Monday, 2 February 2015

After The Love Has Gone

My favourite book is probably shared by many people who 'discovered' reading in their early to mid teens.
I don't mean I couldn't read until then, I'd mastered the mechanics of it, just not much pleasure.

A particularly inspiring teacher sent me on my merry way with a few Steinbeck novels, notably The Pearl and Of Mice and Men, which lead me away from the flimsy copies of Shoot and Mad which along with Look and Learn littered my bedroom.

My favourite book is On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I couldn't say how many times I've read it but I revisit it fairly frequently so it's definitely at least 12+ times.
It never disappoints.

I found myself thinking of Jack Kerouac yesterday after the visit of Rotherham to the Valley.

Kerouac was one of the writers famous for chucking down his thoughts in one long (often punctuation free) stream of consciousness.

I found I was doing much the same while messaging friends post game, - long rambling missives just getting everything out.

I wasn't alone.

I tried my best to move away from Charlton chat and Charlton supporters by avoiding twitter for most of the evening but it was plain to see I wasn't alone with my verbal diarrhoea.

I've pretty much fallen out of love with Charlton Athletic.

There, I've said it.

I sat in the freezing East stand yesterday, watching what was masquerading as entertainment, nursing a barely hidden simmering rage.
I was hating every sodding minute of it.

The morning had gone well.
I'd had a few pints in Greenwich pre game and eaten some excellent street food from the market but once I got to the Valley I really didn't want to be there.
My sour outlook wasn't helped by Crispy deciding he was giving it a miss so once in my place, I had an empty seat next to me, mocking the fact that I'd been too weak willed to stay away, despite nobody forcing me to turn up.

Being without someone to talk to made me realise that actually the football isn't very important to me. Without the football as a reason to get together, it's unlikely I'd be meeting up with Crispy sometimes up to twice a week and that goes for all my other 'football friends'.

I value the company, the shared interest, the exchanging of views and of course the communal aspect of being at the Valley but not the way the soul has been removed from our club.

I hate what's happened to Charlton Athletic.

When we left the Premier league I still loved following the club.
The football was less good but there was a feeling of togetherness and the majority of the players you could tell were proud to wear our shirt.
Even in League one I loved it, though the football was even worse, there was still a collective feeling of who we were and what we stood for.

Now we have a situation where I look at the team and other than a few notable exceptions, it's a load of foreign 'not quite good enoughs' who are just passing through, with no empathy for the club or the area.

Yesterday was a massive turning point for me.
I realised I'm only at Charlton games out of habit.
This season I've been to fewer away games than ever since I started going. I don't feel any affection for the team or club anymore.
It's gone.

Guy Luzon surely broke a record when he had much of the home crowd booing him, only an hour into his first home game.
Our crowd are not stupid. We know we are being taken on a journey we don't want to take.
The highlight of the whole miserable afternoon was the North Upper chanting at Guy Luzon for Roland to sanction a substitution.

Nearly everyone I know who supports Charlton, is seriously contemplating whether to bother with next season. These are not your Johnny come lately supporters. They are all supporters who caught the Valley bug in years preceding the time in the Premiership so they've been around the block a few times.

Now, my circle of friends might not be representative of the fan base as a whole but surely it's a pointer that all is not well.

I have said many times that just because Roland bought the club, we are not obliged to agree with everything he does from that point on.

"But if he hadn't bought us we'd have been broke".

So what? I'm now watching him while he wrecks our club.
 It doesn't make you a 'better' supporter because you blindly follow some crackpot as he's in charge.
It makes you a moronic sheep.

I was pleased when Roland paid out for the club but his first major decisions were to sack Chris Powell and to wave off Yann Kermorgant, who went (unwillingly) to Bournemouth.
It was going to take something pretty spectacular to come back from those black marks and as yet he's not even come close.
He's actually made things worse with the transparent fibs surrounding the employment of Guy Luzon.

I want to feel something for Charlton but at the moment it's like watching a team as a tourist.
Sure I jump up and down when we score, (rarely nowadays- cheers Roland), but then I do that when I go and watch NY Rangers ice hockey or the NY Knicks basketball. They aren't my teams, I have no history with them beyond the annual visits and it's no more of an event than a trip to see a film.

I think Dave from Drinking During the Game managed to put what I feel into words so I suggest you look at this if you haven't already.


Ken said...

Marco - I don't need to look anywhere else. You said it all for me.

