Sunday 31 December 2023

Happy New Year!

 As we approach 2024 it's tempting to think that things can only get better given how low we are as a club right now. Call me pessimistic, I'd prefer realistic but it is still possible for matters to get worse.

December proved to be whatever the month equivalent of an annus horribilis is! We exited the two remaining cup competitions leaving us free to focus on the league. Hmm we did so with all the visual perception of Mr Magoo!

We secured 3 points from 5 games mostly against weak or poor opposition. Our Achilles Heel (one of many) has been conceding late goals. Those against Cambridge were probably the worst but they are all of pretty much equal merit, if that is the right word to choose!

The team has gone backwards and the loss of Leaburn to injury has shown that Appleton really is no better than Holden even given a stronger squad overall that in fairness Dean didn't have.

The manager clearly has an issue with Louie Watson as he has demonstrated the his man management skills are as poor as his tactical and motivational ones. He appears devoid of any in all departments. 

To the above, you can add that Appleton is one of the most passionless gaffers we've ever had. However poor the performances or results he seems totally apathetic. He doesn't even seem remotely bothered that his position might be in danger. 

The only time he appears to be mildly irritated is the thought that the fans might want to see some good and winning football. Choosing to reference Curbs the other day was not a good decision. Where he differs with the fans is that we have ambition and a desire for better, he doesn't!

God knows we've had some awful managers over the last few years but Appleton is proving to be the worst of them. I never liked Robinson but I'd put him above the current boss. That tells you an awful lot!

Appleton set the tone and expectations at the beginning of the month. He couldn't stop going on about the January transfer window and getting in new players whilst removing some. In so doing he forget that there were some games in the meantime that needed attending to.

Appleton has used it as an excuse ever since. His post match comments are an irrelevance. He even seems to watching another game to the rest of us. 

Despite throwing games away and constantly delivering sub-standard displays the manager has seen fit to select the same starting eleven. His desire to consistently reward failure is staggering. Nothing exemplifies that more than the selection of Fraser over Watson L.

Of course to heap all the blame on Appleton is a bit unfair as in large part we ought to acknowledge Andy Scott. Didn't he say he'd take the credit (ha! ha!) or blame if things went either way. 

He did utter a few words the other day. To be honest I didn't pay much attention as it's actions more than any specious nonsense that we need. He's the one who has delivered us Appleton and a number of dodgy signings.

It doesn't look as though Appleton is about to leave probably as much due to Scott not wanting to have egg on his face in admitting the colossal mistake he's made.

Scott hasn't seen fit to comment following this disastrous run of games not even appearing the back the manager.

To remedy matters in both the short and long term Appleton needs to go. We then need to get a couple of fairly decent players in plus a manager with a proven record of success at this level.

All this should be done with an eye on the future and start now putting feelers out there and identifying players who have fight and a will to win and that can support the one or two decent player we do have.

We should already be planning for next season because this one's gone clearly.

Away from the football and on a more cheery note I hope that you and families have a good evening and may 2024 be good for you!

Let's hope that against the odds Charlton can deliver a decent display and more importantly 3 points tomorrow to at least start the new year in good fashion.

Come On You Reds!  



Friday 15 December 2023

Tough Ask At Barnsley

The Addicks head up north to take on Barnsley tomorrow for what promises to be a tough game.

Due to injuries as well as being on a poor run in terms of performance at least December was always going to be difficult.

The game against the Tykes looked the toughest of the month’s fixtures. Last Saturday showed that all games will be tough.

Appleton has had all week to work with the team so one expects to see a better display or at least first half than the dross we saw last Saturday.

The manger needs to be more pragmatic with his team selection. Thomas and Hector deserve to remain as the central pairing. Edun and Watson T ought to complete the defence.

The midfield should feature Watson L and Dobbo as a minimum and Kanu ought to partner May up front.

Failure to do that and/or repeat the silly line up that took to the pitch last Saturday is asking for trouble.

Following a pretty good start to the season Barnsley have blown a bit hot and cold recently. However, they remain one the best teams in the league and I’d be very surprised if they don’t finish the season in a play-off position at least.

Anything other than a loss will be a right result tomorrow.

The jury’s still out on Appleton and the new owners. December and January are the two months that will tell us all we need to know. However, I’m not sure that even with the best of intentions anyone can have a successful January transfer window.

Come On you Reds!

Monday 11 December 2023

A Long Month Ahead!

We’ve been in the third tier for a while now and so when I say that the first half on Saturday was one of the worst, if not the worst, I’ve seen in recent times you’ll understand just how bad it was!

Appleton is to blame for our failure to win this game. Cambridge ought to have been ahead at half time as they failed to take advantage of some glorious opportunities.

A couple of those came courtesy of defensive cock-ups one from AMB and one from playing it out poorly from the back ( I can’t recall who was to blame for that).

It was evident so early on that we’d been set up badly. No Louie Watson again whilst retaining Fraser in another physical game. In addition, the manager saw fit to give young Rylah his league debut.

The gaffer decided to play May on his own up front and so it was no wonder he got no change from the U’s defence.

I’m tempted to say that the manager’s learning on the job but clearly he’s not. He obviously learned nothing from the mad team selection against Cray Valley at home.

He ought to have changed things after at least 30 minutes but he delayed until half time when he made his one good sub decision of the day in bringing on Kanu.

The young striker showed an appetite missing from most in the first half. It was his persistence that set up the chance for May to score.

Minutes later and CBT decided either to earn his corn or remembered that a scout might be watching and produced some trickery and a lovely cross for Campbell C to head home.

