Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Holding Our Position

Yep ! We're still there !

After school football commitments prevented me from getting to tonight's game. Lucky me it seems !

Never mind another defeat, another goalless game, another early goal conceded, another 5 yellow cards and yet another red card - it seems that this was a real gutless performance. 

With every passing game ( no pun intended ) Robinson is increasingly exposed. He really is out of his depth. Constantly changing the starting eleven using the same formation and still unable to produce anything more than plucky draws at best.

Maybe the players have now had their fill of the manager too. If so, then matters are even worse than ever.

Those players do need to take a large share of the blame too though as I'm not impressed with anyone wearing our shirt and not giving it their all.

Robinson will no doubt talk a lot as ever without actually saying anything. however, when one calmly analyses our performances and results during his tenure they don't make good reading - possibly with the exception of possession stats !

Our disciplinary record alone has been shocking. I think that's 4 red cards in the last 6 games ? Not far off if not totally accurate. 

There are many questions that the manager needs to answer in terms of all of above and you can add to that the recent player recruitment. Da Silva is a case in point - is he just here to warm the bench ?

Some will argue that no manager could enjoy any success under Roly and they have a point. However, I have always felt that Robinson isn't right for our club and wouldn't be successful no matter who owned us.

Robinson aside tonight's dreadful loss played out in front of a pathetic crowd with an atmosphere to match serves to underline just what Duchatelet has brought us to in just 3 years. It further validates the protests in Belgium on 4th March.

I fail to see how anyone can stand up for Roly as the declines continues I really don't know. The only consolation we can take is that each passing day brings us closed to his going. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Oop North Again

It's usually the case for The Addicks

A second game in 5 days in the north awaits on Saturday as Robinson leads his charges into Spotland.

2 points from the last 3 games isn’t what anyone ordered especially with a number of players returning from injuries and suspension resulting in a stronger squad. 

Off the pitch and Kennedy has now joined Hanlan on loan and Kevin Nugent has got himself the manager’s job at Barnet. Good luck to all of them. 

With our misfiring strikers these lads must wonder why they were deemed surplus to requirements. I’ve not seen Mavididi but one wonders if he’s really that much better than those two. 

Valentine’s Day is probably best forgotten and it’s to be hoped that fellow Addicks had more joy in scoring than our boys !

The one good thing arising from Tuesday was that there was no one red card and that’s one thing we’ve arrested……. for now.

It’s difficult to see how we can possibly get into the playoffs given that we lack any consistency. 

Tuesday saw Robinson make a few unforced changes that left most baffled. I understand doing so if your hand is forced but they did seem unnecessary.

Oh for a settled side. Why not ? No one is knocking on the door particularly. Aside from which are we really going to see out the season playing Robinson favoured and apparently only system right to the end of April ?

Surely he must consider another formation if his preferred one continues to fail to deliver. Sadly, I fear he won’t even if only for self-preservation but he seems so wedded to it.

I appreciate that he’s not had enough backing from RD and one would hope that even Robinson himself realises what we all knew – he was never going to get it.

Nonetheless there is still a squad of half decent players that he ought to be getting a lot more out of. To a degree I think he’ll find himself with the thankless task of trying to motivate the likes of our loanees who will have no particular reason to put themselves out too much.

Robinson’s penchant for too much chat and over-egging the pudding continues to make him look silly. Of late we’ve had the marquee signing, the new Deli Alli, nearly every player would walk into any League One side etc. – the list goes on.

You’d like to think that the postponement of the press conference is as a result of him taking time to deliver some sensible and rational words today but one doubts it.

2017 has been far from great for Rochdale as they’ve recorded just one league win since the turn of the year. In fact ,I note that they haven’t scored for 474 minutes ! Wow ! Should be a goal fest !

Maybe even one goal would be enough for us then never mind the two that Robinson craves.

Good luck to everyone going on Saturday. I hope you are rewarded for your efforts and that we come away with the 3 points.

Come On You Reds !

Sunday, 12 February 2017

" There has to be an element of control "

" I know it's about the fight and competing for survival in one of the most difficult leagues in Europe but there has to be an element of control ".

Most Addicks don't need telling or reminding who uttered those words nearly a year ago shortly before demanding that Sanago be banned for the rest of the season after collecting a red card for elbowing a Dons player. Sanogo apologised later - presumably he was wound up after the Dons player said something that didn't belong in any industry.

