As if watching the most insipid second half performance since Glenn Hoddle wasn’t bad enough, an averting gaze to anywhere but the football pitch kept focusing on David Dickinson.
In a perma-tan vision of insincerity, the goofy Duke kept catching my eye in an advert under the ‘seamless’ video wall, imploring me to get into mounting debt with the Money Shop.
‘Tick tock’ screamed the headline as I checked my watch to confirm what I already knew.
A few minutes left, no second half shots on goal (barring a Sako free kick) and a team that could pass for Dickinson’s next TV series.
Golden in shirt, occasionally golden to the eye but upon closer scrutiny, a cheap imitation of the real deal like all the other tat on Bargain Hunt.
In an ironic commentary that our revolting sponsors would be oblivious to, those two words were the most apt in a soul destroying second half showing.
To put it bluntly, time will be in short supply for Solbakken if the natives have to sit through much more lifeless, unimaginative bilge like that.
With only three of Stale Solbakken’s signings playing any part in our latest capitulation, a ‘real Bobby Dazzler’ this team is not.
Stephen Ward reverting back to type and Kevin Foley utterly hapless in presenting Charlton with the ball – then acres of space to cross for the equaliser – our manager may as well be talking to Dickinson in the flesh.
Like an amateur collector given an hour to acquire a gem from £300, the Norwegian tried once more to polish a turd with the ‘leftover lolly’ he inherited.
Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey watch the spectacle like viewers in their living rooms, hoping their favourite will somehow defy the flawed format to find some Clarice Cliff glory amid the car boot carnage.
In a passage of play to typify the entire season, the old man in row ‘P’ squealed with delight: ‘It’s like watching Brazil’ at the very moment Jermaine Pennant squandered possession and the inoffensive 25 man-move broke down.
The Bovril warmed the cockles of the heart at half time.
The second half immediately numbed it like a dose of local anaesthetic, fresh from our previous injection at 8.45pm on Tuesday evening.
Moving slowly, predictably with no apparent intent of ever scoring a goal, the momentum we’d patiently built in the first half was squandered with infuriating predictability.
This now-obligatory trait should be enough to make Stale’s hair fall out, when the hard bit in breaching a stubborn 4-5-1 had been achieved with Sako’s accomplished finish from a Foley cross.
Space should be created as the away side is forced to press, we should duly exploit this situation and the game should then be as good as over.
Solbakken – in highborn pragmatism – would doubtless feel the same, calling it a ‘work in progress.’
Either that or ‘cheap as chips,’ depending on whose eye you catch.