Please note that this blog has now been retired, hopefully permanently, and future posts, starting with a report on the 4-0 win at Welling, will be found at Addick's Championship Diary.
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Tony Jimenez has substantially increased his share in CAFC Holdings Ltd, the company which owns Charlton Athletic. Jimenez previously held a 28 per cent stake in the company, but the Charlton website was updated this morning and his share has now increased to 47.6 per cent.
CAFC Holdings Ltd owns 90 per cent of Baton 2010 Ltd – the company which owns Charlton Athletic Football Company Ltd – with former Addicks owner Richard Murray owning the remaining 10 percent.
Current chairman Michael Slater retains a 23 percent interest in CAFC Holdings Ltd, meaning Jimenez has strengthened his position by buying the shares of unnamed minority shareholders.
Today’s news follows recent speculation by Addicks fans concerned at what has been going on behind the scenes at the club over the summer following the departures of Peter Varney as executive vice chairman and Alex Newall as a director.
A spokesman for Charlton Athletic told News Shopper this lunchtime there would be no further comment on today’s confirmation Jimenez is now the single biggest shareholder or to any other questions about the club’s finances.
The Addicks have signed 22-year old striker Jordan Cook on a two year contract following his release from Sunderland. He can play through the centre and out wide: Cook
It was while Cook was on loan at Walsall that he first attracted the attention of Chris Powell. This positive impression was reinforced during a loan spell at Carlisle last season when he scored four goals.
More about him here: New signing
The Addicks are closing a deal on one time youth player Lawrie Wilson who is being signed for around half a million from Stevenage. He can play at right back or in midfield: Wilson
The news has done little to overcome the gloom prevailing in some quarters with a meeting being called to form a supporters' trust, although I thought one would have been formed before. I am also uncertain how it could tackle a problem that is ill-defined in the first place.
Michael Slater has said: 'I've heard about some gossip about the club, but for the last year and a half we have consistently said that we will operate the club on sound commercial principles, and I believe last season's success vindicates our approach.'
'Last summer Chris signed players to create a team that we believed would be able to compete in the Championship, so although he is looking to bring in a few new players, there is nothing like the urgency of last summer and we will not be rushed into decisions.'
'We are not inactive in the transfer market, but the fact is that in League One we were a big fish in a small pond whereas in the Championship there are plenty of other big clubs vying for the players we are trying to sign'.
All this seems very sensible to me, but the usual pessimists have come out to say that if we do not splash the cash soon will be relegated. We have been beaten to some targets, but we don't want to pay over the odds.
Just to draw your attention to a significant post from the Chicago Addick (such is the modern electronic era that the news breaks from Bermuda): Slater
Apparently Slater is to say something about rumours of a boardroom split in Pravda tomorrow. It's about time something was said as these rumours have acquired a life of their own. My view is that a relatively minor disagreement has been exaggerated several times over as the rumour mill got going.
Former Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot admits that he did not hit it off with Super Alan Pardew when they first met, but now he is trying to impress him at Newcastle: Elliot
Was it a good move for Elliot? Only time will tell.
Central defender Yado Mamo and midfielder Rueben Bover Izquierdo have signed new one year deals at Charlton, presumably as cover and in the hope that they might continue to develop as players: Contracts
With the transfer window only just open we will need to wait for significant new signings. Pessimism and gloom seems to be setting on the back of little more than rumour and speculation.
There are unconfirmed rumours that Dubai-based Zabeel Investments have renewed their interest in Charlton. The story goes that they may make a second bid for the club (following the one which provoked such excitement some years ago) in May but this was turned down, leading to a boardroom split. They will make one last attempt this month.
I have to emphasise that this is simply rumour, one of many circulating recently. I have no independent verification of this story.
Former Northampton midfielder Michael Jacobs explains why he chose Derby County over Charlton after both clubs had talked to him alongside Peterborough: Jacobs
He explained, 'The managers are a big factor and all three of them are top managers at what are progressive clubs. I went and spoke to them all and it was a very difficult decision at that point.'
'Before going to look around, I was undecided but I went to Derby first and their facilities, their ground and their set-up took my breath away. It’s a Premier League set-up and they could easily be playing at that level and they’re bringing a lot of young lads through. Charlton had a good set-up too but it didn’t top Derby and I had my heart set on them as soon as I looked around there.
His decision certainly had nothing to do with rumours circulating about fallings out and consequent financial difficulties at The Valley which I have been unable to verify with any reliable source.
The book Pay As You Play by Paul Tomkins and his co-authors attempts to assess the true price of success in the Premier League era. Charlton comes out of the comparison well.
Over the Premier League's history it has cost £854,323 (adjusted to current prices) to win each point in terms of transfer fees. For Charlton the average cost per point under Alan Curbishley was £436,007, just over half the figure for the Premiership as a whole. This figure was pretty steady year on year. But in 2006/7 under Dowie, Reid and Pardew the cost per point soared to £723,856.
The authors argue that Darren Bent was our most successful purchase. Signed for £3m (£5.5m) in June 2005, Bent started 68 out of a possible 76 league games for the Addicks, finishing as the club's top scorer in both of the seasons he spent at The Valley. He left Charlton with a 89 per cent start ratio when he was sold to Spurs for what would be £17.5m in today's money.
Hermann Hreidarsson was also good value. Signed from Ipswich Town for £800,000 (£1.3m) he started 130 out of a possible 152 league games at Charlton, a start ratio of 86 per cent.
Less good value was Madjid Bougherra who was signed for £2.5m (£4.3m) from the Massives, but started only two league games (5 per cent) for the Addicks. Gary Rowett also had a low start ratio (17 per cent).
Hapless signings after Curbs left included Soulemayne Diawara, Djimi Traoré, Amdy Faye and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. The section on Charlton concludes, '"doing things the Charlton way"' ended up as a cautionary tale.
Nathan Jones has joined the Addicks from Yeovil Town where he was assistant manager to become development coach for the under 21s. Here he talks about his new role and his excitement at joining Charlton: Jones
Chris Solly has confirmed that he is staying at The Valley: Solly
Reports are claiming that Charlton have missed out on target Lawrie Wilson and that the Stevenage right back is joining Peterborough United instead. As this report claims, this story has also been heard in South London: Wilson
It's not a great miss as presumably he would have been cover for Solly, unless Solly leaves (and that story seems to have gone cold). So far, however, we do seem to have been beaten by other clubs to targets but it should be addded that some of these targets may not have been real ones but rather dreamt up by agents to boost their client.
I was at an event in London yesterday where I met a fellow Addick (another one was there but we were unable to meet up). We were discussing the departure of Peter Varney, but agreed there was nothing sinister in it, rather it was a case of 'job done' and this was an appropriate time for him to go.
