Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Rochdale 2 Charlton 0 - Whatever next? (Two more points, i hope!)

So another bitterly disappointing result throws up numerous questions. One being can we get, what I think is, the required 52 points to ensure the ultimate humiliation of YET ANOTHER relegation is avoided.

Looking at the current form table (of which we are second bottom) if we carry on the form of the last six games, and so do all of the teams around us we should get ourselves onto 52 points (depressing I know, that would mean no more wins) which would leave us in 19th ahead of Wallsall, Oldham, Notts County, Bristol City and Swindon Town. Good times! But below Yeovil Hartlepool, Dagenham, Plymouth, Tranmere and Sheffield Wednesday. Bad Times!

The problem with using the 'form book' for guidance is that things don't always run to form. A win against Leyton Orient at the weekend should almost certainly be enough to see us retain our third division status, so I'm hoping we can pull off what would now be viewed as an upset. Leyton Orient got hammered at home last week to fellow mid table rivals Yeovil, and will be looking to bounce back.  I hope to see a real blood and guts death or glory performance from the boys on Saturday. (might be a good idea not to hold my breath on that one then!)

It will be interesting if things don't turn on Saturday to see what the next action/reaction will be of Messrs Jiminez and Slater.  However much I admire Sit Chris, I just can't help but feel the current management team just haven't got the dressing room on side. Lets hope, if they are to be persevered with, they can get the required points to keep us up, and get the right turnover of playing staff in the Summer to give us some entertainment (and points) next season rather than the lacklustre dross we have been treated to so far.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Rochdale v Charlton Preview

So our first visit to Rochdale since 1974. 37 years.

On our last visit we drew 1-1 in the old third division. (This was during our last three season stay in this division)

On the face of it a closely matched contest should be on the cards. Rochdale with a slightly better overall record this season as far as points per game ratio, but only marginal.

What I think really goes in our favour is current form. Rochdale have won their last three, without conceding a goal (two of which were away from Spotlands), we as we all know have been on a monumentally bad run of ten games without a win. In fact our last win came at home to Peterborough back on the 12th February.

My logic is based on our last two performances. Draws against play off contenders Southampton and Bournemouth, where we fought as a team to avoid defeat and try to win the games. (showing the sort of spirit that has been really lacking of late). This coupled with the fact that every bad run HAS to come to an end at some point. And I think that this is about time. Very scientific there then in my punditry!

Come on you Reds!!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

What price loyalty?

So the nineteen year old 'maybe' wonder kid looks like moving on to bigger and better reserve team football.

I'm not disappointed that he has aspirations (or misguided delusions of grandeur), just disappointed that in the few games he has aquitted himself so well for us he feels spending the next four years as an understudy several places down in the pecking order at Manchester or Islington, followed by being farmed out on loan back in the division he started in (a bit like our new boy from Spurs) is a good career move. I suppose the money for being a premiership prodigy/stiff must be better than a third tier first teamer.

To be fair, now Solly seems to be well on his way back and a more experienced and rounded option, perhaps he see's his first team chances as limited?

Once he's gone, I wish him luck. He'll need it to usurp those in front of him.

Ta ta Carl.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A fantastic 1-1 victory !!!

So a victorious one all home draw.

Unlike the last draw and the run of four wins last nights game actually gave me some hope. (This on the back of the much talked about 'personal' letter from Mr Slater.

What really struck me was the positive effect the incoming players have begun to make, the body language they all brought with them and tried to infect their team mates with.

Solly, Llearra, Perret, Beesone all seemed to want to take the night by the scruff of the neck and make sure no heads dropped and every one stayed on their game. And to be fair they really carried it off.  There was still some of the internal finger pointing from players when things were not going right during the game, but on the whole a massive improvement on anything I can remember for some time.  The trick will be building on this confidence and carrying it into the next couple of games and getting the six points needed to lift us away from the bottom half of the table and catapult us into the realms of also rans. (A place that I now will be more than happy with - providing we keep trying as hard as last night).

Worner did really well when called upon, Dailly looked up for it.  Despite getting constant barracking from my part of the stand, BWP did what he does. Poached a goal. But that's his game, he's obviously good at it and I say just as well!

