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New Article: Where is your Charlton 'Breaking Point' ?


Was thinking long and hard about this last night after watching us once again haplessly limp out of yet another competition.

Charlton have played such a dominating part of my life for the last twenty years that it is almost a religion. In that time i’ve missed only a handful of home games, have always until this season done a minimum double figure amount of away games, attend every Q+A i possibly can, and leave and breathe it 24/7 through this site.

It goes beyond a love of football, it’s become a way of life. I know there are many others that fall into the same category.

Why has it become such an ingrained, dominating part of my life ? Simple to answer really, because i’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed watching the club and its fan base grow from a small but incredibly balanced, determined and proud group, i’ve enjoyed the battling way for years we seemed to have players collectively performing at or beyond their maximum level, i’ve enjoyed the collective strength the support base appeared to hold and its close, respected relationship with the club. And most importantly of all, i’ve enjoyed the laughs, friendships and family i’ve gained along the journey.

But i’ve stopped enjoying it.

It’s vastly becoming a loved one with a drug addiction, it brings you little pleasure yet it is a tie you find impossible to break.

Live TV games are being tuned into not with any form of excitement or anticipation, but with the lethargy that the impending inevitability will once again deliver disappointment. Attending matches no longer carries the air of hope that a victory or a good, attacking game will unfold, but are now purely for the basis of seeing friends for a couple of hours who i would not see so frequently otherwise. Wins bring no great cheer, while the frequency of defeats, or disappointing under-performances, no longer shoulder belief-sapping disappointment or anger, but weariness and meek acceptance.

Its not about the level of football. In fact, it’s never really been about the football at all.

Perversely, I’m more aligned to grassroots football than Premiership offerings and while i’ll happily watch a game at County level, on Monday i choose to watch a documentary on the Savoy Hotel rather than the battle between the Premiership big guns.

It is the over-riding nothingness our club has become that has sapped me, the predictability of never-ending disappointments that continue to turn the screw. One step forward, two steps back. And so on, and so on....

For five years and in three separate divisions we have remained stuck in a frustrating spiral of not being footballing enough to outplay opposition, nor being tough enough physically or mentally to outbattle either. We are not one thing nor the other, a frustrating hybrid of the two. And we continue to show no clear signs that either will emerge. Occasional encouraging performances, or signs or team unity, show fleeting glimpses offering hope. But before you know it, we’ll once again roll a three, land on the snake’s head and quickly sliver all the way back to the beginning.

Off the pitch, all the things i used to hold dear surrounding the club seem to have unravelled at a rate to match the on field decline. Whether it’s the expectations of the fans we attracted during the Premiership years, or the despair and weariness of the long-standing brigade, we’re no longer the supportive, co-ordinated and respected group we once were. Old-timers appear fatigued by the latest downturn in fortune, while the youngsters creeping through seem more interested in throwing coins and bog roll at fellow fans, beer bottles at our own goalkeeper, and singing that our manager is a c***. Our song repertoire is basic, and sung at break-neck speed, and the over-riding humour and friendship that always existed in the stands seems to have been replaced fully by vein-popping anger-fuelled abuse in the Covered End, and silence in the other stands.

Through its various facets, the soul, heart and bo**ocks of our club seems to be ever diminishing. The unexplainable tie to it seems to be loosening, and in my case i’m really not sure that if it breaks i’ll ever get it back again. Whether a new owner, a new manager or a promotion will lead to anything more than a temporary re-invigoration, i honestly don’t know.

Am i over-dramatising ?

Are these purely the reactive, weary ramblings of a father of five-month twins at the point of permanent near exhaustion and failing to summon the energy for barely anything in the aftermath of another cup exit ?

Or is the ‘Charlton malaise’ being felt on a much wider level ?

You tell me.....


  • All changes when you have kids mate.Twins must be hard.
    I found time was at a premium and wasting a minute of it on the shower of shit at the Valley was just not an option.
  • If we had never got to the dizzy heights of the Premiership and imagined we were a whisker away from Europe, it would have all seemed OK. Having seen Di Canio, Parker and many others on the same pitch as the current mob is hard to take in such short space of time.
  • John Peel used to say the football and life were inextricably linked. Hence your depression and doubt!

