I've been watching football long enough to know when something is not right and I'm not alone in being concerned. As Dave and Chicago Addick note in their most recent posts, all is not well on and off the pitch at Charlton and despite being a pretty positive sort of chap, I'm bracing myself for a very tough season ahead. This does not appear to me to be a simple case of finding form (although God knows I want to be proved wrong). No, this is the sort of deeper rooted problem that can be difficult to pinpoint and even greater to overcome. One things for sure, the spark appears to have gone out of our League One heroes: the question is why and how does Powell deal with it?
There's no secret that the playing budget is woeful, but for me, the real issue has to lie with the astonishing amount of senior players who will be out of contract next summer. As I alluded to in my post following the Boro game, perhaps it's about time we accepted this may not only be the fault of the board and the poor financial state of the club, but perhaps some of these players are actually keen to move on, but are refusing possible moves now so they can walk away for free next summer and command greater leverage in future contract talks. If memory serves me correctly, the day we signed Church and Sordell a rumour began suggesting Wiggins would be sold. The Addickted were incensed, but not one single person on my twitter timeline actually considered the thought that he may actually want to go. Wiggins, as you will be aware if you've watched the team this season, is under-performing from the high standards we've come to expect.
Sadly, he's not alone, Solly, Morrison and Hamer in particular all appear shadows of the players they were in the last two seasons. Our steady, reliable defense playing well off the boil, making uncharacteristic mistakes.
We should not flatter ourselves and assume players would never want to leave our club.
There is little doubt this team misses Johnnie Jackson's leadership and drive and so the simplistic view would be to hope that matters on the pitch improve when he regains full fitness. I'm not so sure even Johnnie can drag us through this battle.
Of course, I could be wrong, and this may prove to be one of those post I look back on with embarrassment (I hope that's the case), but the poor form, body language of the team on Saturday and lack of clarity from the club worries me greatly. Without the ability to move players on and bring in new fresh hungry faces, Powell's job looks harder than it ever has. To motivate players who may already be looking elsewhere is immeasurably difficult.
Let's hope Powell can keep his own motivation up as he must feel like he's trying to tread water in treacle...