Monday, May 08, 2006

Time to turn the page

It's an odd amalgamation of emotions for Charlton fans at the moment. We're disheartened by our recent run of results, we're sorry to see Curbishley go, we're unsure about what the future holds, and yet still as far as I'm concerned, the future can't come quickly enough.

Manchester United slammed the door shut on our 2005/06 without so much as whimper from the XI representing SE7 today, and quite frankly our performance was nothing short of embarrassing. I don't know how many prospective managers were watching us today but however many there were, I'd be willing to wager that they made the same decision that I did, and that was to turn it off at half time and tune in to the wonderful second half scenes at Highbury instead.

I am not a fair weather supporter, I am not a Johnny-come-lately, and I don't mean to sound like an arse, but quite frankly I'm a bit fed up. We barely even showed up this afternoon and although the players motivation levels might not be at an all time high right now, I don't think there is any excuse for playing as poorly as we did. It was supposed to be Curbishley's farewell, his send off from the fans, and perhaps with a little bit of luck, the match where he finally manages to record a victory over Manchester United but we didn't even look like we belonged in the same division as them in truth. Incidentally it was our 11th defeat in our last 13 trips to the North West of England.

I didn't really expect us to get anything from the game, but something that I do expect from my team is a bit of pride in the shirt, and a bit of belief in their hearts. We were beaten before we even kicked a ball this afternoon, and at least five of them were already on their respective beaches. It just wasn't good enough.
I feel like Curbishley deserved better from the team today, and the fans aren't the only ones who have been let down.

We now have approximately 11 weeks until our next competitive fixture, and we have a huge amount to get done in that time. Lisbie, Bartlett, Holland, Hughes, Bothroyd, and Johansson should all be shown the door in my opinion, and their replacements will have to be players coming from clubs below us in the league table. We don't need any more Danny Murphy's or Francis Jeffers' arriving in SE7 with the attitude that they are doing Charlton a favour by even signing for us. We want players who will be viewing a move to Charlton as a dream, as an opportunity to prove that they can make it in The Premiership.

What Wigan have done this season is concrete evidence that if you have a side full of players with something to prove, they will more than likely go on and prove it. They aren't a great side but they play together well and thus they have become more than the sum of their parts. That is what we need to engender again, that camaraderie and spirit which came as standard when the side was full of players like Brown, Kinsella, Robinson and Parker.
Of course, it isn't as easy as all that. In order to clear out all of the dead wood cluttering up the training ground there needs to be other clubs interested in buying what we have on offer. How many of the six players I mentioned do you think would be willing to move down a division in order to play football? Maybe Lisbie and Johansson, but I think the rest of them are just too comfortable at Charlton and would be content to carry on as squad players until retirement (or the end of their contracts) comes.

My sentiments when it comes to the choosing of a new manager haven't changed really. He needs to fulfill the same criteria as the signings that we will make this summer (the whole dream move thing mentioned above), and he needs to (in my opinion) have a bit more personality that Curbishley. That isn't a criticism of Curbs by the way; it's just that I've just felt like I've known what he was going to say before he had even said it for the last 12 months. I'd like someone who dictates from the touchline a bit more, and someone who isn't afraid to drop a big player when it is obvious that he isn't pulling his weight. After Alan announced his decision to resign I wrote that night that my first choice would be Boothroyd from Watford, and my second would be Parkinson from Colchester. Since then, Colchester have won promotion to the CCC, and Watford have given Palace a royal spanking at Selhurst in the play-off semi final first leg. I suppose that Parkinson would still come if we called for him, but Boothroyd might just want to stick around with Watford if they make it through their play-off minefield and into the Premiership.

Paul Jewell up at Wigan is another man who I would like to see down here. I've already sung Wigan's praises once in this article and I certainly think that Jewell could do a job for us. Would he view Charlton as a step up though? That statement would have been ludicrous 18 months ago, and surely that fact just goes to show what an incredible job he has done at Wigan. If we could persuade him, I would definitely approve.

So, our final league position is 13th, and our final points tally is 47. When you consider that 15 of those of those points were already in the bag after only 6 games it just goes to show that the second half of 05/06 has been one big anticlimax. No away wins for 7 months is abysmal, and the way that we play football on the road will have to be looked at long and hard by the incoming management team if we truly have ambitions of becoming an established top-half Premiership outfit.

Anyway, 2005/06 is over now, and we need to draw a line under it.

Last word on the season goes to Alan Curbishley. Most of what needs to be said has already been published on various other Charlton blogs, so I won't repeat it. I've certainly criticised his decisions and his policies this season, but I've never forgotten where we have come from as a club, and for the wonderful journey that the last 15 years have been, I offer Alan my eternal gratitude.
What we have to realise though is that he has gone now, and it's over. Finished. We have to put all of the nostalgia for the good old days and sadness at his resignation out of our heads now, and open up all the doors and windows at The Valley in order to allow the fresh air to circulate. 'The Curbishley Years' is a book we all know and love, but now it's time to shelve it in preparation for what's coming next.

We will be a new club come August, and it's time to throw our collective weight behind whoever is coming in. There is a big job for him to do, and if all of us are pulling in the same direction then it's going to be much easier for him to accomplish it.

Onwards and Upwards. Come on you Addicks.


Blogger New York Addick said...

I get a bit frustrated hearing the likes of Alan Green on 6-0-6 telling Charlton fans that we are crazy to have wanted Curbs to go. Indeed you can guarantee that if we go down next year the same 'pundits' will say 'told you so' even though this current Charlton team (without doubt the worst since promotion) clearly has 'Made by Curbishley' written all over it.

1:10 pm  
Blogger CharltonChris said...

The ironic thing is, if he had left 2 years ago we would have done fine with the squad and the cash that we had.

Now though, like you say, the media have a ready made reason to slate us if things don't turn out right.

6:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Sunderland as well as Wigan have a team full of players with 'something to prove'. It is pretty trite to say we don't need big name players, when the best football Charlton have played is with such players like Parker, Murphy and Smertin. Take the chip off your shoulder and see what our new man can find.

1:26 pm  

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