Friday 30 September 2016

One Down And Three !

Had she hit it off better with Gordon we could have been playing Mrs Brown's boys !

It’s football all the way this weekend as I’ll be seeing the versions from both sides of the pond.

Firstly, it’s the eagerly awaited League One clash in S.E. 7 as Charlton take on the Dale. Not really expecting too much here as we’d struggle to beat Dale Winton never mind the Dale of Roch.

Gillian Duffy’s boys rock up on the back of 3 straight wins, a feat that seems a million miles away for our boys at the moment. In fact, 3 points is stretching things to a degree.

Mr Slade has had plenty of time to analyse Tuesday’s performance but sadly what we got in yesterday’s pre-match interview was some bluster about game management, whatever that means ! I think it could be summed up in three short words……..we were s**t !

Whilst castigating the players “ game management “ Slade would do well to reflect on his own efforts in that direction, Game mismanagement is probably a more accurate description of the boss’s efforts.

I’ve nothing against Mr Slade and there may be things in the background and dark forces that he’s battling against. However, on face value that suggests he picks the team and choses the formation and tactics it don’t look good !

It has now reached the point where he is now more pressure than he was on Tuesday. The weight of expectation is getting heavier. As much he still has the backing of most fan and for the moment the senior management it is only Katrien that is totally fire-proof !

If results don’t improve Slade may have to shed a few stone, don a dark wig, get out the stilettos and start wearing stripy tops if he is to evade the chop !

Following Tuesday’s dire performance I’m approaching tomorrow’s game with some trepidation and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s hard to see us getting a win, I hope I’m wrong of course.

Slade won’t be helped with rumours of more injuries. The main concern is the BFG. We can do without him missing games even if the one area we can accommodate injuries is in central defence.

However, it could be a blessing in disguise if the gaffer is forced to finally start those bench warmers par excellence, Chicksen and Botaka. It seems that Slade’s view of Tex means that he won’t start never mind how many are unavailable.

The £5 deal will mean that there ought to be a bigger crowd than Tuesday’s and it will no doubt be inflated whatever the reality. However, the powers that be will be hard pushed to declare one too much over the odds……but you never know.

I’d love to see us playing the ball out from the back and not banging long balls upfield. Added to which I wouldn’t miss the long throws that take me back to the days of Tranmere Rovers on a Friday night and Stoke, for a more contemporary reference. Surely, we’re better than that ?

Sunday sees me off to Wembley to watch only my second game of football of the American variety. I went last year not expecting to enjoy but was surprised by the extent to which I did in the end.

In the meantime tomorrow sees the second of 4 consecutive home games and it’s not inconceivable that we won’t win one of them. A scenario, with all due respect, made all the more likely by the resignation yesterday of Tony Mowbray.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to pass.

Come On You Reds ! 

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Slade Turns Down Job Offer

Mr Slade was quick to rule out any move for the England job last night and a collective sigh of relief was heard across the rest of League One.

Elsewhere, there was obvious disappointment for Frazer, Jones, Godfrey and Mr Sponge……the Walmington Wanderers midfield quartet, all thought to be favoured by Mr Slade, who will no doubt be disappointed as it could spell the end of their international careers.

In any case commentators remained unsure as to whether the international football scene was ready for Slade’s brand of fast flowing,  pass and move football. That is now seemingly going to remain the preserve of S.E. 7. where many disaffected fans can be seen kicking themselves for failing to renew their season tickets.

Those fortunates with season tickets, like your author, simply can’t believe their luck as The Addicks continued their climb up the table last night following a scintillating 1-1 draw against Oldham.

Determined players passed the ball around well and had the run of the midfield were unlucky not to score a hatful  as they spurned several good chances…….yes, The Latics will be gutted they didn’t leave with all 3 points !

I have to say that in my time ( it’s like doing time ! ) I have seen some utter bilge from Charlton and last night’s performance was right up there.

The first half definitely ranks as one of the worst. After 10 minutes the residents of Nelson Mandella House behind the Jimmy Seed could be seen closing the curtains and drawing down the blinds. You’ve got to pity those whose properties have views facing The Valley as their value is increasingly plummeting.

I believe that at least 2 residents were talked down off the roof !

I like Big Josh but I do feel that his presence lends itself to our hoofing the ball up to him more than is good for his neck and that of any spectator !

I like Novak too and he worked hard last night but I’m not sure that the two big lads up front is such a good idea.

Why would Mr Slade be afraid to go into a game like last night not playing two wingers ? Botaka must have done something on Slade’s chips to get such little game time. Much more of this and Leeds will be asking for him to return.

Similarly what’s the point getting Chicksen ? Fox had a distinctly average game and on one occasion in the first half got skinned as though he wasn’t there. Surely young Adam can’t be that bad or perhaps he’s also drowned Slade’s fries !

