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New Article: A Tale of two Toilets and the FA Cup.

Way back in February 1994 I retreated with my little black transistor radio to a Formica cubicle to follow the seemingly never-ending last few minutes of Charlton's famous victory over Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round FA Cup replay. I wrote all about it, explaining why I found myself in the toilet at the wrong ground watching the wrong Athletic, for a past issue of Voice of The Valley. You can read the full article here.

On that occasion, the toilet was a strategic choice of solitary confinement: an unusual venue to experience over crackling airwaves the final whistle which eventually shrilled Darren Pitcher's joyous Charlton moment.

I was also in the toilet when I read the team line-up for last Saturday's FA Cup match v Doncaster Rovers. I happened to be in a hippy-meets-hipster-style venue made of old containers in North Amsterdam, where we were visiting friends for the weekend. Nature called, at which point I took the tactical opportunity to check in to mobile Charlton Life via the phone to catch a snippet of the pre-match build-up from afar.

The rights and wrongs of Bowyer's selection decision have been much debated both here and elsewhere, especially among the hardy 2,999 home fans who turned up at The Valley. There's no need to cover that ground again.

My brief personal tale of two toilets simply leaves me numb with nostalgia for a once grand and exciting competition. There's added poignancy of course because the FA Cup gave Darren Pitcher his finest hour-and-a-half as an Addick. We are still only just grasping the reality of the news that he has passed away at far too young an age.

"Pitch" once famously dubbed CAFC a Mickey Mouse club, in jest and bravado and later genuinely retracted. It is therefore particularly sad right now as an Addick to observe the FA Cup reduced to the status of a Mickey Mouse competition.

Oh well, back to League One.

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Roland Out!