Sunday, January 02, 2011

Robins Reliant

Firstly, very happy and prosperous New Year greetings to all of my esteemed readers.

When you have young kids, New Year's Eve loses some of its old joys. Regardless of how late you stay up until or how much you drink, they're still going to wake you up at the same time.

Indeed, I couldn't even muster the strength to stay up until midnight in order to run the traditional 100 metres at the stroke of twelve, thus recording the "..fastest time in the world this year."

Charlton began 2011 in the same way that it ended 2010, failing to capitalise on a man advantage to take all three points on the road.

The idea that two away points against fellow promotion contenders represents a satisfactory return, rather loses its merit when there are firmly 12 or 14 in the mix. It's very much an absolute not a relative game at this point.

The Addicks have not lost much ground yet despite a winless three game run, but they may well find themselves outside the play-off places by the time the Sky cameras begin recording at The Valley on Monday.

Somewhat predictably, the Robins of Swindon have failed to maintain the momentum that took them to an unlikely play-off final last season.

However the raw fact of their single win on the road (at Walsall) may be misleading, given they are actually the joint third highest scorers away from home, with 16 goals scored (five more than Charlton have managed at The Valley incidentally).

Charlie Austin has continued his good form from last season, scoring almost a third of Swindon's goals, but he is of course without former strike partner Billy Paynter (currently having an injury-hit first season at Leeds).

Barring a last-minute reprieve, the Addicks will be without Paul Benson who somewhat frustratingly has just eight well-taken goals to his name, rather than the ten which might have meant six points rather than just two over the New Year period.

Having been the focus of Phil Parkinson's entire summer transfer budget (and particularly so as a 31-year old with no resale value), there remains considerable pressure on Benson to deliver the goods. An ill-timed suspension doesn't help his chances.

Parky will have a pre-match meeting with the club's new Chairman, although fans remain none the wiser about the incentives and plans of the new ownership pair.

Indeed based upon the limited information disclosed so far, there's actually no evidence that the club is any more stable today than it was before New Year's Eve.

It may even be less stable because the operational deficit remains, the debts may well still be in place and we know nothing about the financial resources of the owners.

I hope for Parky's sake that they do not favour style as well as substance, else it may be a fairly short-lived relationship. At least his biggest fan (Richard Murray) remains on the Board to offer much-needed support.

In the meantime, if there is 'real money' behind the new owners then surely the January transfer window is the time to prove it, else another season in League One beckons in my view.


At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Kim Lewis said...

Well the Red Red Robins certainly fell off their perch tonight!
Is Parky totally inept of any game plan at The Valley?
I'm sure any post match chat with the new chairman will be far more formidable than the old!
Nice knowing you Parky, look out for "Dennis the Menace"!


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