Monday, March 16, 2009


Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Charlton Athletic 1

It’s taken me a couple of days to write up this match, probably due to the fact that we lost once more, and that there is very little hope of Charlton avoiding relegation now, even with eight games to go. Sorry, the head has gone down a bit...

At least the Addicks competed in the top versus bottom clash, and it does seem that they might have been a little unlucky to come out of the game with nothing. The referee, once again, did Charlton few favours, and though the erroneous penalty he awarded for an invisible push was saved by Rob Elliott, other decisions during the course of the game went to the home team.

Ex-Addick Chris Iwelumo put the home team in front, poking home a long through ball, but Zheng Zhi equalised in the second half (above), shooting home right footed from just outside the area after showing good skill. In fact, Zizi was the best player on the pitch by all accounts, and it is a sad thought that we haven’t seen much of this player this season due to injury – oh what might have been eh?

After the penalty save, the winner was bundled over the line after a corner, with the last touch coming off the unlucky Matt Holland. Holland was deputising for Darren Ward who was not allowed to play against his registration owning club.

With just those eight matches left, wins in each will take Charlton to 52 points, but even that might not be enough to save the club from going down this season. And I doubt we will win more than half the games anyway, so there really is no hope left anymore...

Until the drop is a mathematical certainty, I’m sure Phil Parkinson will continue to play what he thinks is his best starting eleven, and that should leave the last few games (after relegation being confirmed) as a showcase for the players we can expect to still be at the club next season.

Parky is cutting a pretty desperate figure these days, and he looks like he feels that the whole world is conspiring against him. His won-lost record is poor, but the club were in trouble way before he was given the managers job. It is very easy to point fingers and apportion blame – the Chairman, the Board, the manager, the players, the fans, etc, past and present! – but when you sit back and look at it from a distance, I think that each party can carry some of the responsibility for where the club are now, and where they are going.

The important thing is now to look forwards; do our best for the rest of the season; try to win games and finish on a high, even if relegated; make sure supporters renew their season tickets. We do have some good players, and a few of them should still be around next year, so all is not lost. We can build up the club again, even though we are somewhat starting afresh.

The two previous sorties into the third tier have lasted just three and one season each, so we should hope that we can bounce back at the first attempt (just like last time). We do not have to fear any of the clubs we will be playing next season (on the pitch at least), so if we get the team in the right frame of mind (something blatantly missing this season), I expect us to be fine.

Personally, I’ll look forward to adding a few new grounds to my long list of venues where I have seen Charlton play. Those teams visiting the Valley will see it as a chance to shine against the "big boys", much as Championship teams did last year. What we have to do is make sure that The Valley becomes a fortress again, and a place where we win all (or most) of our home games.

It’s a while since we had a really successful season; one where we are genuine contenders from August to May. That’ll be next year then!


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