Monday, August 18, 2008

Ooops! He did it again...

Watford 1 Charlton Athletic 0

Sadly, the text that came through as I waited to board my plane at Miami Airport told me we had lost this game, and that Kelly Youga had been sent off in the first half.

That’s three pretty poor performances from the Addicks while I’ve been away, even if the first game did produce a win, and I’m glad I haven’t seen those games.

It does seem from the reports - oh it is nice to be able to get online once more, even if work restrictions make accessing blog sites impossible - that 10-man Charlton at least tried to pick up the game after half-time. It just annoys me that they get themselves into these positions, and need a jolt (like the sending off) to seem to want to play to their ability.

Nicky Bailey and Hameur Bouazza both made their full league debuts for Charlton, though the winger was removed at half time as Pardew re-jigged his one-short side. Bailey appears to have had a reasonable debut, and put in a couple of shots it seems, but the man-of-the-match seems to have been Nicky Weaver who kept the score reasonable when it could have been much worse.

At least the team have a week to get their knocks and niggles rested, though Therry Racon may be out for longer if he has broken a bone in his foot as is thought. Thankfully we have Shelvey, Wright and Holland to cover this position, and even Semedo can move forward now that Moutaouakil is no longer suspended.

Pardew has admitted that we must get a centre back to cover Hudson and Fortune, and that the money to pay for this may come from the sale of Zheng Zhi. I just hope that we get a reasonable price for ZiZi as he is worth more than the £2m that West Brom are thought to have offered. The market will decide I guess…

The other obvious fact to emerge from this early part of the season is that Charlton really do have quite severe financial problems, and that the off-loading of players has been really necessary in order to balance the financial deficit of running the club (£5m from last year…) and the weekly player salary.

While we are all grateful that Marcus Bent and Amdy Faye have now left SE7, and few will be that sorry to see Jerome Thomas go out on loan, other sales (Bougherra to Rangers, Iwelumo to Wolves, and Zheng Zhi to whoever) are tough to take. Steve Waggott has to manage the salary bill, but with some 15,000 season ticket sales (which is more than Reading!), plus good walk-ups it seems from the initial league match, fans may have hoped that some “decent” players could have been salvaged. The overall player salary would appear to be enormously lower than at the same stage last year, especially when you consider that Chris Powell, Ben Thatcher, Osei Sankofa, and others have also moved on.

The financial problems do seem to have affected some of the players - Luke Varney and Andy Gray, to name but two, would have had high hopes of starting this season in the Premiership, but now it seems that the best that can be hoped for this year is mid-table Championship security, and that is by no means assured.

Maybe if ZiZi is sold then the club can at least splash a bit of the incoming cash and give the players, and the fans, plus manager Pardew, a lift from a new signing that is obviously required at this stage. And if the club cannot afford the transfer fee needed, then maybe another loan signing (or two) will appease the fans?

Anyway, I’m back now and at least I’ll get to see the boys play on Saturday…another home league win and the despondency will quickly dissipate!

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