Friday 20 February 2009

The Blame Game

A posting like this really ought to wait until the end of the season, when we will be trumpeting our success in the face of all the doom-mongers, or at least until after tomorrow’s game. But since the BBC site has a blog posting on ‘What’s Gone Wrong At Charlton’ and all and sundry, including yours truly, has said their piece, perhaps there’s scope for a purely personal and arbitrary allocation of the blame for our current plight.

Curbishley: I simply cannot go along with those who even partially blame Curbs. No, he wasn’t perfect. Our youth development suffered under him, but only because of a single-minded focus on keeping us in the Premiership and doing what was necessary to achieve that overriding objective. He bought some players who didn’t work out, but his record on that front overall is outstanding (Darren Bent?). Yes, he went stale and perhaps stayed a season too long; but we started his last season with a team that played the best football I have seen from a Charlton side before the side broke up. I think he stopped improving as a manager in the last couple of years (and maybe lost faith when it became clear that season ticket sales really couldn’t justify quick expansion of the ground to the sort of levels that would have allowed us to really compete in the top flight) and allowed a sense of ennui to set in. He ended up passing on a tired team in need of a serious revamp, but to that extent allowed his successor to make his mark from the start. Whatever small portion of the blame is attributed to him for the condition he left us in should be set against our situation when he was appointed and his role in what followed.
Blame Rating: 5% (only on the grounds that Jesus Christ would not get a 0).

Dowie: His saving grace is that it’s not really his fault that he isn’t very good. And whatever was going on in his personal life at the time must have had an effect. I still seems strange that he was appointed to head a tripartite not of his choosing, but his only fault there was to take the job on those terms (if he didn’t think it would work). I don’t automatically agree with those who say he was sacked far too soon as there have been enough hints that a lot was going wrong behind the scenes. Fact is far too many of the players he bought didn’t work out, under him or his successors, and he left us with the coffers not only bare but being bled further by the rise in the wage bill.
Blame Rating: 20%

Reed: Oh come on. He wasn’t brought in to be the manager, took the job in a crisis, and moved aside once an obvious replacement became available. He behaved honourably throughout. His tenure will not be remembered as a golden age it’s true; and his comments about Prozone stats after we had been hammered at Spurs still raise a chuckle. But have a heart.
Blame Rating: 5%

Pardew: Can’t take the rap for relegation, although with seven games to go I (incurable optimist that I seems to be in matters Charlton) thought we would stay up – only for the team to wilt under the pressure. But despite the enforced changes had a squad last season that should have won automatic promotion. His failings in that respect – to shape a team to play in a certain fashion depending on its strengths, and to address weaknesses – became all too apparent this season. And for whatever reason he failed to really motivate the players. There’s nothing wrong with arrogance when you succeed, but when you fail it becomes a real liability. He not only bought badly but tinkered unnecessarily, bringing in a spate of unfathomable loan signings (before landing Lita, who might have lifted us into the play-offs if he’d arrived in January and we’d not bought Gray).
Blame Rating: 20%

Parkinson: Only two things count against him. First, he didn’t do the dishonourable thing and walk out on Colchester to take over from Curbs. Second, he didn’t give us the ‘new manager bounce’ this season. But neither afford him a high blame rating and there are signs now that he is shaping the team – albeit with the necessary assistance of loan signings – to suit his style.
Blame Rating: 1%

The Board: Murray and co acknowledge that with hindsight wrong choices were made. In my opinion the only truly bad decision was to require that Curbs’ successor worked with Reed and Robson rather than to show confidence in the new man to choose his people (which could of course have been Reed and Robson). In many respects, given the known alternatives, Dowie was the safe choice as manager; I don’t think it was a mistake not to readvertise the post once Dowie was sacked; and nobody disputed Pardew coming in. The board provided good backing given resources for Dowie and Pardew – and of course are paying the price for decisions that have not worked out (rather than obviously bad decisions) in the value of their investment. As with Curbs, a blame rating has to take account of their role in what went before.
Blame Rating: 10%

The Players: Do you blame the manager or the players when it all goes wrong. Well, both obviously. Too many of them failed to deliver and for whatever reason were not up for the fight.
Blame Rating: 20%

The Fans: We have to consider the role that seemingly endless whining played in Curbs’ attitude towards the end, and the fact that far from becoming the fortress talked of The Valley has been over the past couple of seasons a place that no-one has feared. I guess we’re no worse than others (after all, Arsenal get booed off the pitch sometimes) but we’re no better either. And we could and should have been.
Blame Rating: 5%

The Premier League: I know we finished second-bottom, but again with seven games left we were reasonably well placed to survive – if West Ham were out of the equation. It makes a big difference if you are trying to scramble one place higher or get above two opposing teams. In that context, the Premier League’s decisions over Tevez cost us dear (if I was a Sheff Utd fan it would still be incandescent with rage). I have no axe to grind with West Ham, they were defending their own interests. But the Premier League’s decisions were scandalous and indirectly cost us as well as Sheff Utd.
Blame Rating: 9%

Referees/Acts of God: Few teams get relegated without having been unlucky at key moments. And there were none bigger than the linesman’s gaffe in injury time when we were 2-1 up against Fulham. Still hurts. I won’t even mention the succession of penalties we should have been awarded. Then there have been a string of serious and disruptive injuries in the past two seasons, probably more than a team can expect to suffer. I realise you make your own luck, but sometimes you don’t.
Blame Rating: 5%

Ultimately you need a scapegoat. Every outfit has (and needs) one. So, as the Liverpool supporters used to sing: ‘don’t blame it on the sunlight, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on Traore’. Fact is we were afforded an awful early fixture list under Dowie (which encouraged a sense of crisis from early on) but on the first day of the season in bright sunshine and with a new team and manager were 1-0 up away at West Ham. Traore manages to get himself sent off after 20 minutes. It’s been downhill ever since (until now).
Blame Rating: 100%


Kings Hill Addick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kings Hill Addick said...

