Saturday 23 February 2013

Madley being the operative word

I thought i'd waved goodbye to refereeing performances like that when i waved a fond farewell to the third division.

People often talk about football matches being lost because one side showed the other too much respect. I think today one major factor in our defeat was the amount of respect, the mincing imbecile of a ref, Madley showed to the mighty visitors.

I was sat in the East Stand for a change today, so could not see quite what happened. To me it looked like Kermo did kick/trip Halford (erstwhile known as that git!) but the way that Git leapt almost somersaulting in the air was truly laughable and extremely unmanly. What made it even more laughable was how this was deemed a dismissible offence in the face of all the Forest players diving, obstructions, body checking and general gamesmanship.

What we still shouldn't lose site of was that it was evident from the get go that the 451 formation was just not going to work against the way Forest had set themselves up.

On the day, if we're honest with ourselves, the Charlton players did have a pretty bad day at the office. What makes it particularly disappointing is that despite recent results (Leicester aside) we've not lost points through bad performances but through a bit of naivety - much of the performances have been pretty good, just not quite enough. Today, to a man, we were dreadful.

Pritchard had his worst game in a Charlton shirt. Stephens (of whom i'm not a fan) was ineffectual. Hamers communication with the defence was often non existent. Although in his defence he did pull off one or two fine saves that helped both keep our negative goal difference down and stop it becoming a really embarrassing score line.

We know this group of players, on their day, can go toe to toe with any team this division, for whatever reason, which i don't know, the players simply did not seem up for it.

Sir Chris has his work cut out between now and the Burnley game (where i will return home to the lower west). Not that Whiggins did anything overly wrong, but i'd like to see the excellent Evina back in the fold, maybe Hughes back in the side and two up top. Haynes and Fuller. I think it's also maybe time we saw Wilson back in for Waggy.

Lastly, i've never ever left The Valley prior to the final whistle. And today I still did not. But to see the many sidling out with a good fifteen minutes to go was not a happy thing to behold. Wheres peoples staying power these days!

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Wednesday 20 February 2013

...How great it is to be wrong!

...So after all of the 'doom & gloom' prophesies  of my last post I sit here feeling extremely pleased that my anticipated nil points from the Leicester and Forest games has already been proved wrong.

'None prolific' Kermogant and crocked Danny Haynes both providing the bullets to give us a deserved and well planned three points at Leicester City and leave us going into the Forest game kind of looking upwards again and hopefully full of purpose, energy and belief.

It was good to see Kermo net the opener and rub it in those ridiculous supporters who still blame his penelty miss for Leicester still being a big Championship side. And what can I say about Haynes goal. Surley a contender for goal of the season at Charlton.

All in all a happy little Charlton pessamist sits here looking forward to the game on Saturday.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Bradley goes to Brentford

So at last some activity in the 'emergency loan window'.

After 87 appearances and 32 goals BWP has gone west and joined Brentford on loan for the remainder of the season. As he is out of contract at the end of the season i'm guessing we've seen the last of him in a Charlton shirt.

I think it's a shame his Charlton career has petered out so quietly. As lazy as he could be, it was a joy to see him whacking them in in the third division last season, and I hope he has a successful period at Brentford helping them with their push for promotion.

The move does leave us somewhat light up front. Fuller, as powerful and cultured as he is does struggle with fitness and injuries. Haynes has looked liveley when fit, but that's not been very often. Kermogant isn't really what you'd call an out and out striker. That's about the sum of our experienced first team fire power now.  I can only guess that Wright Phillips departure means a deal is in the offing for someone with some championship pedigree and experience to come in. Hope so anyway.

Monday 18 February 2013

...In the thick of it...

I'm going to sound quite pessimistic in this post.

Something we have been pretty good at with the current squad up until the current run we're in the middle of is bouncing back, quickly, from set backs.

We now have not won for four games since the Blackburn result. It's not so much the fact we've not managed to pick up the points where we perhaps really should have, it's the nature of the nativity and bad luck combined that has left us with just one point from the last 12 on offer.

Now we go to the form team of the moment, Leicester City, tomorrow night. A game in which despite some of our better results and performances against the bigger and better clubs within the division, I simply cannot see us picking anything up points wise.

This game is followed by the home game against Forest. We've not beaten them for 13 years (albeit we've only faced them 4 times since). There's also the returning Billy Davies as manager that should give them a bit of a boost. Maybe in our favor is the fact that their current form is even worse than our own. Even so, I don't really hold up a great deal of hope of us halting the current slide over the course of the next two games.

This could see us headed into March, and the beginning of the final run in. My calculations show that we will probably need 52 points to stave off relegation and a horribly swift return to third division football.

This will leave us with 12 games to achieve 4 wins. (Meaning we will need to hit a run of form where we win one in every three games).

The reality is that to succeed you need to beat whats put in front of you.

Our run in contains 4 play off contenders (h.Burnley, a.Brighton,h.Leeds,a.Middlesboro); 6 Relegation battlers (a.Peterborough, a.Huddersfield,h.Bolton,a.Barnsley,h.Wolves and the final game of the season h.Bristol City). The other two clubs we have to play are away to run away leaders Cardiff and the only mid table, nothing to play for opposition is Millwall at The Valley. A local derby. Ouch!

