When you start reading this, you may wonder where the Charlton content is, but I do get there eventually.
Most of my adult life was spent in a household where there were four girls/women and me. So it's not surprising that almost all my close friends today are women. I feel comfortable talking to them about hairstyles, hair colour and fashion.
However, football is a big gulf between us. They find my interest in it baffling, even though one of them was the highly successful director of a football research centre. In particular, they can't understand why I support Charlton rather than a top six club. Only of them has an interest in football and she is a Tottenham Hotspur fan. Cue jokes about 'she doesn't have an interest in football, then' but at least it's not Palace. I would add that Chris Powell is a Spurs fan and had a season ticket at one time.
She was pleased that I went to Tottenham on Saturday afternoon for the opening of an exhibition by the Mayor of Haringey in which I am an exhibit. It's odd to see your story on an information board funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Even odder to have people come up to you to shake your hand, say they remember you and that you were a 'star' (clearly not).
Meeting members of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation
It was good to meet representatives of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation who are clearly doing some great work in the community and want to contact me to record my 'life story'. They were a bit shocked to find that I was born south of the river!
Last week a Bulgarian friend of mine invited me out to dinner. We had what I thought was a good natured discussion about my interest in football, but she mistakenly thought she might have upset me and invited me out again. That led to a very interesting discussion about cultural differences and why she finds my 'Englishness' a problem. That's understandable, given that she has lived in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, the United States, the Netherlands and now the UK. I have only lived and worked abroad for short periods of time.
Given that one of her passports is still Bulgarian, and that she has property there, I was shocked that she had never heard of Radostin Kishishev who earned 89 caps for Bulgaria. But that led to a train of thought.
One of the Charlton Facebook groups recently invited fans to name their favourite player of all time. The answers were inevitably generational. Among the most popular choices were: Sam Bartram; 'Killer'; Mark Kinsella; and Sir Clive Mendonca.
But what about the players who were unsung heroes? Players we may have slagged off at the time, but came to appreciate what they offered later. Often they were midfielders. I would suggest the following names from different eras:
- 'Squib' Hamond who passed away recently and worked away in the midfield engine room in the days of the maximum wage (he later became a hospital porter).
- Keith Jones, disliked by many because of his role as a defensive midfielder which sometimes involved playing the ball sideways or backwards. But he scored his penalty in the Greatest Game and scored a winner against Liverpool.
- And, just to wind up my friend, Radostin Kishishev.
Just to update you on my role as mainland football correspondent of Radio Scilly (see earlier story). I got the dreaded vote of confidence at the weekend, but my football preview was not used. This led to an exchange of views online on Sunday morning with the new managing director. This was awkward as she is a long-standing friend: I made a special trip to the islands for her wedding reception. She ticked me off on air, but also said I was forgiven. So we shall see.