Monday, December 29, 2008

Cut Off and Adrift...Which Way to Look?

Sheffield United 3 Charlton Athletic 1

I certainly cannot add any more on the events at Bramall Lane than some of the match reviews already posted, as I was only able to occasionally check the BBC text commentary during the match. From that, it seems that Charlton had much the better of the first half, with plenty of possession and opportunities on goal – Hameur Bouazza (left) scoring after 33 minutes after a punt forward from Rob Elliott. Then the second half was one-way traffic toward Elliott’s goal, with many shots, chances, and desperate defending. Midway through the half, Untied equalised, then followed that with another then another goal. Phil Parkinson tried to shake things up when the team fell behind by bringing on forward substitutes, but to no avail. Five players were booked, including Nickly Bailey who is now going to be suspended for a league game.

The result leaves the club equalling their worst ever run of games with out a win (16), and bottom of the Championship table by four points as Donny and Forest both won.

So where does the club go from here?

Obviously the manager situation needs to be sorted out, and the blogosphere is rampant with advice and comment about what the Board should do in the apparently imminent strategic review. Pedro45’s view?

Really, there are only two options – stick with Parky for the rest of the season or get someone else in. Both options have good and bad points about them.

Stick with Phil Parkinson

Parky does know the players, and also knows what areas of the squad need changing and improving in the January transfer window (just as nearly every fan does!). With some (small amount of) money being made available by the board (including a rumoured £1m from the sale of Varney, although this could be in danger now Paul Jewell has quit as manager of Derby, plus maybe £250k from Ipswich for Ambrose?), whoever is manager will be able to do some wheeling and dealing. The problem though is that sales in this month will be overpriced (no 50% discounts in football sales!) and may also be limited to players other clubs do not want and who therefore may not be good enough to help Charlton enough. To bolster the transfer/wages funds, other fringe players – Dickson, and possibly McLeod – may be sold too. The only way to generate "big" money is the sale of Zheng Zhi, but that really does depend on his fitness, and Parky has already said he is unlikely to return to training much before the end of January… Even then, he is out of contract in the summer so I doubt we will be able to get much more than a million for him? That leaves more loan signings to fill the gaps left (by sales and loan signings going back to their parent clubs…), and you cannot really say that many of the clubs loan signings have been much of a success this year – maybe to a very limited extent McEveley, Bouazza, Crainie and Waghorn, but have Primus and Gillespie added anything other than cover for players who needed a rest or to cover injuries? Burton will become a Charlton player on Thursday, but he’s hardly set the team alight, with just a penalty to show since he joined seven games back.

The negative aspect of keeping Parky is that he may wheel and deal, but will remain a weight on the club who cannot change results. He’s had 8 games, and we haven’t won any of them, even though they have been against some of the less talented teams in this league. It is kind of acceptable this season to lose to Wolves and Birmingham, and even Sheffield United, especially away, but not to Barnsley and Coventry at The Valley. With even more players in on loan, or even players who are signed with the specific reason to keep the club up and who will be sold if we are relegated (probably at a loss!), then the poor record shown so far in transfer dealings does not look good or bring confidence.

Get a new manager in

Well, where do the board start? If Parky isn’t the man, then it is probably fair to say that Mark Kinsella isn’t too. Both are good football (and Charlton) men (in my opinion), and it would be possible for both to remain at the club in their former roles (as under Pardew), provided the new man at the helm accepted that. If either were asked to leave, then the financial aspect has to be considered, and that could have an over-riding effect on any decision made, as Charlton are not rolling in money (surprise surprise!).

So we look for a head-honcho who may or may not want to work with the current coaches –

Those who might are –

Alan Curbishley
Mark Robson
Mark Bowen
Paulo Di Canio

Those who might not are –

Billy Davies
Paul Ince
John Hughes
Colin Calderwood
(might be too soon for him…)
Kevin Keegan (well, he ain’t going back to Newcastle!)
Steve McLaren
plus anybody else, including the four who might above!

The plus for any new manager coming in is that they might be a breath of fresh air (a la Harry Redknapp) that the squad, who apparently are good enough for this division, might need. Parky certainly jivvied things up, gave players a chance, and has settled on his chosen starting team, but that hasn’t won us a game, so may not work for a new man either. So then the reality is that a new manager will need to make changes (just as Parky will if he stays…), but may not know where the changes are needed (unless he asks anyone in the blogosphere for advice…) which could slow down decision making and ultimately the available points we are fighting for.

So I really cannot see too much difference between opting to keep Parky, or get him to assist a new leader, or to get the broom out and sweep the coaching staff away and start again.

Pedro45 is not one to sit on the fence though, and as one of the first Blogs to publicly voice the requirement to remove and replace Alan Pardew, I feel that it is almost my duty to jump one way of another, much as the Board will have to in the next few days (and take the flak if they get it wrong..). So I say bring on the Redvolution! He would be a wild card, but it cannot get any worse. Crowds would flock back, and any expense in his short-term appointment would be offset by this increase in people actually coming through the turnstiles (rather than just tickets given away...). He would probably work with the current coaches, as he will know some of them. If it was for the short-term (until the end of season, and then you get a bonus if we stay up) then it would not cost much money. The style would improve, and the media would love us for doing it!

Give us PAULO!

Bring on the REDVOLUTION!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year Pedro, keep the good blogging go'in. Maybe see you at Legends in the New Year.
We need a complete clear out to start a new era. Never in a million year would I have thought we would be in this predicament after being an established premiership club for so many years. Makes me want to weep into my porridge this morning.
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