Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Same seats, same division next season

That was the comment of Paul from Bexleyheath as he said goodbye to me after last night's play off defeat at The Valley. It was also goodbye for the summer to Steve from Petts Wood and a less fond farewell to the Bloke Behind Me. Although I was sitting a few seats from my usual place, his complaints were still very audible.

Yesterday I predicted that it would be 2-1 at full time, go to extra time (although no more goals were scored) and would then be down to the lottery of penalties. Charlton captain Nicky Bailey blazed high and wide. I don't think one should blame any one player for a defeat of this kind, but it was typical of his over pumped up approach to the game.

Charlton and Swindon have drawn twice during the season and played over what amounts to 220 minutes or more of football (over 10 minutes of time added on last night) but it was difficult to say which team was the better, as was also reflected in their relative places in the table.

The stats were in Charlton's favour: 57 to 43 per cent possession; 20 to eight shots on target; and 11 to 4 corners. But, of course, it's getting the ball in the net that counts and that has been a challenge all season.

Even when I got to Marylebone there were rocking Robins chanting 'Wem-ber-ley'. Whether they can overcome the Spanners remains to be seen. I doubt whether we would have done, and would have a defeat against them at Wembley being even more bitter? Personally, I think it's our interests for them to go up and cause mayhem in the Championship.

The one thing Wembley would have given the club is a much needed pay day. Others know more about the financial situation at the club than I do, but there are clearly going to have to be further cutbacks.

I was disappointed but not surprised by last night's outcome. I always thought it would take us two or three seasons to get out of this division. At the beginning of the season I thought we would be on the fringes of the play offs, but just fail to make them, so we have done better than I hoped.

The game

What other blogs have already emphasised is that one could not fault the commitment or the passion of the Charlton players to the cause last night. They gave their all and it produced an exciting match, albeit one that ended in deflation. The attendance was a little disappointing, below those against Gillingham and Leeds, but then one has to remember that those figures include season ticket holders who were not in the ground.

Before the game in the pub, Mooney was rubbished and his selection was seen as evidence of Parkinson's ineptness as a manager. Well, he scored the two goals. The first one was a scrambled affair which could well have been an own goal, but they all count. The second one was very well taken. Also one cannot fault Mooney's work rate, although I am not sure that dashing all over the pitch is a sign of real skill.

A word of praise also for the much criticised Burton. He may not score many goals, but he is an intelligent player who can hold the ball up well, read the game and provide good flicks and lay offs. Unfortunately, when had a chance to score and win the match for the Addicks, he could not turn quite quickly enough and that is the downside of an older journeyman striker.

I also thought that Frazer Richardson had another good game and came very close to scoring in extra time with a thunderbolt. Reid also added a clear attacking threat (whereas Sam was a bit of a disappointment) and it is a shame we probably cannot afford him for next season.

As for the sending offs, it seemed to me that Greer actually caught Burton in the neck and I had a good view as it was straight in front of me, but others thought that the contact was lower. In any case, the referee had no hesitation in reaching for his red card. My view and that of those around me was that Llera also had to go, but others disagree with that. It does seem odd that kicking a player while he is on the ground is only a yellow card offence.

The disapperance of the Swindon keeper after the first minute did not have that much effect on the game. His replacement, Phil Smith, might have had a plain man's name, but he was your everyday effective keeper. After all, when Elliot had to be replaced by Randolph, he was at least as good. Looks as if Randolph may be going though as we are apparently bringing in a keeper from Woking as the back up. I'm told he only costs £800k a week, so we will have a player who earns less than many fans.

The Rocking Robins came storming out of the traps after half time which is what you would expect them to do. I don't think we had been instructed to sit back, it was just that they were pumping long balls into the box. Also, Swindon always looked particularly dangerous on the counter attack. Their goal was, however, a result of a mix up in which Bailey just tried to be too clever. Bailey did make some good contributions in the game as a whole, but he can also sacrifice possession needlessly.

I thought that Racon did lift us when he came on and actually posed more of an attacking threat than I saw from him all season. Semedo also did his job very well throughout. However, it was not enough and neither team was really able to break the other down.

Quite a nasty incident outside after the game. The crowd was moving slowly and a fan cut right across it in a hurry, knocking into one person. His wife complained and the fan turned nasty, saying to her husband, 'You are an old man and I will knock your head off.' He continued to make threats. Charming from someone in their early twenties.

However, the fans really excelled themselves in getting behind the team and the mood today is disappointed but upbeat. As our train drew into GX, I saw the Chalfont St.Peter Addick 'Uncle Albert' get off looking understandably dispirited. I got home at 1.30 a.m., but I am glad I went and my allegiance remains as firm as ever.

News developments will be followed here over the summer. When I get time, I will do a re-design as the conceit of 'Championship Diary' will have to be abandoned and there will be a re-launch as 'Third Division Diary'. No doubt some pessimists will say that will have to be replaced after a year by 'Fourth Division Diary'.

I think we will still be in contention next year. Southampton will be a major challenge, but Norwich, Leeds and probably Millwall will have gone and I am not that daunted by Peterborough or Plymouth or the teams coming up, although the Owls will be there or thereabouts. Some teams may start to stop thinking of their match against us as their cup final as we lose the shine of a 'big' club.


Anonymous said...

