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09 March 2016

Charlton 0 MK Dons 0

The fear was that the importance of the game would be too much for the team. This was so clearly must-win, should-win game, that perhaps the players would be overawed by the occasion.

But it seemed no-one had told the players what was at stake. So little enthusiasm was shown in a torpid first half, that we could have been watching a friendly. MK Dons weren't much better, and clearly would settle for a point. It could have been boring, but it became maddening: the whole team playing as if the result didn't matter. They've accepted that relegation is inevitable. They're already thinking of getting a new job with an actual football club, rather than Duch√Ętelet's bizarre experiment, and it'll be us poor sods left to re-experience the horrors of league one.

With ten minutes to go Riga got the memo, and switched to a more attacking formation, bringing on Lookman. The game suddenly got interesting, but without any real threat of a goal. Charlton finished this most crucial of matches having got a total of one shot on target.

A full, despairing account of the game is available in Kyle's reliably excellent blog, if you can bear to relive it.

What we certainly saw last night was the death of the myth of Jose Riga. The idea that he single-handedly saved Charlton from relegation two years ago was always wrong. Back then he had the remains of a carefully assembled squad of players who actually cared about the club, rather than the thrown-together gang he's got now.  I don't know if anyone could motivate the current squad in the current situation, but obviously he can't.

And finally, let's never forget these words of Katrien Meire in the matchday programme of 8 August 2015:
It's vital to be successful in the Championship ... there's no-one to hide behind anymore.
She has utterly failed to deliver and if she had any decency she'd admit it and quit. If Duch√Ętelet doesn't sack her, it's the clearest possible sign of his contempt for the club. I'm not holding my breath.

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