Season over for me

I’m annoyed today.

The perils of not having a 9-5 Monday to Friday job mean that i won’t make it to The Valley for the rest of the season.

I suppose it could be worse. At least I am not missing a promotion charge, or one of those must-win games that guarantees your promotion to a better, richer league.

The question i contemplated with a couple of Twitter followers over the last week was this: In a year’s time will Chris Powell still be the manager?

Controversial i know but the facts don’t lie. He was definitely a public relations appointment. A legend amongst fans, respected throughout the game, the new owners knew that they would immediately endear themselves to the fans with this appointment. It’s early days at the moment but it is going to have to be a very busy summer for Mr P and his staff if he is going to put together a promotion winning team.

I would be the first to admit i wasn’t the biggest fan of Phil Parkinson’s style of play. It was messy and it wasn’t always successful but it got us to the play offs last season and it had us in a reasonable position when he was sacked earlier in the season.

I feel sorry for Phil Parkinson. As assistant to Alan Pardew he was never going to be the fans’ choice to take over and he had zero cash to spend. He actually managed to get some half decent players into the squad, despite having no financial backing and no real selling point when trying to lure players in. He was doomed to fail really.

Still, that’s in the past now and i really want Chris Powell to succeed because i love him as much as the rest of the fans do. But ask yourself this; would the fans be so accepting of our final league position this year if it were someone else in charge? Iain Dowie? Phil Parkinson? Would we be calling for them to be sacked? Because of his status around the club, Chris Powell seems to be getting a lot less stick than other managers might do.

With any luck, this time next season he will have already got us promoted, got a Manager of the Year award under his belt and kept hold of our best players.

But i shall have to wait a year to see if i’m right or wrong….

Finally, thanks to everyone who has popped along to my blog to have a read. Since i set it up I’ve now beaten the 100 hits mark, which is very pleasing!!

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Dailly gets dirty at 1530 (ish)

For us hardened, long suffering fans, the season has been over for quite some time. For Christian Dailly, his season is definitely over now having suffered his THIRD dismissal of the season.

Despite my headline, which i really only used because it rhymes, i really wouldn’t consider Christian Dailly a dirty player. Is it the years that are catching up with him? I don’t think that could be the excuse for his latest red but as a club that should be looking to get promoted, should we have a captain who can get sent off three times in one season? I really like Christian Dailly and hope he will stick around for another season but, as age takes his course, i have doubts over whether he should be playing every week.

It’s fairly obvious that there are a lot of players within the team that Chris Powell doesn’t want at the club. From recent selections i guess Kyel Reid is one of these. This is a real shame as he has the pace and skill to scare defenders, especially at the level that Charlton now play, but yet he is more or less left out every week. I’m intrigued to know what has gone on behind the scenes. Both Kyel Reid and Nathan Eccleston have posted a couple of unprofessional tweets on their respective Twitter feeds that suggest all is not well.

So who will go? My guesses include McCormack, Francis, Doherty, Jenkinson, Reid and Youga from the ‘not wanted’ pile. I fear that a couple of others might get snapped up by other teams, but have already mentioned those in a previous blog.

I think this summer is going to see the biggest overhaul since when Iain Dowie joined the club, only hopefully a tad more successful!

I have recently found myself working alongside TWO Millwall fans who seem to be on a bit of a loop and repeatedly mention the four goal drubbings that we experienced last season. Hopefully, under Chris Powell’s leadership, it won’t be long before we are playing them again and the four goals are in our favour.

Keep the faith.

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Dashed hopes

Well, the signs of a revival have disappeared and it’s back to business as usual, being beaten.

I’m actually writing this before the full time whistle in the desperate hope that i’m proved wrong. I hate being proved wrong but this is the one time i think i would quite like it.

We are so inconsistent it hurts!

I wasn’t able to be at the Valley this weekend for the victory against Orient, and have spent the week thus far cursing my luck at missing two rare events; A) a victory and B) Jose Semedo scoring.

It was great to hear of his emotion at scoring and read some really positive comments from him about wanting to stay at the club for life. With that sort of attitude you are half way there.

I remember reading Alan Curbishley’s book where he said that he knew what he was getting when he bought Steve Jones; it wasn’t a 20 goal a season man but it was someone who would put his foot in where it hurts and really play for the club and that is what we need – people who not only want to play, but want to play for Charlton too. Add to that the fact the Jose is a pretty tidy player too and i think we are doing well.

