Sunday, 9 February 2014


By coincidence, a year ago today Charlton played Birmingham at the Valley. Kermorgant gave us the lead before Brum agonisingly equalised in the dying moments of stoppage time. As I commented at the time, it was an almighty kick in the teeth and was a draw that felt like a defeat. 12 months on and Birmingham inflict a defeat upon us that should have at least been a draw. Charlton had two thirds of the possession, almost twice as many shots on or off target and yet somehow we lost. Another defeat. When your luck is down you invariably loose. Simple logic, really.
I say 'somehow we lost' but of course the reason we done so was two moments in which we defended very badly. Simple logic, really. Our defense undone twice by a shockingly average Birmingham who offered nothing but left with 3 points. Fair play to them. We need to learn how to win ugly.
What a shame that the impressive Diego Poyet will remember his home league debut with a demoralising defeat. Of the new faces, Reza looked sharp and clever and Astrit showed some vision and silky touches, although he looks woefully short of pace. Hope then, even if it may be clutching at straws. The new faces will need to integrate quickly if they are to help us survive. Perhaps the result would have been different with Wiggins and Solly. In the case of the latter, I'm praying this persistent knee injury does not turn him into the new Kelly Youga!
I'll leave my thoughts about Thuram-Ulien to one side for now, whilst hoping Hamer is back very, very soon.   
Powell is under real pressure now. I can't love the man more but even I can't defend some of his tactic. Why was Sordell allowed to stay on the pitch for so long (moreover, I wouldn't even include him in our squad)? Why leave it so late to make changes? Why also compromise the encouraging progression of Cousins by forcing him out of position on the right?  
But you would be wrong if you blamed Powell entirely for yet another defeat. The problems run much deeper. Powell has been asked to manage new players he will have almost certainly had no say in bringing in and that can never be a good thing, whilst he has lost key players he could rely on. Include in this the uncertainty caused by the lack of contracts to key players and the manager and you can begin to understand where it is going so wrong. No question, Powell has been dealt a real bum deal from Mr. Duchatelet.
Charlton's fortunes are slipping fast. It's incredibly hard to scratch around for positives at the moment. When Mr. Duchatelet took control of our club he had a wonderful opportunity to give us a much needed shot in the arm. In my opinion, for now at least, we appear in a far weaker position on the pitch than when he arrived and our chances of staying up look very slim. There may be a long term strategy that will bear fruit, but I can't believe it involves accepting a return to League One. 
Worryingly only Blackpool's form is worse than ours now, and even they sit 10 points clear of us. 
Oh, and one last thing whilst I'm having a moan. Who's stupid idea was it to play the highlights of last weeks heartbreaking Wigan defeat on the big screen 10 mins before kick-off? Hardly inspirational stuff, was it? Even if, like me, you avoided watching, the unusually loud PA commentary ensured a distracting conversation with the blokes around you was impossible. If this is part of Duchatelet's 'new and improved matchday experience' then I can offer him some feedback he should listen to; it was shit.
I don't want to be reminded of failure, I want to be reminded of what it takes to be 'Charlton'. Give me Johnny Robinson wheeling away in delight after scoring against Man U any day.   


  1. Birmingham fan in peace. A few comments from yesterday. Clark was talking before the game about having to battle and fight due to the conditions. We left out the attacking full back we have on loan from Man U and pushed Robinson across from centre back, left out the tricky winger from Man City, Rusnak in favour of the industrious Novak, and instead of a number 10 such as Shinnie or a 2nd forward, we played Adeyemi, a more holding midfielder as the furthest advanced midfielder. It was clear to anyone in our end it was going to be an ugly game.

    I felt early on you passed the ball very well, and looked dangerous around our box, but your pitch does you no favours. The ball was holding up, skidding on, and bobbling. We scored from a set piece - always a possibility given our height - and I felt for 10-15 minutes afterwards we were on top and could have scored another. However the last 10 minutes of the first half, and up to our counter attack goal you bossed it and should / could have scored. However, the longer the game went at 0-1 the more desperate you got, and the more the ball started going long, the easier it became for us.

    We definitely nicked it - a 1-1 draw would have been fairer. In terms of your players, didn't really pick on any outstanding performances. On the other hand your goalkeeper looked shaky, and Chris Burke tormented the left back.

    We set out to be solid and functional and we were, but in my opinion the biggest hindrance to your progression isn't your manager, but the state of your pitch.

    Best of luck for the rest of the season

  2. Many thanks for the comment, Anon Blue. That's a valuable insight into how Clark set out his side. My apologies if I have done you a disservice by suggesting Brum were shockingly average. It sounds more likely you got your tactics spot on.

    There is little question our pitch is a huge problem, but we have just sold our most powerful striking option where set pieces are concerned, so the future is not looking great even if we took Birmingham's approach.

    Best of luck to you also.

  3. no, it was definitely a fair assumption to say that our football was poor, but it had to do with the personnel involved than anything else. A couple of weeks ago we had 62% possession and 25 shots against Yeovil and lost 2-0, the week after we had more possession that Swansea in the cup and lost 2-1. Its good to see Clark has it in his locker to change it up when the situation demands - I wouldn't want us to set up like we did yesterday every week. The bit in your earlier post "we need to learn to win ugly" is very true.