Regular readers of this blog will know I wasn't in football parlance, over the moon, when Robinson was appointed as our manager. I know most of us wanted a British manager ( although I would qualify that by saying we wanted a manager with proven success in the football leagues ) but that didn't mean that was the sole criteria.

To be clear that wasn't just because Robinson has a track record of rubbishing officials and seemingly blaming them for every defeat his teams suffer. Nor was it just because he talks a lot, in fact a hell of a lot without actually saying anything meaningful.

It wasn't just because his teams are set up to have a lot possession with that apparently being more important almost than scoring goals.

It was the whole package that led me to believe he wasn't at all suited to manage our club. I know we've had some less than wonderful gaffers in the last 3 years but none has quite dismayed me as much as the current incumbent.

I had, perhaps naively, hoped that he might have moved on a bit following a short spell out of the game. Maybe he'd taken the time to reflect on all aspects of his management. Maybe he'd leave the waffle behind and some other less appealing aspects of his management style.

Saturday's final whistle and events immediately following it confirmed that in no way has there been any change. His behaviour not only reflected badly on him but brought more embarrassment to our club.

No wonder we've had 3 red cards in successive games. Byrne's tackle last week didn't look good to me but Robinson saw fit to applaud him off the pitch and pat him on the back. Why endorse that ?

Where does Robinson go from here ? I fail to see how he can discipline any player for transgressing on the pitch. Maybe he'll refund Tex the fine he imposed after the Portuguese threw the ball at Morison. After all he suffered physical rather than verbal abuse that some would argue is worse.

Robinson has brought with him a whole lot of baggage that ranges from his dislike of officials and vice versa to other clubs supporters feeling the same way.

Let's be clear Robinson did cop a load of stick on Saturday and that banner was a step too far. Their point could have been better made without the use of the C word. However, he must have been expecting it and a lot of it would have been of his own making.

Wimbledon ought to be a  club with whom we have a great affinity given our respective histories. Sadly, Saturday will have done a deal of damage to any relationship. Let's hope it restricted to Robinson himself.

No doubt there are other clubs whose fans share a similar dislike of the man. Peterborough are probably one.

Some folk are keen to defend the manager citing his passion. Is this the same sort of passion that saw Rosler antagonise our fans last week or some Millwall fans behave the way they do ? Maybe those Robinson apologists believe they can selective in their definition of this " passion ".

Two games played in February and the main talking points arising are referees and a post-match altercation with a groundsman. That's probably just as well for Robinson otherwise we'd start to examine football matters and ask questions such as why we can have so much possession and not score more than one goal.

Why one of our best strikers is playing left mid ? Why he can't set his team up to play a system that doesn't involve one man up front ?

Why when apparently have so many good players including the latest Deli Alli are we floundering in mid-table ?

It seems the players do want to play for him despite all the off field nonsense and waffle and at present to me that's all Robinson has and needs to cling onto. However, more episodes like Saturday allied to poor results even his greatest advocate will desert him.

Since his appointment Robinson has been keen to tell us what a massive club we are and cites our history and tradition and how he is honoured to be our manager. All very good but with it comes a great deal of responsibility. He needs to ensure that his words and deeds match the rhetoric.

Time to clean up his act for as much as he likes a drink he won't want to be drinking in the last chance saloon too often.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Conversational Karl

Shoot ! 

We caught up with a relaxed  Karl Robinson ahead of Saturday's trip to AFC Wimbledon.

ANEM - Good morning Karl.

KR - It is a good morning but that could change at any moment as a result of a poor decision by a referee who just doesn't want a big club like ours to enjoy itself upto the noon hour. Having said all that, let me be frank..............oops the cat just did a whoopsy in my beret....only joking lad, I'm not Frank Spencer.....there seems to be real desire, passion from others, maybe they're jealous or whatever that a massive club like ours can't enjoy our elevenses. Talking of which I like a good brew, made properly in a cup like but with our history the teabag stays longer in the cup than us - Ho ! Ho ! you can have that one lad !

ANEM - Karl what attracted you to Charlton. You must have had to give it some thought given the problems since it has been under the ownership of the Belgian businessman,  Roland Duchatelet ?

KR - Well, Belgium is known for its waffles and I like a good waffle me ! You can have that one lad ! Having met with the President and Katrienne I sensed a desire, a passion, a belief to play for the badge er I mean turn things around plus I was out of work and hadn't had an interview for months, was starting to talk myself in the kitchen for half an hour or so until I realised the light came from the fridge not the assembled media corps.

