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NEW ARTICLE: 2011 Charlton Review - April / May

With the damage done in Miserable March, the final stretch of the season proved a long, uninspiring affair. The play-offs now an unrealistic consideration, the tail-end was dominated by talk of who out of the sorry bunch of players would still be wearing red next season, and even whether the immaculately dressed manager would still be parading the technical area.

April started well. Leyton Orient came to The Valley, and one of those rare feelgood moments was provided towards the end of the 3-1 victory when Jose Vitor Semedo registered his first Valley strike after 146 appearances for the club. Whether Semedo was good for the Addicks or not has been a long running debate, but what cannot be doubted was his popularity with the fans due to his committed approach. His goal did not bring the roof off to the extent of Powell's strike in his last ever Charlton appearance, but it was certainlty a nice moment, and prompted an avalanche of badge-slapping, badge-kissing, praying to God, praying to the Covered End that only a continental player could ever do justice. After the game, Semedo gave an emotional Gwyneth Paltrow-like performance to state "to score here is something I can't explain - it was all for them, the fans. That goal was for them. It meant a lot because of all the love the Charlton fans have given to me. I definitely want to stay here. At the moment, no one has said anything to me about a new contract, but my first choice is to stay here.If they give me a contract here for all of my life, I would sign it. This is my home and I would stay here all my life". Semedo was to sign for Sheffield Wednesday within three months.

The win was the first the Addicks had recorded since 12th February. Rather than provide a springboard for a strong finish to the run in, only one more win was to emerge during the final seven games, ending the season with a dire record of just two wins in nineteen matches. Five of those final seven matches saw the reds fail to even register a goal, with defeats to Southampton, Huddersfield and Walsall matched with draws against Oldham, Bristol Rovers and Hartlepool. Only a comfortable home win against Rochdale on Easter Monday, and the sight of a few dozen Hartlepool fans kitted out in full Oompa Loompa attire provided anything worthy of a smile during those final stages.

The Hartlepool match ended a drab 0-0, a fitting uninspiring end to what had proved to be the lowest finishing position of a Charlton team since 1973/74.

A hell of a lot of work was clearly ahead in the summer. At this point in time, not too many supporters had any real ideal of just the extent that would prove to be.

Powell said ahead of the final game "It has been a disappointment, without a doubt. We've had a few highs, too many lows. We know the ethos of this club and what it has always been built on. And that has to be at the forefront of players' minds when
they walk in this building and out at The Valley. It's a season for me to say this is my team and my squad and this is how we're going to do it, and then give them the belief and the tools so that they can go out there and get results home and away. We know how
big a season it is for us. I've earmarked a few signings, but obviously you have to get them over the finishing line and that is no small feat. We're well under way in that process - it won't happen straight away, but we'll get there. The owner is very excited about the forthcoming season and what we're trying to do. And I'm sure with the help of the people up top, we can get the right players here and improve things little by little in our quest to move on forward."

In the programme for the final game, Chairman Michael Slater offered the following "Given our league position at the turn of the year, I'm sure many fans will view this season as an opportunity missed, but that's not how I see it. I'm in the privileged position of knowing what's going on
behind the scenes - seeing the investment being made in the academy and in our scouting set-up. So, will this investment alone secure promotion? No. What it will do is create solid foundations so that when we are promoted, we have a strong platform from which we can push on. "What will bring promotion is building the right squad. This will require more immediate investment, and the process has already begun in earnest.

"I want to see a squad of players at The Valley that shows the same level of passion and commitment to this club that he exhibited as a player. I want to see the same energy that Scott Wagstaff shows every time he takes the field. I want to see the same authority that Christian Dailly exudes. And I want Johnnie Jackson's Achilles tendon to heal! Next season, there will be new faces combined with the existing squad members who have impressed Chris, plus young players coming though the academy. 

"Incoming managers at any club often say that to achieve success, they need to build their own team. I've been cynical when I've heard this in the past, but, from my privileged vantage point, I don't doubt the truth of the comment. In fairness to Chris, he hasn't said this to me, but it's a fact that he and the board understand. This summer will be a very important period for the club. We will start next season with financial security and proper foundations for the future. The last piece in the current jigsaw is a squad that will produce the sort of performances you expect and that should win promotion to the Championship.

"Tony Jimenez and I believe that the team Chris creates should be able to not only win promotion, but compete in the Championship."Norwich City have this season proved that this is possible and I wouldn't be surprised if Southampton do something similar next term.That has to be our next objective. There is a gulf between the Premier League and the Championship, but only a small gap between the Championship and League One. Monday is when the real work starts, and August 6th is when the fun begins. I can't wait. See you next season.

"Onwards and upwards!"

So the chairman was clear right from the outset of the close season; Chris Powell will be remaining as manager, and the board will do what they can to deliver a squad to compete for promotion.

Rallying words, but will they prove accurate ?

See you in August.........


  • edited December 2011
    I wasn't at that last game, so didn't see those notes from Michael Slater.  But I find it so interesting that he picked out Southampton as the team that would do well in the Championship this season, rather than say Brighton.  So far, he's been vindicated, hasn't he?
  • Onwards and upwards indeed
  • Best thing about those 2 months was the end. Saturdays became enjoyable again!

  • Slightly off topic but if Slater and the board have put a foot wrong in the one year since taking over then I would like to know what it is.
  • Good read. Thanks.
  • Very prophetic from Slater even down to the Southampton reference. Impressive.
  • what was the major events in the news away from charlton?
  • There weren't any. There is only Charlton Life.
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