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Dec 11, 2006

Comfortably numb

In light of Les Reed's brilliantly innovative approach to this away game against Tottenham Hotspur the Charlton fans who have sold out the Liverpool home game next week will no doubt be frozen with primeval fear. Maybe we should treat that one like an away game, staying in the Merseyside and turning up at the wrong stadium (admittedly most of the Charlton fans might struggle to tell the difference).

As sad as it may sound, nothing else in my life can make me feel as bad as the Addick's slide - capped by the 5-1 defeat at White Hart Lane. Not my wife, not my job, not money (or lack thereof), and certainly not politics. Whilst knowingly lacking a true sense of perspective, it feels akin to watching a dearly-loved relative decline in health, calling the hospital every Saturday afternoon, and only being told more bad news.

Let me get the positive bit out of the way first because it shouldn't take long. We weren't too bad for the first half-hour; in fact we might even have edged it, albeit without creating any chances. The midfield had a degree of solidity about it, and although Andy Reid was playing strangely deep again, we weren't especially troubled and I was thinking "Killer could be right about fancying a draw here." (I should have known better of course given his track record as SE London's answer to Nostradamus.)

On his excellent (although often delusional) TopSpurs website, editor Jim Duggan described Charlton as 'dull cannon fodder'. As angry as I was at the time, you know what Jim, you were right all along, but in fairness to us, we weren't dull, in fact some of our defending was pure end-of-the-pier slapstick comedy. Luckily for us Spurs didn't actually play particularly well; luckily for them, they didn't need to.

COMING SOON TO A FOOTBALL STADIUM NEAR YOU - THE AMAZING CHARLTON AWAYDAY PANTOMIME - TOUR DATES:

• Middlesbrough, Dec 23
• London (Arsenal), Jan 2
• Portsmouth, Jan 20
• Bolton, Jan 30
• Manchester (Old Trafford), Feb 10

It's all just so depressing I've barely got the strength to try to analyse what went wrong. What I do know is that Les Reed can talk all he likes about 'picking ourselves up,' and 'focusing on the next game,' but it won't be enough because the damage has been done, and even if it wasn't, he's out of his depth anyway. I just hope for his sake that he's being suitably well-recompensed for having his well-earned reputation ripped to shreds before all of our eyes; out of his depth, and probably out of his mind to take on the job if you ask me.

Take young Lloyd Sam for example. He is clearly a promising player but he is being forced to climb the steep Premiership learning curve during a relegation dogfight, when of course he should have been given far more chances to gain experience during meaningless midtable battles in past seasons. He wasn't chosen of course, because as we're constantly told, 'league positions are money,' and look where it's got us. Oh, and he's three years older than Aaron Lennon, and a year older than Wayne Rooney by the way.

The club's pre-season review of its structure was ill-conceived, has clearly been poorly executed and it seems on a near-weekly basis, those mistakes are simply being compounded. Excuse me for example for being just about the only Charlton blogger who failed to get excited about the recruitment of Mark Kinsella as the 'third man'; that's just what the club needs, another nice bloke with no experience. Now if he's brought his boots, that would be another matter.

As for my exciting medical experiment (See previous post: Spurs Preview), the results were not as radical as I had hoped. I woke up with a pulse of 51 bpm, and it stayed between 50-60 bpm throughout the game, only rising to 81 bpm when Dawson showed his fine act of sympathy. What this at least tells me is that it's not only my head that fears relegation, but my heart now too. Indeed by the time the fifth goal went in, I think I was actually clinically dead or as Pink Floyd might have said, just 'comfortably numb'.


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