Charlton are one of three Championship clubs that have made bids for Derby County central defender Jason Shackell, but they have all been turned down by the Rams. The highest bid was for £1m, but this is well below Derby's valuation. Leicester City are also said to be interested. More here: Shackell
Shackell was originally a product of the Norwich City youth academy: Jason
Sone Aluko has now returned from international duty in Nigeria and is having 'crunch talks' about whether there is future for him at Rangers, now destined, it seems for the Scottish first division. Charlton have assembled a 'tempting package' to lure him to the Championship, but it appears that there may be other, more tempting offers on the table: Aluko
It now appears that Croydon Council told a few porkies in their attempt to gain the benighted borough city status. They have had to admit that Lord Byron whom they included on their list of 50 'notable people' associated with Croydon, admittedly a difficult list to construct, was in fact born in Marylebone and may never have come anywhere near Croydon. All references to the poet have now been removed from their official literature
This also means that the poet never held a season ticket at Selhurst Park where he is alleged to have enjoyed watching 'the poetry in motion' on the pitch. Indeed, some ill intentioned people have objected to Palace being described as a 'football club', let alone 'a top ranked one with serious aspirations to Premiership status.'
Unconfirmed press reports are linking Charlton with winger Sone Aluko: Aluko
Following the dissolution of the old Rangers club and the uncertainty about which will be 'Club No.12' in the SPL next season, Rangers players are free to leave and join any club they choose. Aluko is highly rated.
If he did come, it would have implications for Green and Wagstaff, but for now it is just another summer rumour.
Interesting interview here with third choice keeper Nick Pope: Pope
Charlton are hoping to lure Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte back to the smoke. Originally from Waltham Forest, Boro signed him from Arsenal four years ago for £3m. Now he has been told that his contract will only be extended at the Riverside if he accepts reduced terms: Hoyte
The defender is a versatile player who can operate either on the flanks or in central defence.
Elsewhere Sheffield United are hoping to sign striker Stuart Beavon from Wycombe Wanderers as they aim for promotion. He was seen as a possible Charlton target, although I was uncertain how he would do against Championship defences.
Former Addick Mark Robson is to take over as manager at Barnet: Robson
The bios mention that he was a former Charlton player, but not a rather unhappy spell he spent at Sparrows Lane: at least it seemed to end unhappily. To be honesty, I'd forgotten how long he was there and how he moved up the hierarchy under different regimes: Robson Most recently he has been coach at Peterborough United.
Addicks may remember him scoring from a free kick in a cup replay at Newcastle United. I remember him as Player of the Match when I celebrated my 50th birthday at The Valley. We lost 1-2 to Stoke City and he commented, 'Why do I always get Player of the Match when we lose?
Managing Barnet is a bit of a bed of nails, I hope it goes well for him. Note the comment made by one disgruntled fan about the chairman.
According to unconfirmed reports from an unofficial West Ham website, the Hammers are interested in Player of the Year Chris Solly. Charlton are claimed to want Sam Baldock in exchange for Solly. Discussions, it is said, are taking place between both clubs.
Baldock is a striker who comes from Buckinghamshire and at one time played for MK Dons. Injury and the arrival of other players have limited his opportunities at Upton Park: Baldock
We do need a striker, but if Solly went we would need to find another right back. In any case it's all very speculative.
Cardiff City have got one over Charlton by rebranding their kit from blue to red. That means we will have to wear a change strip when we visit the Welsh capital. Mind you, one Bluebirds fan has complained on Twitter that blue never suited him anyway!
Cardiff can now claim to be the only massive Welsh team in the Championship.
How would fans feel if Charlton turned out in blue in the interests of brand repositioning? Tom Morris reminds that a kit of white with red epaulettes was very unpopular when it was used for two years in the 1960s, especially when the team ran out to Old Father Thames!
My colleague Sue Bridgewater argues here that changing football brands is particularly challenging: Brands
Andrews Air Condtioning are the new shirt sponsors at the club. Quite a lot to get on the shirt, but they have a major presence in Charlton and previous links with the club. Fans will have the chance to win a portable air conditioning kit for their home. We just need some summer weather to go with it.
It is believed that the sum involved is in the 'mid six figures'. As one well-known fan commented, 'It's not all that sexy, but then Charlton is not all that sexy.
Charlton are one of three clubs expressing an interest in 31-year old Irish defensive midfielder Keith Andrews: Andrews
Andrews was signed on a six month contract with the Baggies in January after a peripatetic career. He has found the net for West Brom and put in some solid performances, but everything is on hold at The Hawthorns until a new manager is appointed who can run the rule over him. In the meantime Celtic have also expressed an interest.
I am not saying that this will come to anything, but it is a realistic piece of speculation in the sense that he would be on a free and would probably not be able to demand massive wages if West Brom let him go. The new Keith Jones?
The Football League has agreed that seven substitutes will be allowed on the bench again next season, thus reversing a false economy measure: Substitutes
I never liked the change as I always thought that getting on the bench, even if there was little chance of playing or at best a cameo, was an important part of the development of Academy players. It was a 'benchmark' to be reached, particularly in the absence of a proper reserve side (a decision I hope will be changed one day).
Incidentally it is amusing on the comments on the link above to see Burnley fans already slagging each other off and predicting relegation.
One of my earliest memories is of the death of King George VIth (my earliest 'political' memory is the of the outbreak of the Korean War). Radio programmes were curtailed and the Radio Times came out in a restricted version, as I recall. Charlton played the next day at Derby County and drew 1-1 and there is no record of whether the players wore black armbands or whether there was a minute's silence. Leary scored what would have been a winning goal in the final minute, but after awarding it, the referee changed his mind after speaking to both linos and judged it offside.
The Coronation was, of course, after the end of the season. I still have my Coronation mug. The person opposite us in our road decorated his house with red, white and blue lamps which can't have been easy to buy in 1953 but was regarded as being OTT. Like many people, the Coronation was the first time I saw television, a ten inch black and white set at my aunt's house.
My uncle used copies of the Radio Times to make a patriotic display in his newsagents in Lakedale Road. In those days it was by far the top seller of any magazine, but he made a killing on the Coronation issue with many people buying extra copies as souvenirs or to send to relatives who had emigrated.
1953 also had a broader significance as it was the year when I started going to The Valley, although I am still not sure which was the first match I saw.
Saracens are considering holding matches at The Valley while they wait for a new ground to be completed. The idea is to tap into a new fan base in Kent: Saracens
The London Broncos experiment attracted relatively few Charlton fans, although those that did go liked the fact that you could take a drink to your seat, something you can always do at ice hockey. In the case of the latter game, the violence on the rink is offset by good rapport between opposing fans (Sheffield being a possible exception).
