There’s been a period of mourning surrounding Charlton Athletic since the death bell tolled sometime during the Karel Fraeye reign.
Each inevitable defeat is met with a mere sigh. Saturday was a case in point. Charlton were beaten not by a better team of players, but by a host of incomprehensible decisions by the referee.
There was also the “experience” – as it’s known in the Match Of The Day studio, cheating to me and you – of the Derby side, who have now become experts in this division, with Charlton the novices.
But there was no huge outcry from the stands, more of a whimper.
It’s as if they just want confirmation from authority of what we all know – that the body of Charlton Athletic is dead.
So, in football, death is just rebirth next season, yet the disgruntlement at the ownership means fans can’t look forward that far.
News of interest and an asking price (£38million) according to fanzine Voice Of The Valley has given the supporters hope.
But whoever is in charge, next year’s owner will have face exactly the same problems: who stays, who goes and how do you build a team?
Looking around the pitch at the weekend, there are one or two players you dream of keeping.
Ademola Lookman would thrive in the third tier, but whether the club can keep him is another matter. A loan back perhaps? We can only hope.
On the other wing, Charlton’s Mr Hot and Cold, Callum Harriott, is the player who shines under Jose Riga and his performances for Colchester on-loan in the lower division this season show he’ll be perfect for the fight. He would need to be convinced to sign a new contract and may see his future elsewhere.
The likes of Igor Vetokele and Allou Diarra, as well as loan men Simon Makienok, Rod Fanni, Yaya Sanogo and Marco Motta are unlikely to be willing and almost certainly not suitable for a League One scrap.
Centre-back Jorge Teixeira has shown enough to be welcome along on the ride and after signing a three-year deal recently is unlikely to go elsewhere.
Youth graduates Jordan Cousins, Chris Solly, Harry Lennon and Morgan Fox would form the nucleus to our side, as long as they don’t get tempted away.
Nick Pope, meanwhile, is proving to everyone what he has shown elsewhere, that he is a fantastic prospect who can surely do a good job in the league’s third tier.
As for Johnnie Jackson, it’s true he can still do a great job, but injuries are getting the better of him, so give him a player coaching role.
Everyone else, is surplus to requirements and can walk.
Manager? Phil Parkinson anyone? Maybe not. But definitely someone who knows the division.
And he will need a scouting team – something which has been noticeably absent for too long.
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As for incoming players, Charlton need good experience. At least seven or eight top league one players.
Will it be easy to put all this together? No. It’s going to be an immensely difficult job.
Good luck Roland Duchatelet. Although the majority of fans hope you won’t be around to need it.