Friday, December 15, 2006

Pessimism Brings Hope

Like lambs to the slaughter, the small but hardy band of North America-based Addicks will set their alarms for an uncivilised hour, traipse to a suitably downtrodden ale house and watch their beloved team with much hope, tempered by experience.

There seems to be an ongoing, though generally friendly, battle between the 'optimists' and 'pessimists' right now on the various Charlton blogs and forums. These debates would probably imply that I currently fall into the latter camp.

However simply saying, "I think we will go down," or "I think we will stay up" does not make one a pessimist or optimist respectively. Instead both are (or should be) statements made by realistic fans who are simply extrapolating what they have seen factually so far in different ways; it explains why betting exchanges have been so popular. There's no right or wrong viewpoint at the time, nor does the eventual outcome justify or belittle it, so long as it was made rationally and without bias.

And anyhow, forget about fans for a moment, do we really want our players to be optimists? In my view, there's been too much optimism in the Charlton camp, not too little. Here is the difference between optimistic and pessimistic defending as exemplified by say Diawara on Saturday:

OPTIMISTIC: "I'll let Malbranque shoot without closing him down 'cos it'll probably go wide anyway."

PESSIMISTIC: "Damn, that header's falling to Malbranque in a dangerous position....I'd better throw my body in the way just in case."

So in short, I think the best thing newly contracted 'head coach' Les Reed can do is infuse the dressing room with plenty of pessimism, whilst reminding the players that they still have 21 games to repair the damage. Unfortunately I'm not sure Reed has the presence and charisma to infuse even pessimism into his players.

Speaking of that contract, I can't deny I was a little disappointed because it seemed to imply a move for Alan Pardew would not be forthcoming. Admittedly for all I know, we might have approached him and been turned down, but if not, I really believe that if we've failed to even consider discussing the possibility, then it represents an abdication of responsibility.

In simple terms, Pardew achieved more in a single Premiership season in both League (55 points) and FA Cup (runners-up), than Curbs managed in several, and with a squad that was hardly full of star names. By way of proof, the players with more than 30 League appearances in 05/06 were Benayoun, Etherington, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Harewood, Konchesky, Mullins, and Reo-Coker. He is also a) unemployed, b) living nearby, c) an ex-Charlton player, and d) comfortable managing in the Championship should we end up there. Those are the facts, still, what do I know, I'm only a realist.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man." I don't know to what extent Derek 'Killer' Hales (KillerWatch© -£382) has studied the work of the German philosopher, but he obviously revels in torment because he has again opted for a draw despite Liverpool arriving at the Valley on the back of two 4-0 wins and five consecutive clean sheets. Despite a half-decent home record against the 'Pool, I will suggest a Charlton defeat (but hope that Liverpool arrive full of optimism). NY Addick predicts: Charlton 0, Liverpool 3 (Kuyt, Bellamy 2)


At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

7.30 AM EST is indeed an ungodly hour for football watching, but think about our confreres on the west coasts of Canada and the USA, who have to meet a 4.30 AM PST kickoff!! They might as well just watch the late movie and stay put! And by the way, only in New York would you get a legally served pint at 7.30 AM!

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous David Harding said...

Not Nietzsche, but the poet Arthur Clough. The second may be the most appropriate:

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 5
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain, 10
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! 15
But westward, look, the land is bright!

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

Thanks David - so I take it you fancy a home win then?

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous David Harding said...

Eh, no. I think your prediction is spot on, sadly.
But ... it is the season of miracles.

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Bruce (not Arena) said...

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

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At 10:40 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

You can get a pint in Chicago at 6.30am.


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