In November 2006 we sacked Iain Dowie believing that it couldn't get any worse. Seven games later and it was so much worse that the appointment of Alan Pardew was looked upon as both a chance to keep us up (small chance) but a manager that really knew the Championship so would bring us right back up.
Fast forward to November 2008 and we have sacked our manager believing that it can't get any worse.
It's time for me to come clean. I've never liked Alan Pardew. In fact I hated the man. Not that I ever met him, but he was a Palace player. He was also the player that scored that goal that put Liverpool out of the FA Cup in 1989. I always had a soft soft for Liverpool, and I always had a hatred of Palace.
Then he signed for us, and I didn't particularly like him as a player. He seemed like he would drift in and out of games, and never seemed to be too keen on tracking back and would fail to make tackles that I thought he should. He did score some goals for us, and one of them made my all time top ten - Southend at home the day the East stand opened.
I was happy when he left the club. The only departure that I liked as much was Darren Pitcher, but that was because he called me a "F**kin' C**t" in front of my girlfriend at the Player of the Year award do in 1993. I was pleased when I heard that his career had been cut short through injury. Even happier still when I discovered he was working on a building site - the place where calling someone a "F**king C**t" is much more acceptable than at a company dinner in front of one of your most loyal customers, and his girlfriend.
When Pardew turned up at Reading I was a little indifferent as we were a Premier League team, and they were in the third tier of football. When he walked out to go to West Ham I just thought that it showed what sort of a man he was. Also as I hate West Ham with a passion I felt that they were right for each other. I was really in a quandary when West Ham played Palace in the play off final in 2004. On reflection I think I decided that for the good of us it was better to keep West Ham out of the Premier League. It was, however, a bad day in the Kings Hill household.
The following season I was desperate for West Ham to miss out of the play offs as I thought that could dictate a long spell in the second tier of English football for them - their rightful place in my opinion. Sadly he lucked all the way to a victory over Preston. Then a funny thing happened, I started to admire his press conferences during West Ham's FA Cup Final season. Clearly I was very happy that they lost to Liverpool. I was, again, far from being his friend when Pardew tried to sign Luke Young. Rumour was that it was his medical that stopped it. This was after he'd taken Paul Konchesky for a mere £2.5m the summer before.
When he was sacked from West Ham I suspected that they would get out of trouble. It was clear that, for whatever reason, Pardew was completely out of his depth. What Curbishley achieved there was a miracle, one which I think makes the way they treated him seem even more disgusting.
To be fair, when he came in to 'save' us I was probably pleased. Mainly because we had become a laughing stock. For obvious reasons - we had sacked their mate - the presenters on the tele hated us, and Les Reed came across so, so badly that Pardew was a huge improvement.
Now, looking back, it would seem as though all he actually achieved was a little bounce in his first half dozen games. Despite his assertions that he was very good at buying players, he has failed miserably with the ones he has bought for us. He failed to keep us up. I know it was a tough ask, but the worst that could have happened was that we went down, and that is exactly what happened. I don't blame him for it, but we cannot praise him either. We didn't even finish third from bottom, which, on reflection, might be worth millions of pounds courtesy of West Ham and Carlos Tevez.
Last season we started the campaign with arguably the best squad in the division. We spent loads of money (for a tier two team) then went on to loan four players from Premier league sides and still managed to finish eleventh.
The last chapter in this 'Thank You' to Alan Pardew is that The Sun is reporting today that he had a clause in his contract that guaranteed him £1m within 12 days of being sacked. It is ironic that Parkinson was brought in on the basis that if/when Pardew went off to manage Man Utd or England we would have a replacement in place to carry on the good work. It would seem, however, that despite his arrogance (it's much more than confidence) he thought it necessary to ensure that if he turned out to be rubbish he would be guaranteed a pay off. I am, of course, assuming that there is some truth in this story, if there is not then I apologise, in advance, for any upset that I might have caused the man that has single handed destroyed the one thing that I love the most (outside of my family).
When Dowie was sacked I was hopeful that a new manager would give us a lift, and enable us to climb out of trouble. Les Reed's first interview confirmed that he was not the man to do it. He claimed that after seeing us spanked by Reading he now had an idea where the problems were.
So we are here again. Phil Parkinson says that "Now is the time to roll our sleeves up and come out fighting". I'm not suggesting that he should have said anything else, but it sounds a bit like what Pardew has been saying. To be fair he has admitted that we are in a relegation dogfight rather then mentioning how close we are to sixth place, but I worry that if we lose the next two games, Southampton being the important one, we could well be tailed off in the bottom three and that could be too much for our squad to make up with literally no confidence at all.
So this is a crucial time for us. I believe that Parkinson is probably a good manager, but I suspect that this is not the time for him to be in charge at Charlton. It is not my call, nor is it my money, but I think that the sooner we get in a permanent replacement the more likely we will be to get out of trouble. I'm not too worried about a relegation fight, I think we have too many players in their comfort zone, financially, for the battle, but the overall quality in a few (limited) areas should be enough for us to claw out enough points to finish above Doncaster, Forrest and one other side. However, if we slip to six, or heaven forbid, nine points behind safety we could be in the same position as when Pardew arrived.
I have thought for a long time that Pardew wasn't going to get us promoted, so he had failed in his job description, but until he was relieved of his duties I didn't really think that much about what came next. The squad needs, in my view, a lot more than minor surgery. I think we have, due to our recent Premier League years, granted contracts on much more attractive terms than we should have done. I have no inside information, but I would guess that Varney, McLeod, Gray, Hudson, Fortune, ZZ, Sam, Weaver, Todorov and Holland are all earning much more than the division's average. The last two in that list were offered one year extensions last summer, and are probably not going to be here next season. I doubt that we would be able to find another club that would be willing to pay us what we laid out for them, and in the case of McLeod and Varney (and Sinclair for that matter) they are probably only good enough for the division below us, where their salaries would be obscene. I hope these players can prove me wrong, but I just don't see it happening.
Add in the fact that ZZ and Fortune can leave for free in the summer, and sign contracts in advance of that on 1st January, and it does paint a bleak picture for the new manager. Thus you would expect any new man to demand a 'sacking' clause that guarantees him compensation for the damage to his reputation if he comes in and we go down, lose our better players for nothing, and sell the rest to pay for the high wages of players that we can't offload.
Despite my optimism in recent weeks the reality, that I may have accepted a little later than most, is that we are in a real mess.
Right now I'd take forth from bottom in the second division and 10,000 season ticket sales in the summer. I wouldn't have considered that two years ago. I wouldn't have even considered considering it two years ago.
I hope that Phil Parkinson can turn things around. Sadly we need stability, but in the short term we need results. Without results Parkinson will not be given long enough to build stability. So either he gets lucky and we start winning against all the odds, or he becomes another causality of the Pardew 'Boom and Bust' philosophy.
Good luck Mr Parkinson, you are going to need it.
Up the Addicks!