Charlton Athletic V Bristol Rovers 2.1.17. The early keeping of promises

Charlton Athletic V Bristol Rovers 2.1.17

Or alternatively: The early keeping of promises

Well that last report certainly raised a few questions / hackles/ comments / doubts. To recap, I think the following resolutions struck a chord somewhere, somehow and sometime.

Some obviously didn’t apply to this particular game but were constantly referred to throughout the day. They were:-

  • To make my own way to games next season. No more Powell tours for me. I have trips booked up to the end of season and will of course honour my commitment to the team and friends.
  • To spend more time on weekend away trips that coincide with football.

I was able to test my resolve to complete the following:-

  • To not make negative comments that reflect my frustrations with my friends.
  • To not moan
  • To not fret at others who ask my help
  • To offer help willingly and with a smile.

Transport to game.

I arrived at BTM for 8.15. The train left at 9 from platform 15, plenty enough time for first coffee, bacon bap and a recap on New Year celebrations with the early arrivals. The first news was that Peter de Meteor was going by car from his sister’s house in Kent. The team assembled was; in order of arrival, Mumbles (First bus in), myself (Lift from Rose), Tangent Time (Bus and walk), DTHYN Pike (Bus and walk), Ron (Walk), Lord Powell (Walk and train from Yate) and finally Coventry Bob (Walk, Bus then train from Yate).

First to spot that I was still glittered from the New Year celebrations was Bob. He appeared somewhat amused at the thought that stardust had been sprinkled all over this oh so delicate body of mine by Luke at the Bag of Cats and that two days later it was still clinging desperately to any of the many crevices on my skin. It appeared to have been a successful new year, albeit tinged with personal reflections on loved ones lost. On a very personal note it was time to let others know that my brother Alan joined that particularly unwanted list of 2016 on Wednesday morning.

Along the way we did talk about the choice of first pub. It was agreed that we should have a quick beer near Victoria (Wetherspoons?) and then aim for a 12 arrival at the village near the ground at a pub called the Black something. “Go out of the station, turn right and at the top of the hill is the street called the village. The pub is near the Bugle on the same side of the road.” First task was underground to Victoria. As a group we decided Bakerloo to Oxford Street and Victoria to Station and go to Wetherspoons in the station. Tangent Tim soon entered his parallel universe and was lost off the tail of the posse. When we arrived at the top of the steps a roll call established the loss of Tim from the party.

Ping. Lightbulb opportunity!

Resolution

  • To offer help willingly and with a smile?

“Don’t worry folks, you go on ahead and get to the pub. I will wait at the top of the stairs for Tim to come through on a later train. I will be happy to do so and look, I have a happy smile.” I would give him ten minutes or so. It was like London Bridge and the Millwall game, in reverse. And just like then, mobiles are useless when one is in the underground. Geoff returned with confirmation that Tim was on his way and I could safely join him in Wetherspoons. (Note, no complaint)

Pre-Match pubs

Wetherspoons Victoria Station (5)

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Where’s Tim

This is a small, modern and somewhat limited version of the chain. Just four beers on offer but the Fullers London Pride was passable (5) Andy Gray and his lad were in touch and joined us on the balcony as we waited for Tim. He confirmed, by a second call to Geoff, that he had indeed arrived at the station and was in Wetherspoons, That was the other one of course, the one outside the station. With ten minutes to spare he arrived and all was well with the world. He had taken the long way via the circle line. Surprised? Not really.

Victoria Line to Charlton.

The train was very easy and quite interesting as urban rail routes go. A winding route via Lewisham ended with confirmation, “Go out of the station, turn right, go up the hill and the pub is in a road called the village. The black something is the name.”

You can see this one coming, can’t you?

The crowd followed Geoff, he knew where he was going and had the map. I am always slower nowadays as my dodgy legs had to negotiate steps from the platform and to the right hand exit. The group were well ahead of me, heading left out of the station and downhill towards the river. I shouted along the road but no, they were not listening. I went right, they went left. What more could I do?

White Swan Charlton 8

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The Black something?

