Thursday, 3 April 2014

Undecided

Coming up to the weekend and I feel like I have a decision to make. Almost a month since I last watched a game, at Bramall Lane, unless you include the first five minutes of the home game against Huddersfield for the tribute to Sir Chris (after which I took my leave). I was away in Lyon for the Millwall trip and the home game against Bournemouth (which I might have gone to just to applaud Kermorgant), passed on the Burnley home game (despite having scheduled the return from France to be able to make it), and had no inclination to make trips to Nottingham, Derby or Leeds. Now we have two home games coming up and I’m torn.

I appreciate that many people, true Addicks, will not understand this (which is a polite way of suggesting that some may draw some rather unflattering conclusions). I’m not that sure I fully understand it myself. Fact is I’ve never watched us, or wanted to watch us, feeling in any way ambivalent or indifferent. Perhaps I shouldn’t ask for so much (‘hey, why not ask for more?’). What I know is that late winners against Bournemouth, Forest and Leeds not long ago would have had me howling with delight, haring around whichever place I was in (for the record these were Lyon, a Nepalese restaurant in Greenwich, and Blackheath respectively). Instead they left me cold. ‘One of us is changing, or maybe we just stopped trying’. It isn’t too late baby, not yet, but it does all seem to be fading like the Beatles on Hey Jude.

The reason I’m torn about whether to turn up for Reading and Yeovil is that my disgust at the actions of our owner, and what these say about his motivations/intentions, is at least partially balanced by admiration for the way that players such as Hamer, Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison and Jackson have maintained their commitment and determination despite what has happened (which is not intended as any slur on others, including the newcomers). Sure, they’re professionals and they’re paid to play. But it does seem to me a testimony to their character that in a game of fine margins, where just a small drop-off in attitude can swing games, they have kept the faith. They do deserve our support. Strangely the fact that we are out of the bottom three makes that seem less of an imperative (obviously not least with games against Yeovil and Barnsley coming up it’s still a scrap with an uncertain outcome).

This is where ambivalence comes in. Hamer makes a great penalty save in stoppage time to secure us two points. Marvellous. Only problem is the last time a keeper of ours made a vital penalty save was Alnwick away at Ipswich, only for him to be shamefully pushed out of the club against the wishes of the manager (the fact that his move to Orient has ended badly is irrelevant to the circumstances of his departure). Bringing back Obika on loan is clearly welcome. But let’s not forget him picking his Championship X1 early this season and choosing Kermorgant up front, singing his praises and saying how much he enjoyed playing alongside him. Or overlook our new head coach saying we were trying to get in another forward before the loan window closed (despite an abundance of actual numbers now) and our being linked with any available ‘target man’ before recalling Pigott. And the utterly predictable but equally moronic sacking of Powell, motivated by reasons other than the best interests of the club (except as perceived by one man) still makes my blood boil.

So what decision? I just don’t know yet. One of my useful but occasionally annoying (for all concerned) habits is to put off decisions that don’t have to be taken until they do. It may come down to a choice on Saturday morning, or at least over a pre-match glass.

What I do know is that the deadline for the early renewal of my season ticket will pass with nothing from me. Whether one for next season is eventually purchased will have nothing to do with what division we end up in but will be down to what we learn in the months ahead about our owner’s real motivations for buying us, sufficient to move me away from the feeling that it will all end in tears (mine, not Duchatelet’s). The acknowledgement in the recent club statement of the desire for consultations with supporters groups (including I trust the Royal Oak group) is appreciated; the reasons given for them to be put off are insufficient. Of course there is time for them to be held now if they are viewed as any sort of priority, which would mean making the time. I may end up renewing my season ticket but right now I just can’t lay my hands on a pen or a stamp.

In the interim, think of me as one that lov’d not wisely but too well (oh come on, if I can’t filch a bit of Shakespeare to end with you’re a hard bunch).


27 comments:

the cat said...

bottom line is true Charlton supporters go to the game should not have doubts. Should not call yourself an Addick, true supporters follow them through thick and thin.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what you do. I don't stay away.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with the author of this piece. Sums up how I feel too at the moment but I'm sure that'll change.

