Thursday, 8 January 2009

Next... Forrest at home

...or not as the case may be.

The top news of this week is the releasing of the accounts for the twelve month period up to June 2008. I have some limited understanding of company accounts, but I seriously doubt that I could have produced as good an analysis as New York Addick even if I wanted to, and I don't anyway.

I have to confess, however, that I am not all that surprised by the details. It was widely known that if you do not secure promotion in your first season after an extensive stay in the Premier League you are in serious trouble. This probably led to the gambles that the club made on players - £12m spent by Pardew during the period. The fact that the money was wasted, rather like the summer spending the season before by Iain Dowie is irrelevant.

I am also somewhat impressed that turnover only fell by 25% from our last Premier League season and our first Championship season. I am aware that 25% is a quarter and normally would be a drastic development, but as the Premier League is so, so lucrative it is, in my view, acceptable that our turnover managed to keep at 75% of that of the 'Gravy Train'.

Anyway it is all in the past now, and I would hazard a guess that the accounts to June 2009 will be much worse, and those to June 2010 will be truly frightening, but that is for another day (or year as the case may be).

Tomorrow sees the visit of Nottingham Forrest (weather permitting) and if there was ever a six-pointer, this is it. We have plenty of games left to lose tomorrow and still finish above Forrest. We also have enough other teams to chase for this to be a game we can lose and still avoid relegation, but on the basis that they are 4th from bottom and five points above us I think we can call it a six-pointer.

Our form is not something to boast about, but then Forrest have been really poor at times this season, and football is a 'funny old game'.

The signing of Graeme Murty is a bit of a boost. I have been disappointed with the treatment Moutaouakil has received this season (and last), but on the basis that we need at least two right backs we might as well sign one that has been successful in this division (unlike most of Pardew's signings) and the experience to help. The fact that he is only here on loan makes a thirty something preferable to a teenager in my view. I also think the maturity that comes with age is likely to make him more committed. The same could well be said of Wayne Brown, who also looks like joining us on loan. I would welcome them both, and hope that their experience will have a positive effect.

On the negative side we say goodbye to Hameur Bouazza. He was signed in a last minute rush and from Pardew's comments at the time Fulham were paying a large chunk of his wages. I have no sympathy for Fulham as they offered him the contract, and he is clearly no where near Premier League standard. I would argue that we have not seen enough to confidently predict that he is top half of the Championship standard either.

Bouazza has some class, undoubtedly, but his flashes of brilliance are so few and far between. You could probably make two videos from his time at Charlton; one that suggests that he is a Premier League player, and one suggesting that he is a League One player. He has scored some special goals, but not unlike Neil Redfearn, he shoots just about every time he gets to within 20 yards of the goal. I remember both players being berated by their team mates for shooting when there was a much better option. It could be selfishness, or it could just be that he (and Redfearn) have such limited awareness on the pitch that shooting is the only thing they can do, and woefully inadequate most of the time. Football is a team game and if you cannot do the best for the team then there is a question mark over your contribution.

Having said that it did Neil Redfearn no harm. He scored 14 goals for Barnsley in the season they went down and was rewarded with a very lucrative contract with us that he failed to honour as, from memory, "His wife failed to settle". It would seem that Bouazza has also secured a move to a better side (one higher up the league). I don't know who made the decision for him to move, but I have little inclination to wish him well as it looks like he turned up, performed in some, but not all, of his games for us then left us when we most needed him.

I would expect us to line up with a 4-4-2 formation with Semedo and Holland in the middle. I would like to see Shelvey play, but I just have this feeling that he will not. Murty is likely to play, particularly as he only has a month loan at this stage.

Up front I imagine we will see Waghorn and either Gray or Burton. As for the space vacated by Bouazza, I guess we might see Ambrose back on the left. Maybe we'll even see Holland there with Shelvey in the middle. However, I think he'll plump for Grant Basey.

As for the score? Well it's anyone's guess, the general feeling is that we will lose, but if we assume that the world isn't going to end any time soon we must won a game eventually, why not this one?

As for the importance of the result, I think I can say that this is the most important fixture of Phil Parkinson's Charlton career to date. On the basis that we could find ourselves two points from safety, or eight points from safety, a defeat is unthinkable. In fact, a defeat could well make this the most important fixture of Phil Parkinson's Charlton career, as by the time we play Doncaster on 3rd March it could well be all over.

Up the Addicks!

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