    This is a thoughtful, mature read; heartbreaking in its scope. We all feel it, but you express it well. I think you will get over the malaise - it must have been like this in the eighties when the ground was gone. In a way it is up to you to be a role model to those younger fans in the way that senior fans must have been to you twenty years ago.

    A site like this, therefore, is important because it will be read by those fans and all of us throughout the world wherever we are. And therefore you are similarly important.

    In my humble opinion, Charlton Athletic represents the soul of football - I don't know why though. But it is an intelligent and humble club in the best sense of that word. Its fans are second to none and always respected.

    We will come back and we will have learnt from it, unlike the plastic, yada yadda fans of the bigger clubs who never learn anything.

    You are not over dramatising at all. We will come back one day but until trhen we have to bear the brunt of it and support the running of this great South London club!
  • Think your story will strike a chord with many of us. I am nowhere near as fervent a supporter as I used to be in terms of away matches and gnashing of teeth should I need to miss a game at The Valley. Not all about top flight foot ball for me either seeing as how I have attended regularly since 1961. Looking forward to the takeover to be honest. Charlton Athletic have drifted with no sense of direction it seems to me for the last five years and I think we all need a huge lift and a renewed sense of purpose I presume new owners will bring.
  • Think your story will strike a chord with many of us. I am nowhere near as fervent a supporter as I used to be in terms of away matches and gnashing of teeth should I need to miss a game at The Valley. Not all about top flight foot ball for me either seeing as how I have attended regularly since 1961. Looking forward to the takeover to be honest. Charlton Athletic have drifted with no sense of direction it seems to me for the last five years and I think we all need a huge lift and a renewed sense of purpose I presume new owners will bring.
  • Great post/thread...feel the same mate...but have no real answers!

    Whereas most Addicks used to have similar views & opinions, we are now divided and pulling in different directions.

    We have been papering over the cracks for around 5 years now - hopefully this takeover will provide a more solid foundation for us to rise again. However, the game has changed so much since our last promotions in the mid/late 90s...I fear we'll never have players like Kinsella, Robinson, Mendonca, Rufus etc, who gave their all to the club and actually looked like they cared.

    I don't believe it's just Charlton though...that's the game now, too much cash in average players pockets with the wrong attitude to life & the game we love.
  • What Carly said is undoubtedly a large part of why you feel as you do.

    The arrival of children is a big upheaval in your life and priorities change meaning that attendance at Charlton games slips down the pecking order. For me it largely coincided with our years of exile but once they were old enough I took them with me and they seemed to enjoy it. It may be that the reason they enjoyed it was that we were relatively successful. The older two still come occasionally but have lost interest as we've declined. The youngest sticks with it but then she has always had the most interest in football and sport generally.

    Speaking purely as a father I'm not sure whether I would take my daughters to The Valley now at the ages of six or so given the deteriorating standards of behaviour steadily creeping in. If I did decide to I would sit in the West but then cost becomes a possible issue.

    I wonder whether the declining standards at Charlton are symptomatic of declining standards in society as a whole. Like you the level of football doesn't especially bother me, given that for most of my time it has been division 2 interspersed with a bit of division 3 but I don't particularly enjoy abuse being hurled at the team we are supposed to be supporting and I am in a similar place to you for different reasons. I'm not enjoying the atmosphere at matches although I'm lucky with those in my immediate vicinity and it is nice to bump into lifers I've met. This Tottenham ticket thing though has acted as a catalyst to make me seriously consider whether I want to commit to attendance in the future when the atmosphere is becoming increasingly unpleasant.

    All that said the probability is that we will both be back next season season tickets renewed.
  • edited December 2010
    Mate you and i have known each other a long while only through Charlton on long journeys across our great land meeting at obscure out posts throughout the divisions, sometimes arranged normally by Mis fortune ;-), we have seen some real dross witnessed some crap and had our fair share of real joy,

    We have been part of the bedrock along with others who post on here,

    we were young brave and fearless but never fell into the hoolie trap but witnessed and got out of situations which came with the territory of being a fan of a small club.

    we had no home no real identity the identity we had was we were Charlton

    We owned Charlton then thats why we loved it,

    it was ours we were the butt of many a big clubs joke but we didnt give a shit.