Anonymous said...

BA, disappointed to see you feel that way, personally I think RD must be scratching his head at the reaction of some Charlton fans. Some notions appear to have had traction as a result of conspiracy theories, but what we now seem to know is that Powell was not under pressure to pick certain players (according to a report in the Standard a few days ago) and this is supported by Riga's team selections (ie still no game time for the hapless Thuram.) Could it simply be that Powell was sacked because the team was bottom of the league and knocked out of the Cup by a team from the next division down? With regard to the Alnwick transfer, I have a suspicion that we knew about the "issue", hence offloading him. With Kermorgant, his fitness has been an issue all season, and I do wonder how much his departure was as a result of him or his agent seeking to maximise his income at this stage of his career. We could certainly have used the goals he's got for Bournemouth. However, it is only his transfer and the arrival of a joke goalkeeper that have concerned me throughout the last few months. Riga - and we must give him credit - using the same players has brought about an upturn in results, that cannot be denied. Win the next two home games, and things will feel even better I'm sure!

Martin Cowan

Hungry Ted said...

Thanks for the comment on my piece today, BA.

I've often wondered quite how 'bad' it would need to get for me to stop going but in reality I'm not remotely close to that yet. For me, RD made a monumental error in one of his first interviews which ultimately lead to the whole 'feeder club' debate. He has only himself to blame for the fans unrest, however (and I give him the benefit of the doubt through gritted teeth to some degree), I actually don't believe we will be turned into a feeder club as some predict.

Yes we will sell our better players from time to time, but that's got to be expected.

Since that first interview RD has attempted to backtrack a little, which has served only to make many distrustful even further.

Please don't take this as me being an apologist for RD, but my gut feeling is he is not quite the devil some are making out. Time will tell, of course.

I guess if we stay up, especially if that turns out to be more comfortable than we thought a month or so back, then, dare I say it, perhaps loosing Powell was the right decision. The team spirit is most certainly still there, which has obviously surprised many.

Anyway, in summary, please go and support the team.

Thankfully you will be a Charlton fan long after RD has gone.

Anonymous said...

Cafc - Powell + Riga 3 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for the comments guy, even the negative ones. On the actual results, a strengthening of the team in January was what was required and I have no doubts that if that had been provided then we would have been fine under Powell.

Just for the record, I saw my first Charlton game in the early 60s and have followed us through each and every relegation (and promotion) since, through every managerial change, through some dire seasons (and of course some glorious ones). There's not much I can say if some people question what colour the blood is.

Anonymous said...

BA I am in 100% agreement with your comments - as are many of the Charlton fans I have spoken to. Whilst I respect the views of those who disagree - and I understand some of the points being made by those in the opposing camp - I do not like the accusations made by certain people that those who are concerned are not really real supporters. This is clearly untrue, look at Coventry supporters that boycott their team because of the move to Northampton. Comparing Chris Powell's recent performance to that of Riga's at this early stage is also irrelevant. Time will tell how good he is, the effect of new manager syndrome very often brings in an upturn in results. And I have to say that I was at the Burnley game and Riga's substitutions had an adverse effect on the team's performance.
It is only guess work as to whether Chris was instructed to use certain players or not, but if he declared publically that he was, I know who I would believe - having met him - he is a thorough gentleman.

Behind Enemy Lines

alburyaddick said...

BA
Keep your pecker up ! I agree with you about the new regime and it certainly felt weird at the Bournemouth game , but the example set by the players of unity and togetherness is one I guess we should follow . I don't think they really care who the manager or owner is or frankly what the tactics are but they have continued to give their all
They need your support and as many others as possible
Albury

Anonymous said...

Keep the faith. I will make my usual 5 hour round trip for the Reading game.
COYA

Anonymous said...

I've written lengthy replies on other blogs stating my full position on RD etc. My main point us we should view his actions rationally based on evidence and not conspiracy theories based on hysteria. But the overriding point is that yes, a true addick should turn up regardless to show support for those 11 guys in a red shirt, especially Jacko and Hamer et al who are busting a gut for this club under difficult circumstances. With all respect BA, they deserve more than your pontifications about ownership details, they deserve your support for the run in. Ed

Matthew Blake said...

