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Friday, January 21, 2011

Plymouth Arygle Preview

Extra workload, two broken computers and all those new year celebrations have all served to cut down on things recently but there was no way that time cannot be found to herald the beginning of a new and special era at the Valley. There's been a vast outpouring of views over the last few days, some pessimistic and full of foreboding, but you won't see any of that here.
His lack of experience seems to influence many into forecasting problems ahead or is it a sentimental desire to keep our memories of Sir Chris as one of our biggest heroes from being tarnished? Of course it will all end in tears, this is a business that these days demands results and sooner or later he will be replaced in an attempt to improve things. Because its seldom that a manager retires from his club, only Ferguson probably stands out there, why, even Jimmy Seed was sacked in the end. But will Sir Chris fail after one year or after 10, we just don't know but where better place for him to get his first experience of management than at his spiritual home, the Valley. For me its a great opportunity for us that we can't possibly reject and clearly the new owners feel the same way. You only have to feel the buzz around this football club at the moment that shows what the appointment means to many.
And perhaps we owe it to one of our own to furnish the opportunity that he would sooner or later be looking for as we did with Curbs in 1995 when he took sole control of the Addicks as the age of 38. Did anyone give Curbs a hope in hell of getting us into the Premiership and keeping us there for 7 long years? Clearly, in these doldrums that we find ourselves, we need somebody special and from what I have read and seen over the years from the East Stand, Chris Powell could well be that man.
And as far as experience is concerned, perhaps its worth remembering that Seed, whose success all those years ago at Charlton means his name appears over the South Stand, only had two years in management at lowly Clapton Orient before joining the Addicks as manager in 1933. His first year at Orient they finished 16th and the second they had to be re-elected - not a great success rate there then but he was to lead us to unimagined success.

It was starting to look a nice easy fixture for our new man as Plymouth slipped 3 places last weekend down to 17th after the dismal 0-2 showing at home against Oldham, who clearly had a point to improve after their embarrassing 0-6 home defeat to the Saints the previous week. The other Athletic now have exactly the same record as the Addicks, 9 wins, 8 draws and 6 defeats and sit right behind us in 8th.
That Oldham defeat added to Peter Reids problems, and meant that they were having their worse run of the season with three straight defeats to Bournemouth (a) 0-3, Huddersfield (a) 2-3 and Oldham (h) 0-2. But like Oldham, a bad result or a dismal run can somehow force an improvement and that duly came on Tuesday when the Pilgrims enjoyed their 4th away win of the season in beating MK Dons 3-1. This was only Plymouths 2nd away win since September and came as a surprise to everyone and was also achieved without top scorer Wright-Phillips who is the subject of serious transfer talk from several clubs including us apparently.

So with the Pilgrims only two points behind us although having played three games more, a win at the Valley could propel Reid's men above us and into the fringes of the Play-off positions even though they have suffered nearly twice as many defeats, which now number 11.

As for the Addicks form, it doesn't make happy reading with Arygle having a point more than us over the last 8 games, with 11 to 10 respectively, but not very respectable coming from 24 available. Chris needs to make an improvement and quickly before the leaders vanish over the horizon.

After the crazy years of 59/60 and 60/61 when an astonishing 37 goals was scored in just four games, things have calmed down a lot and only once in the last 20 games between us has anyone scored more than twice and that was the Addicks in a 3-1 home win in 1976.

In recent history over the last 20 years, there's been nine games home and away with the honours pretty even with 3 win, 3 draws and 3 defeats. But of the 4 games played at the Valley the Pilgrims have won twice with the Addicks only winning once, in the last game here, on Valentines day 2009 with a 2-0 win, our second home win in a row after beating Palarse to end our 18 winless run three weeks earlier.

What Stats Can We Give the New Gaffer?

The Addicks are 6th in goals scored but as far as the defence is concerned have only 5 clean sheets (exactly half the number of Brighton and Southampton) but we do tend to score first doing it 15 times out of 23 games. As a consequence we have only been losing three times at the break, less than anybody else, although we currently share the record with such strange bed fellows as Oldham and Hartlepool.

Unfortunately we then tend to relax a bit thinking the jobs done and give the game away. Five times now we have drawn after scoring first and there's only 3 teams more generous that us in that respect - Colchester, Bristol and Exeter. And despite all those late goals - a total of nine in the last 5 minutes - we have only come out top in the second period a meagre 5 times with only two teams, Bristol Rovers and Yeovil, having worse records in the second 45.


Only 8,337 fans were there when the Addicks returned to the Valley on December 5th, 1992 and it was a close fought 1-0 victory over Portsmouth, from a 7th minute Colin Walsh drive, that send us all happy. Saturday seems to me a very similar experience and the gate threatens to be a big one. But that day back in '92 everyone was full of nerves, desperate to get off to a winning start back at our home and somehow this time round I don't think we'll see any desperation just a determination to win. So this time its a 2-0 home win, that nothing is going to prevent.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Way to go, Nelson. Unreservedly positive! Glad you got your computer probs sorted.