Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Wrong Decision For Me, But All Down To Choice Of Successor

We’ve all had the chance to sleep on it, although imperfect information means that no definitive judgement can be reached. To know whether the decision to sack Parkinson was the right one we would need to know what the new owners’ real thoughts were at the time they put in the offer, whether they already know who they want to be manager, what was said and done after the Swindon game – and most important whether the change sees us go on to secure promotion. If it does, it will have been the right move; if it doesn’t, it wasn’t. As removing the last imponderable would require a certain divinity, it is reasonable to see the decision as one that we might on balance agree or disagree with – personally I’m in the latter camp - but one which we as supporters should in principle back.

However, in this case the choice of new manager will go a long way towards cementing first impressions of the new owners – and first impressions can be lasting. I have absolutely no problem with new guys coming in and deciding that Parkinson was not the man to take us forward. They’ve bought the club and they are writing the cheques, while Parkinson’s record in charge is hardly such that there would have been howls of outrage.

On Parkinson’s record, I don’t really blame him for relegation from The Championship. The failure to rebound first time after relegation from The Premiership was the real disaster, when despite being unbalanced we had a squad that should have gone back up. Pardew carries the can for that. With the subsequent intention to try to balance the books and shed the better (overall) and highest paid, Pardew then failed to produce a team capable of holding us steady in The Championship, with Parkinson taking over a club in decline. However, last season was a failure as once more we had greater quality than those around us and didn’t make it count. If Parkinson had been sacked at the end of last season there could have been no complaints, but we all knew the situation. That would have cost money and, given that so many players were going to depart, he looked as good an option as any we might have attracted to build a new, cheaper team. Keeping him on then was a reasonable decision, albeit one borne out of necessity.

That leaves this season. Let’s not forget as it began we had no idea if we would be facing another relegation battle. From the squad that was printed in the Swindon play-off game we’d lost Richardson, Youga, Bailey, McKenzie, Burton, Sam, Basey, Spring, Dickson, Sodje(S), Sinclair, Fleetwood, Mooney, Randolph, Borrowdale, Forster and of course Shelvey. Good riddance in some cases, but nobody in their right mind could pretend that those brought in would give us similar quality. The best we could hope for was that a new team would gel quickly enough and have the desire and commitment to allow us to compete. In that context, Parkinson’s real problem this season has been expectations raised by a better-than-expected start, plus the fact that our best performances have been away from The Valley. Suddenly we were back to demanding promotion – and attractive football. That we are where we are in the league is a reflection of the lower quality of the other higher-placed teams than last season and a good job by Parkinson and his staff.

I don’t think it’s an accident that especially of late we have struggled at home. Other clubs do do their homework after all. In Racon, Martin, Reid and Wagstaff, and Benson, we have players who thrive on space. When teams are disciplined and get behind the ball quickly, these players tend to be ineffective. This does raise the reasonable point that in this division, against average defenders, we might have played the percentages more at home and made more use of the physicality of Sodje and, yes, even Abbott. And yes, Parkinson’s decisions for the Swindon game were poor, but that doesn’t excuse the attitude and performance of the players on the pitch. One bad night at home every now and then is inevitable, but Brighton, Walsall and Swindon in short order are enough to raise concerns about our tactics. But sufficient to get the manager the sack? Not in my book, in isolation. Manager of the month to dismissal a few weeks later.

This backdrop leaves me in the camp that is of the opinion that sacking Parkinson is on balance, at present, a poor decision – unless of course what comes next is better. Basically I don’t think Swindon was enough to conclude that change of any kind was needed, even though the atmosphere at The Valley for Swindon fluctuated between dead and poisonous. What gives me additional concern is the tone and content of the statements made by the new owners. The references to not winning since November and ‘recent performances’ etc simply smack of trying to justify a decision already taken. And the clear reference to sacking Parkinson being a board decision – implying that Murray was in favour – also at least sounds duplicitous. Perhaps he was, but it certainly wasn’t his decision to take. He was in no position to disagree, unless he was prepared to resign from the board. Retaining Murray on the board is a positive move by the new owners, but I would bet my life savings on him not being around for long.

The new owners don’t need to win a popularity contest. They’ve bought the club and are entitled to make whatever decisions they feel will bring success to Charlton. That is what we all want and that is what they will be judged on (if they fail it’s their money lost). We can all accept a degree of double-talk in suggesting wanting to keep Parkinson only to sack him days later. But that leads us back to his replacement. If it is Wise, recent events will have been nothing more than a farce and we would discover that our club is now in the hands of people whose word cannot be trusted. If by some miracle it is Curbs I will cheer them to the rafters. If it is someone else, we accept the change and get behind him and the team – and hopefully whatever money is available will not have already been spent.


Anonymous said...

Kinsella sacked!

How often he made us proud....

So.....these new owners are okay with upsetting us Paddies.

Mistake......oh the Boys in green are about to turn mean.

Game on...........

