Saturday, August 29, 2009

Five Alive

Unable to face the M6 on a bank holiday weekend (and kudos to those Addicks who felt differently), I got my footballing fill instead at Barnet vs Notts County.

Not yet emboldened by a fit Sol Campbell, the division's hot favourites still contained a number of players who have played most of their football at a higher level (eg. Kasper Schmeichel, Johnnie Jackson, Lee Hughes).

However on Underhill's famous sloping pitch (which rarely delivers an outstanding spectacle), they were undone by Barnet's neater football and a 93rd minute winner. I was especially pleased as I backed the home side with a tenner at 5/2.

The quality of football on display was not impressive, but if two-goal Lloyd Sam should ever be prised away, we can do worse than look at young Albert Adomah of the Bees.

But enough about the minnows of League Two, what about the mighty Addicks, flying high after a fifth consecutive win (well sixth really if you're counting)?

Sometimes even I amaze myself with my own fickleness. Having witnessed his somewhat nervous post-match interviews last season, I had almost written off Phil Parkinson as a managerial lightweight. An honest and decent guy for sure, but certainly no motivator I concluded.

Now after another thumping win, I find myself nodding in agreement at his every word, and comparing his calm authority to Jose Mourinho. The line between low self-esteem and cool assuredness is apparently a thin one, especially when you're top of the table.

He has been fortunate with injuries and suspensions so far, and whilst the likes of Wagstaff have impressed in brief cameos, the team will surely lose some momentum when the inevitable changes have to be made.

During the three games I saw on this trip, I was especially pleased by the quality of our football, and reports suggest we surpassed even those performances today.

Parkinson's permanent signings have all appeared sensible, and have not cost the club a penny in fees.

This is true not only of the trio of defensive summer signings, but also Deon Burton and Matt Spring. Hopefully the right lessons have been learned from the flawed obsession with loans last season.

The way he is treating the various youngsters in the squad also appears thoughtful, hopefully to their long-term benefit.

Few fans will bemoan our youthful exit from the Carling Cup for example, and indeed how might today's result have been affected by the two teams' varied midweek exertions?

Whilst he was able to give Tamer Tuna a run-out with no pressure today meanwhile, he was willing to blood Messrs Wagstaff and Solly at a far more crucial period of the Walsall and Orient games.

In short, whilst the results are obviously extremely pleasing, they are not merely good fortune and therein lies the most important issue.

I think all we have asked from our myriad of recent managers is a sense of team spirit, some logic to team selection and transfers, and an observable game plan and tactics which maximised our chances of winning football matches.

In the spirit of balance Parkinson was hardly blameless for last season's debacle, indeed far from it. We were a shambles until the final half-dozen games or so, by which point the players could relax knowing their fate was effectively sealed.

And by definition, if a club suffers regular relegations, it eventually reaches a level where it can begin winning matches again.

However my Mum of all people raised an interesting issue this evening when she asked whether Curbs was coming back.

A month ago I think a majority of fans would have welcomed him with open arms, but right now there would be substantial opposition to such a move. As a compliment to what Parkinson has achieved this season, this is about as big as it gets.

The next three fixtures are intriguing. Firstly a televised local derby, followed by successive matches against the two fellow relegated clubs whose seasons have started as poorly, as ours has started superbly.

I don't take any great pleasure in watching Southampton's demise, but instead find myself admiring Alan Pardew's chutzpah in managing his media profile so well, and thus finding himself thrust back into management so quickly. What must the likes of Aidy Boothroyd make of it all?

Our winning run may already have ended before the Saints come to town, but it is worth recalling that the club's last outstanding winning run also ended at home, and also against the division's bottom side.

The aforementioned Curbs led the Addicks to an incredible run of 12 consecutive wins, before Dean Kiely's uncharacteristic fumble gifted Swindon an unlikely Valley win on 11th March 2000.

We won the Championship nonetheless and went on to enjoy seven fabulous Premiership years. If Parkinson can maintain even a fraction of that momentum, my fickleness will know no bounds (even if he loses to Pards).


At 8:09 AM, Blogger Dave said...

NTA - you're not the only one feeling fickle over Parky. That shouldn't disguise the fact that he couldn't get a performance out of the squad last season. When he levels his wins and losses record, then I will shout his name from the rooftops and pronounce him hard-done-by. In the meantime, he deserves the plaudits he's been getting and has shown an impressive resilience and determnination in the face plenty of provocation.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

I feel a little more charitable towards Parky. I think he is a good manager, but not an impact manager.

He came in and was totally unable to turn a squad of good players round to pick up enough points to finish above three sides with more than half the season to play. After 18 games we were 2 points behind the team in 4th place. We finished 12 points behind 4th place.

I agree that in reverse to Peter's Principle, if your board give you long enough you will eventually take your side to a level where you can secure wins.

However, as I've said, I think Parkinson is clearly better at building a side and developing a playing style with those players than coming in and making things happen with the players available.

I still have some concerns about the treatment of Moutaouakil, but I agree that he is bringing on the young players in a sensible fashion apposed to Pardew who ignored them for too long and/or dropped them in when they weren't ready for the conditions and did them no favours.

On the whole Parkinson had proved his worth at this level, both for Colchester and now Charlton. His credibility at Championship level looks a lot less impressive with his records with both Hull and us, but we are not in the Championship.

We have to accept that this is where we are, and if he is good enough for us in this division then he is good enough for us right now. The real question is whether we should be in this division, or rather whether we would be had a new man come in in November or December.

In the meantime I’m really enjoying my football, and I have complete confidence in the manager’s ability to have a successful season.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

Clearly when I said 4th place, I meant 4th from bottom.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Nobby & Ready said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous ChicagoAddick said...

A very well reasoned argument KH.


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