BA - being close to the club obv brings it's emotional attachment. I've been living abroad for 20 years now and check the results when I get home saturday nite - or if it's a game where I must now what's happening, check the score on bbc.com every 5 minutes or so over dinner on saturday - it's annoyed a couple of dates.

But here's two very brief observations from someone who follows, but hasn't had a season ticket since selhurt park days (left London in 1992).

- We always sell our best players, paul walsh, Rob Lee, lee bowyer, scott parker, Jonjo shelvey etc etc ... move down a tier, gordon watson, paul williams (had to google that one). There was a period, exciting as it was when we attracted some pretty decent players, Paola di Canio, Claus Jensen, Danny Murphy.. alas, it didn't last.

- Believing in giving a chance, the new owners are head and shoulders better than the jiminez/slater team - no contest.

go on, put your coat on.. have a beer on the way to the ground.

Dave said...

BA - The fickle mass, you blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things? You perfectly encapsulate my own feelings here, and yet I am feeling inspired by the start that Jose Riga has made. He is an innocent in all this and it's clear those closest to Powell have, at least, largely taken to him. I respect your entitlement to wait and see how you feel. I have serious concerns about Duchatelet's model and disagreed with the timing of the sacking of Powell but we were in a relegation battle - Parkinson was sacked with us 5th. You have a season ticket I believe - get your money's worth, I look forward to your insightful match report!

Anonymous said...

Dave's put his finger right on it - I too am missing your match reports!

COYA!!

Martin Cowan

Anonymous said...

Just move on - the players have clearly - and that is who I want to see.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Well thanks again guys. Nice to hear match reports described as insightful rather than wine-soaked (which they sometimes are).

I don't think I'm usually a bit of a prima donna (or I hope not) and sure there is a part of me that thinks just get down there and get on with it. You're a Charlton fan, live with it and all it brings (and yes, there are players that fully deserve all the backing we can give).

As I've noted before, there's no doubt that Duchatelet's attitude and comments press many negative buttons for me, based on my experience outside of football and at least in part my reaction is affected by this.

Sorry, yet more pontification.

Anonymous said...

Blimey BA, that attracted a lot of comment!

Your views are mirrored by many Addicks. I don't share them, but I'm rather proud of my fellow fans who prize the right moral standing above success.I don't think many clubs have such fans.

My advice is toss a coin about going - if it forces you into a decision you don't want to make you know what you really want to do.


The only bit of Shakespeare I can think of is "Hubble, bubble boil and trouble", which may be sort of appropriate...

Pembury Addick

Blackheath Addicted said...

PA, may well try the coin approach. Perhaps I should add that I didn't write this to in any way try to influence how others might feel (which clearly I can't and wouldn't want to). I realise my attitude is a minority view (which is just as well for the club) and yes, I want us to succeed.

Perhaps I'm softening in any case as time passes as I had no doubts about not wanting to attend the recent games. Just have to hope that Duchatelet doesn't refer to us again as one of his 'children', in which case I'll be back in rant mode.

Anonymous said...

Its nice to know someone feels the same as me BA - I understand completely. I have written elsewhere that when we scored against QPR I felt my head would explode with joy but the last minute goal against Bournemouth, whilst not leaving me cold, had nowhere near the same feeling. I stayed away for 1 game after CP went but do find it hard to stay away. You should come BA - this is one bereavement its going to take a while to get over, but I think we will. As for these unfeeling youngsters - and I assume they are youngsters - part of the 'instant everything' society we have now - I'm glad they aren't affected and can just move on. But I can't manufacture the feelings I had before - I just have to hope they come back. My season ticket renewal is also in abeyance - and the fact that Richard Murray is not willing to talk until the start of next season either is really not a good sign. I have written to the club asking them to extend the renewal period because until I know what I'm buying I'm not prepared to pay up front. The more fans that do this the better. I'm sure I will still go to games on a match by match basis. Murray was very keen on saying how much the Academy players mean to the new owner - lets just see what the players themselves think. If Poyet doesn't sign for at least 1 more year when we know he would have when CP was here it will speak volumes to me. Come on BA, come on Saturday and try it.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine Poyet is waiting to see if we stay up. If/ when we do, I'm sure he'll sign. I don't think it's possible to say "we know he would have when CP was here"...

