Sunday, December 28, 2008

Decision Time

It's now decision time for Charlton Athletic. After a battling hour or so during which we led at Sheffield United, we inevitably caved in. Did any Addicks fan listening or watching honestly expect us not to?

Phil Parkinson seems an honest type and he's tried his best, but it isn't good enough. Any hope that he might provide an instant impact, by virtue of being known to the players, has clearly not been fulfilled.

As a result, his suitability for the role must now surely be compared impartially against candidates from outside, and it is hard to imagine he will come out on top.

The club misguidedly guaranteed the job to Parky at least until year-end. After eight games and just three points, there is virtually no evidence that he has the wherewithal to inject new ideas and drive into this misfiring squad.

Those that would have preferred a complete change after Pardew have seemingly been vindicated. It would be unfair to suggest that a new manager would categorically have generated more points over these eight games, but the opportunity for them to have begun to stamp a different authority has been lost.

The Board may argue that keeping Parky in place until January ensured 'stability' (as if we needed it), but it has had a further important indirect negative effect.

With the club now adrift at the bottom, the number of capable managers that would now consider a role at the club has presumably decreased. No ambitious Championship or League One manager in their right mind, would consider us at the current time, at least without substantial remuneration which is clearly not available.

However somehow the club has to dig deep and find just such a candidate, and it should be somebody with no prior connection with the club. If they offer the role full-time to Parky now, then their credibility in my eyes will be shot to pieces.

There has been negligible improvement under his stewardship during a series of very winnable fixtures, whilst performances against Blackpool and Coventry were as bad as the worst under Pardew.

If the Board genuinely thought Parky was the best available candidate (or perhaps the only financially viable one), then they could have given him the role permanently on 12th December when they made their announcement. Instead they fudged it.

If they do so now after this run of results, it will be patently ridiculous but I wouldn't rule it out. They may justify it on the basis that as the squad is so dire, no realistic manager would have done better, in which case why did they wait so long to sack Pardew (who largely put it together).

This unnecessary dithering may have cost us our Championship future. Impressive performances from Southampton, Doncaster and Forest leave us embarrassingly four points away from 23rd place tonight.

Sixteen games without a win suggests something systemic has infected the club; this is not mere bad fortune. As someone clearly associated with the prior regime, this is another factor which should now count against Parkinson. Unfortunately it ought to mean the end for Mark Kinsella too; this is not time for sentiment.

After the pathetic attempt to instil Les Reed as permanent manager in 2006/7, one imagined the Board couldn't screw up a managerial turnaround twice in two years, but it seems they've achieved it. It suggests a lack of leadership at the club, something we've never had to question for so many years.

With just three days to go until the January window, the club might now need to both recruit a new manager, whilst at the same time expecting him to work miracles in the transfer market.

However, with a meaningless FA Cup tie awaiting on Saturday, any new manager will at least have an ideal chance to see his new charges perform without the pressure of a relegation battle.

In light of all the above, if the Board resort to Parky, it signals that they've given up. Unfortunately some fans will too. Happy New Year everyone.


At 6:49 PM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

Sadly, the words "The club" and "misguidedly" have been far too prevalent since Alan Curbishley left; an event that also seems to have signalled the end of any viable leadership at the club.

But what to do about it?

Hopefully there is a strong, young capable manager out there who knows how to succeed in the 3rd. Div. and who will be given half a playing season and the off-season to mould his squad for the purpose.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

I agree with all that.

There was a time when I would not question the decisions of the club because I just assumed that they knew best. Curbishley, for example, was always given the benefit of doubt as he always (nearly) seemed to be proved right.

Since Cubishley left I've backed everything; Dowie, Reed, Pardew, and, despite the fact I thought it wrong, Parkinson. I could throw a number of player transfer decisions in there too.

Now I have little faith in the club to make the right call.

It is, indeed, decision time but that very thought fills me with fear.

Happy New Year NYA.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Any new manager who comes in is going to face a poisoned chalice. They are going to have to achieve an almost impossible win ratio to avoid relegation with a squad that is clearly seriously deficient in a number of respects. They are going to have little money to bring in new players. So I am not sure who of the right calibre is going to be attracted to the position.

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Wyn, our position is now so precarious that I don't think any new manager should be 'expected' to keep us up.

However it would be nice to begin heading in a positive direction after a diabolical 2008.

