Saturday, 7 November 2015

Charlton Athletic 3 v Sheffield Wednesday 1

Well, well, not many will have seen that coming. Wednesday third in the form table and us bottom. Our side furthered weakened by the absence of Jordan Cousins and Tony Watt, but we bossed the match against a strangely subdued and ineffective Owls.

But first, I want to talk about the protest. My reckoning is that as many as 700 fans crowded around the main entrance behind the West Stand at 2.30pm to chant their opposition to the way the club is being run and about the incompetence of Katrien Meire's leadership. A respectful distance was maintained and the club had wisely decided not to waste money on a bouncy castle.

The chanting was predictable and sustained. Dozens crowded onto the stairwells for a birds-eye view and there were also those inside the lounges who peered down curiously. After six or seven minutes when the focus of the protest was perhaps shifting, she appeared at a window as if to taunt those below, maybe with a smile. I suspect she may have thought she was invisible behind the smoky glass but we could all see her as she took a couple of snaps on her phone. She flounced off trying to look disinterested but she can't have missed the size of the crowd or failed to hear us bellowing "you don't know what you're doing." She then appeared in the lounge below and tried to act as if nothing was happening. There weren't many there but it looked very awkward (good) from below.

To the game then and we started brightly. Injuries neccessited a reshuffle and Sarr partnered Bauer in the back four which meant Alou Diarra was moved into central midfield at the foot of a diamond with Jackson on the left, Ba on the right and Gudmundsson behind the front pairing or Rez and Mak. I honestly couldn't see us scoring with those two up top but both proved me wrong.

We started well and camped in Wednesday's half. Gudmundsson looked back to his best and tore into the Wednesday defence at every opportunity. Diarra anchored midfield and that allowed Ba to have his best game yet that I have seen. Time and again he picked up passes from Diarra and strode forward at pace into gaps in the Wednesday defence which allowed Gudmundsson, Solly and Fox to get forward and provide balls for Mak and Reza. 

After about twenty-five minutes Solly signalled to the bench and he made way for Holmes-Dennis. Young Tariq's first touched enabled him to skate into space and as he drove at the back-pedalling Owls, his attempted cross was diverted out for a corner which earned him a pat on the back from a couple of more experienced pros and you could almost see him growing in confidence. He had a solid game after that and it was from the corner he won that we opened the scoring. Johan Berg Gudmundsson whipped the ball into the six yard box and there was the Sheffield-Nemisis himself powering in at top speed to thump a header home. Johnny Jackson had a relatively quiet game but he had played his part and spurred those on all around him for the remainder of the match.

Just before half-time and without any threatened response from the visitors, Gudmundsson broke down the left and from the goal-line he picked out Simon Makienok's near-post run and the big Dane was able to sweep home from close range.

After the break and still no big response from an unusually small Wednesday side. Normally you have to be over six foot and fourteen stone with four vowels in your surname to qualify for the blue and white stripes. Then something quite amazing happened. We scored again. The persistent Fox exchange passes down the right before breaking clear and running the ball to the line and into the six yard area. Just when it looked like he might shoot, he pulled it back for Reza Goochannejhad to net from six yards and sew things up.

Wednesday did manage a consolation, after a Sarr mistake, but most of their fans had left well before the finish. The home fans were in good voice throughout and backed their side as we always do when they are playing for the shirt. None of us want to see our side lose, even if there would be a bit self-schadenfreude at the moment.

It will be interesting to see what Meire does next re Karel Fraye but she does appear to have got one message. The protesting fans sang "you can stick that effing sofa up your arse" and when I took my seat I could see they had already removed it. Small steps and all that. If only she could be a big enough person to acknowledge some mistakes, show some humility and actually communicate openly. Reports from Tuesday's select gathering should tell us more about where we go next but don't hold your breathe given her performance today.

In the meantime, flyers are cranking up the Spell it Out in Black & White campaign for the Ipswich game where we need to make our point as forcefully as possible to a wider audience.


Anonymous said...


Dave it reminded me just a bit of films about pre French and Russian revolution - the decadent rich inside scoffing their food and scoffing at the peasants in the rain...just a bit anyway.

One of the girls holding the banner refused to go in to the ground. That was some sacrifice.

Its a start. If we keep winning matches it will be hard to keep the movement going. And one could argue why then should we? But I was very proud to have been there with my son, standing on the bricks of which one has his name on.

As to the match we started like we did against Brentford - but this time maintained that pressure and got some end product. Without that trademark Jacko goal I wonder how long we'd have kept that up. And the second and third goal were from wonderful moves.

I wonder if we'll now get our cake to eat - in the form of Jason Euell? He'll be comparatively cheap and he'll unite the fans like no other. I'm not sure it would be a wise move, but it would be an exciting move and an emotionally charged one.

Power to the people!

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

PA - I noticed a couple of old mates at the windows in the lounges - ordinary Joe's who like and can now afford hospitality. I know they are not supportive of the regime but they have paid for their parking space and their meal so good luck to them. The room Meire dropped down to after photographing the protest and laughing, looked like a private affair for Wednesday dignitaries. Chris Parkes was holding back at the end of the room and it looked like two Wednesday officials nearer the window - one had a blu and white bar scarf over his suit. She looked very uncomfortably there and it was evident no-one knew what to say to her.

Going on a winning run (one swallow doesn't make a Summer) might cause some of the weaker hearts to fade away again but we must accept now that something has to change in the Boardroom. Self-preservation may kick in or Karel Fraye and/or Jason Euell may get the fight going again, but the policy of prioritising youth over the first team will eventually fail and I think we have seen that several times now. We also can't support a Board that is prepared to only appoint Flemish/Dutch speakers, especially when their experience is so obviously far from the minimum requirement.

I think there were plenty of decided not to go in to watch the game but they are well outnumbered by those who have decided not to bother with us again until things have changed dramatically.