The price of a barrel of oil dropped to $120 yesterday. Not so long ago some pundits were forecasting a price of $200 a barrel by the end of the year. The analogy here is that perhaps the gloom among the Addickted about the coming season is being overdone.
Just as it is possible to deepen a recession by adopting a recessionary psychology that affects purchasing behaviour, so a mood of gloom can become self-reinforcing. Although I am somewhat sceptical of arguments about how a crowd affects a team's play, the Addickted will not be able to lift the team against Swansea on Saturday if they have already made their mind up that Charlton face a relegation struggle. We have a tough beginning to the season so getting off to a good start is important.
Here are some positives. Yes, we have a smaller squad, but the contribution of probably most of those who left was not that great (I would make an exception for Zheng Zhi whose departure would seem to be imminent). Instead of chopping and changing as he did last year so that the team were not familiar with each other, Pardew will have to decide who his best sixteen are. They might then start to play for each other and keep the ball on the floor.
Richard Murray remarked at the bloggers' meeting that a number of opposing directors said that they had played as well as they had ever done at The Valley. We allowed them to play football. A lesson to be learnt is not to allow them to do that and Hudson might help there.
Last season a number of teams convinced themselves they were playing a Premiership side (perhaps having seen the ghost of Darren Bent during the warm up) and gave that extra ten or twenty per cent. This year that reputation will have faded, although it is unfortunate that we are starting against Swansea who have a point to prove.
Some put their faith in our youngsters, although I am always a bit more sceptical about a 'Roy of the Rovers' rescue through this route. Commitment and enthusiasm are valuable qualities, but in this division experience is more important. Youngsters can understandably be error prone.
I do have more faith in our non-league acquistions than some do. There were some indications pre-season that Chris Dickson is coming good, as he might have done last season but for his unfortunate injury. Although Stuart Fleetwood has had a roller coaster of a career, a number of good judges of a player seem to think that he does have an eye for the back of the net.
The Championship is a competitive division, but that doesn't mean it is made up of a collection of invincibles. The analysis of other teams provided by Drinking During the Game reminds us that we are not the only club with financial problems or a team made up of journeymen.
From those who went, I understand that at the Bilbao match some of the errors of last season were evident: too much hit and hope, poor service to the strikers, no final product from Thomas, ineffective midfield, porous defence etc. I do think we need one signing in defence and one in midfield. Above all, we need to approach the season with a little more belief and the capacity to lift the team as supporters.