Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bob's Job...

After much speculation there was no great surprises yesterday with the announcement that the sizable Belgian, Bob Peeters, has become Charlton's new Head Coach.
 
As we enter the unknown it is encouraging that Damian Matthews will assist him, as, I believe, will much of the existing backroom staff. That continuity will be good for the current players who will be around for next season. 
 
Bob Peeters will need to embrace the 'Charlton spirit' that Powell had in abundance and Riga instantly recognised and harnessed. Duch√Ętelet will need to understand quickly just how important that spirit is to this club, but sadly I'm not convinced he's even noticed it above the sparkling vision of his network master plan.
 
Whatever plan Duch√Ętelet has is still the subject of conjecture, speculation and no small amount of criticism. The much-needed maintenance work on the pitch is an obvious positive, as are the plans for the training facilities and academy. Speculation in the press yesterday that we have had a £500,000 bid accepted for Barnsley's Chris O'Grady is another positive, not least of all because asides from the impressive figures the striker is not part of 'the network'! But despite being a pint half full sort of guy, even my heart sank massively reading  Dyer's comments in yesterday's South London Press. These are uncertain times, for sure. Worrying times; but then again, as an Addick I can't remember too many spells where I've ever felt comfortable.
 
If it had been down to me I'd have given Riga the job full time, but that's another hope that has faded to nothing. My gut instinct from the outset was that Riga was a good man and he has, in my humble opinion, earned himself a place in Charlton folk law after making such a dignified and positive impression in such a short space of time (just 16 games in all). Thinking back, I would argue that Riga's impact just about tops Jorge 'The Tank' Costa's hugely popular loan spell at the Valley in the 2001-2002 season (24 games), especially when you consider the uphill battle Riga had from the outset after following on from Powell.
 
The narrow-minded nature of some Addicks is truly astonishing at times, so before you go jumping to conclusions about Peeters, just take a moment to remember how wrong you was about Jose Riga. Moreover, just because you'd never heard of Bob Peeters before his name was linked to Charlton, it doesn't automatically mean he'll be shit.
 
With the transfer window opening up again in early June, we can expect an interesting few weeks ahead. Let's hope Peeters can convince Poyet and Morrison to sign new deals and the much-needed new additions leave us feeling optimistic. 
 
So welcome to Charlton Athletic, Bob. You face a very difficult task, but like every other fair-minded Addick, I'm behind you all the way. You can expect unreserved support from us, and all we will expect from you is to give all you have for our club.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

All's Well That Ends Well...

As little as three weeks ago even a wordsmith like William Shakespeare would have struggled to write a happy ending to Charlton's wretched season. That home defeat to Barnsley left Charlton staring down the barrel of a gun with all hope fading fast. I said at the time that the best I could hope for is that we could go into the Blackpool game with something to play for. Since then, three wins and a draw have propelled Charlton away from danger and one glance at the final league table and I'm left wondering what all the fuss was about.    
 
Funnily enough, when Shakespeare wrote 'All's Well That Ends Well', the critics of the day struggled to define it as a tragic play or a dark comedy. Knowing that makes it an even more suitable title for this small reflective piece!
 
I can't deny that I'm glad this season is now over. It was indescribably pleasant to enjoy yesterday's brilliant result without the stress and worry that has been omnipresent all season long, but those sorts of days are rare. Loosing Chris Powell was easily the darkest moment for me and one that still hurts to this day. It always will. The drive back from Sheffield after the FA Cup quarter final defeat was truly horrible, but then again, I will remember spending the day before the game out drinking with some top Addicks as one of my highlights. Another huge disappointment for me is that the change of ownership has divided Addicks and the bickering has added to the dark clouds hanging over the club. Whether or not you believe Roland Duchatelet's intentions are sound or not - and only time will tell on that, for me - then it costs nothing to respect another man's opinions. The intolerance of some to embrace an alternative viewpoint is shocking at times.      
 
But there are signs that people can accept when they were wrong, none more so than with Jose Riga. I said from the outset I'd give Riga a fair chance, not least of all as he was not to blame for Powell's departure, and the way the Belgian has carried himself and embraced the Charlton spirit has meant I'd be disappointed if he wasn't in charge next season.
 
Perhaps one of the biggest positives is the emergence of young Diego Poyet. Perhaps one of the biggest litmus tests of Duchatelet's intentions for this club is whether he can convince Diego to sign a new contract. Just imagine Diego on a decent Valley pitch?
 
Likewise I'd be gutted if Hamer, Morrison and Dervite were not offered new deals. I'd also like to see more of Ajdarevic in a Charlton shirt as well. I'd happily drive Yohann Thuram-Ulien to the airport if he wishes...
 
So this will be the full stop to a horrible season. I plan to enjoy a Charlton hiatus for the next few months before it all starts up again.    
 
Many thanks to those who read my posts throughout the season and especially anyone who takes the time to comment. But my last few words are to my Mum (I know she drops by this blog every now and again), who once again has shared the highs and lows with me. Thanks Mum!