1 October ~ While every season is a new start, few can been as new as the one enjoyed by Charlton this year. With new owners and a new manager, the widely popular Chris Powell, in place last spring, a recruitment drive began as soon as the final 2010-11 ball was kicked. Whereas normally in the summer you scour the forums for news of never-very-likely deals, this time almost every rumour turned out to be true. By the time it was over we had 18 new players and the vast majority of existing players had been let go.
Mercifully the signings were not podgy has-beens from the higher leagues but ambitious and mostly youthful talent from the teams around us (sorry Bournemouth). And so, in combination with the prolific Bradley Wright-Phillips upfront, the homegrown talent of right-back Chris Solly (did you mean to sign him Arsène, when you bought Carl Jenkinson?), winger Scott Wagstaff and captain Johnnie Jackson, the new players gave us a team that looked like a Charlton team in League One should look. That is, one capable of beating the smaller, less well-resourced teams in the division most of the time. Which, so far, we have done. Not always by playing attractive football, but by being competitive, strong at the back and with a midfield duo (Dale Stephens and Danny Hollands) who rarely go missing.
Now, however, for the biggest test so far – a trip to Sheffield United. Expect the home team to have plenty of possession. We aren't Brighton, we will kick it long (too often) and probably play on the break. But this season, for the first time in years, we have strikers who actually look like they want to score when they get close to goal. We have wide players who can also get goals and the midfielders have started chipping in too.
Like any fan outside of Manchester or Chelsea, I feel uneasy after my team has had such a good start. Wouldn't it be better to be about fifth, to have kept expectations within check? Surely we are riding for a fall, and we'll get it in the shape of a 5-0 thrashing today, won't we? Perhaps. Or perhaps we'll get what I'm sure the management would be delighted with – a scrappy, chanceless 0-0. Tom Green