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By: David Hatch

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Wednesday, 22-Apr-2009 08:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Silent unrest

CAFC 2 Cardiff 2, 21st April 2009
On match days our group of supporters that meets in the Rose of Denmark has a simple score prediction competition - the pot is shared between everyone who correctly predicted the final score.

When we were in the Premiership it was generally won by someone each week and only occasionally was there a 'rollover' to the next match. Since we've been in the Championship it's been quite different and on several occasions a sizeable pot has accumulated. By last night, with no one having correctly predicted the score in the previous four home games, the pot had reached £92 as we took our seats.

It certainly adds to the buzz of the evening when you're into the last ten minutes of a game with the scoreline either matching your prediction or just one goal away. I'd gone for 1-2, so I was out of it when our second goal went in, but I was sitting next to the chap who'd predicted 2-2 and whose loyalties were divided as the clock ran down at 2-1. In the end we reasoned that his feelings in no way influenced what happened on the pitch. When the second Cardiff goal went in at least he had something to balance the disappointment of another poor result.

Our defence is dreadful - just look at our goal difference and league position. Darren Ward had another steady game, so the spotlight falls on 'Mr. 'Udson'. Frankly. I think he's had a dreadful season, and recent interviews that indicate that he wants away because we're not good enough for him leave me hoping that we cash in and send him on his way, i.e. *he's* not good enough for *us*.

And in a leaky defence why on earth do we persist with the desperately unpredictable Kelly Youga? His concentration is dreadful, and his performances are made worse by rushes of blood to the head where he utterly lets us down. We've got a steadier, less cocky alternative in Grant Basey.

But the blindingly obvious problem is that no one seems to want the ball and it gets passed around as anxiously and carelessly as a ticking time bomb. On top of that, more than enough players seem to be thinking that Charlton's plight isn't their problem as they'll be off at the end of the season.

Another irritating point - why the hell are we still playing so many loan players when we're already relegated? Why not blood some of our home-grown youngsters ready for League 1? Or is it an unpleasant truth that we just don't have any quality coming through?

There just has to be a huge question mark over Parkison's future. His record is Won 3 Drawn 11 Lost 12, i.e. 20 out of 78 points. If he'd been made caretaker manager until the end of the season we could simply have let him go, but now we're faced with yet another payout if we want him to go - and we do.

There's no confidence that the rot has yet stopped. We still haven't bottomed out, and look set to struggle next season as well. The club seemingly budgeting to spend only one season in League 1 looks ridiculously optimistic at present. Strangely, one problem seems to be the calm acceptance of our situation by supporters. You'd have thought that by now there'd be rising pressure from the terraces for some sort of solution, but the board is being given all the time it wants as far as the fans are concerned, it seems.

However, the warning signs were there last night with a half empty stadium. This would be a good time for some sort of decisive announcement from the club that gave supporters hope for next season and encouraged them to renew their season tickets. At present, lowered prices or not, many of us are caught in indecision about whether to commit our hard-earned up front to a club that's adrift as far as leadership is concerned, mainly on the pitch but seemingly also elsewhere.

Sunday, 19-Apr-2009 10:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Refund for poor performance

German Bundesliga team Cottbus went down 4-0 away from home on Friday and promptly refunded all of their travelling supporters for their 'pitiful performance'. Blimey!


Based on the club's 2008/09 performance maybe Charlton should be giving us that free season ticket after all! And maybe the money should come from the vastly over-paid, terribly underperforming players, some of whom 'earn' in a single week almost as much as my net annual pension.

Just a thought

Saturday, 18-Apr-2009 21:47 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Relegated - it's been a LONG time coming

CAFC 2 Blackpool 2, 18th April 2009
Maybe today we had a glimpse of what next season will be like, with a dearth of away supporters in the pub before the game and no opportunity for a matchday photo, even on a Saturday afternoon! Mind you, there were a fair few Seasiders in the ground, but heaven only knows where they entertained themselves beforehand.

Two quick goals at the start of the second half gave us hope of a rousing end to the season but, as so often happens, two hugely unlikely goals brought us back to 2-2 and with them de facto relegation.

