”…if they play anything like they did at Queens Park Rangers in midweek, the Addicks can surely be confident of a return to winning ways.” (CAFC Website, 28 Nov 2008)
Tom Harvey at Charlton Athletic FC clearly hasn’t lost the faith. We don’t even have to play like we did at QPR; just anything like it will do. You have to admire his optimism.
Saturday’s game is being well-hyped, but I don’t think there’s such a thing as a relegation six-pointer in November. However with Watford facing a very beatable Doncaster side at Vicarage Road, there is a risk of a sizeable gap opening up between the bottom three and the rest.
Instead I’d rather look at the remaining 27 games in their entirety, and assess the challenge ahead for the team and whoever is leading them.
The points required for Championship safety over the past few seasons has been as follows:
Thus a simple average suggests that say 49 points will be enough to survive, although one would want to be sure of accumulating perhaps 53 points to be on the safe side. From Charlton’s current position, that requires us to accumulate 37 points from 27 games, equivalent to 63 points over a full season.
This points target is already filling me with a sense of doom. After all we picked up 64 points last season (the type of form required now), and were in the top two in the division for much of the first half of it.
In short, it requires a win and a draw from each trio of matches between now and season’s end. Playing well but losing simply won’t cut it anymore.
Although Southampton have made a stuttering start to the season, it is notable that 13 of their 20 points have been acquired on the road. Wins at Reading, Preston, Doncaster and Derby suggest they are far from a soft touch, and they may slowly be finding their feet under obscure boss, Jan Poortvliet.
After finishing bottom of the Premiership in 2004/5, they have struggled to find any kind of stability, not helped of course by the forced sale of the likes of Theo Walcott, Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones and Gareth Bale.
Losing to Derby in the 2006/7 play-off semi-finals on penalties would have been a bitter blow, and further managerial turnover and ongoing Boardroom shenanigans suggest that like Charlton, mere Championship survival for a couple of seasons would represent success of sorts.
They include two of Charlton’s most underrated players of recent seasons, both signed by Curbishley before seemingly falling foul of his well-known ability to hold grudges.
Jason Euell’s record of 34 goals in 102 games (albeit including several penalties) stands up well to comparison against virtually any of the club’s other strikers in the Premiership, although at £4.75million he perhaps merely repaid his lofty fee.
He endured the tragic loss of his baby daughter in 2001, but was always a consummate professional. Perhaps unsure if he was best utilized upfront or in midfield, he ended up doing neither and was soon sold on the cheap to Middlesbrough.
Chris Perry meanwhile has made a career out of proving wrong those that doubted he could perform in central defence, despite his lack of height. He joined the Addicks in September 2003 (initially on loan from Spurs), and would start 25 matches during that initial outstanding 2003/4 season.
The remainder of his Charlton career coincided with the tired end of Curbishley’s reign, although what would fans give today for that type of boredom? He was hastily released by Iain Dowie in the summer of 2006, and the rest as they say, is history.
The events of the past week at The Valley have descended into farce, with a manager (correctly) jettisoned, three loan signings acquired, and the club’s great blond hope hurriedly offloaded to a Championship rival.
Too many decisions over the past 2 ½ years have been made on the hoof, and the result is a club with no workable structure on the playing side, and a team rapidly descending towards League One. As they like to say in America, it’s a total ‘sh*tshow’.
It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Parkinson will be given until the end of the season to somehow make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Pardew’s personality is such that one can well imagine Parkinson was relatively blameless for the recent garbage served up by Charlton, but to give him the role purely in the name of seamlessness and finance would be myopic. If he is genuinely the most impressive of the candidates available then so be it (but it would be unlikely surely).
Trying to guess Parkinson’s line-up tomorrow is akin to picking lottery numbers, but here is my best guess: Weaver, Cranie, Hudson, Fortune, McEveley, Racon, Semedo, Gillespie, Bouazza, Burton, Gray. Subs: Elliot, Youga, Bailey, Todorov, Sam.
NY Addick predicts Charlton 2 (Burton 2), Southampton 2 (Wright-Phillips, Surman). Tickets sold: 21, 829.