A game of close teamwork, immaculate presentation, professional attention to eye catching detail, and co-ordinated moves from the training ground precisely executed. This wasn't just a marauding pack of about 40 Oompa Loompas and 10 Santas. This was Hartlepool fans waving their team off for the summer, and a damn fine job they did as well. I have no idea what their expectation of the season was, but I suspect it was to survive in this division, and I bet they were a lot happier than your average Charlton fan with their league position at the final whistle.
And so the season is finally over. Friendlies aside, there is no more competitive football for nearly three months now, and I for one am glad of it. This season has been a trial; a test of endurance unlike any other in recent memory. For me, as for many others, matchdays truly were a meeting of friends, a few beers, and some banter, only to be spoilt in the main by ninety minutes of football. The day had started well in the Rose of Denmark, where some twenty tweeters met; most for the first time, and I am sure it won't be the last, brought together as we were by social media, but with Charlton at the core. Oh yes, and there was a game of football to be endured somewhere in all this wasn't there?
I suspect my only abiding memory of this game in a week or so will be that we saw Fortune in a Charlton shirt for the last time. To be honest I didn't believe he was good enough to be offered a new contract, but I certainly didn't want his time with us to be cut short by what is suspected to be a ruptured Achilles tendon. I hope he recovers soon, and is able to resume his career. I just don't believe it should be with Charlton. We also waved goodbye to Eccleston, Parrett, and Nouble, all of whom return to their parent clubs for the remains of the Premier League season. Goodbye also to Bessone and Sullivan, the former signing off with a piledriver of a shot that I thought was going to take the crossbar apart, and I suspect there is a good chance we may see both as permanent players next season.
And that's that really. Time for us all to catch breath, and stop being worried as to how Charlton will play next week; they won't. Indeed, there were many occasions during this now past season when they didn't play either, but I suspect we will all be there to do it all over again in August. How many of the current squad will also be there will no doubt be the subject of intense scrutiny over the next few weeks.