Tuesday, 28 February 2017

...Chose the wrong time to 'get back in the game'...

Following on from my return to The Valley on Saturday and another disastrous result. You score three goals away from home you really should be bitterly dissapointed to not be taking anything away from the game.

I feel for the excellent Ricky Holmes, far to good a player for both Northampton and Charlton (under RD's stewardship).

I'd been prepared to give Karl Robinson the benefit of the doubt, but having read his post match comments this morning have to agree with some other of my fellow bloggers, the phrase 'he's got more waffle than Belguim' springs to mind.

The stark reality is that unless this run of poor form is turned around we could see ourselves bang in the middle of the relegation carve up by the end of March.

Charlton supporters have spent the last 30 years fighting for the club's future at various points, both intelligently and successfully,  let's hope those making the trip to Belguim have more success than Big Karl has of late.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

...Customer satisfaction - mmmmm?

So the I have now experienced Charlton Athletic circa 2016-2017 under the Duchalet regime.

The day started with me and my boy enjoying a couple of decent pints of beer for me and then a couple of cokes for the boy with two packets of crisps and all for less than a tenner in my local 'Spoons'.

Then we hit the ground. I've always been in the West or East Stands (or the East Terrace back in the day) so elected to go in the family stand for a change. Co joined to the North Stand for refreshments.

Prior to going into the stadium we popped into Crossbars for a pre match drink. To be honest the staff were friendly and helpful (as you would expect), and there was no techno house dj which disappointed me a tad. (Not). A choice of Fosters or Heineken was uninspiring (Bartrams served Amstel last season which was a decent pint).

The catering area behind the North Stand offered a better atmosphere than that I've experienced in the West Stand for many years.  I bought my boy the most stagnant pitiful tray of chips for £3 and had a chicken balti pie for myself. (I do love a balti pie).

Then up into the stadium itself.  A decent little area, good enough view.

The atmosphere itself was what really struck me. Nothing as negative as I'd experienced last season. I was surprised by the complete lack of 'we want Roland out' songs. There's a film you may have seen, day of the dead, where a bunch of survivors escape to a shopping mall which isd by zombies.  The apparent reason the zombies all congregated at the mall is that it had been such a important hub and part of there life before they were zombified they just found themselves drawn back there. It kind of reminded me of that today.

The game itself, and performance gave me more concern than anything else. On the face of it we have some very good players. You'll excuse my lack of current playing staff knowledge but it comes from my detachment from the club over the last few months and the fact that today was the first time I've ever seen them.

Holmes and the young kid from Arsenal were a cut above the rest. The real problem for me today was despite some of the talent within the squad there just looked to be absolutely no cohesion.  It was like watching a bunch of footballer in a ore season friendly who hardly new each other.

It's not panic stations yet, but we are only eight points off of the relegations places and having lost at home to both Oxford and Bury I can't see us taking anything away to Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.

That eight point gap could disappear quicker than you'd imagine and we could end up doing a Portsmouth and finding ourselves in the fourth tier of the league for the first time in our history.

Karl 'Manager' Robinson could be forgiven for being worried about his position with RD's track record. Looks likely that we will come out of February winless. Other Managers under this regime have been given their P45 for less. They played an interview with him on the big screen before the game. I could hardly understand a bloody word! Maybe it's the team talks that are the problems? Who knows?

I will be back for the rest of the season however, as one of the afflicted. Despite everything else it was good to be back in the new old routine.

Friday, 24 February 2017

...'The Customer Experience'

My plans to visit the Valley for the Fleetwood game didn't transpire at the beginning of the month.

However following my decision to step away from managing my Son's junior football team (it's not the children, it's some of the parents that seem to suck the fun out of kids football, but that's a completely different story) I now find myself with a lot more time on my hands at the weekend for all of my family and dare I say it? for Charlton.

My Dad first took me to The Valley in 1981 and I've been hooked ever since.  My Son started coming with me and his Nan during the promotion season and was even a match day mascot not long before Duchalet bought the club and began to quite royally bollocks things up.

At the end of last season we decided as a collective not to renew our season tickets and haven't been to The Valley since.

The atmosphere by the end of last season had become pretty horrible.  I've heard and read of further division between Charlton supporters over the course of this season.

Despite all of this I find myself pulled back to the club.

This is for two reasons really. One, apathy aside (something that has afflicted my historical love for the club over recent monthes), regardless of results for some reason I want to walk up the stairs and out into the stadium, looking at the pitch and the vastness of the Valley (albeit quite empty these days.)  The anticipation before kick off, a few beers with people I've not seen for far to long.  And two, to ensure the legacy of Charlton supporters continues within my family.  Duchalet is 70 years old now - so blatantly won't be around for ever.  The idea of my Son becoming a Chelsea/Arsenal/Spurs plastic does not appeal to me at all.

With the exception of the heady premiership years and our briefer spell in the old first division in the late eighties we have always been a second/third tier club (mainly second) during my time as a supporter.  So I don't see why my boy can't enjoy that in the same way I did throughout much of the eighties and nineties.

We are going to try a stand we've not been in before and I have undertaken, that whatever the result, we will be supporting the team, reconnecting with some old and making some new football friends for the rest of this season.

I will be interested to see what the 'match day experience' has become like, and will try and report how I viewed it after the game.