Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Play off contenders meet

Its sixth versus fifth at the Kassam Stadium tonight as Oxford United play Charlton. In the old days, it used to be said in football that it was a good idea to get your retaliation in first. It's also a good idea to get your excuses in first if you are a manager as an insurance policy. Supremo Karl Robinson has done that by talking up Oxford: Oxford are dark horses

Charlton fans may see again striker Jonathan Chiedozie Obika who was signed from relegated rivals Swindow. Jon Obika had two spells on loan at Charlton from Spurs: 2013 appearances 10 goals 3; in between 2014 at Brighton appearances 5 goals 0; 2014 appearances 12 goals 0. However, he did not feature in the Oxford line up in their 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, so I assume he is injured. The winning goal was scored in the 82nd minute by substitute Alex Mowatt who is on loan from Barnsley.

In 2016/17 the equivalent match ended 1-1. It could do again. At home, Oxford have won three, drawn two and lost one.

Louis Mendez has tweeted that Charlton have not lost an away game to Oxford United since 1987 and have never lost at the Kassam Stadium. I can remember playing them at what had been the Headington United ground with its Mecanno stands. Some of them are now at Leamington.

Four Four Two forecast a 5th place finish for the Bulls, but the loss of manager Michael Appleton to the No.2 role at Leicester City led fan Tony Fallows to think that mid-table was more likely.

New supremo Pep Clotet is a Catalan, so his mind may be elsewhere. He earned his UEFA Pro licence by the age of 26. He managed the B teams of Espanol and Malaga, either side of spells in Scandinavia, before spending the best part of four years as the faithful assistant to Gary Monk at Swansea and Leeds. He is known for his tactical prowess and attention to detail.

Charles Breakspear from Surrey will be the man in the middle, let's hope Josh Magennis doesn't have to use his boxing skills again. Why are so many referees bald?

Odds: Oxford 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Bring on the White Tigers

Waiting for a train at Exeter St. David's yesterday morning I bought a copy of the Western Morning News out of curiosity. There was a big feature on the FA Cup hopes of Truro City (Klub Peldroes Truro in Cornish). Little did I anticipate that Charlton would be drawn at home to the White Tigers in the FA Cup. Keslowena. Bledhen nowydh da? They are currently third in the National League South

Football in Cornwall faces special challenges. Truro's nearest away game is Weston Super Mare which is 150 miles away. The team actually trains in Exeter and departs from there as almost all the players are Devon based.

The club has faced some big challenges and almost disappeared some five years ago because of the actions of a big spending owner: Truro City

Cornwall is egg chasing country and football can struggle. The last Cornish team to reach the first round of the FA Cup was in 1969. Falmouth Town got as far as the first round three times in the 1960s and also won the Western League a number of times in the early 1970s. I used to watch them with my father when I visited my parent's retirement home (my mother's family was from Cornwall), indeed it was the last club we watched together. The Cornish pasties were superb.

Some sceptics have argued that Truro City will not fill the Jimmy Seed, but I remember that they brought a big away contingent to Leamington a few years back. There will be the added incentive of a trip to London, so I expect the sleeper will be filling up as soon as a date is known. One of my friends on the Isles of Scilly also has a house in Truro and makes a return trip to London every other weekend.

Amos may want to stay

Leaving aside the usual clich├ęs about giving 100 per cent etc. (at least he didn't claim to be giving more than 100 per cent) this interview suggests that Ben Amos may be interested in staying at Charlton after his loan spell. He was frozen out at Bolton and has had other ups and downs in his career: Fully focused on Charlton

We will have plenty of time to assess him, although if we do get promoted, signing a proven Championship quality keeper would be a priority. I have my reservations about Amos even at League One level (we have shipped quite a lot of goals), but let's wait and see.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Valley hero joins Bromley FC

Former Charlton defender Roger Johnson has joined Bromley FC. The 34-year old has been out of contract since being let go by Charlton.

Non-league players are generally closer to the crowd and there is often an exchange of views, e.g., spectator to right back 'Run harder!' Player,'I'm running as hard as I can.'

In this case spectators can be expected to told where to go if they don't like what they see.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Charlton up to 5th

Charlton moved up to fifth in League One after a 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers at The Valley. Leading scorer Fosu scored the winning goal in the ninth minute. His strike from the penalty area caught out the Doncaster keeper at his near post.

Josh Magennis has been to see concussed referee Rob Lewis who is ok. The referee was brought down by the striker at the start of the second half. This led to a seven minute delay. He is mobile, but feeling a bit sick.

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'My nerves are shredded even though we defended fairly comfortably.' However, the Addicks survived some last minute pressure. The visitors had 59 per cent of the possession but only three shots on target compared with seven from Charlton. An effort from Clarke came off the bar in the second half and both Kashi and Magennis threatened.

Karl Robinson has played down the significance of the injury picked up by Mark Marshall in training, saying that he does not regard it as too serious.

Grinding out results can be an important part of a successful season.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Steep learning curve for Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers have found the transition from League Two to League One to be a steep learning curve. Defences are harder to crack and chances come less readily. They have scored in only half of their league games, although last weekend's 4-1 win over Southend has boosted morale: Quick learners

Rovers are currently 17th in the table while Charlton are 6th. The gap in the form table is narrower: 14th and 18th.

The CAS Trust preview points out that Doncaster have played six of the eight teams in the table, whereas Charlton have played six of the bottom eight: Stronger than they seem?

Odds: Charlton 7/5, Draw 23/10, Doncaster 19/10.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Which non-league clubs do Charlton fans support?

Many Charlton fans also support a non-league club. Indeed, some purists have only going to non-league football since the Belgians took over at The Valley. For example, someone from my old home cul-de-sac in Plumstead Common has given up his season ticket and is now following Maidstone United which is where he now lives as part of the Kent diaspora from the home boroughs.

I am the only Charlton supporter to follow Leamington, but I know that among the more local clubs that Addicks follow are Welling United, Bromley FC and Ebbsfleet United.

A slightly more exotic choice is Dulwich Hamlet. This blog's sister site at www.footballeconomy.com has had a catastrophic crash for unexplained reasons, but a new site looks at the current crisis facing the Hamlet: The fate of Dulwich Hamlet

An Addick has written in about Dulwich Hamlet: 'I well remember The Hamlet from the earliest of childhood days. I believe that the legendary Edgar Kail and Bert Coleman were respectively the last amateur outfield player and goalkeeper to be selected for the full England team. Sir Stanley Rous gained his initial experience as a referee at Champion Hill in the 1930's and even though he was subsequently elevated to President of FIFA freely contributed to Club handbooks etc.'

'Charlton may possess a superstore but for those wishing to buy Hamlet regalia a visit to the Mega Container is the ultimate retail experience!' Common links with the Addicks would include John Ryan ( who I recall playing for Dulwich prior to Charlton ) Peter Reeves and the Smith twins ( Peter played over 400 games for The Hamlet and Paul featured in the Addicks youth and reserve teams circa late 1960's.) As with the Addicks I always wish The Hamlet to survive and flourish.'

For those going to the Doncaster Rovers game, a new Voice of the Valley will be available. I am going to Exeter for the weekend for yet another reunion, so I have ordered my copy to be sent by post from the Isle of Thanet. More information at: Old and new theme