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From the age of 8 to my mid 30’s I scarcely missed a Charlton home game and went to hundreds of aways. Other than maybe a late consolation in a stuffing, and there were a fair few of those, the feeling of a Charlton goal would without fail every time drive me to the edge of frenzy.

My brother had a phrase for it. Bro, he would say, when we scored I just didn’t know what to do. I could not celebrate enough. It’s a beautiful thing and something all true fans of football clubs can relate to. My euphoria of a Charlton goal felt no different to me as an 8-year old as it did to me as 35-year old.

14 years ago I moved abroad. My life changed forever in many more ways than one. Not being a regular at The Valley was and is still hard to fathom. I do get back to see a fair amount of games (not this season though), but for all of those years whenever Charlton are playing I am glued to the commentary, updates or at the very least the score. Unless for example I am on a plane, but then I am just distracted for 90 minutes wondering what the hell is going on with my team playing somewhere else in the universe.

It is not, by any measure, the same as being there. But when we score that feeing is the same. I have been caught running around the room, around the shops, down the street, around friend’s houses. Or pumping my fist like a demented loon at my desk, a school play or in the car. You cannot beat that feeling of elation. You cannot.

However, on Saturday I was still following the game, by phone driving along Alligator Alley in Florida. Yet when Lee Novak scored late, I felt unmoved, I felt nothing.

42 years of being apart of something so so important to me, and there I was feeling empty. No sense of elation, no short scream of “yes,” no fist pumping, no smile. Nothing.

I am confident that one day we will rid ourselves of Roland Duchâtelet and Katrien Meire, who are trying to murder the community football club as I know it. Their legacy is the thousand of empty rows and blocks of Valley seats, and those of us sat at home who are starting to care less about something that used to mean almost everything.

They don’t want me or you as supporters. They want a Charlton fan, a football fan, that hasn’t ever existed. They want some apathetic, passionless sports follower, who has no emotional attachment. Just a game, just a result. Nothing.

28 Comments Post a comment
  1. DarrzzettBum #

    Great post CA, totally empathise, I feel very, very similar, was going to Swindon in a couple of weeks and catching up with a Swindon Town mate of mine, but just cant be arsed, shan’t even watch it on TV. Belgian ****s are ruining our club and dividing the fan base.

    October 31, 2016
  2. Neil #

    Brilliant post. I have been watching charlton with my dad for 46 years. He has been going for 76 years. We were at the game on Saturday and I had the same empty feeling when we scored. They have torn the heart out of our club. The lack of atmosphere was like I have never known. Plus there could only have been 6,000 people there. It is terribly sad and makes me very angry.

    October 31, 2016
  3. steve1957 #

    Spot on CA. I feel the same. I didn’t follow the game on Saturday and just saw the result come in. Unmoved.

    I am going on Saturday to the cup game, unless something more exciting comes up, and I’m actually doing it with a bit of reluctance, however being a cup game my ticket won’t exactly make the club much money. I’ll buy the ticket but that’s it. No programme, nothing from the shop, no jackpot tickets, no food or drink inside the ground.

    I want to see first hand how this regime has ruined the club I used to consider a major part of my life and I really don’t know how I’ll react if we score or whether I’ll feel any disappointment if we get knocked out. I think I’ll be a part of a very small crowd.

    I hope that you and I will have a beer outside the ground in better circumstances again in the not too distant future.


    October 31, 2016
    • So do I Steve. I can see the crowd being less than 5,000 Saturday. Real shame because our trips (those that live abroad) to The Valley are precious. No one can predict the result or the performance, and I long realised that but you could always predict a fun and atmospheric day out. Not anymore.

      October 31, 2016
  4. a2c #

    Shockin exenophobic post as ever from the likes of yourn n in the replies n all. Iss yourn who are killin off the club n givin the decent fans a bad name with your abuse n foul insults at our excellent CEO. Instead of yourn carpin cricism of the owners, why not forget to get behind them for a change, oh I forgot there foreign. Ere yourn are now rahndin on our gaffer Russell n e’s English instead of givin im a chance n support as our new gaffer. Sooner yourn are all gawn the better.

