Tuesday 7 May 2013

Time To Hibernate...

So that's another season over with then. Few could have predicted with any great confidence we'd finish so close to the Play-Off's, but with just 3 points between us and Leicester in sixth we've exceeded most sensible expectations for sure. Shame the season never had a few more weeks to run and we may have had a Wembley date to look forward to! Just like last season, we have been left with some awesome memories. My personal favourite was that unbelievable night at the Valley against Cardiff, with the New Years Day game at Vicarage Road against Watford a very close second. If you're a regular travelling Addick you've been spoilt on the road, including that record breaking 0-6 win away at Barnsley.
The ever-reliable Chris Solly unsurprisingly won the Player of The Year award for the second year running, with Johnny Jackson coming second. I love Solly, but I do wonder what more Jackson needs to do to win the accolade. His leadership and goals have been vital this season and he got my vote, for what it's worth. Special mention to super-supporter Seb Lewis who won a lifetime achievement award from the club. Seb has attended the last 700 Charlton matches without exception dating back to February 1998 and is well known for his bizarre 'worm dance', which I can only describe as a breakdance move gone wrong!
Elsewhere in the Championship I was gutted to see Peterborough go down in such heartbreaking fashion. At no other time has 54 points seen a club relegated from the Championship and it shows how tight this division is when you consider the 14 point gap between The Posh and the Play-Off's is closer than 1st place Man United and 3rd place Chelsea in the Premier League!    
Unfortunately, the void created by a lack of football will now be filled with endless rumours and speculation. I've always disliked rumours and speculation greatly. So much so that when I was the manager of a Sunday League side I once banned newspapers from the changing room as I found the drivel printed on the back pages too distracting for my players who spent more time arguing about whether so and so will sign for their club or another when they should have been concentrating on the game ahead. In fairness, my annoyance is not the rumours per se, it is how some people react to them.
I guess I'm just a pretty black and white sort of chap. For example, Solly will either still be at Charlton come August or he won't be. I can't do a single thing about it whatever my opinion, so I won't waste any energy even debating it. I gain nothing from doing so other than to wind myself up at the thought of him leaving. Those that want to indulge will have plenty of opportunity before long.
I've not exactly been prolific in my blogging this season anyway but you can expect even less from me now the football season is over. One post I am determined to complete this summer is my 'Top 5 Charlton Moments'. If I could have a pound for every time I've tried and failed to finish that piece I'd be a rich man. Just too many memories, good and bad, to easily condense down into one self-indulgent piece.
Many thanks for taking the time to read anything I've written this season and especially those that have taken time to comment along the way, whether via these pages or direct via Twitter. As has become somewhat of a tradition of mine in my last post of the season, my final word goes to my Mum. The experience of supporting Charlton wouldn't be the same without our match day routine, but it will be a few months before we can exchange our traditional 'Come On You Addicks' texts to one another just before kick-off...
Enjoy your summer, fellow Addicks!           

Saturday 4 May 2013

The Crackling Voice...

Chris Powell speaks... (image by @pedwards72)

There he stood, microphone in hand, with all his sartorial elegance. His adoring public listened. Maybe the floating fan had left - happy with their day out and content to have seen some goals and a big Charlton win - but those that remained most definitely owed Sir Chris this audience. What he has given us after so many dark years is simply incredible. The Valley totally quiet but for the words of one man.

Occasionally Powell's voice would crackle under his obvious emotion. This is his club. Every slight stumble resonated deep inside every single true Addick who'd hoped for better days. This is our club.

"We will step forward again and again; no one will stop us", he said triumphantly. Eyes glazed over and the Addickted broke out in grateful, warm applause. This wasn't the jingoistic ramblings of a man who knew how to play his audience, this is a Charlton man who cares deeply for this club.

It's not possible for me to love this man more. 

Thanks Sir Chris for another brilliant season. 3 points off the Play-Off's is beyond anything I could have hoped for this season. Thanks to the players who have carried the fight.

Very proud to be an Addick...