    I had hopes that my son would be part of it would re live what i did meet people like i met and build firm freindships along the way.

    For me that was my addiction

    1998 came and the Play off final i honestly thought that this would make my football love complete.

    It did but like a drug addiction it ruined it also,

    i fell out of Love the 2nd season we stayed up, things started to change people were un satisfied the moaning crept in the people wernt the same, the 2nd tier was on the nth and we lost our identity we were not a band of brothers anymore.

    Then i have watched it decline not just the football, but the enjoyment, a win doesnt feel as good, ( bar the wins aginst the stripey scum bar that piss up we had against them when spring scored)

    i have not had the joy.

    I posted it a while back you likend it to Gwynetth but your there now your point has been reached,

    i love Whitewbbs u10's and 15's more than Charlton and thats a fact.

    I couldnt give 2 shits last night, and i think my posts prove that,

    the only thing that gets my titts up now with us is being told by people how i should feel and what i should say.

    Footballs about opinions and i would rather hear and respect others opinions whilst at the same time say mine not to impose them not to say that someone is wrong but to voice my opinion

    i have been ribbed for not going by people i really respect and value opinion of

    and then told when i do go back because i missed it i get told that i shouldnt go if it makes you post like that.

    the sad thing is i can see Charlton becoming a small part of who i am and not the massive part of who i was.

    real shame but the big time popped it for me
  • You're not over dramatising things AFKA. I think what you've written summarises the feelings of most. Whether that is due to the high and low of the premiership fall out, i don't know but i have family, my Dad in particular who is so Charlton through and through and has done so many things to help and support the club, but he too now doesn't enjoy it, and although i don't believe it for a minute, says if he could find something else to do instead, he would. He's been going since the late 40's and i've never seen him so utterly fed up with it. Although i'm a comitted fan as well, I just laugh it off, but he can't. Keep your chin up, roll on the 24th and hopefully we can start moving in the right direction again. My views on the current team and midfield in particular are well aired on here but football can turn around very quickly. Keep the faith.
  • I haven't got one. I was there in 1984 when the club went bust...everything else since has been a bonus.
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  • I was disappointed to go out on penalties. I know some were embarrassed that we were even playing in the JPT, and apparently would have been even more embarrassed had we won the competition. For me it was a real chance to win a trophy and play at Wembley. I'd love to see my team have that chance, even if it is only the JPT.

    Was there an overreaction to last night? Yes. What are Southampton fans saying after they lost 2-0 at home to Brentford on Saturday? They've got Nigel Adkins as manager, rated as possibly the best manager in this league and better than many in the league above. They've spent a few million on players since their takeover (Pardew admittedly, but he didn't waste the money anything like he did here). Brentford aren't a tiny bottom 5 club hoping to scrape 20th place. They were the other form team before this weekend along with ourselves.

    We kept a clean sheet and a young player had a decent debut. Poor going forward but as I've said elsewhere, playing 4-4-2 again will improve things. Abbott lacked support, Reid got crosses in but players weren't getting on the end of them or he didn't get them quite right. We've scored in most games this season, why won't we on Saturday? We're always better with Dailly in the team.

    There seems to be this idea that once the takeover goes through, Parky will leave, a new manager will be put in charge and we'll win games comfortably. This league doesn't work like that. Lower you go the closer the gap is between the top and the bottom sides. Will be different if we have a few million to spend in January, but even then that won't guarantee anything.

    We're unlikely to find this manager that ticks all the boxes. I suppose I'm just wary of getting rid of Parky just because we can and bringing in another Pardew or Dowie says all the right things, but lets the wrong players go and brings in players that aren't right for the club and/or up to the standard we need.

    Perhaps if the takeover does go through and there's decent money being invested, we should get a new manager in to freshen things up. As I've said before I'm against a change for the sake of it. There are plenty of managers out there that will say the right things but won't be able to pull it off. Last thing we need is another poor managerial appointment. If there is money though, it could mean we're able to afford someone proven at this level. Who would we want, someone like Sean O'Driscoll from Doncaster? Southampton and Leeds both took managers from smaller Championship sides. They play the sort of football that could give us something to be really positive about.

