Eras End 2
Today, tonight here, sees the end of two eras of concern to those of us from south-east London and both will be shown on Sky TV in the UK.
Unfortunately for Jakartass, it appears that only one will be shown here and that is the match between Arsenal
and Wigan Athletic. There are honours at stake here ~ can Arsenal win and maybe get automatic entry into the early stages of the European Championship next season and/or can Wigan stay in the top half of the table in their first season in the top flight?
But the cameras will be focussed on the ground, Highbury, which will be witnessing its last football match because next season Arsenal move to a new stadium named after some Arabic airline. Mind you, I've never been to Highbury stadium; the closest I've been is the nearby tube station on my way to a gig at the Finsbury Park Astoria
, then known as the Rainbow.
The game which will not be shown here is the one at historic Old Trafford where Manchester United entertain Charlton Athletic
. There are honours at stake here ~ can Manyoo win and get automatic entry into the later stages of the European Championship next season and/or can Charlton finally beat Manyoo in Alan Curbishley's final game as manager?
The link between the two matches is geographical. Look at a map of London and you'll see Charlton on the Thames between Greenwich (pron. Grinitch
) and Woolwich (pron. Woolitch
), original home of Arsenal. It is possible to walk between the Woolwich Arsenal and Charlton in about an hour ~ I know, I've done it.
The link is also personal. As a lad before the First World War (1914-18) my grandfather was a fan of the Woolwich Arsenal football club. The club moved north of the river in 1913.
During the Second World War (1939-45), my father served in the Royal Artillery, originally based in Woolwich. Post-war, he found employment at the Royal Arsenal
armaments factory as a cost accountant. And, when I was a lad, on Saturdays we went to Woolwich to shop at the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society
By now you'll know that I'm a life-long Charlton fan and that one day one of the stands at the Valley will bear the name of Alan Curbishley. He took us from nowhere, or the grounds of other clubs, to a brand new stadium at our old home and the heights of mid-table Premiership football with games being shown worldwide on satellite TV. There may come a time when Charlton is a brand name with theme pubs around the globe, like Manchester Untited, but for now it belongs to 'genuine' fans.
As Curbs says
of his send-off and the ovation he received from the fans for the final five minutes of last Saturday's game, "It sums up the club. They wanted to make it a celebration. The last five minutes, the way I was treated, will be a massive highlight. I don't think the club realises the goodwill they got from that. Up and down the country people know this is a proper club.
Unable to watch the match tonight and thereby to finally, albeit vicariously, say what I want to say in tandem with Charlton fans worldwide, let me say it here