Thursday, 22 October 2015

Where do we go from here?

I think it was Bill Shankly that suggested that no league table is worth looking at until November, but I might be wrong about that. I have always thought that ten games is when one judges a team and its expected level of success in a season - I know I got this from my Dad.

Well November is just two games away. Brentford at home and Middlesbrough at The Riverside. I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that we are unlikely to get anything from the latter of those two games which means that we are likely to be in a relegation position by the time November starts.

Interestingly we had a massive six teams below us after ten games, although by then we'd only managed two points in six games, after managing eight points in the opening four games of the season.

Technically three points could take us above seven sides (I've not checked that any of them are playing each other so that could be wrong) so a win against Brentford and a defeat at Middlesbrough could be enough to leave us out of the bottom three. Also there is only two points separating 17th and 22nd (where we are), and three of the teams above us have won in their last two outings, so it's not drastic yet. Ironically one of those sides is Preston who convincingly beat us on Tuesday evening.

I have little knowledge of football. I don't tend to study formations and tactics. I have watched, literally, hundreds of games live, but I've always enjoyed the games without wanting to get too involved in what goes on behind the scenes. If I watch a movie I don't need to know how it was made and I don't need to know where each player is told to stand for every corner. Their role is to play, mine is to watch.

However, it would be unrealistic of me no have not picked up a few things over the years, even if it is only a few, and I can't help coming to the conclusion that Simon Makienok is a huge loss for us. In the game against Hull (one of only three games I've been to this season) he scored one goal and made the other one. He was also instrumental in defending and clearing the ball - one such occasion his clearance led to the chance that Gudmundsson had which the 'keeper did well to save at 1-0.

Now I'm not saying that his reintroduction is going to make us world beaters, but I am confident that come the end of the season we will find that the average number of points we win with him in the side will be more than when he isn't. I suspect that the same will be true of Henderson. I have nothing against Nick Pope but he has, shall we say, been a bit unlucky with goals being scored shortly after he 'releases' the ball, and similar stats were true of last season.

I am not in disagreement with those that say that the squad wasn't big enough, nor do I disagree that some of the signings (and youth graduates, for that matter) have not been good enough for this division, at this moment in time. The truth, however, is that we are where we are and trust needs to be given. The owner needs to trust his CEO (even though I'm not sure that I do); the CEO needs to trust the manager (even though it feels a little more like blind faith at the moment); the manager needs to trust his players; and the fans need to trust all of that list and the owner, as we have little choice, or more specifically, little power to change it.

The player recruitment (and I'm going to assume that it hasn't been, entirely, good enough) is shrouded in mystery. I have no, real, idea who is making the decisions and what areas are being looked at. Clearly we have signed players in some of the positions that we needed them so I guess that is a positive point. We have, maybe, not signed players that are good enough, and certainly not enough of them across the board.

Identifying the positions we need reinforcements is, actually, very simple so I can't really give much praise for that. Signing young players that may or may not work out is a fair enough gamble to take. We can't afford to sign a whole squad of proven, established players so we have to 'speculate'.

So far, and I'm going on what I've read elsewhere as much as what I've seen, myself, the success rate is not very high. Phil Chapple has moved on, and I have no idea if that is significant, nor do I know if he is responsible for any of the players that we have scouted. I don't want to pick out players for criticism, but there are a couple that we, apparently, paid a lot of money for that don't seem to be able to cope with the level of football we are at. Hence we are in the bottom three.

I'm, naturally, an optimist, and hate having to face problems head on so I want to believe that when the players that have settled and are injured are back our fortunes will improve. My, genuine, aspirations for a playoff place back in August have evaporated and I'm now thinking that 4th from bottom will be deemed a success this season. In reality 4th from bottom is every bit as good as 7th so anything better that 21st will be a bonus.

Relegation is unthinkable, but not impossible. We have one of the richest owners in the Championship so I suspect that he will, again, splash some cash in January to being in the players that we could have done with in September to ensure that he and his CEO are given another chance at playing 'Championship Manager' with a real football club again next season to see if he, and she, can prove that they are cleverer that all the other custodians of Championship clubs by getting promoted spending less than almost all of them.

All in all it's not difficult to see why so many, including me, seem to have lost some of the interest/obsession that we had with Charlton, and football in general over the last two years.

I don't know that the future would bring if the current owner was to want to move on but even though it was a little desperate just before he arrived, I can't help thinking that it can't get any worse. Clearly it can, and I am lazy and cowardly, so I would never be the type to demand a change (assuming, of course, that anyone cared about what I demanded) but it does feel as though something needs to change.

