Back in November last year I posted two simple but rather jingoistic sentences under the heading of 'Dare We Dream?' It was an instant and spur-of-the-moment response to the astonishing 5-1 away win at Peterborough United. The result was our 4th straight win, which included an equally impressive 3-0 away win at Swindon the Tuesday beforehand, and lifted us from mid-table to 2nd place: the highest we'd been all season. Had Charlton hit form at a crucial stage of the season? Dare we dream of promotion?
On the face of it, it appeared a very credible run of results, but in all honesty, deep down I wasn't so convinced, and nor was the majority of the Addicted. Too many question marks and lingering doubts hung over the team for me to really believe we could push for promotion. The following Saturday we laboured to a 5th straight win at home against Yeovil, but despite this I recall leaving the Valley that day struck by the realism of the greater picture, having all-but-accepted we just never had what was required to escape the 3rd tier of English football. Just 5 games after that glorious result at Peterborough, we lost 2-4 at home to Swindon, Parkinson lost his job and the club's new owners faced head-on the desperate need for a complete and unreserved re-build of the entire playing staff.
In life it is hugely important to face up things that are not working, no matter how hard it may be...
Unlike last year, my overall outlook is far more positive and thankfully I have considerably more faith that Powell, Dyer and the team will not throw in the towel and give up like some of the Charlton supporters (and I use that term loosely in some cases across the forums) appear to have done of late. I may not have the written prowess of some of the more established Charlton bloggers, but I shall try to offer an alternative view on our current heroes and guess what...it's going to be POSITIVE!!!
I may well have found a niche in this blogging thing at last!!!
No, I've not been on the Friday afternoon ale (although I would like to)...and I'm quite literally throwing this together before more pressing work issues rightfully take priority...but I think the players deserve a great deal more credit that they are currently getting.
Lets all be totally honest and agree that we've exceeded expectations to date in terms of the start to this season and our current league position. Surely that's a good thing, isn't it? I don't recall anyone...and I challenge you to prove me wrong...predicting we'd push for automatic promotion this season following such a large-scale change to the squad (for the record, I felt a play-off place was achievable with a bit of luck along the way - I've not changed my view). Therefore, I don't quite see what the doom and gloomers are being let down by.
At least they are consistent. If they have let their dreams run away with them after a few victories, it stands to reason they will loose hope equally as quickly.
It's very easy to forget that this is a new group of players who should, theoretically, grow even stronger as their relationships and understandings of each others game develops over time. Its encouraging for me to think that across the squad we have an abundance of players who seem to have a hunger and a desire in a way that's noticeably different to players who have played for us in recent years, particularly on loan from clubs from a higher division. Some players may see this opportunity at Charlton as perhaps the biggest chance they will ever have to make a name for themselves at a 'big' club with a good fan base and a premiership quality stadium. These are the sort of players you want at your club and I applaud the new owners for backing Powell in getting them.
Our biggest problem of the last 4-5 years is a lack of central midfielders who could pass the ball. That's not a general term...they quite literally couldn't pass the ball. In Hollands and Stephens we have central midfielders who are far more comfortable on the ball (left and right peg) and, furthermore, actually want to play football and retain possession of it. Stephens in particular looks a great prospect, assuming we don't destroy his confidence and desire to get on the ball with anxious and nervous vibes from the crowd, which, by the way, I think cost Racon dearly.
Last season we had about as much fight as the Zanzibar army did when they foolishly took to arms against the mighty British forces in 1896, lasting just 38 mins before surrendering. Across the pitch Charlton appear physically and mentally stronger to cope with the rigours of League One. Where performances have failed this season my personal view is it is more to do with tactics than individual player ability (Stevenage away looked a tactical disaster from Powell, in my eyes).
Furthermore, because last season our midfielders couldn't pass the ball, BWP couldn't score. Because this season we have midfielders who can pass the ball, BWP will always stand a chance of scoring. Simple as that. Injuries may take it's toll as the season progresses, but we are not the only ones who will suffer in this regard.
None of the above is a guarantee for success, but nothing I've read this week condemning the team to impending failure is guaranteed either. A stylish win tomorrow and watch the hope return in abundance as if it was never in doubt.
I'm sticking to what I believe CAN happen this season. Join me in thinking positive!