With the games played total now into double figures perhaps we can accurately re-assess our expectations for the current season. We're now 10 games in and with just 4 wins and one draw ( and 5 defeats) we have so far accumulated just 13 points. So after 46 games, if we continue as we are, you'd expect about 59 points, 5 worse than last year.
Looking at the table we're 14th, 2 points adrift of the Play-Offs and 5 above the relegation zone and to tell the truth its not really what we were hoping back in August. But are we complaining? Judging from all the articles currently now circulating, seems we most definitely are. Can't say I'm overjoyed by the way things are progressing but what exactly did we expect.
For, with just 10 games played, and having just reached the month of October, our patience, is for some, completely expended. Its an almost universal "Pards Out" that's the call and not wanting to upset too many people, I have to say that I'm getting a bit tired of so much wingeing. I'm not going to go into detail about whats been said, you've all read the same articles as I have but seems to me that its all getting a bit over the top. Pardews' been insulted and had his comments and team selection ridiculed and its all become a bit too personnel for my liking. Perhaps we've been spoilt by the likeable Curbs 'cause I can't believe that we'd be saying the same things about him in his Tier Two days. Perhaps we've forgotten that it took Curbs 6 years to find the magic formulae or is it that since the mid-nineties our expectation levels have increased.
So as there's always two sides to every story I thought I would try to level things out. And I must admit right at the beginning that at times I do feel fortunate that I don't have to witness some of our displays this year and perhaps the frustation and anger is somewhat easier to deal with when you are a thousand miles away from the action.
Firstly perhaps we need to consider where exactly we are and remember who exactly we are. Of course the recent run in the Premier has given us expectations above the norm, you wouldn't expect anything else. But we are historically a Second Division club and of our 22ish managers only 3 have taken us into the "promised land". That's about one in every 7. Take a look at the Roll of Honour on Doctor Kish. One major success, back in 1947.
Not much to shout about and another pointer to what would reflect our usual level is an historical table. Over here in Spain, the Real Madrid sports papers wheel one out every now and again just to remind everyone how much better they are than Barcelona. The table lists all the points that teams have collected since the year dot, but only ones that they have gained in the Top Flight.
There's one somewhere for the English league but it's rarely published. If you could find it, it shows Charlton Athletic, after our 26 seasons in the old Division One and the Premier in a lowly 33rd position just behind Ipswich Town. With 20 clubs in the Premier, that means that our historical position would be about 13th in the Tier Two. As I've said, we're currently 14th.
Anyway, back to Pardew. When he took over nearly two years ago now, at exactly the seasons halfway point we were second to bottom, had 3 wins in 19 games with 12 points and were 6 points away from West Ham in 18th and 7 points away from the safety of 17th place. Goal difference was minus 20. He gained another 22 points from the remaining 19 games and finished up 4 points away from 17th position. Things got worse as the following summer saw a mass exodus and it continued last January when he lost his captain and playmaker Andy Reid. More players went this summer and with the last of Monica's signings also went the first of Pardews, Bougherra.
So with so many departures and money obviously tight, what have we left? A core of, Weaver ( how many screams were there when he arrived, now long forgotten), a new captain in Hudson - a gem apparently - and Bailey, lauded by Kish as the new Parker and all purchased for a pitance. We only need a forward that scores goals and the core of the team would pick itself, although it does seem to do so already. In the wings there's Basey, Shelvey and Wright and the promise of an U-18 team that reached the Youth Cup Quarters last season. And he's unearthed some gems in Semedo, Racon, Moutaouakil and Dickson that haven't cost the earth. And who's to say that he's not right in their needing a bit more polishing before they're ready?
Now I'm not saying that critisism doesn't help, we can read Ambroses' comments recently to know that the numerous comments after the appalling performance at Palarse seem to have raised the team but there has to be a limit and if not a responsibilty of what is broadcast over the internet, then there such be a determination to do the best for the team as we see fit. Perhaps thats what people have in mind but by turning personnel and vindictive we do no-one any favours.
In my humble opinion, none of the diatribes on Pardews' performance are ever going to have any effect, least of all because we can't afford it, and I sometimes wonder why all the critisism is directed towards Pardew when a closer look may accuse the Board of getting us into the situation that we are currently in. The wasted appointments of Monica and Reed spring to mind. And perhaps the thing that we need most of all right now is the steady hand of an experienced man that does look to the future of our club.