Thursday, 29 April 2010

Next... Leeds at home

Saturday we play Leeds in what is not a significant game, but technically we can still make second place. My Dad is being cautious, but has decided to go to Oldham should we win and Millwall lose or they draw and Swindon lose. I don't think I'll be going to Oldham either way. It is my Son's birthday on the 9th and we are going away for the weekend. If it was in our hands I might have stuck out, but not when we need to win while Leeds lose at home and the Millwall, Swindon game goes our way.

So I'm expecting it to be the Playoffs. That's ok I guess. I'd prefer to have the second leg at home and if we can beat Leeds there is every chance that we can achieve that as Swindon are only one point above us with an inferior goal difference and they go to Millwall on the last day of the season. With Huddersfield looking like they are hitting form at just the right time I'm Happy for them to play Millwall or Leeds while we face Swindon.

If we play Swindon away first I will probably go if I can. I will definitely go if I can if we play at home first. I'm not sure I'll qualify for tickets however, as I haven't been to all that many away games, and both Gillingham and MK Dons tickets were not bought with my Red Card and I doubt the club will give me credit on that basis.

I'm not going to Millwall under any circumstances, although I'd go to a home game with them. I'm also not convinced I'd travel to Leeds for an evening kick off game, but I might just change my mind if it comes to it. However on the basis that for us to finish sixth we probably need to lose to Leeds, and that result would probably see them finish second the discussion it a little mute. Technically we could still finish third and face Huddersfield, but, again there is little chance of that, and as it would have to be away first I'd probably give it a miss.

After the anger and bitterness of yesterday, I am feeling much happier and even excited about the next few weeks now. It helps that the personal issues I had that were playing on my mind have also been sorted out, but either way the past needs to be left there and the next few weeks will be exciting even if the outcome is ultimately disappointing.

So to Leeds. I think a win on Saturday will benefit us in the long run. There are two possible outcomes and they have two potential implications for us. I hate the idea of Millwall being promoted but realistically we are much better to have Leeds in both the playoffs and this division next season. The first of those covers the fact that Leeds are nowhere near as strong at this moment in time as Millwall. Swindon look beatable, Huddersfield we have beaten once and drawn once with this season, and Leeds have looked like a club with no confidence in recent weeks.

I suspect that we would have more chance of beating Leeds than Millwall in a one off game, and especially over two legs. Next season Millwall are likely to be very strong in this division. Leeds, with Beckford (plus others?) gone, are likely to be a much different proposition. Also should Leeds get promoted they are likely to have a lot more pull in the Championship than Millwal would.

So a win this weekend would bring Leeds closer to the playoffs (where they have choked in each of the last two seasons) and would push Millwall closer to not being involved at all. Sure I'd love to beat Millwall in the playoffs - the Final would be even better - but I'd be more than happy to avoid them if the outcome would be that they would beat us.

Leeds have been very lucky this season. I have a friend that I went to University with who is a Leeds fan and we speak regularly and he agrees that they have won a number of games that they shouldn't have done. With two games to go we will soon know if their luck ran out, or was enough to get them promoted. They have been tight at the back and have scored a lot of late goals.

This being the case it is likely that we will see a low scoring game. Exeter was the first game we've been involved in where there has been more than one goal since March. I would take a 1-0 in this game. I suspect that a draw will be enough to keep Leeds in the playoffs and may well be enough to enable us to take that precious 4th place that gives us a home second leg. The first goal will be crucial and I suspect it will come in the second half. I'm not expecting a spectacle, but a good performance (anything like Norwich) is likely to bring us a good result. I'm going to predict a 1-0 home win and broken hearts in the Jimmy Seed Stand.

At the very least it will be a decent crowd and at least one group of supporters will have something to shout about if they win.

Elsewhere this weekend Crystal Palace go to Hillsborough on Sunday knowing that a defeat will see them relegated. I think this is justice for knocking their creditors. However, if they do win then they will have earned their place in the Championship next season by virtue of the rules. Something needs to be done about the consequences of Administration, but that is a discussion for another day.

Come on Wednesday!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Jonjo Shelvey

I received a text from a friend (a Spurs fan) telling me that this was happening. It only took a few minutes on the iPhone to discover that the official web site was carrying the story.