    Under Parky, soon as we stop winning games, just one or two poor results, there's a feeling that it's all about to go wrong and huge pressure to win the next game and ideally play well. You can feel it at home games, the nervous atmosphere, the negativity soon as the first mistake is made. Parky won't change opinions of several fans until we win promotion, and for some until we're as a minimum comfortably in mid table in the Championship. Anything less and there will always be a negative feeling with him in charge unfortunately.

    Not sure how much of this is relevant to what AFKA was asking, but it's what I've been thinking about since the match last night.
  • In AFKA's case it sounds like a bit of burn out thrown together with not yet adjusting to his new relationship with Charlton.

    You met, you fell in love, you peaked and now there are some rough times and Charlton's not looking so hot anymore. Neither are you mate (!) but it no longer has to be about hot Premier League action. If you are fairly secure and can afford to go out and have a laugh and a drink with your mates then it ain't so bad.

    Get some rest, don't tie Charlton's fortunes in with your own so much and count your blessings mate.
  • I admire those few without a breaking point.
    But i do feel more and more fans are reaching the breaking point.
    When i found myself standing there losing 0-4 to the mighty Bhafc for the first time in a while i had to question how much more i could hack.
    For me, its not the results, the relegations, the stick from scummer no mark fans.
    Its the peformances. I would admit i don't like Parky and despite that i will stick by him and the team but its the way we sometimes don't attack teams, and just absorb pressure that gets my back up.
  • Not on your own AFKA.

    I agree entirely. I have had a season ticket for 24 years since I was a Junior Red. But I too can see a day fast approaching where I just say "enough" and maybe (at best) just buy the odd ticket here and there.

    I did this a few years ago with England. I used to go to a lot of England games and watch every one live on TV (glued to the TV set). Slowly the passion and pride was driven out of the England football team and I got tired of watching the same old uninspiring crap game after game / competition after competition. I don't even watch the highlights of England anymore and I don't miss it at all actually to my surprise.

    As you say, it's not about winning with Charlton (or England for that matter) and it never was really.

    But it is getting boring going to The Valley nowadays, there's no spirit about our club anymore (from top to bottom).
  • Mmm Good Question this, many people refused to go to Selhurst so Ground Sharing could be argued was a breaking point for many of our fans, imagine if we had to move to Millwall to survive?

    I don't think I have one as such where i would not go anymore, but the humiliation I experience after each defeat at this level with some of my non Charlton supporting friends is tough to take each time, but you get over it. I must admit though Brentford away (League) this season I decided to leave before the final whistle as I had had enough after 60 minutes of watching that, I have never really done that in my best part of 30 years of watching CAFC. Was still back the following week. The only way they will get rid of me is if they Ban me.
  • edited December 2010
    There are a set of different breaking points, I think. AFKA has reached first base, by the sound of it. But there are a few more to go yet.

    Personally I'm a bit further down the track , at second or even third base. I'll never stop supporting them, which is when you reach last base. But I don't have a season ticket any more. That's partly because I like going with my two adult sons and they can't go every week. But it's just as much because the enjoyment levels have declined dramamtically when we do go and I don't want the kind of obligation to attend that goes with a S/T any more.

    Will be there with my sons on Boxing Day. But until a couple of years ago, we would probably have been going to Brighton and Colchester as well over the holiday period. Now one out of three games seems quite enough.

    Will my attitude change? Not sure. Even if we go storming up the divisions under new owners and a new manager, habits tend to form and I'm probably now set in a pattern of attending 12-14 matches a season and being quite satisfied by that.
  • I only go anymore to see the one true love in my life, Ketman!
  • Great post-loads of sense in there and it really echoes a lot of my thoughts over the last few seasons. I generally don't enjoy going to Charlton any more because of what goes on both on the pitch and off it. The only time I get really excited is if the game manages to bring it out of me a la Leeds and Swindon at home last year and, as you pointed out, the wins don't seem as great and the defeats seem easier to take. As for some of our fans, I think I'm getting old, but we just lack that bit of class that I remember us having-for all the press talk about us getting on Curbs back, I don't remember any great negativity towards him compared with what Parky has had to put up with. And some of the songs we come out with-singing "your support is f*cking shIt" to Orient or Hartlepool fans is pathetic and the incest song does my head in. I won't even start on this stupid penchant for throwing things that seems to have developed-that's going to get the club into trouble soon, you mark my words..................

