News   |    February 20th, 2022

VALLEY OF THE VOICES

Every football fan goes to watch their team play with optimism whether they are playing well or badly in the matches that have gone before. The minimum fans expect is 100% commitment for the cause as well as to be entertained after a week at work. Sometimes the team lifts the fans and sometimes the fans lift the team but it is an old adage that if the away team can keep the home fans quiet then it is usually mission accomplished for them.

Home fans being quiet is one thing but when they turn on their own team then you can almost see the confidence drain from the players that deep down the fans desperately want to support. At The Valley on Saturday hearing the home fans singing ‘we had a shot…we had a shot’ was the ultimate put down and by the time the final whistle went the ground was almost empty. There is no worse feeling for a home player than that.

Watching Charlton this season has certainly tested the patience of many home fans. Keeping clean sheets is the key to winning matches and the team simply can’t do that and that is not just solely down to defenders as it is about how the whole team defends as a unit. Added to that if your team can only muster one or two attempts on goal then frustration in the stands growsespecially when Oxford Utd created so many chances and shot on goal at every opportunity.

Most of those around me left early with many saying they won’t be at the next home game. Some will be of course, but some won’t and then the lack of atmosphere becomes an additional problem.

The bottom line is that a positive atmosphere lifts players and a negative one does the opposite. In the case of Charlton there are so many factors that are contributing to the current state of the team, and most cannot be put right at this moment in time but there must be a clear plan to put it right established now. When so many players are going out of contract they are thinking of the next step in their career and the last thing they want is to get injured and lose out on their next move. Some of those out of contract will already know where their next destination is. The recent focus of the local media has been speculation about the manager’s contract and that unsettles everyone on the football side and needs to be resolved.

Back in January 2011 and following a takeover of the club we devised a clear plan and implemented it immediately. It was a very bumpy initial period as it involved appointing a new manager in Chris Powell and overhauling almost every aspect of the club. The hours we worked to turn things around were challenging to say the least, but our reward was winning the League One Championship with a record 101 points in our second season and then finishing ninth in The Championship with a developing team so however bad things may feel at present things can be changed if the structures and processes within the club are right.

The priority right now for Charlton fans to use their voices to get behind the team in the coming weeks as the last thing anyone wants is to be drawn into a relegation battle and increasing negativity makes that more than less likely.

Image – Getty

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management.

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