Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow Good

While November was a joyous month on the Addicks front, December has been anything but. The triple pronged attack on the league plus the two remaining cup competitions has faltered, and badly, and now it does seem that a major rebuilding exercise in confidence may be required, if not amongst the players, then amongst the fans.

How much any of this is to do with the due diligence currently nearing completion prior to any takeover is unknown, but we have seen in the past that such talk, and close proximity to potential upheaval, can be detrimental to team spirit and fans expectations. The fans can dream of course, but why for the players though, I’m not sure, as I doubt many of this team are going to be more uncertain of their places after Xmas than they are already – we are unlikely to be spending that heavily and bringing in a completely new squad, despite supporters hopes! The takeover is due to complete, barring unforeseen circumstances, on this Friday, and amazingly we have yet to find any evidence of who is actually stumping up the money to buy the club from Richard Murray. Plenty of unfounded rumours persist, with the usual suspects currently mentioned (usually magnates from USA, Russia or the Middle East), but one name does seem to be cropping up as part of the consortium quite a bit just now and that is Dennis Wise. I’m no fan of this “little shit”, as I am fond of calling him, ever since he simulated copulation on the back of John Humphrey in the final game of 1985/6 season when playing for Wimbledon. He gets up people’s noses, and doesn’t smell nice. He may be the saviour of our club (in the short-term) but I very much doubt you will find me liking him if ever our paths cross. I hope that the rumours of his involvement are unfounded in this respect, as I really wouldn’t like him associated with our club, and the hope of getting a taxi home from SE7 would diminish. He would not be one of the money men either - he didn’t make a massive fortune from playing and neither would his managerial career have given him that large a pension – so one can only presume that he would want to install himself in some (maybe senior) managerial capacity (but without responsibility for results as he would never be to blame…). This would immediately put any incumbent coach under pressure, and would inevitably end in failure I feel. Hopefully, this will never come to fruition and our new board will be free of Wise and his cronies.

On the playing side, the results have turned as cold as the weather; since my last post, we struggled to get past Luton in the FA Cup second round replay. I missed the game due to a prior commitment, and returned home free of the result hoping to have taped the game; to my dismay, the VCR failed to work and I have still yet to see the goals. The performance was not one that impressed many Addick fans sadly, and after falling behind in the first half, an equaliser from the head of Scott Wagstaff did ease tensions just before half time. Their better fitness then conspired for Charlton to add further goals from Joe Anyinsah and a deflected free kick from Johnnie Jackson for a comfortable-looking (but anything but) 3-1 win. The win was important, as it gives the club an opportunity to make a little money from an away tie at Spurs in the next round. The idea that our cup run may go any further beggars belief currently, and Harry may be thinking that he can use it as a showcase for a lot of reserve players who need a game before being sold in the January transfer window; I’m sure whatever side he puts out will be way too strong for this current Charlton team sadly. I suppose we can dream of a draw, and more revenue from a replay, but the idea of Defoe, Keane, Crouch, and Pavlyachenko, let alone Lennon, Modric and Krancjar, failing to score a few past Robbie Elliot is not a dream I can entertain (being a realist).

The Luton replay, thanks to TV requirements, came just three days before the next league game, and the players who took the field against Walsall did look very weary. Aside an early volley from Wagstaff, not much happened in the first half, and the second, despite two half time substitutions, was even worse. Marco Van Benson missed his only opportunity, and eventually the goal that the possession Walsall had deserved finally came. There was little apparent effort to salvage something, and the “Big One” was in the bag. I don’t know what price bottom-of-the-table Walsall had been at the bookies to win the match against a side sitting second and unbeaten in eleven games (maybe 6-1?), but I’m sure someone made a killing somewhere (Essex maybe?).

The bad news didn’t end there, as just two days later the club crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi final (southern section); this competition, however minimal, does provide clubs such as ours with the only realistic chance of winning a cup final at Wembley. It was sad then to see the players perform little better than they had done the previous weekend, despite six changes to the team. Benson was given a rest until late in the game, as was Anyinsah and Jackson, and after a couple of good saves by Elliot, and some poor Brentford finishing, the lottery that is a penalty shoot-out was once more before us. Brentford, of course, had seen plenty of practise having been in five other shoot outs this season alone, while Charlton just had that awful memory of losing to Swindon last May in the back of their minds. It is no surprise therefore that Charlton lost, but the manner, with the home ‘keeper saving the first three Charlton kicks was bizarre to say the least. Lee saved from Jackson (blasting another penalty straight down the middle), Therry Racon, and finally Kyel Reid, who at least made him move toward the ball. Elliot made one save in return but the inevitable happened and the loss was registered. It was a game that Charlton should have been up for, but they weren’t; the negativity creeping into the club again.

Last Saturday’s game at Hartlepool went the same way that the Rochdale game did at the start of December – an early call-off due to the severe weather gripping the UK, and Charlton head into the Xmas period sitting in fourth place in the table. Once the Spurs game is out of the way, we will only have the league to concentrate our minds on and the hope is that without distraction, we can improve our form and move higher in the table.

Whether the take-over allows for any new signings I don’t know. It is probably fair to say that few, if any, Charlton players will be approached with a view to a transfer elsewhere, and there seems no real need to sell anyone at this stage. The players whose contracts end next summer may well be in the spotlight (Racon, Jose Semedo, Kelly Youga, etc), but even if they are not going to stay at The Valley beyond season end, there seems little likelihood of an offer that would want us to part with them now being placed on the table. Phil Parkinson’s squad was built back in August with the mind to take us all the way through to the end of the season, and from where we are now, he is just about in the right place. The only issue is the football the team are playing, which really is poor considering how high up in the table we are. It’s not too negative, or boring, just poor; little apparent purpose much of the time, and an over-reliance on the other team making more mistakes than we do. Hence us scraping one goal wins over much of the first half of the season.

If Parky could get some confidence into the team, and get them playing with the spirit which he confirms surrounds the club, then we may be able to go forward with hope. But despair sits with us currently, and that is never a good accompaniment for Xmas spirit! We don’t have to worry about Pardew coming to spoil our Boxing Day this year, but can we get a result against a dangerous Southampton team? Can we follow up that game with good performances at high-flying Brighton and Colchester? Will we have any legs left to play against Swindon in the first home game of 2011? Or will our minds be focussing on the match coming up in north London?

If Mr Wise does come to SE7, these five games may be all he needs to feel that Parky isn’t his man. You have been warned.

Happy Xmas to all readers of this blog, Charlton fans or otherwise, and of course, to Dennis Wise.


Good to see you back again making an interesting post as always. I am no fan of Dennis Wise, but if it is him or administration ...
Cheers Pedro - interesting review. I'd forgotten of lot of what happened in December due to that pesky snow!

Have a good xmas.

Pembury Addick
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Charlton Athletic Online!

powered by Bloglet
Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Custom Search