Saturday, 26 February 2011

Target what?

Change can be hard.  It is not human nature to accept change, thats why some of the top earners are change management specialists, so I am having difficulty accepting the change that seems to have gone through the Valley in the last few weeks.

At the beginning of the season under Murray and Parkinson we knew we had a squad that was put together on a shoe string and a manager who was many peoples anti christ.  We, also knew we were aiming for promotion, preferably by the automatics, but hell the play offs would do.  Poor performances, good results, poor performances, bad results we knew the target was promotion.

Then came Slater and Jiminez and we took the change because they sounded like decent blokes and Minty recommended them and he IS a decent bloke.  And what sort of change was it? Well it was all for the good, promotion remained the target, at a stroke our foundations were firmed up.

Then Parkie screwed up my comfort zone, he allowed his players to go out and perform abjectly.  Slater met him for the first time and fired him in the best interests of getting promotion.  So the target remained - we want promotion.

To replace Parkie we looked for a manager who would cement promotion, Eddie Howe turned us down and we adopted our legend CP.

We recruited during this time three new players, Ecclestone - rising Liverpool star, Bradley Wright-Philips and Fredericco "de baja m├ędica" Bessone , showing our intent?

As I say change does not come easily, so when Slater says that promotion is no longer a target this season, it would be a bonus, I am confused.  An improved squad, a new motivational manager, 100% support  from the fans, so logically we down grade our expectations.  Errr, no!

However, Slater knows what is going on in the club and maybe CP walked through the door and said "with this squad - hell no!"  So I am going to have to accept change, move forward with the new reality.

But what is the new reality?  Its not promotion, we know that.  Is it honorable defeat in the play off final or the semi finals or is it a top ten finish, maybe its just avoiding relegation.  Do we have a target, even?  Maybe its just play through the season learn the management ropes and be prepared for next season.

Personally, I have had enough of this league and would like to think we are aiming for promotion this season, but hey its a long time since I have had a bonus, so maybe I'll have to change my perspective to that.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Exeter Defeat leaves Addicks neck and neck with last season

It seems every time we get ahead of last years performance and with winnable games ahead, we fall into old habits and any potential space between this year and last is gone.  After CP's great start we ahve dropped six points against teams we beat last season.

The next three games delivered 5 points last season and whilst we can't be confident of Notts County after last Saturday, Carlisle and Tranmere should deliver a full house of points, putting us back on par with last season.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Its back!

Many years ago, in the second tier I watched three games in a row, as memory serves Grimsby, Port Vale and Southend, they were awful, we lost each of them and I came away thinking why do we, the fans, still come.  The next game we won gloriously and I thought to myself "thats why".  In the promotion season we went 11 wins in a row and came up against bottom place Swindon, only to lose 1-0.  This is the unpredictability of Charlton and the unpredictability of supporting the club.  More often than not when we have hyped up a game and the club have encouraged the team fans to get behind the team, the team have failed to deliver and the fans have gone home despondent - Nottingham Forest, Middlesborough etc,.

"We have our Charlton back" was sung only a few weeks ago and yesterdays performance and result underlines that.  Our time in the Premiership was an interlude in the history of the club letting fans down, we are back where we have always been, albeit one tier below our natural place in the footballing hierarchy - "hope over expectation rules".

The result yesterday hides an adequate performance. Without looking at the stats Exeter had probably 4 shots and scored three goals, we hit the bar twice and the post and had a number of penalty area scrambles, but we  lost and that defines the attitude and approach and we were not good enough.

The message boards today are much more negative about the current management, losing at Hartlepool on a cold Tuesday night,can be accepted, but losing at home in front of almost 25,000 is difficult to forgive.  Performances have not significantly improved since parkinsons days, despite the recruitment of Ecclestone and Bradley Wright Philips  and a clearly more supportive crowd.  Parkinson left us in fifth place, we're now seventh.

So doom and gloom -- not really, lets be realistic, we have a lot of points to play for.  The automatics look like they are slipping away but play offs are a realistic target.  It is clear to most of us that our central midfield is not good enough and we have the opportunity to bring in a loan to cover, also central defence, Doherty did himself few favours yesterday and it will be interesting to see if Powell brings in a loanee before Notts County or wait till the loanee could play in a play off final.

The big issue is something not surprising and that is CP's inexperience and he needs to have support particularly from Peacock to get the team back on course after a superb beginning.  CP needs to learn on the job and quickly, often more is learnt through defeat than victory and the first four games masked the issues we all knew were there.

Friday sees us away to Notts County and Paul Inces team never easy to put the train back on the rails, with Lee Hughes to torment us as he did at the Valley, despite our victory, a pitch that has a passing memory of what grass looks like and a manger who has win in his DNA.  CP's test will continue and it will be in the full glare of Sky, lets hope he passes.