On reflection I have decided not to write a report, if you were there you would have seen it, and if you weren't you will already have read other accounts of the evenings events and like C3P0, "I'm not very good at telling stories."
There were a few observations, however, that I would like to make. You should bear in mind that I have been to the AGM today, and my thoughts will, no doubt, be affected by what I saw there.
I don't believe that one win turns Parkinson into a good manager if he was not before. Having said that it is clear that his signings are proving to be much more like what we need than what we have - that Pardew signed. We do not need (and nor did we) players that are average for this division on Premier League wages. I have no actual knowledge of how motivated our players are, nor do I know how motivated they would be if they were not earning significantly more than they are worth. All I do know is that from the experience I have of working in a results industry, the greater the proportion of earnings that is guaranteed, the greater the potential for the individual to lose focus and determination.
I'm not saying, for example, that Andy Gray is not bothering because he has a contract that takes him past his best, on more money that he could ever hope to earn elsewhere, but I guess you see my point. I'm saying that I have a particular problem with that kind of human nature attitude. If you offered me a guaranteed income well above what I'm worth until I'm 65, I suspect that once I had my feet under the table, you'd probably have trouble getting me to even turn up at work, never mind put a serious effort in. The blame for that situation lies with the individual that offered the contract in the first place.
On the basis that Pardew filled our squad with players that were earning much more than they were worth (not to mention the transfer fees and related signing on bonuses) it was always going to be a struggle to motivate them.
What Phil Parkinson inherited was basically rotten. The players attitude was not what we have become to expect from Charlton over the years, and that was probably the first thing to be addressed.
I'm not saying that I don't still wish we'd brought in a new manager to take the players out of their comfort zone and get an instant lift, but at this point (helped by a win at last) I'm starting to see what he is trying to do.
Natural conservatism makes me weary of a manager that thinks that the solution is to sign more new players, especially those on loan. Dowie and Pardew spent millions between them (and each) on 'new players' to solve all our ills, and that just got us into the mess we are now in.
I'm not saying that I think we will get out of trouble this season now. Relegation (despite Phil Chappell and Richard Murray saying they think it won't happen) is the most probable outcome. However if the players we currently have on loan intend to stay and give us a chance then I feel more confident. If, however, as has been suggested elsewhere, Murty is only here to get a few games under his belt and if Tom Soares is going to be called into the Stoke side for the run in I am less confident.
As for the game, well Matthew Spring looked solid and a good buy. Murty looked to ooze presence which must have rubbed off onto other players. Soares looks like he has that quality we have been missing. He looks like he has the ability to control the ball, both close in and while on the move. He clearly needs a few more games to get to know how the other players around him play, but he looks good. Dion Burton looks like a limited player, but he is good at what he is good at. He is never going to score 30 goals in a season, but he can hold up the ball, and also has some ball control.
I know it sounds silly to be praising players for having ball control when you think that we are in the second division of the best league in the world, but we have had a few that couldn't do that recently. Having players that can do the basics well that will give 100% is probably a good start. For me the best indication of our hopes will come when we sign that striker Parkinson is hoping will score us out of trouble.
Thus Parkinson is bringing in the kind of players we need. The rest of those out there last night gave a good account of themselves. Andy Gray apart, and I really don't know if his performances are down to lack of ability of lack of interest, I didn't feel that any of the other players gave less than 100% of what they could.
The most significant thing last night, and I don't want to steal any one's thunder, was that we got that important first goal. That and the fact that Palace were actually rubbish. Neil Warnock is a great tactician, but it looks like he got it wrong last night. I think he thought it would not be as hard to beat us as he found it.
The plan was probably to keep us out for twenty minutes or so then come at us and get the first (and probably only necessary) goal. The fact that after we scored they lost their patience and resorted to niggles didn't help them. Either way we did keep a clean sheet, and didn't look like conceding if we'd played all night.
So Parkinson has a win under his belt, clearly has the support of the board and has signed some decent looking players. Only time will tell if we have what it takes to climb the league, but Saturday will give us another clue. Burnley have been poor in the league recently, and back to back wins would certainly send out the right signals.
Up the Addicks!