For the second time in recent years I found myself in sitting in bright sunshine, on the Champs Elysees, sipping wine (OK gulping it as usual) and basking in the ambiance, only for my wellbeing to be upset by a text informing me of a 2-0 away defeat. Last time around it was Fulham, a game we were unlucky to lose but which could have been seen as one of those things for a mid-table Premiership team. If I’d known then what the next few years held in store I would have bought a second-hand laptop and asked the waiter how much it would cost to stay there. This time around it was away to Cardiff, a piss-pot result that leaves us at the lower end of midtable, basically amongst the stiffs.
Judging from the tone of some of the other blogs its clear we are all feeling rather sorry for ourselves, not surprisingly. I penned something at the end of September entitled ‘something better change’, basically on the grounds that my liver could not continue to cope with regular disappointments. I was thinking at the time in terms of the team/formation and my expectations rather than prospective buyers capable of putting the club back among the elite, ie where we belong (you can manipulate the statistics to back that up, especially if you include the war years). It seems that what we have now is a microcosm of our raised expectations: we are all waiting for news.
On that front, I think it would be in the club’s interest to announce on the official site some time before tonight’s kick-off whether or not there is to be an announcement of significance. In the absence of any news we are going to turn up tonight (yes, I will be there, despite picking up a French bug, although I can hardly claim credit on this front as for me it’s an extended stroll) with half a mind that there will be the signing of a deal or confirmation before the game or at half-time. If there is no such prospect in the near future it would be better to announce this now so that we can just concentrate on the game. I appreciate the limitations imposed on the directors at present, assuming there is still a process of due diligence ongoing, but surely there is nothing to stop the club confirming that no material announcement is imminent. In the absence of such news our hopes are going to be raised with each passing minute as the match gets near – and more unfulfilled expectations we can do without at the moment.
Just to add my agreement with others over ‘lines in the sand’. A move away from The Valley to the peninsula and a new ground: regrettable but acceptable, especially assuming some time to say our farewells to our home. A move to the Olympics stadium: forget it. Involvement of Dennis Wise and his ilk? Surely we can have confidence that Richard Murray and others are going to make it clear that, while not for sure a deal-breaker, this would send entirely the wrong message. Don’t want them. A move away from The Valley and having to accept Wise et al could be a step too far for many.
At another level of course it’s all rather daft to talk in these terms. I don’t own the club (save for a few shares) and nobody is offering me bucket-loads to jump ship. Neither am I, or I assume others, waiting in the wings to deliver alternative financing such that we are in a position to really criticise whatever decision the board makes – if indeed there is a decision to make. All we can do is outline how we feel about possible developments. And at the moment morale off – and probably on – the pitch is not good.
But damn it all we are Charlton supporters. So to the club - give us some indication over whether tonight might bring news so that we can focus on the game if there is no prospect; to the players – sod the injury crisis, go out and ensure that the fans stay onboard through the evening, whatever happens; to supporters – whatever, let’s give the team and the board the best backing we can. And for me? Well, bug notwithstanding it’s wine if we win and wine if we lose – but cognac if something is pulled out of the hat.