Morris Musings

Occasional thought pieces and observations from Stockholm-based Londoner Gary Morris regarding all things Charlton.

The nearly men

“We were very, very close to doing something.”
That was Steve Gallen’s response when asked for his thoughts on the recent Deadline day. What a perfect metaphor for our performances so far this season and the unfinished squad that has been assembled. It may be early days, but I fear that it may be “Bonne” Voyage to the play-offs already.
It is hard to argue that the squad and performances haven’t improved compared with the last disastrous campaign. The bar was set so incredibly low however that this surely cannot be the metric by which we measure the Clubs performance if we have any form of ambition.
So, what metric should we use? Well, this is where I and many others would like some honesty from Mr Sandgaard and the club’s hierarchy. It is has been clear for several weeks now, to anyone that understands football at this level at least, that we do not have a squad capable of promotion. Yet, as we have a big stadium, a nice training ground and a brief period of relative success in the 2000’s there remains a sense of entitlement to a top 6 finish. The League Table pays zero attention to any of these factors.
Pure relief, joy and optimism at Thomas saving the club is now, whether fairly or not, being replaced by growing apathy amongst supporters. Whether this is fair or reasonable is utterly irrelevant, the fact is that growing apathy leads to reduced sales of season tickets, match tickets, Charlton TV subscriptions and club merchandise. Outrageous ticket pricing and disastrous management of the club shop (physical and online) don’t particularly help either by the way.
“Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.”
There was a boost in season tickets sales last season based on Thomas’ optimism and, with all due respect, empty promises. Perhaps through blind optimism and hope rather than expectation a good number of fans renewed that optimism this season with the Appointment of Ben Garner and after deluge of media coverage outlining all the wonderful things we would be doing on the pitch. Fans won’t make that mistake again, I’m sure of it.
For all the doom and gloom there are clear positives. Several of the new acquisitions have proven to be shrewd purchases and have hit the ground running. This in addition to the emergence of several academy players provides hope, but sadly neither hope nor positivity are reflected in the league table either.
We have entered the season without addressing the biggest concerns within the squad, including;
1. Defensive frailties remain.
2. The midfield remains anaemic and gets overrun under any form of pressure.
3. We haven’t got a striker capable of putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.
No amount of UEFA A coaching manual football, “exciting football” or “high pressing” football can paper over those fundamental cracks.
So, where do we go from here? Well, for me we have three options;
1. A bit more honesty about where we are as a club and how long it may take us to launch a promotion challenge.  This could be combined with an appeal for fans to stick with the Club as we build slowly over 2-3 years.
2. If it isn’t too late, spend the necessary money in January to bring in the 4/5 good quality players required to complete the puzzle and give us a chance of a late surge at promotion.
3. A change of direction. Sadly, I fear that whether in January, at the end of the season or in the first half of next season that this will be inevitable. If Garner isn’t given the tools to finish the job then he will no doubt leave the club at either parties request.
If, as a I fear, option 3 is the path we take, then unless we are going to see a step-change in the investment made into the playing squad, surely it will be time to uncomplicate the football we play and deploy a results focused footballing strategy irrespective of how ugly it looks on the eye.

Artikeln skriven av Gary Morris 2022-09-14.