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NEW ARTICLE: Window of Opportunity The Key to Success

Well if your New Year’s resolution was to ease back on the alcohol, then the current climate is really not helping your cause !

The current situation is pretty much unchartered waters for most Charlton fans. Of course there have many poor teams and disappointing results throughout our history, but never in the last fifty years have those teams carried such a strong degree of expectation from the supporters with them. On the surface, the vitriol thrown at a team fifth in a league and just seven points from the top is extremely disappointing, but then too, so are some the performances that have driven those to heap on the abuse.

The quaint, stepping stone job back into the top echelons of football management is proving more difficult for Alan Pardew than he first anticipated. And while the boo boys are being ridiculously harsh and unrealistic with their abuse, Pardew has not remained totally blameless in both his decision making and attempts to strengthen the team.

When Alan first arrived twelve months ago, there were two immediate flaws in the side that needed urgent address. At the centre of defensive, we simply were not up to the required standard, while the side as a whole urgently lacked an aggressive leader.

The former remains our Achilles heel to this day, with Pardew’s attempts to improve this area with Bougherra and McCarthy costing in excess of £3m, and doing little to achieve that goal. Whatever combination selected from Fortune, Sodje, Bougherra or McCarthy, it is simply not good enough for the top half of the Championship. Just one clean sheet in nine games is evidence that we will always be climbing hurdles. Success in football is always built with strong foundations at the back, and nowhere is it more imperative than this dire, physical league.

With a defence consistently conceding goals, penalties and doing their level best to get sent off, it’s essential we remain active at the opposite end of the pitch. While Iwelumo has toiled admirably in the human punchbag role, he was never acquired to be a top Championship striker. No one can doubt the injury sustained by Todorov was a disaster to our attacking options, but Varney and McLeod were signed for decent money, neither appear to be fully rated by the manager. McLeod in particular has disappointed when given a chance. Lower down the pecking order, Dickson proved prolific in League One with Gillingham, but the manager continued to support the view that a goal scorer in League One high in confidence is less worthy than an out of confidence or less than fully fit Championship striker.

When the anger of yesterday has calmed, the realism is that this current squad is not far away from being a successful side in this division. At present, we mirror the club equivalent to the national team. Pretty and laboured in approach play, toothless up front and riddled by defensive errors.

Pardew’s dealings in the current transfer window will be imperative as to whether he will be a success or a failure as our manager. If he is able to make one or two defensive signings that will make us tighter knit, physically stronger and more imposing to the aerial ball, we will move forward. If he additionally brings in a striker who can hit the ground running with goals, we will soon be back challenging for the automatic spots. Expect one of our failing strikers and defenders to move on in the process, but without positive additions to these two areas we will struggle to impose ourselves on the end of season shake-up.

Alan Pardew is not Wenger, but he is not a bad manager either, lets not lose sight of that. We desperately want him to be a success, and I believe we have more chance of being successfully with him at the helm than with 90% of the other managers on the circuit.

The next month will give an indication if that is likely to happen. If things turn for the better, you can make positive inroads very quickly in this league.

In the meantime, we must stay united and turn those boos into cheers. Fans are down, players are lacking confidence, we need to work together to turn it round, otherwise the current, imposing negativity will only spiral us lower.


  • Great, simply brilliant. You keep your head when all those around lose theirs.
  • Great article AFKA, this league can turn round so quickly particularly teams playing 3 games in a seven day period. Its all about minimizing the bad spells and maximising the good spells. Three points from twelve is still three points!
  • its not that long ago that Palace were certain relegation, Watford run away champions and Bristol city's bubble had burst, suddenly it has all changed and there is no logic to any of the changes, except maybe warnock and Palace, but even then he went 8 or so games without a win, so it could all change against Blackpool and we could go on that elusive winning streak and we'll all be wondering what the fuss was about.
  • exactly Kap. One win can quickly turn into an unbeaten run in this league, and when you get momentum, like an average team like Palace currently have, it can take you a long way in a short space of time.

    Hopefully their run would of ended in the next month !
  • when whispers go wrong no.2378563?
  • more a case of when damn computer goes wrong 205405490
  • Excellent article AFKA.
  • I agree with what AFKA says but the long term evidence at home says otherwise.

    It has been like having teeth pulled for far too long down there and if Pardew only does bring in one new face in I can't see much changing for this season.

    He's had more money than nearly any other Manager in this league and yet to spend it on a player as poor as McCarthy is just scary.

    Having said that this League is pretty bloody awful and having seen Palace's side on Saturday they really are *very* average and yet they've gone on a great run.

    My faith in Pardew has wained and he (and most of the players) needs to pull his finger out pretty bloody sharpish.

    When you're hoping Darren Ambrose gets fit quickly you know it's panic time!
  • edited January 2008
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