Sunday, 4 April 2010

Franchise 0 - Addicks 1

Yesterday, I plodded up to Buckinghamshire to visit the 'city' - (yeah right), of Milton Keynes.

I had little intention of going to MK but after a late night message from Crispy, it was all systems go.
Basically, I was too weak willed and crumbled, despite previously announcing the game would have to go ahead without me.

My experience of Milton Keynes, as a place, is quite limited.
My previous visit was possibly 5 or 6 years ago when I went to the Xscape, sno!zone, which looks even more dramatic and impressive on the inside than it appears on the outside.

It's now over 24 hours since our game at Stadium:mk, so I thought I'd rattle off a few thoughts of my day.

The Good
Firstly, what a fantastic stadium!

Architecturally, it is much more alluring than any of the other 'newer' stadiums I've visited, with the possible exceptions of the Emirates and Wembley.
It's just a huge shame that the team who play there, attract crowds so sparse, a 'bumper crowd' such as yesterday, doesn't even half fill it.
I'm sure there was some jiggery pokery going on with the announced attendance.
To say there were in excess of 10,000 souls inside yesterday, is surely laughable.
 I'd have guessed closer to 6,000 with 7,000 at the very,very most.

Even without the top tier of the stadium being completed, I was thoroughly impressed with the arena.
If England does win the race to host the World Cup, though Milton Keynes might not be a traditional football hotbed, the country could do far, far worse than using the Buckinghamshire stadium.

The seats were superior to anything I've experienced since our trip to the Emirates. They were comfy, had good sight lines and there was plenty of leg room. The concourse was light and airy and there wasn't a stench of fried food as you performed a half time promenade.

The girl who sold us our tickets for the away section of the ground was the epitome of efficiency and friendliness. We were so charmed by her leaning over a desk towards us, we decided it was more like a hotel reception than the usual glass fronted ticket office experience.

I was also impressed by the amusing and cheery ladies who were standing outside Asda, collecting for Breast Cancer. They cooked us some tasty hotdogs and burgers and made it very easy to donate to their charity.

I enjoyed the acerbic wit of Frankie Valley throughout the game. He's lost none of his ability to laugh through the pain of supporting Charlton, despite his excellent blog being merely a memory nowadays.

Another highlight of the day was the alarmingly cheap, Asda coffee shop.
A latte and a chocolate-toffee-shortbread thingummy for less than £2.
I'm in!

With my tongue only partly pushed into my cheek, I was able to say at the end of the game that the Dons supporters wouldn't really care too much about their defeat.
 They have 'no history',  -just 7 years ago the club didn't exist.
Any of their supporters who have reached an age when they have left Primary school behind would have obviously had a team they supported before the Dons existed, thus making the Milton Keynes outfit their 'second team'.
Who really cares when their second team lose?

The Bad
Firstly, the Jubilee Line was out of action, (again), so the first part of my journey to London Bridge was undertaken by overland train.
Unfortunately, the train was so packed, I spent the duration balanced on one foot with a German couple, BOTH wearing rucksacks (??), pushing into me and discussing loudly how the service was 'scheiss' compared to the fatherland.

The game itself was a poor spectacle.
It was the kind of game where nobody really deserved to win as nobody really did anything. Darren Randolph pulled off a few saves, though one of them had at least a smidgeon of 'weetabix' about it.
(Hi to all the 80's kids!)

Charlton scored due to a well 'won' penalty and a very assured finish from Forster.
In my opinion, we were unlikely to score from open play so a penalty was a fantastic return from a poor effort by both sides.
Midfield seemed to be out of favour from both teams as the defences hoofed the ball up front, only to have it returned moments later. This went on for most of the first half and much of the second.

Only when Shelvey, Akpo Sodje and Sam came on for a tiring Forster, ineffective Mooney and out of sorts Waggy, did our team look remotely balanced and start using the space.
Akpo Sodje was left to run around in the middle as there was now more intelligent use of the wings.
A final 20 minutes of backs to the wall defending saw Paul Ince's men leave the field pointless.

On a personal level, definitely the worst part of the day was the zip on my fly breaking completely off my jeans, as I went for a pre match 'comfort break'.
The outcome was the front of my jeans now gaping open and me cursing my decision to wear rather loose and airy boxer shorts underneath that offer absolutely NO support and an absolute certainty that my 'old fella' would be falling out at the front.
I did consider returning to our friendly ticket seller and asking if she could offer me a safety pin.....
It's now back to the old trusty button fly 501's and a wave goodbye to the trendy, 'fashionable' strides.

Luckily, my coat was long enough to cover my modesty but I'd like to apologise to any passengers on the Northern Line yesterday evening who may have been traumatised as I absent mindedly sat jigging my legs about while listening to my iPod.

I am also a little disappointed to report that I spent the day in Milton Keynes but I didn't even see a hint of a concrete cow.
Shame eh?

A Casual Rating
The regular award of a Lacoste polo shirt is being granted to Darren 'Randy' Randolph. He really hasn't been given a fair crack of the whip this season at Charlton and I was very pleased to see him performing well between the sticks.
He did seem to favour the punch when a more accomplished 'keeper might have caught the ball but everything panned out well for him and he probably made at least one game altering save.

The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is being awarded to the referee, who in a long season of third rate homers, really did make you wonder why we even pretend the referees are 'impartial'.
Perhaps the only decision he gave in Charlton's favour was for the penalty and in truth, it wasn't even remotely debatable, though I'm sure cry baby Paul Ince doesn't share my views!

Tomorrow, we entertain the men from Cumbria as Carlisle United undertake the long trip down to South London.
At this stage in the season, it's all about results so another soporific showing but 3 points would please most of the Addickted.


Anonymous said...

An entertaining report Marco.
I'd settle for an awful game against Carlisle if we can grab another 3 points.
Just keep your old fella underwraps ok?

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that it wasn't in the ticket office that your flies gave way under the strain?

Crispy ;)

Marco. said...

It all becomes clear now!

It could have been the prices in Asda of course.....

Anonymous said...

You are right about the attendance.About 6000 at most including nearly half our fans,and to think we used to understate the crowd figure to avoid paying the tax!

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha. Weetabix goalkeeping. That takes me back.