Here I am again, after a healthy hiatus, back and raring to go for a new season, much like our boys in red.
I wasn't at the game last weekend at Brentford, or indeed the midweek dismantling of Colchester, though thanks to the new and improved deals available for data usage while traveling in Europe, I was able to follow commentary while also indulging in some sunshine bed rest.
I was very keen to see how the spruced up Valley looks first hand rather than via some (possibly manipulated) photograph taken from a camera pleasing angle.
I have to say, the old place certainly looks back to its best.
Like most other commentators, I was impressed with the shiny new paintwork, inspiring images and of course the tartan patterned pitch, along with the new beers available plus the food that I might actually like to eat.
Evening games are often the times when I hare out of work, park my car with a flourish and then jog over to the Valley having eaten nothing since lunch.
In the past, I've sat with a rumbling belly as I'd refused to consume the nasty offerings - though on occasions I did crumble and buy a kit kat.
This season I'll be ramming pulled pork sandwiches and spinach/feta cheese pies down my throat, chased down by non gaseous beers and be all the happier for it.
Can I just say I'm rather jealous of Jordan Cousins?
Those people who know me would probably guess this is due to his new and (improved?) barnet that makes him look like an extra member of the Four Tops or The Temptations.
His follicle superiority can be taken as a given but actually it's something else I'm green about.
Yesterday he had a day to remember.
He played a blinder.
Even though he was out on the left, he capped a memorable performance by scoring probably the best goal of his admittedly short career. He'll never score a better one even if he plays twenty seasons.
Here comes my jealousy. He had his glory moment in front of more than 15,000 live viewers, then had it replayed again and again via vine clips and twitter links, not to mention the potential millions of people who will have seen his goal on television.
When you do something that good, you want the world to know and you can really milk the moment.
I too had a 'moment' yesterday.
Ideally, I'd have been standing on the stage at a filled to the rafters O2 arena, the audience in the palm of my hand.
Unfortunately, I was with around ten people of which probably only half of them were paying even the mildest attention.
I'm not a comedian.
I'm not even that witty. I'm that person who thinks up the pithy reply, half an hour later when the moment has gone.
Not yesterday though.
Upon learning that Aussie noise merchants AC/DC have their own brand of wine available down under, I enquired if they sold a Red wine, a White wine and a "Whole lotta Rose".
This was my moment.
Never to be repeated.
As for the game, Charlton opened with an 8th minute Cousins screamer, then a quarter of an hour later Wiggins got tied in knots by the Wigs best player Callum McMannaman. Wiggins missed the chance to head clear and then had a bit of a dancing lesson before the ball was slipped beyond Henderson from the tightest of angles.
Half time came and it was still 1-1.
There was everything to play for but sadly no £5000 win for me in the Valley Gold draw.
Henderson went down off the ball, much to the glee of the hardy bunch of visitors from the North West.
I couldn't see what happened. One minute he was guarding the goal, the next he seemed to be mimicking my own holiday bed rest.
The youngster Pope came on to stand between the sticks. Instead of looking nervous and shaky, he promptly managed to floor two of the forwards who were intent on knocking him off balance in an aerial challenge.
Well done him.
Bob Peeters should be congratulated for getting his team to go for it in the last 10-15 minutes. There was no thought of preserving the point against one of the title contenders.
An attacking substitution brought Franck Moussa into the fray when last year we may have had an extra defender to keep things 'solid' at the back.
In added on time, it looked as though Igor Vetokele had fluffed the chance to a) win the 3 points and b) win me some money on a 2-1 win. Carson came out on top in that particular duel.
Surely that was it?
There was a bit of silliness as one of the Wigs defenders tried to waste some time by refusing to give the ball back after conceding a free kick. He looked very pleased with himself but a few moments later, rather gratifyingly, he was to look completely crestfallen.
Last season, (and also last week at Brentford), Charlton made a habit of being undone by cruel deflected goals.
Yesterday, lady luck found her way to the Valley and chose to sprinkle her magic dust on the team wearing red.
Moussa's final knockings shot wasn't really going to trouble the ex Valley favourite Scott Carson but a 'wicked' (it's always wicked isn't it?) deflection sent the effort ballooning over Carson's head where it seemed to hang for an eternity, before plopping gently over the line.
|Carson taking a breather while SE7 goes barmy.|
Carson lay on his back, looking for all the world like a broken man. He had no chance and the goal wasn't his fault but as the last man, he probably felt responsible.
It was a flukey goal, not that anybody with SE7 in their hearts cared.
We turned into a bobbing mass of limbs and the volume flicked up to 11 as Nigel Tufnel might have put it.
We screamed, we shouted, we bellowed, even the old lady who sits near us stopped saying "forwards" for a while to just go rather mental.
Bob Peeters did his image no harm at all and endeared himself to his new supporters by getting 'involved' with a rather grumpy and sore loser Wigan manager Rosler near to Wigs bench, then later near to the Charlton one.
The media always rather piously say "it's not the kind of thing we want to see", except of course it's exactly what we want to see!
Rosler is no shrinking violet but I'd back Big Bob to give him a bit of a leathering if it came to a 1:1 behind the Jimmy Seed.
The Charlton crowd left with a skip and a bounce, not to mention cheering a couple of Chrissy Powell style tunnel jumps.
All was well in my world.
It was less good when I woke up this morning at 6am, on the sofa, still fully clothed, the front door open and my keys still in the lock!
We all love a win don't we?