Friday, 31 October 2008

Next... Barnsley at home

With normal work and family commitments I find it difficult to post before and after midweek games, and Ipswich are one of those sides that I quite like. Thus I have no exceptional passion to say anything about them.

So I have had nothing to say about what I would describe as a very good draw away from home - how much a draw there last season might have changed where we are now - despite the descriptions I have read about how terrible we were.

So Barnsley at home, and a new look to my blog. I am more than willing to confirm that I have literally stolen both the idea from New York Addick, and indeed the image.

In a strange way I am looking forward to this game more than usual. All the 'must wins' last season were, by comparison not must wins at all. It is strange that as a race humankind have significantly less determination to take something than they have to keep something we already have. I know that "The grass is always greener", but we are much more aggressive in defending our territory than we are in taking someone else's. History is littered with such examples.

However sad it was being relegated from the Premier League it was recognised that we were probably punching above our weight, but to lose our status as a Tier 2 club is just to horrendous a thought to contemplate. For that reason tomorrow's game is a little bit massive in terms of the conclusion.

I know we could win tomorrow and still be relegated, just like we could, technically, lose tomorrow and still be promoted come May, but tomorrow is definitely a category 'A' must win.

I have little confidence in Pardew's ability to surprise me with the starting eleven as it has got to the point where nothing is a surprise any more. I am also starting to doubt that we have as much quality as I believed at the start of the season. I did say back in the summer that I would keep off Pardew's back until at least Christmas, and despite a willingness to stick to that, the truth is that I no longer have the energy and/or the enthusiasm for the debate. The football has become uninspiring; the Manager's press conferences have become uninspiring; the opposition are uninspiring; the economic situation the club is in is uninspiring; and the clocks have gone back ensuring that for the next few months it will be dark by the full time whistle blows.

All this has had an effect on others as well as me. The frequency of the blogs in general has reduced as people are finding it hard to have anything new to say about a great club that is, clearly, in decline.

However, tomorrow is a massive, six-pointer, bottom of the table, must win clash. I am probably as excited about the prospect of the tension and nerves as I have been at a Charlton game for a long time. I actually believe that we will start well and be in front early and, following two games where we have come back from behind to secure a point, go on to win comfortably. This is, after all, a must win (certainly a mustn't lose) game for Barnsley too.

What ever the score tomorrow I will continue to be disillusioned with our season, yet I will also continue to come back for more punishment.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Charlton 1 - 1 Burnley

A game of two halves. That's what it was. The starting line up certainly provided some changes. I have to say I agreed with most of them. McLeod starting was a surprise, but as well as quality and effort we needed (desperately) confidence, and that was going to have to come from outside of the current first team squad.

McLeod and Josh Wright have been playing away from the pressure that the current squad have been experiencing, and Bouazza, Andy Gray and Kelly Youga had been under performing in recent weeks. Clearly there is some debate about all of these players, but they were among the candidates to be replaced in the big shake up that Pardew had been promising for a few weeks and really had to deliver this time out.

When the team was read out I thought it might be 3-5-2 with Basey and Mou2 as wing backs. A new formula indeed. Sadly it was nothing of the sort. Cranie's selection as a left back just went further to reinforce my suspicion that Pardew has to play him. There may be a gentleman's agreement, or the player may have expressed a demand to play. I know we could well claim that the player and his club have no right to demand anything, but if he is going to refuse to stay past December if he doesn't play then I can understand it. Pardew's recent suggestions that we will need to sell in January point to the players on Premier League money who are free to leave in June. As well as ZZ and Ambrose that also includes Jon Fortune, who Pardew has been trying to offload since he got here. On the basis that he is on £9k a week and may be worth a few quid in January we may well need Cranie, and he is actually a good centre back - certainly in this division.

The first half was dire. McLeod looked like he needs a few games under his belt. To be fair he has looked like that every time he's played, but then as he has only had a hand full of games for us in 14 months so it's hardly a surprise. Cranie showed (beyond doubt) that he is not a full back. Other than that the players just looked like they were not as up for the game as Burnley. The first half goal that was disallowed seemed to lift Burnley, and we failed to cope with anything else in the first half.

