Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Diary of a Common Fan by Russ Wilkins

My second cousin, Russ Wilkins (grandson of Albert Henry Wilkins) has been a keen supporter of Charlton Athletic Football Club for many years. The club was founded in 1905. Russ kept a diary “of my thoughts, feelings and aspirations surrounding Charlton AFC’s Centenary Season 2004/05, as a committed but ordinary fan since 1961.” This was published as a book in 2005. Around 1100 copies sold.

The front cover of Russ’s book

The back cover of Russ’s book

Charlton were in the Premier League, playing against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, much wealthier clubs. In spite of this, after 29 games they were in a creditable 7th place in the league with 43 points. It seemed possible that Charlton could qualify for European competitions, for the first time in their history. However, as had happened regularly before, their form collapsed at the end of the season and they ended in 11th position, with 46 points from 38 games. Russ’s well written book describes the successes and the disappointments of the year. I found it to be a very enjoyable read, particularly for someone like me, who takes an interest in Charlton AFC’s fortunes.

Two sections of Russ’s book were included in “A London Year: 365 Days of City Life in Diaries, Journals and Letters”, compiled by Travis Elborough & Nick Rennison (2013). It contains extracts from the writings of Londoners (some famous and others not well known) from Tudor times to the twenty-first century.

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