Wednesday 29 November 2017

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The Addicks managed to salvage a draw from a distinctly average performance last night. They were helped enormously by the award of a penalty even softer than the one MK got against us.

Charlton spent most of the evening being second best to 50-50 balls, carelessly giving the ball away, being caught in possession and generally lacking a cutting edge.

Leon Best having signed for the club on Monday was kept under wraps until just before kick off with his signing not announced until @ 5.30pm. Bizarrely this secrecy extended to holding back the programmes too!

Such is the manager's desire to see Magennis spent every possible moment on the pitch that he decided to accommodate him by playing him wide left with Holmes in behind Best. Neither decision appeared to be a masterstroke but we can't really tell because that formation was abandoned as soon as Peterborough went ahead.

Surely if you believed in it and you worked at it you'd give it longer than that ? However, it wasn't to be and Holmes moved to wide left. 

Following that nearly everything came down the left side for us as Marshall might as well have gone and sat in the West stand as an interested observer!

A couple of top drawer saves and a goal line clearance prevented Charlton from going ahead. Posh had a couple of chances themselves before they scored from a free kick that arose from a needless and clumsy tackle from Kashi who went on to have a poor evening.

Holmes too hasn't been at his best of late and a lot of his decision making and delivery left a lot to be desired. He often held on to the ball too long or tried to beat one man too many.

Peterborough always carried a threat to score on the break as they possessed all over the pitch and over the course of the evening that you don't always need to have a big man up front in this division.

They missed a great chance to go 3-0 and kill the game with a one on one but they messed it up and must have been kicking themselves at the full time whistle.

At the start of the second half it was clear that Bauer was injured and it seemed to take a long time before he finally got replaced. Dijksteel came on at right back and soon showed the potential he had and why many have spoken so highly of him.

One wonders why you would select centre halves ahead of this talented and confident young man. It's plain daft.

On 58 minutes Posh doubled their lead as following a neat move on the right the resultant cross was neatly turned in by Marriott.

Just over 10 minutes later a double substitution saw the introduction of KAG and one Joe Aribo who you may recall was an emerging player last fact the new Dele Alli. That aside Magennis again stayed on and Dodoo, again, stayed off. 

As time passed the ball was knocked about to no great effect and the crowd's frustration was directed towards Peterborough's understandable time wasting. All teams do it of course but it doesn't stop fans shouting and moaning about it however much you'd happily accept it if the table were turned.

I guess we should be pleased to rescue a point at the end of the day but the overall performance gives rise to much concern especially ahead of a very testing December.

We need to find an alternative way of playing. The tippy tappy stuff across the pitch with crosses from wide didn’t prove successful for the most part. Can we be more direct and play players in behind defences or do 1-2’s just in front of them ?

We simply have to respond and we need to find some answers somewhere.

Perhaps we’re flattering to deceive ? Those one-nil victories hiding a multitude of sins. The pretty possession football alone is not enough to win games. There has to be more from one of the best squads in the league. December will go a long way to deciding our fate this season make no mistake. 

We go into it in poor shape and I’m not confident we will emerge still in a play off place even. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Sunday 26 November 2017

No Substitute

The Forgotten Man

The Addicks long unbeaten run came to an end yesterday. It had to at some time of course and Scunny away was always going to be a tough test.

We seem to have played ok but our failure to score cost us dear. For all the attractive football of late that we don't score enough goals in proportion to the chances created has been and continues to be our achilles heel.

I note some fans were saying that we were mugged. However, those stunning strikes were harldy lucky and are reminiscent of what Ricky Holmes has done for us this season and enabled us to win games in similar circumstances. How many times of late has that been the case and / or the post match view has been " we didn't play well but the result is all that matters " ?

Holmes hasn't been at his best of late and last Saturday in particular his efforts at a couple of free kicks were poor. If they had matched those of Morris yesterday then we would have secured 3 points against MK I'm sure.