    I'm not sure your bad mood is anything to do with the kids, I've got two small children myself and I know that, if the team was flying and the Valley was a happier place, I'd be just as in to it as I was when I was 21. As it is, even though I'm not enjoying it much, I'm still going to as many games as I can.

    Regarding a breaking point, I'm not sure I have one-going to Charlton is a good chance to meet up with pals (which I don't get the chance to do that often any more) and if I was going to break, I think I would have done by now. Also, as I said to my mate last night, we've now had four years of despair, surely there's some good times around the corner. Surely.
  • I first went to Charlton in 1959 inside my Mothers womb.
    I got married at Charlton.
    I shall be Charlton till I die no matter what happens and I will not be swayed by the weak talk of others.
    Now is not the time for timidity, we need to be strong and face our fate like men and stand firm in the face of our misfortune.
    What are you going to tell your children,that we went through a bad patch so I just gave up supporting Charlton.
    Snap out of it.
  • Supporting Charlton is a Life Sentence :-)
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  • [cite]Posted By: Rodex[/cite]I first went to Charlton in 1959 inside my Mothers womb.
    I got married at Charlton.
    I shall be Charlton till I die no matter what happens and I will not be swayed by the weak talk of others.
    Now is not the time for timidity, we need to be strong and face our fate like men and stand firm in the face of our misfortune.
    What are you going to tell your children,that we went through a bad patch so I just gave up supporting Charlton.
    Snap out of it.

    Good luck to you...................................................................................................................................crazy person ;-)
  • For me its the other way around. I spent some great times with my son and my youngest daughter trawling round the country on Syd's and Betty's coaches to the likes of Peterbro, Sunderland, Barnsley and Grimsby. When they finally found their own lives to lead, which was around the premiership days I started to lose interest, strangely I have seen Charlton play at 72 grounds and only 3 in the premiership, sure I still went but it became a chore the fun had gone from it.
    We had achieved what we for years had strived to achieved.
    The days where I could take two children on the coach to Grimsby for the same price I could put my ar5e on a seat at Stamford bridge were gone, the team of Bolder, Nelson, Brown and Robinson were replaced by the likes of Romadahl.
    Charlton in my eyes, were always a team of one hundred percenters they would compete by running their nuts of for that Red Shirt. That disappeared and was replaced by more skillful, but less appealing players that from where I sat were appearing quite happy to draw the pay for little or no return.
    So we were eventually relegated, was I pleased? not really. I thought it would be difficult to survive without the cash available from sky in the top division, I wasnt too unhappy when dowie and pardew and then Les Reed were given the managers job.
    I trusted in Mr Murray, I still do.
    Sure he's made mistakes but from where I'm standing we are still in his debt, he amongst others turned this ragged arsed football club into one of the premierships greatest stories bar none.
    So we returned to divison 3 with a fantastic stadium and visiting teams turn up thinking I'm playing against the big boys today, unfortunately Charlton has a team of players who think they have arrived at the premiership club Charlton Athletic, Sorry lads this is Charlton Athletic of division 3 you have earn the right to wear that shirt and you can bet you life you will never get booed of that pitch if your seen to be trying and giving 100%.
    I think I'll still go no matter what, a few beers with Dave Storry, a few fashion tips from Plaaayer it dulls the senses a bit before you go in.

    What was the question again?
  • I think a lot of things such as marriage, kids, career can change the way you follow a club, it certainly has for me.

    I always said in the glory days that even if we are in the Conference I would still follow the side home and away and we are half way towards that target and I can gladly say that is still the case.