Given our ponderous midfield you’d want to add any bit of creativity and speed you can yet the players we do have that offer that remain on the bench.

Yet again much like the Wimbledon game you could see the equaliser coming and we were lucky not to lose. 

Slade’s response……..get Ajose on ! Really ? Outmuscled again and didn’t show enough desire. Why not try Hanlan at least he has something about him.

Why was Lookman left on the bench ? Start him, get the game won and then take him off if you want rather than he comes on when we’re chasing the game.

In their number 24 Oldham had a player who looked so ungainly he could have been playing in stilettos ! Yet he had so much time to pick passes.

Green also had lots of time too and used the ball well……I was impressed by him. When he lost it with one of his teammates after a poor pass some around me laughed at him. I thought it was good and wished we had a few like him that cared as much as he does.

Yet again we fail to win from having the lead and the oppo get more out of their players and squad.

I said before that repeated failure to win will see not only the fans but the players lose faith in Mr Slade. I fear that will come to pass.

Seeing some of our boys slumped on the pitch at the end, head in hands was reminiscent of last season. Frustration that may well turn into an acceptance that we’re in another relegation battle.

At least post-match Slade spared us the “ draws turning into wins “ spiel. However, he heaped a lot of blame onto the players. Ahem ! Please put your hand up too, it’s not only down to them.

I get so frustrated when we don’t look to play out from the back. I can’t remember us getting any joy when the ball was banged up to Josh. Add to that the long throws that look so desperate and it paints a horrid picture of a team devoid of attacking ideas.

We must be better than that surely ? I could go on but it’s not helping !

Rochdale come calling on Saturday having just beaten Millwall away ( yes, really – imagine ! ) and Bolton. It’s not going to get any easier.

Please God that Slade sorts it out because I can’t take much more of this. Forget your stats, the only ones that count are the goals for and against and points on the table.

In the absence of any improvement I suppose I could contact the boys from The Telegraph to see if they can help ! 

Sunday 25 September 2016

Time To Be Positive Mr Slade

Losing at home and drawing away isn't a recipe for success by any stretch of the imagination. I can take the away draws if we are winning at home but we're not. In addition, the team is throwing games away from winning positions.

Results need to improve or people might start to question the point of the Target 20k group !

The way the side is set up and the approach is now raising some serious questions over Mr Slade. He is repeating himself after games insisting that draws will turn into wins. The reality is more that wins are turned into draws.

Slade now has two more home games and needs to win them both if we are realistically to achieve something this season and for the fans ( and to a degree perhaps the players ) not to lose faith.

The manager has to look at what has happened in recent games and change his approach. He has been overly cautious and failed to respond to game situations and doesn't even react sometimes. He was quick to take the plaudits for his use of subs after the draw at Fleetwood but I don't think we should have been in a losing position.

In the Wimbledon game we could all see that The Dons were going to equalised and further going to score the winner. Solly was good in the first but was getting out-muscled in the second. Solly should have come off to be replaced by Bauer with Konsa going to right back.

This failure to make changes at the right time and to make the necessary ones isn't helping. Our Leeds man either doesn't start or typically comes on too late to effect games. Even when Holmes hasn't started he still isn't starting even though he has impressed when he has got on the pitch.

Overlooking all that Mr Slade's ultra-cautious approach isn't helping. If he'd been more positive in the last 3 games there's a real possibility that we might have got one win at least. That would leave us with one more point than we have now even if we lost the other two.

We have a fairly decent squad albeit somewhat deficient in midfield and we ought to be putting away most sides. It seems other clubs and managers are making the most of their resources. For example, the MK Dons won comfortably at Fleetwood on Saturday where we struggled to a draw. Compare and contrast......which of the two squads would you rather have ?

The same could be said of other clubs like Northampton, Bury etc. All currently achieving more than we are. As I said we have a reasonable squad and in Lookman a player that all other League One and most Championship sides would love to have. Yet we are behind them. I mean, Millwall have been bad of late but they are above us !

If we witness the ongoing lack of intent and ambition then the crowd will turn and that'd be a shame. Mr Slade speaks well and says the right things about the club, the fans and its history. All well and good but it's results that count and that needs to start now.

Slade needs to show us that he has the tactical nous and ambition to get us where we need to be.

Better start on Tuesday then !

Come On You Reds !



Thursday 15 September 2016

Underground, Overground !

Great Uncle Bulgaria - my favourite Womble

On Saturday we welcome a club that has in just over 10 years overcome adversity to re-establish itself in league football. It's an inspirational tale of success against all the odds and gives us some hope should The Belgians continue on their path of destruction.

I expect that all Wombles can expect a warm welcome at The Valley as their is much solidarity and admiration for what they have achieved.

