Sunday, August 29, 2004

From Sublime to Ridiculous

No-one ever said supporting Charlton was easy (or the faltering New York Mets for that matter). You come home from work for a sneaky afternoon's Internet radio commentary and listen to the highs of Jeffers' debut brace, then full of optimsm for the trip to Man City you find yourself switching off the commentary with fully thirty minutes left in the interests of your mental health.

I had always claimed that whilst Curbs can frustrate us sometimes with his odd substitutions and negative performances, the flipside is that Charlton rarely get thrashed.....the odd 2-0 defeat perhaps, but never the 4-0s and 4-1s that litter the results column of some of our midtable rivals. Alas no more. I think we are right to question the way things are heading right now because the two away defeats this season (in shambolic circumstances) have occurred just three months after our disappointing end to last season (though 7th is an admirable finish nonetheless).

I am willing to accept that it takes time for new players to blend in, but the back five that started both games have been with the club for several years (Hermann excepted). Unless there is a mystery injury, it is hard to comprehend how Chris Perry could fail even to make the bench - his pace and positioning made up for a lack of height last season and was my Player of the Year. It is no coincidence that he made his debut versus Liverpool, the 3-2 win which kickstarted our season. Let's hope his potential reappearance has the same impact this time around.

It seems that the Feesh has taken the brunt of the criticism but from my point of view, it is Jon Fortune that has always flattered to deceive. At least Fish has the potential to dominate games with his heading ability and strength (Spurs away last season springs to mind)....Fortune seems to do everything 'ok' but nothing especially well. Personally I liked the look of Hermann at centre-back towards the end of last season and with Konch on the bench we have a ready replacement at left-back. And surely El-Karkouri will get a chance now.....

Kiely has taken some rare criticism too which is perhaps undeserved.....given his consistency over several seasons, everyone is entitled to an off day (Gillingham last season springs to mind too). However he is well into his 30s and it is reasonable to assume he won't be improving as a keeper from here on. I wouldn't jump on the Andersen bandwagon just yet......but perhaps for the first time since Deano joined the club he has some genuine competition that the likes of Royce and Rachubka were never going to provide.

We now have 16 days to repair the damage. Assuming a fit squad, I would like to see the following line-up vs Soton: Kiely, Young, Konchesky, Perry, Hreidarsson, Murphy, Holland, Rommedahl, Hughes, Jeffers, Bartlett.