Charlton's F A Cup run to Saturday's 5th Round appears to have caught the imagination of our supporters, if not the national media. Close to 2,000 travelling Addicks is an impressive number given our league performance and our prolonged suffering this season. Perhaps it's a welcome relief and our supporters are relishing the unpredictability of cup football? Maybe it's just the novelty of having progressed through two rounds already? There may even be a bit of backs-to-the-wall spirit given our club and league travails?
Sadly, I won't be going. Having committed to 6 Nations weekends either side of this one, I can't justify another full day away from my family especially as I am mega-busy with expanded responsibilities at work which is keeping me out of the house during daylight hours. If I am being brutally honest, I really don't fancy it either - I can't see beyond an in-form Wednesday win and I couldn't face the long trip back in the circumstances.
Our new owner is gambling with our future and he appears to have a £4m incentive for our club to be relegated so it's not exactly a win-lose scenario for him. Jiminez and Slater managed a promotion from League One on less than £4m and Duchatelet may see the opportunity to completely rebuild as he did at Standard Liege. Let's face it, his approach to expiring contracts and player sales says just that. Great in the long run if that were to happen but I am not enamoured at the prospect of relegation as an acceptable part of any plan. It's the supporters who will have to endure another season of ignomy in League One, not our Belgian owner. Promotion is also far from guaranteed as we know from bitter experience.
Duchatelet's gamble has not started particularly well. We have had four successive league defeats since New Years Day and have managed a solitary goal. The sale of Stephens and Kermorgant means we lost two players who scored in four of our five league wins this season. Personally, I wouldn't argue too strongly over Stephens if we got £750,000 for him but Kermorgant was a miscalculation that will cost us financially through loss of supporter goodwill and could yet cost us our Championship status.
Early days for the spare players from Duchatelet's other clubs who have been moved in but it's likely to take time for these guys to adjust, if indeed, they offer us anything more than what we already had, which was already widely acknowledged as not being good enough.
I note the latest surprising leak in the SLP that Chris Powell is targeting four unlikely looking loan players in the shape of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jonathan Williams, Luciano Becchio and Leon Best. Either Chris Powell is upping the ante with his boss or his boss may be feeling more uncomfortable at the idea of turning his Championship acquisition into a League One outfit inside four months of acquiring us.