Saturday, 11 January 2014

Poor show at the Valley

My mate was having a cuppa with me in SE7 at 1.30 (dry January) when we got the word that the match was off today. It was his last chance of seeing the Addicks before he returns to Mexico City for another ten months. 

During the week we were reassured after the cancellation of the Oxford cup match that today's league fixture would definitely go ahead. Roland had authorised the hire of a hot air balloon to dry the pitch and it was game on.

I am in Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton Park and Oxleas Woods regularly walking my dog and it has been very heavy of late. Not just the paths which churn with wear but the grass off the beaten track. I was out this morning at 9am in Maryon Wilson Park and whilst there was a heavy due, it was much dryer than of late and the sun was shining. Charlton Park was much dryer too but it's a good bit higher than the Valley and isn't surrounded by four towering stands which inhibit wind and light. I assumed the game would go ahead given the balloon and the hot air, so was very surprised by the late postponement.

Danny Wilson and Chris Powell agreed with the referee that the pitch was unsafe and unplayable with the ball sticking when dropped in the centre of the pitch. That suggests Charlton were at fault for not having arranged an earlier pitch inspection and for the false bravado that the match was going ahead. There is a lengthening thread on Charlton Life about who is responsible from Paddy Powell to Tony Jiminez and everyone in between. It's a matter of fact that we have failed to invest adequately in the maintenance of the pitch in recent seasons and that the main drain under the Valley is broken. So Jiminez and Co can take the rap for that although they won't be losing any sleep over it now. Steve Bradshaw is the COO so he carries the (watering) can in my opinion.

The bigger worry is that the ground appears to be close-to-water-logged in spite of a cover and relatively moderate rainfall since last weekend (and the drying effects of a hot a air balloon). The problem at this point is even if rainfall is deflected from the pitch, it needs to find it's way down from the edge of the pitch to the water table and if that's now just below the surface, then we have a serious problem which isn't going to get better with the worst of the winter yet to come.

The threads and posts are full of Charlton supporters rightly complaining about the failure to manage this better and the costs and inconvenience caused by the late and unexpected announcement. Personally, I feel most for the visitors who would have been in the Capital by the time the news broke. I believe many of them headed for Brisbane Road where they would have seen Kevin Lisbie score again for the high-flying O's who thumped Carlisle 4-0.

The replayed game will be a night match which will deter many of those who travelled today from south Yorkshire. My guess is they will probably only bring one or two coaches next time and I think the least we could do is meet the expense of those for the die-hards. If our club won't do it (Mssrs Jiminez and Slater certainly wouldn't have) then I'd like to think our supporters could make the effort. It would only be several hundred pounds. I'm in if anyone else is….

4 comments:

ChicagoAddick said...

"Dry January." Classic.

Anonymous said...

Great idea on paying for their travel for the rescheduled fixture. It's the least the Barnsley fans deserve.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I went to see AFC Wimbledon versus Torquay as it's only an hour and a half from Charlton. First lower division match I've seen since League One in 2012. Aside from the standard - more physical, up and at em - most noticeable thing was condition of the pitch at Kingsmeadow. It was in pretty good shape, though there were one or two bad bounces. Then again it's more open, has more natural light.
Donating to Barnsley coach is a good idea. Maybe leave collection boxes somewhere like Bugle Horn and Rose of Denmark?

Pete said...

I suggested on the CL thread regarding the postponement, fans paying for their travel, especially as Bournemouth set a precedent last week, albeit they have a certain affinity with Burton Albion. I agree with you though, that the club should make the gesture rather than the fans. We missed a 28 all thriller at the Rectory Field by all accounts.