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Saboteur

01 December 2013

Charlton 0 Ipswich 1

If I can get a grant for it, I'm going to do a PhD in Charlton studies. I'll call it Directionality and Deviance, because that sounds quite sexy, but in reality it will look at (interrogate, as we say in academia) the way in which the toss-winning team chooses which goal to attack first.

My first point of enquiry will be to establish whether everyone else feels, as does the writer, unease (existential aporia) when the game starts with Charlton attacking the north end (which I shall call premature septentrionality). It's not normal, and such deviance hits me with the transgressive force of a deep taboo being broken: like incest, cannibalism, or asking Alan Shearer to speak.

The standard approach, that of attacking the north end in the second half (orthodox meridionality), suggests that the home crowd's support is more useful (materially productive) when situated behind the other team's goal (the object of teleological desire), and thus can facilitate a secondary resurgence, or comeback in the second half .

Picture from WikipediaThis should apply equally to both teams, of course, and so for either team to fail to follow the orthodox meridionality is an act of violent challenge to the hegemonous ludic ideology.

As regular readers know, though, I'm a dullard when it comes to football tactics, so it's fortunate I'll never get that grant. But even I could see exactly what Ipswich's game-plan was: to start fast and furious, hope to get an early goal in front of their support, then see out the rest of the game by snuffing out any attacking threat by the home team. It worked out perfectly, only slightly delayed by Ben Alnwick's three excellent saves in the first four minutes. But then came the fifth minute and, I think, already Ipswich's fifth corner, and the goal. Go home, we might as well have gone home.

Charlton didn't recover from that five minutes' battering. Though they weren't as bad as some people have suggested, virtually everyone looked off their best. Ipswich had done the research, and knew how to stop Cameron Stewart, for example, causing any damage. He'll have learned a lot from the game, I think, as he had to keep trying something new, but wasn't able to find an answer in the 90 minutes. He'll be a better player when he goes back than he was when he arrived on loan. You owe us something, Steve Bruce.

And you, Mick McCarthy, I am aware I've called you a deviant, but I mean it in a nice way. Please don't sue me.


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