Thursday, December 21, 2006

'Boro Preview

Although it may not seem readily apparent, I would much prefer to be writing positive things about Charlton than negative. Unfortunately events on the pitch and the subsequent muddled responses off it, have made it difficult to be anything but negative right now.

Despite not having managerial experience, Les Reed will know that there is really only one way to silence the boo-boys and that's through performances and results. Nonetheless, I continue to believe that the quality of decisions can be judged at the time they are made, and that the decision to persevere with Reed is a poor one regardless of whether we somehow stay up.

The club's official argument that "it's not his squad" is flawed for so many reasons, not least the counter-argument, "which managers do inherit their own squad?" Good managers will make do and get the best out of what they have whilst over time shaping them in their own image. It's exactly what Curbs is having to do at West Ham and whilst they weren't his players, he certainly got them fired up on Sunday.

Someone commented on this blog that I am "either for us or against us, that's it," (implying I assume that I'm against Charlton somehow). If being 'for Charlton' implies turning a blind eye to possible mismanagement and a perceived lack of motivation then I guess no, I'm not 'for Charlton' or at least not 'that type of Charlton.' Moreover in the 345 posts I have made since 2004, you would struggle to find a single genuine (as opposed to satirical) criticism of Richard Murray and the phenomenal job he has done for Charlton. However the club is a public company and they are accountable to their various stakeholders for the decisions they make, and seeming to blame the club's current ills upon a former (and short-lived) employee is a little far-fetched.

Perhaps some of my barbed comments about Peter Varney were uncalled for with hindsight but he is a highly-paid executive at what is, let's face it, just a small-to-mid sized public company and as such is also accountable. I think a self-created problem that Charlton may have today is too many 'Charlton fans' in important posts who can always fall back on the "I'm a supporter so I'm hurting too" argument, which whilst true can also be a soft way out. Perhaps that sense of togetherness was absolutely essential to get us to be an established Premiership club (from basket-case), but there's also a role for outsiders who can remain emotionally detached when making tough decisions.

Another sport that I follow closely is tennis, and at the LTA the new (young) chief executive Roger Draper has required every member of staff to 're-apply' for their jobs. Most will be re-hired of course but occasionally when an entity has potentially lapsed into complacency, it takes a brash outsider to shake things up and refocus.

I've been getting a bit tired describing so many games as six-pointers and then watching (or listening) as the team for the most part fails to rise to the occasion. However as one of the worst weeks in the club's recent history comes to an end, there is yet another genuine six-pointer at 'Boro on Saturday.

Rumours abound that less than 100 Addicks fans have bought tickets, and I would urge them to contemplate a one-off stayaway protest. The cost of advanced ticket purchases is 'sunk' and our away form suggests their presence makes no difference anyway. Indeed a powerful and visible signal from even our most diehard fans that no more performances like Wycombe/Liverpool will be tolerated, could be far more beneficial to the team's near-term form, than a small amount of energetic vocal support at 'Boro. Footballers do have feelings you know; allegedly.

After their defeat at Fulham on Monday, 'Boro are clearly amongst the dwindling group of clubs that we can still realistically finish above this season. Whether or not Reed can motivate his squad remains to be seen, but to the extent that any of the players care, pinning the Premiership table to the dressing room wall might just do the trick. If we leave the Riverside Stadium as losers, then the 7-point gap between Charlton and safety will be approaching insurmountable. It's all very well saying 'a couple of wins' and we're back in it, but we've only won 10 of our last 47 Premiership matches so they're not exactly two a penny.

Last season we won 3-0 in the equivalent fixture and put on one of the best Charlton performances I'd seen. Back then we were almost unstoppable on the road, and yet here we are fully 425 days since our last win away from The Valley. It's frightening how quickly things have turned down for us, and interestingly fully six of the eleven that started that match might reasonably be expected to start on Saturday (Young, Hreidarsson, Thomas, Kishishev, Rommedahl, Bent) suggesting there is far more to our demise than a few poor signings.

At the time of writing, Killer (KillerWatch© -£482) had not yet recovered enough from his (and my) Wycombe prediction ("I can't see Wycombe troubling us") to give us his insight into the 'Boro game. Whilst 'Boro are also struggling, they do have a core group of local homegrown players that are giving their all for the club and infront of surely a thin Teeside crowd, I can't predict anything but another moral-sapping defeat. NY Addick predicts 'Boro 2 (Viduka 2), Charlton 0.


At 7:47 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Very much agree with what you say, although the mood among the fans seems to be swinging to 'let's rally round Les regardless even if he's not up to it'. I think that appointing Charlton fans to positions in the club has been a bit of a problem. A little more ruthlessness and a little less sentiment is needed in the mix.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Andy G said...

Why on earth would you suggest that people not travel to Boro.
Why would a Charlton fan so happily ensonced in Manhattan feel that motivated towards such an opinion.
Same Charlton fan that stood on the Arthur Wait stand "apparently " I guess.
I think ,maybe, you should have been a Spurs fan like your "buddy's" from back home.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger worcestershireleaburn said...

This is all we need - now the fans are turning on each other.

NYA seems a pretty perceptive commentator to me. Something has seriously gone wrong since Curbs left - and maybe whatever it was was around then too, why else did he not want to sign a new contract?

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he wanted a change pure and simple!
But encouraging people not to attend games is not the right attitude - If we beat Boro tomorrow (which I think we will) we can still stay up - Look at Portsmouth last season (there supporters were brilliant) - did they boycott games - I think not!

At 12:42 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

I'm suggesting they don't travel because I think it would send a powerful signal to the players that's all. If 14,000 Charlton fans booing at the Valley didn't shake them up then maybe this will. Unless my eyes have deceived me, the current malaise with the players goes a bit deeper than mere bad form.

As for your comment re: Arthur Wait, I tended to split my time between the Arthur Wait and the main stand opposite. It's strange because there weren't so many of us then.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One I thing I have learnt in business is that once the Board and mangement have lost the confidence of their stakeholders it is only a matter of time before they are forced to go. The actions of the board this week to buy some time show all the tendances of Emu's with heads in the sand. A new team must come in at the management level immediately. All they are doing is re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titantic.A loss today must spark a demonstration on Wednesday night to get a change
. It is already too late for this season so we need to rebuild and at least go down fighting. I would recommend my clients to sell and cut their losses at the moment. A new management team will galvanise supporters behind them and we can unite as one. The damage has already been down and despite calls from the club urging to get behind them it is too late to save their respective skins regardless of whether they are supporters or not, good intentions will not rebuild this club, we need competence at all levels starting with the management of the team.


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