It feels like we’re in a transition period, perhaps the twilight zone. The reflected glory’s still there – and being prolonged by some splendid interviews with the players. You’ve just got to love Kermorgant’s comments; I’m even starting to believe he might have meant that final goal. TREC’H Yan (I’m reliably informed that’s Breton for victory); and Yann Basten does sound better than K the frog. Wright-Phillips’ comments on the back of The Mercury were fun. A guy who measures his season by the number of goals he scored – and nothing else. And Solly is of course a worthy player of the year. But it’s all going to fade over the next couple of months, before Welling hoves into view and the DVD comes out.
There are still the formalities of the season to finish off. A (non-Addick) friend recently inquired as to why there was still football going on when the only thing that matters is decided? The answer I suppose is that, just of the rest of the world (or at least the bits I perceive) has to exist in some sense to provide a framework for me, so it is necessary for other football teams to exist, and for there to be a pretence maintained that they in some sense matter. Supporters of other teams are necessary, and they need to be kept in a state of ignorance, since if the reality of their insignificance were to become clear to them they would stop helping to fund a league and in turn Charlton would find it more difficult to operate. So Manchester, Chelsea and Bayern Munich and others still have to finish things off even though nobody really cares. (I should add that the one remaining undecided issue of importance, namely whether Lyon Duchere get promoted, has taken a turn for the worse, with Duchere losing last Saturday and Bourg-Peronnas won; with four games left it’s now theirs to lose.)
After that can start the preparations for the next glorious campaign and who comes in. Good luck to Doherty and Euell, and the others released, including Alonso, while I’m assuming that the few new faces that are likely to come in will be spread around the positions. Three centre-backs is OK, but without Doherty and unless Mambo is considered up to it a fourth may be required, while no cover for Solly at right-back would remain a risk. Powell will have to assess whether a choice from Stephens, Hughes, Russell (if he joins us) and Pritchard to partner Hollands will be strong enough in a division where we will probably need to control possession better. It is a different style of play in the Championship (as I remember from when we passed through it the last time) and may suit some of ours more than others. Green and Wagstaff, along with others, will need to up their game to thrive, while the key choice for the season ahead has to be confidence in BWP knocking them in regularly alongside Kermorgant.
What will be interesting is the approach of the owners in terms of whether operating losses for the club are acceptable and if so what sort of level? These things can’t be set in stone as we really can’t tell whether we will have a season looking up or at the trap door. But they must have parameters in mind. So far they’ve played a blinder, but I’ve no idea what sort of level of fresh investment in the team is envisaged, taking account of the money already shelled out in covering operating losses, which presumably were pretty much in line with what the owners envisaged when the acquired the club (these issues having been well covered by New York Addick in his posts). We shall see.
Let’s end with a taste of things to come, by giving vent to a natural inclination to whine. These instincts have been suppressed for a season now as there’s been next to nothing to complain about. OK, we didn’t win every game, once or twice Sir Chris’ choices and substitutions didn’t work out, occasionally BWP missed, and occasionally the opposition scored (although with each passing day it’s even more difficult to visualise any of their goals). Sometimes the red wine I had before the game fell short of even my (very) low quality control.
I can’t say I’m delighted to discover that our new kit sponsors are Nike. We’ve had some years of making the best of things, but I didn’t think that stressing choices of partnering companies that share some of our values was completely down to needs must. I’m not well up on whether Nike has indeed improved its corporate responsibility record with respect to the use of suppliers with awful labour standards, but a quick glance at a few sites suggests it’s still at best a work in progress. I was intending to invest in a new shirt and retire the old (Llanera) one in honour of the season past. But unless I’m persuaded otherwise there’s a change of plan on that front. We had to sacrifice our old club website for financial reasons, which was understandable at the time if unwanted. Having the club shop and the kit taken over by Nike doesn’t fill me with joy.