We were fortunate to go 2-0 up but most of the Valley faithful knew that we needed a third to make it safe. I felt that if it stayed at 2-0 and the U’s scored at any time it would be a problem for us (I don’t say that with the benefit of hindsight btw).

Having got the first sub right, all the other subs Appleton made were utter madness. He brought on Mbick after Cambridge got their first. It was a change in the pipeline but not one he had to make after watching them score. There was time to pull out of that.

However, he simply didn’t have the courage, common sense or humility to alter the move.

When he brought on Deji to add another defender you knew instantly what it was going to lead to. We’ve seen it all to often. It was simply inviting them on to us. 

If they weren’t before then alarm bells ought to be ringing regarding the manager.

When we drew at Carlisle he said that if we beat Cheltenham it would be looked upon as a good point. Do me a favour!

Post match on Saturday and he was bemoaning the lack of older and experienced players. Utter tosh! Our failure to win was down to his management of the game.

We ought to be concerned that he seems to fall out with players. We can add Tedic (nothing said on why he wasn’t in the squad) to Watson L being ostracised.

On top of all this (and I know we have several injuries) but we’re a million miles away from a settled side. Instead, we have one that constantly changes from game to game.

Allied to that, attacking wise, we’re so one dimensional and when CBT can’t be bothered as appears to be the case several times of late, we offer virtually nothing.

We look set to struggle through the remainder of this month. Beyond that who knows?


Friday 8 December 2023

Time For Micky to Step Up!

Last week saw us exit two cup competitions. One mattered the other didn’t although you’d still have expected us to progress in both.

As find ourselves left “to focus on the league” we again have an horrendous injury list. I recall Sandgaard promising to fix it. Like may other things he didn’t despite medical matters allegedly being one of his areas of expertise alongside making great music man!

Devoid of several players reasonable comparisons to Holden’s management can be made of Appleton. Dean was without Leaburn at the start of the season. Unlike the previous manager though Appleton has Watson L, Watson T, Abankwah and Tedic available to him.

Not all are equally good but at least two of those have proved more than capable. Holden would loved to have been able to field Leaburn. It might have saved him to be fair.

Injuries albeit that we have loads, are part and parcel of football and managers have to deal with them. 

In the last 10 league games we’ve secured 16 points. 4 wins have come courtesy of beating teams in 14th, 20th, 23rd and 24th place.

There have been 4 draws against teams in 1st, 8th, 12th and 22nd. Only the draw at Portsmouth can be considered a good result. Our recent failure to put Carlisle away was shocking.

We’ve lost to teams in 2nd and 9th place.

I know some will defend the manager by saying these aren’t his players, he hasn’t had a transfer window and I get that. However, overall Appleton has had a reasonable squad at his disposal. I just don’t think he’s used them as well as he can.

He has a very inconsistent use of some players. Former favourites are now persona non grata and some outcasts are now very much in favour. Others like Watson L switch between the two.

No wonder there’s an apparent apathy in some of the performances especially when some of our boys appear to be untouchable despite that a kick up the backside would do them good!

The majority of games are marked by inconsistent halves of football although when we’re bad we’re very, very bad!

Often there’s a failure to sub players despite almost the whole team having a stinker. I’m all for giving players a second chance but you can go too far! It’s the old stone in the shoe scenario……remove it asap!

Look how we stormed ahead at Wigan and ended up holding on. Made a poor starts against Exeter, Reading and Portsmouth before finally getting some form those games.

Mickey has failed to address the poor defending that almost guarantees a couple of howlers in every game. The perennial problem of our inability to make the best of set pieces remains.

To that I’d add our basic issues in defending short corners and for every type of corner feeling the need to have every player back to defend! Arghhh!

Tomorrow, he’ll oversee our boys as they take on Cambridge. The U’s have just appointed Neil Harris as manager. He’s no fool and will know exactly how to organise the U’s whilst being acutely aware of all matters at our club.

Appleton needs to have the team better organised and motivated for every game that remains in December as a minimum. Then we’ll see what the transfer window offers (very little I expect!),

Whilst Appleton has an apparent imposing physical presence I’m not sure that’s backed up by words and deeds. A bit of passion during the game and at other times and/or directed towards players (not the fans!!!) wouldn’t go amiss.

Let’s hope we can get back to winning ways tomorrow.

Come On You Reds!

Monday 4 December 2023

Dumped Out Of The Cup

Despite Appleton selecting a better team than he did at the first time of asking in the first round Charlton managed to lost to Gillingham with a performance that got all it deserved.

I’ve only seen the “highlights” but it’s clear from the comments of those who were there that this was truly awful and our boys barring one or two exceptions pretty much didn’t seem bothered.

Going down 2-0 after 30 minutes left plenty of time to get into gear and show some fight and determination to get back into the game. Clearly, that wasn’t forthcoming.

Here ends another F.A. Cup campaign. Dreams of a decent third round tie have been consigned to the bin.

It seems it doesn’t matter who’s at the helm they simply can’t motivate the players to get up for these games.

You’d have a few well chosen words at half time might have had an impact. Added to that why not make subs then too in order to show your displeasure?

Looking at things as they are now, a mid-table finish is probably the best we can hope for.

We can dream of a January transfer that sees better players arriving but without major investment that just won’t happen.

Things will probably remain the same until the summer and even then we’re hoping for a big spend.

In addition, we really need to offload some of our big earners who just aren’t contributing.

It’s a shame but this already looks like another forgettable season with Alfie May and Jones just about the only bright sparks.