Every so often something comes along that is a little out of the ordinary, a bit special.
There are lots of examples of this, and I've been mulling over in my head as to whether I was going to list some to make the point, but I think you get it. Football is a repetitive business. By definition a league season is 46 games, many of which are not significant at all, and many that are significant for something that happens during the game that couldn't have been forecast in advance. An obvious example of that, for me anyway, was the Boxing Day fixture against Swindon where we came back from 2-1 down to snatch a late draw with nine men. The game was on Boxing Day, which is a tradition that I love, but that aside I would never have considered it a 'big' or significant game before hand, but it turned out to be.
The Swindon play-off semi-final second leg was a big game, but it failed to please me after the final whistle. It was still a big game though, and that is what all us football fans look forward to.
The Millwall derbies that season were important, and the game at Oldham was exciting, but they, and the semi-final first leg, were the only games of any real significance prior to kick off since we were relegated from the Championship. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that they were the only games that were this exciting since we were relegated from the Premier League.
We have fallen from such a high position, relative to where we were ten years ago, that it is difficult to get excited about much these days, but tonight is a little different.
Sure I'd like to be the team to take their unbeaten record, I'd like to be the team that pushes them into third place with their first defeat in eleven months, but the truth is that I just want to win this high profile game. I've literally just been listening to The Football Ramble podcast and they discussed the recent breaking of the 42 game record held by Nottingham Forest and they made the point that we much be doing well to be five points above them. They also poked fun at the play-off final defeat.
In all honesty I do respect their achievement, and think that they have been relentless in their performances since the turn of the year, and under normal circumstances I would not want to spoil their attempt to beat Arsenal's record, but this game takes on such significance in our season that we must win.
It's too early in the season for it to be defining, and we could well beat Huddersfield then still finish below them at the end of the season, but it wouldn't half be nice to beat them in our back yard!
With Jackson injured we are going to miss a major presence both in terms of his talent and his captaincy. I think it is not a coincidence that we fell apart last season when he was missing. To be fair we have better players in the squad this season, but it will be a set back for sure, and not only tonight. However, I think that Ephraim is a real player, and the adrenalin tonight will probably make up for his absence to some degree.
I am tempted to say that I would take a draw tonight as it keeps us five points above the team in third (our real goal) but for tonight I just want to win the game. Sure there's three points at stake, but it's a chance for us to beat the team that everyone is talking about and send out a message about our intentions. It'll also be a cracking night out for the Charlton fans.
Up the Addicks!