Friday 23 February 2024

Let's hit the Curbs myth on the head once and for all

The myth that Alan Curbishley was pushed out by impatient fans at Charlton is one of the most persistent in football and it needs debunking: 

The board did not handle his departure well, and particularly his replacement by Dowie, but that is another matter altogether. 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

'Jones must act fast to save Charlton'

 A young fan complained the other week that supporting Charlton involved endless suffering.   It was ever thus.  Indeed, a sports historian once told me that suffering was what football was all about.   Just read the reference in Alan Sillitoe's novels and short stories to Notts County.

I have had three periods of joy with Charlton.   The first was in the 1950s with Jimmy Seed as manager.  The second was the return to The Valley, the build up to the Premier League, the Greatest Game and Curbs as manager in the top flight.   Finally, I would add Chris Powell getting us out of League One as champions.

70 years of suffering does give you some perspective.   I don't want us to play in the fourth division for the first time, but if we have to, we will.   I still think the chances of relegation are 50/50.   There are 15 matches to go, we are not actually in a relegation position, we have a better goal difference than teams around us and we often play better in tough matches.  Having said that, as The Times put it in their headline yesterday, 'Jones must act fast to save Charlton.'

This goes beyond changing the formation.   If the players are not good enough or motivated enough, no formation will work even 1-9-1 as used by San Marino.

I know that Charlton fans like the worst case scenario so here is what a friend who went to Reading:' it is impossible to find the words to indicate realistically how awful we were against Reading.  I genuinely believe an average pub team would have beat us, we were that clueless, no movement, no skill and no ideas.  We genuinely cannot get any worse, NJ looks like he has an impossible task. I am afraid Div 2 is looking nailed on after last Saturday.'

It will be ironic if I get well enough to return to The Valley only to see us relegated.

Peter Varney has said we need to start looking at recruitment strategy now, but that is difficult when it is not certain which division we will be playing in.   Relegation would mean selling Alfie May.

I think that the club's problems are deeply rooted and structural and go beyond the failings of any one individual.   I argued this in a series of posts earlier in the season and I will consolidate them as one essay on Charlton Retro.  

What happens tonight will be crucial.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Turning the oil tanker round

It's difficult to judge the way in which Charlton fans have reacted to the appointment of Nathan Jones from comments on social media.  The loudest are not necessarily representative and even if one did a poll, it would not be based on a proper sampling frame.

Nevertheless, there seems to be more scepticism and grudging acceptance than I expected.   The fan consensus was that Appleton had to go.   At the end of the day, results matter.

Nathan Jones was well regarded by Luton fans, as the Chicago Addick has shown.  Peter Varney, who knew him, has paid him a warm tribute.   He states: 'I have worked with Nathan Jones and pleased to see he is referenced as the manager. He has a tremendous work ethic and fans should get ready for a ball of energy on the touchline. A very positive move and he will need time to impose his standards with the players he wants.'

Then we have Charlton fans grumbling because he is not a Londoner.   It doesn't matter where he comes from, it's whether he can energise the squad and getting them scoring goals and avoiding defensive howlers.   It's a big challenge.

It's a tough and vital test at Reading on Saturday, but turning the oil tanker round may not happen that quickly.   What is important is that fans, not least the devoted away fans, give him and the team unstinting support.