I'm not a great fan of egg chasing myself, ice hockey being my second sport, although the writer of Drinking During the Game is one Addick who is (and he has the misfortune to support Scotland). In my view it cuts up the pitch and you can usually still see the different lines even when they have been painted out. But this would only be for a few games.
There's a two page interview with Simon Jordan in The Times this morning plugging a book he has written about his time in charge at P****e. Apparently he's fallen on hard times, having his homes and cars repossessed, and the book is part of the way back, although very few authors earn decent royalties from books, even more so with the arrival of the e-book.
The interview is full of asterisks and it's not just the 'P' word. He slags off a number of former players, but manages to get through the interview without mentioning Charlton, although a 6-0 loss at Millwall is referred to. Of the book, Jordan concludes with the following charming message: 'If people don't like it, f*** 'em.
Elsewhere, Leeds United are bidding for massive status with an American takeover in the offing. However, whether England's 'Mr Football', Ken Bates, will be willing to sell at a realistic price remains to be seen. Leeds fans take the view that the Whites have been 'languishing' in the Championship for too long.
26-year old Bosnian striker Edin Dseko was a prolific scorer for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and joined Manchester City in a £27m deal in January 2011. However, things have not worked out for him at the Etihad and he is on his way. Bayern Munich were reported to be interested, but it has not been possible to agree personal terms.
Premiership clubs are thought to take the view that he is too big a risk and it now looks as if he may end up in the Championship. Unfortunately, he is almost certainly above our pay grade but will be a formidable opponent if he joins one of the bigger or massive clubs.
Bristol City fear a 'tough' season in the Championship next season. Well, it could be for them as they might well face a relegation battle: Bristol City
Particular concern is expressed about Charlton and Chris Powell's 'expansive war chest' to fund new signings. Obviously they know something we don't as at the end of the season Sir Chris was talking about 'sensible strengthening' which hardly sounds like splashing the cash.
The one surprising thing about this report is that there is no specific discussion of Sheffield Wednesday which one would think would be the team Bristol City would most fear. Instead, they seem more concerned about the three teams relegated from the Premiership who arguably lack the 'massive' status enjoyed by Wednesday.
No doubt Charlton fans venturing to Ashton Gate will receive the usual friendly west country welcome. Plans for a new stadium never seem to come to fruition. One is really in egg chasing territory and Bristol clubs have never made an impact commensurate with the size of the city.
The news that the city of Sheffield will be represented solely by its massive team in the Championship next season has already been tweeted to Planet GJ667Cc by a team of electronic artists in Arizona. Unfortunately, the news will take twenty years to get there travelling at the speed of light.
However, more information is emerging about this massive planet. Apparently, part of it, especially towards the north, is occupied by a race of super intelligent giant owls who have enough dexterity in their talons to make steel. The feedstock for the steel comes from intergalactic scrap metal merchants.
Apparently they are the remnants of a little known space expedition that was sent from New Cross to Uranus in the hope of finding intelligent life there as there was none in New Cross. They missed their target and ended up in another part of the galaxy.
One of the scrap merchants said, 'It's an in and out job for us on their planet. The screeching of those owls does your head in. And as for the smell. We beam up to the mother ship as soon as we can and tune into the New Den to chill out.'
The rest of the planet is occupied by a humanoid race called Bladesmen whom the Owls depend on to turn their steel into implements. Apparently their cutlery is much prized in that part of the galaxy.
The two races encounter each other at the massive Merryhell retail outlet.
It is 14 years today since the 'greatest game' when Charlton beat Sunderland on penalties to get promoted to the Premiership. Some of the Addickted couldn't watch and descended into the bowels of a decrepit Wembley until they heard the cheers. When I got home my neighbour, who supports Coventry City, rushed out to greet us. An ITV newsreader announced with a look of surprised horror on her face that the 'tiny' London club had been promoted.
You can read my thoughts at the time here (you need to scroll down): Wembley
We've had some ups and downs since then, and some grim times, but today we can once more be proud of the club and what it has achieved under Chris Powell. Richard Murray always used to think there would one day be a Premiership B and that's where would be. Such a model would have involved fewer clubs in the top and second tier, but in a sense the Championship is a de facto Premiership B.
Not much news at the moment, all summed by an official tweet the other day. 'Quiet day at the training ground. Not much happening.
The Times is featuring a house in Crystal Palace in its property section today. It doesn't look a very good buy anyway, but the downsides forget to mention the locale.
Alan Pardew would like to follow Roy Hodgson in the England job. No false modesty there, then, and no mention of Charlton Athletic in this interview: Pardew
Pardew does accept, however, that he is not quite ready for the role yet: he has yet to secure a European trophy or, for that matter, manage Sheffield Wednesday. Anyway, it's quality all round as Mihir Bose interviews Pardew in the Sub-Standard.
Former performance analyst and Loughborough University graduate Bradley Pritchard talks about the experience of stepping up from the non-league to play for the Addicks: Pritchard
The year has clearly surpassed his expectations, but he also exceeded mine. He was particularly pleased to play against both Sheffield clubs, both the massive one and the slightly smaller one.
Following the promotion of West Ham, the only teams from the capital in the Championship next season will be the three rival clubs from South London. Watford are on the fringes of London - and could be one possibility for a relegation struggle next year.
Ten of the teams are from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cleveland meaning some long trips for the Addickted who go regularly to away games. However, no trip will be as long as Carlisle, but that was well worth the trouble for those who went.
There are also five teams in the Midlands, plus two from the East of England, one from Wales, one from the West of England (friendly Bristol City), one from the south coast - and Watford.
West Ham were designated as a 'massive' team yesterday but have now left the division. At the time of writing three clubs have been described as 'massive': Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and the Jupiter-size massives, Sheffield Wednesday. Presumably that's all three promotion spots accounted for, but no doubt other clubs will be added to the list of massive over time.
Rumours are linking central midfielder Ricardo Gardner with the Addicks. He can also play on the left, providing an alternative to Johnnie Jackson. The Jamaican has been released by Bolton Wanderers, but he will be 34 in September.
Rhoys Wiggins has had to withdraw from a possible debut with Wales because of a heel injury. He is on a six week programme to restore his fitness.
West Ham describe themselves this morning as a 'massive' club: if they stay down, they will meet another one.
Apologies for putting a post about the CAP on this page earlier this morning: it has now found its real home.
I saw the flat cap of our local Burnley fan disappearing in the distance the other day and caught up with him (he really does have a flat cap). He took me to our last away game at Burnley, a cold February evening, and I also went to see Burnley v. Hull as part of his 60th birthday celebrations. Burnley deserve congratulations on what they achieved: it's a small town and I have rarely seen such urban devastation outside the United States. But at least they don't have a huge hole in the middle of the city as is the case in Bradford.
