I was going to wait until the eve of the new season before I changed the look of this blog. I appreciate that there is something to be said for continuity, but when I started this blog I had little idea how long it would run for and, therefore, just picked one of the standard templates. This is another template, but I've personalised it a little bit. It may well change again, but for now this is the new look.
The reason for making the change now is that there has been a dramatic change in the ownership at Charlton, and that is significantly more reason to bring up the subject than my preference for the colour of the links on my blog.
The change I'm obviously referring to is that of Richard Murray taking control of the club. There are more than enough summaries of what this might mean elsewhere, and I'm not in the habit of repeating things others have written better than I can, but I will just endorse the decision of the current Directors that have reduced their potential net value and, of course, Richard Murry's latest financial backing of the club. I seriously doubt that he expects to make any kind of return of this latest move.
In fact, I would guess (and this is purely speculation), that he has been willing to make further cash injections of one form or another but has been unwilling to do so when others own shares and are not willing or able to match these injections. As I say this could be nothing but my own imagination, but if I part owned a company (especially one that I had an emotional attachment to) I would be reluctant to put money in when, technically, the money was owed by someone else as soon as I passed it over.
I don't think this is going to mean a change to a less frugal approach. Murray has admitted, much to his credit, on many occasions that massive mistakes have been made with some player acquisitions, and he will probably welcome a much more conservative approach. The less you spend, the less you can waste if it all goes wrong.
Despite the allegations that Pardew may have wasted more money (especially on the difference between what we paid for players and what we 'released' them for), Dowie's signings were also a failure on the whole. We might have realised much of what Dowie spent, but the players failed to provide any value for money on the field, and I think Dowie's signings were probably more responsible for our relegation from the Premier League than Pardew's half a season in charge.
Anyway that is all water under the bridge. Had we been in the Championship this season I might have found myself dreaming about a Curbishley return and another proper challenge for the Premier League. However at this moment in time I am more than happy with Parkinson to steer us out of the third division. I am quietly confident that we might just manage that this season but if not, I think Parkinson is as likely to be able to build a side capable of that in the next three of four years as anyone else that we could attract right now.
In fact, there have been some suggestions that we might be about to sign a player or two for a transfer fee. It is clear that the two strikers we have had on trial have failed to convince Parkinson, and to be fair to them, and him, the chances of signing a striker capable of scoring 15 plus goals in a season on a free, on reasonable wages are pretty slim. The only type of player that is ever available on that basis is one, like Leon McKenzie, who has a history of injury problems. We have had our fair share of players like that in recent years, so I would, personally, prefer to steer clear of them. Sam Sodje is one such example. I'm sure than on his day he can be a really useful asset, but he has a problem with his knee that would worry me with big, important games.
The summer has been much more encouraging that I could ever have hoped for. I seriously doubted we would get £1m for Nicky Bailey, I thought we would be stuck with Mou2 and McLeod's wages for another year, and I would never have imagined we could have sold a third division full back for £450k - especially just before he ruled himself out for three months with a shoulder injury - and we all know three months ends up being more than six. On that subject I can't help feeling that many of the players that are going to Southampton right now are just chasing the money. We have only just offloaded the last of those type of player that he signed for us. I wouldn't be surprised to see Southampton outside the top four approaching Christmas with Pardew drawing up lists of new recruits he needs in January. Just like Man City last season and us two seasons before, you can't buy success. anyway that is a conversation for another day.
Also on the plus side we have kept Christian Dailly, signed McCormack, Doherty, Jackson and Reid, and we have (up to now) kept hold of Racon and Semedo. We, clearly, need more strength in depth and a striker or three, but we have a week and a half before the big kick off, and if all else fails we can start the season with a 4-5-1 with Akpo upfront on his own. That formation won us the first six games of the season last year, and the transfer window is open for another five weeks.
We have also not, yet, signed any loan players. This is where I am hopeful we will be able to bring in a very good young striker for a season that can score close to 20 goals while his club don't need him for a year or two.
The defeat at Barnet was not what we were hoping for, but on the whole I think things are much better than I feared they would be with just a few days of July left.
Up the Addicks!