What a few weeks its been for Charlton. I managed to get back for the Bolton game and on the coach up from Brighton, there were very real nerves and concern about relegation. Although above the 50 point mark already at that point, such has been the inconsistency and real competition in The Championship this season, our safety was far from secure. These feelings were confounded when, within 20 minutes, Charlton were 0-2 down and reeling.
Then, our captain (and my player of the season), Johnnie Jackson scored a fantastic, battling, solo goal and single handedly managed to galvanize our struggling team. The rest, as they say, is history. Dervite equalized for The Addicks and then another outstanding player from our maiden season back in The Championship, Yann Kermorgant, calmly slotted away the winner from the penalty spot.
Since then Charlton’s form has been astonishing. A battling 0-0 draw away at Brighton has been complemented by three superb victories against Leeds, Wolves and of course the record breaking 0-6 reverse away at Barnsley. Pleasingly, both the victories against Leeds and Wolves also took place at The Valley, removing the worrying lack of form Charlton had shown at home. The 0-0 draw away at Cardiff also demonstrated the new found resolve the Addicks have recently discovered. Its no coincidence that the Bolton game also saw the return of Richard Hughes in the Charlton starting XI. Although against Wolves, Hughes only lasted 12 minutes – Gower proving a decent alternative and a shrewd mid-season signing by Powell.
So with two games remaining, Charlton actually have a remote chance of making the play-offs! Although to be honest, I think another season in The Championship, with a couple of new signings, would better prepare Charlton for a return to the promised land of the Premier League. That said, the real competition provided by the Championship has proved incredibly exciting; Charlton beat and drew with champions Cardiff, whilst lost to struggling teams like Millwall and Barnsley. Any team truly can beat any team, something the Premier League simply can not offer.
Next season promises much, and from a personal point of view I can not wait for it as I will be back in the UK, as a season ticket holder in the North Upper! A new job opportunity was too good to turn down, therefore my family and myself are leaving the Cote d’Azur and moving to Kent! We’ll miss the sunshine, but that will be replaced by the excitement of regular live football in SE7. The opportunity to bring my children to The Valley and to proudly sit alongside my parents in the North Stand is what football is really all about. Thanks Charlton for ensuring that that will happen with a highly competitive Charlton squad full of players who play for the shirt; a manager that is a true club legend; a stunning modern football stadium and all of this in a league that guarantees excitement and entertainment. I can’t wait.
Let the good times roll. COYA