Saturday, November 01, 2008

Charlton 1, Barnsley 3

One of the most depressing afternoons in Charlton's recent history has surely left Alan Pardew's managerial career hanging by a thread. I don't think I'd be alone in quite happily cutting it.

Yet again, Charlton were dismantled by a team that was better organised and considerably more committed. Everything Barnsley did was done with conviction and belief. Charlton were a shambles.
Pardew's team selection continues to be impossible to predict, with Andy Gray, Grant Basey and Josh Wright starting (despite none being involved at Ipswich), whilst Kelly Youga and Matt Holland did not even make the sixteen. Naturally enough Luke Varney started and ended the game, as he is required to do.

The half-time scoreline was perhaps a little flattering to Barnsley, but there was absolutely no doubt that they were the better side. When teams go about their business with a sense of togetherness and purpose, then good things can happen.

Hugo Colace did a sterling job in front of their giant centre-backs, whilst the pint-sized pair of ex-Addick Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Iain Hume provided eager support to lone front-man Jonathan Macken.

Charlton created virtually nothing except a half-chance for Gray, and yet again the total absence of a discernible shape and pattern of play was evident. Passes lacked conviction and movement was half-hearted.

Change was inevitable at half-time, but our starting second-half formation seemed to come squarely from Pardew's famous proprietary 'random tactics generator' (RTG).

It is possible that he had given up on the result, and chose to experiment for the remaining 45 minutes in a real first-team situation. In a way this would be somewhat understandable and excusable, because how else could one explain why we began the half with a strange 4-2-3-1 formation?

The left-footed Bouazza started on the right of the trio behind Gray, with the right-footed Varney on the left. As a direct result, we had no width whatsoever with both players continually running into dead ends, forced as they were to cut in onto the stronger foot. Bizarre was the only word for it, and not surprisingly we were garbage until they swapped.

In between them Darren Ambrose, perhaps crowded out by the pair either side of him, was a virtual spectator and fluffed our only decent chance created from open play. Rumours suggest we might swap him for Ivan Campo. I'd glady swap him for Ivan Lendl.

All the while, Messrs. Todorov and Dickson warmed up on the sidelines, both potential 'impact' players in their own way, yet only Dickson was given a paltry 17 minutes to make one.

The mercurial Todorov, the single most outstanding player against Burnley was not used at all, not even when Hudson pulled one back with still time remaining to make a game of it. Those of us that trudged back home through the rain deserve explanations.

Other than Nicky Weaver and Josh Wright, not a single player emerged with any credit. Our young blond midfielder has bags of potential, and never hid although the same cannot be said for many of those supposedly 'experienced' players that Pards now intends to revert back to again.

When Wright was substituted for Dickson, he earned a respectful round of applause from fans who were able to identify his efforts despite the ineptitude around him. But did his manager consider him worthy of a handshake or a pat on the back? How about just a glance, Alan?

As I walked back to Charlton station, I assumed that surely Pardew's post-match comments would finally contain an element of contrition. By the time I read them on my phone, I nearly through it onto the tracks.

"Speaking afterwards, Pardew bemoaned the absence of Linvoy Primus after watching his side's inability to deal with Barnsley's set-plays."

One of the nice things about being a club in the midst of some type of 'crisis', is that strangers and fellow supporters start chatting to one another. And I would bet that not one of those thousands of enforced chats bemoaned the absence of Linvoy Primus, with all due respect to our on-loan defender.

There was even some black humour amongst the faithful. One fan on the train commented that at least he still had a free option on a Premiership season ticket; I offered him 50 pence for it.

I can tolerate bad results. Indeed I try very hard to avoid knee-jerk reactions, because football is inevitably a sport of small margins. However it is very clear to me that the players are not responding to Pardew's methods, and most crucially we are in freefall, now occupying a relegation spot after nearly one third of the season.

It is hard to argue that 15 points from 15 games is somehow unjustified. Indeed, having seen us comprehensively outplayed by Swansea on the opening day (yet pick up three points), it could conceivably have been much worse.

Nevertheless, those that would like to see Pardew go can scarcely be accused of knee-jerk reactions anyhow, because the statistics make for some horrid reading:

- 2 wins in 12 games
- 9 goals in 12 games
- 9 wins in 34 games
- 53 points from our last 46 games

All teams have a run of poor form. However who other than the most fervent optimist, could build an intelligent argument why ours might be about to end? Perhaps I'm too much of an optimist too, but surely this bunch of players with the right leadership should not be 22nd in the Championship?

