Friday 4 March 2022

Looking on the bright side of life

Probably not as far as many Charlton fans are concerned as the Addicks face Sunderland at The Valley tomorrow.   Many fans seem to enjoy wallowing in gloom more than looking for more positive signs.

For what it's worth, the manager of my pharmacy is a keen Sunderland fan.   He regards Charlton as a bogey team and is still recovering from the last play off defeat.  He regards it as a bad omen if I go into his shop just before a match, but I had to go in yesterday and have to go in again today.

Sunderland's recent form has been inconsistent and they are in the bottom half of the form table, although Charlton are second from bottom which will please the fans forecasting relegation.  I don't bet, but if I did Iwould take short odds on Charlton surviving.   The teams below us are not that great.

Last Saturday's 3-1 victory over Wigan for Sunderland included two penalties, but then you have to win them and score them.  Away from home the Black Cats have a remarkable record of win six, draw six, lose six.   No doubt they will be hoping to improve the win column tomorrow.

The local paper has declared that 'it is a good time to play Charlton', citing our run of defeats.  However, the nominated player is more cautious describing it 'as a tough place to go' - but then, of course, that makes the win look even better:

Charlton should have Jayden Stockley and Scott Fraser back with Conor Washington possibly on the bench.  It is difficult to see how we could be expected to win matches without a proper forward line.  Stockley is also key in defence from set pieces, although perhaps we rely on him too much.

However, many fans think the problem is the formation rather than the players.   I simply don't know - I don't have any coaching badges, I have never played even park football or enjoyed any success on Football Manager.

My sport was orienteering and what you learn from that is actually quite relevant to football.   I would say that the key lessons are: having a clear sense of purpose and direction; maintaining a steady pace for the long haul; navigating well and reading the terrain ahead; overcoming obstacles and not becoming disheartened by them.

All that could apply to a football club.   I wasn't able to listen to Thomas Sandgaard's Q and A, but hopefully he is becoming more realistic about the scale of the task he faces.

I do not think that a club the size of Charlton can ever be in the Premier League again.  With the Championship distorted by parachute payments even that is a big ask so clubs like Peterborough end up as yo-yo teams.   We may have to settle for League One football for a few years yet.   Some fans may leave, but we could then up with fewer moaners and more of a core of loyal supporters.

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