As the lines go up on the Beeb Premiership table dividing the haves from the have-nots, we have to face the fact that we've been in the bottom three since September 23rd. Seeing that line appearing in previous years never meant very much to me because we were well clear of it but its an intrusion we could do without, 'cause its meant to bring foreboding and has the same effect as that scary music in a horror movie when the heroine is alone in the house and, of course, it lets us all know how close we are to the end-of-season.
But it seems to have a deeper meaning - We're had Lawrenson with his "lets move on" and Hansen with his "worse performance by a Premiership team" but we know what everyone thinks about MOM ( even our old eamonn dunphy gives 'em stick ) so we could take them but that thick line not only puts inches between us and the rest its really a subtle hint that the three teams below the line are not quite good enough.
And to be honest we'd all have a sinking feeling in the stomach at the moment if it wasn't for our (new) Alan. Pards has inspired a turnabout that given us 5 wins and 3 draws from his 12 games in charge. 18 points out of 36. Not title form but enough to see us safely in mid-table.
And its not just that our points total has changed. There's other things too. I can't remember seeing so many articles, interviews and comments about the Addicks since Pards took over. Every other day there's a player telling us how it is or Pards having his say. There's another one today in the independent - after the weekends Valley of Hope, we're now called the Valley Of Cheers. Its never been so important, it seems to have a ground called the Valley. Far removed from our peers poorly-named Reebok or City of Manchester Stadium we have a place that has a meaning, that can be used to affect and Pards gives it for all its worth. "It gets to a point where the stadium is affected, and psychologically it becomes a problem. We have a super-positive stadium. I would suggest that without doubt of the bottom eight clubs, our stadium is the most positive."
And before tomorrows game, none other than Stuart Pearce offers his opinion in the sportinglife that he thinks the Addicks will be in the Premiership next season. And he show that he understands what he has to do to stop us tomorrow, he says that "They have a lad up front, who is worth a few bob, who can put the ball in the net. If you take his goals out of the equation, they would have a big problem." So its Joey Barton on little Darren, I suppose. His name's not Psycho for nothing, Pearce that is.
There's also been paper talk about Liverpool offering £15m for Darren and it seems that its not only our players that people are after. Phil Parkinsons' been chatting with Huddersfield and only a vastly improved salary, apparently, as in the guardian, has made him change his mind.