C'est Magnifique !
I'm pleased to say that yesterday's game was one of total contrast in the two periods. Thank God for that because myself, Daniel and Alex missed the entire first half. Some idiot of a lorry driver failed to properly secure his load of chemicals which ended up all over the M25 @ 5am Saturday morning. I didn't know that and thus ended up trying to come off at Junction 25, not a good idea !
The expected 75 minutes journey took 4 hours ! It proved to be a test of my bladder's endurance as much as mine. The aforementioned lorry driver is due in court on Tuesday and if he is as gulity as it seems then I hope he is severly dealt with !
A couple of minutes on the East Stand concourse and I met up with Ketts who told me just how bad the first half had been. My mood improved a bit on hearing that and I was in a small minority of Addicks who were pleased that it was a dire 45 minutes.
Obviously news of our horrific journey reached Sir Chris and I understand his half time team talk was " Phil, Daniel and Alex have had a s**t journey down today, let's go out and make them happy ! "......................or words to that effect.
Whatever the boss said worked and we were served up another 4-1 home win on the final day of the season. Yann scored one of, if not the goal of the season following a superb cross from Gower. The finish was exquisite. Thins got even better when Solly showed us just how good his left foot is in sending one over for Yann to power home with his head.
A mistake from Morrison in failing to clear the ball saw City pull one back with Button injurying himself in the process. The injury was sufficient to force Button leave the field of play and see young Pope make his debut.
I'd love to be able to write about our Gallic hero's hat-trick but sadly he was denied by the width of a crossbar. His wonderful chip ( frite ? ) beat the keeper all end up but sadly not the bar, fortunately Obika was on hand to nod in the rebound.
Skip added a fourth soon after and the carnival atmosphere reached a crescendo with Sir Chris himself at one stage leading some of the comunity singing !
There was time for Wagstaff to have a cameo and bid goodbye to the fans. He has never been one of my favourite players seemingly lacking in strength and the ability to take on and beat defenders but I would never question his endeavour and will to win. I wish him all the best in finding a new club.
After an unconvincing start Obika is starting to grow on me. His late goals have proved crucial and his second half performance yesterday offered enough to suggest that he could flourish at The Valley next season. Let's hope we can secure his services.
I also hope we will see Fuller return. I find it incredible that some don't rate him. He has tons of nous, skill and experience and has been integral to most of the success this term. All that has been achieved whilst not been fully fit. I feel we'll need him next season and he will again prove to be a vital cog in the Charlton machine.
I'm not sure about Gower. As I said his cross for Yann's first was excellent and aside from that he did ok and that's the issue....he did ok. Against the poorest side in the league he just did ok. Perhaps it was an end of season issue. His pedigree suggests he should be a good acquisition for us with plenty to offer, if he stays then I hope he shows us that.
The last word is, as it should be, with the great man himself. His emotion filled voice told you everything you need to know about this wonderful man. He is Charlton through and through. He knows us better than we know ourselves, he's been through the ups and downs and above all he knows what it means to be a Charlton fan for he clearly is one himself.
I'm so glad he became our manager when he did and bear in mind that it nearly didn't happen and had Howe said yes, how different things might be. Had we not got Sir Chris then I've little doubt he'd be working some miracles elsewhere at another club with another set of adoring fans.
Some have observed that he bought himself some time and good will from the fans given his already legendary status. I've never bought into that view myself, in any case all of that would have evaporated by now if he wasn't upto the job. Last season and perhaps, even more so this he has proved himself more than capable.
He is intelligent and a quick learner but what sets him apart from the rest is his integrity and respect for others with a desire to treat all people equally. He knows how to manage players and treat people which has helped forge a group of players into a team with focus and vision.
Let's celebrate and reflect on what has been, in the end, a remarkable season. We can look forward to the next one if Powell is supported by the board and allowed to bring in the players he wants. One thing is clear, he won't lack support from the fans !
Come On You Reds !