Friday, March 20, 2009

Read All About It

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers."

Two honest and well-written articles about Charlton have recently been published by the The Guardian and the Evening Standard. They both read like obituaries.

Neither told us anything new. However their unemotional style puts into context the sheer speed of our downfall.

After three terrible seasons and four managers, it is tempting again of course to revert to the tired refrain that it was all down to the departure of Alan Curbishley.

Certainly his achievements albeit hardly unappreciated at the time, have gained further kudos given what has come since.

However this point of view, whilst broadly unarguable now, circumvents an obvious question.

At some point Curbishley's success and own personal ambitions would eventually have tempted him away anyhow, and probably not very long after his actual departure date in May 2006.

Both articles feel like they've been 'planted' by the club's PR department however, not least given their coincidental timing.

All of the talk of Charlton being an 'attractive investment' should be set against the truth of negative cashflows, dwindling crowds, and large debts (albeit to friendly directors).

Certainly the failure of the Zabeel deal was a disappointment, but surely it only held back the long-term aspirations of the club?

The idea that it can be blamed for the team winning only two Championship games since the deal was announced, is clearly absurd.

At the time we had 13 points from 10 games, hardly promotion form but it offered little indication of the disaster to follow.

The PR-driven nature of the Evening Standard article really strikes me however with regard to the term 'marked improvement', used by Murray apparently to describe Phil Parkinson's reign, and not for the first time.

It would be disengenuous to claim that Parky was given a straightforward challenge, whilst clearly Alan Pardew began his failed Championship campaign(s) from a clear position of relative strength in August 2007.

However, if our Board considers that 2 wins in 20 constitutes a 'marked improvement', then I shudder to think what a backward step might look like.

Moreover, even if you somehow consider that we have pushed on, then one might question whether it is likely to be sustained given the continued reliance on loans, and players whose Charlton careers are effectively almost over.

My concern now is that having been honest enough to acknowledge a series of destabilising mistakes, the Board now risks confusing stability with improvement. As Curbishley proved, it's only a virtue if the right man is in charge.


At 7:54 AM, Blogger Dave said...

I agree entirely. We shouldn't be too harsh on our club for finally managing to orchestrate some PR, even if it is, as you say, tired old news.

The "marked improvement" is a massive lie and one that will not wash with the masses. The reality will hit home during the close season when the level of disinterest becomes painfully visible in terms of lack of financial commitment from existing season ticket holders. They must know this and must also know that they need to take action to address it.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous David Green said...

I really think that the clubs priority now must be to retain the fan base which has been built up over the past few years. Season Ticket prices must be reduced severely and show the fans that the club cares about retaining their support.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous sm said...

I hope Richard Murray was just going through the motions in his comments about Parkinson. Murray is a fundamentally decent man and is clearly devoted to Charlton and is probably feeling as much pain as any fan at the moment. He has done everything right for the club apart from some of the footballing decisions about the appointment of managers - he has quite rightly kept out of the other footballing decisions and he has been let down by Dowie/Pardew/Parkinson and a bunch of overpaid players (certainly for the peformance levels they have achieved).

Perhaps he should remember his (only) sucessful football decision in the appointment of Curbs/Steve Gritt - and try the same by appointing Matty Holland/Chrissy Powell as player managers - it saves on money, the fans would see it as positive - and it just feels right!

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous paddock wood addick said...

What we need is Aidy Boothroyd ...

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Boothroyd would be an attractive prospect. However, I would put money on Parkinson staying. Season ticket or other prices will not be cut drastically. I have watched League 1 football in the past and it is generally rather expensive considering the product.


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