When you look at those games there are none that look like a shoe in, walk in the park, or straight forward.

It's going to be one of those shut your eyes, clinch your bum cheeks and hope for the best Springs.

Who knows perhaps i'm wrong, we'll pull off a shock win at Leicester, grab the points against Forest and the players will get that self belief and confidence back, and equally importantly only need to pick up 6 points out of the final 36, just 2 wins out of 12 games.

Saturday 9 February 2013

A day of disappointment, late goals and the return of the voice

It could have been such a great day! Charlton trying out training ground back heels, passing movements and near effective set pieces (something i've never really seen at The Valley in the thirty odd years since i've been going), and, what was for me the long awaited return of Voice of the Valley.

Firstly the game. Much like the last two, particularly in the first half - we bossed proceedings. In Butland Birmingham have a keeper, who but for the existence of Joe Hart would be a shoe in for the England number one jersey. Charlton's aggressive approach and inventiveness on another day could have seen us two or three up before the interval. To be fair it was one of those days where it just didn't look like we were going to get the rub of the green. In fact come half time i'd resigned myself to a frustrating but ship steadying nil all.

In the second half the game did open up, and at times developed into quite an end to end affair.

Stephens, as usual, blew hot and cold. Wilson had reverted to headless chicken mode. Old man Fuller worked his socks off, and at times i felt his problem was his own footballing brain was just a tad to advanced for his peers. Solly was as dependable as usual, Cort is, in my opinion, without a shadow the best centre back at the club, Morrison did his job. Waggy is 'Mr Charlton' for all his miss givings. The player who really impressed, as he ever has since given his chance,was Evina. I have no doubt, that in close season if he continues to develop at the same rate, we could see another young Charlton player sold to help balance the books - and maybe even help us push on again. (I hear Arsenal and Newcastle are fans of this type of young Frenchman).

I was overjoyed when Kermogant nodded down to at last convert our possession into an advantage. Shame the hapless Green gave away the lead for us to again give away 3 points.

A one all draw felt more like a three nil defeat, and you could see that in the players body language when they walked from the pitch at full time, heads down!

Still, only fourteen more points (4 wins and 2 draws), and we should historically have done enough to ensure our Championship safety.

I was both pleased as punch, and equally Disappointed, with the return of VOTV.

It was very much part of my formative years. In fact I have a large box of them in my loft ranging from the very early militant copies to the more glossy premiership issues.

It was like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. My cousin Dave, I can not see for a year and then we can pick up like we'd seen each other Down the pub yesterday. It had that kind of feel.

However, despite the fact that it was just like taking up with cousin Dave again one thing did bother me a bit.

I'd followed the link from Wynn Grants blog to the VOTV website which explained that in the new issue all would be explained with an in depth piece about what happened and why such a great Charlton person had departed company with the club (to be fair the militant in me always wondered how activists such as Everitt and Dixon could become 'company men' as easily as they did.)

What I found was an excellent publication, well written, but without the promised warts and all explanation. One that was available for around fifteen thousand Addicks to part with two quid for (so even if only half purchased it then thats a revenue of 14k). Where was the true story? An article about the clubs accounts that has already become an annual piece of compulsive reading by one of my fellow bloggers? Don't think so. Voice of The Valley was always BOTH a light hearted fanzine and insight and organisational mouthpiece for the fans. Today it felt both like just another fanzine and to be honest i felt like i'd been miss sold the fact i might hear some new truths and insights in to the club i love. Bit like having to now buy 2 match day programmes. Guess i'll just have to wait till the next home game or subscribe to the VOTV website to find out the truth. Apparently it's out there!

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Thursday 7 February 2013

Bring on the Brum

So having sporadically posted since November i'm trying to get back into the full swing of this blogging thing.

Charlton take on Birmingham this Saturday hoping to turn around things after starting so well in the last two games only to throw all three points away. All part of the fledgling manager and players in The Championship thing I think.

With the 'emergency loan window' (another phrase for 'getting the deals through that did not quite happen' or a conveniently designed loop hole) opening we may well yet see the departure of BWP and Danny Green and perhaps one or two coming through the doors at The Valley.

Brum sit in 16th place and are having a very indifferent season compared to last when they reached the play offs only to fail at the semi final stage against Blackpool. The thing Birmingham are discovering is that if you don't bounce back at first time of asking to the Premiership it can be very difficult and even become a real downward spiral.

You have to go back 7 years since Charlton last beat them at The Valley, winning two - nil.

On the road Birmingham have had an average season to date, taking a relativley respectable 17 points from 15 games.

Over recent matches between the two sides it's really difficult to seperate the two teams, Charlton winning one at home, as did Birmingham and a draw a piece.

Looking at form over the last six games Charlton have a plus goal difference (+1) Birmingham have a minus (-1) with the Addicks averaging 1.67 points per game and the Blues 1.33.

With this in mind, putting aside the unpredictability of this division I think that we'll edge this one by the odd goal (2-1).

On a real positive side, if we maintain the recent form we have shown over the last six games we'll finish on 65 points, which although it won't be enough to get us past the line and into the play off's it will leave us in a positive top half position and ready to push on next season.