Overnight Success not for Charlton

It was a great relief that Guy has confirmed in The South London Press that we are not going for overnight success . To be told that we are going to continue to look for ever so slow success or even practically no success at all will certainly have most of us sleeping easier in our beds this summer.

The thought that we might have been planning to take the Championship by storm was really starting to worry a fanbase used to decades of no success, hardly any success or ever so slight success.

I , for one, am much reassured , that we will continue on our path of meagre , small step , and frequently regressive success so that eventually when total success is declared, none of us will have been surprised that we have achieved it.

Charlton the Racehorse Retires


When I was a kid , I used to send my Mum into Mecca bookmakers in Eltham High Street to place bets for me with the money I got from my paper round . She was always a bit embarrassed because it was full of cigarette smoke and leery blokes , but , love her, she always did it. When I grew up and became a cigarette smoking leery young bloke, I used to go in on my own and I vowed if I ever made any money , I would own a racehorse.  Charlton1

Years later , when I sold my business , I bought a racehorse to be trained by Terry Mills at Epsom ( a very lovely man). The first horse I named Athletic Sam after my football team and my son . It ran twice and after winning on its second outing , it broke its leg on the gallops at Epsom. We were distraught and as a consolation , Terry offered me a leg ( 25%) in a horse called Where or When. Well that horse proved to be an absolute world beater , running in the Derby, the Guineas , The Dante and eventually winning the Group 1 QE2 stakes at Ascot. I was unbelievably lucky and the winnings from Where or When funded my hobby for quite a while.

In 2003 , I bought a horse in Ireland and I named him Charlton. As a 2 year old horse- that’s teenage in human terms – he had Dennis Rommedahl like blistering pace and won twice . On one occasion we booked Frankie Dettori to ride at Newmarket  and the only communication I got from him as he got up on the horse were a  cheeky hehehe chuckle and the words Jim Davidson.

Something happened as a 3year old because he became more of a sulky Marcus Bent character . In racing parlance ‘ he began to have his own ideas about the game’ . When they walked around the paddock before a race , he got slower and slower until there was a big queue of horses behind him . In the end , we decided that he had ‘fallen out of love with racing’

In a way though , his real career was only just starting , for some reason which he never felt able to explain to us , Charlton was never happier than when he was teaching the youngsters to race , so for the last 10 years he has been getting up in all weathers , virtually every day , to run full pace up a gallop at Epsom and then the minute one of the younger horses came alongside him he would jack it in. Imagine if  Keith Peacock was given a 20 yards head start and every morning and for the human equivalent of 20 years , he had to run in front of Shaun Newton, Scott Wagstaff or Callum Harriot  until they got to him, then you’ve got the picture.

This is a picture of him after winning at Chepstow in 2004.

Anyway, its happy retirement time now for Charlie in scenes reminiscent of Keithy P’s 70th birthday celebrations on Saturday .

However , the story is not entirely over because I own a leg in one of his last Epsom pupils, Rydan , who runs at Chester in the 2.10pm tomorrow. I am not suggesting anyone risks any of their hard earned because it is his first race of the season , but its on Channel 4 , so if you like horse racing , feel free to shout covered end type encouragement at your TV tomorrow.  He’s quite a small horse , so something like ‘he used to be slight but now hes alright ‘ should do it.

If ( by some miracle)  he wins , I will be the bloke being attended to by the paramedics .


Charlton Lounges

If I was education secretary I would bring in darts as a compulsory subject for all schoolchildren so they can all learn to add up while having fun and injuring each other.

Obtaining a drink or food in the millennium lounge or crossbars is fraught with a whole variety of unusual mathematical outcomes. The bars are manned by a range of customer shy staff who studiously try and avoid customer eye contact. In the unlikely event that contact is made , a request for a pint of lager or worse a multiple order of a number of drinks is enough to put the entire bar staff team into a dizzy frenzy, which can easily take a full 10 minutes while they try and work out where any of the drinks actually reside behind the bar , how to work the till and the most variable factor of all is the cost and how to add up the total and give the right change. Sometimes (I kid you not) they offer to give you more money back than you gave them in the first place.

How to pour a pint without it consisting of 50 % froth is another issue they haven’t covered in staff training. A few weeks ago the girl serving me threw away 2 whole pints before I told her on the 3rd attempt that if she slightly angled the glass , it would be fine.

However all of that was eclipsed the following week when I told another girl that the lager she had just poured me was flat , so she fetched a straw and proceeded to stir my lager vigorously.
One of the particularly pointless exercises is for the bar staff to have to walk the whole length of the bar to get a ice cold glass out of a fridge , so that they can wander back to the Heineken tap to find out that the barrel has run out anyway.Presumably it’s a brilliant marketing wheeze dreamt up by some recent marketing graduate in Heineken but I can tell them that on a freezing cold December day at the valley when I want a pint of lager I don’t need to weld the skin of my hand to the glass .
Post match tea and coffee is variously priced at £1 or £2 or indeed nothing on an entirely random basis and (although games for the last 100 years, have tended to start at 3pm and finish at 5pm)it’s a constant surprise to the bar staff that people arrive in the lounge at around 5pm and want a hot drink. Often, being the 7th or 8th person in the queue means that the one pre prepared flask of tea was virtually exhausted . This necessitated a long trip to the kitchen while we all waited , then the milk ran out and then the cardboard cups.

Perhaps it’s just me but , although some of the catering options around the ground have definitely improved, the millennium and crossbars lounges have generally got worse over the last couple of years.

Finally and this is a more general point , there always seem to be lots of people in suits, employed in some capacity by the club, both male and female who wander through the lounges without ever asking any of the ‘customers’ whether everything is ok.
As a separate point , if I was the CEO at Charlton , I would be far more visible on match days , running from area to area chasing up the fried eggs or generally getting after the staff to do more. Matchday should be the most stressful day for the CEO.

There is no doubt that advancing age brings a greater propensity to moan ( hence the title of this blog) and I’m promising myself that next year I’m going to be a much nicer moaner. However on Saturday as the eggs ran out for brunch in crossbars and getting a cup of tea afterwards was virtually impossible and the guys upstairs on the door were letting everyone in whilst their colleagues on the door downstairs were stopping non season ticket holders from coming in , when I got home and read Ravi Patel’s comments in the programme ‘ when the football has been great , the hospitality has been even better’ – you certainly could have fooled me Ravi.

Poor end to season

Well done Bournemouth , they were the best team in the division and thoroughly deserved both the title and to give us a sound tonking . It was 3-0 but could easily have been 7 or 8. We were pretty hopeless all over the pitch.
I know it’s the end of season and doesn’t matter , but it’s so frustrating watching us send long high balls up to 2 strikers who don’t do heading. It means that we lose possession and put ourselves under pressure all the time. We have free kicks and corners all of which repeatedly come to nothing because no one can head the ball.
The other thing is what on earth has happened to Igor ?
Early season he was virtually unplayable and now he appears to have acquired the close control skills of izale Macleod.
He’s has gone off the boil in spectacular fashion.
Bournemouth showed what can be done with some astute purchases of largely british experienced players – let’s hope we strengthen up over the summer with some similar purchases and for heavens sake, can at least one of them be someone up front who can head the ball and hold it up .
Enjoy your summer everyone.