23 January 2016

Charlton 1 Blackburn 1

For some time now I've been working on a post with the title "Omertá" - about the way football squads keep silent about any problems, and how that's normally a good thing but can be destructive. When a team - a hypothetical team, let's pretend - knows that its bad morale and performances are caused by something it can't even talk about, the frustration and indignation must easily become damaging.

But in a less hypothetical team, there's an increasing sense of a shared oppression: the team and the fans are both suffering from the bizarre decisions of the club's owners. The team can't say this, of course, but they have to understand that the fans know it.

The crowd today clearly knew it. Strong support for the team alternated with strong attacks on the ownership. After about 15 minutes this happened:
It was a stupid, unnecessarily provocative thing for the stewards to do, and it guaranteed a massive turn-out for the 5pm protest.

Meanwhile, a match was taking place and the team Charlton put out looked promising. Tony Watt provided some moments of excitement that have been missing, while newcomer Jorge Teixeira looked a worthwhile addition (a four and a half year contract, though?). There were some pleasing passages of play by Charlton, with even Bergdych looking like a footballer at last. Jose Riga is clearly the best coach Duchatelet has inflicted on Charlton and I'd like to believe he's repairing the damage that the others have done.

But it's still a long way to go. One-all was a fair reflection of the first half. In the second half, Charlton visibly weakened, and the game became scrappy. As in so many games this season a better opposition could have run riot - and I suppose that's what happened at Huddersfield and Hull. For all the undoubted effort shown by the team today, there was a lack of quality. Chris Powell could make a team perform above its limitations, and we saw Jose Riga do the same two years ago. We're depending on him to do that again to keep the club in the Championship.

And so a point was taken from the kind of game - at home, against out-of-form opposition - that Charlton need to be winning. More positively, it was a massive improvement on the last two league games.

After the game, the protest was bigger than ever, but I'll deal with that in a separate post tomorrow, possibly.

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