Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thanks for the Memories

This is not a piece that I am enjoying writing, nor expected to write. I know that for every reader who agrees with my sentiments, another will accuse me of being rash. Perhaps others will happen across my blog and wonder what an 'Addick' is. Either way, the fact of the matter is that our slump is not just seven or eight games in length, but began in January. We have conceded 51 goals in our last 30 League games; we have conceded three or more goals in eight of those games. This is not the well-organised, motivated Charlton that we have come to expect and it is happening whilst we 'celebrate' the strongest squad in the club's history.

Steve Brown may not be the most eloquent radio commentator, but he cares about Charlton and he knows something is not right. The defensive problems are the result of a deeper malaise in my view, not the cause of it. There are too many players in the squad who don't care as much as the fans do. How many of them are feeling as lousy about another shambolic performance as we are? Luke Young maybe? Chris Powell probably? But Danny Murphy? Or Jerome Thomas? More importantly, can Curbs persuade them any longer that they should be feeling as lousy?

We lost our way after the sale of Scott Parker, and most worryingly those proceeds have been spent and then some. Our end-of-season slumps are so regular, it is almost tragi-comedy, but this one has started early. Where are the next points coming from? Arsenal? Newcastle? We are fortunate that this season at least, there are at least three teams that are even worse than us. All this talk about 'just reaching 40 points' doesn't impress me anymore; this is our sixth consecutive season in the top flight. The way I feel right now, I'd rather see the club take a few risks even if they don't pay off. If this is what 'competing' in the Premier League now means for Charlton and football in general, then I will find alternative ways to spend my Saturday afternoons (or evenings, or Sundays, or Monday nights).

The club is planning to extend the stadium in the near-term. This is a serious mistake, and an issue on which I have written a lengthy letter to Richard Murray (I didn't receive a reply). If we finish this season in say 15th or 16th place, season ticket sales will plummet (the Blackburn attendance should have been a warning sign). I should be looking forward to going to the Valley next Monday, instead I'm almost dreading it.

I've often wondered how I'd feel if I switched on the Internet, and learned that Curbs had resigned. Until the past year, I would have been shocked, even angry. Not any longer, right now it would be a relief like the passing of a sick relative. His conservativeness, obstinacy and lack of flexibility was exactly what Charlton needed a decade ago, but not anymore.

I shouldn't get so emotive, but like Brownie I also care. I will be one of perhaps a hundred or so Charlton fans at Newcastle in ten days. I was mascot for the club twice in the 1970s; I'm not a Johnny-come-lately (not that they're unwelcome by the way).

The fans need a lift right now, something new to grasp onto, a surprise win for example (or just an original free-kick routine would do). I don't believe Curbs can deliver this any longer as he has done so manfully for fifteen years. The person who builds an institution from the bottom is not necessarily the person to take it forward once it's grown. He is a victim of his own success, and 'success' is absolutely the right word because we have been perhaps the most successful club (relatively) of the past decade. Whatever happens he would deserve a place in our annals alongside Bartram and Seed. We should even name a stand after him. He helped to give me the most memorable day of my life at Wembley in 1998, (until my wedding day of course, at least that's what I tell the wife).

I don't have any brilliant ideas for replacements. I don't have any great confidence that a new manager (whoever he is) will be successful. I just know it's time for a change. The club owes it to Curbs not to sack him, but I believe he should resign.


At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eloquently said and absolutely spot on in terms of analysis. Sadly, Curbs really doesn`t seem to have that Plan B after all. Charlton`s performances have become dreadfully predictable and so have the results they produce. In the much broader context, the bright start to the season looks like a blip and I`m not sure how much demoralisation fans can be made to endure without at least some hope of an injection of interest. Losses are one thing, but that certainty of a crap display, which I have been experiencing too often too long, particularly at the Valley, is getting too much to bear. I`m really beginning to think that, at this time, when it comes to managers, the devil you don`t know may actually be preferable to the one you know all too well.

On a really depressing note, the worry now is that Curbs` buying strategy may have done a lot of harm that is likely to linger even if he were to go. Bent aside, very few of the present bunch of players seem good enough.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

Season ticket sales will be adversely affected by the end of the Five year season ticket, how many of us will be interested in renewing for the next season of drivel that is going to be sefved up. Something will need to be done to avoid a mass departure of the five yearers, as well as the single season ticket holders and it will have to be on the field not jiust in pricing.