Waggy unfortunately still seems a former shadow of himself and I think the time really has come for Ecclestone to get a run on the right.

All in all it was great to see some fight back in the side and a return to the old 'plucky charlton' of yesteryear.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Daggers 2 Charlton 1 plus Southampton preview

Two for the price of one! Well three infact.

Daggers 2 Charlton 1
We lost again. Chris Powell wore a  hat and a track suit.

Charlton v Southampton Preview
I am going and taking one of my kids to her first evening game. (Poor soul).  I really hope we don't get to see a Southampton goal fest at our expense and further embarrassment. 0-0.

There's been alot of talk about this being Charlton's worst ever team of players.  I had intended  trying to dispel this growing myth by like for like finding someone worst in each position. (Through memory not with any reference books). But actually found it in a lot of positions harder than anticipated. (A worry!)

I'm going to have to satisfy myself by singling out, periodically, the odd player who was truly woeful.

Funnily Bad Addicks #1
Ralph Milne

A massive signing for us at the time. The short fat guy had tasted European success with Dundee United and was very very highly rated.  I remember his debut at Selhurst.  It looked like Lennie had found himself a man short of a starting eleven ten minutes before the game and just grabbed the pot man from the local spit and sawdust pub.  It was like watching a rather immobile slug creeping up and down the wing.  The best bit was he didn't even have boots and was wearing a pair of trainers during the game.  This was followed by being in front of goal at Wembley, plenty of time to slip it past the Blackburn keeper, then skillfully turning on a sixpence and passing the ball out of the penalty area to Steve Gritt who had an army of Blackburn defenders between him and the goal. (This memory may be a bit inaccurate, as at the time I thought the Full Members Cup Final was as good as it was ever going to ge and was quite disctraught). Ironically Ralph went onto Man Utd via Bristol City and scored the winner in a one nil defeat of Charlton.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Daggers v Charlton Nil Preview

The outcome of Charlton games are fast becoming as easy as it is to predict how the UK will do in the Euro vision song contest these days. (IE. Nil Points!)

A daunting trip to Essex to play a team that are in a pretty decent run of form compared to our own current losing streak. Avoiding defeat in four out of the last six games and dragging themselves back up into contention to escape relegation Dagenham will be feeling confident with the home advantage and our now consistently poor form.

Benson is suspended so we can't rely on the old boy returning to score hoodoo that so often happens.

I really have no idea how we are going to get on tomorrow. A team lacking in belief and confidence against a team fighting for their lives in the division.  I'd really like to see Powell try something truly ambitious in his team selection and tactics and give us a sign of what may come next season once he has re built the side.

I hear there is a good chance of Ansyiah being back at last.  A player I think we have really missed. If so I'd like to see him a bwp up front.  In defence i have heard that Doherty is ready to come back.  To be honest I think Llera should keep the place he has fought so hard for when given his chance. And I'd quite like to see the improving Fortune alongside him again.

I'm not going to make a prediction of the score, I'm generally wrong, and I really can't see where our next win will be coming from. I hope we win. Come on you REDS !!!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Home sweet home (or league one as we call it)

This isn't a negative moan, just a bit of honesty as our season slowly (oh so slowly) runs down.

Barring a minor miracle (ie. the players suddenly acquiring a winning mentality) and a championship form winning run in, we need to positively look forward to another season in the third flight of English football.  Last time we spent three season in this division was back between 72-73 and 74-75 getting promoted in the third season. (A good omen there then!)

Looking at the last five seasons in League One it has on average taken 75 points to sneak into the play off's.  In fact the last two season it has needed 80 points to grab 6th spot.

If we win all of our remaining games (including those against Southampton-twice!, Bournemouth, Leyton Orient, Hartlepool and Huddersfield) this would put us on 84 points, which historically would be enough for a play off berth.  That would be twelve consecutive wins, half of which are against fellow promotion hopefuls.  I can't really see that happening.

What's more likely would be for an improvement on the last seven results and, based on our average points per game this season - 1.4, would leave us finishing on 64 points and around 8th or 9th in the table.

It is the reality.  When you look at our form over the course of this season it really was only the good run late October and through November under Parky that has enabled us to reach the position we are now in. (Safe.)

I think now is the time to take an overview of what we have and what we need to launch a consistent and realistic promotion campaign next season.