I asked him what he thought of his season given that a mid-table finish might be where we end up next season (certainly better than going back to League One). 'Boring,' he said. But then his face lightened up: 'Both Bolton and Blackburn are going down.' Blackburn are Burnley's deadly rivals (Accrington are geographically in between but seen as a kind of second team by many Burnley fans). Burnley fans even hired a light aircraft to tow an insulting banner across Ewood Park at Blackburn's last game of the season.
'We hate every team in Lancashire,' he explained, 'except Everton.' His three sons support Everton, the Toffees having been a top team when they were growing up, and one of them even went to university in Liverpool so that he could get the full Bluenose experience. I thought that was quite a lot of teams to dislike. 'Even Oldham?', I asked, thinking of them as a rather nondescript team playing in a decrepit ground on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. 'We've got some issues with Oldham,' he said.
I didn't need to raise the question of Yorkshire and the Massives. But I did wonder if Burnley might have a bit of a struggle next season.
Chris Powell will be a pundit for Sky Sports at the League One play-off final between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. He is also going to the play off final between Blackpool and West Ham United, although not as a pundit. In this way he will get a first look at two teams we will be playing next season.
I will be backing West Ham in the Championship final. My father was born in North Woolwich (admittedly part of Woolwich in those days) and before he moved to Eltham he was a West Ham United supporter. Once he moved to the Progress Estate, his cousin introduced him to Addicktion, although he continued to play for the predecessor club of East Ham United. He went to the first FA Cup final at Wembley to support West Ham. I also think that West Ham treated us better than Crystal Palace for the short time we were tenants at Upton Park, although almost anything would have been an improvement on Selhurst.
The League One play off final is more difficult as I have very good friends who support both teams. However, my preference is for Sheffield United as it would prevent more big headed celebrating by the Massives, although no doubt their fans would point out that the Blades are the smaller club.
In any case I can't watch either game as I don't have Sky. Although there is now a way round Warwick Council's ban on satellite dishes, I wouldn't have enough time to watch it to justify the subscription.
I have only just come across this review of the season but it's lively and well written: Season
A student I hadn't met before came to see me the other day and saw my framed Curbs shirt. She said that she came from Eltham and that her father was a big Charlton supporter. This article suggests that some fans already rate Chris Powell more highly than Curbs and it will be interesting to see how this comparison develops over time.
Our Sheffield United correspondent reports on their 1-0 victory over Stevenage at Bramall Lane: 'Blades just scraped through to the final. With one striker in jail, another suspended, and a third injured, goals are a little hard to come by. At least Huddersfield have as poor a record in play-off finals as we do.'
The heroes of Hertfordshire have been the subject of some media hype, but I always though that they were quite an ordinary side, as was demonstrated by a convincing win over them at The Valley. The 1-0 defeat at Stevenage was a bit of a fluke although it had plenty of pessimists proclaiming that we could forget about promotion.
It's going to be an intrigung final and Jordan Rhodes could be the hero of the hour for Huddersfield. Will they then be able to hold on to him or will he opt for going straight to the Premiership?
Pravda is tweeting that Charlton are definitely interested in Dany M'Guessan. It would be a good move in my view, but Millwall may want him back. However, he certainly looked keen on playing for Charlton.
Alan Curbishley was being listed as a 10-1 hope for the job of Aston Villa manager last night. It is understood that Curbs, who played for Villa, was hurt when he was not considered last time round and the job went to a relegation specialist. The difficulty is that the longer that you are out of the game the more the experience The Times refers to favourably this morning starts to look a little rusty.
Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez are the favourites. Martinez turned down Villa twelve months ago, but he may consider that he has had his fill of pulling off spectacular late season escape acts at Wigan. The tide is turning against clubs funded by local boys made good.
Sheffield Wednesday may be a giant, but Villa are true sleeping giants. They are the nearest thing the West Midlands has to a regional team with a strong following in Leamington, for example. A broader question is why West Midlands football is so much in the doldrums with the Baggies under Roy Hodgson as a possible exception. Birmingham City have, of course, faced a very difficult financial situation as I discuss here: Blues.
Despite Birmingham being proclaimed as the second city, and some successful regeneration of the city centre, it often seems to lose out to Manchester, e.g., the running down of the BBC presence in the city and its move of, for example, Radio 5 to Salford. Having an elected mayor might have given it a boost, but Brummies thought otherwise.
Having talked about Curbs, we musn't forget our current manager, Chris Powell, who has won the League One Manager of the Year Award. It is difficult to see who else it could have gone to. The Massives spoilt their chances of a trophy that would normally have gone to them by changing managers midstream.
Addicks play off hero Sasa Ilic is returning to Montenegro to set up a yoga detox retreat. In 2006 he retired from football to become a consultant for banks in the Balkan region. However, he has retained his Canary Wharf home from where he keeps an eye on the progress of Charlton. He told The Football League Paper 'I regard Charlton as my home club and have a special place in my heart for them.'
The story of how he was signed up to be the keeper of St.Leonards Stamcroft at a football-themed restaurant in London is well known. After the Hastings team won promotion he was given a trial with Aston Villa but they didn't offer him a contract. So he went back to London and his took his boots round to Charlton. He commented, 'The only way I can describe it is pure fate to knock on Charlton's door and not say, West Ham's or Millwall's.' Sasa played the majority of the 1998-99 season before falling behind Dean Kiely in the pecking order.
He could, of course, have tried Sheffield Wednesday but he had fallen in love with London. Milan Mandaric has now proclaimed that the club 'is not a sleeping giant. This is a giant.' His view is endorsed by football writer Chris Dunlavy who says that Hillsborough is better than the San Siro for raw, visceral passion. The two Manchester clubs must be already looking over their shoulders.
Karleigh Osborne has been let go by Brentford. Charlton were interested in the January transfer window, but only as a cut price deal. The Bees wanted serious money which the player was not thought to be worth. The Addicks are now moving on to bigger targets, as they should.
No doubt in the next few weeks we will get a better idea of what those targets might be, but at the moment Chris Powell is enjoying a well-earned holiday.
Congratulations to Manchester City on winning the title after a 44 year gap. In 1936-7, our first year in the top flight, City beat us to the title by three points. It was probably our best ever chance of winning it. If only money have been spent on more seated accommodation which was regularly sold out even though it was six to seven times more expensive than the terraces.
Depending on whether West Ham win the play off finals, the three South London teams - Charlton, Crystal Palace and Millwall - could be the only representatives from the capital in the Championship next season. Although they lost 3-2 in the sensational game at Manchester City, QPR survive in the top flight as Bolton did not do enough at Stoke to displace them. The Super Hoops will be able to strut their stuff in the top flight for another year without the humiliation of a visit to SE7.
