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!

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