Saturday, March 21, 2009

Preston preview

There's an old joke about a driver who asks for directions, only to be told "Well if I were you, I wouldn't start from here." Charlton's current depressing state can be seen in this context.

If you were seeking to build a successful club, then you wouldn't want to start from here, but it's here that we find ourselves and so we just have to get on with it.

I sense that the mathematical assurance of relegation will come as a relief to most fans.

It is likely that if we lost all of our next three games, then relegation will be confirmed at home to Birmingham on 11th April. I may be back in London as it happens; that'll be something to look forward to.

I feel like a need a break from blogging about Charlton, and the guarantee of our relegation would seem an appropriate time to take one, albeit not permanently I hope.

The two articles that I referred to in my last post, sought to emphasise the difficult readjustment required of clubs relegated from the Premiership.

Certainly having enjoyed seven consecutive seasons at that level, we were entitled to think we finally belonged. This is not true for example of the likes of Reading, Sheffield United or Watford, to their advantage.

The two longest-serving Championship clubs are Burnley (1994) and Preston (2000).

Both are riding high in the table despite never having enjoyed a single Premiership windfall, suggesting that promotion and subsequent relegation is at least somewhat destabilising. However Charlton have quite clearly royally screwed it up nonetheless.

After having won the Second Division title in 1999/2000 (the same year Charlton won the First Division), Preston actually came remarkably close to achieving the much feared promotion to the Premiership on more than one occasion.

They finished 4th in 2000/01, 8th in 2001/02, 5th in 2004/05, and 7th in 2006/07, benefiting from the assured guidance of David Moyes and more latterly, Billy Davies.

Just in case Charlton fans needed reminding of its virtues, they have benefited from a small squad this season, with just 22 players starting a Championship fixture.

However their position just outside the play-offs is down largely to their home form (45 points), the very best in the league. On the road their form has been poor, securing wins only at Ipswich, Blackpool and Wolves.

As something of a sentimentalist, it would be nice to see the likes of Preston or Burnley back in the top flight, but anything less than a win for the Addicks will be a death knell surely.

At least the club hasn't lost its sense of humour however, excitedly announcing plans for a DVD containing action not only from 2007/08 but also from this season! Form an orderly queue.

I continue to await a more interesting line-up than our manager has offered us in recent matches, one that perhaps accepted the inevitability of our fate and had one eye on next season.

As much as I admire the skills of Zheng Zhi for example, his Charlton career is effectively over. As his compatriot Confucius might say to Phil Parkinson, "If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow close at hand."

Ironically enough, Confucius also said, "Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses." However Parkinson may be forced to ignore the wisdom of the great philosopher, and perhaps play some of those overlooked souls who might reasonably have a role next season.

I think he'll line up as follows: Randolph, Moutaouakil, Basey, Hudson, Ward, Bailey, Racon, Zheng, Sam, Ambrose, Kandol. Subs: Weaver, Holland, Shelvey, Burton, Dickson.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 2 (Kandol, Zheng), Preston 2 (Parkin, McKenna). Tickets sold: 20, 248.


At 7:01 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I think most of us need a break from blogging about Charlton. Nevertheless, your humour does give us something to smile about.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger mikewoodhouse said...

Working really hard on the upside-location problem, we should at least take heart from having (almost) achieved the stated goal of getting out of the Championship within two years...


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