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.

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