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NEW ARTICLE: Standing up for what you believe and Hoping for Powell

You know how football is today. Every defeat is a crisis
- Arsene Wenger on Saturday

Arsene Wenger and Arsenal were supposedly in crisis six weeks ago. With pressure and discontent building through last season and the summer, the dire opening day defeat to Aston Villa was viewed as the final straw for many. That’s it now, he’s taken that club as far as he can and change is needed. Now. Since that day, Arsenal have won nine games in a row and sit at the top of the Premier League.

Steve Lomas was the devil reincarnated at Millwall. Winless in the opening six league games, the 5-1 thrashing at home to Derby was seen to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Along with his West Ham connections, he was viewed by our mouth-frothing neighbours as being the most clueless manager in their history. Three games and three victories on, they are settled and organised. The crisis is no more.

It is very easy to pick out examples such as the above when looking to make a specific point to back an argument. Of course, every situation is different and there can be no generic ‘model of approach’. But the point I’m trying to make is that there are very few bad, clueless managers in the game. They all come from a long background in football, have been on the same courses, would have worked under a wealth of different managers styles and systems. In the short-term, managing people is the main bridge to cross, and in the long-term, an eye for a player and the ability to get individuals playing as a cohesive, committed unit keeps you progressing.

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Since Day One, and in every single day since, those of us involved behind the scenes at Charlton Life have thrown 100% support behind Chris Powell. To some, showing such support is viewed as pathetic, bizarre, and a weakness. The reason we so whole-heartedly have backed our man is because he has deserved that loyalty, and that we are realistic enough to know that managerial perfection is ridiculously unlikely in League One and the Championship of English football.

We expect him to occasionally pick what proves to be the wrong players, or the wrong formation, we expect that sometimes he’ll be too late making substitutions, or making the incorrect subs. We expect that, because we would expect that off every single other manager.

People’s demands and expectations have changed beyond comprehension in the past 10-20 years. 24-hr news, social media and technology in general mean people now demand and can fulfil instant gratification. People won’t wait 5 seconds for a web page to download when 10 years ago they would happily have waited 30 seconds. 20% will already clicked away already by the end of the article, 50% won't have finished it because 1,300 words are too much for to read nowadays.

Football is no different; a crisis can be formed within a week, and with multiple social media outlets at the shock-jocks disposal, it never takes long for the negative bus to ride into town. Some people have been calling for Chris Powell to be sacked in three of his four managerial season’s with the club.


We don’t see Chris Powell as perfect, far from it. Nor are we blind to his faults and failures. There is a clear caution-first approach to our tactics, we look lost in terms of game plan when Yann is not fit, and his demeanour has not appeared right this season. If the budget really is so tight, then giving new contracts to Hughes and Gower could be viewed as being too loyal to players he respected when real improvement was needed in the centre of the pitch. Additionally, yet another dire and flat Millwall performance (on the back of a run of disappointing derby performances last term) is a huge black mark against a manager who should know this club better than everyone.

But countering that he dismantled a failing team, rebuilt (with an outlay, but not a ridiculously crazy one) a brand new squad that all bought into his mantra, played effective football in a cohesive unit, and most important of all, delivered. He then with minimal outlay, kept that squad tight enough to outperform and secure a top ten finish at a higher level when that same squad could easily have slipped into the relegation mix had it not remained so tight. Now, with what appears a major reduction in senior players and budget, it appears to possibly have been one plaster too many.

Something has not been right, not just in the last couple of games, but all season. I wrote just two games into the season of potential staleness and discontent on display. This has not appeared a happy camp since the end of last season, that is clear. Those with connections to ‘people in the game’ endorse the belief that there is a lot of unhappiness across the board behind the scenes at our club. We can all argue until we are blue in the face whose fault that may be, but ultimately it will do little good.

With a key international break on the horizon, three things have to happen in the short-term;

1. There should be no panic. The facts will tell you that we are not even in the relegation zone and that there are still 38 leagues games (plus our solitary FA Cup outing) still to play for this season. Additionally, the three highest-ranked outfield players from last season (Solly, Kermorgant and Cort), have been missing, alongside last season’s influential captain Jackson. Those professing the direness of a situation are plain exaggerating. There are clear warning signs, but it is by no means terminal, and is has clearly not helped having four out of ten senior outfield players absent.