Second half was very different. Cranie looked better in the middle; Basey looked better than Cranie at left back and Todorov was inspiring. I can understand why he didn't start as he looked knackered after about twenty minutes. I have not seen enough of him to know if he ever did much running, and even if he did he has had a terrible couple of years with injuries. However, he was the difference. Mou2 and Sam are clearly a great partnership, but for me the difference was the space that Todorov seemed to have. Even when he had three men on him he just played past them as though they were not there.

Sadly I don't think that Todorov is the answer to all our problems as I don't think we can realistically expect 90 minutes for a further 33 games, but the over all performance in the second half was much better. I believe that we have found a line up/style of play that suits our strengths. One could argue that with the number of changes Pardew makes he was going to stumble across a decent system in the end, but I think that is irrelevant. There is much debate about the quality of the players and even if you have just the smallest suspicion that they are not good enough then there is little point in changing the manager right now. That does mean, however, that one would also refuse to give Pardew any more money to spend, so at some point something needs to be done.

In the meantime, however, the second half line up should be persevered with. I have no problem swapping Primus for Cranie, and I also suspect that Gray will have to be called upon when Todorov tires, but we are clearly most effective with pacey overlapping full backs, so let's keep them in the side.

We do have an issue with Luke Varney, however. I have a lot of time for the lad. The one thing that we as fans find most disgusting is players that look like they are giving less than 100%. Luke Varney is much, much better at football than I ever was. He is also much fitter than I ever was. However, he plays with the kind of enthusiasm that I would do. He runs and runs and runs. I suspect that he has significantly less talent than Jimmy Floyd hasslebaink, but if I had to choose between them I would choose Varney every time.

However, he is clearly missing chances that a player in the first team of genuine promotion candidates should not. I know we are not looking like promotion candidates right now, but bearing in mind his transfer fee, and presumably the wages to match, he has to deliver more. Had he converted the chances he has missed in the last three games alone we could well have 7 points more. That would put us in 4th place. I guess you can now see where I'm coming from? As much as I like his attitude I fear that New York Addick's assessment might be right.

One of Pardew's worst failings in the last eighteen months has been his transfer policy. Despite some successes I suspect that if we need to off load players to balance the books I doubt that many would refuse to sell Varney, Gray and McLeod for a combined fee of £4.65m - and that was just the guaranteed cost, the figure had the potential to rise by a further £1.4m. If those 'extras' have been reached (unlikely I accept) then we have paid £6.05m for three players that are probably on such high wages that the majority of the Championship clubs cannot afford them, and they don't currently look good enough for this division either.

Still I'm sure that they would all look better with more confidence, and to that end I think Varney could do with a run in the reserves. Not as a punishment, but to help him. Sadly I don't see who we would replace him with. McLeod and Todorov are not up to 90 minutes right now, and if you are going to pick either of them you can't really play them both. Even if you put Andy Gray in there somewhere, that just leaves Chris Dickson. I believe that he might be the real deal, but his few cameos up to now have showed him to be a little short of what it takes. Against Bristol City he looked like a terribly enthusiastic player that didn't really look ready. I know that they need to play to get ready, and I know it's never a good time to drop them in, but I think we are on a knife edge right now. We are still only two wins from sixth, but we are also only two draws in front of the relegation zone.

Anyway to finish on a positive, despite a dire 45 minutes, we looked like potential promotion candidates in the second half, and we nearly won it at the end. It was a better performance than the win over Ipswich, and that must be a good thing. As for Varney, I guess we can take heart from the fact that he is getting into the positions to miss sitters. Surely it must just be a matter of time before he comes good?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Charlton 0 - 2 Bristol City

It's strange how different people have different views of the same things. Politics, economics, women and, of course, football. Last night we lost to Bristol City. The general feeling on the blogs today is that we are rubbish and we might as well give up.