Curbs has always said that he would know when the time to go came, last season he contemplated it after Man U at home, maybe he should now re assess the situation, without the benefit of a call from Big Sam.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Late Starter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger se3addick said...

Curbs has spent a fortune since Parker left, bringing in talented players - well, they have enough talent for a club like us. After a while somehow the ability to self-motivate and perform gets squeezed out of them, and they subside into uncertainty verging on despair. As I repeatedly maintain, a Mourinho would get us into Europe - no problem. The players are therefore not the root of the malaise. Hands up anyone who disagrees.

Curbs has said that thoughts of resigning have crossed his mind lately, and I'm not surprised. It's not that he's bought bad players - it's just that he can't make a team of them. Buying new players gives us half a season of reasonable performances until, once again, Curbs' management style stifles them. So, in my view, there's no point whatsoever in getting new bodies in until the basis for success is in place. Flashing the cash in January would be like painting over dry rot - fine perhaps for short term appearance but merely an expensive means of deferring attention to the underlying problem.

I'm sick of hearing that we as supporters have 'unrealistic expectations'. To have gone through a whole calendar year with a miserable FOUR home victories (and only Arsenal still to visit) is certainly not meeting MY expectations. If it meets Curbs' or Murray's then the obvious questions arise.

I'm now starting to withdraw my support. I'll go to Wednesday because I'm long overdue for a visit to a good friend nearby, but I won't be travelling to any more away games unless the problem that's been festering away now for over two seasons is finally addressed.

The players need leadership and motivation, and Curbs doesn't seem to be able to make that happen in the Premiership. He's a hero for what he's achieved - so was Churchill, but that didn't save his job as PM after he'd led the country to wartime victory.

I hope a formaula can be found that leaves Curbs with his dignity intact .... and Charlton still in the Premiership.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not listen to the radio today because recently I have felt that in some strange way it was bringin us bad luck. When my son told me the score I was not surprised because the current spirit in the team is sadly lacking fighting spirit and leadership. They are not bad players but there is no leadership.

We need a clear out of average players and need players to come in who exemplify the same passion as Kinsella, Brown, Parker, Di Canio. We need some midfielders who can tackle and track back - our back four are often undersupported and that is something that Charlton teams in recent years have not had to experience.
As much as I admire Herman, he and Perry are both suffering from a lack of confidence and that coupled with not midfielders tracking back is a recipe for defeat. Our current form is not quite bad enough for relegation but it shows how far expectations have dropped when you expect to lose to Wigan (after our amzing start too)

At 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but to think that getting rid of Curbs is the answer is madness. This club is only in the premiership because of him. Do you seriously think that someone else coming in could do a better job? If you do then either be prepared to put some names forward so that you can be challenged on your sanity or shut-up. Sure things are bad now but Curbs has to be given the chance to turn it around (I'm talking seasons not weeks). How many clubs have we laughed at for not having the guts to stick by their manager when things have got tough? Let's make sure we're not be the next. (Having said all that please be assured that I am a very, very depressed addick! 3-0 to Wigan. Not especially depressed at losing to them but the manner of it! - maybe we should have just put the ball in the net for them - we did everything but!)

At 1:17 AM, Blogger New York Addick said...

The idea that we are only in the Premiership because of Curbs, and hence we should stick by him is ludicrous in my view. I'm not putting down his achievements at all, just suggesting he can't take us further.

It's not my job to suggest alternatives, but bear in mind that no-one rated Curbishley and Gritt's chances back in 1991. It was a risk back then (albeit one dictated by our adverse circumstances), and it's time to take a calculated risk now.

Unfortunately after 15 years in any job, one inevitably gets stale. Many fans are bored stiff by his predictable tactics, but could handle it whilst we were winning games and avoiding heavy defeats. Not any more.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Ian J said...