ANEM - How have you taken to the players and in turn, how have they taken to you ?

KR - They've been great since I first walked through the door. There are some real characters in that dressing room like Tony, Pagey, Ruddy, Finchy, Monkey Harris etc. I think they're responding to me as a manager. Well, I say manager but really I've created an atmosphere where I'm a friend first, boss second. Probably an entertainer third.

ANEM - You have said you hope that you can heal the rift between the owner and the fans. Do you still believe you can do that and how can you achieve it ?

KR - It's all about everyone - the owner, the fans, the players, the board.....Wirral in this together ! You can have the one lad !

Seriously, it's about the desire, the passion, the belief, the badge, the desire, the willingness to put things right by working together with a desire. I have tremendous passion and affection for this football club - cut me and I bleed red !

ANEM - Some people have accused you of talking too much in interviews. Is that a fair criticism ?

DB - It has been said occasionally. Someone accused me the other day of being verbose. I don't know what that means but I think they've got too much to say for themselves. Another said I had verbal diarrhea but they're full of sh**e.

ANEM - Fair enough. If I can ask you one more question about interviews. I think this impression of talking too much is that your interviews are repetitive and full of cliches. Is that fair ?

DB - At the end of the day people can think what they like. I talk a bit but I believe that's all down to my desire, passion and belief as I want to take this football club forward. I'd be over the moon if we can do that together. It won't happen overnight, it's a marathon not a sprint and you need to grab the low hanging fruit whilst not disturbing the cuckoo in the nest to make small gains - not to mention the elephant in the room.

By the way I once shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know ! You can have that one lad !

ANEM - You have been accused of saying the same things about Charlton as you did your previous club. Again, do you think that's fair ?

DB - Well, the only ones that matter are the fans. I know from the noise, support and atmosphere that comes from the Kop, Cowshed er South Stand tells me that they like what I'm doing. If I refuse to speak to you who am I letting down ? The fans, the people who allow our game to be the greatest game in the world in our country.

It was at this point when fiction and reality became blurred we took a breather. The second part of the interview where we ask Karl about what every Charlton fan really wants to know - his views on Saturdays big game............Liverpool v Spurs will follow soon.

Watch this space !

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Bad Day At The Office

When the board went up indicating that another 10 minutes would be played you feared the worst. This is Charlton after all.

The largest chunk of time to be added on was, of course, due to the time it took to get the fourth official to replace the senior lino. What a pigging mess ! Even then the incompetent ref who loved being in the limelight found time to reprimand Robinson for coming onto the pitch.

Such was the inconsistency and overall poor performance of the referee pushes Mr Stoud for the most inept that we've seen at The Valley this season.

However, to focus on the officials would be to ignore the greater reason for yesterday's draw against another high flying team that looked very ordinary. This was a game that should have been put to bed long before that 10 minute board went up.

The reason it wasn't was down to media luvvie Robinson. Fresh from meetings with Henry Winter and a handful of fans he made some poor decisions. These are fast becoming the main feature of his stewardship.

The Times interview is an interesting one as it referenced his aforementioned meeting with fans even though it didn't happen until 24 hours later. The Winter interview was seemingly little more than a PR exercise with Robinson apparently being the latest mouthpiece for the club.

Call me a cynic but I'm not buying that Katiren is remorseful and cares passionately about the club. Apparently she wants to learn on the job. Ridiculous ! This is the position of CEO of a pedigree football club not the office junior. Aside from which the only lesson learned to date is that she needs to remain silent.

Back to matters on the pitch. Robinson again persisted with one up front at a time when we simply don't have a player capable of performing that role. Watt worked hard but it simply wasn't going to work.

Time and again the Scot got the ball but there was no one to assist him. We could all see that as much much as we could all see that the tippy-tappy football that is the hallmark of Robinson's teams delivered us a lot of possession but little goal threat.

It took over half an hour before we have a shot on target. Overall I think we only had 2 shots on target. Sadly, there is no other way the manager wants to play so we're stuck with it and we were never able to pressure their defence as a result.

As the second half wore on you always felt that the equaliser was coming and indeed they so nearly grabbed a winner but for the width of a post.

Robinson's poor choice of subs further weakened the team. Skip should not have come on to play in a position he's not occupied for many a year. His only possible role in the team is as a defensive mid - end of.

