I remember being taught when young if you have nothing to say, or if you have something to say but don’t know how to say it, keep it buttoned. Didn’t follow the advice then and haven’t since. I’m tired, hungover and bored. Come to think of it that’s pretty much how this blog started. So let’s just see where this one goes. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for any insight. There isn’t any; if there ever was.
I’m still recovering from an evening’s entertainment watching Lyon get cruelly robbed by Man Utd’s late equaliser (more accurately, I’m recovering from the botched recovery from that night). I may have decided on following Lyon’s ‘other team’, Lyon-Ducherre, but personal considerations and a touch of expediency mean I’m still rooting for OL. And I still can’t watch Tevez play football without seething at the injustice of what happened last season. At least we’ve settled on a song for my new second team. As La Duche sounds to me suspiciously like a douche, perhaps it’s appropriate to coopt Edith’s classic and sing ‘non, nous ne lavons rien’. I’m just not entirely convinced that the other supporters will embrace the idea of a daft Englishman singing a bastardisation of an anthem, one which they could misinterpret as an insult.
In any event, I’m not sure when I can make it to my first Lyon-Ducherre game. They do play at home this weekend, against AS Beaune (a team which in other circumstances would have my full support, given languid afternoons strolling around the caves and winebars of that town). There’s an away game on 8 March then a home game on 15 March, against SA Thiers. I haven’t yet been told when I’m next off to Lyon (these things are effectively decided by the power that is). It could be early April – which might coincide with a home game against Echirolles FA. We’re away at Plymouth that weekend. Maybe that’s one we need to gear ourselves up for. So maybe La Duche and Edith will have to wait a while longer.
I’m not going to be taking up Pardew’s offer of a day by the seaside this weekend. Lyon is coming to London for a visit planned some time ago. In keeping with the recent tradition, I shall be cooking a lamb shank through Saturday. This is the sort of meal that ticks all my boxes. Half-an-hour’s work slicing and dicing and then shove it in an oven for as long as possible, while pretending to be a chef and downing enough pastis and red wine to prepare for the evening’s England v France rugby match. There’s even the prospect of a celebration cognac to round off the day.
I shall of course be on tenterhooks through the afternoon. Everyone knows it is a game we have to win. So no comments from me on the team, tactics etc, just a hearty vote of confidence in Pardew and the boys along with my note excusing me from making the trip. The best way to enjoy Blackpool is a coach trip home feeling smug. So make sure you have one.
There were a couple of excursions to Blackpool during my university years, usually to celebrate post-exams time (although being sensible and having chosen philosophy as a degree course we usually didn’t have exams, we just went along for the celebrations). My recollection of the place is rather soured by having been a loose part in a love triangle which involved a fellow student breaking off her engagement to her partner who had come along for the trip. The difficult mood was not helped by a pub entertainer calling on all those in the audience with personal problems to talk to the barman. I do recall we left in a hurry after one of our number confided in the bar staff that he had a particularly difficult problem, namely paying for the drinks we were consuming.
My mood of late has not been helped by the impression I should be tilting at more windmills. Standing on the station platform waiting for a train and what do you get? ‘Please be reminded that Blackheath station is a non-smoking area; you are not allowed to smoke …’ followed shortly after by ‘do not leave bags unattended; any unattended bags will be removed’ and then ‘stand away from the edge of the platform, the next train will not stop here’. Was it always like this? I expected an announcement giving me permission to blow my nose.
I was a little surprised at the negative reaction of some comments after the Watford game. Having seen the goals it’s clear we were indeed robbed. Who knows how the game would have finished up if we had held it at 2-1 for a while – and if the ref had not developed severe myopia as Shittu engaged in a one-sided wrestling match with Fortune. Even with the draw if someone had said that it would be two wins and a draw from home games against Stoke, Palace and Watford we would have taken it without hesitation. By the same token if someone had said one point from away games against Scunthorpe and Sheff Wed we would have been less than happy. Earlier this season we couldn’t beat the better teams but put away those near the bottom and were picking up more wins away than at home. These trends have reversed of late, just adding to the confusion that is this season.
The club meanwhile continues to make progressive and encouraging moves, including the tie-up with Shandong Luneng. Given the way the association with Inter went a few years back nobody is getting too excited. But it would be daft not to look to take advantage of the Zhi connection. The problem seems to be diverting the attention of the Chinese sovereign wealth funds away from Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and others and towards an ambitious, well-run London football team with a devoted following. There’s still a lot to be cheerful about when it comes to supporting Charlton. It’s just that at the moment everything will seem like a consolation prize if we don’t get promoted. Three points and I'm happy again.