What a great find this pub was. It has new owners with real ale pedigree and will surely soon be in all the guides. When I arrived, our friend Scargill had arrived (By Bus) and was debating how big a table to find for the assorted travellers due immediately behind me. We settled to the table he had already claimed and I told him that they may be a while. We all know we measure time in pints and the following photo of the team arriving shows they were half a pint of Saltaire Cascadian Black (8) later to arrive. They hadn’t quite reached the river when they realised the error of their ways.

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Half a pint later Mumbles leads the way in.

Resolution No 2 was in now in effect.

  • To not make negative comments that reflect my frustrations with my friends.

I smiled a very broad, some might say smug, grin, as they arrived. I was not frustrated with my friends, merely pleased at their arrival at this fine pub. Yeh right applies here.

And No. 3

  • To not fret at others who ask my help

I recommended the same beer to the others as it was truly excellent.

Within 20 minutes the pub was very full. Charlton fans with curious black and white scarfs? They were a bit put out by our cornering of their table but friendly enough as we reassured Martin that the route to the ground was back down the way we came. He and Geoff were soon lost as they left to tick off the Doom Bar offering in the Bugle along the road. We settled for an even better 1648 Winter Solstice (9) and a 2.15 departure to the ground. The news of the team had arrived via twitter. The urge to stay in the pub was very tempting but we had come this far so should complete the mission.

The Game

Charlton Athletic 4 Bristol Rovers 1 Attendance 12, 252 (1571 Gas)

Will Puddy 6, Daniel Leadbitter 6, Peter Hartley 5, Tom Lockyer 5, Lee Brown 5, Stuart Sinclair 4, Liam Lawrence 5, Lee Mansell 5, Byron Moore 5, Jermaine Easter 6 Rory Gaffney 4

Subs James Clarke 5, Matty Taylor 6  Ellis Harrison 5 .

Six changes? Pick you oldest players who haven’t had a full game for months if not the whole season? Totally change the best midfield you had from the previous game? I can only think that the boss must have said several weeks ago that they would all get a game before the January window. He couldn’t risk it at home but maybe no one would notice when we play away at Charlton.  Well 1571 Gasheads did notice with disbelief as he fielded a decent Checkatrade team against a club that had thrashed us 5-1 at home barely a month or so ago.

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Why are they all gazing beyond me with a look of amazement?

The team is up on the large screen. Collective disbelief sweeps over the 10 to 3 crowd.

For the first half hour or so it looked OK. We had plenty of the ball, Moore was getting a lot of it and looked fine in a sort of narrow winger sort of way. We even had a lead thanks to some schoolboy defending from the Charlton chaps. I commented to Geoff that the Charlton fans would be mightily unhappy with the way they were playing. Then the tired legs started to kick in. Free kicks around the box came thick and fast and eventually came tired  lungs and minds. Lockyer lost his man for the first, Mansell the second, Sinclair the third and the whole defence for the fourth. It was not good but it was obvious to see the team just didn’t have the usual “run until the end” qualities of a normal Rovers XI.

They team left to applause, more out of sympathy from me because I think it will be the last game for some of the team that played in this one.

Entertainment Value 2

Man of the Match: Jermaine Easter

The systems are well organised at Charlton. A quick train back to Victoria. I told the folks I was going on to Paddington. The chaps went to the Argyll Arms near Oxford Circus for their near £5 pint.

Oddly the Mad Bishop and Bear was closed so I joined Tangent Tim in the concourse. We heard the boys long before we saw them arrive to the other station bar. The train home was very quiet. No singing nor Mickey taking. At the end we departed with these words ringing in my ear from Ron. In desperation he was somewhat pleading for the “return of the Grumpy Stedders”. I had read my programme in peace and quiet and completed resolution 4. I didn’t even resort to any fingers in the ear or Max to lighten the load.

  • To not moan (Tick)

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Pub of the Day: White Swan (12)

Beer of the Day: 1648 Winter Solstice

Next Up

Fleetwood Town Away Saturday 14th January

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