Good riddance to 2006
The board decided that they had made a mistake with Dowie and got rid of him. Mesmerised by the need for stability, and the merits of a Charlton man who was a good coach, they promoted Les Reed to the level of his incompetence, and not as a caretaker. Fortunately, the board had the sense to realise that they risked destroying everything they had built and, even more fortunately, Alan Pardew was available. In him we have someone with a proven managerial record, a Charlton pedigree and a real passion to succeed. Third time right.
Now the transfer window is about to open. The club's decline started some time ago with the loss of Scott Parker. Danny Murphy and Alexi Smertin gave us a creative midfield, but they started to fade even before they left. And since then it is clear that our biggest problems have been in central midfield where honest endeavour is not enough at Premiership level. So our main transfer targets have to be there.
Of course, all the speculation about Darren Bent going has started up again, but I think we need to hang on to him and I think we will unless a top four club comes in with an offer that is impossible to refuse.
There is some speculation about Dennis Rommedahl returning to his native heath in the form of FC Copenhagen, just when he has started to show some fighting spirit. Again, I would like to hang on to him. But I would let Hreidarsson go out on loan and I would give Pouso and Sorondo free one way tickets to Montevideo, even if only to save their wages.
Can we stay up? I think at least we will make a fight of it now, but we have to improve our away form to stand a chance. I would put the odds at about 40:60 against us, but I do now believe that we would be seriously competitive in the Championship.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has told me they enjoy the blog (it's been nice to meet you one or two of you like the lady on the 161 bus yesterday). Constructive criticism is also welcome, although what one gets is comments of the 'boring' type. In which case there are now many other Charlton blogs to read, almost all of them of a very high standard and each offering something different. I like the perspective that distance brings to our American and Iberian blogs, but equally Inspector Sands shows that you can see the tip of the West Stand from your bathroom window and still have a very fresh perspective. (I don't whether he can actually, not having been in his drum, but you get the point).
Hooch the Pooch has invited us to his canalside home at Long Itchington to celebrate the New Year, along with our whole team of canine analysts and Homer the Cherry Hound who was invited to become senior analyst at Didcot Town who are now second in the British Gas South and West.
Happy New Year! Come on you reds!