A Tale of Fame Wo

You have to think that without Akin’s mistake, we would have gone on to win the game today. Although Wimbledon were better in the 2nd half, they were there for the taking. They just weren’t very good. The problem with Charlton is that even if we had Pep Guardiola as manager, we’ve still got the same players. They are just not good enough to get promoted, we are always likely to make a catastrophic mistake.

I remain convinced that our midfield – with the exception of JFC is the biggest problem.

If Adkins can get the team into the Play Offs, he wont just be a football manager, he will be a magician.

Finally, where do we go with Ronnie ? I very much want him to be successful, but I really wouldn’t want to see an analysis of how many times he has touched the ball during his, admittedly, limited times on the pitch. Surely just occasionally he needs to show in front of defenders rather than hang around on the shoulder hoping they will miss the ball.

Good Luck Nigel

I was a bit underwhelmed initially when I heard that Nigel Adkins had got the job. However, apart from his spell at Sheffield Utd his track record at Scunthorpe, Southampton and Hull and even before at non league Bangor is excellent. The decision to retain JJ as assistant manager was a very sensible and sensitive move from Thomas and it has swung me into the positive camp.

One of the many things that Duchatelet never understood about football was the fiercely tribal element of it. I’m 63 years old now and I still feel like a punch up whenever we play Palace ( not so keen when its Millwall !). The bond with Bowyer was stronger because it really felt like he was one of us. The play off wins against Doncaster and Sunderland felt almost like a spiritual experience in the crowd and the commitment of Lee just heightened the high.

Frankly, if Nigel Adkins wins the Premier League and European Cup with us, he’s never going to have that same depth of commitment from the fan base.

But if Nigel lifts the trophies and JJ does the star jump from the tunnel at the Nou Camp – well that will work for all of us…….

Let us hope that Nigel is both talented and lucky because he will need both to get us out of this division.

The journey starts tomorrow

JJ, Euell, and Curbs for me

If I’m honest, I would be disappointed if Nigel Adkins gets the job. For me, you need a young guy who is nearer the players ages and who knows the best players in League 1 and 2 now. That’s JJ. If you add to that a guy ( Jason Euell) who knows the young talent coming through both at Charlton and nationally, then sprinkle a bit of wisdom from the best Charlton manager in our lifetimes ( Curbs) then that’s the best solution for our club now.

Nigel Adkins and Chris Wilder ( in my opinion) are both too old for the job. We need a younger man and all the success we have had in my lifetime has been with younger managers, Curbs, Lennie, SCP and Bow.

Thomas will have his own ideas but I’m hoping its a ‘young un’

A Win Win Situation

Firstly a big thank you to Lee Bowyer for holding us all together when the club was in desperate straits and of course for Wembley and providing us with a bloody good team that year and for half of our Championship season. I am sure like all sensible Charlton supporters we all wish Lee the very best in his next career move.

For the club and Thomas Sandgaard and for Lee and for Birmingham ( if that is his eventuaL destination) it seems like a ‘win win’ to me.

Lee has been looking and sounding tired and the team look pretty ordinary – everyone needs a boost. I’m not privy to any internal information , but I would have been amazed if Thomas had not already decided to make a change at the end of this season. Lee must have been able to read the tea leaves, but if he hadn’t found another job before he was replaced at the end of the season, it would have looked bad on his cv. Thomas and the club have in turn dodged a bullet in terms of having to pay up the remaining 2 years on Lee’s contract. Birmingham FC get a bloke who is going to stick a rocket so far up some of their underperforming stars bottoms they wont know if they are coming or going.

So to me it looks like a good outcome for all parties. The big issue for us now is who to appoint in Lee’s place. I’d be tempted to let JJ have it until the end of this season, but as an outside bet, I would favour Matt Taylor from Exeter who was part of our fantastic League 1 winning team under SCP. He has done a decent job at Exeter, he is young and will know the best players in League 1 and 2 ( which is essential) and he will know Ged Roddy well from their days together at Team Bath.

Anyway, if I had to guess, I think Thomas will go with a foreign manager- possibly Danish !- and try to follow the Brentford model.

Sounds like we will know relatively soon. Lets hope we get lucky.

The Middle

I am a broken record on this, but we are currently a middling 3rd division side with an OKish defence and an OKish attack. The biggest problem is in midfield where we don’t have enough energy or GOALS. I thought we played quite well in the first half but without any real penetration or invention. We miss JFC terribly who has had an excellent season . I’m with Curbs about Millar and Maatsen who seem to spend too much time standing next to each other. I think Millar needs a bit more space on his own. I’m not a Shinnie fan because of his lack of pace but credit to him he played very well and made a real difference when he came on. In terms of our January signings, I’m a bit worried about DJ who looks a bit lost and Ronnie who is ,so far anyway, completely lost.

