We knew it was coming, and the reasons for it, but a quick check on the club website today was depressing. We have, inevitably, joined the ranks of the cheap, unoriginal, ghastly, packaged, ad-ridden ‘Football League interactive’ websites. Up flashed an ad for Specsavers. Borrowing another phrase from The Boss, I wish I were blind. If Mr Happy keeps popping up I might have to burn down every Specsavers’ outlet in the hope that he’s hiding in one of them. We just have to pray that, like our stay in the third flight, it will prove to be a temporary aberration and binned at the earliest possible opportunity (can we make it a condition of a takeover?). Time then for a few things that have made me laugh of late, to brighten at least my mood.
In common with the rest of humanity, I might have no interest in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (having ditched the opportunity to exit gracefully we are now in the position where we have to go on and win the bloody thing). But I’m still sad enough to have sat in front of the PC through the game on Tuesday night to check progress on the BBC site. Couldn’t help being drawn to checking the details of the Wycombe v Bristol Rovers game going on at the same time (perhaps an after-effect of our own recent home reversal). Wycombe, 1-5 down at home with 10 minutes left, end up losing 3-6. Sounds like a proper spanking, then you look at the stats (yes, it’s getting sadder). Possession? 50-50. Corners? 9-2 in favour of Wycombe. Bristol’s attempts on target? Five - and only nine including off-target. Even ignoring how a team can manage to score six with no own goals and have five on target (I do remember Middlesbrough winning 3-2 at Arsenal and registering one attempt on target all game, the victory coming courtesy of two own goals), it sounds like one of those nights when nothing goes right and the opposition score with just about every shot. Sack the manager because he must have run over a cat or be paying for the sins of a previous life.
While we’re on Bristol Rovers, it’s disappointing to note that according to reports they are trying to farm out a certain Dominic Blizzard on loan, to give him some playing time. Our home game against them is coming up in a couple of weeks and I for one was looking forward to letting him know just what we think about his tackle on Basey – and more to the point Trollope and Blizzard's reaction to it. There will still be the opportunity to howl at the disgraceful Trollope, but if Blizzard’s available why don’t we take him on? I’m sure we could find a suitable position for him.
If Wycombe and others are feeling a little down, there is of course always someone worse off than yourself. I keep tabs on the progress of my adopted French team, Lyon Duchere, and a recent check on the CFA Groupe B table, which showed Duchere eighth in the 17-strong league (but with a game in hand over a few of those above them), also drew my attention to Louhans-Cuiseaux. A quick check reveals that Louhans is a “market town of great charm” in south-east Burgundy (just north-east of Macon). It “lies on one of France's prettiest small rivers, the River Seille, and has a delightful mediaeval charm and tranquil atmosphere”. Cuiseaux it seems lies just a little to the south. The two villages – which merged their football teams in 1970 – sound absolutely spendid places to visit. But they have a truly pants combined team, this season at least. Their record so far reads ‘played 10, won 0, drawn 0, lost 10, goals for 3, goals against 31’. In this division you get three points for a win, one for a draw, and one for showing up. Louhans-Cuiseaux’s points tally is 9, suggesting that they decided not to turn up for one of the games. Their best result of those played is having held the opposition to a 1-0 victory (yes, it was Duchere). I’ve no idea if the manager’s already been sacked yet, but if not might be worth getting down to the bookies.
I suppose if you’re bang in the heart of Burgundy there are compensations when your football team is propping up the table. All of which brings us back to Charlton, as the club has just announced that there will be a trial sale of real ale in the ground for the Yeovil game. Can we not find it in our hearts to ship in a case of the local Louhans-Cuiseaux tipple, on a trial basis of course, for the following game? The beer trial is apparently in response to requests from fans. Please take this as the start of a request campaign. If nothing happens, I’m going to start writing letters and if that doesn’t work I’ll hunt you down. Just as soon as I’ve sorted out Mr Happy from Specsavers.