Sunday, March 19, 2006

Different Planet

It wasn't so long ago that we went to Arsenal and won 4-2. Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that we scored three goals there (unfortunately on that day Arsenal scored five). However, those games occurred in the days when Charlton were fearless party-poopers, always eager to spring a surprise and to bring the high 'n mighty down a peg or two.

I gave Curbs credit for having the guts to play a progressive 4-5-1 with genuine wingers, and to be fair the game wasn't lost for tactical reasons but due to a combination of Arsenal brilliance and defensive ineptitude. After a number of 0-0 draws perhaps a shambolic display was due, and at least it came in a game we probably had little chance of garnering much from anyhow.

Bryan Hughes was withdrawn at half-time again and once more I challenge any reader to explain what he brings to the team because I am utterly at a loss. Meanwhile Curbs persisted with his strange Spector/Powell rotation - it's strange not only because Spector has never looked like a left-back to me, but also because Powell's form has been pretty good of late.

I maintain that 4-5-1 is the formation that gives us the best chance of winning games because it plays to our strengths, but we are absolutely desperate for two new central midfielders in the summer. If we can find them, whoever they are, then it will allow Ambrose to play in a more central role and hopefully provide the type of service that Darren Bent's finishing deserves.

Arsenal were breathtaking of course, but frankly for most of the game they were just playing with us, and that's probably what hurts the most. Thierry Henry is a veritable footballing 'freak' who has taken forward play to a different strata, but even he must have found today unusually easy going.

It seems a shame that the rapid growth in New York's fan club (I counted nine in the pub today) is coinciding with such dross. Those of us that had been supporting the Addicks for long enough agreed that something is 'missing' right now. One can look at the table I suppose and say, "Well 13th ain't bad," and they have a point (up to a point), but we are stale and predictable and there is no sign of any spark to snap us out of our tedium.

Thursday's game is clearly massive for the club, even if the ticket sales don't reflect it. In the event of a defeat, the anti-climax will be tangible and will depress season ticket renewals, and understandably so. The club has backed itself into a bit of a corner - it's conservativeness is somewhat justifiable, but it's a bit rich to then barrack the fans for staying away when they have proved unable to sign much-needed squad reinforcements, to retain key players or to bring a single talented youngster through the ranks.

Inspector Sands bemoaned the poor vocal support offered by the Addicks fans on their last trip to Highbury, but in defence of the flask-carriers, we haven't won an away game since Oct 22nd; some of the players have earned half a million quid since then. I dare say there are a hardy few disciples who have attended every one of those away games, and they have been treated to just six goals and three points. The blame rests firmly in the hands of the players and the coaching staff, not those travelling fans whose patience is wearing as thin as their wallets right now.


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Ken J said...

"Inspector Sands" ALWAYS seems to bemoan anyone and anything outside the blinkered misconceptions he and his little squad of yes men appear to have. But they are Charlton's 'Special One's. The special age group, the special concept of what makes a team worth shelling out a fortune to watch, and oh yes - where they live. In the special place. I really don't know why I go and read the tripe put out on that blog. Its kind of like seeing a dog about to take a s**t. I don't want to watch but I can't help it.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

I like Inspector Sands' blog - I generally agree with about 95% of what he says, but I've always had an problem with the idea that there is a 'hierarchy' of fans depending on how often you attend/sing/boo* (*delete as appropriate). Are we now asking pensioners to stand for 90 minutes and sing rabble-rousing songs?

I've never lived anywhere near the Valley, and thus have never had any Charlton-supporting mates from whom to bounce views off, so being in NYC really makes little difference to how I view Charlton other than I'm attending fewer games (though I'm still seeing almost as many thanks to US tv coverage).

At 1:43 AM, Blogger Ken J said...

Yes, I used to relate to most of what was expressed there. In fact, I used to find it amusing to the point I was most energetic in rounding up as many votes as possible for the blog competition "All Quiet" was in.
Of late, however, there has been a steady diet of demonizing Charlton Supporters who do not look like, sound like, act like or live near "the Inspector" and his ilk.
More to be pitied than scolded, I suppose - but my money is as well received by the club as theres, no matter how old I am - or how far I have to travel (and pay) to get to a game.


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