Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kermit the Frog

“Why do weathermen say “it’s 40 degrees…. but with the wind chill factor it’s 2” Everyone walks around wondering is it 40 or is it 2? Tell me, do you feel two temperatures? I never heard a guy say I feel 40…but with the wind chill factor I feel 2. It’s like saying it’s raining, but without the rain…. it’s dry.” (Jackie Mason)

An increasingly rare trip to The Valley was ruined somewhat by my pre-match sartorial focus on the actual air temperature, instead of the forecast ‘real feel’ temperature (as if anyone cares about the former).

Events on the pitch did little to warm up the sparse crowd - to say that this Charlton team ‘grinds out’ results is surely an understatement.

After 83 minutes with the prospect of me getting on the vital 2140 train dwindling as every dull moment passed, then like Ben Hamer approaching a high ball, I considered my options, I made a quick and brave decision....and ran out to catch it.

Chris Powell cannot realistically claim to have developed an attractive side (only one passing side was on show last night), but they are brutally effective and the League One table doesn’t lie.

If we were a tennis player, we’d be Ivan Lendl not John McEnroe. If we were a car, we’d be a Volvo not an Alfa Romeo.

However with nine very comfortable-looking fixtures coming up, automatic promotion may well be virtually assured by the middle of March, a remarkable achievement.

Unlike the 2140 train, maybe the panache and style can wait.

From my perspective (admittedly not a full one), this season’s results have been broadly built upon three pillars: defence, fitness and resources.

The signings of Taylor, Morrison and Wiggins were truly inspired.

The central pair are good old-fashioned defenders who do the simple (but vitally important) things really well. The so-called 'blocking and tackling' as they say in the States.

Wiggins meanwhile is a shoe-in for Player of the Season, and Solly has improved by playing alongside this trio.

Improved fitness is also readily apparent, and credit here must go to Laurence Bloom.

Perhaps conscious that we were out-muscled and out-run at times last season, we now look like a team of real athletes.

The full-backs in particular look exceptionally well-conditioned.

The resources meanwhile speak for themselves. In July, I suggested that net of the Jenkinson proceeds and the offloaded wage bill (Semedo, Racon etc.), the Board hadn’t really provided meaningful investment.

Since then however, this initial theory has been firmly blown out of the water. We have signed Clarke, Cort, Ephraim, Euell, Haynes, Hughes, Kermogant, Russell, and Smith – most of these will be on Championship type wages.

Powell was thus handed a clear mandate to ‘go and get promotion’ and he appears to have taken it.

However I can’t escape the nagging sense that this season’s team can be expressed mathematically as follows:

CP = PP + 23BP

(The first person to correctly solve the riddle wins a free ticket a Millwall game of their choice. The second person to correctly solve the riddle wins two free tickets to a Millwall game of their choice).

It must be a disappointment to the new owners that attendances have barely budged this season, despite the improved results. This is certainly the case if you back out the impact of some of the generous and forward-thinking ticket offers.

Charlton’s attendances are remarkably stable. It seems as though there is a consistent hard core of 13-14,000 fans who will come to every home game, yet a floating group of only a couple of thousand more (like me) who are tempted on a game-by-game basis, regardless of any discounted offer.

Both of these two observations are somewhat strange and present a medium-term dilemma: how do you encourage the many thousands seemingly willing to pay five quid, to begin paying twenty quid regularly?

Certainly not the type of football on show last night I’m afraid. I wonder if the new owners are bothered?

Probably not yet, but some more bums on seats would certainly help the annual deficit.

The match was hardly shaping up to be a classic (both teams seemingly cancelling each other out), but it was ruined as a spectacle once Kermogant (our wind-up merchant extraordinaire) did what he does best in the opposition box, and wound up his marker with typical Gallic charm.

It’s best to say nothing about the second half except to acknowledge the (unfortunate) possibility that not over-exerting ourselves with so many upcoming matches, was indeed the agreed tactic.

It’s rather anathema however to that famous Danny Blanchflower quote about doing things in style and with a flourish (not waiting for the other team to die of boredom).

I think this is a shame. Any chance we could give Rochdale a right hammering?


At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Powell = Phill Parkinson + 23 better players. Bit harsh I think, CP still had to sign them , gel them and give them a game plan. I think we're gonna give out a few pastings before the seasons over.
Matt. C
P.s keep your ticket, if I want that kind of fun I can pull my finger nails off with an old claw hammer !

At 8:45 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Congrats - your ticket for Millwall reserves is available for collection.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make it a 9% or so increase in attendance so far this season over last season. Given the climate, that's more than could reasonably be expected I reckon.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Attendances are approx 9% up from last season, but it's possible revenue is actually down due to the various promotions.

The Rochdale attendance will be interesting - hard to believe given our position, but it's likely to be sub-13,000.

I guess I am just disappointed that despite being runaway leaders, there is little sign of a true groundswell of support ready to 'turn up and pay up' without a financial incentive.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seeing as only one person has posted the solution, I guess that makes me the second person to solve this..

Chris Powell = Phil Parkinson + 23 Better Players

In the (unlikely) event that Millwall actually stay up this season, I'll have my two tickets for Millwall vs Charlton next season please..

(In the away section though.. Don't fancy jumping to my feet and cheering every time we score when I'm in amongst all the Millwall lot!)

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Couldn't care less about the style of play. For me football is about winning. I don't care how we do it.

Re the crowd numbers - it seems to me that a hard core 13 - 14K is about right for Charlton presently in the 3rd Division. When i started supporting them back in the early 70s we were lucky to get 5K.


At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would choose Wiggins for POTY but Chris Solly will definitely win it. That is guaranteed!

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

If so, it proves that the contest is not purely an objective decision about who the best player has been.

This is particularly obvious when Wiggins (outstanding, potentially Premiership quality) plays in the same position as Solly (good and improving, but not in the same class especially going forward).


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