I would certainly not miss Pardew if he went, but am aware that it may be a financially prohibitive agreement. I have tired of his arrogance, his myriad of excuses and our poor performances and results. Whatever the potential cost to the club, it surely pales compared to the potential cost of relegation.

Meanwhile I don't imagine it's in Pardew's long-term interests to cling on for financial reasons alone, given that his managerial reputation is taking a formidable battering.

He will not want potential employers marking down his achievements at Reading and West Ham as perhaps merely 'lucky' with hindsight. Thus I'm confident some reasonable compromise could be reached.

If this were to occur, I would be vehemently against the possibility of Phil Parkinson or Mark Kinsella being offered the role(s), in anything other than a very short-term caretaker capacity. We cannot risk another Les Reed-esque scenario.

Instead, we need a credible and genuine outsider, who will be able to take a top-down view of all aspects of the playing side, and not be afraid to suggest wholesale changes. Someone who can build a real foundation to the first team, and create a true system that fans and players alike recognise and respond positively to.

If certain players cannot adapt, then get rid of them in January. One of the few factors sparing me from outright despair is that evidence from the likes of Wright, Basey, and Jonjo Shelvey suggest there is hungry talent waiting in the wings.

The name of Billy Davies is one that inevitably springs to mind. Out of work, and allegedly offered the job before Dowie was in 2006, he would appear to bring an impressive record and the type of personality that is more aloof, and less egotistical than Pardew's. He would presumably be cheaper too.

Funnily enough, and feel free to call me crazy, but I've had this nagging sense for a while that Glenn Hoddle might be a surprisingly good candidate for us. Given that he's only indirectly involved in the game currently (via his Spanish-based academy), he may be tempted by a London-based challenge, even if only initially on a short-term basis. We might even play some decent football too.

Meanwhile much as it didn't feel like it at 5pm tonight, Charlton would be an attractive challenge to many existing managers of other clubs, including frankly those of certain Championship clubs with lesser budgets, but several more points. Could the likes of Gary Johnson be tempted away?

Anyhow, this is all moot unless Pardew is sacked or resigns. If he refuses to fall upon the Charlton sword, and assuming he is not pushed, then he will be delighted surely that we now have three weeks away from the Valley.

Unfortunately we have decidedly tricky away games at Plymouth and Birmingham inbetween, by which time we may be somewhat adrift in 22nd place. For that reason, I suspect most fans will have seen their last home game with Pardew in charge.


At 11:27 PM, Blogger marco said...

Like you, I feel that we have seen the last of Pards rocking from foot to foot with his arms folded at the Valley.

Pardew would appear to be taking the David Bowie lyric writing approach to team selections and formations- in other words taking random words or names out of a hat and writing them down.

I'm not sure that I want my team to to be run by the gods of chance. Pardew has quite obviously lost the respect of the team, the supporters and we can assume the directors.

I like the idea of Billy Davies but would he come to Charlton when we reportedly shafted him after offering him a job once before?Garry Johnson would be a dream but with Bristol City on the cusp of being a future Hull or Wigan he would probably like to stay to finish the job.

One thing is for sure. Whenever we go to eat at Legends it usually ends up being the best part of the afternoon as the game is generally a huge let down.
It was good to see you today and thanks for the round of drinks.

At 12:49 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

"I have tired of his arrogance, his myriad of excuses and our poor performances and results".

Amen to that.

I thought Billy Davies did not sign up because of the 'Director of Football' set up we had.

Well, we don't have it any more. Maybe there is hope.

When I get over for my two games, I shudder to think where we will be if Mr."Crossed Arms" is still on the touchline.

At 12:50 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

"I have tired of his arrogance, his myriad of excuses and our poor performances and results".

Amen to that.

I thought Billy Davies did not sign up because of the 'Director of Football' set up we had.

Well, we don't have it any more. Maybe there is hope.

When I get over for my two games, I shudder to think where we will be if Mr."Crossed Arms" is still on the touchline.

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't make the game today for work reasons so gave my season ticket to my bro'n law to go instead, he doesn't follow football but still is a very astute person.
When I asked about the general performance he said from the player's warm up session on the pitch prior to the game starting that he could tell that something is very wrong with charlton or at least the players on the pitch. I asked why and the reply was that the Barnsley players appeared organised,professional and motivated whilst charlton players did not seem at all interested almost like they did not want to be on the pitch.
Now this is coming from someone who did not even know which side was charlton until the first goal went in and saw the bigscreen tv to see charlton were losing.
So by conclusion my bro'n law assessed by body language that something is very wrong with CAFC.
I too am very sad with what we have become in a space of 22 months and i was pleased when pardew came onboard. However what course do we choose to take now?