Management need to decide what system will win most games at this level and start work on bringing in the right personnel to carry it off on the pitch.  I recall Gus Poyet bringing a struggling Brighton side to the Valley last year.  They were not great players, but were well drilled, new their jobs and turned us over.  He then added what he needed and they have romped the division this time round.

We won't get up this year. But we do have the resource, and the support to start again and do the job properly next season.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Not going to do a really in depth report on today's game. If you were there you'll understand why!

I'm going to focus on the positives. It won't take long then.

Solly looked good coming back? Big Mig put in another good performance. (he's actually one of the few who seems to wear the shirt with any pride these days). Not sure whether Nouble was crap or too good for the side. Fry tried hard. And I had a nice pie before the game and got a good parking space. The traffic on the A2 wasn't that bad either!

Charlton v Brentford

This is the sort of game that we seldom do well in. London's lower league teams are beginning to smell blood. And really fancy their chances when they come down to The Valley. Brentford have a pretty decent core away support, so I'm expecting a decentish crowd for today's game.

I've become a wee bit negative about the management team of late. But I really think that given time they will get things together. I think the biggest change needed, which won't happen wholesale until the close season is an injection of playing staff capable of performing with enthusiasm in this division.

The curse of my own pre match predictions seems to indicate that if I tip us for a win we generally do dreadfully. So today's match prediction is Charlton Nil 1 Brentford 89 ; )

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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

MK Dons 2 Charlton Nil 0

Oh dear. Now officially not as good as Leyton Orient or Carlisle United. I didn't go tonight but am guessing we were not unlucky.

Two home games to look forward to now. (and I will go). Be interesting to see what the new owners do next. Still at least we are not as bad as Barnett (yet).

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Monday, 7 March 2011

MK Dons v Charlton Preview

I grew up spending summer holidays visiting family up in good new Milton Keynes as a kid. They did actually have a football team pre Franchise, Milton Keynes Borough whom I watched on occasion during these trips. My Mums family lived in a small village called North Crawley, where most of the football following inhabitants supported Ipswich or Cambridge United (both a good hour away) for some odd reason, rather than Northampton who are just one junction up the M1. I even bumped into an old colleague who used to be a Luton season ticket holder and now regularly attends the grandly named stadiummk.

I think what I'm trying to get across is that the Newtown of Milton Keynes stands for everything that is shite about modern day football. And I hope we stuff them.

Tomorrow nights game is much much more than a six pointer. It really has to be viewed as the beginning of the recovery of Charlton. Regardless of whether we can sneak into the play offs or not, I think the rebuilding of the team/club really needs to start here. The focus since Curbs departure and subsequent relegation has been firmly based on 'getting the club back where it belongs' ie. The Premiership. I think quite a few have missed the point here. We won two promotions to the premiership, and gained the ial title of 'the model run club', because we had a manager who was astute, cautious and sensible in the way he managed us. The recent preoccupation with getting the club back to where it belongs, has done exactly the opposite, in my opinion, and held us back. Knee jerk decisions have been made, and a succession of managers have come and gone. It took Curbishley 8 years to finally get us up and stay up in the top flight. Such luxury of patience all of his successors to date have not appreciated.

I've been a bit negative about Sir Chris so far. The whole team seem to have lost confidence. I think this is more to do with expectation levels than anything else. Chris will get this right, of that I'm certain. The squad assembled by Parky, to be fair on a shoestring, overachieved early this season. I think we will win tomorrow night. What I look forward to is the summer when Mr Powell can actually start to put his own team together and we can then take this division by storm!

Franchise 0 Charlton 3

Friday, 4 March 2011

Charlton v Tranmere Preview

Post on post, I'm finding it difficult to find anything enthusiastic or different to say in game previews.

I don't know about anyone else but recently the cheer when we score to go in front never feels that genuine as I find myself just waiting for our eventual capitulation.

Right I must now try to be positive.  Sir Chris's team selection for this Saturdays home game, will I think be quite fascinating.  And he is being presenting with some interesting forced decisions.

