02 May 2017

Charlton 3 Swindon 0

Only my second visit to the Valley this season, but both times Charlton have won 3-0. What on earth is everyone moaning about?

Unlike those people who went to grammar school and were regularly thrashed by a sadistic deputy head and it never did them any harm I'm not going to treat my personal experience as anything more than anecdotal. Charlton's season has been awful. The two victories I saw at the Valley were against teams - Coventry and Swindon - who've been relegated. Both of them were poor, with Swindon on Sunday throwing a complete lack of interest into the mix.

With a "top six budget" and promotion the priority, Charlton have just about managed to be top of the bottom half of the third division. And that's not unlucky, it's incompetent (all that money so badly wasted) or dishonest (there never was all that money). Duchatelet's regime has made immaterial and pointless the distinction between incompetence and dishonesty. Such a pile-up of catastrophes can only be proof of the Manichean heresy: some things are simply evil - who can say why? - and must be opposed.

One of the most distressing effects of being a part-time supporter this season is that I hardly know the players any more. With the obvious exception of Ricky Holmes, who is clearly gifted and has what we used to call a proper Charlton attitude, I hardly even recognise most of the players (my pet cataract doesn't help) and have no view (haha) on the merits of players whose role is less obvious.

As always, a joy to watch Chris Solly and Johnnie Jackson, the Captain making his last appearance as just a player. Officially a player/coach from now on, I would hope he'll develop the role that Andy Hughes had: most often on the bench but an inspiring presence there and in training. It was worth attending the game just to join in his ovation. He's navigated skillfully through the troubled waters of the past three years: wisely silent but his presence and actions have made him unassailable. Any new owner (please please please) would be an idiot not to put him at the centre of any reconstruction.

Yeah, reconstruction. Again.