Monday, December 04, 2006

Reid All About It

There are big games, and big games. This one - versus Blackburn - is a big game that isn't. No it isn't a big game against a big team, but it is a very big game for the Addicks, as they come to one of the last chances they have of getting themselves out of trouble at the foot of the Premiership table.

Quite frankly, Charlton are in a mess. I don't want trawl over the history since early May when Curbs decided that fifteen years was time enough, but since then a few decisions have been made that were not very good.

I also think that a few decent decisions have been made - signing Andy Reid (left) being one of them!

But now is the time to start making consistently good decisions; ones that will decide the division that Charlton play in next season.

First, the crowd need to decide if they are going to back the team, or sledge them. Sure, a few of the team are lightweight, possibly money-grabbing, too old or slow, not good enough, annoyed, don't want to be here, good-time Charlies (OK, most of them!). But some are not - some play with passion, pride, a will to win, desire, skill, and instinct. The basic instinct when you are down and taking a pummeling is to fight. Charlton need players like that, and fans too! Players will get tackled, miss passes or shots, lose posession, but the key is, if they are trying, to support them, not blast them with swearing that half of them won't understand! Groans they will hear, and encouragement too - let's all try to make as much noise of the right sort and see what effect it has.

Secondly, Les Reed is a good, possibly very good coach. Charlton are very lucky to have him. We all need to back him, as our board have done. We have all seen the signs over recent seasons that all is not well; Les will not get us instant fixes, but could be the man to turn the corner at the club, and get us back to attractive winning football.

Les in turn needs to be strong; we only see the man in front of the cameras, not on the training pitch where he is at his best. Les has already made some key decisions in my mind - Seeya Hughesie (Curbs and Dowie wouldn't do that...); Ta ra Kish! Hello Lloyd Sam! It would not surprise me in the least if one or two other so-called experienced pro's were on their last chances in the Valley saloon - Hreidersson, Rommedahl, Ambrose, and Marcus Bent are the obvious examples of players who have been at Charlton for a while and yet are by no means shoe-ins any longer. You could add to that the names of Young, El Karkouri, Holland, Kishishev and Fortune as under pressure and possibly on their way out of their club too. Unless these senior players start to stand up and be counted - get their tackles in and create/score goals - then I think Les may have no choice but to try others in their place.

Look at the defence for instance - on the right side, we have Young, Sankofa, El Karkouri, Fortune, Sorondo and Kishishev. On the left we can play Hreidersson, Gibbs, Traore, Diawara, Ashton, and you could even count (sorry, had to get it in...) Grant Basey! The options are there for Les to make changes if he wants, and the incumbent players should be made aware of that. There can be no resting on laurels at The Valley! Oh, and a goal from a defender wouldn't go amiss.

The midfield and front and less well stocked, and it is the midfield that has let the club down this season. Sure, Faye is probably better at breaking up play and heading than Kish, but he cannot pass as well. Holland has a better engine than Hughes, and much more experience than Sam, but he has never been the same since his knee went a couple of years back, even though he is playing his best football since Parker was at the club. Reid is great going forward, but maybe does not have the vision that Murphy had, and he has still to learn how to utilise Rommedahl and Bent's pace in the way that Spud could. Reid is also the only midfield scorer, having hit two in the last two games; anyone else want a bit of jubilation? Easy, get your shots on target!

Up front, Dazza is desperate for some breaks, and the odd-decent pass; if he did up and leave in January, who could really blame him - the service he has had this season has been appalling. JFH and Big Benty are not exactly setting the Premiership alight either, and Lisbie is injured again (good or bad, you decide?) leaving the options woefully short.

So basically, the decisions that Reed has to make are whether to stick with tried and trusted; stick with experience over youth; stick with non-tacklers over battlers; stick with 4-5-1 or 4-4-2. We fans dream of making decisions like this (nearly every day), but Les mate, you've got to make your mark now. It is time to make this Les Reed's Charlton side. Dowie is forgotten, and Curb's is history.

So to the Blackburn game - as I've rambled a bit, I'll keep this bit short. This is the team I'd like Les to give their chance -

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Daiwara
Djimi Traore
Amady Faye
Matt Holland
Andy Reid
Dennis Rommedahl
Lloyd Sam
Darren Bent

Subs from anyone mentioned above and then some.

My one-to-watch is yet again going to be Andy Reid; he is the one with the passion, desire, and skill to haul Charlton up the table (if Robbie Savage doesn't kick him to bits beforehand). Give Reidy the ball, and if he gets hacked, get in there boys and stuff 'em up. Amady - be the enforcer!

Pedro45's score forecast is a 0-0 draw; we aren't scoring many, and neither are they. We have Dazza and Reidy, they have McCarthy and Nonde. Defensively both sides may have too much, and too much to lose. An early goal could set things up nicely, but I am not sure either team has it in them.

As supporters, we need to encourage the lads. If we can do that, then maybe, just maybe, we will drag ourselves slowly up the table by winning a few points. The Valley, fourteen years to the day after we came home, would be a good place to start.

Up the Addicks!

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