Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nothing to see here

It's nice to know, it's nice to know you're here, now go home. Or words to that effect. We could have saved you the trouble, not to mention the money, and called this off yesterday but we thought we'd get a pitch inspection at one o'clock and inconveniently put you all out. You'll understand won't you?

Needless to say this wasn't the club's official statement. So far all we've really heard is an unconvincing 'sorry to those who made the journey to SE7', and Chris Powell stating that the 'pitch must be addressed'. As my wife so frequently says to me, 'no shit Sherlock'. Barnsley, both club and supporters, are fuming. Quite rightly so. Roland Duch√Ętelet wouldn't do wrong if he, having had a farcical first 'match', offered to compensate the Barnsley supporters by contributing to coach travel for the rearranged fixture.

On Thursday the club website said there were no fears ahead of the weekend's game. The dome was in place, the pitch was supposedly drying out. Gazza dries out more efficiently.

We were the only professional club to suffer. There were a small handful of level six matches to fall foul, Conference North and South, but nothing other than us above that. To say it's laughable is polite, to say it's embarrassing is accurate, to say it's a sham is truthful. If a game can't be played it can't be played, to call it off two hours before kick off is ridiculous.

Sitting in the Rose Of Denmark I heard stories relaying how the referee bounced the ball on the pitch and it just sunk. Surely it would have done the same at nine o'clock this morning, if not nine o'clock last night. Why did we have to wait until one? Could the match official have not arrived earlier and saved hundreds of people a wasted journey and some hard earned money? He, don't forget, is working, we are giving up our recreation time. I know for a fact that the club could have had a local official check the pitch yesterday and forewarn the club and the match referee.

We can laugh at Crystal Palace and Jason Puncheon's atrocious penalty miss today but they will always have the last laugh when we can't even stage a game. Could this all result in a fine? Will the midweek cup game go ahead? Could we even get docked points in the long run if things don't improve?

I'm angry, I want to defend the club but I'm so frustrated. I took my father-in-law along today to what would have been his first visit to The Valley. Instead we sat in the pub and watched Sheffield Wednesday pick up a six nil victory. That really helped. We could have gone and watched my local club Horley Town play their level nine Combined Counties League match on a pitch which in comparison to the Championship resembles a meadow. They don't have a dome, or for that matter a full time groundsman but their game went ahead.

There was a saving grace, we spent the afternoon in the pub and enjoyed a few ales with fellow bloggers Marco and Rod which believe me was a wonderful afternoon in itself. As Charlton fans we always seem to find the best in any situation.

And so we sit here listening to the pundits on the radio laughing and mocking us. The Football League Show are guaranteed to give us more than twenty seconds tonight as Claridge and co rip apart our flesh and pick at the carcass.

If only Charlton Athletic could give us faithful supporters some decent ammunition to defend ourselves...

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