    October 31, 2016
    • Dave #

      Is that you Katrien?

      October 31, 2016
      • c2a #

        a2c to replace Katrien as CEO!

        October 31, 2016
  5. I was at the game Saturday,I parked the other side of Charlton Park,I was going to miss the KO but I didn’t rush,I didn’t buy a program I didn’t rush to my seat,in truth I had the choice of of
    hundreds,the crowd was quiet I almost enquired who the next batsman was,the football seemed half hearted,I felt a sense of admiration for the few hundred Spirite fans who had made the trip,once again the opposition for most of the first half resembled the 1970 Brazilians,quite fitting in a week when the Great Carlos Alberto passed away,Ched Evans was playing for Chesterfield and even he only managed to muster a few half hearted boos the first half was as bad as it gets,buy polite applause was heard at half time,Millwalls midday win only attracted a few boos.The second half was better,and yes a goal disturbed the slumber,even the guys in the village chip shop don’t bother to wear the shirt anymore,no more chippy Charlton specials.I got home to Essex in time to watch ! Strictly come dancing ! it was really exciting as was the NFL game at Wembley,and Poldark, but the valley not so.

    October 31, 2016
  6. Mark #

    I thought that I was alone in feeling the loss that CA & others have described…. but I’m not alone, there are 1000s of kindred spirits out there (& the idiot that is a2c also remains…).

    The Belgian idiots have destroyed OUR club – the danger is that when they eventually leave how many of us will get the urge back to return to the Valley….? As every game that I miss passes that urge seems to diminish……
    Target 20,000??? It’s looking more like target 10,000 from where I sit and the ‘official attendance’ figure looks like yet another big regime lie from the empty stadium I see on the TV highlights.

    Meire/ Duchatelet GO NOW … why are you still here??? Oh, yea, I forgot – you still think that by running the club down you can make a future by building on the Valley…. my money is that’s another thing you’ve got wrong.

    October 31, 2016
  7. Hungry Ted #

    Very tough reading, CA, but ultimately it’s a piece I could have wrote myself. I’m truly shocked at how little I care anymore. I’ve tried to convince myself it will pass but I know it won’t whilst these lot are in charge. Seeing Novak’s goal meant nothing to me on Sat. I could barely be bothered to get up and clap it.

    RD & KM have destroyed the very essence of the club and the reason I fell in love with it. This is not Charlton anymore…not even close.

    My issue is whether a full boycott would work. I honestly don’t think KM in particular cares one bit that gates are falling fast. In fact, I think she’d happily ride the storm until all of us ‘trouble makers’ get bored and go away, then she’ll be left with the emotionless and compliant fan base she craves.

    There is no light at the end of the tunnel here.

    All so, so sad.

    October 31, 2016
  8. Alano #

    Yes very sad. I have supported Charlton since 1954 approx but have lived in the states since 1977. Up to leaving I would be there every home game along with 6-10 away games a season.I follow everyday, every blog, every piece of news although I have not seen a game since about 1988. Still they are my team as I checkin on the internet 5-6x a day even though since dropping from the Premier and don’t get to see any games anymore.

    But like manymy enthusiasm has continued to drain. Very sad to see the crowd photos and how sparse the crowds are. This season it has just become ho hum. I think that is as much how underperforming the team is again. I thought we had bought some reasonable players for this season(although 2-3 less than needed) but there is just no excitement in the team or around the club. Even on Saturday, beating a bottom team by one late goal just doesn’t do it. It’s almost like a terminal illness. There seems like no way back certainly with these owners. Very very sad

    October 31, 2016
  9. Couldn’t agree more. As hard and confusing as it seems I really cannot bring myself to care about Charlton as it is. I’ve not been this season and guilt for giving up has turned into resignation. It’s simply not Charlton anymore. Who could have known way back when Dowie was appointed what chain of events that ego driven decision would begin.

