Thought I’d slip this one in before the avalanche of stuff in response to Richard Murray’s promised takeover update - which hopefully will at least confirm whether or not the consortium involving Alex McLeish was one of the two bidders he spoke of when he met the Trust, whether that consortium (now gone) was the bidder furthest advanced at the time, and if so whether the other bidder is still in the frame, whether they and Roland are closer together now than they were then, and perhaps whether the shortest route to the offices of the bidder would involve digging a hole through the centre of the world.
Whatever the outcome, there’s no question that the success/failure swingometer – the former being new owners and promotion, the latter the reverse – has moved in a negative direction of late. February saw no new owner and we’ve just been turned over rather badly by a side which will almost certainly either get automatic promotion or one of the play-off places. Add to that, injuries to Kashi and Dasilva, ones which will apparently involve them missing at least the crucial games in March. The positive scenario for us on the pitch involved the return from injury of Pearce and Bauer, plus Fosu-Henry and before too long Mavididi, and an increasingly important contribution from the new boys Kaikai and Zyro, plus the returning Ajose, all outweighing the loss of Holmes (and Ahearne-Grant).
That combination would in turn see the team go from strength to strength and into the play-offs with confidence high and the wind in our sails. Obviously doesn’t look or feel like that right now; rather the points dropped late on in games recently have left us in a struggle for the final play-off spot, with nothing seeming to gel as yet (put simply the loss of Holmes, Ahearne-Grant, Fosu-Henry and Mavididi has hardly been balanced by the contribution of Kaikai, Zyro and Ajose, with the scales now tipped more clearly against us without Kashi and Dasilva). Duchatelet may not have a firm deadline for a sale, but obviously the time for the team to deliver the sort of form which could still deliver success is running out.
But that’s not what I was going to write about. Instead I had an email this morning from a fellow Addick asking me if I went to see the Lyon Duchere game on Friday evening. Now like all stories you have to begin at the beginning.
Back in December 1957 my mother and father were discussing what to do on the last Saturday before Christmas. Like now, the weather wasn’t great and my mother was doing her best to persuade my father that time would be better spent spent shopping for gifts than trudging to The Valley and back (of course there has to be a bit of poetic licence, I hadn’t yet been born). She won him over – and we know what happened next. As far as I know they just never talked about it again, I never heard it suggested by my mother that shopping might once more take priority.
Fast forward to Friday evening and there was a choice to be made. It was freezing cold outside but we could walk the short distance and sit on a hard plastic seat to watch Lyon Duchere v Entente SSG (I won’t repeat the background to the game, all in the previous post for anyone interested). Or we could stay in, enjoy a good bottle of red along with the second instalment of Suzanne’s coq au vin. It didn’t take a genius to guess what my other half was thinking and, although she is very good at not apportioning blame if something she has decided to go along with goes pear-shaped, with a weekend of sport on the TV coming up I was persuaded to give the match a miss.
We kept up to date with the score and going into stoppage time Duchere were trailing 1-2. We were consequently delighted when it flashed up 2-2 as the final score. Looked as though we’d missed a decent game, but no matter there will be others, just what my father thought.
The email was to direct me to something in The Guardian. Something about ‘two goal of the season contenders in the same French third division match’. Watch it (just for the absolute belter that was Duchere’s last-gasp equaliser) and weep: