Sheffield United home. What was the score? Drew 1-1
Back in Chicago after a flying visit (7,926 miles to be exact) to witness what I think was our confirmed relegation on Saturday at The Valley.
I just think three of the last four games were each winnable and we failed to take advantage and it will take something special to get the required points from the next three non-winnable games. Defeatist, realistic, heart-broken, jet-lagged, whatever, I think that is it.
I found Saturday’s game emotionally sapping. My throat closed in on me as the players entered the pitch to a mountain of noise. My son’s head had trouble staying on it’s shoulders as it swivelled around to take in everything around him, and it was bloody hard trying to explain to him on the way to my parents after what that draw meant and he drew a rare smile from my lips as he then tried to explain it, as he understood it, to his Mum over the phone.
It was a desperately tense game and I felt as close to 23,000 people after the Elk scored, that only the game of football can allow. I am customarily a pessimist is these situations, in fact all situations involving the Addicks, but after Elk strolled 50+ yards and let fly, I honestly could not see Sheff Utd getting back into it but mistakes turn games and seasons, and Darren Ambrose failing implausibly to pick out either Romm or Bent with a simple pass, and then Thatcher uncharacteristically shirking responsibility (injury or not) to just get a foot on the ball, effectively ended our brave fight.
Yes, when Uncle Les was here and Santa was sat on his sleigh, I would have given my passport for us to still be in with a chance with three games to go and credit to Pards for giving us that hope.
But hope is a bastard of a thing, isn’t it? It is expectation, optimism, misleading and desperation all at the same time.
Ok, I know that up to 7,500 of you will be heading to Ewood Park and I salute you and am perversely jealous, but Pards needs to produce a bit of magic on Saturday, and magic from a box of tricks that contains a rabbit with one ear and a magic wand that is decisively wonky.
Our line-up was very adventurous against Sheffield United and for 20 minutes it was great to watch, but we failed to prosper and not for the first time recently I think Pards got out-thought on the touchline by an opposite number. Jagielka advanced to mark Ambrose, who then became non-existent after a sparkling start, Romm and Thomas (who was dire by the way) were forced back and we didn’t compensate.
ZZ and Song, whom both I would love to see us sign, have played just a handful of Premiership games between them and the team is calling out for Holland to mentor them in the middle, particularly as the 19-year old Song was being asked to be the spoiler and the provider. Another early and I thought harsh yellow card also hampered him. And as we all know already, at least I think we do, Benty is not going to score chasing 50 yard hoofs into open spaces.
Simply we are not good enough, and although Pards has tried extraordinarily hard, and in some cases succeeded, in making a silk purse out of a sows ear and perhaps more importantly got the team believing and playing for the shirt, I am troubled by what we have to do in our last three games, and having to hope (there’s that poxy word again) that our rivals fail in there’s.
Sorry if you came here seeking solace.Opinions of others that were at The Valley: cafc.co.uk
; BBC Sport
; Sunday Telegraph
; All Quiet
; Addicks Diary
; Charlton Athletic Online
; Frankie Valley
.Super Al: "In terms of how many points we now need I've got absolutely no idea. We need one more win for sure."