Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The south-east London Derby

On Saturday we host our closest neighbours in what will be the 74th first -team encounter against Millwall (includes two Anglo-Italian Cup matches). I dislike Palace more than Millwall but make no mistake, this is the only real south-east London derby. Millwall fans know that as well as us, which is why they snap the tickets up faster than for any other match. That and the fact that history tells them they can expect to beat us and put us back in our boxes.

I think we all know that our record against them is woeful, especially since the war, but you have to read through the list before it sinks in just how poor it is. This is across the decades, with completely different Managers, squads of players, club owners and irrespective of form. I mention the war because we had a period of 31 years when we didn't play them courtesy of our traditionally superior league status (and the war) between 1935 and 1966.

As it stands, we have only managed six League wins against them since Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister and they have taken 23 of the last 27 points on offer just to rub home their current derby-superiority. So can we expect to get anything on Saturday? Millwall are on a run of form, started ironically, when they rolled us over at the New Den before Christmas. They come off the back of a deserved 3-0 F A Cup win over Premier League Bournemouth and will be backed, as always, by 3100 bellowing and gloating fans. Optimistic Charlton fans are already reading miracles into the second-half beating of Bristol Rovers and believing that we have signed several match-winners since the exit of £12m worth of talent in Lookman and Fox.

A stopped watch is right twice a day and probability decrees that we will beat them sooner rather than later on the basis we continue to meet them in League matches. Personally, I can't see it this week. We were exceptionally poor in the first four or five matches under Robinson and have nicked a few points including that win at MK Dons which was fortunate. Yes, we did walk all over Bristol Rovers in the end but for the opening 30 minutes we were second-best again.

On Saturday we will also see a couple of debuts and I am not sure that will help our cause. We need to score early and get our fans involved if we are going to get anything. I am reminded by that rip-roaring 4-4 Valley draw in 2009 when we played them at home for the first time since we never thought we'd play them again. That was a rare game where we didn't look over-whelmed and when we got at it, although we still contrived not to win. I reckon it will be back to earth with a bump and Karl Robinson will be struggling with Scunthorpe and Bolton next.

I have just seen the weather forecast for Saturday and they are talking about strong, cold north-westerly winds which could mean the game is played in the snow. Now that could be a sign.....

1 comment:

Dave said...

By the way, if you haven't got tickets yet, it's a Gold Match which means they wanted to sting me for £29 for my old East Stand seat. Sod that, I will be in the North Upper with all the others who have had their 'Millwall Flu' jabs.