Charlton Athletic Preview 10.7.10

I’d love to be one of those super-cool fans who can spend the summer casually skipping through stories of new signings, pick up their season ticket, etc, and yet still resist all temptation to attend pre-season games. If I averaged over five pre-season games a year in my football watching life (and I’m fairly sure that’ll be about right…)  then I should have been to over a hundred by now… and the number of them that have featured any kind of entertainment can be counted on one hand. Of someone who has been involved in an accident involving a blender. Yet I never learn… I’m actually pissing my pants with excitement about tomorrow.  

It being a Friday today I treated myself to catching the train to work. I cant do it every day, it’ll bankrupt me for a start, so I will have to put up with the 24 mile round trip on the bicycle most days, which certainly gives me a new-found appreciation of the legends that are Velo and Blue… that and the fact that my saddle has normally split me to the naval by Thursday evening… So today I had the double treat of (1) not having one of my daily violent road rage exchanges with White Van Man while trying to traverse Copsem Lane, and (2) getting that fleeting glimpse of Kingsmeadow as the train rumbles through Berrylands. It’s still nowhere near as good as the thrill I got from spying the floodlights between Wimbledon and Earlsfield all those years ago, but it’ll do for now… 

 I didn’t make it down to Meet The Manager last night and haven’t had a chance to speak to anyone who was there, although its fair to say Rob produced a fairly comprehensive write-up over on SW19s,,, awww who am I kidding? I never used to turn up for that kind of thing when I lived ten minutes down the road… and bear in mind Mr Dunford is a professional journalist whereas I normally write this guff when I get a break from helping people fix their showers, I think it’s better to leave this kind of thing to him anyway…  

And as if to confirm the current part-time nature of this blog I won’t be going to Sandhurst tonight either. I’m still getting used to living in the middle of where I consider to be ‘the sticks’. I could have got a train from Deepdene station direct, but then I live three miles from Deepdene station and didn’t really fancy the cycle down a dark A25 at 11pm. Not that it wouldn’t be worth the trip, of course. I would recommend getting down to Bottom Meadow if you’re in the area tonight, and checking out the young players as I’m planning on doing later in pre-season (when we announce some more reserve friendlies of course…) . I think its fair to say the boys on trial in the squad tonight will more than likely be in the frame for a spot in the reserves rather than first team… otherwise Terry would have found room for them in one of the two Dons sides talking the field tomorrow – the one that starts the game, or the one that finishes it…  

So far I haven’t discussed our opponents, and it’s not as if we’re playing someone like Woking (with no due respect…). Charlton could, perhaps should, have been back in The Championship for next season. It’s no great loss to us of course, as the eventual playoff winners Millwall visit us next Friday, but to be honest, they’re a Championship club in everything but name… and there are kids of about 14 wandering around who think of Charlton more as a Premier League club fallen on hard times. Not that this is going to be a huge consolation to their supporters of course…  

There has already been a hell of a lot written about our current relationship with Charlton, and especially the two lads who will apparently join us for the season, and while I don’t want to go over the top on the implications, its worth keeping in mind Charlton’s status in the game. This is no ordinary League One side we are collaborating with.  

As for the game, what am I expecting? Well, Charlton have only been back in training for a week, and will themselves be fielding a team laced with trialists looking to impress. It’s a strange time, early pre-season, and for that reason the game certainly isn’t beyond Wimbledon… for what it’s worth. What would be nice to see would be a decent performance, signs of cohesion between the new signings – even if that’s just in terms of team spirit. A diamond or two to emerge from the half-dozen or so trialists would be a bonus, especially if they could fit into the budget in terms of their wage demands…  

And you will notice I haven’t mentioned the team too much, in fact I havent even mentioned most of them, and there was purpose to that. We need to hit the ground running in five weeks time at Southport, in what is a tough division. I would imagine outsiders would see it as slightly surreal in fact… But while certain other teams in our division spend their far Eastern windfalls with two-year ‘promotion-or-bust’ deadlines, we can get on with the job of building a team for the future on a strict budget. Because come next April, if Terry and the team can get this right, there might not be as big a gap between ourselves and those at the top of the table than some people think.  

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