It seemed like I spent the whole of last week fearful of an update from Charlton informing us that one of our prize possessions was leaving the club. Defender, Chris Solly, was 'apparently' targeted by both West Ham and Bolton and promising midfielder, Dale Stephens, was the subject of a pretty substantial bid from Aston Villa. In the end, neither left the club and the Addickted breathed out an almighty sigh of relief. I like Dale a lot, but 2m for a player who has yet to prove his worth in the Championship is bizarre to say the least. Lets hope his head is right following the speculation.
Perhaps equally as significant was that by Charlton turning down that offer for Stephens, rumours of the club being on it's knees financially looked far less credible. The doom and gloom stories of impending administration and financial meltdown was not something I enjoyed reading about over the summer and I'll welcome any sign that the speculation is some way off the truth (which was always my gut reaction anyway).
But in the cold light of day, Charlton's failure to bring new faces into the club will need to be addressed, albeit via the loan market or those footballer currently unattached (but not Emile Heskey!). Powell will be well aware of this, of course, and I suspect a couple of signings before the week is out. On Saturday Charlton never lacked heart but looked very much second best to an impressive Nottingham Forest side who perhaps should have made the 2-1 scoreline look more convincing. From the outset we were chasing shadows and only the late introduction of Fuller appeared to give us some sort of cutting edge. There's little doubt the overall squad lacks the depth required to get a foothold in this division and despite initially being pleased we never lost anyone last week, we may need to accept that sacrifices may need to be made to shake things up a little.
For me, an experienced central midfielder is a must and it pains me to say it, but perhaps there are question marks over Skipper Jackson's ability to step up to the Championship. His form has been indifferent this season and he's looked slow. Perhaps in League One his unquestionable quality on the ball overcome his lack of pace on the left, but that asset may hold less weight in this higher division.
I wasn't at the match but I did get to watch it on a very dodgy internet link from Al Jazeera, complete with a very passionate commentator who sounded like he was delivering a highly-charged religious tirade. Despite me not understanding his Arabic tongue it was worth listening to for the occasional mention in good, plain English of 'Christopher Powell'.
No great drama to the loss although it's always very frustrating to hear some Charlton fans immediately criticising the team and the Board. There really are some idiots out there with very short memories and I very much doubt one of them was amongst the 1000 or so travelling Addicks at the City Ground. Our opening fixtures have been really tough and 5 points from 4 games is 3 more points than I predicted at this stage! Anyone who has set their sights on back-to-back promotion is kidding themselves.
It says something that I couldn't recall after the game the last time I faced up to a Saturday night after a Charlton loss.
No game now for the Addicks until Palace at The Valley on the 14th as England kick off their World Cup campaign this Friday night. Of course, if we was still in League One we may well have had a disheartening Johnstone Paint trophy game Tuesday night as well as a league game on Saturday. Personally I'm happy we haven't!