I thought I'd wait until today to see if I found myself less angry/upset at the development. Sadly a poor night's sleep (stress with school issues) hasn't helped my mood.

I'm going to be as fair as I can be, but I'm not going to hold any punches. I have been trying to be very supportive of our efforts in recent weeks, but looking at this, in combination with a number of other factors, it is beginning to look like those ruining our club and I'm talking about the board and/or (almost certainly and) the manager have continued their recent record of f**king up big style.

I will try to go on to offer a balanced view, but the facts tend to speak for themselves. I'm not going to try to produce a great piece of writing (too emotional) but the facts as I see them (in no particular order) are:

  • Shelvey played in the first 12 games of the season, we won 7 drew 4 and lost 1. We scored 20 goals (of which he scored 2). Since the he has been dicked about on the bench or not even in the match day squad at all.
  • On the 5th September the club announced that Shelvey had signed a contract extension - he made 7 more appearances before being dropped. Since then (12 games in) he has started four of the 32 games.
  • One of the reasons given for Shelvey's decision to sign a contract when he was 17, and again his extension was that he wanted to learn and play first team football. I heard an interview with him where he was saying that he didn't want to be out of the first team like Bostock. Since he signed his contract extension he has started eleven of the 39 games we have played in the THIRD DIVISION!
  • Parkinson has failed to find a place in our side for a player that is now considered a prospect for Liverpool - I accept that this could have been a board decision.
  • I am not the only blogger that has been calling for his inclusion. There have been even more on the email list demanding the same. There are a few contributors to that list that have been following Shelvey's progress through the youth side who believe he has been wasted this season.
  • Last season Shelvey made 14 starts in a team that finished dead last in the second division
  • That makes a total of 30 stares in 90 games across the last two seasons. Hardly giving him a real chance to establish himself. They were the two worst seasons in recent history and he is one of the best propects we have had.
  • The fee for Shelvey is less than we paid for Andy Gray, Luke Varney, zz and £150k less than we paid for Izale McLeod. None of those players will ever get close to the Premier League. The Chinese captain couldn't even get into the Premier League on a free transfer. He is in the worst Celtic side for a generation.

And most condemning of all:

  • The football PR tell us that transfers take weeks to arrange. It has been four weeks today since the deadline for us to commit for a season ticket for next season. They must think we are completely stupid?
  • We are entering the most important phase of the season. Arguably the next month is the most important in the club's 105 year history. I know that sounds dramatic but another season in this division could well be the end of this club. In the playoffs you need a little spark of quality at just the right times. Look at our squad, who else has the potential to provide that? Er, er, er. Nope I can't think of any other player that has that either. Even if Shelvey is allowed to play in those games (which I doubt) he can't be expected to put his foot in when he has such a massive transfer on the horizon.

While I'm in the flow:

  • The board refused to invest in a new management team when Pardew left. It would cost too much money apparently. The board then failed to sell the club to a group of mugs that were even more stupid than the fans last summer and they had to put in £7m to bankroll the club this season.
  • The financial benefits of promotion this season are c. £3m. So just at the death we have decided again not to make an investment to see if we can make it happen. No we are flogging a player to a club, who's manager hasn't paid less than £7m for a player in his six years there, for £1.7m (this is from memory, so I don't need loads of comments with names of players that he has signed for less).
  • The board clearly have no idea what to do next. They have sold tickets for August 2010 through May 2011 in March 2010. They have sold our best (and only really saleable) player with two games (plus playoffs) to go in our most important season in a century.

If I hear, once again, that the club will be bought by wealthy people that are going to invest millions of pounds based on the f**king Olympics again I will scream. Chances are we will have been in Administration, and be plying our trade in the forth division with crowds of less than 5,000 by 2012.

As for Jonjo, well he goes with my best wishes. He has behaved in a very professional, and most importunately loyal, fashion. Sure he was probably lied to about how many games he was going to get, and he has been allowed to join a really big club, that is likely to offer him a great future, at a knock down price, but I have nothing buy praise for him.

Good luck Jonjo!