2. There has to some form of a pick-up. It may well not come with results in the next couple of games but there has to be a distinct fear and belief shown by those on the pitch that they are playing for their lives. Players like Hamer, Morrison and Wiggins need to rediscover form, the manager has to find the right combination in midfield, and everyone has to step up to the mark. We simply can’t afford to carry anyone in the short-term.

3. The supporters continue to give everything they have once that whistle is blown to get behind whoever is representing that team in red and the manager on the sidelines. Our support has not been the poisonous backdrop some profess, it has been on the whole patient, encouraging and supportive given circumstances. Last year our crowd lifted our club out of a potential crisis on a couple of occasions. Let’s make sure we provide the platform to make that possible again.

If there is no sign of improvement in the next few games, then it becomes more and more obvious that some form of change may well be necessary. Whether that will prove the fillip needed to spark the end of a slump, or it will then see us sink further on a downward spiral (a la post-Dowie), none of us know.

But for now, Powell needs that support, the team need that support. They collectively have earned it in the past and we desperately want them to come through it together.

If you are attending either or both of the next two home games, remember why you are there, remember all the good things this squad has proved in the last two years, remember what a great success and ‘fit’ Powell has been to our club through the last 15 years, nearly 250 playing games and nearly three years of management.

It probably won’t have much influence whatsoever. But sometimes football matches and careers can be defined by the smallest of margins.

Don’t ever feel ashamed to be a ‘supporter’.

Come on you Addicks !!

(and thanks for making it to the end!)
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Comments

  • Could not agree more. Thank you so much for that post.
  • Good read afka as always
  • Rally the troops call is just what is required. SCP is the man to get us back on track. 100% support for me.
  • well said. We need to try and get behind the team tomorrow like Cardiff at home.
  • Good article, well written and fully agree but as you say yourself some fans have wanted Powell out every season he has been here. Not all the time but just when things haven't been going fantastically well.

    They either "see the light" and hail SCP as the right man after a few wins only to revert again to type a few months later or hide away until the next opportunity to whinge appears.

    It will make no difference to them as you can't argue with a sick mind.

    100% support for SCP.
  • Well done AFKA great post. we all need to stick together,this manager and this squad have given us many moments of pleasure over the last two years,and it is now time to go through some of the pain and tough times that every team in football succumbs to every now and then.We can and will pull through this and be better for it,we've done it before and well do it again so tomorrow night lets get behind the boys and chrissy because charlton is what we know and what we love and always will be.
  • Another very good article, AFKA: well-reasoned and gracefully written. I agree with much of what you say, especially in nailing the misconception that our support is in any way "poisonous"; we are "patient, encouraging and supportive", just as you say. In fact, you may remember that after the final game of last season, Powell came on to the pitch and - choked with tears - he thanked us for our patience during a campaign in which we lost nine league and two cup games at home. Any manager would be grateful for our tolerance.
  • Another gem, AFKA . Definitely hits the spot.

    This should be compulsory reading for every Charlton fan attending tomorrow evening.
  • i'm getting off my sick bed and getting down there on crutches tomorrow and Saturday for my first appearance of the season , not for the football cos we're shit but cos i love SCP
  • Great article and raises the point about the bizarre nature of football management. Must be the only profession where you can fail so badly at one establishment and walk straight into another one.

    Is Paul Ince a good manager or a poor one?

    Mick McCarthy?

    Mark Hughes?

    Darren Ferguson?

    Gianfranco Zola?

    They have all been sacked. All been subjected to abuse and ridicule. But all now are managing teams near the top of their respective leagues (McCarthy aside - although he did rescue Ipswich last season).

    Chris Powell? To me a good manager going through a bad patch. Like any manager, at any club, in any league across the world. Even the best get it wrong at times - he should be the one given the opportunity to put it right again.
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  • Eloquently put AFKA. When you think that Man Utd are sitting with 7 points from 6 games, it shows what a fickle game football can be. Patience is needed but also support, support, and support! Come on you Reds! I wondered if I would ever see another 'Cardifff' reaction from the crowd and team, well the next two home games are the place to produce it again.
  • Another gem, AFKA . Definitely hits the spot.

    This should be compulsory reading for every Charlton fan attending tomorrow evening.