For me curbishley left a tired squad that needed surgery, but had, never the less survived again; Dowie signed established Premier League players that didn't work out - we sold his signings for most of what he spent; Reed was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pardew is, for me, the main culprit. He signed players that are not good enough in the Championship for Premier League fees and wages.

He wasted what will turn out to be our only chance of getting back by wasting £12m on players that are never going to play in the Premier League.

His arrogance even showed in the fact that when he was sacked he was still talking about the points difference to sixth place.

The man was so arrogant he spent £12m and unlike Dowie we don't have players that we can sell on for anything like what we've shelled out.

The relegation from the Premier League needn't have been a disaster if we'd won promotion last season. I now doubt that I will see us in the Premier League again in my life time.

Curbishley 2%
Dowie 5%
Reed 2%
Parkinson 1%
The board 5%
Pardew 85%.

Anonymous said...

All good points. Doesn't mention the sale of Andy Reid though which led to surely one of the worst calendar years in the clubs history.

Dave said...

Thought-provoking post BA. My immediate reaction would lay the blame more heavily in more obvious areas. Having seen how you've laid it out it's hard to disagree. Curbishley's contribution has certainly fallen in my mind as we have continued to make huge mistakes in the last year.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan. I buy my season ticket, turn up at every match, cheer when there's something to cheer and often when there's not. I buy my programme, I occasionally eat or drink something at the ground. I buy a lottery ticket. Just exactly what have I done wrong? Frankly, I have to tell you that I absolutely refuse to take any blame - and if you want to play that game, you can take my portion of the blame and put it squarely on your shoulders.

Anonymous said...

I just don't begin to understand how Dowie can take the same quantum of blame as Pardew.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating form of analysis BA.

I'd make Curbs a zero - did nothing wrong even when it did start to go stale. He got a lot of average players to over perform - none of our managers have acheived that thus far. Parky might...

I'd allocate more of the blame to us, the fans. Charlton fans don't moan as much as many, but we can also be too quiet at home, and I think a more passionate backing would help.

Apportioning blame to the Board is tricky. They probably should have reined in Pardew's spending (but we were all calling for more money to be spent) and probably should have sacked Pardew sooner (but we all welcomed him, and all the sane advice advocates giving a maneger time). I think you got that one about right

Pembury Addicj

Anonymous said...

Good post BA.

I actually remember turning to my mate at Upton Park on day one of that new season when Traore stupidly got himself sent off when we were one up...I said "That could be the turning point in our season"!!! Little did I know then that it would cause so much harm!

Yes I know that's not the only reason why we got relegated and why we now stare into the black hole known as Division One. But so many poor decisions were made in that summer by the Board, Dowie & the players that it's hard to point at one particular culprit.

Everyone has a different view on matters and for me the Board started this descent into the abyss by allowing Curbs to walk away without overseeing the appointment of his successor. They then took an age to eventually appoint Dowie, who for many fans was so the wrong man from the start. They then allowed Dowie to spend a level of money that was never available to Curbs, yet they trusted this ex-palace man's judgement...especially on the Diawara signing!

Mine therefore reads;

Curbs 1%
Dowie 25%
Reed 1%
Pardew 15%
Parky 1%
Board 50%
Fans 7%

I include the fans as there were quite a lot of voices urging for the Board to splash the cash and push for the UEFA spots. I was not one of these people, but I believe as a collective unit we have to accept some of the blame.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post BA....who says Jesus Christ is blameless in all this? The Christian element are always rattling on about him and his miraculous powers.. well now is his chance...we only want to stay up.

Dowie 20% is too high. More like 8%.

Kings Hill, makes a telling observation that has been stated before and it carries a degree of accuracy. We did manage to offload Dowies mistakes without huge loss, sure he screwed things up setting precedents on wage levels and contract concessions, but he did not bleed us dry. He took the job on strange terms and with what was going on in his personal might have said yes to anything at that time. He was a mistake, the early exit was justified and correct... but if I remember the quality of the other managers on offer at the time made him the best choice.

Pardew takes at least 60% of blame.

The subject of your post BA is "the arbitary allocation of the blame for our current plight."

Last season he had squad good enought to at least get to the play-offs but we fell apart. Since he came to the club he failed to shape a team.....he never really had the confidence of the dressing room. The team lacked motivation and mentally were weak and totally unable to front up against teams with a physical game plan.

His buying was crap, it brought confusion and it added to our problems.

His post and after match comments were a a tragic comedy act and served to undermine the players rather then support them.

Without doubt it is pardew who turned our team into losers. There was no shape to our play, the players were as lost as we were watching. We even lost the ability to do the basics right.

Pardew was a disaster and when you hear what people felt within the club it is clear all confidence in him was gone and he was an isolated figure just before he departed.

I am wrong Pardew 80% blame.

Still hang in there, there's still Jesus Christ.

Cambridge Addick.

Anonymous said...

I don't aggre that the managers can have a combined rating of 51% when the board who appointed all of them only have a rating of 10%. Addicks have been blind for too long with regards to the board.
I don't rally agree either that the fans are 5% to blame. I'm sure Curbs would agree that we were better to him than Hammers fans. We never really critise anyone and have more paitence than many other clubs (see above!)