Maybe I'm still trying too hard to feel happy about everything, but you know what? I don't feel at all demoralised about the game. We have already established that for the first 25 minutes we were on top. The fact that the result, and the last 60 minutes, were a disappointment takes some of the shine off that first 25 minutes.

I don't remember the last time I have been so pleased, and dare I say it impressed, with the way we played. We were decent at Cardiff on Saturday, but this was a different class. Without pointing the finger, Andy Gray missed the target from eight yards; Bouazza wasted several chances by shooting from just too far away, Ambrose forced the keeper into a great save from distance; Luke Varney had a couple of decent shots that would, on another day, have gone in; and their keeper made a reflection save from a close range header.

We never looked in any trouble. I have now come to accept that the strikers in this division are going to miss (fail to score) many more chances that we have become accustomed to. Jason Euell (in his pomp), Darren Bent, JJ and even Shaun Bartlett hit the target much more that the lot we have now, but we are in a different division, and we are in a different league when it comes to money.

I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before our first goal came-. Bristol City had started defending deeper and deeper, and they only left the strikers upfront to chase down our defenders as we were, frankly, taking the micky out of them. Moo2 was outstanding, both Primus and Creaney looked solid (to be fair, in different circumstances, they could have been playing together in the Premier League, so they should), Ambrose looked like he was having one of his better days, and I've never seen Andy Gray run so much.

Then Nicky Bailey, who I think will be a big player for us, was caught in possession. My first instinct was to blame him, but there was little he could have done with the ball, and he tried to take it round a player when he should have passed it - back if necessary. Suddenly it was three on two, and we understandably failed to win that one.

Once the goal went in Bailey seemed to shrink in stature (understandably) and, not unlike Saturday, the heads dropped. We chased the game for the rest of the first half, but having got a goal in front City seemed to grow in confidence as our's ebbed away.

The second half we started in the vain hope of getting an early equaliser, and by attacking so aggressively we conceded another one on the break. Game over.

After the second goal went in the players knew (just as the restless fans did) that we were going to lose. Confidence is such a fragile thing, and we have failed to win a game from a position of two goals down in the second half so few times that it is understandable that we as good as gave up. There was still a lot of effort, but the team just lost shape. Pardew made some changes to take off players that were not having their best game - also to rest them for Saturday, no doubt, and it got no better.

Ok we lost, but we beat Ipswich at home a couple of weeks ago and we didn't once look like we did in the first 25 minutes last night. My determination to be happy about all things Charlton maybe affecting my view, but I would, personally, love to see us go at Burnely on Saturday in the same way we did yesterday. Sadly, due to Pardew's inability to field the same formation/style two games in a run makes that unlikely. The criticism he has suffered will probably play it's part in that also.

However, I can honestly say that despite the result (which was not really that much of a shock) I enjoyed the game last night. I cannot wait for Saturday.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Next... Bristol City at home

When we played Bristol City at The Valley in March I was in good heart. I even made some joke about calling them Boobies in relation to the rhyming slang for Bristol Cities. March now seems a long time ago, and we find ourselves in a very different state of affairs.

I also noticed from reading my own words that I used to be (well I thought I was) quite light hearted, and dare I say it funny with some of the things I wrote.

I have been feeling nothing like that recently. I must confess that my whole outlook on life has changed following the Credit Crunch. I work in what has probably been the worst industry to be in for the last six months, and that, along with Charlton's fortunes, have taken a bit of a toll on my humour.

All that is, however, about to change.

Years ago I read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people". I know you are all thinking "Didn't you have any friends Kings Hill?" The answer is, of course, yes I did, but I would say that wouldn't I? It was because I wanted to convince a member of the fairer sex that I was the answer she was looking for. Just for completeness I can confirm that I did indeed convince her - just before I realised that she wasn't the answer I was looking for.