As for Charlton. It has been a long time since we haven't had a single player in our squad to get excited about watching. I'm looking at the squad list now and I'm desperate to find one. I'd love there to be a player that I can get enthusiastic about. I like Semedo. I like the way he plays and I like the job he does - despite it being the least creative. However, he's hardly exciting, and take him out of the squad and frankly I'm not sure I could give a toss about any of the rest. Sure they are Charlton players and I'll support them, but they're all journeymen players or well past their best.

After the pain that we fans have suffered, combined with the continued rubbish PR that we have heard from the club in recent years I hope that the board do lose all their money. My patience with them and their Muppet of a Manager has completely run out!

Up the Addicks!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Charlton 0 - 1 Norwich

68% of the possession and no goals and a defeat.

That stat alone gives an indication as to how happy Norwich were to sit back and defend their lead on Saturday. To be fair, they came without their two big stars and they did a job on us and went home with all three points and a clean sheet. That's why they are where they are.

We have managed many results like that of Norwich in the last fifteen seasons and for that reason we need to accept it and move on.

Having won three of our last five games and having lost to the two sides that came down with us, and finished above us last season (both that have been able to spend a lot more money than we have) we can be pleased with our current form.

The disappointment is that we needed to beat Norwich with four games to go to climb up to be level on points with the team in second - especially as both they and Millwall lost while Swindon drew. I know Leeds have had a terrible run, and both Millwall and Swindon seem to be feeling the pressure with a defeat and a draw in recent weeks, but the time for us to pick up the points we needed was December, January and February. That was when our season hit the buffers, and to expect us to win at Southampton and at home to Norwich , as well as Colchester and Leeds tells us all we need to know about when our automatic promotion slipped away.

I'm not saying we can't still finish second, and we can, but realistically we should have entered the run of games against that quartet with five or six points cushion on the team in third if we really wanted a good chance of automatic promotion.

We now need Millwall and Swindon to drop three and one points respectively and we need to beat Leeds by six goals and match their other results to take second. We also need to beat Exeter and Oldham away, no mean feat either.

We can beat Leeds and that will make it interesting in the last game (assuming we match the three sides results when we go to Exeter). That is not strictly true as Millwall and Swindon play each other on the last day of the season, so they can't both fail to win, but if either of them draw one of their next two games it will still be possible at Oldham - all be it unlikely by that point.

It does remind me, slightly, of 1998, but our run into the end of that season was fantastic.

Swindon have Wycombe(A), Brentford(H) and Millwall(A) - They need to drop one point

Millwal have Orient(H), Tranmere(A) and Swindon(H) - They need to drop three points

Leeds have MK Dons(H), Charlton(A) and Bristol Rovers(H) - They need to drop one point and lose at The Valley

We have Exeter(A), Leeds(H) and Oldham (A) - We, realistically, need to win them all

The more I look at these fixtures, the more I believe that we can still make it. Orient and Tranmere are fighting for their lives; Wycombe are desperate for points; MK Dons and Bristol Rovers have shown the form this season to snatch a draw at Elland Road.

The real question is "Can we win our three remaining games?"

We will know soon enough.

Up the Addicks!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Squeaky Bum Time

This is what Alex Ferguson calls it. I used to work with a chap (who is still a friend today) that refers to it as "5p, 50p. 5p, 50p". I'll leave it to your imagination if you have not heard the expression and it doesn't seem obvious.

We now have 6 games to go. I don't know why but that has been adopted as the recognised 'run-in' by most of those in the game. Managers talk about the "Last Six" and the football pundits also mentioned it regularly.

It may have something to do with the mental ability of football managers and pundits. It takes a lot of mental intelligence to be able to analyze more than six games. To be fair, the average football fan is probably not going to be too interested in the various permutations of, say ten games, involving ten teams. As the number of games reduces so do the number of teams one is interested in. As we look at the last six games we are interested in three teams above us, and one (maybe two) below us.

The other thing with reducing the number of games to analyse is that you can extrapolate form much more accurately. I have talked about form before. If you've played the top six then your form is likely to be less impressive than if you've just played the bottom six, but never the less, the form tables are all that we have so I'm going to use them irrespective.

