Wednesday 3 March 2021

Can we get a balanced view?

Still plenty of complaints this morning about last night, mostly on the lines of 'it's only Wigan.'  As the old cliché says, you have to play who is in front of you.  My feeling was one of relief rather than pleasure.

There were lots of defects in Charlton's performance and Steve Brown was very skilled in pointing them out.  He could play a useful backroom role.  The normal commentary is far too biased in favour of Charlton and is difficult to reconcile with what we are seeing on our screens.

What I do think the result shows is that talk of a relegation struggle which has been suggested to me by normally sensible fans has no basis in reality.   I still think it is unlikely that we will make the play offs or, if we do, progress beyond the semi-finals.

Perhaps we need to recall once again what happened to the club in recent years.  Roland Duchatelet, for all his skill as a businessman, showed poor judgment in relation to football.   We then went through a phase of owners or purported owners whose commitment to the club seemed to be related to its potential financial value.   Some of them had complex business histories.

As a consequence we had a transfer ban then were caught by the salary cap.  As Curbs has pointed out, recruitment was largely on the basis of getting bodies in.  The salary cap constrained us again in January, although Jayden Stockley looks like a smart acquisition which should be made permanent.

Even a manager of calibre of Eddie Howe, who wouldn't come to a League One club, would find this group of players a challenge.

That is not to say that Bowyer is not open to criticism.  All managers make mistakes but sometimes his relative inexperience shows.   It is also claimed that he is not on the best of terms with the technical director.

The last thing we want (and we won't get it with Sandgaard) is a rushed decision about the future.  There needs to be careful consideration of the available candidates and how they would fit with Charlton - and would they be better than Bowyer?   There are not many good managers out there ready to join a League One club.

Sometimes you just need a bit of a luck.   The other week I was doing some consultancy for a body that had hit a bit of a road block with someone in Cardiff.   I happened to know them from way back, and I also know they had learned Welsh (not an easy language to learn).   So I emailed them partially in Welsh (my nephews are fluent in their first language) and got a result.  The client was delighted, but it was just good fortune.

Sometimes I think that the Sporting Life view that Charlton fans are among the most negative and pessimistic in football is correct, but the reality is that all fans have excessive expectations and like nothing more than criticising their own club - although usually the manager rather than the players (apart from a 'scapegoat player').

Before lockdown I went to see an away match between Gloucester City and Leamington.  The Brakes had won the home match 3-0.  After 70 minutes Gloucester were 3-2 ahead.  Marshalled by their centre back, a former Leamington player (now with Barnet) it was clear what their game plan was.   Their priority was to stop Leamington equalising: if they scored a fourth, it would be a bonus, but it was not the main objective.

From behind me came a chorus of abuse unfitting for a cathedral city directed at the home side (albeit then playing at Evesham).  The general argument was that Leamington were all over them (they weren't) and were going to win (they lost).

As for Charlton, I don't think this is the start of a run, but we at least have a fighting chance against Gobby on Saturday.

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