21 August 2012

Charlton 2 Leicester 1

I lived in Leicester for a while between school and university, working for a firm who provided lighting for outdoor events. I would travel the country in a really clapped-out van, installing naff lanterns in marquees, and occasionally feeling the surge of 240 volts through my fingertips.Yes, mes enfants, that's what a gap year used to be like. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my time there. It was, after all, the first flat of my own, and consequently Leicester has always had a special place in my heart. Such a special place that I've never been back.

Even before then, I remember a League Cup (in the days when it was called the League Cup) match in the 70s, when Second Division Charlton (in the days before they were plucky) beat First Division Leicester City (in the days when First Division clubs took the League Cup seriously). I've such a bad memory for fooball that I'm amazed I remember this, but it seemed like a huge victory at the time.

I think I might remember tonight's game, too. It was a terrific game, the total opposite of so many games in League One, where the visiting team had a very simple agenda of not conceding a goal. Leicester were fantastic - quick, clever and adventurous - and the legendary neutral observer would have to say they deserved at least three points. But in the first half they were wayward in their finishing - Ben Hamer didn't have a save to make - and in the second half Charlton relied on a mixture of luck and guts to keep them out.

So the first half ended with Charlton 2-0 up. I may have omitted a few details. You can get a proper match report on the badly-fonted Charlton website. The important thing is that Yann Kermorgant scored. Actually that's less important than BWP's goal, the kind of chance he'd have missed last season by thinking too much. Yann's goal mattered much more to the Leicester fans, who seem to think he has deliberately scuppered their every chance of promotion for the last 500 years. They probably think Kermorgant is an old Nottingham name.

The second half started with two Leicester substitutions, a clear sign that they weren't giving up. And mon dieu they weren't. They racked up the speed of their play even more, and at times the Charlton midfield looked like an Englishman trapped at lunchtime on the central reservation of Madrid's orbital motorway (bewildered, scared and hungry). But luck and guts were enough, and Charlton ended the evening in 3rd position with 4 points from 2 games, easily as good as anyone could have hoped.

And it was good to see Paul Konchesky back at the Valley. He's another former player who has never seemed quite so good since he left (I still agree with Curbishley that he was better as a midfielder). A small section of the crowd booed him. Shame on them! I suspect they're too young to remember what an honest, hard-working player he was, and the big ol' skinhead had a great game.

So my unlikely love affair with Leicester is rekindled - I hope they do well, and think they will. And my love affair with football - I admit I flirted with other sports recently - is back on.

Sadly, I don't think many games will match tonight's for tension and enjoyment, but it looks like this season is going to be enthralling.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report Stickleback, luck and guts win the day. But what do you know about being hungry and scared on Madrid's orbital? Its a wonderful road although better when it was above ground...
Iberian Valley

Brian said...

I was driving from Extremadura to Barajas in a really shitty rented car - a Citroen C2 with the structural strength of a wet cardboard box and the steering of a supermarket trolley - and I foolishly hit the M40 just in time for the lunchtime rush hour. While our own dear M25 would freeze up in such conditions, the M40 just seemed to get faster and furiouser.I was quite scared.

Anonymous said...

An englishman in Extremadura, even stranger - yes, the M40 is a bit fast at times, but you should try the even busier inner M30, which is partly underground now, where if you don't know where you are going is a real nightmare, but amazing fun if you do.
Iberian Valley