Sunday, 9 December 2007

There's only one Mattie Holland...

I have wanted to go to the Valley for years... four years to be precise... because that was when my favourite ever player moved there - Matt Holland

As one of the Chamionship to Premiership 'yo-yo teams' I have always respected Charlton Athletic and had been looking forward to travelling to South London for a long time.

Not just to see my Mattie!

An appalling first half was partly made up for by a passionate second half performance, as this report from the Website describes, with a contender for the goal of the season from Counago!

But yesterday my high opinion of our hosts was severely damaged by the dirty tactics used by their players. I'm sure it sounds like sour grapes but the red card awarded for an foul after the final whistle proves my point.

Jonathan Fortune was sent off for punching Alan Lee to the ground just seconds after the five minute injury time had come to an end.

The incident has been only vaguley described by reports today but if you ask me he should have been forced to take an early bath long before the fight broke out.

Fortune had conceded a free kick for pulling Lee down just outside the area, the result of a number of nasty fouls on our striker - which continued until the end.

There was time wasting from every Charlton player, frustrating when Ipswich were trying to maintain the momentum they had build up following the Pablo goal.

And then there's Danny Mills....

Foul after unsportsmanly foul on Jonathan Walters who spend most of the second half with a bandage round his head, fighting off the bullying of Mills.

After a particularly bad foul on Walters he refused for at least five minutes to answer the referee's request that he join him.

Even once he did listen to the official he refused to take his punishment - wasting more precious time.

I cant understand why football clubs employ such awful players - he is hardly a role model to young footballers, is he? And not someone that I would want associated with my family.

Lucky then that Charlton had Mattie Holland to make up for it.

As the teams entered the pitch my heart skipped a beat when i saw him for the first time since Richard Naylor's testimonial.

During the warm up he walked over to our half to shake hands with old colleague Jim Magilton, and when the squads were read out he recieved a huge appluase from the 3,000 Ipswich fans.

Best of all was the respect he showed the away fans at the end of the match.

My Dad and I have long considered Holland's lap of honour at Portman Road a beloved tradition... so to recieve that honour again yesterday, I dont mind admitting, brought tears to my eyes - just as it had the last time he did it at Derby County.

Matt has kept up his relationship with the Tractor Boys, often travelling to Suffolk to watch games and even picking us as his promotion favourites - along with Chalrton of course!

When he came out of the ground over an hour after full time he was so friendly and welcoming to the waiting Town fans.

He asked us if we'd had a nice day, said he was sorry the result wasn't better for us and chatted away about how pleased he was to be playing again after his knee injury.

What an asset to any club he goes to.

And I swear that as we were asking him if he'll ever come back to us... there was the tiniest hint of a twinkle in his eye!