Anonymous said...

fallen out of love with charlton athletic,well i know what you mean,this is gonna be my last year as a season ticket holder and wont return untill either the belgium bozo sells the club to someone who knows a little about football or things take a dramatic turn for the better.
i have been from charlton to carlisle and plymouth to newcastle supporting the club we all love but no more,this is the final act for me and the family,why would we want to give our cash to someone who dont give a flying shit about supporters of this great club,so unless something amazing happens this is our final season,dont get me wrong we will always be fans but no longer supporters and that is heartbreaking,all the best cafc it looks like your gonna need it where your heading.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your view .
I have been going for 48 years and I'm only going now to see my mates . It will be a case of who breaks first amongst us.
It is heartbreaking


Anonymous said...

Well said Marco. Going to The Valley at the moment is like watching an old friend slowly drinking themselves to death. You want to support them, but the lies and pain just wear you down in the end.

The pro-Roland faction are suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Our manager is a proven failure, the CEO is a complete novice and most of the team are doing the bare minimum.

On the evidence of the last twelve months, anyone who thinks we have a bright future is refusing to look facts in the face.

Being a fan is about wanting what's best for the club. Roland wants what's best for himself and the network. He is not on our side.

Anonymous said...

Been going since the days of Stuart Leary and Johnny Summers. Defeats and relegations and years in the wilderness didn't dent my support. But this is different. I've decided to boycott the club now. It isn't what I have supported for more than 50 years. It's they only way I can make a statement. I now listen to home and away matches on Charlton player - it is less painful.

Anonymous said...

Marco and all who have commted above - spot on. When I read KHA on Charlton Life I realised it wasn't just me, then Dave on Drinking, then a stack more on Charlton Life. I've seen calls for a match boycott but that is starting to happen for all home games out of sheer frustration anyway. What the hell do you do to change the course of events?

Pembury Addick

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the sentiments above.
I've supported Charlton since I was a kid - now I'm fast approaching my pension. I've long since moved away from the area but spend a lot of time and money travelling to home games whenever I can. No longer, sadly...
My club have left me, moved on. I can no longer relate to what is happening at the Valley. The club is the toy of a foreign millionaire who has no understanding of the culture of English football, let alone our special club.

Roland - please, respect the club and its supporters. Sell now to someone who wants to see us succeed and who will put money into the club. Recoup your money while you can, because in division 2 we won't be worth anything - just look at Portsmouth...

You've tried, but your theories and practises just doesn't work in the football league. Please pack up and go home to Belgium - before the damage that you are doing to OUR club becomes terminal.

In God's name GO!

Morecambe Addick said...

What on Earth is happening to the club that has been part of my life since I was a boy! I am now retired and live far away in Morecambe and have tried to keep the flag flying in what is a Man.Utd and Liverpool stronghold (apart from Morecambe FC).
I read with despair at what Mr. Duchelet is doing to my beloved club. He is tearing the heart out of it and making it a mockery. I have seen good days and bad days, been through desperate times but never anything like this. Even my pin badge, once worn with pride, now sits forlornly unused on my dressing table. I think our current troubles will only end when our current owner admits he has failed us all very badly and scurries off back to Belgium where he belongs.

Anonymous said...

There are so many people saying that they are not going to renew their season tickets, or just not attending The Valley. This is fast becoming a serious situation. Does anyone from the club read these blogs?

Anonymous said...

No, they don't anon. They don't listen, they don't talk to us. The attendance figures probably reflect the number of season tkts sold, not bums on seats at any game... The Valley could be half empty but there will still be 14000 there!

I don't want to stay away but I won't be taken for a mug by this Walloonian Wally. I won't be giving more of my money.

Marco. said...

It occurs to me the best way to 'support' CAFC might be refusing to turn up.
There's always a chance RD might listen to a punch in the wallet when polite reasoning has failed.
Who knows?

Scoops said...

Marco, I don't get anyway near as many readers as the likes of your blog, drinking during the game or Dr Kish. But between all of us bloggers we do get a fair old footfall of readers, and in general they do on the whole as allot of these comments share the same sentiment.

I mentioned couple of posts ago about not boycotting the game but boycotting spending ANY money in the stadium. No programmes, no beer, no pulled pork. Nowt!

In support of the Trust deciding to stand up by calling a public meeting of supporters, could we not collectivley as bloggers try and campaign and spread the word of holding such a spend boycott at the Huddersfield game? What do you think?