Friday, 22 October 2010
Today It Became Obvious...
Sometime towards the end of the Brighton game, with the scoreline at zero - three, the chap I have sat next to for many years turns towards me, leans in and whispers in my ear "today it became obvious" before turning and slumping back in his seat. I nodded. I have sat next to him for long enough to know I'm likely to have agreed with him regardless of exactly what had 'became obvious' at that point. He never gave me the impression he wanted to discuss further anyway.
Such is the way my mind works (I would rather it didn't, I can promise you) I have thought about that throw-away comment a lot this week.
So what did become obvious?
He would not have been surprised by an indifferent performance that lacked direction, conviction and verve, but perhaps the sheer gulf in difference between us and Brighton became undeniably obvious. Even the most partisan Addick couldn't fail to accept that. Even if you take the view that Brighton had a good day - after all, despite the huge disappointment of the result, I don't think they were four goals better than us - it still was a shocking spectacle to watch. Furthermore, a good number of fellow bloggers have rightly pointed out that man-for-man Brighton did not have a stronger team of individual players, which serves only to make the failings of the Charlton management even more obvious. It was one thing watching the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea et al run rings around us at The Valley but not a side from League One. A long-term fall from grace became embarrassing on Saturday. Obviously so.
Perhaps Saturday was the tipping point that finally made my companion recognise that we are an average side in League One. Despite still having an enviable squad of players when compared with most in this division, we are not one of the better footballing sides by a long stretch...not even close. We have tried to guard against it, maybe even deny it, but if we're honest, we all secretly hoped to challenge for a Play-Off place this season at least. Now even that is looking unlikely. What next, talk of relegation? Maybe my man thinks that's inevitable...or obvious...given our current unconvincing form.
Perhaps the much-maligned Parkinson's failures as a manager became shovel-in-the-face-obvious to my fellow Addick. Once again, the limitations of Parkinson has been well discussed throughout the fans forums and the like, but never has one man's leadership, tactical know-how and organisation seemed so lacking when compared with that of another, in this case, Gus Poyet. He may well be a likable sort of chap, but can Parkinson lift this club back to it's arguably rightful level in the second tier of English football? The signs aren't good. If Parkinson is not to loose the limited fan base he has, then he must find a way to maximise the attributes of this group of players...this League One group of players. At the moment that seems beyond him. There will be some that will want to see Parkinson (and therefore Charlton) fail over the next few games to speed up his exit. I am not amongst them. I would love nothing more than to see an Addicks team successful under his management.
But maybe the flippant statement runs deeper...
We are a League One side: how more obvious did it need to get Saturday? Maybe the descent into football's backwaters are not over yet. How we all want to say that we have seen the lowest point and we are on our way back...however slow a process that may be, but maybe not. Obviously not yet, at least.
For what it's worth I expect us to get beat again this Saturday. I don't have this fixture down as an away win at any time, least of all at the minute.
But then obviously I could be wrong...this is Charlton after all!