Sunday 21 February 2021

Pugwash 1 Hogwash 1

My Saturday afternoon started with the pre-match entertainment that is provided courtesy of Messrs Brown, Curbishley and Minto.

All jolly good stuff with interesting discussion and reminiscence interspersed with the inevitable banter which, as always, was top drawer!

Amongst the pre-match chat was talk of how The Addicks are one of, if not the most watched, club in League One in terms of televised games by clubs. If we get much more of the dross that followed I fear that Thomas may have to stump up for another Range Rover!

The game itself started well and I asked myself how I could question Millar starting on the right and why Smith, Schwartz and Maatsen got the nod ahead of Morgan, Washington and Purrington.

The superbly crafted early goal proved to be a false dawn and what followed was a rather insipid and gutless display.

Even park footballers know to keep the ball on the deck when it’s a bit blowy!!

Hoof it in the air might be alright for the likes of teams managed by the odious Steve Evans who wouldn’t know decent passing football even if it was served up with a bag of chips.

Having given Maatsen the nod over Purrington I don’t what the thinking was in not providing him with the cover that the hard working Millar would have provided. That needed to change as soon as because the biggest threat Fleetwood had was down our left. Sadly, no change until half time by which time the damage, in terms of their goal, was done.

I understand that, to a degree, Bowyer must be under pressure to play Maatsen. He did say prior to kick off that the left back hadn’t done much wrong to be left out. Sadly, over the course of 90 minutes he didn’t do much to justify staying in!

Collectively it was poor but it would be wrong to give blanket criticism to the team. Famewo showed how much we’ve missed him with a calm and assured performance albeit a little bit rusty on occasion.

Stockley worked hard as always and won more than his fair share of headers. Millar provided tireless running and always carried a threat.

For me, Smith and Schwartz failed to grab their chance and were largely anonymous. If the conditions are to your liking then you’ll have to make things happen.

I’m sorry Ronnie but in case you hadn’t worked it out by now, you’re not going to get chances laid on a plate for you.

The second half failed to improve things and in fact we got worse. Retreating into our shell and rarely getting into the final third. Four subs in 5 minutes failed to make it better.

Watson disappointed again with his success in managing not to get carded the only plus point!

Again we were made to look second best by a team that is simply well organised and hard working. As much as anything the lack of fight from our boys was a major disappointment. All we ask for is that you give it your when you put on the shirt.

If you’re reading this thinking he’s changed his tune from last week and that I think Bowyer should go, I don’t.

He and his management team have made mistakes for sure. I’ve outlined some of them above. However, I have faith in him and he deserves a full summer transfer window unencumbered by all the crap that has gone before.

All that aside, this isn’t the season to judge any manager really.

In addition, as I alluded to the players ought to accept responsibility for their part in failing with effort and lacking common sense to adjust to the match conditions. They’re experienced and old enough to know better.

Sadly, social media remains as toxic as always and is probably best avoided. It seems that some folk can’t put over their point of view without nasty comment, and reasoned argument is a stranger to them.

Let’s hope the team can get it right on Tuesday especially as we need to exorcise the demons of our visit to Burton earlier in the season!

Come On You Reds!



Thursday 18 February 2021

What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?

There seems to be a number of Addicks who feel that Lee Bowyer should be sacked. It’s difficult to say how big that number is. My view is that it’s a very small minority. The most vocal tend to take to social media etc. and that isn’t always a good gauge of public opinion as we know.

Whilst I’ll readily acknowledge that the gaffer has made mistakes I’ll not be joining the ranks of those calling for his dismissal.

I accept that some of Lee’s team selections, post-match comments and to an extent, not getting a central defender in during the last transfer window are some of them.

I think Bowyer is deserving of some leeway especially during this, the most difficult season for any team, in recent memory.

One only needs to look at the league tables for all 4 top leagues in England to realise that something’s amiss. West Ham are 5th in the Prem. Yes, I know!!

Teams you could bet your mortgage on winning games at home are spectacularly failing to do so. Liverpool ( who have suffered similar central defensive problems but ought to be a damn sight better equipped to cope with them ) losing at home to Burnley and Brighton for example.   

Our fans really do make a difference and that’s exacerbated in League One as very few of the other clubs have such imposing crowds.

I’ll further cite individual defensive errors and the ridiculously uncertain start we had at the start of the season. Whilst we were scraping a side together other clubs were bonding, establishing patterns of play etc.

I’ll also cite some errors at the other end of the pitch too. Defensive errors frequently lead to goals of course and attacking ones don’t! Better decision making and execution in and around the box would also have seen us pick up more points.   

To me the negative attitude of some all smacks of shades of the Life of Brian and the Romans!

What have they ever done for us?

The Aqueduct, sanitation, the roads, irrigation, medicine, education, the wine, public baths, peace….

All right but apart from the aqueduct, sanitation, the roads, irrigation, medicine, education, the wine, public baths, peace…..what have the Romans ever done for us?

Similarly, apart from a play-off semi-final, promotion from League 1 via a most memorable Wembley play-off final, nearly keeping us in the Champ against all the odds, managing the club under the most stressful of circumstances, showing unbelievable loyalty………really, what has Lee Bowyer ever done for us?

It seems that the one downside of Thomas’s acquisition is the raising of the level of expectation. Perhaps instant gratification is the modern way but to undo years of neglect in the midst of a pandemic really will take time.

There are more reasons to keep Bowyer and his management team than to dismiss them. Patience is a virtue and we’d do well to keep the faith and in so doing, repay that which he has given us.

We are well placed financially unlike a number of clubs and especially the majority of those in League One. If we don’t make it this season (and personally, I haven’t yet ruled out making the play-offs ) then we’ll be fantastically well placed to do so in the next.

I’d rather that Bowyer was at the helm when we do so!

Come On You Reds!