All the focus seems to be on next season now. Whilst this is a little disappointing, i suppose it’s realistic. We are not going to get anything out of this season now. All we can hope for is to keep hold of our good players and then get out of the league at the third attempt. Look at Man City.

Any rich Sheiks out there?

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Last season’s playoffs

Two blogs in the space of a couple of days can only mean one thing; i have had a couple of days off.

I was mulling over Charlton’s season last night and it got me thinking about the playoffs last season.

Swindon Town, at home, and we could all see it heading towards penalties.

I had worked late into the evening and it was a rush to get to The Valley in time. I picked my dad up on the way and when i arrived felt sick. Sick with nerves. There are so many more important things in life to get worked up about (Probably, i can’tthink of any off the top of my head) but this occasion was a bad one. I bought a sausage roll once inside the stand but that wasn’t going down very easily (not that they ever do!) and then took my place in the crowd feeling somewhat nauseous.

I could almost see how it was going to end once it went to penalties; perhaps that is my pessimistic nature. It was ironic that Nicky Bailey, perhaps one of our best players over the season, was the one who blasted the ball over (Is it still going or has it landed yet?)

I knew at that moment it was over and that League One beckoned for another season. But when Swindon scored their decisive penalty and the players reeled away towards their fans i felt so angry. I felt my eyes stinging and my cheeks burning. The fact that they were celebrating on OUR ground made it even worse.

I slumped in my chair with my head in my hands. Mainly because i didn’t want my dad to see his grown son with tears in his eyes, especially over a football match.

Thinking back, the bit i can laugh about now is what happened next. If i read it i probably wouldn’t believe it happened but it did. An old wizened lady appeared next to me (Perhaps she’d been there for the whole game and i’d just not noticed her) and she tapped me on the shoulder with her walking stick (Not stereotypical at all!). “Don’t worry son,” she said to me. “At least now we won’t have to watch a relegation season next year.”

With that she shuffled away in to the night. Her words were no consolation at the time but when i began to get over it – about six weeks later – i agreed. We would be watching a promotion season instead. Hooray!!

Well, the likelihood is that there will not be any promotion this season but hopefully the little old lady is well and will be cheering the team on up at Spotland tonight.

Midweek fixtures really need a bit more thinking behind them. I know this is a rearranged fixture but surely planning ahead would say make the midweek games relatively local to save people getting home at 3-4 am and then having to go to work the next day.

I cannot afford, neither in time nor money, to trek to Lancashire on a Tuesday evening when i have work the next day and absolutely take my hat off to those that do make the effort.

Hopefully tonight it will be worth the journey.

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Looking ahead

My jubilation after the Southampton game is a distant memory.

Watching Chris Powell’s post-match interview put into words something that we all probably knew, but just hadn’t said out loud…. That another season in League One beckons.

I can’t really comment intelligently on the Bournemouth game as I wasn’t there but it sounds like there were some great individual performances that salvaged a point.

But now we will probably find ourselves asking the same question that we had to ask at about this stage last year…. Which players won’t be happy to spend another year in League One? Thery Racon was a worry last season but given that he’s not been a first team regular this season I don’t suppose too many teams will be snooping around. The main worries have to be Rob Elliott and Bradley Wright-Phillips. (The rabbit with a goal-scoring habit according to the official website – I love it!)

When was the last time Charlton had a striker that scored regularly? Clive Mendonca? Andy Hunt? Years is the one word answer. Now we have one but surely mid table Championship teams and perhaps a few promoted from League One at the end of the year will see him as a good option. I know he has not long been with us but money talks. And so does ambition. I think a lot of it will come down to how good a job Chris Powell and the Chairman can do ‘selling’ their vision to the players worth keeping. (And shipping out those that aren’t….) A good striker and a reliable goalkeeper are both vital and we don’t have decent backup options for either of these should we lose them.

The one thing we have going for us in Elliott’s terms are that he is a Charlton fan and seems to genuinely love playing for the club. We could do with 10 more like him in the team.

So, that’s life. It won’t stop me supporting the team and I’ll bet it won’t stop a lot of you either, but it doesn’t stop it all being a bit depressing. There will be another clearout at the end of the season so Powell can get his squad in order but this is exactly what Parkinson did. It means that in August this year, we will be in the same position as last; a load of new players trying to play together.

