The Man With The Microphone

The son of Curbs has the club at his heart as he leads us into battle, and it’s plain to see on the touchline. Emotions […]

The son of Curbs has the club at his heart as he leads us into battle, and it’s plain to see on the touchline.

Emotions will always run high after controversial games, none more so than Saturday’s defeat to Leeds at the Valley.

Social Media was a highly charged place with fans venting their frustration at the manner of our defeat, mostly blaming the referee for, what appeared to most Addicks, one of the most inept performances in many a year against an average, at best, Leeds United side. A Leeds team that benefitted from having a decent striker, one that will probably be plying his trade in the Premiership next time we play them.

In the post match press conference one man appeared able to keep his counsel at the end of the game, keep a lid on his emotions and deal with the situation. That, of course, was the Gaffer, Chris Powell. During the match though, that’s a different story;

I’m sat in a privileged position during the games; my seat is directly between the two dugouts so I get to observe the goings on. It’s hard not to see how the match affects him too. Come rain or shine he will be stood in the coaching area, supported by all of his coaching and back room staff. It’s obvious how tight knit they are, he leads them and us into battle.

At key moments discussions take place, he’ll walk back and discuss quietly with one of the team. Whether it’s a substitution or a tactical change, he’ll take advice, look for opinions then make a decision.

It’s clear to me how much he wants to get involved. The footballer in him is kicking every ball, making every run. To me it’s obvious how passionate he still is and how much it angers him too when we don’t appear to get the rub of the green:

A bang of the hoarding when another decision goes against us,
The odd expletive uttered (yes he does swear).
The look a fourth official gets when the obvious is missed.
The odd wry smile,
A shake of the head,
A look at the sky and a turn of the back,
All these emotions on show.

The first major incident of the Leeds match was the failure of Mr. Stroud to give us a penalty when Simon Church had outfoxed the Leeds defence and had his legs taken from him. In unison the whole Charlton bench, players, management, physios had leapt up at screamed in harmony at the blatant injustice. The man calming everybody down and getting them focused back on the game? The Gaffer of course.

A break in play and the Gaffer is speaking to players, encouraging them, reassuring them and making sure they know what he wants, demands from them. Shortly before Cameron Stewart scored his screamer, just after a couple of over-hit crosses, the Gaffer was talking to him, instructing him where to go and what to do. Who knows how much the encouragement affected him and led to the goal, I’d like to think it played a small part.

When a substitute is about to enter the fray, often the arm goes around the shoulder and words of encouragement are said, making sure that the player knows what’s expected of them. He’s not afraid to tell them when they’ve done something wrong, again it’s done in a way that encourages and reinforces his confidence in them.

As someone said to me, he is the son of Curbs. Having had the pleasure of observing him since he came back to us I’d tend to agree with that.

Sometimes he is probably too cautious, not making a substitution as quickly as many would like. It’s clear he can hear the observations and remarks of those sitting behind him, offering advice and questioning his judgment. Again, I note the wry smile and the steely determination to do what he thinks right.

It angers me when he gets criticised for not showing emotion, for not caring. Just spend time and watch him then I defy you to say that is the case.

It hurts him just as much as it hurts us when we lose. The difference is he will look to use that pain and frustration positively.

By Dave Lockwood

About Paul Glover