Sunday, August 9, 2015
Watt's with the sofa?
Taking my seat yesterday (far dirtier than it has been on any other opening day fixture) I was impressed with the ease of gaining entry to the ground. I was one of the lucky few that had not only received my season ticket, but had the correct details on it. A quick scan and I was in, no questioning which ticket number it was this week, although my choice of lucky turnstile is no longer an option as the three I can now use are a further ten yards walk and add nearly thirty seconds to my initial toilet dash upon arrival.
I felt for the many in queues around the ticket offices as they risked sunstroke trying to put right a cock-up of gigantic proportions by the club when they had all summer to organise these new tickets. I've printed my cup ticket off at home, perhaps the club should have left it to us to print our own season tickets as well.
The three thousand QPR fans with paper tickets entered the ground without fuss and were among the first to gaze with astonishment upon a settee next to the pitch in the north west corner. With all the class of something the crass Soccer AM could wish to muster, fans can win the opportunity of watching a live game while pretending they're at home. At a time when real supporters campaign for safe standing, we get slouch seating. I can only assume Roland saw it as a money making venture, come May he'll be down the back of it looking for loose change to bank.
The sofa is bad, and the new screen showing the game and replays (minus any contentious decisions of course) is not much better. At this early stage of the season when nine out of ten supporters have no idea who's who on the pitch, the line ups have never been needed so much. Not to mention the lack of the fiiiissshhh desperately avoiding a net. You'll be glad to note however that I rather like the knight mascot. Something good has come out of all these changes then, although unsurprisingly I'm informed this mascot was chosen by the paying customer, not the club. An enthusiastic character, it must have been hot in that get up, especially when escorted off by the cute redhead.
And so to the team. Old Roland has sold the mothership, Standard Liege, to the delight of its clubs supporters. In the short term this means we won't have to endure second rate bench warmers being paraded in our shop window, while in the long run it could mean that we'd become a certain Belgian's number one priority. Finally a real possible fruition from the network. There were plenty of new signings, but these signings were actually ours with only one of the seven being a loan deal. I believe four started yesterday, I'd have been a little more self assured for you if it wasn't for that blinkin' big screen.
Patrick Bauer, the big German centre half started alongside Diarra in a solid looking partnership and the cafc twitter hashtag will boldly proclaim how he had Charlie Austin in his back pocket all afternoon. I believe the number 22 in the middle of the park was Al-Hadji Ba, although I am basing this on the fact that I could only see two letters on his shirt above the number. A quiet game from this lad but I'm sure we'll grow to love him, as we will the big viking up front, Simon Makienok. Looking like an extra from Sons of Anarchy, this giant of a man had an abysmal first half playing alongside Karlan Ahearne-Grant, so much so that I was weeping for the loss of our dear friend George Tucudean from the side, yet the big fellow grew into the game during the second period after an inspired substitution. The shining star however was Ahmed Kashi, an Algerian defensive midfielder. Wearing the number three shirt (thanks again twitter for helping with this conclusion), he mopped up all the loose balls and was as confident passing back as he was building the play back up again. I believe a couple of others made a cameo but, in reality, I failed to notice.
Something nobody failed to notice was Tony Watt's arrival after the break. A dire first half had the sofa family reaching for the remote, yet with the Scot up front we displayed ambition and desire, and it was only a matter of time before he showed Luzon what a mistake he'd made leaving him on the bench. A training ground bust up had been to blame, but this squabbling is detrimental to the club. They will never send each other Christmas cards, and I'm sure the Coventry rumours were pleasing to Luzon, yet Watt epitomizes the passion we once always expected to see in a Charlton shirt years ago.
Special mention must also go to both Nick Pope in goal who showed no nerves in pulling off a string of excellent saves, and Morgan Fox who scored a peach of a goal to seal the victory. Last season there wasn't a bigger critic of the young full back than me, but stepping out of Gomez's shadow he looks far more fearless.
Our record in London derbies has never been as good as it is this season, QPR though have got a lot of work to do if they're going to repeat their last season at this level. What should have been a really stern test became a stroll in the park, even the traditional last five minute nail biting failed to materialize. If I'd been sat on a sofa I could have sat back and properly relaxed.