It looks as if the Championship will have quite a northern feel next year with plenty of away trips up the M1 and M6. Indeed, if Blackpool fail to beat West Ham and either Sheffield United or Huddersfield Town win the League 1 play off place, half the clubs will be from 'oop North (not including the Midlands).
Manchester City beat Charlton to the title by three points in 1936/37, our best chance ever of winning it, but congratulations to them on an amazing victory.
The two Manchester clubs may be top dogs at the moment, but they had better watch out! Incidentally, I was amused that the United fan who was supposed to have been in the Radio 5 studio this morning hadn't turned up. It's a long way from Guildford to Salford!
The outcome of the League 1 play offs is of interest to the Addickted as they will determine one of the teams we play against next year. The Blades had a bore draw against the heroes of Hertfordshire on Friday night. One would think they should win at Bramall Lane. United have won 16 of their 23 home games this season, although they haven't won in their last four matches.
However, a Blade supporting friend of mine says morale has been low since the rape case. Stevenage have not lost to the Blades in three games this season and went 2-0 ahead in the regular league game at Bramall Lane before being pegged back to 2-2. Stevenage supremo Gary Smith has them practising penalties.
If the unbelievable happened and Stevenage won a third successive promotion Championship fans would be exposed to what is essentially still a non-league ground. At least when they played Spurs on television one could see the traffic racing past on the road outside when the hoofing got a bit too boring to watch. Non-league clubs are often denied promotion because they fail to meet strict ground criteria, but no such tests apply in the Football League.
Huddersfied won convincingly at Stadium MK yesterday, although MK Dons fans are blaming an error by referee Darren Deadman which I can well believe given how useless he was when he refereed our games. However, Huddersfield have enough quality to finish them off at home.
So if it is Blades versus Huddersfield at Wembley, will Harold Wilson's team fail in the play offs as usual? I have friends who support both teams, but I have to bear in mind that my discipline's department at Sheffield University is itself simply massive, has made another important transfer signing this month and houses the chair of the research excellence framework panel. The equivalent body last time was headed up by a Huddersfield Town supporter.
My view is the less massive of the two Sheffield sides deserve to go up given their performance over the season as a whole despite their last minute wobble. Apart from anything else it would be one over Wednesday who have now joined Crystal Palace and Millwall on the 'dislike' list at The Valley.
At the other end of the Championship, The Football League Paper are bigging up Carthorse Cole as the key to West Ham's success. The Addickted will remember him for his loan stay at Charlton which he clearly thought was beneath his dignity as shown by his sarcastic acknowledgement of the Covered End when he scored.
I don't have a lot of time for Blackpool because (i) I don't like their owners, (ii) I think their manager is off his trolley, (iii) it's the only away ground where I've been spat at by a player (not at me personally, but the Addickted in general). Also, as my father was born in North Woolwich, he originally supported West Ham until he crossed the river to live in Eltham where his cousin introduced him to the Addicks.
Incidentally this weekend marks the 200th anniversary of the assasination of Spencer Perceval, the only British prime minister to suffer this fate. Growing up at Charlton House and buried in Charlton Church, he is the only prime minister with Addick connections, albeit a bit premature.
Bradley Pritchard has been hoping for some time to get in the Zimbabwe international squad and now he has got his call up as the team prepares for the next Africa Cup of Nations. There are 30 named players, so it's only the first step but it couldn't have happened to a more popular player. He applauded the East Stand with real fervour after last Saturday's game. More here: Pritchard
Elsewhere Charlton fans are giving financial backing to another 'tiny' club as Dingwall based Ross County prepare for Scottish Premier League action. Read how Addicks fans are helping the Staggies here: Staggies
On the massiveness front, when I took my car in for its MoT yesterday the service manager said that my use of it was 'not massive'. I almost felt like telling him I didn't support Sheffield Wednesday either. Reports after an incident on the M1 near Sheffield said that delays were 'not massive'. The word is clearly catching on.
However, the plan to tweet news of Sheffield Wednesday's progress to a planet twenty light years away allegedly inhabited by super intelligent giant owls has run into problems after it was realised that the Massives would have been relegated by the time the initial news got there.
There were massive celebrations in Sheffield last night as thousands of fans poured into the city centre to celebrate the achievements of Sheffield Wednesday who will be on temporary loan to the Championship pending their return to the Premier League: Massive
The Guardian has published a set of reports from League 1 bloggers (Kish representing Charlton). The Owls representative says, apparently without irony, that it has been a 'massive' season for their club. Interestingly, the Blades representative says that their best away trip was to Charlton and praises our fans. More here: Bloggers
Some Charlton fans have suggested that we should have had a civic celebration in Greenwich. However, the Council has other things on its mind such as the Olympics. Also, Charlton fans are much more geographically dispersed, although I made it to SE7 when we first went up to the Premiership and I still have the flag I bought that day. I also think that our own celebrations were excellent and done in a Charlton style, expressing our faith in the club but without being arrogant.
Following last night's win by Blackpool, Birmingham City and Cardiff City are two of the allegedly smaller clubs the Massives will be facing.
Planet GJ667Cc is twenty light years away from Earth and it is thought that it has the potential to support life. Now as part of the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art, a plan has been hatched to beam Twitter messages at the hapless inhabitants of the planet. If you want to enter the Twitterverse, you will need to add the hashtag #tweetinspace.
If there is any intelligent life on the planet, they won't think they have encountered another intelligent race when they start receiving this electronic garbage. Indeed, they may well think they have encountered a race of morons whose intellectual reach is limited to 140 characters and spend all their time slagging each other off or are obsessed with the religious figures known as 'celebrities'.
What is the Jubilee Line and why does it keep breaking down? What is the evil force known as Southeastern Trains? Who are the two rival warlords, Boris and Dave? And what is a dancing cat?
However, there may be a way of impressing these aliens. I don't know much about this planet but it could well be massive. Surely then they would be impressed by hearing about such a huge club as Sheffield Wednesday and its feat of coming second in League 1?
The latest Sunday Times Sport Rich List names Trevor Hemmings as the owner of both Preston North End and Charlton Athletic. Even the journos at News International papers should know that you can't own two clubs under Football League rules, but no doubt the list was checked by some unpaid intern.
Hemmings is the majority shareholder in Preston North End. He is very much into the gee gees and owns a large string of racehorses, reputedly even more nags than our very own John Window. This report is a bit dated but it gives some idea of where his wealth comes from: Hemmings.
Hemmings was born in Woolwich and he certainly had a stake in the Addicks at one time (and reportedly in Rangers as well although he is probably regretting that). He certainly wasn't in the parade of owners on Saturday but he may be providing some backing behind the scenes out of a sentimental attachment to his home area.
