Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blackpool preview

Even Pythagoras would struggle to dream up the mathematical outcome that would ensure our survival, but for now Charlton retain the possibility.

By my estimation, the probability of Charlton even winning their final four games (a prerequisite of course) is merely 1% or so.

Furthermore calculating the probability of the additional prerequisite that at least three clubs finish on 46 points or less, and with worse goal difference is beyond the scope of this blogger.

However to paraphrase legendary darts commentator Sid Waddell, there's surely more chance of Elvis walking into The Valley tomorrow and ordering a chip butty.

The above graph (which looks clearer if you double-click on it), shows Charlton's rolling 6-game form, expressed in terms of a 'full season equivalent'.

The first vertical line shows the point at which Pardew was sacked, whilst the second shows the point at which Parkinson was assured of the post permanently.

The horizontal line represents 51 points, my best current estimate for the points total that would have been required for safety.

It shows quite clearly that there has indeed been some improvement in recent weeks, but at virtually no point during Parkinson's reign did the team demonstrate 'survival form' over any six-game period.

Indeed, the chart suggests that alarm bells should have begun to ring as early as the 9th game of the season (Palace away).

Interestingly Pardew's initial post-match comments were focused entirely the other way: "We still sit above Palace, but we are falling behind the pace-setters."

He did however go on to acknowledge with rather unnerving accuracy: "Now we really need to start looking after ourselves in terms of making sure get a run together or else we will find ourselves in trouble."

The chart does back up the club's argument that the team's form has materially improved since Parkinson took over, but only after that initially disastrous eight-game winless run, and never to an extent that our survival was more than a pipe dream.

However in order to have stayed up, we needed to spend considerable periods above that horizontal line, and yet we've barely managed to get above it long enough to take a breath.

One might argue that things may have been different if Parkinson had been given the permanent nod the very day that Pardew was sacked.

Perhaps the uncertainty of that six week period, prevented him from putting in place the foundation from which our gradual improvement has been built?

I'm being too fair on our manager. Whilst draws with the likes of Reading and Birmingham, and a fighting away win at Southampton are positive enough signs, we have still only won one of our last ten games.

It seems all season that whenever we have sorted out one aspect of our game, another has fallen apart. Our woeful defence has kept three clean sheets in four games, yet we take only three points because our strikers can't score.

Consider for example that no Charlton-registered striker (as opposed to a loan), has scored a goal from open play since December!

Clearly it has been the midfield instead which has been solely responsible for the recent improvement. A dozen goals since the New Year from Messrs. Bailey, Zheng, Shelvey, Racon and Spring have ensured our season has been kept alive even this far.

It's debatable how much of this is down to the manager (Zheng is probably simply too good for this division, but was barely available to Pardew this season), and assessments such as this will define whether Parkinson remains manager for next season.

He's a likeable enough chap, and I don't doubt his honesty but I continue to think we need a change. Regardless of Board talk about 'doing a Leicester', I fear another relegation battle is the more likely scenario especially if bids for the likes of Bailey, Racon and Shelvey are too good to turn down.

Call me mad however (you're mad - Ed.), but I've a feeling we might actually defy the above odds and win our final four games.

It won't be enough of course, but would leave us wondering just what might have been. Might we accuse the club of ensuring a relegation through mid-season managerial madness again?

NY Addick predicts Charlton 3 (Kandol, Bailey, Zheng), Blackpool 1 (Campbell). Tickets sold: 18,983.


At 7:32 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I am one of the minority who think that Parkinson was handed a poisoned chalice and has done his best in the circumstances. League 1 is a different matter to the Championship. It does seem that the board is considering his removal, but we will not be able to afford a high quality manager to replace him.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

Your comment about doing a Leicester is interesting as they had a change of manager on 22nd November 2007 and still went down and appointed a new one for the promotion challenge.

Wyn, as for the cost of changing the manager, I agree with your assessment of League 1 compared to the Championship, and at the risk of sounding disrespectful to the other clubs, with the resources that will be made available there should be many managers that can do a job for us next season.

The real risk, one that Richard Murray is aware of, is that if we don't change the manager this summer and we are bottom third of the division at Christmas the fans will demand that Parkinson goes and then next season could well end up being lost or worse still another relegation battle.

I agree that Parkinson hasn't had the easiest of starts as Charlton manager but I can't help feeling that the pressure on him to be in the top three or four all season is too much. If we fall away from that and he has to go it is, again, unrealistic to expect a replacement to change our fortunes.

At times like this I do not envy those that have to make this decision. It is clear that the board are not sure what to do even now. They must also be nervous on the basis that they have struggled with the recent management appointments, and this summer is a real milestone in the clubs future.

This is why I have taken the view that it is time for me to stop criticising, stop second guessing and just get behind the team and the club. I don’t have the answers and as tempting as it is to point out where we have gone wrong after the event it is not really helping.

I think we have a very good chance of being top six next season irrespective as to the manager is. At this point I’d probably take that, as it could well end up being much, much worse.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Dave said...

This chart is a great way of showing what we've probably known all season i.e. that we have been consistently poor and failed to put any run of results together. Interesting too that it clearly demonstrates that our improvement of late is still relegation form. I sensed from the EGM that the Board are seriously considering a new manager. To suggest a show of hands about the likelihood of purchasing a season ticket if we get a new manager was tempting fate and if he said they are undecided about Parky, that sounds a definite change from their earlier position on him. They got the decision wrong in the first place by giving him a trial period when they knew there was no realistic alternative and, in my opinion, exacerbated that mistake in handing him the job in January, in spite of the financial imperative - relegation will cost us massively more than the gamble on a new manager who might have been able to instil a winning mentality. The decision now is essentially the same as the one in January i.e. affordability, especially when we need to buy at least one striker and will lose maybe six of our best players. I simply can't see how the Board can risk a poor start under Parky. Season ticket sales will probably settle their minds, which doesn't bode well for PP.


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