It’s to Rochdale next and hopefully we can pick up a win which, after this depressing run, could psychologically give the team a lot more that three much needed points.

Come on you Reds….

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The Southampton game…

Today i’m mildly in love with three things. In no particular order:

The sunshine, my annual leave allowance, and Christian Dailly.

I’m still buzzing from last night’s result, which is odd considering that it was only a point. But given our recent results, i genuinely expected a ‘cave in’ once that goal went in. The three guys next to me walked out before the net had even finished bulging but i never leave a game early, and last night proved why. There’s something about a game at night, under flood lights. The scruffy guy who stands next to you every week suddenly appears in a suit because he has come straight from work. Everyone has bought a Salmonella Burger from the burger van because they haven’t had time for dinner. It all adds to the atmosphere.

The guy at the ticket office gave me a ticket for the North Upper, despite me saying “north west” twice but never mind. It meant standing for the whole game but the atmosphere felt pretty electric, especially given that the overall turn out seemed pretty poor. (Maybe it was just my different view of the stadium that gave this impression?!)

There was some really good play last night. Admittedly most of it came too late but better late than never. There is still a tendency to smash it out of defence to no-one in particular, which only succeeds in giving possession back to the opposition.

Bradley Wright-Phillips looks pretty casual some times but i dont really care because he is doing something that a Charlton striker has not done for many years; score regularly.

Dean Parratt looked pretty good, and i won’t say any more than that because i’m feeling to urge to use a number of terrible bird related puns.

I also look at Christian Dailly and think, “i hope i’m as fit as he is when i’m 37”. He has been about as a player and, to be honest, could probably retire for an easy life being a pundit on TV or radio. He has been there, done that, is an experienced international (Albeit for Scotland!) and I love the fact that he is still playing, still has that desire and seems proud to play for Charlton, just like the players of a few years ago like Matt Holland and Keith Jones etc. Come the end of the season we must be sure to look beyond his age and give him another contract.

Llera and Racon were a pair of idiots for talking themselves into the book. I think whenever a player is booked for dissent they should be fined by the club and the money given to a local charity.

Reality check; it was only a point, but now i can’t wait until Bournemouth turn up. If we play like we did in the last 10 minutes then we can give them a bloody good spanking!!


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My CAFC blog

I have a difficult job.

On a daily basis i have to deal with death, innocent people getting hurt and other things that could easily scar a person.

After a while you actually become a bit detached to it all and it is just another in a long list of nasty things that life throws up.

It’s strange therefore, that the only time i really tend to get a ‘lump in my throat’ is at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon when the red plastic chair flips back, “red red robin” starts pumping out of a horrific sound system, and the Charlton team come running out of the tunnel. Sometime i genuinely have to hold back the tears.

Why so?

I started supporting Charlton at a good time. We had a pretty mediocre 96/97 season. It finished with mid table obscurity and my 14 year old self was enjoying seeing live football for the first time. The next season it all changed and, bar the 98/99 relegation season, it was all good times down at the Valley.

Cue an announcement by Mr Curbishley that he was off. Have Charlton fans had anything to cheer about since? It depends what you get your kicks out of i suppose but i didn’t cheer when we signed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. And I didn’t cheer when we spend £2 million on Djimi Traore (although i did cheer when we got £1 million back for him!)

But back to the present, and that lump in my throat. As the team runs out i see players like Alan McCormack wearing the CAFC shirt, i don a safety helmet as Llera runs out and i expect one of his clearances to hit me any moment. I know times change but i can’t help wishing that it was John Robinson, Mark Kinsella, Steve Brown et al instead.

If our relationship with CAFC was with a human, we would probably have been on the Jeremy kyle show by now, demanding a DNA test, disbelieving that we could be related to these people.

I was working this Saturday and i discovered that a new colleague is a CAFC fan and we had a chat about it all. When we saw each other on Sunday we just grimaced, shook our heads and decided it was a topic that we shouldn’t discuss. It hurt too much.

Thirteen years ago we saw the Premiership arrive at the Valley, with Southampton our first home opponents. It has been a big fall in grace for both teams ahead of tomorrow’s match. I suspect that the result tomorrow won’t be as convincing as it was back in the summer sun in 1998.

At least not in Charlton’s favour.

Until next time…….

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