We don't really know who owns the club and to be honest I am not concerned as I am less preoccupied with transparency than the fashionable view requires. But they rescued it from the brink of administration and they have run it well, choosing Chris Powell as manager against a background of concern about his inexperience and arguments that it was a crowd pleasing decision. Gratitude is a commodity in short supply in football, but I am certainly grateful to them, whoever they all are.
When Rick Everitt was editing Voice of the Valley and we were in the Premiership, a certain Jonathan Acworth used to write in regularly and suggest non-league players, often from Park View Road, that Charlton should sign. I hear that Acworth has recently written a book called The Highs and Lows of Being a Charlton Fan and certainly Chris Powell should place it on his summer reading list.
Paul from Bexleyheath, who sits to my left in the East Stand, is no Acworth. He is very knowledgeable about football and I was delighted that a five year season ticket holder was able to invite him to the directors' box for Saturday's game. I think Paul missed a game or two at the start of the season and when Bradley Pritchard came on as a sub he asked me who he was. I said that we had signed him from Hayes and Yeading where he was player of the year. Paul's comment was, 'the more I hear, the less I am impressed.'
When Bradley was featured in the programme recently, he remarked that someone had told him that they had forgotten that he was a former non-league player. He has certainly developed over the year. An example was the pinpoint accurate long ball he put in to Yann Kermorgant on Saturday so that he could score his wonder goal. Bradley's energy and commitment have made him a favourite with many Charlton fans. That's not to say that there isn't more work to do. Although his ball control has improved, he sometimes lacks guile and sophistication.
There are many examples of players who had to start their careers in non-league football having failed to make the cut when they left their academies. Bradley came from the first tier of the non-league. Can one make the jump from the third tier to the Championship?
Football League scouts have been in evidence recently at the New Windmill Ground home of Leamington watching young striker Jacob Blyth. The Brakes board knew they had a raw talent on their hands and put him under contract so that that the club could get compensation when he was signed by a higher level team. When Sam Bartram style goalkeeper Breeden was snapped up by Kidderminster Harriers the Brakes got nothing (although Breeden hasn't scored from outfield for them).
It looks as if Leicester City have won the race to sign Blyth. A factor is the friendship between Brakes supremo Paul Holleran and Leicester City's assistant manager. However, Blyth comes from north Warwickshire so signing for Leicester makes a lot of sense. Signing him as a development player could have been too big a punt for the Addicks. I just hope that one day he doesn't score against use for the Foxes.
That was the chant of the Covered End in the middle of a eloquent speech by Chris Powell after the presentation of the League 1 trophy to Charlton at The Valley yesterday. Sometimes days of this kind are an anti-climax, but I enjoyed yesterday more than our last promotion, to the Premiership. It feels as if a dark cloud has lifted from The Valley. There are many challenges ahead, but they will be more exciting and worthwhile ones than in League 1.
Everyone is being very English and ignoring the smurfs on the adjacent escalator
At London Bridge, I had a large number of Hartlepool supporters asking me what train they should get, what the station was called and whether a travelcard was valid. They seemed more confused than the average crowd from up north, but also very friendly.
I got to The Valley by about 1.15 but already there were large crowds around. The attendance was 26,749 which I think is enough to give us our highest ever average attendance in League 1. I had to queue for some time in the club shop, soon to be taken over by Nike, to get my souvenirs.
The build up to the match was just superb. The singers were excellent, not least the South Korean lady. It was also great to see Charlton legend Richard Rufus whom my wife used to sponsor: we have a number of his signed shirts and gave one to the Rose of Denmark. However, the landing of the Red Devils on the pitch, one of them carrying the match ball, was simply superb. It must take real and courage to jump out of a small aircraft and land on what is, relatively speaking, a patch of grass surrounded by tall structures.
The Hartlepool players and the officials formed a guard of honour for the players. We started the match with a rather slow tempo, treating it very much as an exhibition or training game. It was nine minutes before we launched an attack that was worth noting and then it came to nothing. On twelve minutes Wiggins was forced to concede a corner to the visitors but the ball went over. Charlton won their first corner on 19 minutes. It was taken by skipper Johnnie Jackson, but the header from Wright-Phillips was caught by the former Glazier in the Hartlepool goal.
Good work by Wiggins led to a second Charlton corner but it was caught by the keeper. Wright-Phillips went on a run which ended with an unproductive Charton free kick. A mix up between Solly and Hamer led to a corner for the visitors. Johnnie Jackson had to be taken off, presumably because he had a knock or strain although I didn't notice anything. Haynes replaced him.
We paid the price for our somewhat casual approach on the half hour mark when from a Hartlepool corner the unmarked Peter Hartley was able to sneak the ball into net along the ground at the near post.
Wright-Phillips had a half chance at an angle, but he is not too good at those and the ball went just wide. Hollands challenged Scott Flinders in the Hartlepool goal and won the Addicks a corner. The visitors looked dangerous with some corners, but we went in at the break only one goal down. The backroom staff were recognised with medals. Alan Curbishley came on to the pitch and paid tribute to Chris Powell.
When Chris Powell was appointed as manager, some people argued that he was too nice to do the job well. He is a genuinely nice person and he doesn't throw the tea cups around, but that doesn't mean he can't be firm. No doubt he had a few things to say at half time and indeed he showed his frustration from the touchline during the game.
Whatever he said didn't have immediate effect and the usual suspects in the East Stand started to give vent to their frustration. Someone said to me in the pub afterwards that the crowd is very fickle and goodness knows what will happen if we hit a rough patch in the Championship. I was quietly confident that our quality would show through.
It didn't start well with a free kick on the D after a trip. The match was generally played in a good spirit and there were no cards awarded. Hamer saved the free kick but was then challenged and seemed to fumble but the move ended in an offside decision. Yann Kermorgant fed Wright-Phillips but his effort went over. Charlton won a corner taken by Dale Stephens but it was saved. The subdued Scott Wagstaff was taken off and replaced by Bradley Pritchard which made a real difference. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, the midfield had been flat and had not got forward enough.
Wiggins won Charlton a corner and Hollands was able to equalise with a decisive short. Then from another Charlton corner Danny Haynes made it 2-1 by nodding the ball in the net after Taylor had looped it in and the mood relaxed. The best was yet to come, however. Bradley Pritchard put in a good long ball to Yann Kermorgant. The angle looked completely impossible but the ball went in the net. I just wrote 'Fab!'. This is a goal I will remember for a long time.
Then on 86 minutes Gary Liddle scored a second for Hartlepool. It came from more or less nowhere but was really a product of sloppiness and over confidence on our part. It threatened us achieving the ton but we stayed in command for the four minutes of time added on and ended the season with 101 points.
