Whisper it quietly, but the mood is changing at The Valley. We’re just three games into the season but Saturday’s 4-1 win over Northampton saw perhaps the best performance from a Charlton side since the Chris Powell years.
Against the Cobblers’ heavyweights this Addicks side showed they could deal with the rough stuff and an aerial bombardment.
And an early opener from Josh Magennis after a superb cross by Ricky Holmes highlighted Charlton’s best business of the summer - getting those two new contracts.
But Karl Robinson has also invested wisely. Jay Dasilva at left-back is like having an extra winger. Tariqe Fosu is a rough diamond but showing huge promise while Billy Clarke’s tireless performances and tidy play are earning him early plaudits.
There’s still Ben Reeves and Mark Marshall to come - if they can get in this side that is.
A fantastic Holmes goal stretched the lead on Saturday but a rare slip as the defence switched off allowed Northampton back in the game.
A Charlton of last season would have crumbled under the pressure of those last 10 minutes. But this side is made of sterner stuff and Jake Forster-Caskey’s brace in injury time ensured the result reflected the performance at 4-1.
It also showed how Lee Bowyer’s coaching of the young midfielder seems to be paying off.
Of course, it’s far too early to praise the running of the club – a Christmas fire sale is always on the cards – but there is reason for optimism at this stage.
And that’s down to Robinson. Much scepticism met his arrival and more came when he publicly criticised the players in last year’s relegation battle.
But, alongside the player retention and the astute acquisitions, he has managed to offload some duds in Roger Johnson and, last week, Tony Watt.
More united than Athletic
Is it any coincidence the side now looks more united than ever? The recent signings all seem to have the right attitude. Another plus is Robinson’s backroom team.
Bowyer seems to be having a positive impact, while Johnnie Jackson’s influence is undoubted. He knows the club, the history, the fans and has been the only link to the old Charlton.
Things are looking up on all levels and this team seems to be rightfully eyeing promotion. OK, it’s still August but we can dream.
Hey – it’s been a long time.