For me, Lloyd Sam's performance was just what was needed, dashing repeatedly at the defence and creating opportunties around him. Shelvey one again showed inspirational touches that are bound to attract the attention of promoted clubs with money to spend, even though his lack of stamina contrasts oddly with his quickness of mind.

At half time I remarked that Youga was having a pleasantly uncontroversial game, but in the second half his temperament let him down yet again and he was booked. It's time to permanently replace him with Grant Basey - or even Matt Holland, for pity's sake.

Hudson's been dreadful for months, constantly getting caught out of position. Darren Ward alongside him looks far more assured. Mind you, I've stopped bellowing, 'Hudson' in exasperation since Ade alongside me started saying, "MISTER 'Udson, if you please".

Still, there'll be a fair few departures this summer, with quite a few players out of contract - see - and the squad being cut to 22. Even so, it's apparent that the remains of this side could well struggle in League 1 unless Parkinson manages to conjure up some decent summer signings and weld them into a cohesive squad. It seems to me that the club's still heading south and that there's little sign that the slide will even slow down next season.

Saturday, 11-Apr-2009 22:01 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pausing on the way to the exit

CAFC 0 Birmingham 0, 11th April 2009
An exciting match in the end, between two seemingly evenly-matched teams, but the league table doesn't lie. Third placed Birmingham looked a bit off-colour and Charlton rose a little above recent performances to tease the home supporters with the prospect of a rare home win. In the event a draw was a fair result.

Both goalkeepers made vital saves, but Maik Taylor twice took the ball at the very last split-second and kept his team in the game. Kevin Phillips played against us for Sunderland in the 1997 play-off final at Wembley, and in spite of now being something of a veteran he looked fast and dangerous.

For Charlton the man of the match was probably Jonjo Shelvey, who ran himself into the ground. Towards the end of the game Dickson was brought on in place of Racon, seemingly for the specific purpose of taking the pressure of the flagging Shelvey, and this gave us fresh momentum. Quite why Parkinson brought on the always-irrelevant Ambrose with only two minutes to go was something of a mystery, and the latter's mistake that could have led to a late away goal hardly endeared him to the home supporters.

Once again we found ourselves in good company with visiting supporters, reaffirming our belief that there's far more that unites ordinary fans than divides them. See you again in a couple of seasons, lads - if we're lucky!

Wednesday, 25-Mar-2009 11:48 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Members of the Opposition

We started taking photos of members of our group together with visiting supporters back in August 2002 when Chelsea came calling, a year before Roman Abramovich arrived. We then had four good seasons in the Premiership, followed by a bad one that ended in our relegation. Since then the club has never looked back, at the good days, that is, and instead has continued to slide down the tables.

When we were relegated in 2007 we debated whether to keep on with the photos on this site. However, we decided that we'd carry on since it might appear that we were only interested in the Premiership if we didn't, when in reality we thought that maybe now we'd see some exciting football for a change.

For nearly two seasons now we've carried on seeking out visiting supporters in the Rose of Denmark at every game, but we're now running into difficulties, as the recent visit of Doncaster showed. The game was on a cold Tuesday night, and understandably not a lot of their supporters made the trek south - much credit to those who did, however. The consequence was that we couldn't find any supporters in the pub beforehand who could join us in a photo. This isn't the first time that this has happened this season.

The same happened at the match against Palace, but for different reasons. The police presence in the area was heavy, especially after five Palace fans were sentenced to imprisonment in December 2008 for savaging Charlton supporters on a train as they travelled to the match at Selhurst in September 2007. Palace subsequently banned sixteen people from their ground for life, and I'm sure that the majority of their fans will have utterly disassociated themselves from these criminals.

See for details.

This meant that Palace fans understandably kept their colours out of sight until they were in the ground, which gave us no opportunity to invite any of them to join in on the match day photo. And, frankly, I was reluctant to go around asking strangers in the pub, "Are you Palace?"

So, we've occasionally been drawing a blank this season, as will become clear when I print out the composite photo of the 2008/09 season this summer. However, we've already decided that we'll carry on next season, accepting that we won't get a photo at every game but doing our best.

To summarise the above, if you're a supporter of a team that's visiting The Valley, do head for the Rose of Denmark and look for us on the right of the bar bar near the TV and the french windows into the garden

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