Saturday, 19 March 2011

We are Charlton. Let's be proud.

Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe the feelings that most Charlton fans have right now.  Many are reporting to feel empty, sad, angry, even depressed.  There are some who are past caring, there are some who are so livid that they have taken to abusing the players and management team, and there are some who have decided to vote with their feet and have refused to renew their season tickets.  In all honesty I can understand all of these emotions, but it really saddens me to see people saying they are no longer proud to be a Charlton fan.

Through my entire life I have always felt proud to be an Addicks fan.  I started going to watch Charlton in the 1980's, the early part of which was a real shambles in terms of club Managers.  Between 1980 and 1982 we had 5 different Managers and other than a Division Three promotion there was very little at all to cheer about, but Charlton always had a certain attitude about them that made you feel proud even when you were losing.  We were triers.  Whatever we lacked in quality we made up for in good old fashioned grit and hard graft.  This is something that I do not see in our current side for the first time in over thirty years.  It's frightening when I think about it.

Parkinson put together a team on the cheap, not an easy thing to do, and I think that lately we have found out exactly why we have played some terrible football for the past couple of years, and that is because the team we have cannot play football.  The problem here though is that they also do not have the fight, spirit or passion to make up for their shortcomings.  Credit to Parky for knowing this and enforcing an effective way of playing, but let's be fair, it hasn't exactly been entertaining.  If you asked me if I would accept playing this style of football as a means to escape this division then I may indeed agree that I might, but that doesn't mean I would swap Parkinson for Powell.  No thanks, I'll stick with what we have right now.

If you want to feel a bit of pride, just think about Chris Powell.  Every time he walked on the pitch as a player, you always knew exactly what you were getting.  Someone who worked their socks off for the team, had a little bit of quality about him, and someone who loved the Club and the fans.  Remember his tunnel antics after our wins, or even when we lost the match, remember that he walked all four corners of the ground applauding us fans.  He epitomised what Charlton was all about.  Do you think that since becoming Manager all that has changed?  Of course it hasn't.  This is a man that wants to not only bring success back to our Club, he wants to bring the pride and passion back.  This is a man who took a huge gamble by agreeing to become Parkinson's successor, knowing that his special relationship with the Club and fans he loves could be ruined forever.  Yet, he still took up the mantle, has been honest about his intentions and is working as hard for us as Manager as he did as a player.

Our successes as a Club have been at their peak during times where our Managers had long reigns.  Jimmy Seed, Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley were all given the time required to slowly build success.  There were plenty of bad patches during each one of these Manager's reigns, it wasn't all rosy, but we stuck with them and they brought us our rewards for doing so.  Powell may well have the potential to go on and bring us the success we crave, but only if he is given the time and the backing to do so.  I feel sorry for the guy.  He has taken over a team of clodders and is trying to get them to play something that resembles football.  Clearly it isn't working, but I admire the philosophy.

We should now be looking towards the end of the season so that the management team has an opportunity to get rid of those players that do not have the Charlton spirit, bring in some that do, and see us build a team that will play our way out of this division rather than hoof our way out.   There is no pride in watching your team hump it up field and bundle it in the net.  There is no pride in watching players who cannot be bothered to run, or give everything for the shirt on their backs.  So I can actually sympathise with those fans that have lost their pride, it's easy to see how it's happened when you look at the calamitous decisions made by the Club and the Managers since Curbs left.

We have taken a nose-dive of epic proportions and so far it's not looking like stopping, and the fear is now that we will find ourselves in yet another relegation battle, but this time fighting to keep ourselves out of the forth tier of football.  At some point our slump will come to an end.  We will turn a corner and start moving upwards again.  Our players confidence is extremely low right now.  We played some good stuff today for a fair chunk of the first half, and actually it only went to pot after the Daggers scored, which was actually against the run of play, so we do have some positives.  What we probably need is a little luck to help us on our way.  We are desperately trying to play some football but unfortunately we do not have the players to carve out clear cut openings.  Had we taken one of our chances whilst we were in the ascendancy today, the result could have been very very different.

I know I am too full of optimism for some people.  But this is Charlton Athletic, they are my team, for almost 40 years I have proudly followed them, and like Charlie Connelly I love them.  I find it very hard to be negative about the things I love.  Despite all the awful things that have happened to us in recent years, I am still proud to call myself a Charlton fan, I cannot think how empty I would feel without that pride.  We have achieved some great things in my years as a supporter and I have enjoyed watching us through some of the best years in our Clubs history.  Be proud to support the Addicks.  It's easy when things are going well, but the team needs us more at times like these.  Today was a particularly bad day to be a Charlton fan.  We must improve, we can improve, we will improve.  We can't get an awful lot worse.  Back the Manager and support the team.  The only way to get through this is to stick together.

6 comments:

  1. i have been going yo the valley since 1964. you are totally spot on

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  2. mmmmmmm but does Powell have the skills ???

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  3. @ Anonymous - How will we know if we don't give him the opportunity to try to build his own team?

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  4. Totally agree. Really well put.

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