An end to this ludicrous reliance on loans, and giving some of our own youngsters a chance would be a much worse could they do?

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Yes, but who is going to be attracted to a position which says 'in effect, we are relegated.' I know that most Charlton supporters have this belief in youngsters and it's probably the thing that worries me most about the club. The problem with youngsters is that they make serious and often match changing errors that are down to inexperience: Grant Basey is a case in point. I have not been impressed by Shelvey or Wright when I have seen them. I think that the criticism of loan players is overdone - Bouazza is constantly criticised, but he is one of our few players that can unsettle the opposition and he scores some very good goals. It is signings like Gray that are more of a problem.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Shelvey may be a special case because he is still so young (not even 17).

However, if there are kids on the payroll which the club can reasonably predict won't make it at this level, then they should be released. However if they have the ability but by definition not the experience, then you have to play them week-in, week-out until they acquire it.

I don't recall anyone being wowed by Scott Parker for example when he first broke through (I was certainly less than impressed initially), yet he became for me the best Charlton player in my lifetime.

I don't understand the point of shipping say Josh Wright on loan twice (where he impresses), and then not giving him a proper chance. If the manager instead thinks Matt Holland is the answer, then I definitely no longer understand the question.

There are others too who did not come up through the ranks but Pards bought them, presumably because he saw something that others didn't (eg. Moutaouakil, Sinclair, Fleetwood, McLeod). Either they should all go in January (which they might), or they should start ahead of these loaned players.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KHA sums up my feelings on this morbid debate. I'd backed all those decisions until Parkinson. And the reasons given were so farcical. I genuinely believe the board had it right up until November, when the trend that had developed since the start of the year was undeniable ( and unbelievable). The indecision since then has been unforgivable, given the umistakable lessosn from our recent past.

I still believe we have the raw material, that requires the right motivation. Blackburn and so many others (England?)have seen radical changes in performance with the same players, but a different manager.

We won't get out of this now, even with a new man. The fatal delays in making that decision has the seen the closing door nearly slam shut.

But there is a very slim chance, and even if we don't succeed we could at least make a fight of it, and possibly win a game before next autumn?

Unfortunately the Board haven't left themselves much time to appoint before the transfer window, and thus make it just that bit more difficult.

But they won't change the manager will they. The paralysis is sufficient to determine the most dramatic fall in our club's history.

Pembury Addick

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

Dear All,
Don't Panic!!!
Its dire but lets just keep our heads.
Losing away is not great but we have 10 home fixtures, 4 of which are against fellow strugglers, several others against mid table teams. 2 away games southampton and Derby are winnable.That would give us a total that is in the ball park for survivial.
The last 2 home games have been refreshing in that the mood in the lower north stand had changed to being supportive of the team, not the nasty negative atmosphere that was there earlier in the season.

Didn't Ron Greenwood say football managers get too much praise when results go well, too much blame when they go badly?
Hysteria about results led to Les Reed sacking .... then Pardew.. and we are in worse situation now than if Reed had stayed (just counting the wages and pay off, let alone the players wages from (mis) purchases and loans).
Phil Parkinson should be given the chance that Reed wasn't.
NYA your own posts have said we have to have the right man for the job even if in the short term we go down-BUT you are critising Parkinson on short term results. Sacking him means another pay off and less to spend on a new player who could make the difference
If we go down then its the team, the manager and the (negative) fans that aren't good enough-
we can take that on the chin if and when it happens.
Until its mathematical certainity then I'm supporting the team - the last 2 homes games they showed alot of heart.It may be a small positive but lets build on that.

re exits -I'm sure Mou2 will go-I would if I was him.He is one of the best purchases by AP, then undermined by AP's "management" style. Pace/flair/(?temperment) ability to scare the opposition defences- so lets put in Cranie instead who looks like Luke Young when he started at CAFC (and turned into a fine player- but we had to wait 4 years for it to happen)

As ever NYA a good read...we do share the same pride and passion
"Happy New Year"- well it can't be worse than 2008

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

My general view has been that financial considerations aside, Parkinson should be judged on the same criteria as any outside candidate.

It would be extremely unlikely in my view if the assistant to the prior failed manager came top of such an assessment.

As an initial caretaker manager, it made some sense however, but why did the Board have to make that statement about assuring him the role until year-end? Rather than inject some certainty, it merely added further confusion.

