It's nearly here. I am approaching 50 but on Friday evening when my head hits the pillow I will briefly run through the plans for Saturday before I slip off into a dream about another memorable Charlton day out, just like I used to as a teenager.
With 7000 travelling Addicks preparing for their big day out, south-west London should be awash with red and white on Saturday. There will be several hundred very relaxed fans arriving by boat to join the several thousand others who have already packed themselves into the pubs around the ground and who are kicking back. There are several pubs between Putney Bridge tube and the ground (The Eight Bells?) but these are often packed, unwelcoming to visiting fans and more likely have Doormen to send us packing.
The better bet is to cross the river to Putney High Street where there is a much bigger selection. The big chain pubs (Slug & Lettuce, Wetherspoons, Walkabout etc) dominate the High Street itself but the side streets have some hidden gems. Remember, this is Fullers and Youngs country and it's only polite to indulge and support local industry. Give yourself 20 minutes to get into the ground itself and you should be fine.
Our team should cherish the occasion and I am sure we will make plenty of noise and remind the Cottagers why we always have and always be a bigger club than them, irrespective of league status (no need beyond that to mock the locals). I hope Chris Powell picks a first choice team to do our club and our support justice. My own view is that we have a squad that has done brilliantly well so far in less than six months to become a cohesive unit and this is the sort of game they need as a test of progress. It's a great opportunity then for them to play together and give us a glimpse of maybe how good they could yet become if their progress as a team continues in 2012 as it did last year.
Arguments aside about league priorities, personally I want to see a strong performance and a result which would, in some small way, begin to atone for the two vital points they cheated us out of at the Valley in 2006 which was a defining moment in our season that lead to relegation. A win would be spectacular but perhaps a rousing draw and a replay at the Valley would be the ideal outcome. We could expect to make £500,000 from that (after costs and paying the FA and Fulham their share) and going out at that stage might avoid a potentially damaging Cup run. Having said that, who am I kidding? We don't do Cup runs, so let's enjoy it and see how far we get. Come on you Reeeddddddds!