Sunday, November 19, 2006


Reading 2 Charlton Athletic 0

I'm glad I wasn't one of the two thousand plus Charlton fans who went to his game - Les Reed's first in charge of the team; on the radio commenatry, it sounded absolutely awful, with Steve Brown particularly unhappy about the effort being put in by some of the players.

In Reed's defence, he said he didn't have much time with the players ahead of the game to get new ideas across, mainly due to international calls this week, and he obviously wasn't helped by the injuries and suspensions that always made this game look a tough fixture.

In the end, Reed's "rabbits in the headlights" comment just about summed things up perfectly, as former Charlton targets Harper and (the outstanding) Sidwell ran the game from the Reading midfield. It could have been a lot worse, and any excuses (thankfully missing from manager-speak now Dowie has gone) would be stupid and lame.

So where to next for Charlton? Well, it cannot get much worse than being bottom of the Premiership, and with no sign of where the next point may be gained. I can't even think of many crumbs of comfort from yesterday's match, nearly all the side had poor games... It was nice to see a couple of the youngsters on the bench (Ashton and Sam), and to see Lloyd Sam preferred to Bryan Hughes when it came to getting a substitute onto the pitch.

Hopefully, this week will see Reed and Robson start to make an impression on the remnants of what is left of players confidence at The Valley (or more accurately Sparrows Lane). With no midweek game; no international call ups, they should have everyone who is fit to impose their will upon. It is unlikely that best defender Diawara will be back next week, and if Hasselbaink is hamstrung too, he could be missing for a couple more weeks, leaving the forwards very, very thin on the ground.

It could be that Traore or Sorondo make it into the squad next Saturday for the first time in ages, and Amady Faye should be back after suspension meant he missed the Reading trip.

It is all a bit doom and gloom at present, but we have to have heart and say that only 13 games have gone; there are lots of points left to fight for; and we cannot get any worse!

News from the tabloids doesn't fill Charlton fans hearts with much glee either - If Sir Alex Ferguson wants Darren Bent and he does top Manchester United's January transfer window shopping list (which he does according to the Sunday Express), then at least we might get more than £9 million if we do sell him. Personally, I don't think selling him, spending the dosh on three other players and then getting relegated is the way to go. We would find it tough to survive using this option. Better to hang on to Dazza, get rid of (or rather wheel and deal) other makeweights, and sell Dazza for a non-desperate fee if we have to come the summer.

Former Head Coach Iain Dowie is being lined up as the new Luton manager - after five consecutive defeats, I hope they think hard about employing him as I have friends who are Luton fans and I don't want them miserable too!

According to The People, the FA could investigate reports of irregular betting activity ahead of Iain Dowie's Charlton sacking. Maybe that's how Charlton could afford to pay Dowie off, or possibly how Dowie thought he might be able to pay off Jordan? Or maybe is was the orange-ones plan to get some dosh out of the Dowie situation, and pay for his court fees? I'm sure that the FA couldn't give one...

Also in The People, Watford's Chris Powell could be in line for a third spell at Charlton as "the third man" to work alongside coach Les Reed. Wow, is that an exclusive? Bet nobody else thought that one up last week...

This week is going to be a tough one to be a Charlton fan - I doubt I'm the only one who has had taunts at work about "going down". I hope we can tough this out - I would hate to have other sides show more spirit and fight than Charlton in order to get out of trouble.

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