As it happens the recognised form tables are also six games. Again, I don't know why, but there you go. Thanks to the Statto web site ( it is really easy to collate a load of statistical information, and at the risk of making this a little boring I'm going to try to analyse it. Sadly even before I start the evidence doesn't look entirely good for us.

Firstly, let's look at the games we have left:

Southampton away (2.17 in 6) (2 in 12) (1.95 in 21)
Colchester at home (0.33 in 6) (0.91 in 11) (1.45 in 22)
Norwich at home (2.17 in 6) (2 in 11) (2.41 in 22)
Exeter away (2 in 6) (1.27 in 11) (1 in 22)
Leeds at home (1 in 6) (1.08 in 12) (1.39 in 23)
Oldham away (1.17 in 6) (1.17 in 12) (1.05 in 21)

The number in brackets are the average number of points they have recorded in the number of games. For example Southampton have managed an average of 2.17 points in their last six games, an average of 2 points in their last twelve and an average of 1.95 in their last twenty-one games. Clearly the more recent games give an indication as to form, but the longer spells indicate if the recent results are just a blip.

Thus we need to play away to Southampton and Exeter and at home to Norwich. Those three teams are 4th, 5th and 3rd in the six game form tables. We are currently 7th. So half of our games are against the top five form sides in the division. With Southampton and Norwich, in particular, there form is anything but temporary.

The other two home games are against Leeds and Colchester. The former may well have lost their way, but clearly have some good players and managed some very late winners earlier in the season. The latter should, realistically, be the easiest of the games we have left, despite losing 3-0 at their place in September.

So we have a tough run in. That shouldn't make it impossible except that we have to catch three sides to make it to second. Leeds have been mentioned already but we also need to catch these two:

Swindon (2.67 in 6) (2 in 12) (2.09 in 23)
Millwall (2.67 in 6) (2.42 in 12) (2.23 in 22)

These two sides have been in fantastic form since the start of December. There best form in that period is pretty well right now. Recent suggestions that Millwall may have peaked too early look like wishful thinking. Millwall have to go to Huddersfield and these two play each other at the end of the season, but other than that I fully expect them to win all their other games. That means that 2nd place will probably require six wins from us.

Our comparable stats, just for completeness are:

Charlton (1.83 in 6) (1.58 in 12) (1.73 in 22).

However, just for my own interests I went back over the last ten seasons in the third division and found something interesting.

I'm not going to produce the stats verbatim, but the average number of points won by the teams that finished 2nd over that ten years is 85.375. Thus 86 should be enough (on average) to finish 2nd. However the highest number of points in that ten year period is 91, so it wouldn't be unheard of for the team finishing second to need 92 points. If we win all of our remaining games we will have 92 points. As things stand Swindon can have 91 and Millwall 90 when they face each other at The New Den on the last day of the season.

Out of interest the season that the second placed team had 91 points, the Champions had 100. Norwich can lose that the Valley and still reach 100 points, so it does look like this is a high scoring season at the top of the division. You would, actually, expect that with Norwich, Charlton, Southampton and Leeds in the division. Incidentally, give Southampton their ten points back and they'd be one point behind Huddersfield with us at home their only tough game left.

I know all the games in this division are winnable, particularly for us (being one of those relegated last season and with a very strong squad, but it might be asking a lot to actually expect us to win the last six. Also it is not as though we have to hope to catch one side that is a little erratic. Leeds have looked anything but unstoppable since Christmas (not unlike ourselves) but Swindon and Millwall have had fantastic runs, and the likely of them both blowing up is very remote.

On the plus side the playoffs are a bit of a lottery, and the team that just misses out on second has a huge psychological disadvantage. In fact over the last ten years the playoffs have been won by the team that finished 3rd 3 times, 4th twice, 5th 3 times and 6th twice. A fairly even spread. Also, just for interest, in the three highest scoring seasons of the last ten the team that finished third didn't win the playoffs. Thus it is entirely likely that either Swindon or Millwall will not go up at all.

If we assume that we are not going to make the second automatic promotion place it is all to play for in the lottery that is the playoffs. Not to mention the fact that they are the most exciting games in the calender, and if you make it through the two legged affair then a game at Wembley beckons.

It is indeed squeaky bum time. 5p 50p, 5p 50p.