Personally I thought the performance was great and the atmosphere was brilliant (so rare this season)
if only we didn't have our Non scoring striker, Burton then we would of won.
Shame that Bailey's form has dipped and he made the guilty pass for their goal.
Plenty of chances, during an exciting game.
Shame about the result, but at least the Met Police are happy.
So now the summer of rumour and counter rumour. So I guess my PLC shares will becosme worthless.
Wyn, please keep the blog ticking.

Anonymous said...

Well done Wyn on another season of excellent posts - a massive shame it did not include one more match though...

I see Southampton as clear favourites for next season then, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and the unsuccessful play off teams.

I would sell Nicky Bailey if we can get a "reasonable" fee for him, although I suspect £500K is probably top whack these days.

Medway Addick

noel said...

I'm guessing that Bailey, Racon, Samedo (Sam and a couple of others?) will be too expensive to keep wages-wise, and Reid, Forster and Borrowdale will disappear back to wherever they came from, so we could be looking at a very different and young first eleven in a couple of months time...
You said it all though, nice football but not enough firepower..

Tom Walsh said...

The official Charlton website annoys me at the best of times with its patronising manner, but to say that we were "cruelly" beaten last night is totally wrong. We were beaten because we were not good enough to win over two legs and had came second on penalties. There was nothing cruel about it, we played well last night but we have shortcomings in attack as we have had for a couple of years and will win nowt until this is addressed.

Cheltenham Addick said...

The keeper from Woking, is he the new Petr Cech? Only on £800k a week? The whole of the Premier League will be asking for more ;-))

Thanks for your blogs all season, shame we haven't been able to come back off our hols to the Championship.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Wyn for the report and the blog all season.

Well, same old, same old; and just to confirm, best to get the inevitable comment out of the way from me - 24 corners over the two legs, and only a bundled own goal to show for it. It seems opposing teams find it easier to concede a corner than try and deal with an attack - they know we don't score from corners.

The person I really feel for today is Richard Murray. He has sunk his personal fortune into CAFC, and there is really not much prospect of getting it back now.

I think the team next year will be very different becasue of finances - Elliott, Solly, Llera, Mambo, Basey, Wagstaff, Spring, Sinclair, Stavinrou, Tuna, Fleetwood. Add a couple of loans and a couple of league 3 & 4 journeymen, and that's what we might be able to afford. I don't necessarily despair of that line-up, it could develop into a good side, but I don't think it would be good enough to get us into the play-offs. We will probably have to be patient for a while until we have the happy confluence of a manager who can fashion a really well organised team and a striker who hits form for a season. (oh yes, and let's not forget Moutaoukil who continues to drain money until 2011).

Not sure what to say about Parkinson. The last few games have been better tactically, but he should have had the strength last night to tell Nicky Bailey that he was at the back of the line for penalty taking - afterall, he has got a poor track-record. Could we afford a better manager - is there a better manager who would want to come? We may not be able to afford Parkinson, and Breaker and Kinsella, and be forced to choose two from three.

Fingers crossed for no administration and points deduction and a better year next year. That was the low point wasn't it. Wasn't it?

Corner Counter

Wyn Grant said...

Our performance on corners has been a concern all season. I don't think Parkinson is a tactical genius, but I think he's a decent enough manager at this level. He has had some money for loan players, but any successor would have to make do with even less. The playing squad will be cut back and there need to be economies on the non-playing side. It is not in the interests of the board to put the club into administration unless they have to as most of the money is owed to them. I would sell Bailey if we got a decent offer for him.

nelson said...

I had expected everyone to be licking their wounds yesterday, but far from it there was an explosion of positive posts with the only lamentation coming from Pembury Addick, "We'd have lost in the final anyway".
Thanks for your thoughts throughout the season Wyn and good luck with your redesigning.

Anonymous said...

..it was my clumsy way of trying to cheer everyone up Nelse!

Pembury Addick

Mike said...

Slightly confused by the comments about poor corners this season. I'm pretty sure all of Sam Sodje's goals have come from corners, and can also recall goals from Dailly v Wycombe, Bailey v Tranmere and Akpo v Bristol Rovers. I've no idea how this compares against other teams in the division, but this doesn't seem a bad ratio to me.

Wyn Grant said...

We have scored some goals from corners and I admit I don't know how the ratios compare. It's remarkable though that we made nothing of at least 12 corners away at Swindon.

Anonymous said...

why the surprise at our lack of ability at corners. We have Never been any good at them - not even in the golden days of Curbs!

Jack said...

My season ticket is ordered and I'm looking forward to next season, Phil Parkinson may not always be the best tactically but he does have the team on his side and has motivated them, we lost fewer games this season than since the 30's, were a few points of automatic promotion and a penalty away from a play off final. Better than most of our expectations and far better than some people predictions. I am aware that we ahve about 14 plays coming up to the end of thier contracts, I hope it includes some of the higher earning and less contributing players. I believe the club have been planning ahead and based their plans upon the chance we didn't go up. There were lots of unfamiliar faces around on Monday, so I hope they return as thats going to be one of our main sources of revenue.
Wyn great blog this season, another roller coaster ride and another one in prospect for next season.

WattO said...

I thought the lads did really well on Monday, but we fell short by a fraction. Typical of recent seasons. Not taking the points when they are on offer has cost us two relegations and now missing out on an automatic promotion spot. Still, at least we're not in the 4th tier yet, and we appear to have some good young prospects coming through.

Come on you Reds!

Keep up the good work, and best wishes Wyn.


Wyn Grant said...

It's game of thin margins and we were just the wrong side of the margin. But the example of Nick Clegg shows that you can lose ground and still come out a winner.