2011 / 2012

A new season ... so probably not a bad time to start blogging again ... didn't realised how long it had been!

It has certainly been a very eventful time at the Valley since last season finished in May with a dismal mid-table final position. Did we expect anything else? Well, probably. Now we are at our 3rd year in Division Three, it's very clear that the club ... and the bulk of the supporters ... made the mistake of believing we were far too good for this level and would get promotion if not the first time, then definitely at the 2nd attempt. Many clubs, of an equal size to us ... and bigger ... have made that mistake over the last few years.

This is not an easy division from which to escape if you have the mentality that all you have to do is turn up and the other teams will automatically acknowledge that Charlton rightfully belong in a higher division and will allow us to return back there. It's always simple in retrospect, but there is no doubt that as well as having a reasonable squad and manager, you also need the right mind-set. If you want promotion, then get out there and work for it ... be a team not a set of individuals ... and fight to be competitive. Again, retrospect is easy, but it's obvious now that we had too much 'dead wood'  ... as long as they were paid, nothing much else mattered.

So ... what's changed? Almost everything to be honest. We have a manager who will be starting his first full season, new board members also about to experience their first full season, and a very new squad on the playing field.

According to the latest on Charlton Life, we now have 31 players on professional contract, 15 of which are new, with 15 having been sold or released, a pretty hefty turn-around.

Most of the new players are on the young side and have been given 2-3 year contracts ... definitely a positive sign that we are looking to move ahead with a solid base and squad.

As for the new owners ... everything we hear is good and appears to suggest that we have an exciting future. OK, it may all be illusory and if we don't achieve promotion within 2 years, we may be unceremoniously dumped. But at least they've given us the possibility of another couple of years ... which may not have been the case otherwise.

There is concern about the ownership ... naturally when 'the truth' is hidden, it is a valid reason for concern. But I'm going to ride with it for the moment. If they get us back to the top as we all want, stay one further season then take the money and run ... well, who can blame them? And you never know, they may decide they like it and stay longer. We still have a club and a team to follow ... my son can still attend games with me ... and in a few years, hopefully my grandson will also join us. That's good enough for me at the moment.

So how will we do this season? As always, I am optimistic ... but perhaps this time, I have good reason to be so. With the current infrastructure, 'hungry' players in the squad, healthy season ticket sales (wonderful to see), and the sun currently shining ... it's easy to predict a top-six finish.

But I've decided to invest some money with Paddy Power and expect us to be automatically promoted.



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