Wednesday 5 February 2014

It's being so miserable what makes me happy

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.


Anonymous said...

what is more ; whenever I talk to people and they tell me they are not interested in football I realise how much they are missing. Even more so when I think of the 'pleasure and intense frustration' I have endured over the many years supporting Charlton. But I would not have it any other way

Hungry Ted said...

Good post, Wyn.

I have to say that some of my fellow Addicks have really taken the wind out of my sails recently with wild and unrealistic reactions to all things Charlton (whether good news or bad). I completely avoid twitter now pre and post match.

I put a lot of this down to some of the younger lads with too high expectations and a lack of ability to cope with the set-backs.

oligab said...

Expectations are the life blood of a football fan, I am 52 and have followed Charlton all my life ! I genuinely believed when we were riding high in the premier league that we would become the number 2 football team in London behind only Arsenal. Sad as it may seem I still have that belief !! I blame my father and his constantly reminding me of the 50,000 plus attendances in the 50 `s and the fact Charlton has one of the biggest catchment areas in the UK.

sm said...

Its quite clear that I found my natural London home after supporting Halifax Town for many years and needing a local club that I could follow with my son - 11 years of unremitting happiness so far!

Wyn Grant said...

Of course in the 1950s Charlton home attendances fell when Arsenal were playing at home because many people in the area had an attachment to Arsenal. When I went to get tickets for the play off final, Arsenal were celebrating their title on the same day and it was striking how many fans there were on the train, some even getting off at Charlton. Catchment areas are actually quite difficult to delineate, especially these days.

Burgundy Addick said...

Fair comment, Wyn. I don't count myself among the moaners and groaners, neither do I think I'm guilty of unrealistic expectations, or thoughts of where we 'should' be. Yet I feel more worried/pessimistic than at any stage since picking up a leaflet informing us of the move away from The Valley.

Perhaps it's the weather, the time of year. But what seems at risk is our identity as a club. I hope these fears prove groundless.

Wyn Grant said...

Cher Blackheath, I find it worrying that you are worried. However, the identity of the club comes from the fans. I do not think that Roland is a fool or particularly an egoist, at least no more so than any successful businessman. I have my own view about what his agenda might be and it actually should appeal to a fan of the Entente Cordiale.

Burgundy Addick said...

Wyn, look forward to reading your thoughts in full, assuming of course on Saturday the pitch is fit for purpose and there is a reason to venture onwards from the pub. Perhaps what concerns me is not that the strategy may not be thought out, or even the result of an outsided ego. Rather that I suspect I'd prefer (if forced) to support a standalone Charlton in League 2 (which I would) than see us as a part of a European network with Standard Liege at it's centre (and yes, that's coming from a committed euro supporter).

Wyn Grant said...

Clearly I hope that I do not have a wasted journey to London on Saturday, although I think that the pessimism on the pitch is being overdone. If there is a late postponement, I will call in at the RoD. I still think it's too early to make a balanced judgment about Roland. Personally, I have wanted the club to be foreign owned for a long time and ultimately to have a foreign manager, as I like patient possession football in preference to hoofball, which you certainly see in League 2, combined with largely unchecked clogging.