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Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday match reports,,2093-2509146,00.html

I haven't read anything which hits the nail on the head quite as hard as this...

Charlton 0 Liverpool 3: Charlton left in turmoil
Rob Hughes at The Valley
The shadows crossing over The Valley are deepening alarmingly for Charlton. While Liverpool are a goal-scoring team now, 11 in their past three matches, this could and should have been so many more against a Charlton team that did not defend with the basics, that did not exhibit a true passion for the club or for their own careers.

The sadness of watching that, and of having to communicate the gut feeling is considerably exacerbated by having a true admiration for the way this club was saved by its own supporters. Alan Curbishley has gone for good, gone just up the river to his boyhood home of West Ham. But very quickly Charlton have to realise the old complacency, that while he was here they would find a calm road out of troubles, has to be replaced.

Whether Les Reed, a man in his 50s, one of those articulate technical directors from the FA, can solve their problems, grows more doubtful by the week. He is pleasant, he talks of “identifying and eradicating” causes for the failures, yet surely this club, with highly paid professionals, needs a true football manager? It needs, to be blunt, somebody to say to the likes of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink that either they put in the effort or they can go immediately, irrespective of the pay-off.

Harsh? It must have been harsher still being a Charlton Athletic supporter yesterday. The game was effectively up after just two minutes when Djimi Traore had a rush of blood. The ball had been crossed from the left by Mark Gonzalez, but Traore, 6ft-plus, had principally the diminutive Jermaine Pennant to see off. For some inexplicable reason Traore didn’t head the ball, he raised his boot to shoulder height; it caught Pennant in the face, a clear and proper penalty, despatched with aplomb by Xabi Alonso.

Floodgates might well have opened thereafter. Liverpool squandered chances, particularly the workaholic Dirk Kuyt. He was, or should have been, the beneficiary of tremendous pace, movement and vision shown throughout by Craig Bellamy.

And though the Dutchman, unlike the Dutchman on the opposing side, put in effort to burn, the chances from his boots went begging to the extent Charlton might have been reprieved before the interval. Andy Reid, quite their best player until he succumbed to a recurrence of a hamstring injury, preyed on space and misunderstanding on Liverpool’s left flank.


The home club looked almost like an orphan. Reed, given a three-year contract just a week ago, still talks with quiet, school-masterly determination, about setting a survival target of 42 points. He talks also and often about the Prozone feedback that, he deems, showed in the 5-1 defeat at Tottenham last weekend they actually outdid Spurs on several counts. Maybe it is late in the day for him to confront the difference between Prozone statistics and motivating overpriced egos. Just about the only real passion we saw from Hasselbaink was after the final whistle, when he expended more energy in haranguing the referee than he had exhibited in the cause of his latest team.

Rafael Benitez will have to start thinking soon enough about how to contain Barcelona in the Champions League, rather than knocking over compliant teams like this, but as someone said as we left the stadium built on fan power, we cannot quite envisage Hasselbaink lamenting, when he leaves here, that he is sad about the club with the community spirit.

Star Man: Craig Bellamy (Liverpool)


  • Why can everyone see it except the people in charge? What the heck do they think is going on at the moment? Les Reed has obviously "lost " the dressing room, if he ever "had" it in the first place. Something has to be done now!!
  • I read that earlier and thought exactly the same. In quite a few of the Sundays they have given us - the fans - a bit of sympathy. Makes a change I suppose.

    (Christ, I'm looking for crumbs here, aren't I?!)
  • edited December 2006
    We're never going to get an easy ride from the press - the "Curbs Out" twats of a couple of years ago saw to that, and there's people who still think we were terribly rude to object to Scott Parker upping sticks. Small clubs, know your place, and all that.

    But the impression of surrender on the pitch looks like it's being matched by the impression of surrender from the board. What's happening? Does anybody care anymore?
  • [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]But the impression of surrender on the pitch looks like it's being matched by the impression of surrender from the board. What's happening? Does anybody care anymore?

    Spot on Inspector, to be honest I am as shocked by the lack of meaningful reaction from the board as I am by the performances on the pitch.

    PS.Nice to finally meet you yesterday, as well.
  • Good to meet you too, sir.

    But what happens now? "Sack the board" is ludicrous. Richard Murray must know he's burning his own cash here. But the board need to answer for what's happened to our club.
  • Must say I was worried by Les Reed's comments in yesterday's programme about the video and prozone info following the Spurs game. A 5-1 loss tells a better story. It's like being told crime rates are falling the day after you got mugged and had your house burgled. What do you belive - what you are told or what you see with your own eyes. Be interested to see the prozone stats from yesterday, though!
  • The only potential upside from our current predicament is that Richard Murray, after 15 years of hard graft and constant provision of his own cash, may now decide that enough is enough and try to find a new investor in the club. Not that this will be easy with us plunging head first into the Championship.
  • [cite]Posted By: sasha_saves[/cite]Be interested to see the prozone stats from yesterday, though!

    don't. you will end up on prozac!
  • Patrick Collins in the Mail on Sunday:
    We found ourselves wondering how this decent,well-run,upwardly mobile club could become a basket case inside half a season. It is surely too easy to blame the managers, better perhaps to look for answers at executive level. In fairness, the people who sanctioned the acquisition of such as Amdy Faye and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink must not escape censure. Faye was so vapid, so hopelessly indifferent that The Valley burst into cheers of relief when he was withdrawn after an hour.

    Hasselbaink performed like a man who finds the money agreeable and the work repugnant. He grumbled, he flapped his arms and he stamped his foot. Sadly, he failed to make the hard yards, the stretching runs, the muscular challenges which are the least that the striking role demands. Imagine the kind of footballer that a relegation side can most easily live without, and you have Hasselbaink’s performance yesterday.
  • I like the intro to No Festive Cheer For Reed by Matt Barlow, also in the Mail On Sunday
    First Rafa Benitez insisted his team can still win the title, then Les Reed claimed he can keep Charlton up. The managers, it seemed, had been caning the Christmas sherry. Their speech was not slurred but their judgment was.
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