. Thank you and best wishes, but fingers crossed we won’t see you next season.

Never a dull moment following the Addicks, eh?

Wednesday 11 August 2010


I note with only a passing interest that the reserves lost what appears to have been a rip-roarer of a game last night. Hopefully the resting superstars will avoid this sort of drama when they take to the field on Friday.

I do believe Parkinson was at the game last night, no doubt viewing the brave young charges of the future.

Monday 9 August 2010

Real Ale & Red Cards

A few Saturdays back I had the great pleasure of enjoying a splendid pub crawl with some old friends in the plentiful real ale establishments of Cambridge*. It was, as you might imagine, a long and heavy day. As I stumbled wearily off the train at the end of the evening in my home town of Bishop’s Stortford, I decided to pass by the taxi rank in favour of a ‘Shanks Pony’ route home. I don’t mind a walk - even when a tad tipsy - especially as I hate paying grumpy cab drivers large sums of money to take me less than 3 miles, whilst expecting a tip despite bragging about how wealthy they are.

As I passed through the town centre and up a side street, I see someone I recognise. It was the confident swagger of the man that caught my eye. He wouldn’t recognise me. I’d seen him about town before, but not for a while. At that point a little devil appears on my shoulder and mischievously encourages me to shout some abuse, or, at the very least, offer a witty comment. Thankfully, the respectful and sensible side of me ensures I do neither. I pass by, and he enters one of those fancy wine bars looking sharp and dapper with his missus (I assume) and some friends. I detest those places! I looked back; half expecting him to glance out of the wine bar checking the paparazzi isn’t following him. He doesn’t, of course, and why would he?

I joke with myself that I hope that’s the last I will see of him this season...

Unfortunately it wasn’t, because just a week later, there he was again, standing in the centre circle at the Valley, complete with that same over-confident swagger…Grant bloody Hegley!

Unnecessarily fussy and whistle-happy throughout, he was over enthusiastic towards the Addicks first half (which always unnerves me) and then predictably proceeded to balance the scales in the second with some awful decisions against Charlton. Having reviewed Semedo’s red card a few times since, I feel no different than I did first time around on Saturday; it’s a yellow at worst. Sadly, you could see that sort of decision coming.

None the less, despite the best...or worst efforts of Mr. Hegley, we rode the nervy end and held on for a very welcome win. A good start. It could, and perhaps should have been more convincing, but I will not complain. In my opinion, Parkinson has done brilliantly over the summer to attract decent players whilst retaining the likes of Daily and Semedo et al. Despite his knockers, few could surely doubt Parky’s commitment. The 16,000 plus gate was also encouraging, especially in holiday season. Furthermore, we appear to have a team that we might be able to trust in once again; a side who are under no illusions of what they face this season and how hard it will be. Take, for example, young Chris Solly, who played with the very spirit that the Addicks have lacked in any consistency for too long. He looked like he gave a shit; he looked proud to wear the shirt. How refreshing that is. At the final whistle he punched the air with the same euphoria I did on the slopes of the East Stand. That’s what I want to see; I ask for nothing else.

Yes there were still some sobering reminders of how far the Addicks have fallen, with the lack of the big screen the most notable. As the excellent Charlton Casual wrote in his blog…“I didn't realise how often I looked at it until it wasn't there”. Ditto! Back to the old trusty timepiece and the back of the programme then...for now at least!

It was nice to be back at the Valley though, wasn’t it?

* Recommendations available on request!