Charlton Athletic 0 AFC Bournemouth 3
The great thing about being a Charlton Athletic fan is that expectations are always low. A 3,440 mile overnight flight with little sleep, quick shower, a hire car and a race from Gatwick to pick up my son and then my mate before getting to The Valley, all to watch us be two down by half past twelve!
It was always going to be a strange day. Another team and their fans celebrating on your own ground is hard to find enjoyable, even if it was a team as deserving as they are, but I at least hoped we might give it a go.
Charlton had already set out their game plan before Matt Ritchie scored. There actually wasn’t a game plan and almost comically we didn’t have ‘to see’ about a 19-0 home win! Mind you if the Cherries were chasing a big win, I would have feared for our record defeat.
Ritchie’s goal was a peach, Harry Arter’s was not. A parting gift from Yoni Buyens and Arter found it hard to hide is bitterness. Yoni looked less bothered.
The beginning of the 2nd half was marginally better, but only until Bournemouth moved back up a gear. By then Luzon’s team resembled a ramshackle Sunday morning park side with Vetokele, Watt and Bulot all off injured, Solly in midfield, Eagles and Johnson pretty much waving away any chance of a contract and with Charlton a man down, Churchy up front on his own.
Church was one of the few in a white and red shirt (thank the lord we are changing that next season) who left the field at the end with any ounce of respectability. Henderson too, as well as Gudmundsson, who cut a dejected figure.
There wasn’t much left to do as the game moved into the final minutes but to stand and applaud Yann as he was substituted, and I found myself on my feet again when news came through of the final whistle at Watford.
Bournemouth showed how far we have to go to be challenging at the very top of the table. They were worthy champions and possibly the best team to come out of The Championship for many a year.
The final whistle was a relief and I wasn’t going to hang around to see a half-hearted lap of honour by a group of players and a head coach, nor did I find it necessary to spy on another club’s private party.
Other than that, it was a great day out at the football, ruined only by the football. I’ve used that before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.
Elsewhere in the League: Sheffield Wednesday showed a lot more desire at Watford and grabbed a late equalizer to snatch the title off their hosts and present it to Bournemouth. Derby and Steve McClaren will take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror after their incomprehensible 0-3 home defeat to Reading, which took them out of the play-off places and let Brentford in, who beat Wigan. Finally a horrible season for Blackpool ended farcically after fans invaded the Bloomfield Road pitch and their game against Huddersfield was abandoned.