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Halfway house

I don’t quite understand why almost every team in The Championship plays tomorrow afternoon, yet we don’t play until Tuesday night. Possibly it’s the trains, but I did note that Boxing Day’s schedule of games took us to the middle point of the season, 23 games.

Charlton sit in 12th, which represents the lowest place we have occupied all season. The night we beat Derby at home we went 4th, which was our highest point.

Between you and me I still look at the bottom of the table before I peak at the top, but at the halfway point of the season, although there has been frustrations, I can’t help but think that Bob Peeters has done a more than fair job with the squad that was mostly put together for him.

The squad is skeleton thin and Peeters has been forced into pushing young players into the first team. Not to sit on the coach, or even the bench, but to play, and I think in some cases, it has been a step too soon and maybe too far.

I wholeheartedly applaud Duchâtelet and Peeters’ emphasis on youth and the fact that there is a clear passage from the academy to the 1st team can only help keep and attract future stars, but the players need to be ready and good enough, and I have concerns that Duchâtelet has no comprehension of that.

The squad is hideously short on depth and as we have witnessed is only an injury or a suspension away from a bench full of academy players.

Peeters has shown his naivety, tactically and occasionally in public, but he is a young coach still learning, and he has ideas, a passion and a belief about how the game should be played, and that includes reinforcing the Charlton spirit, which is important for me to see.

I do wish he would be a little less cagey and encourage the players to go for the jugular and not sit, but it’s obvious to me that the players are responding to him, and we should too. Any talk of changing Peeters would be harebrained and preposterous.

After Ipswich we’ll wait and see if Roland Duchâtelet supports Katrien Meire and Bob Peeters in the January window, and of course us, the supporters. Let us see and be able to hold onto another building block to help us buy into the future that you have planned for our club.

As for the other teams, Bournemouth fans will be acutely aware that every other team that has topped The Championship at the halfway point in the last 5 years has been automatically promoted. Ipswich and Derby will fancy their chances as well.

I saw both Bournemouth and Ipswich and they carry all the qualities that are needed to win promotion from this division. Teamwork, spirit, a good manager, a goalscorer and confidence. Derby, and I saw them as well, are probably a better team, and it is hard to see beyond these three.

Maybe Boro, as I had them down as challengers pre-season, and one of Blackburn, Norwich and Forest because they have deep squads and players who will score goals.

At the bottom Blackpool look a forlorn sight 10 points from safety. Wigan and Brighton fans won’t be thrilled to know that at least two of the bottom three at the halfway point in each of the last 5 years have dropped.

We know that The Championship does not discrimate when it comes to kicking ‘big names’ further down the ladder, but in August I don’t think many would have predicted Brighton and Wigan’s league position at Christmas.

By the way ex-Addicks U21 development coach Nathan Jones looks in pole position to be the next Brighton head coach/manager. Brighton are one of 9 of the 11 bottom teams that have replaced their manager already this season.

Talking of big clubs, champions of Europe Leeds are in the relegation mix too, as are Millwall, but if the well supported clubs are looking for a weak link, like last season, then only Rotherham really offer any hope of ‘smaller fry’ being caught up in the relegation net.

Our league position is a lot healthier than it was a year ago, and Peeters as I said deserves credit, but we would not be Addicks if we were not acutely aware that only Brighton have gone longer without a win than us.

Goals, squad depth, more ambition and less inertia during games all need to be addressed, but just above halfway at the halfway house is halfway decent in my eyes.

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sam lloyd #

    I could read your blogs all day long Chicago Addick, you always put into words what I’m thinking. May I take this opportunity to wish you & your family a Very Happy New Year, and I look forward to more of your superb blogging in 2015 x

    December 28, 2014
    • Thank you Sam, I appreciate that. Happy New Year to you and your family as well.

      December 28, 2014
  2. ken from bexley #

    An excellent review of the year and where we are at present from the best blogger on the web for us Addicks. I think I will be looking ‘more down than up’ to speak this season, and that is not particularly the fault of the current manager. yes he has made mistakes, but as you say he is learning, and can only play who he has in his squad. In fact I respect his desire to play the younger players.
    Of course this time of year we look back, and in fairness to the current board they have made significant investment in the Valley/Pitch and tried to get the academy plans in place. However i understand those plans may change? and has the ‘FFP’ has taken the wind out of RD’s vision.? I am still unclear of his ‘vision’ partly on the basis that he is as yet no prepared to engage with the supporters, except through videos.
    His ‘eyes’ KM has done her best, although at times does like to get the headlines, with the Red Robin song, Friday football, and the nonsense of those young ladies on the pitch at half time?. Her latest ‘PR message talked about how she wanted to speak to the fans’…… really!…. well as the liason officer of the Supporters trust I can come down and meet you anytime. Now there is a new years promise dear lady. After all some of us might be around in a few years time when the current board depart like so many people at the Valley have over the past year!. Be a good idea to phone sooner than later though…… I had two rows empty of seats in the Lower North on Boxing day, there might be a few more this time next year, and that helps no one does it?.

    December 28, 2014
    • How very kind Ken, thank you. I have a new tagline 🙂

      As you know I have been an exponent of hearing more from both Katrien and Roland, substance over style and buzzwords.

      There have definitely been some impressive (and much needed) infrastructure improvements, although I am keen to understand more on the Academy plans, or lack of them, because I don’t believe that has been further invested in at all since the takeover.

      Non-improving home attendences has been troubling. It’s a results business, and although there has been just one defeat, I think some of those draws have led to a lot of disappointment. The football – Derby, Ipswich 1st half, Cardiff 2nd half + others – is vastly improved and the best for many years, yet still the gates stagnate.

      There have been ideas, not necessarily well delivered though, and I would like to see more communication with fans and importantly the Trust on how we can bring more people through the turnstiles.

      Happy New Year Ken.

      December 28, 2014
  3. Sam lloyd #

    Hope you get to have a word with KM soon Ken, someone needs too !!

    December 28, 2014
  4. redredrobin #

    Just to add I’ve really enjoyed your blogs all through this year CA- always a good read, well-informed and with balance. I went on Boxing Day – hope BP has some more of whatever he put in the tea at half time.

    December 28, 2014
    • Thank you redredrobin. Much appreciated. Happy New Year to you.

      December 28, 2014
  5. Martin Cowan #

    Happy New Year CA, and I echo the others who speak so highly of your blog – always interesting to hear what you have to say. In terms of improving gates, I don’t think it’s any more complicated than providing good football, winning matches, and scoring as many goals as you can. These are what people want to see, and therein lies the challenge – do we have the players who can deliver consistently?

    December 28, 2014
  6. Yes I have to say- apart from the suggestion to bring back Reza and Polish Pete I also have enjoyed your blogs and the above is a really positive view and reflects my feelings of quiet satisfaction – if not viewing how far clear we are from the bottom pack!!

    December 28, 2014

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