Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Looking on the bright side of life

The price of a barrel of oil dropped to $120 yesterday. Not so long ago some pundits were forecasting a price of $200 a barrel by the end of the year. The analogy here is that perhaps the gloom among the Addickted about the coming season is being overdone.

Just as it is possible to deepen a recession by adopting a recessionary psychology that affects purchasing behaviour, so a mood of gloom can become self-reinforcing. Although I am somewhat sceptical of arguments about how a crowd affects a team's play, the Addickted will not be able to lift the team against Swansea on Saturday if they have already made their mind up that Charlton face a relegation struggle. We have a tough beginning to the season so getting off to a good start is important.

Here are some positives. Yes, we have a smaller squad, but the contribution of probably most of those who left was not that great (I would make an exception for Zheng Zhi whose departure would seem to be imminent). Instead of chopping and changing as he did last year so that the team were not familiar with each other, Pardew will have to decide who his best sixteen are. They might then start to play for each other and keep the ball on the floor.

Richard Murray remarked at the bloggers' meeting that a number of opposing directors said that they had played as well as they had ever done at The Valley. We allowed them to play football. A lesson to be learnt is not to allow them to do that and Hudson might help there.

Last season a number of teams convinced themselves they were playing a Premiership side (perhaps having seen the ghost of Darren Bent during the warm up) and gave that extra ten or twenty per cent. This year that reputation will have faded, although it is unfortunate that we are starting against Swansea who have a point to prove.

Some put their faith in our youngsters, although I am always a bit more sceptical about a 'Roy of the Rovers' rescue through this route. Commitment and enthusiasm are valuable qualities, but in this division experience is more important. Youngsters can understandably be error prone.

I do have more faith in our non-league acquistions than some do. There were some indications pre-season that Chris Dickson is coming good, as he might have done last season but for his unfortunate injury. Although Stuart Fleetwood has had a roller coaster of a career, a number of good judges of a player seem to think that he does have an eye for the back of the net.

The Championship is a competitive division, but that doesn't mean it is made up of a collection of invincibles. The analysis of other teams provided by Drinking During the Game reminds us that we are not the only club with financial problems or a team made up of journeymen.

From those who went, I understand that at the Bilbao match some of the errors of last season were evident: too much hit and hope, poor service to the strikers, no final product from Thomas, ineffective midfield, porous defence etc. I do think we need one signing in defence and one in midfield. Above all, we need to approach the season with a little more belief and the capacity to lift the team as supporters.


Anonymous said...

Excellent summing up of the situation , Wyn.

Let's all combine to be the 12th man on Saturday & give it our all.

I for one, am optimistic regarding the season ahead & was increasingly so after Pards' very frank but positive musings last Saturday.

Come on you Reds !!

Anonymous said...

A thoughtful post as always.
After several years in the premiership, it's an adjustment for all of us. The truth is we may be crap, but so are two-thirds of the league.
The best we can realistically hope for is 3 - 5 years at mid-table while we build a team that has a chance of going up and some hope of staying up.

A question in my mind is who will be the manager to guide us during this period. I don't see Pardew allowing himself to be "stuck" at Charlton more than another year, two maybe.

Wyn Grant said...

I think that one day we will see Parkinson/Kinsella in charge, but how near or far away that day is, depends on unpredictable events.

Anonymous said...

Spot on assessment Wyn. I was at the Bilbao game and the combination of Semedo and Wagstaff on the right did little, however with Lloyd and Moua... they were able to attack down both wings, we did look a little blunt up front, I like Varney and his pace, with the right partner he will come good, Gray does little to inspire and if to play that holding creative role needs to do more. Had Thomas had a bit more composure and slotted the penatly away a draw would have been a fair result. Bilbao are a decent side and it was a good test. We do need another defender, Fortune just didn't look the part.

Anonymous said...

Mark Robson is in the local press this week stating his desire to return one day as manager.

Richard Pool

Wyn Grant said...

That's interesting, Richard. I rate Robson. He was a solid rather than outstanding player, but they often make the best managers.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a side in the Championship which can boast as many individually talented players as the Addicks even after all the departures this summer. The problems have been in respect of application, teamwork and tactics - perhaps now there is a smaller squad and rather a lot of players (and a manager), young and old with something to prove we can now expect some improvement.

I suspect this season is going to be make or break for a lot of players at the the club - and for some reason (blind optimism?) I am really looking forward to it!