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An unforgettable day

We’re on the way, we’re on the way….

Yesterday morning I woke bruised and weary. With a slight headache and a sense of bewilderment, but the red blood in my veins flowed like a gentle river.

Last night was another night of sweet dreams. I flew back to Bermuda yesterday and am back in the office today, and nothing, not nothing will take this massive smile off my face.

Sunday was a day to remember, the atmosphere the whole day, being amongst so many Addicks, the togetherness, Bauer’s goal, Jacko hurtling down the touchline, the trophy presentation, the celebrations, the relief, the happiness, the joy.

Promotion. Let that sink in. Back to where we belong. Twist and bloody shout.

I flew into Gatwick on Saturday morning, my brother later in the day from Mexico City. We were knackered and dinner, drinks and jet lag laid a foundation for a better than expected pre-match sleep. A big group of us met early in the Green Man up the hill from Wembley and the place was rocking. If the amount of Addicks in that pub and beer garden was improbable then the sea of Addicks in the stadium and the sheer wall of noise we created was overwhelming and unforgettable.

We got into the stadium at 2pm, We wanted to soak it in. If it’s another 21 years before I get to go again, I may have to sit down all game. It was my first visit to the new Wembley, and it was impressive. The noise before the game was incredible, but it was noticeable that there were banks of empty seats in Sunderland sections opposite the tunnel.

Yet those Sunderland fans were exceptional and they can make a lot of bloody noise. They always have. It is a proper football club, with terrific fans, and it is the worst way to lose a game, worst than penalties because at that point you know it’s simply a 50/50 fateful chance.

One of my endearing memories came when I left the stadium. After the post match celebrations, tears, hugs and smiles we finally broke away but all got split up in the dancing and singing going on in the concourse. Absolute scenes they were.

Walking out of the stadium on the walkway trying to get my bearings to get back to the pub, Sunderland fans lined the walkway and clapped us. One girl dressed in a Sunderland shirt was crying her eyes out. It broke me if I’m honest. Charlton and Sunderland fans embraced and swapped scarves. It was an incredible moment reminiscent of 1998. The very best of luck to them next season.

Back in the Green Man I was a hot mess. Drained, oh and very thirsty. All around there were smiles and drinks and songs. Then it rained, but it didn’t dampen a thing.

We are Charlton Athletic, and we’re on our way back.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alan Oakes #

    Thanks for your recap of your day, certainly a memorable day for those able to go….and for those who didn’t too. I listened on Valley Pass and had Sofapass on as well. The bad of that was that sofa Pass was about 30 secs ahead of Valley Pass so the first score came down of sofapass while the Valley announcers were talking calmly and I thought how the bloody hell did that happen. Then I heard the valley announcers groan. What I leaned from this is that on You Tube people post the goals pretty quickly so within ten minutes I could see for myself and really groan myself.

    Other than the following few minutes when Dillon made a great save, it sounded like we had grown into the game more and more. Like all I am sure , I was waiting for overtime till sofapass posted 2-1 and tears came to my eyes and as I listened 20 seconds later as the valley announcers started to scream and cry as the goal happened and almost at that second sofapass announced game over. Wow,wow,wow…The martini went down fast!

    Like all Charlton supporters I really was scared what would happen next season if we had lost and am sure that pressure has played on all around the Valley these last weeks, but how fantastic to see how the players responded to win and celebrate. I think what has impressed me more than anything has been how the loanees bought into the club were so invested in the club. Not sure I have ever felt that before about loanees. How great was that of Beilik to go hug Dillon after our first goal

    The bond in the team spread to the supporters and made for a magical end to the season. The management team — all 4—Bows, Jacko, Steve and Andy deserve amazing credit and surely hope that a contract is forthcoming as fast as possible. Not sure what happens at Leeds in the next few days , but ….

    Lastly our supporters have gained great credit all season and especially the last week’s recognized by many opposing teams. It was great to hear your recounting of the Sunderland supporters reactions and there were several such reports in the press .but probably in part due to how our supporters behave on the road too. I can imagine Millwall supporters clapping us……

    All in all lots of hope that indeed this may bring a substantial buyer in…

    May 28, 2019
    • Alan – you make a great point about the loanees. We have had the odd stand-out…. Costa, Carson, Whyte. Few others. But this season’s were brilliant. Once again showing the quality of 1) Gallen’s homework and 2) Bowyer’s man-management. Even Bowyer’s handling of Maxwell to make him feel part of it and to smooth his massive disappointment of never playing was impressive.

      May 28, 2019
  2. Alan Oakes #

    As soon as I posted the above, I noted Bielsa stays at Leeds—phew. But am sure there are other clubs who might go after them

    May 28, 2019
    • Yes phew. But there has to be many other clubs keeping an eye on the LB situation.

      May 28, 2019
  3. Walked down to good old Basildon Station showing the colours with pride, still runs through my veins as strong as ever, to my amazement 30 or more Addicks waiting for the train of “destiny” or the 1024 to Fenchurch Street as the locals refer to it. In this Hammers heartland, and also home to many Gooners the Addicks have a foothold, Laindon , West Horndon, Upminster change at West Ham for the jubilee line the trickle was now a flow, North Greenwich the first renditions of Oh South London’s wonderful, a few stops later Bermondsey, the train doors open, cue”we ate millwall and we ate Millwall” with each stop the flow got stronger “ole ole ole……. finally Wembley Park through the ticket machines arrive at the top of the steps I stopped to marvel at Wembley Way ,only one other sight I can remember leaving a railway station to such an awe inspiring vista was Venice and the station steps to the grand canal. In 2021 I reach the good old age of 70, it is my 60th anniversary as a Charlton supporter, and my golden wedding anniversary and where did I meet the wife, the Valley Club of course, and still to this day she’s never been to a bloody game of football, women, eh. Oh what wonders she missed last Sunday. Tommorow reality, sure I have arthritis in three of me toes.