BA, what I'm interested in is what Suzanne thinks about it all..!!

Martin Cowan

Anonymous said...

Assuming those who aren't instantly shitting themselves about RD (based on debatable evidence) are all youngsters is a little naive and condescending thank you very much anonymous, ed

Blackheath Addicted said...

Martin, interesting thought. Suzanne is as ever supportive and understanding (no, she hasn't clipped me round the ear and told me to stop being the French equivalent of a muppet). I'm sure she hopes that it all turns out well as she appreciates that if it doesn't it will be a loss for me. But given her revolutionary background she also appreciates 'resistance'.

Ed, fair point, we shouldn't draw any such conclusions, although I think the anon in question was being kind to me in light of the opening comments.

I'm not 'instantly shitting' myself about Duchatelet, just drawing my own (tentative) conclusions based on what so far has been said and done, being ready to have concerns allayed if and when we can say for sure just what RD has in mind and just why he wants to own football clubs. If I'd come to definite conclusions on these matters I wouldn't be undecided. It's why I'm waiting at least for the outcome of the meetings with supporters groups.

Terry Ryall said...

With regard to Ed's comment in the absence of hard evidence I agree that it would be unwise to assume that particular views of or attitudes towards RD would belong to certain age groups. Whilst not exactly "shitting myself" at the prospect of the future under RD I would,and have argued elsewhere, that based on the evidence of what has happened so far I believe that his football judgement(in the wider sense as well as the context of the relegation fight)has been shown to be woefully inadequate. Ed says that that evidence is debatable but I haven't yet seen a sound argument that would make me change my mind in his favour. Of course CAFC's precarious position cannot and should not be placed solely at RD's door but he is now the one who calls the shots with regard to the welfare of CAFC and so far they have been,in my view, erratic, haphazard, and ill-judged. Good luck BA with your shall I, shall I not go dilemma.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Terry, agree completely. Would only add that I might not even mind mistakes, poor decisions (and yes, I think they have been). Apparently we all make them. What angers me is that Powell's position became untenable because he could not accept being subject to a new owner's whims, with the 'difficult decision' rounded off in the statement with an 'oh well, time will tell'. If an owner doesn't care about the best interests of a club, what was he doing buying it?

As for the dilemma, it's nearly noon and soon time for a pre-match glass. Then a stroll either to the ground or back home.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the responses all - it's clearly an important debate to have at this time. I hope you do make it today BA and your rewarded with 3 points.. COYA. Ed

Anonymous said...

Did you go?? I've got some other therapy for you if you didn't. You see, I am probably sadder than you and do take some things to heart too much. But when Alan Curbishley went I was pretty upset, but it was totally different to CP because in my heart I knew it was probably the right time, at least for him. I bought his autobiography and went down to the shop when he was signing copies - but found I couldn't go in because I thought I might embarrass myself when I burst into tears. So the book went on the shelf for me to read when it wasn't so raw. Then he went to West Ham and I couldn't bear that so the book stayed on the shelf. It came down once but I couldn't get past the first 2 pages for the tears. I expect you've read it BA, but if like me you haven't, now is the time to start. I forced myself past the first chapter and am now loving every minute. It doesn't sadden me that we are no longer that club - but I am so pleased to be the age I am that I was able to be there through the lot. And we will be that club again one day. I'm not saying you should renew because I'm still on the fence getting splinters. You have to come tonight BA - you just have to. Think of it as the start of your therapy - that and reading a bit of Alan.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Anon, thanks for the thought(s). I didn't go on Saturday. At 1.45 in the pub it was still in the balance, but what swung it for me then was that ambivalence. Felt that if I couldn't be there singing my heart out and howling at the injustice of every decision against us I just shouldn't be there.

But I do expect to go tonight, to leave all thoughts of the medium term to one side. I'm not going to pretend to be indifferent to whether or not we get relegated! Just doubt I'll be able to join in with any 'Jose's Red & White Army'.