Such was the excitement that the news that the Massives had been promoted as well was not recognised as it should have been by bowing in the general direction of Sheffield. Today the Football League Paper describes Wednesday as a 'huge' club: how many superlatives are there. Radio 5 headlined an interview with manager Dave Jones discussing whether they would go straight up to the Premiership. No thought of interviewing the unfashionable champions, although Sir Chris himself has warned us to be realistic.
On the Football League Show our match got cursory attention, while the presenters could scarcely contain their excitement about Wednesday, proclaiming that they would be the 'biggest club' in the Championship next year. That puzzled me a bit as either Birmingham City or West Ham United will stay down, the clubs that are likely to come down from the Premiership are not exactly small ones and nor are clubs like Cardiff City or Leicester City tiny. But never let the facts spoil a good story. The Football League Paper had a front page taken up entirely with a photo of Miguel Llera surrounded by adoring Massives with the strapline 'Salute the Heroes'. We can already see what the media agenda for next season is.
The players were given their medals by the chairman of the Football League and a mini skirted director of sponsorship from nPower. It was good to see the loan players recognised. The trophy was presented, the players paraded around the pitch and Chris Powell made the eloquent speech that showed how he is Charlton through and through.
I went to the pub afterwards and two Hartlepool coach went past and we applauded them as they waved back. They played their full part in the day with their Smurf costumes. I finally got back to Leamington at 9 p.m.
Ivy the Terrible was delighted to award another Silver Bone to Yann Kermorgant not just for the goal but for his contribution throughout. The point was made in the programme that it was the acquisition of the Breton that really completed the side as we needed an aerial threat. His work rate and commitment has been tremendous and it was great to see him wearing part of the trophy as a berry after the game. From his knowledge of him at Leicester, Chris Powell was able to see that he was a real talent who had been sidelined because of a penalty miss.
The Bloke Behind Me is always quick to spot what he sees as any deficiencies in a Charlton player and he thinks that Hamer panics. He does fumble sometimes, but I wouldn't particularly blame him for the two goals yesterday. I certainly don't see a new keeper as a target for the summer. Morrison has been an ever present in the side and once again yesterday he showed that he is usually Mr Reliable who can also get forward when that is required. Taylor was brought back in and he was competent, although it would be interesting to look at his positioning for the two goals. He provided the assist for the second goal. Wiggins has been an ever present and a great acquisition. I voted for him for Player of the Year because I wanted him to get a place. Solly will be named as Player of the Year tonight and it was another excellent performance. According to the programme Stephens is regarded as one of the best players outside the top flight and certainly yesterday he was very energetic and even seemed to have recovered some of the skill he had shown before his operation. Hollands scored an important goal and it was great to see the triplets in the parade. Jackson was playing well before he had to be taken off. I thought that Wagstaff was not very involved and it was the right decision to take him off. He can be very inconsistent. Bradley Wright-Phillips seems to have lost his scoring boots and I think we need to bring in a striker. Haynes displayed energy and no little skill. Pritchard more than played his part when he came on. It was nice to give Euell a cameo to conclude his Charlton career.
Rescue cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman. One wag shouted out, 'last season is it lino?' He made a very strange decision over a throw in.
The anniversary of my father's death was this week and a love of football and Charlton Athletic in particular was a bond that held us together, although the last matches we saw were at Falmouth Town which were worth it just for the pasties.
My father was a reasonably successful non-league footballer. He would never talk about it very much, always answering 'South-East Ham' when he was asked which club he played for, but I believe it was the predecessor of East Ham United as he always got very excited when we went past the ground on the bus. He was apparently good enough to play for a London non-league representative side in Paris and Brussels.
I think that he hoped that I would emulate him, perhaps even making the grade with the Addicks, and when I was seven he presented me with an expensive pair of boots. But I had two left feet and the only sport I ever participated in competitively was orienteering.
Unfortunately I can't remember the first game I saw at The Valley. The first match I remember was our 6-1 defeat of Liverpool for obvious reasons but I know that I had been to many games before then. I used to go through the turnstiles with my father until I was seven. I have to confess I was quite nervous when I first went through the big turnstiles on my own and handed over a few old pennies to a grumpy gatesman.
My mother was also a keen supporter and came down very hard on any referee she thought was biased against the Addicks shouting 'Dirty ref!' at the top of her voice.
My grandmother was a young adult by the time Queen Victoria died, but she took a keen interest in football. This was partly for gambling reasons and she read the Racing and Football Outlook very carefully before completing her coupon. However, she also took a close interest in the fortunes of the Addicks, having lived in the area since the First World War when her husband too a job at the Woolwich Arsenal, and was always eager to discuss issues of promotion and relegation with me.
We only went to a reserve match at The Valley once and I only recently figured out that it was when my grandmother was terminally ill at home and my father sensibly thought that some football, even against Aldershot Reserves, would be a good distraction.
I remember when we went up to the Premiership as champions we lost 0-3 at home to Ipswich which took a little of the edge off the celebration and sent the Bloke Behind Me ballistic as he screamed 'Sort it out Curbishley'.
Will Hartlepool spoil our party tomorrow? Their manager is calling it a 'curtain call' and is looking forward to rebuilding the squad over the summer: Monkey hangers
Apparently a lot of their fans are going to come dressed as smurfs, although for some unknown reason they are describing themselves as 'blue and white gnomes': Gnomes . I remember that when our Erith-born eldest was eight or nine we gave her a smurf and she still recalls it now she is a mum with two kids of her own as one of her best presents.
No disrespect to Hartlepool, I have a lot of time for Stuart Drummond who went from being the club's monkey mascot to elected mayor, but they are another team I am glad not to be playing next season. The presenter on PM this evening asked me if I was 'disappointed' about the elected mayors referendum results: what would have really disappointed me was if Charlton had not been promoted.
I need to catch up on my sleep after staying up until 4 a.m. doing election broadcasting, but I am looking forward to the day. I should have put something into my Radio Scilly sports show slot, but it's the biggest sporting weekend of the year on the island (world gig championships), so there wasn't really time. Anyway Keri prefers me to talk about Plymouth Argyle.
The media have a tendency to go overboard on whatever they see as the story of the moment. Earlier in the season it was draw specialists Huddersfield or the claim that Spurs would win the Premiership title. More recently, the two Sheffield clubs have been the subject of fascinated adulation. Now the hero of the hour is Super Alan Pardew, the subject of a two page spread in The Times today.
I was tempted to end the story here and you use the old media ploy of saying 'here is a blank page for your children to write on' when something went wrong in the production process. However, it is worth considering why The Times thinks that SAP is the 'only one credible winner' of the Manager of the Season title.
Admittedly, some objections are considered. It is pointed out that some might think that the award should go to the scouts at Newcastle which found such talents as Cabaye, Tioté and Cisse. There are also those who think that the silver fox already has a big enough ego: 'Perhaps even some of Pardew's peer group in management might fear that such an honour will cause a renewed outbreak of what we might politely call self-confidence - or preening ego if you prefer - that became his reputation in those days when he cruised around in a Ferrai.'