Although Shrewsbury were there for the taking, we didn’t create anything inventive enough to open them up. In the last 5 minutes, it was a miracle that Shrewsbury didn’t get a winner.

We are becalmed in the middle – roll on next season with a new team ………………..

Dreadful Football

On about the 70th minute my mate who I have been sitting next to/ standing with at Charlton for the last 50 years texted me ‘ Have you ever seen a worse Charlton team’ – I want to be optimistic and supportive but honestly the only one I could think of in the last half century was the one that SCP inherited from Parky – you know , Paul Benson, Pavel Abbott , Dave Mooney, Thierry Racon and Co.

I think to be fair maybe all teams now are fitter and more organised than over previous decades but we are really very ordinary even in this, the 3rd division. I don’t think we have any chance at all of reaching the play offs and its going to take a complete rebuild of an entire team of players over the summer which will be financially challenging, even for Thomas.

I remember Peter Varney telling me that early on when he and SCP were building the League 1 winning team they concluded that you can’t get out of this league without goal scoring midfielders and between Danny Hollands, Johnnie Jackson and Dale Stephens, we had lots of goals from the middle. I can’t see any goals coming from our current midfield.

We have a honest bunch of committed professionals and Lee probably gets the best out of them but ultimately we don’t have the quality in the team to get promoted

Valley Pass is Just Great

Well it is isn’t it ? – I absolutely love it , brilliantly hosted by Scotty Minto, and the banter with Curbs is superb. We are all very quick to complain and criticise , particularly about the goings on at our football club, and we’ve certainly had a lot to moan about over the last 10 years, but the Pre and Post Match Show is fantastic. Reminiscing with Paul Mortimer – who was an absolute genius , I remember watching him dribble from the corner flag along the line evading 3 tackles in 6 inches of space and somehow landing the ball on the goaline for Scotty Parker to ram home. Kevin Lisbie, Rob Lee, Gary Nelson, Jason Euell and Simon Webster have all been great guests and hopefully we will see many more of our favourite past players.

Listening to the tactical insights of Steve Brown is infinitely more interesting than Jamie Carragher or Gary Neville and he makes more sense to me !!

The stories are fun and remind us that we are a long standing community with a shared history and hopes and dreams for the future.

Many congratulations and thanks to all those involved.

Back to Basics

Great- Wigan scored Nil – Objective achieved. Well done to Lee for picking a conventional line up and the players for giving everything. Having JFC back and playing Smith instead of Shinnie gave us the midfield legs, strength and energy we lacked on Saturday and enabled Watson to play the position (well) that he understands.

Bringing Pearcy back was an improvement on DO because he is a more experienced centre half and Matthews played well in his best position. Maatsen played OK but as Steve Brown noted in commentary, his defending can be a bit haphazard.

I would have preferred Stockley to Washington but aside from that I thought the line up was just right. There were a few tired legs out there and cramping/hammy injuries – lets hope we can keep the same side on Saturday – wouldn’t that be a novelty ?

Lee seemed miserable afterwards – My wife who was listening to Valley Pass in the background commented that it sounded like Lee has lost his mojo. It would be fascinating to know where Lee now stands with Thomas. Maybe the instruction is now clearly to achieve Top 6 this season or its Goodnight Vienna

What if we lose at Wigan and Oxford ?

You wouldn’t need to be Nostradamus to suggest that given our current confidence level, we are very likely to lose our next 2 games. If we do, it will be the continuation of a terrible run of results and however much any of us might be emotionally attached to Lee Bowyer, it will be hard to see how he can survive.

If we get 2 wins, then maybe a corner of sorts will have been turned and let us hope against expectation that happens ? Much as I really love Valley Pass, I’m not sure interviewing Lee after another gut wrenching defeat is doing any of us – especially him – any good. From a management point of view I’m not a fan of publicly bollocking your staff whether its football or any other industry and I think Lee has been wrong to do that, but asking managers questions when they are in a heightened emotional state immediately after the game is asking for trouble.

From a tactical point of view I hope that, regardless of how awful Wigan might be, we concentrate on defending properly and have enough energy in the middle of the park to stop any of their players running most of the length of the pitch unchallenged before arrowing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Playing 2 wingers again with just Watson and Shinnie in the middle will be suicidal. Wigan getting Nil ought to be our principal objective