    I cant ever see a reason where I wouldnt have a season ticket because it is a big part of my life and a reason to see family and friends and hopefully have a shared passion with my kids when they are older.

    However do I enjoy it as much now as I used to, absolutely not.

    At the moment I feel like an Inbetweener when I go to Charlton. Last night you had gobbie kids singing unoriginal songs about incest, 10 german bombers, VFR at break neck speed and bouncing - basically copying Rangers, England etc, nothing original or funny, toilet roll on the pitch, Your Shit aaaah after a goalkick, fook me this stuff was done 20 years ago.

    Then you have the oldies (not all of them) who demand Premiership level football, whinge at Parky at every opportunity, one idiot even gave him a load of abuse after the third penalty miss (like he can change a penalty) and generally want to moan.

    I did terrace and seats last night to get the different perspective.

    If I go to football, I want to have a beer, stand at away games, sing Charlton songs but still act with a bit of respect. If there are kids and women around me Im not going to call the ref a c***. There doesnt seem to be any class with the younguns and I dont feel I am at the old git stage where I sit in my seat with my packed lunch.

    I bet there a quite a lot of people in my position but I dont feel there are that many of them when I go to Charlton these days.
  • A heartfelt post indeed AFKA, one in which I'm sure many readers will associate with their own feelings to a stronger or lesser amount. I have been following this blessed club of ours since I was 5 years old (1961 if anyone is interested), although obviously I cant remember much from way back then. However it became my 'lifeblood' in the late 60's and I even worked for the club selling 'lottery style tickets' - and it gave me free entry to the home matches - for a few seasons in the mid 70's. I went to every home game and as many away games as I could until I moved away from the area in the late 80's.

    In all these years following this club it has been a roller coaster ride and we have been through some tough times as supporters, but we have to remember the good times as well.

    Sadly I am unable to get to any games currently and I have to follow the club via internet for the 'streamed' matches and this forum to keep up to date with goings on at the Valley.

    I to have been shocked to see/hear/read the standard of football being served up of late, even when on the recent 11 game unbeaten run we only had a few games where we were served up an entertaining match - Swindon and Peterborough stand out - and that is just not good enough, no matter what Division we are in. Then add to this the 'nastiness' that some of our own supporters show to Parkinson (chanting at him that he's a cxxt), other addick supporters (throwing coins that seriously hurt people), and unbelievably lobbing beer cans at our own players, it is not suprising that people are beginning to despair and lose thier 'love' of the club.
    However AKFA, we have had worse periods, as Pete from Cornwall says, when we had no ground and our very existence was in serious doubt, but we as a club overcame the worst and ended up back at the Valley and in the Premiership (how many thought that would happen when we were handed that infamous letter saying we were leaving our beloved home and moving off to groundshare), and this is what we need and must hold onto.

    Charlton WILL come back, the ground WILL be full again and supporters WILL be that - supporters of the club, manager, players and each other. I dont know when it will happen, soon I hope, but it will happen. The new owners (if all goes well with due diligence that is) may be able to make it happen quicker, maybe not, but I'm convinced that this special club - that has been through so much - still has people like you and many on this forum (and others that are not) that wont let Charlton Athletic become a 'souless', mediocre, non-entity football club that is full of plastic good time charlie supporters.
    We are at another low point, but I firmly believe this is just part of being an addicks supporter, that's what makes us somewhat different to many other clubs.
    Keep the faith AFKA!
  • sounds like someone needs a cuddle to me!?
  • I can,t disagree with what has been said. It really has become a labour of love. Pete mentioned it must have been like this in the eighties, but with the internet communications are so much greater and the despondency is all pervading in our lives.
  • As someone who is of the younger generarion (21), I have until 2006 only known good times. however for me Charlton is a life sentence. Maybe this will change if/when I get married/have kids etc but I still have the same enthusiam I had 12 years ago and still love going. In the last year, I have began to go to more away games and to be honest I sometimes prefer them to The Valley but, to me The Valley is still a very special place to watch football. Our fans are far from perfect (I include myself in this, at times I cringe at what I have shouted/said at games) but I honestly believe, the core remain some of the best around.

