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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can Parky Do A Lennie?

Eight points away from safety now and a six pointer coming up on Saturday, against Barnsley who won at last last night at Wednesday. But before we get carried away with recent success, remember that its not only a question of how do we get 8 points to catch up, because we've managed 7 from the last 8 games, its more a matter of getting 8 more than the rest are getting.
One way of doing it, as Nicky Bailey said yesterday, would be to win all our 7 home games, simple as that. That would give us another twenty-one points and 46 in total would surely be enough to survive. But how can we realisticly expect twenty-one points in 14 games after only managing 25 in the first 32? How is that possible? Well, you could look at the example of Doncaster with their amazing run of 7 wins in their last 8 games after only 2 wins in their previous 20 or even Forests' 5 wins in the last 9 but forget both of those because there's an even closer example to hand.
Twenty-One years ago on the 13th February 1988, the Addicks were rock bottom of the Premier. Twenty points from 26 games in a 40 game season with only 4 wins all season and with no less than 12 defeats. Only one win in the last 6 weeks and things were looking pretty desperate.
We faced Wimbledon that day at Sainburys before a crowd - if you could call it that - of 5,590 and drew 1-1 but that day proved to be the start of a 14 game run that would see 5 victories, a total of 7 draws and only 2 defeats to secure a valuable 22 points! How did they do it back then with no fresh legs from loan deals and with only a handful of cheering fans to encourage you - (well, perhaps that helped!) We did have a goalscorer back then though, Garth Crooks, who got seven goals in that 14 game run to finish on 10 for the season; showing how vital a striker is to the team.
And if you believe in fate, or is it deja vu , there are a few similarities from that run 21 years ago. It also featured 7 home games and 7 away - and also included away games against Derby, Southampton and Coventry and a home game against Watford.
And to end the season a battle against one of our relegation rivals, this time Norwich, that year Chelsea. And who can forget that memorable fightback at Stamford Bridge, and what a battle it was with Leaburn knocked unconscious - and with Paul Miller scoring via several deflections 25 minutes from time to secure the point needed to avoid the Play-Offs.
How did Lennie Lawrence do it? No fresh faces every five minutes, clearly no money, a squad of only 24 and no home ground. And it was not all plain sailing. Back to back wins over West Ham and Southampton appeared to have done the trick, only to be followed by a dismal 0-0 home draw with fellow strugglers Oxford and then a second defeat in the run, 0-2 at Norwich but it all came good and it finished with three 1-1 draws, in all of which we conceded the first goal but fought back to equalise.
For the record the wins were over Sheffield Wednesday (h) 3-1, West Ham (h) 3-0, Southampton (a) 1-0, Watford (h) 1-0 and Newcastle (h) 2-0. Further draws with Wimbledon (h) 1-1, Derby (a) 1-1, Oxford (h) 0-0, Coventry (a) 0-0, and the last three games ended with Everton (a) 1-1, Spurs (h) 1-1 and Chelsea (a) 1-1. A sensational run with only two defeats - at Highbury 0-4 and at Norwich 0-2 to finish on 42 points; equal with Chelsea but with a four goal better goal difference.
Back then a reduction in numbers in the Premiership from twenty-one to twenty was another headache and with the bottom three teams relegated, you weren't even safe in 18th spot because the team 4th from bottom had the unwanted task of entering the Play-Offs with three teams from the Second Division. Chelsea then lost to Middlesbrough in the Play-Off final.
Magic Lennie, that's all I can say. But can Parky achieve cult status by doing the same?


Anonymous said...

Nelson, that would be Division 1 in 1988. I believe the Premiership was established four years later.

Kappacino Kid said...

If parkie does it, there are a few here thayt would begrudge his achievement and put it down to Kinsella, Dickson and probably Binn Laden!!!!

Anonymous said...

46 pts is the bare minimum. We could well need more. To have any chance of survival we'll need 2-3 away wins, or more, and need to start at Barnsley.