Anyway, one of the chapters (and remember I read it 17 years ago) talked about people liking you more if you behave like you are happy. There was a suggestion that if you feel happy you behave like you're happy. However the relationship is apparently not one way. If you behave happy (even if you don't feel like it) eventually you will feel happy.

You can already see where I'm going with this can't you?

Following a reminder from Chicago Addick that it was much worse in the 1980s, coupled with the thoughts that followed, I have decided to put Mr Carnegie's theory into practice. Yes, I am going to behave like things at Charlton are making me feel happy in the hope that I end up feeling like it.

So this week we entertain the team with the funniest name in football. Last season we beat them away, and were worth the win at home, but came away with a draw. The first ten/fifteen minutes against Cardiff we could have scored a couple of goals. Thus I am going to go to The Valley tomorrow night fully expecting an entertaining game of football and a win to boot.

If I'm honest I actually think we will come away from the game with a draw, but under the circumstances that will be ok. It's better than a defeat after all.

See? It's working already.

I think the problems at the back will make us nervous, and we will need an early goal to settle the players and the fans. Frankly if I can decide to be happy with what we've seen so far this season then I'm sure the players can play with confidence, even if they have none.

I cannot promise that this new upbeat attitude will last long, but I have little to lose, and besides we will hopefully be the second richest club in the world by the time we play Burnley.

Thus, I invite everyone to join me in being happy about what we have got.

If not look at the picture below and decide if, on reflection, things are really as bad as we think?

Up the Addicks!

Cardiff 2 - 0 Charlton

After the Ipswich game I failed to write a review as I just didn't think I had anything insightful to say. Sure we won, but the manor of the game (which was quite acceptable in all honesty) failed to inspire me after what had gone before. I have been hugely disappointed with the performances this season. The excuses I've heard from Pardew have been both irrelevant in my view, and the same as those that he trotted out last season. My Dad's view, that I have utmost respect for, is that Pardew has had the worst of circumstances in which to work. I don't necessarily have a different view, but either way I am just fed up with the football on offer at Charlton at the moment.

To put this into perspective I have never made a decision about going to Charlton or renewing my season ticket. Right now I'm not sure I'd by another season ticket if I had to make the decision in the near future. I guess the Zabeel investment could change that, but it is a little frightening that I find myself feeling like this. I have, by the way, had a season ticket since 1989, and missed just two games since August 1988.

Yesterday I watched the Stoke v Spurs game on TV. From memory that is the first league game (not involving Charlton) I've watched on TV for over ten years. I'm sad to say I enjoyed it more than any of the Charlton games I've seen this season, and apart from the Coventry game in May, you'd have to go back to the Palace game in February for the last time I remember coming away from a game happy or satisfied. I pay entirely too much money (tickets, travel etc.) going to football for the levels of enjoyment I am experiencing right now.

Anyway, for all of the above reasons I failed to write a preview of the Cardiff game. What do you say when you honestly believe that you are supporting a team that is on the slide? I now don't believe much of what the club's PR machine say - I'm including Pardew's press conferences in this. I used to listen to all the Pardew interviews on Addicks Audio on the web site, but now I just can't be bothered, it is the same old rubbish made up of cliches, one liners, and excuses!

However, despite the lack of interest in the football, when my Dad suggested going to Cardiff I jumped at it. Not because I thought we'd get a result there but I am one of those sad fans that likes 'collecting' grounds and I haven't been to Ninian Park. The main reason for going, however, was to spend the day with my Dad. Strangely that is what got me into this in the first place, and something tells me that it will be enough to keep me going. Heaven forbid we should find another hobby to share because right now if we did it could be curtains for Charlton.

For those that haven't been to Ninian Park it is not a very nice ground, and the view is terrible. To be fair the new stadium that is well on it's way to being build looks fantastic, all be it just like all the other new stadiums (Southampton, Leicester, Derby et al).