Up the Addicks!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Next... Carlisle at home

I'm not going to do much of a preview of this game. I've only just finished writing the report on the MK Dons game and having been at football on Easter Saturday, coming home and demanding to watch Dr Who then going off to another game today I really need to put some time in with 'the family'.

Needless to say I am going to mention 4-5-1. With Forster coming in and with Bailey and Burton likely to be out injured again I'm not going to demand we switch the formation, but I would expect to see us finish with Shelvey and Sodje (A) on the pitch as they made us look much stronger in the latter stages of the game on Saturday.

In fact it goes without saying that this is a game we really should win. I'm not being overly demanding, just thinking that if we are going to finish top two you have to expect to beat these kind of sides at home. If we assume that we do manage to win today the other teams results will be very interesting.

Leeds have a tricky game at Yeovil, and are on a wretched run of form, Millwall go to Colchester and Swindon entertain Tranmere who beat Norwich 3-1 on Friday (all be it Norwich were down to ten men). Thus it is likely (in my view) that if we win we will move above at least one of those three.

It's a big ask, but if we can just put together a run we can take second place. My Dad and I decided that any of the four chasing the second place that can win five of their last seven they will go up. I will at some point share some statistics on the subject, but both the current table and the previous ten seasons suggest that five wins will be enough. Interestingly the playoffs probably only need two wins, three to be sure, but either way we need to win today and then have a look at how the others do.

It's getting interesting isn't it?

Up the Addicks!

MK Dons 0 - 1 Charlton

There seems to be differing opinions among the bloggers just recently. I've not noticed this before, but then I've only been blogging for a relatively short time, and until this season it has all been bad. In fact when I started blogging in January 2008 we were 5th in the Championship and only 2 points below the team in second place. Things have been pretty much all down hill since then. You could even argue that any level of results in the 3rd division is rubbish on the basis that we are in this stinking division at all.

All through those two and a bit years there seems to have been a single view shared by most Charlton bloggers, and probably fans, but recently we all seem to have slightly different opinions on various subjects. Dave Mooney is one case in point. His performances are seen differently and his demonstration when he scored against Gillingham have been defended in places and criticised in others. Another contentious subject is that of loan players. The concept of loan players has had a split in thoughts this season where as it was, in part, blamed for our failures in the two that preceded it.

I'm always open to others thoughts and I'm rarely stubborn on subjects so have been known to change my mind when a good argument is put forward. However, I've not been convinced by what I've read about this game from other bloggers. I'm not looking to change others opinions, but I will share my thoughts and maybe some will agree with me, maybe not.

The general consensus was that this was an unattractive game that had little to offer and we were a little fortunate to get anything from it. I have to disagree. MK Dons started a little better than we did, but there was little of note in the first half, except for one good save from Randolph. That save aside I thought that we looked very comfortable at the back. I sit at the back of the East Stand, so my normal view is not from behind a goal so I was not in a great position to judge, but I thought we had a couple of decent chances in the first half. I'm not going to say that at the interval it felt like it was only a matter of time before we scored, but it did look like we probably would and MK Dons probably wouldn't.

I would go as far as to say that we looked as safe at the back as I've seen us for a while. Daily and Sodje looked in command, and there were none of those sloppy errors that we have seen in recent weeks. MK Dons are a little out of the chase for the playoffs, but before the game my Dad and I discussed them and we concluded that if they were going to make a late surge for the playoffs it was imperative that they won this game. In fact some research I've done this morning (which I'll blog about later) made it likely that they knew the playoffs were beyond them.

As you would expect from the home side MK Dons started well but by the time we had played fifteen minutes we had taken control of the game and that didn't change before half time. In fact I would go as far as to say that we continued to dominate in the second half until we brought on Lloyd Sam. We had not made many clear cut chances in the second half by then. In the first half Wagstaff had missed a chance that New York Addick suggests he should have scored, but that aside we had controlled the play without really looking like scoring. Lloyd Sam's introduction changed things a bit and Nicky Forster showed his experience when he chased a ball he wasn't going to win and invited the foul that won us a penalty.

