Friday 30 March 2007


If I hear another moron call for 'passion' - on the part of England/Charlton players/fans - something/someone is going to go through the window. Passion is easy. What is really missed by England now and by Charlton earlier this season is character: the character to drive a team playing without confidence, the character to seek the ball and try something not obvious at the risk of howls of derision from supporters geared up to boo every mistake, and the character to drive criticism back down people's throats with performances, not words.

One reason I did not renew my Charlton season ticket for this season was that I was increasingly alienated by other supporters. Booing and over-the-top criticism during the game was becoming increasingly prevalent and the attitude of some supporters was summed up by their not bothering to wait for the end of the final home game to pay some tribute to Curbs. There is an active role for supporters: to try to unsettle the opposition players if at all possible (singing etc, not trying to thump them), and to try to help our team play better (through actual support when things are not going well). Booing during a game is only (possibly) acceptable if players are not trying (I was at the Sheff Utd away game and some were at the very least hiding). Booing every mistake is not showing 'passion', it's actually showing indifference.

Of course it's a chicken-and-egg situation between fans and players. But if it isn't working on the pitch the supporters can help - and vice versa. Fortunately for Charlton the manager now seems to have the trust and backing of players and fans and there is a 'virtuous circle' of support and performance. May it prove to be enough.

Wednesday 28 March 2007

Four Wins Enough?

So Pardew is saying four wins will be enough for Charlton to survive - the implication being 39 points and a lousy goal difference, so at least one other team is expected to fail to reach 39. Trouble is, this is out of our hands. We could win four - including the obvious three 'key' games (Wigan, Man City, Sheff Utd) - and still go down if nobody falls apart. Everyone knows that 40 points is usually enough, but not always. To be truly confident of staying up we need 42 points, so for me it's five wins or four wins and three draws to guarantee safety; just four wins and it's fingers' crossed.

The rough calculations I did a month or so ago saw us finish with 45 points under an optimistic scenario and 35 on a pessimistic one, suggesting around 40 as the midpoint. I had Man City going down (with West Ham and Watford, they are doomed) with 35 points, with Wigan ending well clear and Sheff Utd surviving by winning home games. But this did not take account of Middlesbrough handing over three points. With the adjustment Man City now finish on 38 points, taking only five points from their last nine games. And leaving it to the last day if we end on 39.

Pardew was sensible enough not to identify the four games we need to win. It doesn't require much imagination to suggest that Wigan (h), Man City (a), Reading (h) and Sheff Utd (h) are the obvious candidates, with anything we pick up from Everton (a), Blackburn (a), Tottenham (h) and Liverpool (a) seen as a bonus. But it's never that simple. And the only 'six-pointer' we have is against the team we end up above (hopefully).

My inclination is that a failure to beat Wigan would not be terminal (they are bound to be happy with a draw), but we simply have to beat Man City. If we do, goal difference could start to come into play. We are on -21, City on -12. If we were to beat them by two clear goals the gap comes down to five - and if City end with 38 points they will have lost maybe six of their remaining nine games, so their GD is bound to have deteriorated further.

Enough of this. Let's just win all eight remaining and party into the summer.

Friday 23 March 2007

In The Beginning

... was the word. And the word will usually be rambles, confused thoughts, and hopefully sometime entertaining nonsense, with a focus on Charlton Athletic. It's a good time and place to start, being a Friday afternoon and the motivation for starting up a blog being that I'm too hungover to do any work. We'll see how it goes in the weeks ahead and whether this all just fizzles out, like a Uruguayan loan signing.