Monday, May 14, 2007

Hope for the Future

Liverpool 2 Charlton Athletic 2

I wasn't there, didn't get a chance to listen on the radio (or internet), and haven't been able to watch Match of the Day yet, so I cannot make too valued a judgment on yesterdays great draw at Anfield.

Suffice to say that it was good to see that Matt Holland scored early on (left), and that Charlton held the lead for most of the game (around 75 minutes!). Liverpool did in fact equalise but Darren Bent then quickly restored the Addicks lead with possibly his last goal in a Charlton shirt (below).

Sadly, the obligatory home penalty levelled matters deep into injury time, and a share of the points was all that Alan Pardew could take away from the game.

Pardew was able to talk up the team afterwards, and a few more displays like this recently would undoubtedly have seen Charlton close to saving themselves from the drop.

Special mention must go to Darren Randolph, who made an excellent debut in goal according to reports, and to Lloyd Sam, who has brought a little enthusiasm back into the eleven, along with skill and effort.

Sadly, the team missed chances to win more comfortably, with Zheng Zhi failing when well placed once more; Song also missed a sitter apparently!

The season finishes though with a mere 34 points gained, and that is never (apart from one season in Premiership history) going to be enough to keep your dreams alive. I suppose it would be too much to ask the Premier League to demote West Ham for transfer irregularities, and also Sheffield United for taking them to court over the affair, so let's get used to where we will be playing football next year.

Moving forward then, a new signing in imminent according to Pards, although we at Charlton know not to count chickens before they've signed a contract and had the picture taken wearing the shirt. That new man could be Matt Jarvis of Gillingham, although there is much speculation that Scott Carson may be coaxed into signing too. Personally, I doubt if Carson would be happy with Championship football, or that the board could sanction between £4 and £6 million for his signature from Liverpool.

The club will hopefully move onwards, and with Pardew in charge, a new, preferably happy, era is upon us. I expect many of the clubs stalwart players to move on over the coming weeks, and for Pardew to replace those who leave with younger, more brighter prospects. We need a new Mark Kinsella, and new John Robinson, a new Dean Kiely, and a new Eddie Youds. The backbone is crucial for any successful team, and Randolph, Bougherra, Holland, and Marcus Bent just isn't strong enough on paper, even for the Championship (Compare to West Brom's mere play off team - Kiely, Davies, Koumas, Kamara/Phillips/Ellington!).

When 16500 of us bought season tickets for next year before the end of April, we knew that the club had to be relegated, then win promotion at the first attempt. Well, part one is complete, and now we want to see the second part of the deal handled well so that all 16500 of us fans get free Premiership season tickets in a couple of years time.

Let us all wish Alan Pardew success in finding those players who will represent Charlton in the red shirts next season, and re-new our love affair with the top division.

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