    As for xenophobia? I don’t actually care what country or continent our owners are from, as long as they respect the history and the Charlton Way. This has nothing to do with nationalities but everything to do with someone knocking down a house that was built over 100 years ago.

    October 31, 2016
    • Well said Steve. Over our history even back to the days of Firmani and Hewie non-British nationals have been key to the development of the club. I don’t care where Duchatelet comes from, it could be Woolwich, but if he is intent on dismantling our club, then it needs to be stopped.

      October 31, 2016
  10. Cliff #

    Always believed that Meire is a2c, nobody else could be that stupid. Supported the team since 1954, still a season ticket holder, but only just. I know I’d have renewed enthusiasm with new owners.

    October 31, 2016
  11. PhilM #

    I use to joke that whereas you can love or loved more than one women as a true football supporter you can never love another team, even flirt with one. I still love Charlton after 45 years and will always love them but the hurt I have felt since the new regime out weighs all the pain women have given me over my life. I don’t even enjoy any other football now as i feel jealous and angry at others success. It is the killing of a felling of being special and different supporting Charlton that made me feel pride that has gone and makes me so so sad. I know its not rational or logical and only true football supporters will understand the pain. Thats why the regime don’t get it and make massive mistakes.
    On the football side, I have never ever booed the players or manager and think this is only ever damaging. I was embarrassed at the Gillingham game with the personal abuse of players and manager which was unhelpful. If Charlton are ever going to become more than just a business adventure supporters must concentrate on helping the team/players over the game. It will better and easier if we are still in League One than Two when we hopefully have new owners.
    The players etc are the civilians in our war and we need them to play without fear which will come from support and not abuse. When Pardew was manager we were playing really well against Bristol City and the atmosphere great. They scored on half time and the crowd booed at half time. Typical of us we never got behind them in the second half and booed more with the players looking like a totally different team. They did not suddenly become worse footballers, we lost. Sorry for the rant

    October 31, 2016
  12. Excellent post CA. The subsequent responses ( bar one notable exception ) make one realise that one isn’t alone in feeling this way. The total absence of a tunnel jump in the last two home league wins tells you the players are starting to feel the same way. Very telling and very sad.

    October 31, 2016

    Ditto all the above CA. Son and I did go mad at the goal; we have to as its in our blood. but aside from that its very empty at the Valley in so many ways.

    Pembury Addick

    October 31, 2016
  14. Jh #

    Sorry to see all these negative sentiments.
    Am keeping the faith and hoping for a better outcome in the future.
    Me and my Dad (sadly no longer with us) have supported this team for many years.
    Really dismayed that so many long term genuine Charlton fans are turning their backs on the club.
    The team needs your support now more than ever.
    There have been much worse sitations in my memory – difference now being that the internet allows much more scrutiny than ever before. Try not to be influenced by this social media induced fog of moaning negativity –
    Things aren’t anything like as bad as some people are making the out to be!!
    Be positive!!

    October 31, 2016
    • Jh – I think we all need to keep the faith, not much more to it. I just hope that when fortunes change we can rekindle that support that are leaving by the droves.

      There were other bad times and I agree minutes from having no club at all and being given a slip of paper with a map to Selhurst on were worse. But we have to look to the future and I think it’s bleak. Bleaker than the days after we were saved and when Lennie took us to Selhurst. Then there were still characters around the club that cared, and had the right motives. On the pitch recently we sat in our lowest ever league position in almost 100 years. Hard to be positive Jh, but I admire it in you.

      November 1, 2016
  15. Sam lloyd #

    It’s amazing how we all felt the same on Saturday, I thought it was just me. The life has been sucked out of our once great football club, to look around a quarter-filled stadium (I’m being generous there) was so depressing. I refuse to go along with the flow of whatever RD/KM deems correct for CAFC (both on & off the pitch) it’s simply unacceptable & when a Charlton win leaves me feeling numb then I know they have finally sucked the life & passion I used to have for Charlton out of me too & that’s some achievement.