By the time we got there I had already had a nice day, and wasn't all that bothered about the result and I expected us to struggle. I couldn't have been more wrong. Despite the rubbish view, I felt that the first ten/fifteen minutes were as good as I've seen for a while. Bouazza had a could of chances, Ambrose put in some good crosses, and Varney missed a great chance. In his defence he did slip just before he got to the ball, but he fluffed it. A few minutes later we were a goal down. We had, after Varney's chance, started to defend deeper and deeper. I had a bad view, but this could well have been that Cardiff raised their game slightly.

After the goal you could see the players lose confidence. I felt that Craine showed, again, why he shouldn't be playing at right back. It took the Cardiff left back that first ten minutes to work out that Craine couldn't cross and then Ambrose was marked out of the game. The wingers switched over, but you really need an overlapping full back, and we didn't have one.

By half time I was just glad to only be one behind. Semedo came on and I thought this would increase our chances. It was not to be. I was convinced it was a penalty, and that Semedo was the last defender. The ITV Championship program showed me that it was outside of the box, and Hudson was coming across. I can't blame the referee as I got it wrong myself. I also think it is harsh to blame Semedo as he was playing right back and the ball was in the middle. I'm not sure if it should have been Hudson or Primus, but it doesn't really matter does it?

Before the free kick was taken my Dad remarked that the wall was so rubbish that if he hits it at the wall it will go in. How can these players be unable to make a wall that can stop a shot going straight through it. This was game over. Hudson was unlucky to be sent off. Again the TV showed that he didn't touch Bothroyd. This makes me understand why my Dad has sympathy for Pardew. What is he supposed to say? Neither of the players should have been sent off. I'm not sure it would have made much difference to the result. I doubt that Semedo would have been in the wall and stopped the second goal, and I doubt that we would have come back from 2-0 if we'd had thirteen men, never mind eleven.

We stopped off on the way home for fish and chips. So, a nice day out, sunny weather, good company, a bit of exercise and some fresh air.

Shame about the football.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Next... Millionaires’ row

Friday I was out in the afternoon and came home to find a text from my Dad asking if I speak Arabic. Now if you knew my dad you could be forgiven for thinking that he had been out to lunch and, having sunk a couple of bottles of wine, was sharing with me the back end of a joke that was probably not aimed at me. I duly replied with a response that I thought suitably funny (it probably wasn't - mine never are). Then I saw the flood of emails on my mobile phone....

Now I have never made a huge impact in the foreign (or even English super rich) ownership of football clubs discussion. I have never really thought it was relevant to me. I know you would think that selfish and negligent as in the end it always affects football in general, but I have never had a real problem with it. Sure, it makes me want to beat these 'spoiled' clubs a little more, but that feeling was every bit as strong with Blackburn in the 90s as it was with Chelsea in 2005.

I remember having a conversation with a Chelsea fan and an Arsenal fan about it. The Arsenal fan was trying to belittle Chelsea's success on the basis that it had been bought, that Chelsea wouldn't have won anything if they didn't have loads of money. I pointed out that Arsenal wouldn't have won the Premier League if they hadn't spent £11m on Henri and £7.5m on Bergkamp. You see the truth is that it doesn't matter where it comes from, money is required to be successful in football. Granted you do not to spend the most to win, but it does help. I found it, on a limited basis, to be satisfying that the Arsenal fan (a friend of mine) started to understand what it's like to have a richer (bigger ?) club than yours. He had to learn his place. Arsenal haven't won the Premier League now for four seasons, and they don't look all that likely to do so in the near future. I have to confess that I said, then, that I would personally prefer not to be taken over by a billionaire and lose the identity we have - to be fair, we were 'safe' in the Premier League at the time.

Without considering where it has come from I, personally, believe that the increase of revenues into football have been a good thing. You only need to look at The Valley and compare it to what we had in 1985 when we left it to see what that money has achieved. I accept that the TV deal in particular has benefited the clubs at the top of the football hierarchy than those at the bottom, but all football clubs have benefited from the extra money.