The game was won by a player who came off the bench at half time and his impact was felt on 15 and 18 minutes into the second half. That begs the question as to who might have had a similar impact for us. It's worth considering.

One feels that our options are very limited if we're honest about it. Phillips has to be there of course. Typically KAG is there but in view rarely has an impact and I know don't know whether he's a striker or wide man and I guess neither does he - that can't help.

Academy players with limited experience get swapped around and rarely get on.

Skip is an ever present but under what circumstances would he come on and with little match time of late, how effective would he be ?

Then there's Dodoo, who like the dodo might well be extinct ! God knows what it would take for him to set foot on the pitch. Why did we get him in ? If he's never going to play then put a youngster on the bench instead. It would make more sense.

Finally, there's the player who earlier this year was described as " the new Dele Alli " by Robinson. Clearly, the manager doesn't think that highly of him now. I wonder why ? I'd love someone to ask him why Joe doesn't get on. In fact, surely there was a good case for him to start yesterday ?

Aribo broke through about the same time as Konsa but is very much the forgotten man. You've got to feel for him. How many injuries in our midfield do we need for him to get a chance ? I think we might be about to find out !

If we assume that Phillips, Jackson, Dodoo and Aribo are not leaving the bench then we are picking our subs from the remaining three. Far from an ideal scenario. 

Players typically want to play and I'd like to think that Dodoo was in Robinson's ear yesterday demanding to get on. If he wasn't it was probably because he felt it was a waste of time.

There's no question that the football this season has been better. However, one does have to question the lack of goals especially those created from open play. The very way we play suggest there ought to more.  

We've now dropped to 6th and need to win on Tuesday against the Posh if we're not to drop further behind. Worringly with a tough December ahead injuries are having a bigger impact. 

Maybe the forgotten man will get to play a part..........let's hope so.

Come On You Reds ! 

Thursday 23 November 2017

Speeding Fine !

No one wants these !

Whilst the Addicks were busy securing 3 points on Tuesday night I was actively losing the 3 points generously given to me via a mobile speed camera.

Previous speeding offences had never given me the opportunity of a speed awareness course. My latest indiscretion  presented a chance to do so. Unfortunately there were few dates to choose from that weren't inconvenient and Tuesday was the best of a bad bunch.

My offence was doing 35mph in a 30 limit. Hardly me being Lewis Hamilton and not in an area that is populated with many pedestrians or dangerous road. I reckon you could trap 80% of drivers " speeding "in that area if you so desired.

As in transpired most of us were " done " in similar fashion and the stats back that up with the majority of us caught speeding in urban areas and very little on motorways. 

In similar fashion most fatalities occur on rural roads not motorways with a number of head on collisions the cause. Makes sense in a way a you're typically not going fast enough for real damage in towns and cities and on motorways if you hit someone you're going in the same direction to a degree. Of course that's not always the case but you get my point. 

Leaving aside the manner of my being at the course I did find it very useful and educational.

There were 24 of us in an hotel room in Milton Keynes. The course's presenters were not immediately warmed to by the delegates. No fault of theirs just that they were the " face " behind the penalty so to speak.

They were quick to point out that it wasn't their fault that we were all there. A few minutes in and the mood had lightened a bit. The presenters went on to prove that they really knew their stuff and delivered each section of the course in an informative and entertaining fashion.

As someone who has not looked at the highway code since 1978 it's fair to say I learned an awful lot as things has moved on a bit !

Most of us failed when being asked the speed limits on various roads. There was an assortment of incorrect answers - some frankly ridiculous, however, we're all out there driving around!

It's good that today's driving test is a tad more demanding than it was back in the day. A theory test and hazard perception is a good thing in my view. More in depth than a few random questions that largely revolved around stopping distances that in reality one couldn't relate to and I've never considered in nearly 40 years of driving ! What does 175 feet look like at 50 mph ?

