Friday, 26 December 2008

Charlton 2 - 2 QPR

After my rant following our defeat at Carrow Road I did some thinking.

Clearly the Charlton fans are split about that the future holds, and about the best way for us to protect it. I have no axe to grind, but I believe, as I did when Pardew left, that we need a new face and a new attitude at the top for us to see any significant change in the fortunes on the pitch.

After today I am convinced that Parkinson is not the answer. For what ever reason the evidence is compelling. We have now lost four and drawn just three of the seven games we have played since he took over. Away from home we have played well and lost once and we have played badly twice. At home we have played well twice and drawn them both (but could have lost one of them) and we have played badly once and then there is today.

The first half today was as inept as I can remember seeing. For their free kick there were at least three people, other than me, that suggested (a nice word under the circumstances) that we should have had a player on the goal line next to the post. It was obvious that we were vulnerable there. Now I have never been a professional footballer, but I'm convinced that it's the job of the management to rehearse set plays. The crime of not 'coaching' the players for that free kick is enough to convince me that we need a new manager.

The rest of the first half did nothing to change my mind.

The second half we were better. We showed, at times, why this squad, with a decent manager, will be able to climb out of trouble. Add ZZ and Racon into the mix and I am confident that we will not be relegated this season. However, I do believe that we need to remove Parkinson and bring in a new face. I would prefer to remove Kinsella from the first team too. In his case it is more to do with wanting to save him from a situation where all the good he did for this club is destroyed by being associated with such a terrible time in the club's fortunes.

There may well be a time for Mark Kinsella, but if it is now he could well end up being remembered in the same was Les Reed is, and that would just be wrong for such a Charlton Legend.

I guess Parkinson will get Sunday's game, but even if we win 5-0 I want him gone. I truly believe that we have enough to get out of trouble, but I also cannot see it all the time there is anything left of the 'Pardew experiment'. Sorry Phil. I'm sure you're a good man, and I'm sure that you love your Mum and everything, but you are not what my club needs. Not right now.

Anyway, as had been said before, I have literally no say in what will happen, but if you've bothered to read this far you are obviously a little bit interested in what I think, and now you know.

As for the game, it was really exciting, but right now the only thing that matters is for us to get a win, and we failed, again. Southampton lost, as did Norwich and Watford, and Doncaster beat Forrest to leave us one win from 4th. This is the best news we could have had. Despite the fact that we are one game from equalling our worst run ever, we are still (potentially) only game from leaving the relegation zone.

Forrest, who have spent two seasons in tier three and are above us have sacked their manager and his number two this evening. Thus the chase is on. I believe that at least one of us will be relegated in May. The outcome of their new management recruitment and out 'strategic review' may well determine which one of us will get out of trouble (if either of us do).

I'd take a draw at Bramall Lane, but I expect us to lose. That is another potential three points. If I were Richard Murray (or whom ever makes the decisions now) I'd make my New Years resolution to be finding a new manager.

Up the Addicks!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Norwich 1 - 0 Charlton

Well that's six games, no wins, two draws, one clean sheet and more than three points from safety.

The time to appoint a replacement was after one or two games. The message being sent out to supporters is that the board have no appetite for the problems that lay ahead. Derek Chappell, who I know very little about, has been on a forum (Charlton Life) and reassured the fans that he is one of us - a fan himself. What he has failed to do is convince me that he has the faintest idea of how to run a football club.

The case for Parkinson is so weak! He was part of the Pardew regime, so that does not go in his favour. Since he came in he has signed three players and sold one. I am not going to criticise him for selling Varney for less than half what we paid for him, but the other three arrived and now cannot get in the starting line up. I know that McEverly has been injured, but I can see no purpose in having two thirty plus players that are clearly well past their best on the bench.

I genuinely believe that Parkinson will be here for the long term, and I also now believe that we will be relegated. There is an argument that we should have left Pardew in the seat if we were going to give Parkinson the freedom to sign three loan players and then keep the job in the face of two points from six games. That equates to 15 points over the course of a season. Pardew had managed 16 when he left after 18 games. It is Les Reed all over again.

I'm going to say that again because I think the historians are going to confirm that this season is almost a carbon copy of our last relegation campaign. We have managed to allow this shortsighted "save a couple of quid on a manager" attitude to cost us massive games against the teams we really need to beat, twice!

By the time Nottingham Forrest come to The Valley in January we will probably need to beat them twice in the same afternoon to catch them. After today Norwich become another team that is more than two wins away from us. On the basis that it has taken us 22 games to chalk up three wins I think that adequately describes just how hopeless our cause is.

I have little more to add, but at some point someone has got to tell those running our club that the next time they dispense with a manager they should have a plan for a replacement. Despite the fact that he was not sacked you could add the same logic to Curbishley's departure. That replacement took several weeks too.

Thankfully, Wolves have managed to beat Doncaster, so we are not actually bottom at Christmas, but it will not make me feel at all festive come Boxing Day. I can honestly say that for the first time for over 20 years I wish we were away on Boxing Day.

I have just about had enough.