    Can't put it any better than this. Or indeed than you put it AFKA, great article. Again.
  • edited September 2013
    Great article, AFKA. I like to think that the vast majority of Charlton fans, as decent as the gaffer, would feel the same way. We simply have to drown out the boo boys, who I believe are a noisy minority.
  • I did something I have never done or felt compelled to do before earlier today. I wrote SCP a letter telling him that all of my family, going to the Valley since the 1930s, had complete trust in him to lead our club through good times and bad, and that whatever happens over the next couple of matches and even if some fans get on his back, the vast majority support him, and my family supports him on a personal level through thick and thin. I let him know it was the opinion of and support from all of my family members with ages ranging from 11 to 93.

    A small insignificant gesture but I'm hoping if he gets a few other letters through the post like mine over the coming days it may play some small part in helping him keep the faith if things don't go our way.

    First letter I have written on actual paper and sent through the actual mail for years... maybe this century.

    (so based on the above you can probably tell I think it's a great article AFKA!)
  • good article AFKA
    so we play Forest tomorrow who beat us twice last season,therefore it is quite likely they will beat us again, that won't be a disaster as the game at Burnley wasn't a disaster, as you say we have to support the manager and the team.

    we are Charlton
  • I did something I have never done or felt compelled to do before earlier today. I wrote SCP a letter telling him that all of my family, going to the Valley since the 1930s, had complete trust in him to lead our club through good times and bad, and that whatever happens over the next couple of matches and even if some fans get on his back, the vast majority support him, and my family supports him on a personal level through thick and thin. I let him know it was the opinion of and support from all of my family members with ages ranging from 11 to 93.

    A small insignificant gesture but I'm hoping if he gets a few other letters through the post like mine over the coming days it may play some small part in helping him keep the faith if things don't go our way.

    First letter I have written on actual paper and sent through the actual mail for years... maybe this century.

    (so based on the above you can probably tell I think it's a great article AFKA!)

    Good for you mate; a lovely idea.
  • excellent post,

  • Well said Smudge

    I just hope and wish that those who wish bad upon Chris powell pipe down, and support the club some of the stuff wrote on here about the Mgr and his tactical nous has been borderline insane
  • I did something I have never done or felt compelled to do before earlier today. I wrote SCP a letter telling him that all of my family, going to the Valley since the 1930s, had complete trust in him to lead our club through good times and bad, and that whatever happens over the next couple of matches and even if some fans get on his back, the vast majority support him, and my family supports him on a personal level through thick and thin. I let him know it was the opinion of and support from all of my family members with ages ranging from 11 to 93.

    A small insignificant gesture but I'm hoping if he gets a few other letters through the post like mine over the coming days it may play some small part in helping him keep the faith if things don't go our way.

    First letter I have written on actual paper and sent through the actual mail for years... maybe this century.

    (so based on the above you can probably tell I think it's a great article AFKA!)

    Fantastic

    Both you and AFKA

    waiting to board the plane. To Home.

    Come on you Reds!
  • Great article AFKA, completely agree.
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  • Could someone please summarise the article, it was just too long for me to read I am afraid. I am a busy man with many websites to moan on!

    Good article AFKA, Chris Powell will remain a legend to me no matter what happens. He has turned it around before and I fully expect he can again.

    I read a post on here about a week ago which I thought was excellent, about taking the emotion out of it and looking at his record as an outsider, promotion in first full year, great first season after promotion and a sticky start to third year after budget was pulled...sounds like the ex Reading manager (bald chap who's name escapes me) when he was sacked and what a crazy decision that was.

    I will be at both games giving my whole hearted support.
  • Great article - 100% support for Chris Powell and 100% support for AFKA. :-)
  • nargh not really only joshing, well said afka agree wholeheartedly.
  • Great post AFKA and I will be giving both CP & the team my wholehearted support over the next couple of games.
  • Good man Golfie, and thanks all.
  • Well said, AFKA.
  • Never gone to a game wanting to see Charlton lose, and i'm not starting now. Good piece.
  • Excellent post AFKA - I'll be there for both games.
  • Great post mate

    Expect defeat tomorrow if I'm honest but always look forward to a game under the lights, hope every Charlton fan in the ground tomorrow gets behind them
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Roland Out!