    November 1, 2016
  16. Dave Lockwood #

    Spot on! That’s exactly how I feel about Charlton and the team. I sat there watching us beat Coventry and couldn’t get excited when we scored. It all felt so distant. It hurts so much to think how it was, when I had such a connection with the club to how I feel about it all now. They have driven so many away and I fear for the future if Roland fails to sell his plaything.
    I’m sure that Sue Parkes and her clan will accuse me of not being a real supporter, hey whatever floats your boat Sue, but I just cannot connect to this team, the manager and the people who are blatently killing something that was so dear to me.

    I’ll continue fighting, but I’m not sure that I will ever get that special connection back. The thing that made Charlton so different. The thing that made us unique.

    November 1, 2016
    • See, this absolutely kills me Dave. When people like you that have dedicated so much of your own time to the club for decades start to feel detached and disconnected, then there is something seriously, seriously wrong.

      RD & KM’s legacy right there.

      November 1, 2016
  17. RD and KM have made very big mistakes – no one can say they haven’t. However, in my view the protesting has also unquestionably had a significant contributiion on the poor attendances and atmosphere that is killing Charlton Athletic. The difference is that RD and KM are obviously trying to do something about putting it right whilst CARD and the rest of the protesters continue to take actions that are only damaging Charlton Athletic. Since the beginning on 2016 there has been admissions from RD and KM on their part of making mistakes and promises to put it right. No one can say that in the summer they have made efforts and listening to the criticisms. I am sure if CARD met with them, KM would have said what more could they have done – installing an English manager and bringing in a new crop of players. And they have a good point. I still can’t get my head around why the protests are just concentrating on RD and KM going and nothing else matters? I simply cannot believe it when Charlton fans are saying they are so uncaring about the games etc.. However, I empathise completely with regards to the atmosphere which we can all play a part in. JH comments above – absolutely right in saying we have been worse off than this. We are as financially sound as we have been for many years – and whether you accept it or not – in football these days that is important to survive. The owners have messed up big time – but they are trying to put it right. I actually think RD will sell in time in any case – but just not at the moment. In addition, no one is going to want to buy us – we didn’t have a queue forming when RD took us over. He could just up and leave and sell us to an outfit with nothing like the financial capabilities and we could end up even worse or even out of existence. Just remember it wasn’t that long ago that in the days of Slater & Co. we didn’t have a pot to piss in. So be careful what you wish for. Those people saying “we couldn’t be any worse off” – you are wrong – look at Coventry and Portsmouth. JH has got it right – Charlton fans are being influenced by negative media and should be getting behind the team. If you wait until RD decides to sell – it might well be too late.

    November 1, 2016
  18. You’ve obviously touched a nerve here CA. As you know, I haven’t felt the same sbout us scoring since the middle of last season. The next stage is you are slightly disappointed if we score and not moved if the opponents do because losing might hasten their departure. I’d like to think it will go back to normal under owners with a plan and a modicum of ambition, but thag will be too late for many who have moved on.

    November 1, 2016
    • I know Dave. I have loved Charlton for longer than anything in my life except my family yet I am disappointed when we score. It’s truly f-d up.

      November 1, 2016
  19. LP #

    I just deleted a diatribe against Phil. It made me feel better typing it, but then I just felt sad so I pressed delete – I wish we could do that to RD and KM. Some people are never going to get it and that makes it worse. If we were all in it together we could get our Charlton back a lot quicker. Sorry Phil, I can’t hate a fellow Charlton fan, but I do want to shake you. Please, please read up a bit more – there are some excellent pieces in VOTV – reasoned, and factual – with evidence to back them up. Look on-line – surely you have seen the interviews with that woman? But if you are Ok with what she says (and doesn’t say) its up to you. But it makes me very weary. All this nonsense about being financially secure. Sigh.
    Missing my first ever home FA cup game in 48 years. My pet racoon has hepatitis.

    November 3, 2016

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