Clearly there are always disadvantages. The lifestyles of some of the millionaire footballers are distasteful. Am I jealous? Of course I am! However, right now I find the lavish lifestyles of the City financiers a little hard to accept. The huge wealth of mediocre players, and their behaviour is merely the outcome of the society that we live in. Free markets will always reward those better performers, and in the main those that earn huge wages are winning games if not trophies.

The huge debts that football clubs currently have are down the management of the businesses, rather than the level of income. Either way, I believe that the money has made our national game better than it was in the 1980s when I started going to The Valley.

That leads me on to Charlton and our potential new owners.

After I had read a few emails I turned on the TV (one email said that we were on Sky Sports News) and there was a reporter outside the club shop. He didn't tell us much, but the impact of what was happening started to sink in.

I was suddenly so exited! Let me say that again because saying it once doesn't seem enough. I was suddenly so excited!

The thought of signing Brazilian World Cup winners didn't enter my mind, honestly. I was imagining 40,000 fans at The Valley. I was imagining us winning games and promotion. After the week we had seen in the financial Markets I could see complete security for the football club. I have been very open about my fears for the club. Next season we will have no parachute payments, and several of our more valuable players are out of contract in June.

Once the realisation that we will not be plying our trade in league 1 anytime soon I did start to think of what the future could hold. I think I would find a Premier League title before 2020 a little soulless. That would be like what Chelsea had done, and I still don't think I want that. However a game against one of the top four where they dare not lose in case we take their forth place would be incredibly exciting, especially after our recent diet of defeat at home to Colchester et al.

The announcement was probably a bit premature for us to pop corks on Champagne, and we have seen at Man City that one or two superstars do not make a team, but if we have any money to spend in January, along with what we already have must give us a decent chance of promotion this season or next. What happens to Pardew is now somewhat irrelevant. Ideally we would like to win promotion this season, but as the impact of next season with no parachute payments has now been avoided it can take us eighteen months and the club is safe.

Why Charlton? Well I don't really know, but I can imagine that an investment company would want to have a presence in London, and in my opinion we are bet best placed London club that is available for the kind of money they will be paying. The board own the ground and the training facilities and there is the potential to extend The Valley, so no move and further acquisitions would be needed.

I think the crucial thing for us to remember is that people of this wealth do not make decisions like the rest of us. When I play the football manager games I find it more satisfying taking on a lower league club and building up the stadium and the team to challenge the 'big boys'. I rarely choose to Manage Man Utd as it is 'too easy'.

Either way, by talking about home grown talent and youth setups, the statement from the potential new owners suggests that their intentions are exactly what we (I) would have wanted. Clearly they were always going to target their audience, but I suspect that many fans would have preferred to have a new manager (debatable) and (or) £200m spent on players in January. One member of the email list suggested Darren Bent, Scott Parker and Michael Owen. The former of that list I would drive over and pick up myself, but I'm not so sure about the others.

What do we know about the new owners? Not much, their web site looks like many others. They do seem to focus on communities, so I can see a real synergy there. Other than that I think we have to assume that there is no easy buck to be made from Charlton, so they must have motives that we would find acceptable in at least the short term. I think the biggest potential banana skin would be if they gear up the operation (and the running costs) then get bored and leave. However, even if that were to happen, it would be a decent ride in the meantime, and I'm not sure we could be in a much worse position than we are right now anyway.

I got married in 2004 and Mrs Kings Hill and I chose to honeymoon in Dubai. We stayed in the Burj Al Arab. Now I have limited experience of high class hotels, I've stayed in a few but I am not a frequent business traveller or anything so I cannot make a comparison based on any more than a limited experience. However, I have to say that it is a bit special. Now I'm not expecting solid gold taps in the East Stand toilets (although if we are that rich hot water would be nice), but I have every confidence in these group to develop The Valley into something that we can be even more proud of than what we have today if that is, indeed, possible.

Since being so excited on Friday that I hardly slept at all (reminds me of Christmas when I was seven) I have become a little more accustomed to being the second richest football club in the world. That sounds nice doesn't it? The second richest football club in the world - even if it's not actually true.

Up the Addicks!

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!