Now let's not pretend otherwise, Forster was looking for a penalty. Clearly I don't know what his actual intentions were, but it looked like he knew what he was doing. I don't think there was any chance of us scoring had the foul not taken place, and, as I say it looked like he played for it. However, it was a foul. Just because he played for it didn't mean that the defender had to foul him, it was his choice and he 'fell for it'. I mention this because the treatment he received before he took the kick was unnecessary. Forster is not a very tall man, and the huge defenders that were stooping to put their faces in his to say something should have known better. The Referee should have dealty with it better too. Anyway it didn't put a 36 year old with 16 goals already this season off and he dispatched the penalty with aplomb.

Then, as you'd expect two things happened. We dropped way too deep and MK Dons raised their game for ten minutes. The inevitable result was that they attacked our goal constantly. It's really easy from the stands to know what to do, but if you are under that kind of pressure it is so easy to drop deeper, and to lash out at any kind of clearance you can. To be fair to him Reid was trying to play the ball out, but there was no one to pass to as the whole team were getting themselves behind the ball. Randolph made a couple of good saves. Again, it was at the other end of the pitch from where I was sitting so I can't really judge how great the saves were, but the pressure was expected, it came, and we held strong.

Parkinson made two substitutions changing the formation as well as taking off Forster, who had been running all afternoon, and is no spring chicken. Those two, plus the Lloyd Sam introduction were inspired. Sure there were a number of fans that were calling for exactly those changes, but full credit must go to Parkinson as he didn't put a foot wrong all afternoon. Just for the record, Mooney did ok too. He is not a prolific goal scorer, but he did chase and chase and he did play in the ball from which Forster won the penalty. It was just time for a change, and Shelvey (whom I suspect you realise I like) came on and looked really impressive in his cameo. Something that I did notice for the first time (I sit at the back of the East Stand, so quite a way from the pitch) is just how big Shelvey is. I've always thought of him as a young lad playing in a man's game. Not the case at all - he looks every bit as strong as any other player.

So, overall I don't think we were lucky, I don't think it was a poor game and I don't think we played badly. We played like an away team that came for a win (any win) and got exactly what we came for. Interestingly we managed 3 shots on target which is much improved from one a piece at Millwall and Huddersfield. Sure we didn't look or play like Barcelona do at home, but we were professional and did everything we needed to.

Clearly we need to go on and win today, but since the final whistle I have been much more upbeat about this campaign. I guess it helps that just about all the results went our way this weekend, but for the first time in two months I believe that the magical second place is a possibility.

Up the Addicks!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Next... MK Dons away

So we reach the 'Business end of the Season' and we find ourselves in fifth place, one win (and a little goal difference) from second and a massive two wins from seventh.

The playoffs look relatively safe, especially as Huddersfield still have to play Colchester who are sixth. Thus they can't both win all their remaining games, and Colchester still have to face Millwall, Swindon and ourselves while Huddersfield have to face Millwall. We have a few tough games ourselves let's not forget, but having spent a while looking at the fixtures I'm inclined to predict that it will be Colchester who miss out. I, actually, don't care, just as long as it's not us.

As for making the top two, it looks, to me, a little unlikely. The suggestions that Millwall have peaked too early could well have been said about Norwich two months ago, but they just kept on going winning game after game.

Millwall don't have the easiest run in as they have to face Swindon as will as the already mentioned Colchester and Huddersfield. The rest of their games look winnable. We need to take into account here that in recent weeks Millwall have been winning all their winnable games. Leeds, Swindon and ourselves have not managed to do that. A quick look at the form tables (last six played) and Millwall (and Norwich) have managed five wins and a draw - 16 points. In the same six games Swindon have managed 10 points, we have managed 8 and Leeds have managed a miserable 5. I know you can't read results from the table, and form tables can be distorted based on who the six games you play are against, but Millwall look to be in pole position to me. Also we should point out that their six games included both us and Leeds, the later was away.

Thus it looks like Millwall are going to be uncatchable for us, despite the fact that I suspect both Leeds and Swindon are within our reach. Swindon have to go away to both Millwall (last game) and Leeds - who they beat 3-0 t home.

