Since I've been writing for the Voice newspaper, I have had the opportunity to attend more games. Thus visiting new stadiums and interacting with managers I haven't met before.
With it's close proximity to my home, I have been to Charlton a few times now and I have to say I love it. Except for the million stairs up to the press box, but that's another matter, that is! I love the family feel of the club, the fathers and sons that I see walking to the Valley and more importantly the staff. Everyone from Chris Powell to the security guys on the gates are polite and happy to help.
On Monday I was there for the Addicks game against MK Dons; first v fourth in League One.
A Dons player had been sent off in the first-half for a 'alledged' headbutt, which led to Charlton being awarded a penalty.
Now, I haven't attended as many press conferences as some; but when said player appeared in front of us, mine wasn't the only Dictaphone that recorded a huge gasp of air.
Admittedly the player wasn't completely impartial regarding his defence, but neither would I expect him to be. But he did take the opportunity to apologise to his manager, the fans and his teammates. It was a short appearance and I think the whole room was so shocked that none of the print journalists bothered to ask him a question.
Obviously when manager Karl Robinson came out moments later we were all keen for him to explain the situation, which he did.
I told him to come out, and fair play to
him. But I'll do it again. He made a massive error in judgement."
The matter may have been compounded by the fact it was Gary MacKenzie's third sending off of the season. But boy, did it make a nice change. A boss making his employee take responsibility for his own actions. Some might say, Robinson is a mad man, but I think he's got the right bloody idea.
Honesty - novel I know.
Then Chris Powell came out and we were confronted by the same level of honesty.
If there is a case for winning ugly
then that was it. The first half was decent, but the
second half wasn't good enough. I think there was a nervousness, an
edginess about us. We didn't handle it, we should've used
the extra man. We tried to play from front to back too
Now, I'm not saying this makes them better men or managers than anyone else but it left me with a nice warm feeling. Or was that the coffee?
Two fledgling bosses coming out and not only telling the truth but being honest enough to admit their players/teams had made mistakes. No blaming the officials, or the pitch, or the weather or 24-hour news channels.
Given that neither team is given an excess of attention from the press, it's not even like they had to do us a favour. That's just simply who they are and more importantly to me; what they are about.
And in a time when some in football blame everyone bar the milkman, it was really was refreshing to hear these two gentlemen keeping it real.