I have a difficult job.
On a daily basis i have to deal with death, innocent people getting hurt and other things that could easily scar a person.
After a while you actually become a bit detached to it all and it is just another in a long list of nasty things that life throws up.
It’s strange therefore, that the only time i really tend to get a ‘lump in my throat’ is at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon when the red plastic chair flips back, “red red robin” starts pumping out of a horrific sound system, and the Charlton team come running out of the tunnel. Sometime i genuinely have to hold back the tears.
I started supporting Charlton at a good time. We had a pretty mediocre 96/97 season. It finished with mid table obscurity and my 14 year old self was enjoying seeing live football for the first time. The next season it all changed and, bar the 98/99 relegation season, it was all good times down at the Valley.
Cue an announcement by Mr Curbishley that he was off. Have Charlton fans had anything to cheer about since? It depends what you get your kicks out of i suppose but i didn’t cheer when we signed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. And I didn’t cheer when we spend £2 million on Djimi Traore (although i did cheer when we got £1 million back for him!)
But back to the present, and that lump in my throat. As the team runs out i see players like Alan McCormack wearing the CAFC shirt, i don a safety helmet as Llera runs out and i expect one of his clearances to hit me any moment. I know times change but i can’t help wishing that it was John Robinson, Mark Kinsella, Steve Brown et al instead.
If our relationship with CAFC was with a human, we would probably have been on the Jeremy kyle show by now, demanding a DNA test, disbelieving that we could be related to these people.
I was working this Saturday and i discovered that a new colleague is a CAFC fan and we had a chat about it all. When we saw each other on Sunday we just grimaced, shook our heads and decided it was a topic that we shouldn’t discuss. It hurt too much.
Thirteen years ago we saw the Premiership arrive at the Valley, with Southampton our first home opponents. It has been a big fall in grace for both teams ahead of tomorrow’s match. I suspect that the result tomorrow won’t be as convincing as it was back in the summer sun in 1998.
At least not in Charlton’s favour.
Until next time…….