Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Paint it Black

Charlton Athletic 0
Tottenham Hotspur 2

The inevitable finally happened at the Valley last night, as Charlton were relegated following the 2-0 home defeat to Spurs. It wasn’t just last night that condemned Charlton, but a season-long trail of error, both on and off the pitch.

Fingers can be pointed at the board, for appointing Iain Dowie as Head Coach; following that mistake with the doom-laden Les Reed being put in charge; and the much heralded overseas coaching structure that was quickly put back in the cupboard when Alan Pardew came in to steady the sinking ship.

On the pitch, the failure started with Djimi Traore (remember him?) getting sent off while Charlton were winning at West Ham on the opening day of the season, and finished with Jermain Defoe smashing in the final goal ten minutes from time last night. In between, we have seen abject losses to Wycombe, Liverpool, Middlesboro, and Forest, and poor displays at various times from Thomas, Rommedahl, Diawara, Hreidarsson, Faye, Young, Hughes, Ambrose, Song, Carson, Marcus Bent, and Hasselbaink, amongst others.

Quite simply, Charlton were not good enough to stay in the Premier League this season.

Last nights game saw Berbatov score after seven minutes, out-muscling and outpacing Luke Young to score past Carson with aplomb. Darren Bent tried his best and got free three times – twice going past Robinson but ending up on the goal-line, and with team-mates failing to get anything on target from his subsequent crosses. On the middle occasion, Bent fired wide left-footed when under pressure. Very little else caused the Spurs backline any problems. When Defoe scored the second, the crowd turned the match into a relegation party, and showed that at least some of the people present cared.

This morning, the realisation will set in, but it isn’t all bad news. BBC has reported that a possible takeover is on the cards – this may be a good thing or a bad thing? The days when takeovers seemed to want to asset strip clubs are past (I hope), and no new owners would get planning permission from Greenwich Council to build homes on The Valley anyway, even if Charlton did move elsewhere. Hopefully, if it does happen, then the new owners will put money into the club and build it back up to be a force once more.

Personally, I can look forward to four extra home game next year, plus the chance to see Charlton play away at two new clubs – Preston and Scunthorpe – which is great as new teams don’t come along too often these days. That would also take me up to 84 football league clubs that I have seen Charlton play away at!

Charlton have one remaining Premiership match to play – away at European Cup Finalists Liverpool. I’m sure they will put up some sort of fight, but wouldn’t it be nice to go down with a win!?!

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