I chose not to go on Tuesday night, and I don't think I want to go on Saturday. Not that I matter, but I missed just a couple of games between 1988 and 2014 and I'm probably going to miss two in a week, which will be four in this season alone (three of which were on a Saturday). If the goal of any football club, at any level, is to grow attendance then they are clearly doing something wrong as I'm not alone in finding other things to do when Charlton play.

The worst thing is that I'm not angry, I'm not disappointed I have just stopped enjoying going.

Up the Addicks!


Anonymous said...

What an excellent post KHA. I feel exactly the same, I go to Charlton as there is no other Club for me. My Dad introduced me to Charlton and I likewise introduced my son to Charlton. We are all disillusioned with what is being dished up as "entertaining" football. My son made an interesting remark on Tuesday night by reminding me that Luzon stated that "he doesn't look at the way our opponents play and just concentrates on his team selection". Perhaps that's where the fault lies as its common sense that you need to know what the opposition is all about. I guess we got off to a good start as at that point our opposition didn't have a clue about the way we play, but that has all changed now after 10 games and it is patently clear to any opposition how to "stop" Charlton and I'm afraid there's no chance it will change while Luzon is in charge.

I would love to see Jacko given a chance with someone like Curbishley guiding his hand, but I will have to dream on!

Anonymous said...

Yes an excellent post thank you KHA. Roland and Co have let some good players managers and staff leave since they took over and I'm glad to see Riga and Powell are doing ok. Where CAFC have kept the likes of Jason Euell they are still doing well. Like Anon 1. I was introduced to the club by my father in 62 and I can see that strong clubs keep a chain of generational support alive. Sadly I think these owners will destroy the very thing they laud, a family club. Not because they are malicious or greedy but because they don't have the capacity to listen and understand and not keep repeating the same mistakes. Or the ambition to fully commit. I'm sure some additions will be made in Jan that may well help (an optimistic 50/50 chance of some quality) if we're still in a dogfight. But I'm not sure that come next season in whatever the division we won't be well short of a full squad again under Rolland. Investment has been made but some of it spent on players has unfortunately not worked out.

Leapin Len said...

Your post sums up many of my own feelings and has prompted me to get a few things off my chest.

I like to think I am one of the many 'everyday' Charlton supporters and have noticed that frequently my view is not so different to what the majority are thinking. I am not on some emotional crusade to get rid of Roland. OK he's frustratingly unlike anything a football club supporter would want him to be, but if he hadn't taken over we would probably already be in League 1.

I don't have a great deal of respect for Katrien and having worked with lawyers for many years, it's not hard to see the personal qualities that a good lawyer possesses shining brightly. Their job is put forward 'the case' for their employer. On any given day this 'case' may change, but emotion or concern for right or wrong is irrelevant to putting the employer's best case forward. You can see why Roland likes her.

I can't see Guy lifting the moral in the dressing room. Although like yourself I have no experience which qualifies me to critically comment, it doesn't take much to see the disarray in the team organisation. So in last few weeks I've started to have serious doubts as to his tactical capabilities. These two aspects must surely be right at the top when it comes to managing a team hard hit by injuries.

Most importantly, the Team. We have some really good players, all of whom are currently playing well below their capabilities. We lack leaders on the pitch and it's absolutely stunning that we did not correct this situation over the summer. I'm sure our CEO did her best (sorry sarcasm). We have a Team easily capable of staying up, even allowing for injuries. The question is do we have the Manager capable of getting them back up the table? I'm not interested in the circumstances of Guy's arrival. It's completely irrelevant. But I don't have any confidence he can do what's needed in our current circumstances.

I'm thankful it's not the end of the season. We still have plenty of time. Who knows what Roland will do? Something or Nothing? I'm pretty damn sure that it won't be nothing! I'm also pretty damn sure that I'm going to lose the £30 I put on Charlton to get into the play offs.

Len Parker

Anonymous said...

I also think you've summed up my feelings too KHA. I like the type of management selection your earlier poster suggested, but we all know it has to be foreign yes man.

Pembury Addick

Andy said...

I am curious as to why Charlton are apparently losing so much money. I guess we need to start balancing the books to a certain extent but why are other Championship clubs not facing the same issues as us or are they?

Our attendances are fairly decent and I can't imagine we have any player earning exorbitant salaries (by comparison with other clubs) . Are other clubs just operating at a loss being subsidise by their owners?