It may be one of those clichés that gets regurgitated every weekend but the past couple of weeks as a Charlton Athletic fan have once again proved this true. We’re not blessed with too many good times down at The Valley but last season was genuinely enjoyable as the team ran away with League 1 on the pitch and everything finally seemed stable off it. But as most football fans will tell you it won’t stay that way for long!
A few weeks ago the tension was building towards the first South London derby of the season against Crystal Palace. The first of these hotly anticipated derby games for four years. Now it may not be ‘el classico’ or the Manchester derby but it’s more than just your average game of football. So when the day of the game finally came around I spent the whole day at work thinking of nothing else. Not a massive surprise then that my beloved CAFC didn’t turn up on the night and we stumbled to a 1-0 defeat. A defeat in a game against your local rivals is depressing for any football fan, but I was sure we’d bounce back even after another defeat away to Derby County a couple of days later.
A good win away to Ipswich was then followed by two home games against a Blackburn side in turmoil after the Steve Kean saga and Watford, who don’t exactly put the fear of God into opposition fans at the moment. The optimism was there, we were about to go on a little run, catapulting ourselves up the table into play off contention. And what do we do? We draw with Blackburn Old Boys despite having chances to win and lose to Udinese Reserves even though they have ten men for 45 minutes and we have about 80% possession, or so it seemed.
So there I am on the verge of fully fledged football depression. I can’t see where the next win is coming from, I’m starting to doubt Chris Powell like a Christian changing faith and the thought of possible relegation back to League 1 really does make me feel sick. I mean who really wants to play Stevenage away! Blackpool away is the game I’ve been dreading with young Thomas Ince tearing defences to shreds all season and Kevin Phillips guaranteed to score against us like every other game he seems to have played in his 128 year career. Fast forward 90 minutes of nail-biting, nervous shouting and hopeful superstitions and somehow we have actually won 2-0 away! Unbelievable!
But when the immediate joy of such a great result fades away slightly, I realise that this little series of results is a microcosm of life as a football fan. Or at least a fan of one the slightly more unpredictable clubs. You get built up to the point of not being able to talk about anything else to anybody that will listen, then you get knocked back down to earth and even the sound of the Match of the Day theme tune makes you want to put your fist through the TV! Then the cycle starts all over again. Sometimes these highs and lows go on slightly longer than just a couple of weeks but inevitably the tide will turn, and its this underlying thought which is why I and millions of other football fans will keep coming back for more torture every Saturday afternoon. It really is a funny old game!