A few days until it all kicks off again, and yet there has never been a time I've been less bothered about a new season ahead. In years gone by I'd carefully plan my family summer holiday around the football fixtures, but leaving for a two week break on Thursday has come at a perfect time to forget completely about the lamentable state of my club.
I'll miss Northampton and Shrewsbury whilst I sun myself in Mexico, and I'm very seriously considering missing Bolton in favour of an annual drink in Cambridge that gathers together the mates I grew up with. In many cases, it's the only chance I get to see them nowadays. I've missed so many of them down the years if they've fallen on a Saturday Charlton were at home, but the lure to prioritise my life has never been stronger.
If I did miss Bolton, it would be the first time in over 20yrs that I will have decided not to attend a game of my own free will. Of the half-a-dozen or so home games I have missed in that time, every one would have been unavoidable through holidays and weddings etc.
No need to pass my season ticket on for somebody else to use...I don't have one anymore. I imagine I'd have had trouble finding takers anyway. At least Meire cannot include me in what is likely to be woeful, ever-declining attendances, boosted only by the club's desperate attempts to mask the embarrassment by issuing reams of free tickets to local residents and schools etc.
I predict the North Upper will be closed by Christmas, with dwindling numbers threatening the Upper West as well...
And yet I was pleased with Slade's appointment. I thought at the time he was a decent fit for Charlton in our current situation, and for a very brief period I felt a small bit of optimism. I'm not stupid enough to think Mr. Duchatelet and Meire have changed direction one bit, but I wondered if Slade's arrival might spark something missing at Charlton for over two years. To my immense frustration (and Slade's, it would appear) the lessons have not been learnt (no sane person thought they would), and Charlton look certain to enter their League One campaign woefully short of numbers and disgracefully under-prepared.
So much for a top 6 budget, eh, Katrien? Perhaps you was referring to our current league position given we're top six in alphabetical order? You do realise those positions will change, don't you?
But perhaps there is intent behind the scenes. Perhaps Meire and her minions are working hard to try and make deals happen. Perhaps they do harbour ambition but are guilty only of doing next to nothing to suggest that's the case. No, I don't believe that either. It appears Slade's harsh-but-unsurprising assessment of his playing squad is falling on deaf ears.
Roland knows best. Who needs a new 'keeper anyway when you've got Big Rog at the back and you've just spent out on a new striker?
To be fair, you'd have to question why decent players with ambition would even want to come to Charlton.
So as things stand it is most likely my first Charlton game of the season will be AFC Wimbledon at home in mid-September. By then we will have played 7 EFL One games and I fully expect us to be struggling towards the foot of the table.
I'm not a pessimistic guy generally, and you can be assured my apathy towards Charlton does not sit comfortable with me one bit, but I'm afraid to say if you can see positives, then please set me right. I long for the time I'm proved wrong, trust me.
I've pretty much forgotten what it's like to enjoy a day at the football rather than endure it just because it's what I've always done. I wholeheartedly blame two people for that. I resent their involvement in my club more than I could ever express in words.
See you mid-September.