Sunday, 7 February 2016

Scotland 9 v England 15

Yet another Scottish disappointment and another double losing weekend with Charlton somehow contriving to lose to fellow League One hopefuls, Bristol City.

Flybe nearly ruined my wife and I's weekend by announcing five minutes before our flight to Edinburgh was due to leave (12.20 Saturday) that there would be a change of routing and it would not be flying from London City airport. No, it would be taking off from Southend! Cue four hours of nail-biting, discomfort and stress. We had the chance of saying forget it and heading back across the river for the Charlton match although I am really pleased we didn't or things might have turned really nasty. Instead we waited for a coach to appear and then struggled down the A13 to Southend before checking in again and going through security, then waiting for 30 minutes looking at the plane before we finally boarded and took off. We landed twenty minutes short of kick-off and with everyone else heading for the tram, we dashed for a taxi and mercifully the road through Corstorphine was as clear as a bell. As we scrambled out at the Murrayfield Hotel to meet my Uncle and get our match tickets we could hear God Save the Queen. Got to our seats with two minutes on the clock.

Shame then that it was another huff and puff Scotland showing where we threatened to take the lead in the first half but didn't and then ran out of steam in the second. England deserved the victory and always looked like they had another gear if they really needed it. Scotland's forwards won enough ball but the backs were once again unable to break a high England line and lacked the invention or aggression to break through. I thought Owen Farrell was the Man of the Match but it went to Billy Vunipola. I had to put up with a rugby knob (yes, he was English) behind me and listen to him getting unnecessarily excited every time Vunipola got the ball, made his yard and then hit the turf. Maybe it's just me but that's all I ever see him do. Admittedly it's usually accompanied by a roar of expectation and a large 'ooh' as if the man is a born-again Jonah Lomu. He isn't. He adds ballast in the scrum but he is no ball carrying genius. 

Over my breakfast this morning I got time to catch-up on the latest non event at the Valley. Really disappointed to hear Igor is injured again and didn't make the starting line-up. I don't know how bad it is but he is looking like a crock and in light of him saying he contemplated giving up football last time he was injured, you have to wonder. The rest of it, from what I read, sounded dreadful. Over-run again in midfield and no teeth. 

As for the protest, a brilliant poster by CARD that would have any rational owner or CEO having second thoughts and a novel idea for 100 posters following the nonsense at the last home match. What could go wrong? Ah yes, Seb Lewis, 850 consecutive matches home and away is singled out and has his 'Seb and Ben' flag confiscated as the Home Guard are instructed to search fans and remove flags as they haven't had the requisite permission from the Guppenfuhrer. Absolutely pathetic and insulting to every one of us.

I hear too that there were lots of extra police on duty and horses for a demo that wasn't planned. They also have a new floodlight behind the West Stand, presumably to intimidate us and so that they can get a better picture of all the Refuseniks and Negative Two Percenters. The Cardiff game could get tasty because there will be another big protest and the authorities appear to be upping the ante. I sincerely hope not but it doesn't bode well. I will be there again because Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire have to be made to leave Charlton Athletic, however long it takes. Here before you and long after you've gone. 

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