Wednesday, 18 April 2007

To Be Or Not To Be ....

There seems to be a developing debate between two camps of Charlton supporters: those who believe that our duty between now and the end of the season (or until relegation becomes a mathematical certainty) is to bolster confidence and belief by communicating only 'positive thoughts', and those who believe that it is only realistic to talk in terms of relegation being probable.

It's easy for any divide to widen over the next few days: the former start to accuse the latter of 'throwing in the towel' and 'not doing their bit'; the latter, perhaps feeling on the defensive, starting to discuss 'where it all went wrong' and who is to blame. That is something to be avoided as we all - management, players and supporters - aim to peak on Saturday (and hopefully again the Saturday after).

It does seem important for the manager to convey an air of relaxation and confidence, whatever he is feeling inside, as this is communicated to the players and does seem to have an effect. For the supporters what is said/written over the next few days is much less important than how they communicate on Saturday afternoon. I would ask everyone going to take a moment before the game to consider what might help the players on the pitch and what might not - or to put it in simple terms groaning at every misplaced pass is off the agenda. The players are going to be under enough pressure as it is.

Surely it doesn't need to be said that: (i) we are currently favourites to go down, along with Watford and West Ham; (ii) this does not mean we are going down, only that at the moment the odds are against us staying up; and (iii) discussing the odds isn't being unduly negative. In my time I've seen Charlton get promoted (four times) and relegated (three times). I don't really believe whether I was 'positive' or 'negative' decided the outcome. I don't think it will be crucial this time around either; and at the moment I don't have a clue whether or not we will stay up.

I do know that come Saturday afternoon I will be screaming nothing but support. Friday night is reserved for calling in favours (or more realistically offering markers) from any deity that might be of use in swinging the odds in our favour.

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