Sunday, 6 May 2012

That's All Folks!

Charlton Athletic 3 - Hartlepool United 2.
The Fat Lady has sung, (or at least a couple of well proportioned ladies and a bloke did anyway).
It's all over.
There is no more.

In all the excitement, it was very easy to forget there was a game of football to be played.
Personally, I could have carried on turning up in League 1, with this current squad and manager, for a while longer.

Charlton Athletic have been so far ahead of everyone else, it was almost seen as a fluke when the team were beaten.
 It's been a joy and I didn't want it all to end.

If the Notts County home game is taken out of the equation, the defeats were all rather unfortunate. Sending offs and deflections were critical, along with the odd, (very odd), Northern referee in order for the Addicks to leave the field pointless.

The day started at the Rose of Denmark, dressed in my Hawaiian shirt, (in the rain), singing to the people at the bus stop.
When we arrived, The Valley pitch was a hive of activity.
There were opera singers, parachuting Red Devils and once the first half started, the most amazing paper aeroplane competition to enjoy, along with a pretty entertaining football match.

Hartlepool added to the event more than could be expected in the circumstances.
Their team were impressive but their supporters were heroes.
Last year they arrived at Charlton as Oompa Loompas.
This year they came as Smurfs.

I know for a fact, there will be very few Charlton supporters who now don't have a soft spot for the Hartlepool Monkeyhangers.
They've certainly made friends in this part of South East London.

The game?
Hartley hadn't read the script and only went and scored against the hosts!

The cornerball came in from the left and other than around 500 Hartlepool smurfs and others, the 26,000 Valley was silenced.

It didn't matter one jot of course and we began to discuss how it was "so Charlton" to go and lose the celebratory game.

Maybe that would have been the scenario with the old or more recent Charlton but the current crop were having none of it.

Another corner and Danny Hollands volleyed the ball past the impressive 'Pools keeper, then Danny Haynes headed into the roof of the net and finally, the most perfect icing on the cake was Yann Kermorgant's effort that had I not seen it, I would have thought was a physical impossibility to score from the tight angle.

Hartlepool got a meaningless-but certainly well deserved and applauded from most parts of the ground- second goal, and then that was it.

A stage was erected, the trophy was presented, we sang, we all got choked up when Chris Powell spoke on the mic, we cheered, we cheered some more, we hung onto each other, we tried to work out which wife/girlfriend was with each player as they strolled around the pitch and eventually we headed off for the summer break.

Not many people would have gone home, most people went off 'on one'.

We did a bit of a tour taking in the Angerstein Hotel and The Pilot in Greenwich, Cafe Rouge and finally being attacked by a Space Invader at The George on Borough High Street Southwark.

A fantastic season.

One hundred and one points, just 5 defeats all season and being so far away at the top of the league since September, the media saw it as a foregone conclusion we would be champions and focussed on the Yorkshire teams of Huddersfield, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, wondering who would take second place.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my thoughts.

It won't be long and we'll all be back again at Welling for preseason!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a day.
Our club organised a celebration worthy of the achievement and Hartlepool were the most perfect visitors, coming with just fun in mind.
I'll remember it, as will everyone who was there.