Amongst their ranks are two ex-Addicks in Barry Fuller and Dean Parrett ( remarkably Dean is only 24 ! ).  

AFC have struggled a bit in League One this season but we ought to expect a tough game from a club that is all about grit and determination and fighting all the way.

Skip should be fit and available again for us and with no one exactly seizing the opportunity in his absence then he may well come straight back into the team.

One wonders if Bauer is set to start a game or will Mr Slade keep faith with Konsa ? I do expect the BFG to cement his place at some stage.

What news of Tex then ? Well nothing as far as I know. I guess the official line is that he's injured but that seems unlikely and we ought to be told.

Novak's late strike might have been enough to see him replace Ajose up front as Nicky hasn't had the best of starts. I trust that we have something better than Josh starting on the right again, that remains a mystery to me.

AS ever it will probably fall to Holmes to provide the ammo although I feel that Lookman should now really be imposing himself on games. Mr Slade has to find the best way to use him. Personally I'd be tempted to give him something of a free role such is the ability he has to create something.

Following a few draws we need to start winning again especially at home and that needs to start on Saturday.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Saturday's Verdict v The Cod Army

could do batter............!

It sounds as though we didn’t play too well on Saturday ( perhaps we were coasting ! ) but not bad enough to lose. We got undone by two strikes from distance as players were allowed too much time and space.

Aside from the obvious deficiencies in midfield we really ought to be doing better. I’m really not sure what the thinking was that saw big Josh start out wide. Mr Slade had two weeks to come up with something better than that.

Whilst praising the subs that came on to help secure the draw perhaps we ought to be thinking that we really oughtn’t to have been in losing position to begin with !

I’m not trying to be overly critical but surely we need a degree of flexibility that sees us try different formations. I’d be up for Mr Slade giving Lookman a free role behind a single striker or maybe Ajose not being one of the front two.

Why we can’t seem to play to his strengths is a concern or is the player struggling to settle ? Whatever, we need to sort it fast.

A point away is fine if it is backed up with wins at home although we really should be more ambitious than that. Certainly our game in hand albeit away to high-flying Scunthorpe is one that we really need to win if we’re not to lose touch at the top.

That needs to start on Saturday against a Wimbledon side that has yet to win on the road but did manage a draw away to a Northampton side that is very good at home. 

Friday 9 September 2016

Go Your Own Way !

and indeed they are !

Whilst the coach passes Toddington, the official coach ( seen above ) will finally be completing its tour of S.E. London and starting to head north.

This independent travel could threaten the club’s service but that’s perhaps not surprising as they don’t have a good record with coaches do they ?

On to our first visit to Highbury Stadium to face The Cod Army…..let’s hope we batter them !

Fleetwood is up in Lancashire of course just up from Blackpool which in
football terms is as about as miserable as it can get for Charlton fans……….I’m still having therapy from the game there when Pardew was in charge…..what a dire weekend that was !

However, as we’ve not played TCA yet we remain ( for the moment at least ) undefeated there ! That’s something Fleetwood can boast this season aside from an EFL Cup loss on pens to Leeds.

Fleetwood’s impressive start to the season has seen them rise to third under manager Uwe Rosler. I’m sure we all remember him and if you’re going tomorrow be sure to give him a cheery wave ! Let him know that Big Bob sends his regards !

A while ago the chairman set out on a policy on self-sustainment with striking parallels to our own. The exception being of course that they’re seemingly making a success of it.

Last week’s break has given Mr Slade plenty of time to work with the team and embed all the new arrivals. Ahem ! Well, yes the transfer window wasn’t a resounding success and we missed out on a couple of players.

However, holding onto Lookman was paramount and that we appear to have knocked back a couple of hefty bids if good news. Tex is still here of course and that too is welcome news assuming he is up for it and gives it his all.

There’s the obvious danger that either or both may be gone come January but let’s not think about that for now. Lookman must be fully rested and fit now and must start games. He is capable of doing serious damage at this level and thus ought to be integral to Mr Slade’s plans.

One and possibly the only benefit of a closed transfer window is that no one is going anywhere ( unless contracts get cancelled of course ! ). This ought to bring a stability of sorts.

In defence we are overloaded with options and the competition for places ought to be intense. However, it shouldn’t be to the extent that we see Solly playing in midfield again !

Midfield remains a problem especially as we missed out on free agent Flamini ! If Lookman is played there then he will add something whilst new signing Ulvstad will improve things but will need to prove himself.

There are issues up front too as we are struggling to play to Ajose’s strengths. Banging long balls upfield certainly isn’t going to help ! One hopes that’s been addressed in the last fortnight. We really need him to recapture last season’s form.

If we are to mount any kind of challenge at the right end of the table the we need to win tomorrow but it won't be easy !

Come On You Reds !