    In answer to the question where is your breaking point? honestly don't know- there were times last season and this where I have joined the school of thought that I am sick of poor players. poor standard of football, empty stadiums and an average manager. Sick of players using the fans as an excuse when they need to have a look at themselves.

    Yet it is the hope, not the expectation, that keeps us going. The hope that we could get back to The Championship at least, which is probably our natural level and judging by a few tv games I have seen, a very decent and entertaining level. The dream would be 2004 January. 4th in the Prem with one of the countries brightest and best midfielders still here, some honest hardworking pro's who in their own right are charlton legends (Powell, Deano etc) as well as some exceptionally talented and gifted inidividuals (Paulo, Jensen).

    It may be a long way away, but I cannot imagine life without Charlton almost every week. I remain proud to say Charlton when people ask who my team is. I love the look on some peoples faces when I say I am going to Carlisle/Tranmere/Exeter this weekend for Charlton. Charlton is my passion and I would like to think my breaking point is a long long way away- even further than the Prem dream.

    Even though I despise Danny Dyer, to quote him in the Football Factory- what else are you gonna do on a Sat!
  • Some interesting views here. Couple of points:

    Enjoyment: we do all surely go along in the hopes of enjoying the game? If not, there must be some aspect of the experience that you enjoy, otherwise I would suggest you are wasting your money - you'd be better off spending it on a rock gig, or classical concert, whatever floats your boat. The problem is that so many people involved (fans, manager, players, etc) talk about "getting out of League 1" - this whole season seems to be like one long chore that has to be completed.

    We're not alone in that attitude to football - the top Premiership managers seem to think each game is a piece of work that needs to be completed on the way to some distant goal (the "holy grail" of qualification for Europe probably). What do these people think their fans are paying for each week? The arrogance of some of those managers is breathtaking - lower clubs are to be swept aside, in fact it's just a bit of a nuisance to have to turn up and play them at all really. All games should matter, they shouldn't all just be a chore (sorry - can't think of a better word) on the way to the promised land.

    Fans: I am starting to hear talk about the behaviour of a certain section of our fans. I'm very worried about this - I had a gap of several years when I didn't go to live football and part of the reason I stopped was down to the behaviour of my fellow fans. I was persuaded to return when my boys were young and I was really glad to see that the Valley was somewhere I could take my boys without fear. I really do hope that we are not returning to those dark days.
  • Twins! Ouch and congratulations AFKA. The workload must be staggering and I dare say the sleep deprivation doesn't help your mood re: Charlton.

    I grew up seeing Charlton in the Third Division and wondered, indeed doubted, whether I would ever see them play in the top flight. But I loved every minute of those Hales & Flanagan days.

    The Premier League years were amazing but not as much fun. You can't help but wish to go back though. We could be proud of our team. Whereas we were back in the day, we didn't have the background of Premier League success we do now to compare it to. We have fallen from a great height. The distance we have come in a short period is obvious and painful.

    I think a lot of the current malaise, which must be one shared by a lot of us, has a number of causes (apart from Dowie, Pardew etc). The high turnover of players affects the character of a club. You don't get to love players so much. They don't get to establish a rapport with fans over 200+ games.

    But also we've lost the rose-tinted glasses of our youth. Maybe the hairs on your neck don't go up when you walk up the Valley steps like they used to, when you've been doing it decades. I used to love some of our s***est players, now I can't tolerate uselessness.

    Admittedly in the 70s Charlton were an attacking, attractive side. If I was 11 now I'd probably be mesmerised by Lee Martin, without realising that his silky skills are getting us and him nowhere. We've had spells (early last season and a few weeks ago) where we've played good stuff too but we've had too much clueless football in the last 4 and half years not to be utterly depressed when it reappears. I share your pain, AFKA, but a good run of results changes everyone's perspective. These are dark days, but I believe Parky and Minty are fighting to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Its not us Veterans I worry about so much, but our kids - these live games are an opportunity (lost in most cases) to get some kids hooked, but my daughter (of 10 years old) last night was so disgusted with the display, she has vowed not to support them anymore.

    I couldn't really muster an explanation at the time of why watching that shower, shame and embarass us was a positive thing..
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