Last season’s playoffs

Two blogs in the space of a couple of days can only mean one thing; i have had a couple of days off.

I was mulling over Charlton’s season last night and it got me thinking about the playoffs last season.

Swindon Town, at home, and we could all see it heading towards penalties.

I had worked late into the evening and it was a rush to get to The Valley in time. I picked my dad up on the way and when i arrived felt sick. Sick with nerves. There are so many more important things in life to get worked up about (Probably, i can’tthink of any off the top of my head) but this occasion was a bad one. I bought a sausage roll once inside the stand but that wasn’t going down very easily (not that they ever do!) and then took my place in the crowd feeling somewhat nauseous.

I could almost see how it was going to end once it went to penalties; perhaps that is my pessimistic nature. It was ironic that Nicky Bailey, perhaps one of our best players over the season, was the one who blasted the ball over (Is it still going or has it landed yet?)

I knew at that moment it was over and that League One beckoned for another season. But when Swindon scored their decisive penalty and the players reeled away towards their fans i felt so angry. I felt my eyes stinging and my cheeks burning. The fact that they were celebrating on OUR ground made it even worse.

I slumped in my chair with my head in my hands. Mainly because i didn’t want my dad to see his grown son with tears in his eyes, especially over a football match.

Thinking back, the bit i can laugh about now is what happened next. If i read it i probably wouldn’t believe it happened but it did. An old wizened lady appeared next to me (Perhaps she’d been there for the whole game and i’d just not noticed her) and she tapped me on the shoulder with her walking stick (Not stereotypical at all!). “Don’t worry son,” she said to me. “At least now we won’t have to watch a relegation season next year.”

With that she shuffled away in to the night. Her words were no consolation at the time but when i began to get over it – about six weeks later – i agreed. We would be watching a promotion season instead. Hooray!!

Well, the likelihood is that there will not be any promotion this season but hopefully the little old lady is well and will be cheering the team on up at Spotland tonight.

Midweek fixtures really need a bit more thinking behind them. I know this is a rearranged fixture but surely planning ahead would say make the midweek games relatively local to save people getting home at 3-4 am and then having to go to work the next day.

I cannot afford, neither in time nor money, to trek to Lancashire on a Tuesday evening when i have work the next day and absolutely take my hat off to those that do make the effort.

Hopefully tonight it will be worth the journey.

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