    May 28, 2019
    • Haha brilliant Tom. Yeah, I know a few Addicks tucked away out East. And grew up standing on the East Terrace next to a family from Basildon. Great people.

      What a great day eh? And yes I like many thousands stopped to take the obligatory photo from outside the tube station of Wembley Way. COYR

      May 28, 2019
  4. rierti #

    I wonder what the close season will bring. Hopefully a takeover by a new person or consortium, the Aussies can get lost as far as I’m concerned. Two of the top wage earners i.e. Ajose and Vetokele should depart releasing funds to offer improved contracts to Aribo and Bauer and others in the first team squad like Morgan,Dijksteel and Lapslie. I think we need cover for Page as he is injury prone Purrington would be a good option if the price is right. We need 2 strikers 1 should be able to cover for Taylor when suspended or injured the other should be a belated replacement for Grant. But we must above all sort out contracts for Bowyer, Jackson and other members of the coaching staff. The squad could be augmented with 3 or 4 loan signings let’s hope Bielik and Cullen might be possible.It will be interesting to see who is released Marshall, Reeves,Parker and possibly Williams if he proves too expensive,his style of play means he picks up injuries too frequently.

    May 28, 2019
  5. Trying to be realistic.

    Think Aribo will go. Sadly

    Think Bauer will stay if we pay him.

    Agree that Igor and Ajose should release some salary budget. Think Fosu, Marshall, Reeves (none of them are LB’s players) will leave and Parker. Would like to see Williams with us in The Championship. Think he will get more time on the ball. Forster Caskey will hopefully be the same player as before his injury but needs to be offered a new contract.

    Would love to see us sign Purrington.

    Bielik & Cullen are interesting ones. Would love them to stay even on another season’s loan. Cullen seems intent on making the WHU 1st team. I suspect Bielik has more watered down and realistic aspirations.

    Be interested in your view on the youngsters now we have taken a step up….

    But with you 100% we need LB, JJ and AM offered new contracts now. Assume Gallen is on more typical rolling work contract. But he is as hugely important to us.

    May 28, 2019
    • rierti #

      I think you are right about Aribo he will probably leave, a change in ownership may tip the balance. I had forgotten about Fosu who has been so poor since his injury and his attitude must be called into question.
      Of the younger players Dijksteel, Lapslie and Morgan can step up to the higher level,although Lapslie could benefit from a loan at a Div1 club to get a run of games under his belt.Morgan is a great passer of the ball and spots the openings so well, so I expect him to continue to develop next season although his starting opportunities may be limited. He should get plenty of chances to come on as a sub. Dijksteel has made significant improvement at the end of the season and played well in the Doncaster and Sunderland games. I would still like to see him in the midfield role he played when he joined the U23s 3 years ago particularly if Cullen doesn’t return
      Of the other youngsters they will need to continue their develop in the U23s. Sarpong Wiredu,Doughty,Dempsey and Stevenson have potential and I still think Hackett Fairchild could come through as a late developer.
      Some players will join the U23s after graduating from the U18s and I will be watching Vennings,Powell and Keefe in particular. We have also signed Luca Vega after an impressive trial. We have missed out on Tyler French who has joined Bradford City. He looked very good in his trial game with us.
      I understand that the players joining the U18s from the U16s are very promising.They include Williams, Agyemang,Chin, and Barker.

      May 29, 2019
    • Shadow Play #

      Joe Aribo is out of contract and will be a cheap acquisition for a Prem or Championship club who can simply outspend us, I think we will get a small amount of development compensation, but not much.

      May 29, 2019
      • Likewise Bauer can demand a much higher salary with other Championship clubs. No fee either

        June 1, 2019
  6. Shadow Play #

    This promotion has been nothing short of a footballing miracle – the ownership situation, the small squad, the sale of Karlan Grant in January…and what players we did sign had to go on plugging gaps, Purrington at left back we Lewis Page was out injured and signing a reserve keeper, just in case DP got injured/suspended. Realistically we should have struggled in the spring just as many teams did when injuries/suspensions and tiredness kicked in. But Bowyer did an immense job, juggling players, formations and kept the show on the road. And by Bowyer I mean JJ, Steve Gallen and everyone behind the scenes.

    For next season we need: a reserve keeper, cover at LB, another CB (assuming Bauer goes), a DM, some width/speed on both wings and a central/attacking midfielder plus two new strikers, so around 9/10 players. Three or four of these will probably be loanees and I can see Arsenal loaning Bielik back as he’s close to home and will be playing at a higher level than L1, but what do I know? With or without him we need Roland or whoever buys the club to make significant investment in new players. The days of running the first team squad on a shoestring got us into trouble.

    May 29, 2019
    • Agree on 9/10 players. Assume we will go again with a small squad, but at least we get to avoid early rounds of the Cups and the stupid Checkatrade.

      I have faith in Gallen. Be interested to see who they go after, although our budget will be small compared to most others in that division.

      June 1, 2019
  7. Surely now Roland wakes up and smells the coffee – the man who doesn’t do failure can even claim he’s part of this success for all I care. The scale of investment required to be vaguely competitive far outweighs the additional income from being in The Championship and so losses are likely to be even higher now. Plus I still expect boycotters next season regardless of promotion.

    We were late planning for next season due to playoff duties and I’m not sure Roland will be wanting to bankroll much more than last season and so I expect an incomplete bench for the first game of the season again.

    May 29, 2019

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