The best season for ages
I feel decidedly better this evening, thank you. How about you?
I know this sounds a bit mad, but I actually enjoyed this season! Ok, so it wasn't the normal flying start, then losing more than we win, or winning by boring teams to death, putting a run together over Christmas, 4th round Cup knockout, not winning a league game after Easter kind of giggles we have become used to, but this season, despite the tragedy and the despair, was
exciting and I will look back with warm memories.
My first season of being an overseas Addick was 2003/04 and that was tough because I had to get used to supporting the club a whole different way. It wasn't easy, part of my life, a huge part of it, had been cut-off and it was a good season (7th place finish) despite the customary end of season malaise.
However the following season's under Curbishley, 2004/05 and 2005/06 frankly were bloody boring (perhaps the start of 05/06 aside) but the selfish fact was it helped my Charlton-starved brain to adjust to being 4,000 miles away and not seeing every goal, free-kick or corner, either in the flesh or on the box.
I was one of those people, and it seems like centuries ago, that wanted the Curbishley era to end but equally I knew that this season with what he left us with was going to be bloody hard and a 17th place finish would have been considered a success.
Naturally I never expected the kind of circumstances that were going to be thrown at us after Dowie was finally appointed. Although the 'Dowie thing'
never seemed right, and by the way the court case begins tomorrow, there was certainly a new energy amongst Addicks and I saw that for myself at the Fulham away game in October, even though we were in hindsight comprehensively beaten by a far more astute tactician. Not that it did Coleman any good either mind.
Dowie, went and Reed plunged us to depths not seen for decades, and never seen by some younger fans. As is traditional at other clubs we (shock, horror) turned on the board and the players, the media then slung muck at us for "forcing Curbishley out etc."
We collectively turned around and thought "fuck you, what do you lot of Mourinho lovers know?"
Just like now the press still can't grasp the fact that our relegation wasn't only caused by Dowie and Reed.
I loved it that the media and opposing fans slagged us off, and I thought thank god, no more "nice little Charlton."
I felt liberated by that but like others inside our own little Charlton community I was anguished by the mess that our great club was in. Not since Gritt was sacked, were supporters so at odds with each other. The players, with one or two exceptions maximum, did not give a toss and the board, our dear revered board were hapless under extreme pressure.
But they pulled themselves together, had the wherewithal to bring in Pardew and we got our club back. Christmas Eve as we collectively sat in our homes drinking a sweet sherry, there was huge pangs of relief and some hope.
How Pardew reinvigorated us, not just the players, but the fans. Out of all of what had happened - Dowie, Jordan, Reed, being the laughing stock of the press, the Wycombe game, the board's lack of direction, the european coaching model, 3 managers before Christmas and Pards, it had all suceeded in uniting the fans. The old ones, the newer ones, the ones who wished for 'the good old days,'
the rose-tinted ones, each of us, we became one.
Not since the 'Back to The Valley'
days had the fans and the club been so together. Sure we need to get rid of some useless pieces of crap that have the dishonesty to call themselves Charlton players, but I feel as proud and excited now to be a Charlton fan than at any time in my 32 years of going.
Last night, something remarkable happened towards the end of the game, three sides of the ground stood and sung 'Valley Floyd Road'
together followed by a round of applause. In recent months the atmosphere has been some of the best I have seen, heard or witnessed for many, many years.
Some of them
don't deserve us, one or two perhaps do, Pards does and so do the board, despite this season's misgivings but more than all of that, we
deserve each other. My 7-year old son told me today that he will always be a Charlton fan, it doesn't matter what happens. 7-year olds speak a lot of truth.
The Championship and it's teams can enjoy our season on loan to them beginning in August because watch out "nice little Charlton"