Sunday, February 05, 2006

Esprit de corpses

Another frustrating afternoon at the office for Charlton, an afternoon where we got exactly what we deserved from White Hart Lane.

The attitude of the team was wrong right from the start and for the majority of the first half it was embarrassingly one sided. Our passing was off again, and there was a criminal lack of both urgency and desire.
No surprise that the first goal came early, and no surprises about the scorer either, Jermain Defoe’s shot coming off of Fortune, Young, Myhre, and the bar before eventually finding the net.

I was hoping that we would react positively to falling behind but there was no discernible change to the way we approached the match. Marcus Bent’s first touch remained awful, no invention in midfield, no width to speak of, and no clear cut chances. It was almost as if we were going through the motions at times, and the second goal was just inevitable.

I’m beginning to get fed up with the way we are playing. It’s not so much the poor football, but the lack of passion and fire within the players really worries me.

When we first got into this league every game was such a big event for the whole squad. You could see in their faces and tell by their work rates that they were going to give their all for the shirt. Players like John Robinson, Mark Kinsella, Steve Brown, Andy Hunt, and Richard Rufus, you never minded as much when we lost games in those days because you knew that the players couldn’t have given any more than they did. That’s just not the case anymore.

Perhaps it’s to do with the lack of home grown players we have in the team at the moment? There is next to nothing breaking into the first team from our academy, I want to know how much it costs us to keep the damn thing open each year.

Look at the likes of Wigan and West Ham this season, that is what I am getting at. They don’t know when they are beaten, either of them.
Yesterday at The Reebok I wouldn’t have given this current Charlton side a prayer of coming back in the last 10 minutes after going 1-0 down late on, but the Wigan players sweated blood, fought, and refused to give up, and they got their rewards in the end.

If we had gone 1-0 down in the 80th, I’m positive we would see more heads dropping down than sleeves rolling up.
We need to rekindle that spirit within ourselves, that esprit de corps that came as standard with any Charlton side back in the likes of 1998 and 2001.

Until we harden ourselves up and grind ourselves in again, we are going to keep getting turned over like we did today. The only time we looked like we had any kind of attacking threat was when Jerome Thomas came on. For those 10 minutes we looked like we had a purpose, surely he needs to start more games for us. We have two strikers who aren’t bad in the air, so playing without wingers who can cross the ball is senseless.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on the side, I don’t know.

I just felt like I knew what was written in the script today long before it played out on the pitch, and it’s depressing when you find out that you were right.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You`ve got it absolutely right, mate.Losing is one thing, but the predictability of the poor show is what`s so depressing.The only thing that can be said for the players is that they may be trying their best:

Myhre - Sunderland reject
Chris Powell - West Ham reject (yes, it`s true, sadly!)
Fortune - only we would have him.
Hughes - Birmingham squad player.
Kish - only we would have him.
Marcus Bent - Everton reject (whether we like it, or not!)

If these players can`t help being simply not good enough, Curbs has no excuse for assembling them in the first place. Nor does he have an excuse for apparently sending them out to play the way they do.
It`s dire stuff. He said a while back that Charlton needed a `plan B`. Even a `plan A` would be nice these days!

5:52 pm  
Anonymous Morgan said...

No, you're not being too harsh! Your summary is indeed a fair assessment of Charlton of recent time. However, its not just this season we've lacked the passion and ambition, it has occurred for the past couple of seasons especially in the tail end. Why Curbs can't motivate our team is beyond me!

5:55 pm  
Blogger Ken J said...

I think that when a Manager curbs the flair and natural attacking ability of players - and tells them to run around filling holes to try and 'contain' the other team, it sucks the life out of them. (As it has).We are successful when we play with width and get the crosses in to put presuure on the other teams - and then we can play more pass and run football through the middle because we have stretched the opposition out. The team reflects the manager. Let's see a "Warrior" not a "Worrier".

6:09 pm  
Blogger CharltonChris said...

Whoever Mr Anonymous is above, I don't think it's fair to direct criticism at Chris Powell, at least not criticism about his work rate and passion. He might not be the best full back in the world, but the point I was trying to make in the article is that as long as the players are giving their utmost, I'm happy.
As long as they can look in the mirror at the end of the match and say "I could have done no more to earn my wages than I did today", then that's fine. Chris Powell is one of the few players who more often than not manages to fulfil that criteria.

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous says `fair point` about Chrissie Powell. The bloke`s a Charlton legend and rightly so. What`s more, he`s currently playing better than many in the team. However, his return to Charlton at 35 - while Konchesky goes in the opposite direction! - must raise questions about Curbs`s approach to building a squad. This is the significant thing that I was trying to emphasise.

P.S. The reason I`ve chosen anonymity is because I daren`t risk the pious vengeance of those eternal optimists who slag off anyone daring to question Curbs`s hero status.
Incidentally, I still like the bloke. It`s just that I like Charlton more.

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that besides the definate lack in the good old charlton spirit department the underlying problem within the side is neither the front line (I believe that the Bent Bent partnership will work well given time, Marcus in the couple of games he has started and I have seen him in has fitted in well (goal against chelsea, hit the post yesterday) he is not afraid to have a go and will track back to defend (considerably better than our current midfielders do)which brings me onto what I believe the problem is. Our spineless and inept midfield (with the exception of Holland, I say this not through loyalty to him, but simply because he has been the only midfielder who has had any kind of consistent performance level upon the rare starts he has made)the amount of times they either give the opposition far too much space whilst attacking, the amount of times they (kish inparticular) gift possesion away with thoughtless passes to nowhere.
We simmply have no midfield, which when your formation and tatics rely heavily upon this area of the pitch is a disastor(bit like my spelling really).

Yes Curbs is a legend, as was Lennie Lawrence before him, and I think that they are very similar in as much as they are both very good at getting the best out of a sho string budget but once you give them some doe to spend (remember Lennie at MIddlesboro ?) there not very good at it.

1:25 pm  
Blogger CharltonChris said...

I think Alan will be more than conscious of the fact that you can stay too long and get too comfortable in a job.

He's done wonders for us, no one could blame him for leaving if his stock starts to fall rapidly, so to speak.

10:31 pm  
Anonymous charltonian said...

While I can understand the critisism aimed at curb's, I fail to see why Mervin day seem's to go unnoticed, surly he's the team coach ? since the departure of les Reed the organisation & passing has deteriorated as the players he once coached have gradually left.

3:22 pm  
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