Anyway, that's enough of the stats. They don't really mean all that much anyway, I believe that if we win all our remaining games (and let's face it we won our first six and seven of our opening nine with two draws) we will make second place. If we lose at Southampton and at home to Colchester, Norwich and Leeds then I suspect we will be looking over our shoulder and may miss out on the playoffs.

However, before we take on those 'giants' of the third Division there is the little matter of MK Dons. I didn't agree with the 'Franchise' of Wimbledon, but to be fair there was little chance of the club surviving once they left Plough Lane. Strangely if that happened these days (or a couple of years ago) they would have been able to fund some alternative home, but at the time there wasn't enough money in football. We learned, the hard way, that ground sharing is not really viable in English football. It is just ironic that we both shared with Palace.

I'm sure that there are those that will disagree with my prognosis, as they did when New York Addick covered the subject, and I'm not making a definitive statement, but their future looked bleak, and with the cost/value of land in London (Wimbledon and it's surrounding areas included) the odds of survival were staked against them.

That aside I had complete respect for the achievements of Wimbledon. I have never been that interested in other clubs football history so I'm not that familar with their rise from non-league. However, Wimbledon's promotion to the old First Division, their ability to stay there much longer than we did with fewer resources (something that took away from our achievements at the time) and their success in the FA Cup in 1988 made Wimbledon, in my view, a credible and established member of the top flight. Their relegation, all be it predictable, took years to happen. Sure they played unattractive football at times, but that is allowed, and it wasn't half entertaining. I remember a game we won 1-0 at Selhurst Park (when we played there) and Wimbledon dropped the ball in our box all afternoon. How we managed to win I'll never know. They were all over us!

I point that out because as far as I'm concerned this is not the same club. There are no head to heads, other than the game we won 5-1 in November. The formation of MK Dons and, frankly, everything about them I disapprove of. I have no problem with Milton Keynes having a team. My sister used to live in Milton Keynes, and for a while I made regular visits there on business. What I do have a problem with is MK Dons 'inheriting' Wimbledon's history. There was a debate a few years ago about the replica FA Cup that MK Dons have following Wimbledon's success in 1988. This is a disgrace. MK Dons should be stripped of Wimbledon's history. Frankly they should be stripped of their league status too.

Had Wimbledon gone insolvent, possible, or fallen out of the league completely, likely if the former didn't materialise, their place should have been allocated via the league pyramid. How exactly would have been open to debate. In the event of liquidation there would needless have been a dispute between a team at the bottom of one division and a team at the top of the division below, but ultimately it should have been awarded on success that season. The players that MK Dons took and, in some cases, sold on should not have been allowed to be transferred to a different club. MK Dons are a different club.

Anyway this subject has been done to death. Sadly, AFC Wimbledon were forced to start their life in a division well below that in which Wimbledon FC 'died' and MK Dons are never going to be stripped of their current league status. They even have a former England Captain as their manager.

Irrespective as to how we feel about the club, the team is more than adequate, and like us have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 2 of their last 6 games. At home MK Dons have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 2 of their last 6 and away we have managed 1 win, 3 draws and 2 defeats. These stats fail to look convincing either way, but with MK Dons being 8 points from Colchester in 6th place it is a massive game for them. Add in the fact that we literally took them apart at The Valley and the 5 we scored could well have been 10, makes this a game that they really need to put on a show.

We have been in, at best, average form since Christmas, so I am in a bit of a dilemma. With games at Southampton and at home to Colchester, Norwich and Leeds I am tempted to write off the automatic promotion that I have been desperate for all season. With that in mind, and with just eight games left do we go for broke to try and win this game to give us a chance of catching Leeds, Millwall and Swindon, or do we go there looking for a point to keep up our chances of making the playoffs?

If I'm honest, based on our recent form and the quality of the opposition (they might be a farce of a club, but that have a decent side) I think I'd be happy with a draw. A win and we go into the visit of Carlisle looking to push on for second place. Parkinson has demonstrated recently that he has no intention of switching back to 4-5-1, so I guess it will 4-4-2 and we will have to hope we can score ourselves out of trouble.

Despite probably accepting a draw, I think we might just sneak it. I think I'll go for a 2-1. I know we are not very likely to score many, but I just can't see us keeping a clean sheet - much as I'd love us to.

Up the Addicks!