Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking 'forward' to next season

The New York Addick has published an excellent analysis of where we are with the squad which is well worth reading: Team .

What it comes down to is that the only positions which look well covered are at centre back. Centre midfield looks particularly thin and I am not that confident about wide midfield, given that I am still not convinced that Ambrose will shine at a lower level, whilst I am not as much a fan of Lloyd Sam as many people are.

Steve Brown warned at the end of last season about excessive expectations and while I am hopeful that Charlton will be 'in the mix' we must hope for more signings to provide a stronger challenge. BTW, it appears that Lisbie is on his way to Gillingham.

Even if we do get up, will we be able to stay up? With the acquisition of a large stake in Birmingham by a Hong Kong businessman, around half of the Premiership clubs are now foreign owned and more will probably follow them. Interestingly, this figure is consistent with the number of companies in Britain that are foreign owned which is also 50 per cent.

The Charlton board have, of course, always claimed a special bond with their fans, but arguably that is being eroded. I wrote to Ben Hayes and Peter Varney about the demise of the women's team and got prompt, reasoned and robust replies from both of them. In essence, the club did consider all of the options carefully before taking the decision.

It could also be arguable that it is better to take a good financial decision that leads to bad PR rather than the other way round. However, in modern marketing 'brands' are seen as all important and Charlton's brand was distinctive. Increasingly, it is coming to be seen as just like any other club.

To be fair, that may be inevitable because of the financial pressures in the modern game. Clubs are not charities - or rather Charlton has sensibly hived off its community activities into a charitable arrangement. Nevertheless, for a club like Charlton that does not have the historic base or financial resources of an Arsenal or Chelsea, a distinctive brand might have been more valuable than for other clubs.


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