Monday, 9 July 2007

Charlton Telephone Sex

We're almost there. Somehow, through a combination of mutual support and various self-help tapes, we've managed to get through the close season without cracking up (or to put it another way even though a ball hasn't been kicked in anger for just on two months we've still found enough material to keep waffling). Only .. 48 hours to Welling.

My problem is that as my partner still follows the French pattern of shutting down as of the start of August. This means it's holiday time and I'll miss the Sporting Braga friendly and the Scunthorpe home game. In fact as I can't get to Swindon I'm going to have to wait until 25 August and the Sheff Wed visit before being able to see in person how our brave new world shapes up. It hasn't been a problem in recent years, but of course things are different now.

Well, maybe not so different, more like deja vu. It does mean that there will be some furious mobile calls/texting going on through the afternoon of 11 August. And it was on the way back from our first holiday together, somewhere in the Puy de Dome, that, wearing a moth-eaten Mesh Charlton shirt (at least it wasn't stripy blue) and clutching a mobile to my ear, I danced a jig to the news that we had beaten Barnsley 3-1. There are photos. I should have realised then that if a relationship can survive such moments it's for keeps. I have never asked Suzanne exactly what she thought at that moment and it's probably best left unsaid.

This is my second-best Charlton telephone sex moment (as we have bloggers from around the world there must be more - and better ones). There aren't that many of them as mobiles haven't been around that long. I'm old enough to remember waiting for the Saturday evening edition of the Standard to find out who had scored (as long as they scored in the first half, further details had to wait for the Sundays) and where we were in the league.

The one that stands out for me came a little more than a year earlier. Because of work I found myself in Tokyo on the night of the second leg of the play-offs against Ipswich. I think I've been at just about all the key moments in the past 20 years (let's face it, for the previous 20 there weren't any key moments), including Carlisle, St Andrews and Wembley. But this for me was the one that got away, not being there when The Valley erupted as Shaun Newton delivered an unstoppable drive, prompting that iconic shot of Sasha walking back, arms aloft, with a tumultuous crowd in the background.

All that came later for me. On the night in question I was preparing to make a call at some ridiculous hour from a hotel room in Japan. I assumed all friends who were there would be in the pub shedding tears one way or the other, so, after some Shinto chants (and a calling in of any markers on Jesus, Allah, Buddah, Jehovah and anyone else I could think of) I decided to call my mother.

'Hello mum, it's me'
'Oh, hello love, how's Tokyo?'
'Sod Tokyo, what was the score?'
'Score for what?'
'Charlton for crying out loud, what else?'
'I think it was 1-0'
'Yes, but who to?'
'I'm sure I heard on the radio 1-0'
'YES BUT WHO TO?'
'I'll just check teletext'

There followed a delay. A long delay, as my mother talked me through every index page possible. But, as they say, all's well that ends well and a small corner of Tokyo went mental.

I'd like to say that every call back from abroad to check on Charlton has been victorious. But that would be to overlook a wonderful weekend break in Paris, glorious weather and sipping wine outside a bar on the Champs-Elysees, only to be told over the phone Fulham 2 Charlton 0 (Fulham, bloody Fulham). And from Beaujolais country over Easter Man City 0 Charlton 0 (I felt then that this was a game we needed to win). So satisfaction over the phone isn't guaranteed, whatever they may say in the ads.

Still, every time that I have called home from France during an actual holiday there (rather than weekend break), while wearing a Charlton shirt, when we are playing our first game of the season at home after relegation from the top flight we have won 3-1. Good enough for me.

2 comments:

charlton north-downs said...

Here's hoping that all your phone calls or texts regarding Charlton received next season on your travels, leave you totally satisfied and with a big smile.

James Allen said...

Being open minded enough and willing to learn can be a really big green flag for me. Sometimes it's more rewarding to be the person who taught your partner why opening up and communicating is such an awesome thing.
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