08 December 2012

Charlton 2 Brighton 2

When we last played Brighton in the third division, they were like a breath of fresh air with their attractive passing game contrasting delightfully with the defensive clogging most visiting teams served up. They don't stand out so much in the Championship, but it was still a pleasure to watch them today. They also brought a huge and noisy crowd, helping to create a good atmosphere. It was a bit of a love-in really, even on the packed train afterwards (thanks, Southeastern, for making the train especially short to encourage healthy male bonding) only partly caused by a shared dislike of Crystal Palace.

So, how nice that the result probably struck everybody as a fair one. All four goals had a touch of the streaky about them and better chances were missed as the two teams seemed to cancel each other out. There was lots to enjoy but it was all a bit shapeless.

It was one of those days, anyway, when we take a longer view. Twenty years since the return to the Valley was a chance to remember that even in the worst Dowie-Pardew-Parkinson days, the fact the club was still going was something that was far from guaranteed 25 years ago. Thanks again to Southeastern for delivering me to the ground too late today to see the video: fully-grown men were apparently reduced to tears by it, so I would have been an embarassing wreck.

But it was good to see and hear Richard Murray at halftime. I still think he's the most important figure in Charlton's recent history, not just in keeping club going, but the success of Alan Curbishley's management was built on the understanding the two men had. One day they ought to name a stand after him.

 Today's result meant Charlton move into the top half of the table, only four points off the playoff positions, but more importantly eleven points clear of relegation. There's still a long way to go but it's looking good so far.

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