It is sometimes said that the worst thing about supporting Charlton are the other Charlton fans and one does sometimes wonder whether Charlton fans are more pessimistic and miserable than most football fans. We have had all the doom and gloom about relegation being inevitable and complaints about a new owner who is not the kind of bombastic egoist who acquires some clubs. Just think about what has been happening at Leeds - or Coventry City for that matter where a hedge fund is in charge. Incidentally, I hear that Rick from Ramsgate has been working on an issue of Voice of the Valley which will provide views and interpretations of the takeover, so look out for his elves selling it around the ground before the game.
Then this morning I encountered a comment from a supporter that the game on Saturday, our first home game for what seems like a very long time, might be off because there has been heavy rain and more is forecast before the weekend. Now I haven't seen the pitch, but I understand that some work has been done on it even though more radical work will be necessary over the summer. In any case, I believe that the protective dome is up, so it will not be waterlogged, just bald.
To be fair, most football fans seem at their happiest when they are complaining about their own club. There has certainly been a lot of whingeing in Dorking and Guildford as the Theatre of Dreams has become the Theatre of Disappointment. The other week I was at my non-league team who are in a solid mid-table position having been promoted to a higher level. As we lost a match at home we might have hoped to win, the couple behind me stormed out shouting 'We're in a relegation fight now!
For me being a Charlton fan involves having realistic expectations. The chance to make the club a really top one was missed in the years after the Second World War as a result of lack of investment in the ground. I was talking to someone the other day about Charlton: we were watching the installation of a Henry Moore sculpture of all things but at least we were in the dry and had a good buffet. I explained that I had really inherited my support of Charlton and he said that, given where I lived, my father could also have been an Arsenal fan. But then they are always whingeing about Wenger and their empty trophy cabinet, whereas I would be delighted if the Addicks had a regular place in the Champions League.
It also strikes me that there is quite a contrast between the atmosphere at the art gallery I am involved in and that in football. There are plenty of challenges, not least raising money and getting visitors through the gate. But the general mood is always very positive. It is striking that, apart from the director and the financial controller, every member of staff is a woman, often a relatively young one. Perhaps Katrine will bee able to induce a more positive mood at The Valley, but somehow I doubt it.
And, of course, it is not only a game. It's an importance source of identity for most supporters.
Given increasing concerns about Saturday's game being on, I am given to understand that the Football League have already visited the ground and discussed the situation with club staff. They are satisfied that in the circumstances, the club are doing all they can to keep the pitch playable so any sanctions are unlikely. With regard to Saturday, people need to relax. The pitch is covered and will be umtil 1.30pm. If there is a total deluge after that, it might be a problem but otherwise it should be playable.