In the defence, Doherty is injured (great news in my opinion as he has not been up to scratch in recent games).  The question is who comes in to partner Dailly?  Fortune did not look at all bothered when he came on as sub on Tuesday night, no passion and I got the impression he was 'going through the paces' and nothing more.  When Llera first joined the club I thought he did really well.  A few poor games and then he really seemed to fall out of favour, not actually getting a chance.  I'd quite like to see him given another go.  He can pass the ball, and provides a real aerial threat when he pushes up for set pieces.  I think Jenkinson deserves another go, other than being a bit of a slow starter and looking nervous early on in games. When he sets his mind to it he seems to have real potential.

The midfield offers the biggest question mark.  As a unit it has been so unaffective in joining up the play from back to front both defensively and creatively. Semedo and Jackson on good day work well in the centre and left respectively. The right and other central birth are real problems for us. McCormack, for all his charging around and grimacing isn't up to much, and both Reid and Wagstaff of late have been shadows of their former selves.  I don't know enough about some of our younger fringe prospects, but perhaps now is the time to take a chance on a couple of them?

We have two more loans aloud.  I really hope we see a good midfielder who can hold and distribute brought into the fray, and a twenty something central defender who has the speed and stamina that Dailly and Doherty (team saga) don't posses.

Oddly I'm not as concerned with our forward line. (Well not now Pawell's gone anyway).

Anysiha is a great player. (I know he's injured but should be back soon).  BWP can score goals, as can Benson, who is hard working and with confidence a decent striker in this division.

It will only take a couple of players to pull the team back together, and only one good (good, not lucky) win to reinstall the confidence and sense of team that has been lacking on and off all season.

I'm going for tomorrow as a new beginning. Charlton 3 Tranmere 0 (PLEASE!!!)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Three games played, nine points dropped...

I don't want to be negative. I'm not going to be negative. But I am going to be (begrudgingly) honest.

We've seen four back to back wins (albeit riding our luck frequently) followed by four back to back defeats now. I've just got home from tonight's game against an, at best average, Carlisle side.

Several things have now become apparent.

Scotty Wagstaff is completely not comfortable playing up front. Carl Jenkinson will grow into a very good fullback. I can now see why Kyle Reid was 'let go' by Sheffield United (bad attitude and application when things doesn't come easily). Gary Doherty, whom i admire and had a goodish start to the season, is now to old and losing his defensive brain along with his legs. Christian Dailly shows none of the tenacity and 'growling' qualities he had back in the day when he was playing for Scotland.

Our midfield once again did not look in anyway solid. BWP may have chipped in with regular goals, but like Reid, his attitude when things aren't going our way, lacks that ability to role sleeves up and get on with it, without pouting and wiggling his head in a negative fashion. Ecclestone has bucket loads of potential, negated by his childish attitude (see BWP).

Unlike, the growing number, of teams that have come down to the Valley, and turned us over this season, we simply do not look threatening going forward. It's more a case of whose going to give the ball away, than here comes the goal!

And the most worrying, and i apologise for this, heartbreaking thing, is the management teams seemingly complete lack of 1. Confidence, 2. Cohesive/togetherness(Powell and Dyer at opposite ends of the dugout writing frantic notes on seperate bits of paper, not in the spirit of collaboration me thinks) 3.Idea of what to change if things aren't going our way (rather than what is becoming a bit of a sad theatrical posturing of  'I really do not understand why we are not three nil up yet?', 'i'd better unconvincingly kick something in frustration'.

There i've finally 'come out' and said it. On the face of it, blips aside, our average points, consistency, starting line up and formation were better under Parkinson.

The knee jerk decision of our new board to sack him and then replace him with an inexperienced Charlton legend (and whatever transpires, he will always be a legend), just to appease the fans because all the other 'mmm factor' appointments would had not come off, i think was perhaps a little indulgent and overstated in some cynical need to be accepted by the supporters.

Over decisive direct action (Parkinsons sacking) needs to be followed by decisive and positive action. (I really believe that Chris Powell can become a great manager, but perhaps he needs a bit more than Dyer as his assistant and Peacocks arm around him at half time). Get Peacock directly involved on the bench and in the coaching set up. If the board don't do anything then the reality is that we all will have to endure, at least, another season in the third division, shit football (i can suffer that if the shit players in questionactually apply themselves and try to earn their money, and shit ref's).