It would seem that since I started writing this blog, just under two years ago, we have been inundated with new blogs. I was out on Saturday night, and feeling very hungover on Sunday. Thus, by the time I got around to writing up my 'report' there were already so many that I struggled to read them all.
It was then that I decided (not for the first time this season) that my blog was a little redundant. I am no where near arrogant enough to believe that what I have to say is any more interesting to read than what others have to say. The outcry (if you can call it that) that followed New York Addick's hint that he may call it a day is due to both the longevity of his existence, and the quality of his writing. Unlike Chicago Addick, I don't discuss anything other then football - except on exceptional circumstances. Of the other regular blogs Pedro45 writes a much more in depth preview and review of games, and Dave both writes well and is incredibly quick to comment on anything and everything. Wyn Grant's Diary is just that - a day to day history of events with more facts than personal thoughts. Doctor Kish is more of an account of Kett's thoughts, and summaries of their day's out.
I include all of those blogs, and many of the others that are a little less regular, as offering a complete 'solution' in the blog sphere and as such find it difficult to justify bothering at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm neither hoping for, nor expecting, an avalanche of comments suggesting that I keep going, and I'm not planning to stop, I just don't find the enthusiasm to get something out there quickly after games, and by the time I am ready there is very little I can add that hasn't already been said elsewhere.
Thus it is Tuesday afternoon and I am only just sharing my thoughts on a 4-4 thriller with our biggest rivals after not playing them for nearly 14 years. If I was employing myself to write for a job I would have sacked myself for such a lack of professionalism.
This not really an excuse, it's more of an explanation, and unless things change I will probably write a little less for a while as I'm struggling to find much to say that is worth reading (that isn't already there to be read by the time I write it).
Anyway, with that covered off I do have a few observations on the Millwall game. Strangely I have read differing views on the game. I am in the camp that thinks that we were just not as hungry as Millwall were. The game reminded me of many of the clashes we had in the eighties. Millwall (both fans and players) managed to intimidate our players in the first half an hour. After going to so much trouble to suggest that this wouldn't happen that is exactly what did happen. I know we were missing our two first choice full backs, and I'm convinced that had an impact, but many of the players were treating this like another chance to win three points. This is ok, but Millwall looked like they would literally run through brick walls for a result. We didn't even look like we were willing to climb over them at times.
To be fair we did get back into the game, but the first penalty was less than convincing - with the number of howlers the Ref made he could easily have not given it - but it was crucial for our fightback. I'm also not sure that Mooney would have scored had he not been tripped.
After we scored the third goal early in the second half we seemed to defend the lead. I know that has been successful in recent weeks, but in a derby game you cannot sit back and defend a one goal lead. For most of the second half we were over run by ten men. There were times when I caught myself counting the players on the pitch as we looked like the team playing with one short.
To fail to get a two goal cushion and to let ten men back level twice must be seen as a failure. For Leeds and Norwich to win as well just makes the whole day a disaster. I know we came back from 2-0 down, but that just doesn't excuse, for me, the fact that we couldn't close out a game against ten men at home when we led twice.
I am not going to apportion blame. I know Parkinson has been looking to bring in more 'Character' but (Richardson and Youga aside) we clearly need a lot more before we can hope to cope with teams with the determination that Millwall showed on Saturday. God knows what would have happened if Millwall had been allowed to keep the eleven men that stormed into a two goal lead for the whole 90 minutes.
We didn't lose, and we are still four points above Norwich, so we are still in a great position, but we are going to need to show a lot more resilience when we entertain Colchester, Norwich and Leeds next year.
My only other grumble is in relation to the action taken against the Millwall fans that stood up and danced in the East Stand after they scored both their first half goals. If the club are not able to employ stewards that can evict fans then they should bite the bullet and call in the Police (and pay them) to keep away fans from rubbing our noses in it in our own stand. I don't agree with violence, but I suspect that there would have been some very serious questions had one of the fans been stabbed after they were allowed to stay long enough to cheer for their second goal. The club went to a lot of trouble to keep Millwall fans out of the home areas, and on the whole they were very successful, but if the rumours of Charlton fans being attacked in the toilets in the East Stand at half time are true then I would expect to see heads roll.
The most insulting view of the afternoon, however, was that of the Millwall fans in the East Stand being marched into the South Stand rather than being ejected. From what I read the South Stand was sold out. Thus it was full to capacity. Thus there was no safety certificate for any more fans. I know they all stood up (something that Charlton fans do away, to be fair) but we must have broken the rules of our safety certificate by rehousing them in the South Stand. Call me pedantic if you will, but if you reward fans in the wrong section by giving them a seat in their own section there is no incentive for them to stay away. Either way, I suspect that we can have no defence, if the authorities demand that our next Millwall game is played behind closed doors. If we really did flaunt the safety rules rather then having the bottle to throw out the fans that were where they knew they shouldn't have been, and then went out of their way to let everyone know, we have to expect to be punished for it.
That aside it really was a fantastic game.
Up the Addicks!