Friday, November 17, 2006

Reed-ing Preview

Velvet Underground

"Sunday Morning and I'm falling,
I've got a feeling I don't want to know."

Charlton begin a new era at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday with new manager Les 'Lou' Reed at the helm and a clear mandate to transform our fortunes. It's not clear to me whether Lou was a Charlton fan but he certainly understood as early as 1967 what it felt like to be an Addicks fan the morning after an away game.

It's not so much a case of "I'm Waiting for the Man" as "I'm Waiting for An Away Win" (that's enough Velvet Underground references until next week - Ed.) with 392 days now having passed since we could read about a Charlton victory on the road.

To put that in perspective, Tom Cruise had only been dating Katie Holmes for six months when we won at Fratton Park. And surely it can't any longer be put down to random factors, and it certainly can't be blamed (much) on Iain Dowie so the players should shoulder most of the accountability.

Despite most of us not seeing Dowie's departure coming out of leftfield, and despite the fact that the Board have glossed over the answers to some extremely relevant and important questions, our Premiership plight is too dire to waste much more time and energy worrying about what happened, but hopefully you will permit one last rant.

It would be easy (and incorrect) to conclude from a possible victory at Reading and/or any subsequent uptick in form that it's a case of 'Reed Good/Dowie Bad'. As has been written here and elsewhere at length, our form has been improving lately (albeit from a low base) but more relevantly our best performers in the main have been Dowie signings.

As a result, I don't expect any radical changes in team selection or tactics, at least not yet. Indeed, the most obvious change one might expect going forward would be a retreat from the more expansive style introduced by Dowie. Whilst a less rational unemotional fan than myself might presume that those cavalier tactics didn't work because they only yielded eight points, I'm firmly of the view that the fact that we avoided any real thrashings (Man Utd aside) and the fact that we clearly had our fair share of bad luck, point towards the possibility that a radical change in tactics/personnel are not required at all, and that the mere passage of time would have improved our prospects (when luck tends to even itself out).

It's just that the Board (and their precious players) wouldn't allow Dowie that time. The one question that remains therefore based upon their rather opaque thinking is 'what if'? What if we are still bottom going into next year with no visibility of improvement? Will they conduct another 360 degree review and send Reed on his way and promote Mark Robson to 'head coach'? It sounds ridiculous maybe but their actions and explanations suggest it's the logical step (unless of course the structure was the problem all along, not the personnel - my view only).

I'm also troubled by the other logical conclusion from the Board's actions which is that they would still have acted to sack Dowie if we had earned say 16 points instead of 8 so far, because the players would still have been reacting badly to his methods and he may still have been ignoring the structure the Board put in place . Not only do I not believe them, it puts an unwarranted overemphasis on player power and a structure which is both new and untested (and which by definition may not be the right one for the club).

Derek 'Killer' Hales (KillerWatch© -£132), whose own position as the club's official tipster must surely be in doubt in light of the Board's impatience with Dowie, has opted for a draw at 9/4. Whilst I admire his relative optimism, I was caught out myself being overly optimistic at Wigan so will follow my head instead of my heart and suggest that "All Tomorrow's Parties" will be held in Reading not Charlton. NY Addick predicts Reading 1 (Doyle), Charlton 0.


At 7:27 PM, Anonymous oxo_addick said...

Lou Reed played at one of The Who concerts held at the Valley back in 1976.


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