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29 November 2015

Charlton 0 Similar (but with an experienced-at-this-level manager) Club 3

Losing 3-0 isn't painful any more. Apathy is a wonderful analgesic. The painful thing about today's defeat is that it was like looking into an enchanted mirror. Ipswich are what Charlton could easily be: unlikely to get promoted this season, but efficient and effective, building the foundations of future achievement, followed by a huge contingent of committed supporters. And while they might look enviously at Norwich, their local rivals, currently enjoying life in the Prem, they can at least believe that that promised land isn't far beyond their grasp.

Meanwhile we look at Palace (yes, we must) and currently can't see any way we're going to be up there with them any time soon. Palace is an even more tragic magic mirror: there's no reason Charlton couldn't have achieved what they have. They've somehow put together a team that even P*rd*w can't make a mess of.

Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat
Once again, our season is all about avoiding relegation. This wasn't how it was meant to be when the Belgian billionaire rescued us from the shady dealers who, to be fair to them, made no secret of their evil intentions.

Maybe Karel Fraeye will prove us all wrong, but he seems to have come to the end of his new manager honeymoon quicker than Peeters or Luzon did; indeed, only David Wagner at Huddersfield is doing worse (moral of the story: never sack Chris Powell, for the Fates will punish you).

Even a football idiot could see that today's defeat was down to hilariously clueless defending and a total collapse in spirit. Something that you can't see someone like - ooh, let's pick a name at random - Mick McCarthy allowing. But absolutely normal at the Valley.

As soon as Johnny Jackson went off injured after 12 minutes, the day was over. He deserves all the praise he gets for the inspiration and leadership he provides, but it's a sign of the lack of engagement among the other players that he stands out so vividly. Without him, the team is a sluggish jellyfish. If his injury is serious, heaven help us.

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