Monday, 1 February 2010

Dr Pangloss writes

A prominent Addick thinks I am taking an excessively optimistic line about the club. I would say that I was a pragmatic realist. However we got there (and we can debate that endlessly) we are in League 1 and we don't have the readies we need to buy, for example, a striker with an eye for goal.

In those circumstances it seems that our best hope this season is to get behind the manager and the team. I don't think Parky is the second Curbs, but I do think he is competent. The team has many limitations, but they are the only team we have. If the crowd is the 12th man, then getting on their back doesn't help. It will be interesting to see how we play now that we are away from The Valley.

As for the idea that the club's management is top heavy, I am not in a position to comment. Even with the team we see the tip of an iceberg: we never see what goes on at the training ground. We hear rumours, for example that Burton and Mooney have had the odd disagreement, but they are just that: unsubstantiated rumours.

The internal structure of the club on the non-playing side might as well be the other side of the moon as far as I am concerned. Other bloggers have suggested that we do have quite a high non-playing staff wage bill, but would redeploying those resources enable us to buy a quality player? I doubt it.

Excessive expectation levels are a big challenge in modern society and they are at The Valley this season. Understandable no doubt, but they can be self-defeating.


Anonymous said...

Wyn, as always spot on in your views.

Anonymous said...

I think the real frustration is that the longer we are in league 1 the harder promotion (and perhaps long-term survival of the club) will become. Whilst I agree that the top 2 was always going to be a real challenge this year, and parkinson and the team performed admirably in the first half of the season, the fans are understandably disappointed by the poor performances in the last couple of home games.

Having said that I absolutely agree that vocal criticism of the team at games is detrimental to our performances, and I'm sure it impacts on the players. Indeed I have thought a few times this season players have reacted of calls to shoot from the crowd when they'd have been better off passing. As our confidence has waned our ability to pass the ball around and create chances has suffered and it seems that the gasps and boos of the fans only exacerbates this problem.
What's more I think that good attacking football demands risks with possession and gambling on runs, passes etc. and that players fearing the crowds wrath become less inclined to take this risk.

There is a particular culture at the Valley and in English football perhaps more widely of assigning cult hero status to tough tackling, all-action players (like Sodje and Bailey) and getting on the back of more flair players like Lloyd Sam. Even the subsequent success of a player like Ambrose at Palace could be somewhat attributed to this (although I think he never played well for us for any significant length of time).
In actual fact I think fan favourites Semedo and Bailey (who have been crucial to our success this season) have lost as much form as anyone else in the team and am disappointed to see certain players victimised by the crowd.

I don't think there has been a huge lack of desire but a definite loss in confidence, and whilst we have the right to expect better, criticism of the team from an edgy crowd can only worsen this affliction. Criticism of parkinson in particular was unfair last week when he was forced into substitutions by Reid's and Randolph's injury. Lifting the team from last season's crippling disappointed was a major triumph and there is no reason to believe that he will not be able to lift the team again for the coming away games.

It is not enough to say that we can not expect promotion when it seems so crucial to the long-term survival of the club, and faced with the fact that if we playing in league 1 it will be (by Murray's own admission) with a weakened team next season. What's more both Orient and Tranmere were there for the taking and our failure in these games were nothing to do with the situation of the club as a whole but to do with the underperformance of the team. We should not now say that we could never realistically expect automatic promotion and lower our expectations, but get behind our promotion challenge as best we can. It is a long season and we are not out of it yet, and we must remain in the habit of winning games. The confidence of the team and the crowd will be crucial should be competing in the play-offs anyway.

Wyn Grant said...

A very interesting comment with many insights. The disappointment is understandable and getting up this year is crucial not just in footballing terms. Getting an automatic promotion place will depend on us regaining our form and one of Norwich or Leeds falteing - which does not look too likely as Leeds seem to have recovered from their blip. The problem with the play off is that they are a lottery and often the team that succeeds is the one that hits form at just the right time.

Kings Hill Addick said...

I agree that getting on the players back doesn’t help, but it is very difficult to keep calm and patient when so much rides on this season. The suggestions of must win games are normally a bit dramatic. However, if we use the (accurate) comparison of the playoffs being like a lottery, the difference between catching Leeds or Norwich or not, could cause massive ramifications for our football club. The players that are having ‘an off day’ when their salaries are probably at least twice the players they are playing against (especially in the case of Hartlepool, Orient and Tranmere) will just move on to another club if Charlton are forced out of business.

With the exception of a handful of the players on our books I’ve been a dedicated Charlton fan since before they were born. I don’t use this as an excuse for booing, and I don’t boo, but there is no doubt that every point we drop has the potential to make a much bigger difference to my life than it does the players. As I understand it if the club go into administration we wouldn’t be able to continue in the Football League unless we guarantee to pay all the players their full salaries for the full term of their contracts (assuming we can’t move them on, of course). That does make their investment in the club somewhat significantly lower than mine.

Parkinson, however, may well find it more difficult to pick up another job if we fail, but I’m sure that he would not decline his full wages for next season if we were forced into administration.

I’m not suggesting that the players don’t care, and I can accept lapses of concentration, and the odd slip up, but when certain players seem reluctant to run their lungs out it is difficult not to feel some frustration.

The performances in the last three games have been bad enough that many fans are looking at the table and wondering if this is going to be 2008 all over again where we fail to even make the playoffs.

Anything short of promotion this season and The Valley will be carnage in the summer. It is no surprise that the stress of that is causing some of the fans at The Valley to seem impatient.

Anonymous said...


Not a criticism, just a comment as noted by someone else on an earlier post.

Team is lacking confidence but we are sitting too deep. There isn't the pace upfront to sit deep and hit on the counter attack. Even Sam isn't the fastest winger. Defence and midfield must play a higher line or we invite teams onto us. The other problem being that Burton can hold the ball up but he has no immediate support from midfield when he does so.

I feel this needs to be addressed as the past few games have been very predictable and we've made life too easy for the opposition. I appreciate that with Llera, Dailly and Basey at the back, a high line is difficult but Sodje and hopefully Youga's return should help us play higher up the pitch.

Wyn Grant said...

It's a fair point. I would agree that we are too predictable: perhaps the return of A Sodje will help. I'm not against criticism as such, and there are certainly things to criticise, but I think it's best kept for after the match or between matches rather than lowering the morale of the players on the pitch during the game.