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sentiments BHA!
I am concerned that Murray may have we have sold out to people we can't trust and we may well see our Club start to disintegrate before our eyes. I know, quite a pessimistic approach, but I haven't read or seen anything yet to change my mind. There is an interesting article in the Guardian regarding the merits of Slater and Jimenez, makes them sound quite dodgy.
I hope I'm completely wrong and good days (not mervyn!) return to The Valley, but only time will tell.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

If Dennis Wise is appointed then we can only hope that we still have a club left when he and Jimenez have got bored or been found out. Wise's record as a manager is not good and he certainly isn't "Charlton". His appointment will eradicate any credibility we may have had for the Slater Jimenez regime.
Let's wait and see, probably just after the Tottenham cup game...

Anonymous said...

Well thought out argument BA. Parkingson did not deserve to go - manager of the month in November. If Denis Wise is appointed, that will be the end of over 50 years as a Charlton supporter. I will not be renewing my season ticket. I might even go and support Crystal Palace instead - at least they were taken over by loyal fans - and leave the club to glory boys (if, of course, Wise is successful, which is not guaranteed by any means). I would rather have been placed in administration than have the club taken over by wide boys, which the appointment of Wise will prove conclusively.

Behind Eneny Lines

Chris said...

To be honest I quite liked Parky, but I think you are all being very generous to him.

First of all Charlton's wage bill must be up there with the highest payers in the Division. I'd be surprised if we are not in the top six. In other words most of the managers in the Division are dealing with smaller not bigger budgets.

Second, by my reckoning we've been outpassed in almost every game we've played this season. What have they been doing on the training ground? There is no obvious tactical plan or approach.

Third, its results that matter you might say, but I'd say that there is a very small margin between success and failure and that "luck" plays a much bigger part than we all like to admit. Charlton have had several lucky wins this season and are much flattered by their league position. For the most part, and to be fair I wasn't at either Swindon or Peterborough, we've looked a poor side this season.

Fourth, it hasn't been getting any better. Remember when it was about to "gel"? Well, its been getting worse.

Fifth, my view, which I'd like to think is objective even if its wrong, is that there wasn't a snowballs chance in hell of the current squad winning promotion with the previous management, i.e. Parky et al.

My guess is that the initial intention was to keep Parky, probably based largely on Richard Murray's recommendation, but then imagine the scene after the Swindon game.

"What's happened? That was really poor and I was wasn't that impressed at either Brighton or Colchester. Why have we started playing so poorly all of a sudden?"

"What do you mean, all of a sudden? We've been playing like this all season. Its just that tonight the chickens came home to roost. In the previous home game against Walsall, who have continued to lose since they played us, we were very lucky we weren't beaten more heavily. They completely outplayed us."

"Really?! Bloody hell! We need to get out of this Division this season if we can. What makes us think that this Guy knows what the problem is and can then get the side playing better with a few well chosen additions? You know since we announced the deal a few people have told us that we're really not much of a side. You should have heard what your former player Steve Brown said at Brighton....."

"Blimey. We have a tough decision to make. Thing is though, I'm not sure what we have to lose. This is c**p"

Or something like that.

Let's see who we get. It won't have been lined up. I'm sure of that.

By the way, I'm not convinced by the "credentials" of the new owners either, but I do think they've got this right.

Jack said...

Although there is a curse attached to the manager of the month, i wonder if our dive is performances was more due to the impending takeover and perhaps a correct view held by PP and his staff that they were dead men walking. The Swindon game smacked of uncertainty and desperation. No doubt it will all come out in the wash.
PP did always represented Charlton well and was a good ambassador for the club. He did well with the limited resources he had, a decent and respectable man I hope he has success in the future.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Thanks for all the comments guys. There are a lot of issues tied up in this for sure. It is quite possible that Swindon changed the thinking of all the board members and shifted the balance away from Parkinson being given some funds to strengthen the team. I guess we just have to wait and see whether the new man is the better option. I do truly hope he is.

newyorkaddick said...

BHA, the curious about the possibility of Wise coming in is as follows. If it was always the intention of the new owners to bring him in, then why bother with this interim caretaker step? They may as well have appointed him the next day.

Alternatively, if they intend to undertake a proper thorough search for the best available manager, then it's simply not possible for that person to be Wise.

Either he's already lined up (in which case just give him the damned keys to the manager's office), or else he's probably not in the frame at all.

If he's appointed in a week's time it will be clear the entire thing was a stitch-up, and they should quit this pretence of beginning the search for a new manager.

Blackheath Addicted said...

NYA, I agree completely. It's why I think who comes in - ie whether or not it's Wise - will say a lot about the new owners. Of course, they may take on board the opposition to him and change their plans ....

Anonymous said...

I agree with NYA, if the new manager does turn out to be Wise, then yes we as supporters have been stitched up....along with Murray and Varney. Watch the Valley faithful start to evaporate. The new Board have implied they are looking to increase our support, having Wise on board wouldn't achieve that!
So their next move will show us EXACTLY where they are coming from!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with jack. Parkinson was out before Swindon game and he didn't give a damn. It's obvious WIse will be our manager. I for one will wash my hands and walk away. This is not a reactionary comment Jimminez and Slater are worse than Jordan. I will not be going to another Charlton game if wise comes in. We must as fans stand united. I will not wear a green scarf or campaign outside the directors box. My seat will say it all, it shall remain empty. RIP charlton