Valley reception for Kermo fully deserved

Yann Kermorgant in his Charlton days. Picture by Keith Gillard.

Yann Kermorgant in his Charlton days. Picture by Keith Gillard.

First published in Sport
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Addicks columnist MATIAS GREZ believes last night’s warm reception for former Valley striker Yann Kermorgant was fully deserved.

On an evening when a British media furore surrounded Didier Drogba returning to Chelsea, for Charlton fans there was a far more important homecoming in SE7.

Yann Kermorgant was returning to The Valley for the first time since his acrimonious departure – acrimony, I hasten to add, solely from the fans toward Roland Duchâtelet – at the end of January.

That controversial switch to the south coast left many Charlton fans wondering who would fill his huge shoes, or more importantly, score the goals he had been.

A lot has happened since then - reaching an FA Cup quarter-final, getting knocked out and Chris Powell being sacked to name just a few.

Nevertheless, Kermorgant was certainly not going to be forgotten and he received a huge round of applause and one of the warmest welcomes a returning ex-Charlton player has ever received at The Valley.

And rightly so.

Kermorgant described the reception he received as “one of the proudest moments of my career” and it was only fitting for a man who had given absolutely everything to this club for the three years he was with us.

Despite all the emotion and return of a living Charlton legend, there was a game to be played.

And last night did not belong to Kermorgant but another big Frenchman who has been so integral to the three clean sheets the team has kept since he was rightly reinstated into the starting XI.

Dorian Dervite’s thumping 92nd-minute header was enough to haul Charlton out of the bottom three on goal difference and give everyone a massive boost ahead of this weekend’s tough fixture against second-placed Burnley.

Dervite had no right to get his head onto Johnnie Jackson’s out swinging corner when surrounded by no less than four Bournemouth players, but his determination to be the first to the ball paid off in spectacular style.

It was no surprise Bournemouth were the better team for large parts of the game, and it was clear to see why they have taken up residence comfortably in mid-table in their first season in the Championship.

I could not be happier for Dervite, who is for me the best central defender we have - composed on the ball, adept at passing and the least likely to aimlessly hoof it up field.

As long as he remains injury free, I can see Jose Riga’s team keeping many more clean sheets this season, which will be vital considering the scarcity at which goals appear at the other end.

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