On behalf of the Kings Hill Addick household, I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to all fans, bloggers and readers.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Next... Norwich away

Before we played Derby I said that I thought the best we could hope for was a draw. I thought we played well on the night, compared with the opposition, and we were clearly unlucky not to come away with all three points.

On reflection a draw is better than a defeat, and we never looked like losing that game, something that could clearly not be said of the Coventry game.

Thus I am taking a positive approach to the Norwich game this Saturday. Despite our terrible run with no wins, there have been some performances which would normally merit a better result. Both Plymouth away and Derby at home we conceded very, very late goals and if you add in the 3-2 defeat at Birmingham where Weaver made two errors, both that led to goals, our position could be much better right now. Those six points would put us above Norwich and on that basis a draw on Saturday would be a very satisfying result.

As it is we need a win to guarantee that we are not bottom of the table at Christmas. Clearly with Forrest being just one goal better than us and Doncaster two goals worse a win should be enough, but technically we could win and still find ourselves bottom. Having said that we could lose and still climb above Forrest.

I am not sure what the significance of being bottom at Christmas is, and it shouldn't really matter, but there is something about not wanting to sit down to eat my Turkey knowing that we are the lowest of all the teams in the league.

Norwich are beatable. Despite the fact that we haven't won in 13, and the fact the we drew at home to Southampton then went away to play poorly at Blackpool, I'm going to go for a win. If I'm honest I'm not 100% convinced that we will get one, but just in case there is any truth in the suggestion that if you believe it enough it will happen I'm not taking any chances.

We will win. We will win. We will win.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Next... Derby at home

Shall I go, or shall I stay at home and watch it on the tele?

A tough call, but despite paying nearly £50 a month for HD TV and Sky Sports I (we - my Dad and I) have decided to make our way to The Valley.

One of the reasons for this is that we have decided to go to the FA Cup game with Norwich and the web site seems determined not to sell us a ticket.

So we have managed to go 12 games without a win. I haven't checked, but that is probably the worst run since I've been going. It only seems like a few years ago that we won ten straight in the Premier League. I guess that would be because it was only a few years ago.

To be fair the whole world is in a mess. House prices are falling, the pound is falling, equities are falling and last weekend my inflatable Santa Claus fell (blown actually) over. Thus Charlton are in good company to be falling through the leagues at this time. Having said that, the same logic cannot be used for all teams, as some are doing ok. Liverpool and Wolves fans are probably going to have a relaxed Christmas this year. We are not!

Anyhow, Derby County. They managed to win promotion via the play offs and were clearly not ready for the Premier League. They were literally rubbish last season, and I think their problems are down to never equipping themselves to be anything more than a mid table tier two side, and now they are where they ought to be. Sadly their miracle promotion has brought high levels of expectations, and I read that they have debt problems too. I don't know what Paul Jewel earns, but it has been suggested that he will be on his way of they lose tonight. Maybe he will ultimately be on his way to The Valley, but I would think that the soon to be vacant position at Blackburn is likely to offer more money, and is nearer to the part of the world that he hails from.

I have reached the point where I have no confidence in us winning another game - ever. I know that it will happen eventually, but I just cannot see it. The fact that Parkinson has been given at least four games would suggest that the pressure must be off a little bit tonight, and again on Saturday at Norwich. However, I would suggest that two defeats in these games, especially if the performances are poor, would be enough to convince me that we are going down. Strangely if that does happen we might as well give him the job permanently with a target of getting us promoted back to tier two next season. I also think that the next two games will determine our January transfer policy.

I would think that all the players with summer expiring contacts should be sold in January if it looks at all like we are going to fail to avoid the drop. I know that sounds negative, but Fortune, and ZZ are worth a transfer fee, and if that totals £2m, that would make a huge difference in the third tier of English football. If they leave for free, which they almost certainly would do if we are relegated we will receive nothing for them.

Maybe I'm being entirely too negative, but I would rather have one season (or even two seasons) in tier three than risk being there for ever by gambling again on short term success. Particularly with our recent record of short term gambles.

So if I can't see us getting a win, I guess that makes a draw the most likely outcome tonight. On the basis that Derby are in a bad run of form too, it makes it possible. The bottom line is that we need to play much better than we did at home to Coventry and, from what I've read, away to Blackpool.

I am convinced that if they play as a team, and with sufficient effort we have the squad to avoid relegation this season. If the performance is as poor tonight as last week then I would be inclined to start the search for Parkinson's replacement. If, after, five games we have had three well below par performances we should assume that Parkinson is not going to give us anything more than Pardew did before him.

By giving Parkinson until January, however, I think we have effectively given him the job. If he gets us a couple of wins he keeps the job. If he loses all four games there will be no point in making a change, and no one that would take on the job anyway. I'm obviously ignoring anyone that would do anything for the money we would pay. My wife would take the job if you offered her £250k a year (actually she would probably do it for £100k, but you get my point).

I know that the above is little short of drivel, but there is not much more to say at present. We are slowly slipping further and further into trouble as weeks go by. I think the fans have been fantastic in the last two home games, particularly bearing in mind the circumstances. I have never been one of those to boo or sing "You're not fit to wear the shirt", but I am struggling to remember a more disappointing state of affairs on the pitch and frankly, some of the players have looked unfit to represent what I think Charlton Athletic is all about in recent weeks.