This too with your comments...
"Yet again, Charlton were dismantled by a team that was better organised and considerably more committed. Everything Barnsley did was done with conviction and belief. Charlton were a shambles."

So from what i hear the players have no direction from the manager. someting is very wrong at the moment.

at least with curbs you could see that if we leaked goals the next game we tried to notleak goals ,get a result and move on. even with subs etc.
however with pards i dont see the same game,
what is going on NYA?

At 1:04 AM, Blogger CharltonChris said...

Glad you picked up on the comment about Primus. When I read that on the official site this afternoon I laughed out loud.

The fact that we didn't have our on loan 30-something defender on the pitch was the sole reason we just got stuffed at home by f****** Barnsley..

Of all the things wrong with the side, that was the primary excuse?

Pardew Out.

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous ed said...

I don’t think the Charlton fans are being overly emotional by calling for Pardews head. If you’ve been watching the same games I have this season, you would have witnessed a spineless team lacking any sense of coherence or direction. We can’t afford the quality players that we want, but as a bare minimum our manager should be capable of organising and motivating the players to form a unit that can compete against the lower teams in this division. As Jim Magilton said after the Ipswich draw (which we didn’t deserve) - “Charlton came here to be beaten, and we had plenty of chances to do so”. What does that say about us?

Now I’m no expert so maybe I’m not in a position to judge Pardew - lets judge him by his own expectations. At the beginning of the season - despite the financial constrictions - he said we have a team that’s more than capable of challenging for promotion. We can’t even achieve mid-table mediocrity - by his own standards, Pardew is failing.

I’m inclined to give him a few more weeks to turn it around.. but I worry that some people won’t have the foresight to call for change before we’re already on the way to coca cola league one. And trust me - that’s the bigger picture.

I was outside the west stand calling for Pardews head and I make no apologies for doing so. The one thing I can't stand in a Charlton team is a lack of pride, and our players don't have any. Enough is enough. Oh, and I'll be at Home Park next Saturday to watch us get walloped by Plymouth - so you can't say I'm not trying...

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An accurate post NYA. Pards must leave immediately.
The man to save us is Sam Allardyce. Yeah! i know he's not widely liked and anyway he won't come to a struggling Champ. side, even if we could afford him.
So, choice two, gulp! Come back Curbs. all is forgiven

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

Dear NYA,
This was a woeful performance by any standards. We need to play the same team week in and out and only change due to injury /suspension. If players know their roles they will develop a better understanding.
Best bit yesterday- a chap nearby shouted out"This is Public announcement -Bouzza is still a left sided player" evidently AP has'nt realised.
Also on the positive side we are only 9 points adrift of a bunch of teams which would lift us to a respectable (safe) position.
Please remember NYA you were a major advocate of AP when he arrived! I can't wait for him to go but I haven't booed him or the team.A sustained attempt by the fans to lift the team could help- but we don't do that at Charlton do we? Nowadays its slag the team and the manager.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Andrew, I was indeed an advocate of Pardew though perhaps my enthusiasm needs to be seen in the context of what went before him.

However it is clear to me now that I overestimated his abilities. I had been warned as much by certain West Ham fans but I thought otherwise.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

I would say the majority of Charlton supporters were thrilled when Pardew arrived on the scene, following on the heels of Dowie and Reed. In fact, if you recall, Charlton had a slim chance of avoiding relegation and gave it a decent shot under Pardew.

How things have changed. Try and scrape up a handful of Pardew supporters now and you would undoubtedly fail.

The rot cannot continue. The Board of Directors must act and must act now!

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Ian said...


Another eloquent piece. I have spent the last 6 months encouraging my 7 year old son to become a 4th generation 'addick and, whilst not a boo boy myself - prefering a more PMA approach - after half an hour on Saturday I turned to him and said "If you really want to, you can boo at half time" (to his credit he didn't but tried to lift the team in the second half when there appeared to be some sparks of enthusiasm from a few of the players). I've already promised him we'll go to the Soton game so we can see the new manager - I do hope I'm right.


Post a Comment

<< Home