Friday, 3 October 2008

Next... Ipswich at home

Following the events of the last nine months I have little enthusiasm for Charlton right now. As I mentioned after the game at Palace I now have major concerns for our short term future. The board have backed Pardew - although they gave an interview on Sky Sports News on a Thursday saying that Les Reed would be staying then sacked him on the Sunday.

I fear that we (I won't blame Pardew exclusively) have lost all of our competitive advantage. I'm not talking about the playing side either.

In the summer of 2006 we were an established Premier League side with a good, if not outstanding, squad of players and with some £11m to spend to strengthen.

In November 2006 we were a struggling side in the Premier League that changed the manager just as a precaution as it was thought that we could end up in a relegation scrap.

In December 2006 we were in a relegation scrap and we changed the manager again, this time for a man that had a good track record with two promotions, two further playoffs, a ninth placed finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final on his cv.

By Spring 2007 we were out of the bottom three and we had a chance of escaping the dreaded relegation.

In May 2007 we were relegated at home to Spurs.

At this point I was disappointed but accepted the inevitable. We had been in the Premier League for seven straight seasons, and even though we were going down we did so in a much, much stronger position than the last time we did so.

In the summer of 2007 we had several Premier League Players, money in the bank and two years of the £11m a year parachute payments to get out of the division.

In January 2008 we were close to the top two and had been in the top six for just about the whole season to date.

In May 2008 we fail to make the playoffs.

In the summer of 2008 the board decide to cut costs and raise some capital.

In October 2008 we have ten points from the first nine games. We are ten points behind the team in second place, we are four points behind the team in sixth and we are only three points above the team third from bottom. We have won nine of our last thirty-four league games.

It is no surprise that I am feeling disillusioned. Pardew needs to achieve what he has failed to do since that FA Cup Final in May 2006 in order to rack up enough points for us to be promoted this season. I just can't see it happening.

That being the case we need to adjust, again, our budgets for next season with £11m less in tv revenue plus what ever the difference is between what we managed to get for season tickets this season and what we will get next season. I really cannot be bothered to get in to a guessing game about that, but the free season ticket offer was a bit of an insult this summer as the board failed to mention that they intended to raise £5m in sales and reduce the wage bill by £3m. They would be taking the micky if they offered it again, but either way it would be about as valuable as a free lottery ticket. Yes you can win a couple of million pounds, but you won't.

So we need to reduce our costs by at least £11m. This could be offset by selling players except that most of the players worth much have contracts that finish in June so can leave for free in the summer. So if we raise another £5m (sell ZZ and Fortune in January) then sell Hudson, Bailey, Varney and Gray in the summer, we only need to cut costs by £6m.

Sadly if we sell ZZ and Fortune in January with Primus and Craine going back to Portsmouth we are likely to fall into League 1.

You can see why I'm feeling a bit low about all things Charlton can't you?

Ipswich play the game the way I like to see it played (I think they pretty much always have) and last season was a near perfect one from my perspective. OK their results on the road were poor but they won just about every game at home. That is what I would love to see, us taking all and sundry apart at The Valley. Getting up in the morning knowing that whom ever was coming to Fortress Valley was going home with nothing.

This season Ipswich have not had a great start. They, like us, are hoping to make it into the top six and then 'sneak' into the Premier League via the playoffs. Unlike us, however, they are not in free fall if they don't make it.

As part of the competitive advantage I believe we have lost we no longer have the pull to attract players to come here. I know we were a Premier League club recently, but any player or agent will know that we are not looking like getting back there any time soon. This could explain why Pardew is staying. Who else would take us on right now? We have a poorly performing squad (9 in 34); we have no money to spend on players; we need to sell just about everything that is not screwed down before the 2009/10 season starts; and just to show that I am not biased against the club, I should also mention that we have a nucleus of fans that demand success or they will turn their anger (booing) on the players, manager and soon the board.

I can honestly say that I don't remember ever feeling as fed up with football - and Charlton in particular - as I do right now. I'm not looking to place blame, it is the result of a succession of circumstances and it doesn't really matter who's fault it is.

I believe that we will lose tomorrow - why shouldn't I? We have lost the last two against teams that were below us in the table and ono a terrible run, and if you look at our results since we beat Reading we have lost four and won and drawn against the teams that are 22nd and 24th in the table.

I called the club yesterday to purchase a season ticket for my son. He might not come to all the games but it would ensure that his seat (the one next to mine) is safe. They wanted the full price for the rest of the season. They wouldn't even do anything about the £10 I paid last week. They did tell me that the price would be reduced from £99 to £74 after Ipswich. They wouldn't even sell me the season ticket for £84 this week for the rest of the season. Still they did agree to charge me £1 for booking the ticket even though they won't post it out (the game is tomorrow). Staggering! Probably saves me some money though as if we do lose tomorrow (likely) I won't bother buying the ticket at all. Something tells me that we will have no trouble getting three tickets together next season.

Maybe I'm venting my anger in the wrong direction, but whom ever is to blame I really don't think it's me, yet I seem to be suffering.

Pedro45 thinks it's time for Pardew to go. I've yet to see anything to convince me that he is wrong, but I did say that I'd give him until at least Christmas. I would, however, suggest that the board need to draw up a plan now for what happens if that are forced to make the decision for him.

Sorry I can't be more optimistic, but they do say that it's darkest just before dawn.

Up the Addicks!


Anonymous said...

Wish I could argue KHA - but I can't.

Can't think of anything positive to say either.

Had we been in the lower half of the Championship in 1997, I would have been OK about. I was just glad to be back at the Valley. But having tasted so much relative success since then, the whole situation now seems such a backward step.

Pembury Addick

Daggs said...

You've been very quiet since writing this piece KHA. Perhaps you've been away. Well! if you're back now, there's a whole lot more to write about.
Are we happy about a Dubai takeover? or are we worried?
I just don't know what to make of it!