Anyhow, we are where we are. Let's get behind the team and see if they can prove me wrong and secure the win that starts the march to safety.

Let's put it this way, I'd take a 1-0.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 8 December 2008

All I want for Christmas... a win!

No seriously, I'm writing to Father Christmas, Jimmy Saville, the tooth fairy and the genie in the lamp to ask for my wish to be fixed for me.

If they can't manage to get us a win then I seriously doubt that that our Caretaker, his debts and the dross that his successor signed can manage it. Did I say debts, sorry I meant to say loans.

During 2008 we have played 45 competitive games (this includes two FA Cup games with WBA - both officially finished as draws and a Carling Cup game with Yeovil). Of these 45 games we have won 10 drawn thirteen and lost 22. Take the cup games out and that reads Won 10, Drawn 11 and lost 21. That's 41 points in a total of 42 games played. At home we have won 7, drawn 7 and lost 9.

That really sums it up for me. I cannot be bothered to calculate the appropriate proportion of the cost of two season tickets nor can I remember what I paid for the cup games (besides my Dad normally pays), but in terms of value for money, or more worryingly value for time and effort spent going, Charlton has failed to deliver in 2008.

With the large number of empty seats at The Valley recently I suspect that I am not the only one that has looked at the relationship between what you get to see and what you have to 'sacrifice' to go. I say sacrifice as there is still the cost of transport and the time you spend travelling and at the ground.

The cost of football in 2008 is ridiculous. Ignoring the recent 25% discount in the club shop; football shirts are £40 (£39.99). You can buy a Liverpool shirt in Bluewater for £26, and designer shirts from many department stores for less than £40. A program at The Valley is £3.00. An M&S employee working as a Christmas temp earns £6 an hour. That means that they have to work for half an hour (before tax) to buy a 'magazine' with interviews that are probably on the internet, and there is no free CD or DVD. To be fair there is the Manager's page. "I'd like to welcome the players, directors and fans of xxx FC for what will be an important/exciting/tough (delete as appropriate) match."

Even a burger (always burned), chips and a bottle of Coke with no lid (how are you supposed to stop it falling over when you get to your seat) is £7.50. That's an hour and a quarter at M&S, and they taste like sh.. (not very good).

I've come to the conclusion that you would get better value for money if you pumped all your cash into HBOS shares. Granted they will pay no return for many months (probably years) and many of the employees earn a fortune and regularly under perform, and those that leave are rewarded with huge pay offs (sound familiar?), but you don't have to sit in the freezing cold while people ridicule you. "You used to be good, and now your sh.. (not)." "Premier ship and you fu.. (messed) it up!" What a great way to spend your limited time off from working eh?

You may have detected a slight tone of disappointment regarding my love affair with Charlton Athletic. However, I am beginning to feel the same contempt for football in general. The Premier League, the fan's choice (me included) is awash with clubs that are lining up to sack their managers, or have done so already. The Sky TV "Sunday Supplement" program used us as an example of why yesterday. The reference (the first since we were relegated) was that you could end up like Charlton Athletic if you are relegated from the 'Gravy Train'. Quick sack the manager or we could end up like Charlton Athletic!

I have to admit that while we were taking the TV cash I didn't care at all about the rest of football. "I'm alright Jack!" As long as we were not relegated I really didn't care. Now suddenly all the promises about us taking the Championship by the scruff of the neck and winning the division sound like the dreams of a certified nutter.

Relegation or not, this season has been a complete disaster. The impact on ticket sales for next season and beyond is now unavoidable. The "Free Season Ticket in the Premier League" offer last summer probably distorted the sales for this season. Take that out of the equation and even if we stay up you'll probably be able to bring a sleeping bag and lie down to watch the game next season. If you bother to turn up at all.

It's strange as I felt this enthusiastic about Charlton just before we played Coventry at home last season, and that was probably one of the most memorable games I've been to. Not just because of the result, but of the emergence of Jonjo Shelvey and that goal scored by Chris Powell. Maybe we are going to re-ignite my passion for all things Charlton tomorrow? Maybe we are not.

We now have five games left in 2008, and ignoring the close season, we haven't won back to back games for over a year. I don't remember us going a whole year in the Premier League failing that feat, let along in the second tier of English football. I'm becoming ashamed to talk about football with my friends now. "We're sh.. (rubbish)." is all I'm willing to say about it.

So, I'm going along tomorrow night expecting us to manage to extend our run without a win to the same number of games that we won back to back under Curbishley in 1999-2000. I'm confident that we will not fail to achieve that landmark, we seem to have everything we need to.

I just wish someone would tell the players that what we really want is 12 games without defeat, not 12 games without a win.

Twelve games without defeat did you say, well why didn't you say so before?

Dear Jim,

Please could you fix it for Charlton Athletic to win a match.

Thanks Jim,

Kings Hill Addick
Aged 37.

Up the Addicks!