Charlton Athletic is the least satisfactory part of my life at the moment. Admittedly, I am paying the penalty of the orienteering that was my chosen sport when I was young and I have to see a consultant next week about my deteriorating knees.
I have just come back from a wonderful two days in Exeter, seeing old university friends, some of whom I had not met for 45 years. On Tuesday evening I took an old friend and her sister out to dinner and I was not really focused on the game at Cheltenham. However, the 1-0 defeat did not surprise me.
One needs to keep a sense of proportion about these things. Our meeting in Exeter was occasioned by the fact that one of our number has a brain tumour, although fortunately she has responded well to treatment and is currently very well.
I will be coming to The Valley on Saturday with a heavy heart. Some fans are already blaming Russell Slade for the signings he made, but he was constrained by the budget he was given and, from what I have learnt, had to argue to have the purse string loosened for late signings. As he has pointed out, pre-season preparation lacked professionalism before he came and he has had little time to bring the team together. My concern is that he might walk (or be pushed) and we would have someone from the network again.
I first watched Charlton in 1953. I lost touch to the club when I moved to the Midlands and had a family, but I was heartened by the return to The Valley and, with the children growing up, acquired a season ticket shortly after the East Stand opened. (My first game back was with a Burnley supporting friend in the Jimmy Seed).
I have never felt less hope. The problem is clearly the owner, but despite a very effective campaign by CARD, reputational damage has not budged him. Indeed, he has become more obdurate in pursuing his eccentric and parsimonious case.
I think that any buyer is likely to be Chinese. In the Midlands, Aston Villa, the Baggies and Wolves are all now in Chinese ownership. President Xi has a ten year project for making China a leading soccer nation in what is regarded as the Chinese century and a London club with potential might be attractive. Then the East Stand will truly be red.