CAST member Siv Sears reflects on his brief liaison with fame and luxury...
Sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time for amazing things to happen.
And so it was that, at 10pm on the Wednesday night before the League One Play Off Final against Sunderland, I logged in to the Charlton Life website and read a message posted some 90 minutes earlier offering any CAST member two tickets in the Bobby Moore Lounge at Wembley for the upcoming big game. CAST had been donated the tickets by Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation and was inviting members to step forward and claim them. And so I wrote to be entered into what I imagined would be a draw. Miraculously, the reply came back that I was the first to write in, that there was no time for a draw and the tickets were mine. Incredible!
Up the ramp to Wembley my wife and I went, passing Curbs on the way and then on around Mickey Gray doing another interview to camera, and then in to the lounge with a quick nod to the statue of Sir Bobby outside. “Colours” being forbidden meant that my wife had changed out my old 87/88 Admiral/The Woolwich shirt and me being clad in white and red only.
We excitedly took the last two seats at table 4 and made the acquaintance of…. a pretty much full set of Sunderland fans! For whatever reason there seemed to be a large number of Mackems involved with the national supporters’ organisations. As ever with that lot, we had good chat and set about assessing the chances of our respective teams. We ate, we drank and time ticked down. I surveyed the tables of players’ families, ex-heroes and rumoured prospective buyers….but...something was missing. I wasn’t sure what at that point.
It hit me later. I’d heard that I could nip through a door and into the Charlton section of tier 1 to put on a quick bet before kick-off, and so I did. As soon as I walked through that door, I knew what I’d been missing. The dull coloured suits and hush of the lounge were replaced with a sea of red and white, chants, songs and the hubbub and excitement of true fans up for the occasion. Shivers!
We took our seats on the halfway line shortly before kick-off. I could see that we were just a few rows behind the squad players who hadn’t been included or were injured. The whistle went. Roars went up from either side of our section as Mackems and Addicks rose and gave the loudest support I think I’ve ever heard.
You don’t need me to tell you what happened in the match or to help you relive that magical moment in the 94th minute.
Afterwards, I lined the players’ walks up the steps and got to shake hands with some, pump my fist in victory with others and share a beaming smile with that man Lyle Taylor. I would never have dreamed that I’d get this close to a team of Charlton heroes. The memories will live with me forever.
I’m glad I experienced the elation of that victory with my wife in the posh seats at Wembley and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, when people have asked me since where I would choose to be “next time”, I know in my heart of hearts that I’d choose to be amongst a bouncing throng of roaring excited Addicks every single time.