Today one of Russell Slade’s own signings confirmed today a suspicion which has been shared among fans in the last few weeks, over the potential situation that Russell Slade has lost the dressing room, maybe not completely as of yet, but definitely certain players.
In recent weeks we have questioned the reasons for why Russell Slade has not started with Nicky Ajose or at least made use of him as an impacting substitution (25-45 minutes). Fans have taken to Twitter to mock Slade’s decision by creating “Lost and Found” tweets and images as a parody, that the only reason Slade is not playing Ajose is because he must be missing.
However, after his goal against Gillingham from the penalty spot, and the celebration which followed, we know for a fact that he is in South East London, and is becoming extremely frustrated not to be given the chance to prove himself in the Addick’s shirt and to the fans themselves. Ajose has heard us sing his name, as both an admiration of him as a player, and recognition that he has more to show and needs a chance.
In the first quarter of the season – which surprisingly we have already passed, including the 12 game benchmark in which Slade told us to start taking notice of the table (17th and falling…) – there was some logic for why Ajose was not playing in certain respects. The form of football we were playing did not satisfy his style of play. Ajose is a poacher, and a little menace who will catch onto the ball and drive it into the net, if he is supported by a partner (Magennis) and is supplied by two creative wingers (Lookman and Holmes). He also requires confidence, which he will not receive from the bench.
On the other hand regarding this defensive form of football, fans have largely come to the decision rather quickly and vocally, that not only is this not satisfying Ajose’s style, but we are so predictable. We have two main tactics:
- Long ball to Josh Maggenis, hoping he can take on the two centre backs by himself with no support.
- Pass the ball to either Ricky Holmes and Ademola Lookman when they are sat so deep, they have no room to drive forward, and when they do, have no support again.
On the other hand, the style of football we played at Shrewsbury, Coventry City and the first half of Port Vale, where we pushed forward as a unit and a team, playing in a style able to provide the chances that Ajose needs (the ball on the floor and attacking as a unit) we still did not utilise the potent striker. But why is he not being played ? He is a top and proven goal scorer which netted 25+ goals last season.
The reason is because of Slade’s ego and ridiculous pride. It is quite clear that Nicky Ajose has fell out with Russell Slade behind the scenes, and as a result he is being punished by not starting and rarely being subbed on, and when substituted, he is coming on in the 85th minute, which is simply not long enough to have a significant impact. Bbut not only is Slade punishing Ajose, he is punishing our club and league position, hence why we now sit in 17th. Don’t get me wrong I understand that Ajose is not a Lionel Messi, or the miracle which will save us in these desperate times, but a proven asset which is being wasted.
In recent weeks Josh Maggenis has really established himself as a large, physical and bright spark at Charlton – winning balls, creating chances and has bursts of speed – but imagine the potential when you combine him with the proven talents of Ajose?
To consolidate this theory, which has become more apparent and strong in recent weeks is the comments of the Russell Slade signing, and solid centre-back, Jason Pearce.
He had the following to say at a press conference:
“I think Nick’s been a bit disappointed not to be in the side. He’s been working really hard and he’ll be delighted. Hopefully he will kick on and get a few more for us.
“I think there was extra pressure on him after we had missed the first penalty. But he’s a natural goalscorer and showed good calmness to put it away.
“Bringing on another striker makes us a little more potent. Whether the gaffer sticks with that on Saturday, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Now the above transcript was provided via London News Online (South London Press)
Notice that the transcript for what Pearce said for the Charlton Athletic Official Site was edited, missing out the last line from the London News Online transcript. The line missing is in relation to Pearce’s uncertainty of Ajose starting against Chesterfield on the gaffer’s command.
Another example, whereby the official site has tried to enact public relations damage control is when Russell Slade sarcastically insulted the fans at Port Vale, but the official site decided that was not suitable to be included – despite the majority of other news outlets reporting it.
Our club is honestly a mess, but it will not be like this forever.
We will sing from a full and potent united Valley Voice once more in the future – just keep fighting on and do not give up!