The present demise of our hard working well organised passionate Charlton ethic can I belive be traced back to the arrival of our present first team coach.Motivation fitness set piece play, all these things wich we currently do not posses can be laid at mervin day's door. Time to end the old pal's act. keep the manager get a good coach.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that without Alan Curbishley Charlton wouldn’t be where they are now. However it is now obvious that things are going wrong. If Curbs was honest I am sure that he wishes that he had moved on a couple of years ago. He has been at the club too long, he appears incapable of motivating the players. He now sounds like a record that has become stuck and keeps repeating the same lame excuses after every embarrising defeat.

Apart from the first five games of this season the performances of this team during 2005 have been appalling. Is it any wonder that the fans are frustrated? Indeed it is surprising that the pressure hasn't been building on him for longer.

The media would have everyone believe that without Curbishley Charlton will quickly revert back to a mid table championship team. However times have changed. This is not the Charlton that was playing at Selhurst and Upton Park This is not the Charlton that was dependent on prudent buys from lower league clubs and nurturing home grown talent. I readily accept that we will never be a big club, but given the money that Curbishley has been given to spend we should be able to at least compete with the teams around us. He picks the team, he picks the formation so the buck stops with him.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all fans agree that Curbs has done a fantastic job but that doesn't mean t he doesn't have a sell by date and it's gone well past that now.Our early meteoric start to the season has been exposed for what it clearly was, a fortunate draw of away fixtures against teams who we would expect to get a point or three,middlesborough being the exception.The team is now beginning to show it's true self,spineless,gutless,clueless,no passion or fight,no leadership on the field and simply pathetic.We've had a good influx of players who i believe should be able to take this club forward but they haven't,why?These season by season slumps are not just simply coincedences-or is someone going to tell me the Valley's cursed-they must be because of a lack of ability by our management team to motivate the players and change our fortunes around,how many times do we have to put up with these numerous defeats in a row sequences.I don't like pointing the finger at individuals they all must take responcibility and if it means a change in the backroom staff then it should be made,be it just the coach or the bloody lot of them and maybe that includes Murray doing the unthinkable.Don't just cross your fingers or close your eyes and hope it goes away,it wont,take some positive action and don't just expect the long suffering fans to put up with it,i really wish it would be possible to organise a boycott,then maybe they'd take notice.
For me Sam Allardyce and Bolton are the real role models,i know everyone complains about their style but to me,their tough, physical,very difficult to play against,consistent,score goals,can defend,in Europe and beat us every time,they've got better season by season and not gone backwards like us.
They're the sort of team and players i'd like to see wearing the Charlton shirt and wearing it with pride.
Curbs for England don't make me laugh!

At 6:29 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

They are showing 90 minute recorded coverage of our game on Monday here in the US. I will be happy to retract any of my criticisms if unfair, but in light of comments from fans who were actually there, I suspect I won't be doing so.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

To say that it's not your job to suggest alternatives is a cop-out (though an almost universal one among Curbs' critics). If you say he should go you should be prepared to nominate a list of realistic replacements who could do a better job; and it needs to be a list because if you only have a couple of options you can end up with someone like Glenn Roeder.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Some or all of the following would be feasible alternatives in my view: Moyes, Jewell, Coppell, Pardew, Newell, Worthington, Burley, Levein. All of them are young(ish), hungry and wouldn't see a move to Charlton as a step down. We need an intelligent manager, not a teacup-thrower - someone just like Curbishley in other words, but with fresh ideas.

There are also swathes of foreign managers, but I don't follow non-English football very closely. For every failure (eg. Perrin) there is a Wenger, Mourinho and Jol (perhaps).

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I must say that it has taken up until now to agree with you. I have been defending curbs for the last as you say "year" now and we are going backwards. He has lost the fire in his belly or something? Yes he should never be sacked, yes he should resign and yes there should be a stand named after him because he has been a miracle worker for us. That day in May 1998 when I broke my toe on the wembley steps going mad after rufus scored will live with me forever (oh how we could do with Rufus now). Anyway, I believe that our entire defence apart from Young are not good enough. What will January bring?

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last season we had 12 clean sheets with 9 of them when we started with Fortune and El kharkouri.Does it not make sense to go back to this formation before any other.One problem African Nations Cup coming up.

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about Dowie coming to sort us out?

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about Dowie coming to sort us out?

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