Friday, 4 March 2011

Time gentlemen please!

Charlton are going through a very difficult time as a club and as a team right now.  We have fallen from the Premier League with a huge bump, and along the way we have sacked four managers, sold our best players and the club itself has had a change of ownership.  These are major events, and any business, regardless of the industry, would find it a challenge to pick themselves up and move forward.

Our new board have shared their will to attempt to move us up the divisions and hopefully bring back some of the cheer that we had in the not so distant past.  Fine ambitions.  They started by appointing Chris Powell, many of the fans were ecstatic to have CP back and hopes are raised.  How quickly things can change.  Eight games later and it already feels like the knives are coming out for him.  Eight games folks!  Haven't we sacked enough managers over these last few years?  Are we not partly in this mess due to lack of continuity or consistency?  Should we really be getting on someone's back after such a short time in the job?  I personally think not.

I'm as disappointed as anybody, not only with the recent run of results, but the performances too.  It's easy to look at the team and point people out and say "he should be doing better, and he used to play for a Premiership team, and he is on high wages" and the blame often lies with the manager for not getting the best out of them.  I don't however feel that in this case the real issues are with the manager.  These problems pre-date Powell and in my mind the lions share of the responsibility lies with the players.

When Curbs was manager, there were certain players that he used to go for, he almost had his own mould and pretty much stuck with signing players of that type.  These players were either hard workers who did the simple things well (mostly), or they had something to prove, a hunger. I personally think we are desperate for a few players of this kind.  I get the feeling that some of our players think they are better than the level they are currently playing at, and might feel that they deserve to be playing in the higher echelons of football.  But, instead of getting stuck in and earning their right by helping us get promotion, they are just in cruise mode hoping and praying they might get a break with another club coming in for them.

It obviously doesn't help when you see players like Bailey and Shelvey, and even Lloyd Sam get moves to clubs in the Championship or Premiership.  Some of our boys must have been thinking "I'm as good as him, I should be up there too".  I can understand to an extent what a disappointment it must be to drop down the divisions, or to be released from a bigger club and have to take a step down to continue your career.  How hard though must it be for a manager to get these people mentally in the zone?  It's all well and good to say that it is his job and it's what he must do, but it isn't always that simple, particularly if in their own minds they are already out of the club, as I believe is the case with a number of our squad.

We really need a shake up. It is frustrating because I do actually feel we have the quality to get out of this division, clearly it's there, but our players lack the characteristics that have made Charlton punch above their weight for long periods in the past.  We need to see more passion, more hunger, more drive and ambition.  We need leaders and we have to see some guts from every player on that field.  Yes it is the managers job to get his players to perform to the best of their ability, but it is also the players responsibility to give their all.  A manager cannot force it out of them.  At some point the player has to stand up and be counted and when they look back on a performance they have to be honest in their assessment and have the will to improve if they aren't pulling their weight.

Powell has had less than two months in the job.  I think most would agree that this is not nearly enough time to stamp your authority on the team.  This is still  very much Parkinson's team.  Let's give Powell the opportunity to build one of his own before throwing him on the ever growing pile with the rest of the managers that have dared to follow in Curbishley's footprints.  I'm not saying that Powell is going to be our Messiah, or even our next Curbs, but how the hell are we even going to know these things if he is not given a proper chance?


  1. Quite correct that Powell deserves the chance to build his own team in time, and shouldn't be judged until he has got rid of the wasters we currently have and replaced them with people who want to play for us. However I do not agree with the commonly held belief that stability and continuity neccessarily bring eventual success. Are we saying that if we still had Dowie or Reed or Pardew, that things would have improved in time. I think not. Stability only works as a theory if your manager is good enough, and Powell should be given at least a couple of years to prove that he is.

  2. Indeed, it's a fair point. Clearly success will only come if both the players and the manager are good enough. The players have had time to show us, the manager has not.