"There was no consistency that we have seen before. We lost our identity a little bit tonight, from where we've been at. We looked devoid of ideas"
Words above from Russell Slade post match. I guess that's why he's a professional football manager and I'm not. My view is that the 'consistency' he laments as missing from last night's draw is what I'm recognising as the dull, unambitious football we've seen under his management. I came to the Valley hoping not to see it, but instead the alternative was indescribably shitter than before.
I agree with him that we were 'devoid of idea', but that has been a constant all season. Slade's conservative approach as much the reason we are mid-table as Duchatelet or Meire's immense failings. His reference to a 'loss of identity' hit very, very hard with me. I might well be unfairly extending the context beyond what Slade was directly referencing to, but a loss of identity is the sorest of points, and he needs to know why it touches a very raw nerve...
Last night's depressing draw with Oldham was up there with that woeful Carling Cup defeat to Wycombe at The Valley in December '06, when the hapless Les Reed cut a lonely figure in the dugout. Similar in stature and effectiveness, Slade may well be looking over his shoulder nervously, with Duchatelet desperate to tell us all that the weird British experiment us protestors forced upon him never worked, before reverting to his tried and failed network model. And so the cycle continues.
In the farce that is Charlton Athletic, one could be easily believe that Slade has been told not to win games by the clueless Meire because Rolly doesn't want to pay win bonuses...
Just 8,500 home fans bothered to turn up last night, which would be depressing enough if the reality wasn't worst still. My estimates put the 'real' attendance closer to 7,500, but even that might be generous. It says a lot that the gate is dropping so alarmingly that even the club can't spin the numbers into double figures in an attempt to save face. With the standard of football at an all-time low and without even the smallest shred of evidence that things on and off the pitch will improve any time soon, I can't believe there is an incentive to go, even for the hardiest fan.
Still, not Meire's fault, is it, Sue Parkes?
Beyond blind loyalty that is hard to break, I can't really explain why I went last night. I got a ticket in the West Stand just to shake up my 'matchday experience' but the picture looked just a grim from there. I wonder if my attendance is more like a form of macabre voyeurism, like a rubbernecker taking in the car-crash, joyless, uninviting drama that is Charlton Athletic.
What is wrong with me?
Like a complete fool, I bet I still go on Saturday. I'm in Southwark on business in the morning and with 80% of my journey south covered, I thought a trip to the Valley would give me something to look forward to after work. I certainly won't buy a ticket in advance now, and will see how I feel on the day.