A video demonstrating the effect of 2 or 3 mph on the overall stopping distance was far more effective in making the point.

Over the course of nearly 4 hours I learned a great deal and it did make me think that a refresher course of some sort every 5 years or so ought to be mandatory.

A number of issues relating to our roads should be considered. Think about the fact that anyone without the slightest awareness of our roads can get on a bike and go riding on them. No need for a test, licence or insurance !

In respect of motor vehicles drivers perhaps ought to be limited in terms of speed until they've completed a certain mileage or undertake a harder test or at least a course that involves some explicit videos ( no, not that sort ! ).

Anyway, following Tuesday The Addicks have 3 more coveted points and I don't have the ones I certainly didn't covet! 

Hopefully I'm a wiser and better driver as a result.

CAFC travel to Scunthorpe on Saturday where they will hope to get a win with a more convincing overall display than of the last two games. The missed opportunities that have typified this season are still happening and the captain's declaration that " someone's going to get a spanking " looks a bit hollow.

If you're driving up on Saturday, take care and remember that speed limits are just that and not a target!!

Come On You Reds ! 

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Missed Opportunity

A day worth celebrating as fully as possible with as many as possible - well, so you'd have thought !

Charlton going well in the league, goodwill towards " the club " better than it has been probably since Roly took over, the CEO thankfully about as verbose as Harpo Marx ( save for a nonsense interview in the Belgian press recently ) and the 25th anniversary of Back To The Valley looming large on the horizon.

As the day draws closer interest increases and many will want to be at the Portsmouth game on Saturday 9th December given that it’s so close to the sacred date of 5th December and against our opponents on that memorable day.

A good time to reminisce about the fulfilment of a dream that was all about the fans taking on the local authorities and battling successfully to make a dream come true.

I shed tears that day recalling my parents plus past matches whilst ruing the fact that we’d ever had to leave in the first place. Like many other Addicks a whole range of emotions ran through me that day.

I appreciate that will mean diddly squat to Roly or his CEO whatever she may say. They have no feeling for the club. One wants a return on his investment and the other is just desperate to cling on to a job that has only served to highlight her incompetence in the role.

However, a good opportunity presented itself to garner more goodwill by converting an easy chance with the goal at their mercy! Make the tickets cheap as possible ( dare I say make it football for a fiver day ) to get loads of fans back plus the Pompey ones in attendance to make it great atmosphere and thus occasion.

Not only that it’s a chance to give something back to Pompey fans as 25 years ago we, quite rightly, we didn’t offer them any tickets.

However, the regime has decided in football terms to square the ball to Ronnie Rosenthal who has blasted it over the bar!

Prices have been put up to the maximum. Clearly the handsomely staffed and  rewarded PR team are either being ignored or not earning their corn on this one ( assuming that it's even crossed their minds ).

I read with interest that some money from ticket sales is being given to charity. I’m sure our wealthy owner could make such a gesture without the need to raise the funds in this manner. Alternatively do this on another occasion or have some collecting buckets on the day.

Added to the above of course is the vastly overpriced 25th anniversary dinner. Who on earth thought that the majority of fans would be prepared to pay £95 for that no matter who attends. 

As I said before imagine a family of four wanting to go. £360 before you've even had a drink ! A couple going will pay £180 again before they've a drink.

All this aside from struggling to get home late on a Sunday night with little to no public transport.

I note that as of today there still 10 tables available. 100 places and that must be quite a high percentage of the overall number. Incredible this close to the event but not surprising.

What a shame that this marvellous anniversary that is special and unique to our club is being overseen by this ownership. Just another addition to the catalogue of disasters delivered by our Belgian brethren.

It will be left to us to make the most of the day as best we can. Sadly living where I do I can't get down to the museum on the actual day but hope those that do go enjoy it.

We'll have to defer a little bit of celebration until the time the owner sells. That particular celebration will be quite something but the cost is unlikely to approach £95.