However as an 'insider', he had the chance to very quickly prove that perhaps by knowing the players he could instantly add some value by correcting some obvious flaws, but he has not managed to do so (at all).

This is in contrast for example to Ricky Sbragia at Sunderland to whom similarly dejected players swiftly responded. I suspect they have similarly over-reacted to short-term results, but we shall see.

However if the Board still believe he's the best available candidate for the role, then so be it (but somehow I believe it would be unlikely). Moreover there's certainly nothing (positive) that they could have learnt about Parky in these five weeks, that they didn't already know (in which case he could have been installed permanently the day Pardew left).

It frustrates me that the likes of Spurs, Leeds and Blackburn can acknowledge an incumbent manager is flawed, but execute such a swift (and seemingly productive) turnaround. Meanwhile Charlton faff about (again) and continue on their dismal run.

New managers often cause a rebound in results because it snaps players out of their comfort zone. Given that we might ultimately only get relegated by a few points, who knows what opportunity has been lost?

ps - it wasn't hysteria about results that got Reed sacked, it was hysteria about the mere concept that he was football manager material.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Suze said...

And now by delaying a decision in placing a new manager in charge, we have Derby in the prospective candidates have that to think about (unless Derby know who they want), Derby or Charlton...a little leeway or rock bottom?

I also object to being lumped together with the negativity that surrounded me...I didn't boo or jeer in the lower north stand! I didn't like what I was watching, but, I still can't see the value of booing youngsters.

Also, Bouazza may dazzle on the wing (a matter of opinion), but how many open goals has he missed? In our present situation we have not got the time or space to let those pass. I also think Basey is going to continue to be a good footballer...and to continue to learn his trade through experience!

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous noel said...

in reality the Club continue to be bamboozled by Curbs excellence. We had the good fortune to stumble upon him which led us on a path that gave us so many good memories. But it also enabled Murray et al to gain a veneer of success (well run model club etc etc) that in today's world only lasts as long as success on the pitch lasts. We needed to get lucky again with Dowie - and let's face it, apart from the Palace connection he had reasonable credentials. The board again looked to have made a sound appointment with Pardew, but the combination of the two failing has effectively left us with a busted flush in the short-term.
The reality is that in the absence of another Curbs-like miracle worker (or Middle Eastern cash) this is going to take 3-5yrs to turn around. We may or may not go down this year, but if we want to see a Shelvey/Wright/Sam/Bailey/Elliot/Youga/Moutou/Basey based team in the top half of the Championship that's not going to happen for a season or two at the very least for reasons already stated above.
My only real beef with the board apart from running out of luck has been their obsession with bussing in Premiership watchers from Brighton when they should have been concentrating on the still vast untapped catchment inside the M25.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he was any good we would have got some results - we have on paper got some "reasonable" players who are by the way paid far too much money.
I am not saying any more............

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is clear that the team doesn't know how to win a match. It is also clear that the players don't have any belief that they can win a match.

I don't subscribe to the notion that the players are simply not good enough. Even average players (and we do still have some good ones), if well managed, can be instilled with the organisation and discipline to be able to fulfil a function within a team that enables positive results to be achieved. A hallmark of some of our most successful teams has been the overachievement of players who, due to clever and astute management, have been able to play above their general level of ability. Those teams have also all been well organised so that each player knew his role and how to perform it successfully.

The fact that Parkinson has not managed a single positive result in his 8 games in charge suggests that he does not have the required managerial skills to either get the players to play 'above themselves' or instill the organisation and discipline needed within the team. Most of our players are technically quite gifted but lack the necessary motivation and discipline which a good maanager can provide in order to get the best out of them.

I actually believe that had Pardew stayed (not that I wanted him to) we would have more points to show for the last 8 games than the paltry 3 with which we find ourselves since Parkinson has been in charge. That is the measure of how much of a failure Parkinson has been since taking over from Pardew and his role in the debacle that was the second half of last season and first part of this should not be underestimated.

Giving Parkinson the job now would prove that the members of the Board are either clueless when it comes to footballing matters (they are businessman after all, with no credentials themselves in terms of their knowledge of the beautiful game)or they are now solely interested in selling up to the extent that that is their only consideration when making decisions about the club. There can be no other explanations for giving him more time.


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