Solly or Konsa could have moved to left back had Tex come on at that time. Then we saw Watt play wide left so we were really exposed there and Fleetwood knew it and focused on that side.

Byrne's red card looked deserved albeit that I've only seen it once. His foot looks to be unnecessarily high and he paid the price, We can do without losing any player for 3 games in this busy February.

This was our 3rd successive red card. We are adding to our problems.

Given Robinson's refusal to adopt any other system the return of Josh can't come soon enough. Without him we don't carry a serious and sustained goal threat.

February is make or break time and it has started badly. I don't see us emerging from it in a good position. 

Please do the talking on the pitch Mr Robinson.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Fleetwood Mac ?

Mick, notoriously very hairy

Uwe, not so much........

Bob Peeters old mate Uwe stumps on Saturday with his latest charges. Both as a player and a manager the hot headed Rosler never stays long at any club. Despite looking a lot older the German is 48 - perhaps packing tea chests every couple of years or so has aged him.

All that aside, it seems that the former City player is doing a good job for the Fishermen. They are currently unbeaten in the league since November. Their only defeat since then came in the FA cup to Bristol City. Maybe that their nickname is The Robins is a good omen ?

With The Addicks on an unbeaten run of 5 games including last week's backs to the wall win over Bolton it ought to be a good game. Of course one is rarely let down by Charlton as we know so it's guaranteed to be a cracker !

The fact Fox has been sold to Sheffield Wednesday and Page is suspended must give rise to the possibility of............no stop it ! It couldn't possible happen and I'm deluding myself. Why did I ever even entertain the thought ? For one moment I was letting my mind run away with the idea that Adam Chicksen might start a game at left back. Yes, I know ! Ludicrous isn't it ?

Tex has served his suspension after losing it over the charmless Morison and Holmes returns, add in the new acquisitions and there is now a bit of competition for places and Robinson has some choices to make.

I assume that Watt will occupy the lone striker role even though he isn't really suited to it. I'm not convinced that Robinson's favoured formation works that well without Josh but we shall see.

The weather doesn't look great hence the title of this piece making reference to the need for an overcoat on Saturday. Let's hope that the Addicks can sink Fleetwood under a deluge of their own and secure their first home win since the beginning of January.

Come On You Reds !


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Good Window For Roly's Bank Manager

Roly wasn't expected to spend much and he certainly didn't did he eh ? One can't be surprised when there's no plan and no ambition than having a nice get together on a Saturday and a quick two-step with the oppo's fans.

The transfer window has now slammed shut. No more ins although I guess there  could always be outs ! 

Certainly a couple of likely departures haven't departed.

This is crunch time. If you can’t achieve your aims with what you’ve got then sorry, it ain’t gonna change before the summer.

Ajose has returned to Swindon who have also recruited Rohan Ince a very shrewd acquisition. Why we were not into that ?

Robinson has rolled the dice, played the cards that he’s been dealt and the fullness of time will tell us all how successful he’s been.

He ought to have enough experience to know not to make promises he may not be able to keep. The marquee signing never happened and in all honesty most of us never felt it would. He's been somewhat naive there and remember Wilder didn't join up because he didn't have sufficient control of transfers.

I'm not sure how much to believe of Robinson's claims about other clubs bumping up prices because it's us. Is that genuine or is it faux anger or a smokescreen because The President didn't stump up the cash ? 

The manager is never shy in talking up the club and its players and to a degree, there’s little wrong with that. However, now it’s time to see if they and him can live up to the rhetoric

Recent results have shown there has been some improvement in results since the manager’s arrival. Certainly the football has been more attacking and the evidence is that the players want to play for him if last Saturday alone is anything to go by.

I still have reservations about Robinson as he overhypes everything and is seemingly too pally with players. However, I can’t deny what I’ve cited above and we’ll see how it goes. I can be won over a little by improved results and performances.

February is a real crunch time with March shaping up to be the same as the result of postponed games. It will really test the manager’s mettle and he may need more than just his favoured formation at various stages. One hopes he’s flexible enough in his approach to meet the upcoming demands.

Should we have realistic hopes of making the play-offs ? Well, looking at our squad (  when most are available ) and what I’ve seen of the other hopefuls then, yes indeed, we ought to. Only Sheffield United have really impressed me to date.

A lot depends on how Robinson can deploy his players and keep them as motivated as they were on Saturday. In addition, we need to see if he has an alternate way of playing when needs must.

We live in interesting times !