Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Charlton 1 - 0 Stoke


I just hate teams that come to The Valley and time waste.

I just hate teams that play a tough, hard, aggressive style that aims to intimidate their opposition to either shy away or change the way they play to their disadvantage.

I just hate Stoke!

Not for any reason that is a secret and not because I know any Stoke fans as I don't. I just think that there is a right way to play football and a wrong way. If teams like Stoke, and they are clearly the most successful team in England at the moment that play like they do, are successful it gives out all the wrong signals. Wimbledon in the 1980s managed to achieve the unachievable by 'kick and rush', 'long ball' tactics. Now to be fair they had much better players than they were given credit for, and indeed many of these players went on to have decent careers elsewhere, but they were horrible to watch. I think Gary Lineker summed it up when he suggested that he'd rather watch them on teletext.

Without opening a debate that has been covered to excess I think that if we want our children to become more like Thierry Henry than John Fashanu, more like Zinedine Zidane than Vinnie Jones then teams like Stoke mustn't be successful.

As a split family where my Mother's family come from Liverpool and my Father's come from Sidcup I was devastated when Wimbledon won the FA Cup Final in 1987. Back in those days there was no Sky tv (shock, horror) and you could have a proper team (Charlton) and a top division (or tv) team. My tv team was Liverpool (Mum's team). There was - please indulge me - a strange conversation I had with my Dad in the 1986/87 season when he suggested that he wasn't sure who I'd be supporting when the Double Winners from the previous season came to Selhurst Park. I'd not thought about it before, but that was a landmark in the life of the Kings Hill Addick. From that day forward I didn't have a tv club anymore.

Anyway I digress. Stoke City. The more of the game I saw, the more I wanted to beat them. The fact that my Dad had been away when we played Blackpool so hadn't see us win at home since December the 8th would have been enough, but the more of the bruisers I saw the more I needed to beat them. Now I have nothing against teams playing to their strengths, and to be fair to them that's exactly what they do. If they were to gain promotion they would get their bottoms kicked every week, but clearly this division is not good enough to do that. It would also send out a message to other teams with limited players that the 'Holy Grail' is achievable if you adopt his style. We thought the quality of football under Curbs towards the end was poor? This was painful. I can take if from the relegation teams like Colchester, who played much better football by the way, but to be 4th in the league and to play like that?

The longer the game went on the more I needed to beat them, and we did. The tackle on Kelly Youga just before the end was disgraceful. I must confess to admitting that I wish we had more of a 'spoiled child' attitude when we are losing. They clearly don't like to lose, and I can relate to that. However, I read something in the program before kickoff that Pards was suggesting that he wanted his team to play without fear, and I could see that tonight. there were many shots from distance, and most of them were more than credible. We looked the better team for the whole game, save for a few minutes of panic at the end, or was that just me? We did manage, and this was the most pleasing thing apart from the result, to play proper football for the whole game. We looked confident and assured. We looked, for the first time all season, that we could take on these tough teams, play decent passing football, and create many chances. And we won!

Sam scored the goal, a less than difficult chance, but he was there to put it in. I thought he had one of his poorest games, and he hasn't look that great for a few weeks now. I think it might be time to put Ambrose on the right wing and bring back Thomas for a run. With Reid close to fitness it might be that Sam is in line for a little rest. That aside I thought the team were impressive to a man. McCarthy is a different player from the one that earned the nickname 'McCarthorse'. Bougherra was solid and strong, and this against one of the biggest, toughest striking partnerships in the division. Andy Gray showed what he offers that we have been missing, and suggested that he could well be the answer to our problems. but for me Matt Holland epitomised the 'Charlton Spirit'. He is always there looking for the ball, offering an option to the player in possession. He really is a leader and I don't think we can underestimate how important that is.

So, the beautiful game won out. Without looking at stats, not a favourite pass time of mine, I would say that we had many more shots than them, more changes than them, more play/passing than them.

And we scored more goals than them.

1 comment:

StoneMuse said...

Good report, cheers!