Then there is the matter of unfashionable little London club. It is admitted that 'Fans at Charlton Athletic still struggle to make sense of it all. They remember Pardew as a man who spent big money, certainly by their standards, and failed dismally.' It is pointed out that he was sacked at West Ham when the then chairman talked of 'cutting off a cancer' and then at Southampton.
From a Charlton perspective I suppose that one can say that Pardew inherited a poisoned chalice from Iain Dowie. But then in the season after relegation we were on track for a play off place, he decided to change the team around and we sank to mid-table.
I'm just glad to have Chris Powell in charge.
Rumours linking the Addicks with Wycombe Wanderers striker Stuart Beavon have been played down by Chris Powell, according to a tweet from Pravda. The Chairboys are certainly concerned about hanging on to Beavon who has an eye for goal. However, this particular story, which appears to have originated on Sky (although I have been unable to confirm this) looks suspiciously like a plant by an agent trying to drum up competition for his client. If clubs start thinking Charlton are interested, then, say, Notts County may take a closer look.
We can expect a lot of this during the summer (when it arrives). It looks like it is going to be chilly on Saturday.
West Bromwich Albion are starting to look for a new manager with Roy Hodgson destined to take charge of England, much to the ire of football journos and, we are told, fans.
One name in the frame is Chris Powell. He's not the favourite: that's Chris Hughton. And once again Alan Curbishley is being discussed. However, we may have to get used to a bit of speculation linking Sir Chris with higher level clubs.
I left Leamington yesterday and the train goes immediately under the stands at St.Andrews. Birmingham City could go up through the play offs, but somehow I doubt it, so we could well enjoy the renowned hospitality and warm welcome of the Blews next year.
The train sped through Tamworth (Conference) and Burton (League 2), but as we approached Derby we went past the now derelict platform that served the old Baseball Ground, rumoured to have a toxic pitch contaminated by local industry. The new ground is squeaky clean and we should have competitive fixtures against Derby County next year. A Derby fan is a work colleague and he goes around with a constant cloud over his head as far as his club are concerned.
The train sped through Chesterfield (now League 2), but slowed to a respectful crawl as we approached Sheffield. You can just glimpse Bramall Lane from the train, but the home of the Massives is well out of sight. However, as I had to change trains there, I was able to tread the soil of the mecca of football. (Indeed, when I watched the regional news later Sheffield United were discussed in terms of near awe).
The train stopped at Barnsley Interchange, quite an appropriate name when one considers that Barnsley may well interchange divisions downwards next season if their form in the second half of the season is anything to go by. Another change of trains at Leeds and time to reflect on the regime of the ever popular Ken Bates and gobby manager Warnock. Finally to Bradford and the new home of Phil Parkinson.
That reminded of a story told to me by an expat living in the US. They organised a kick about for expats, everyone to turn up in their club colours. One shirt could not be recognised at all: it was Bradford Park Avenue.
For those who like away trips 'oop North there will still be quite a few next season.
I got hoist with my own petard this morning as I had to go into the BBC Bradford studios to answer questions on the Radio Sheffield breakfast show.
Former Addick Miguel Llera assisted Sheffield Wednesday to a key victory at Brentford yesterday, while Sheffield United could only draw against the heroes of Hertfordshire. Llera has scored a few goals for the Massives which isn't to say that I think we should have retained him.
The Massives are at home to Wycombe Wanderers next week, while Sheffield United are away to relegated Exeter. Both the steel city sides should be able to win these fixtures which would leave the Massives automatically promoted with Sheffield United favourites to win the play offs.
This means that Charlton will have the massive privilege of playing Sheffield Wednesday for one more year. It will be only one year as the Massives secure promotion to their natural home in the top flight.
This year Charlton (once described by ITV as the 'tiny London club') had the effrontery to be unbeaten against the Massives, winning at Hillsborough, but they may adopt a more respectful attitude to the bigger club next year. Or perhaps not.
No.1 Iceland Addick Olafur Johnansson makes a rare return to these pages to report on Charlton's 2-2 draw at Preston:
Seeing my beloved Addicks return to a higher level of the game was something I had to celebrate in person. I was able to get a flight to Edinborg, recalling that is where Wyn Grant first met our president (and my distant relative) Olafur Grimsson in 1976. From there I got the train to Preston.
Now here is something that is confusing for an Icelandic person. Some of you may remember that when I was living in England I went to an away match in Tranmere thinking it was a Lake District club, so I overshot my target by a long way. I knew today that it was the North End club of Preston we were playing. But here is the confusion. The South End club is called just that or even Southend. Why not have not have Preston in both names or call them both just Northend and Southend: everyone would know it was Preston as no one else has clubs with such geographical titles.
Anyway I knew that I had to get to the Deepest Dale ground which I thought was in a valley just like The Valley but it seemed pretty flat thereabouts. When I got to the ground an Addick asked me if I was dressed as a fisherman in honour of the haddock origin of the Addicks name, but I explained that oilskins were my normal working wear in Grindavik. At least I was not dressed as a pussy cat!
I was hoping to see Mr Benjamin Hamer and assess him as a keeper, but his assistant, Mr Sullivan, was in goal, also some of the other players seemed to be changed around.
It was very nice of the home players to form a guard of honour to welcome the Charlton players on to the pitch. Charlton made the early running. Mr Daniel Green fired wide from outside the box then Mr Andreas Arestidou in the Preston goal had to make a diving save from Mr Daniel Haynes. On 11 minutes Mr Haynes ran through on goal. His progress was halted by a tackle by Mr David Gray, but the ball spun loose in the box. Haynes got to it before the keeper and managed to get it past two covering defenders and into the net to make it 1-0 to the southern side. However, the North Enders responded with a 25-yard daisy cutter from Mr Coutts who was wearing the armband of captain. I did not think that Mr John Sullivan dealt with this very well, but he managed to fumble it past the post.
Mr N'Guessing shot straight at the keeper who then had to race from his box to kick clear after a back pass fell short, almost letting in Haynes. However, Mr N'Guessing made it 2-0 to Charlton before the break on 35 minutes, taking advangtage of some poor play by Mr Gray.
Mr Nicholas Hunt pulled one back for Preston on 53 minutes. On 84 minutes the 40-year old Mr Graham Alexander was invited on to the pitch as a substitute player. This is on the old side for an outfield player, but I understand that he has made 1,023 senior appearances in a career dating back to 1991. He then scored the equalising goal on 90 minutes.
The result really did not matter that much as it was a chance for the No.1 Iceland fan of Charlton to salute the team. Surely Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II must give some recognition to Mr Chris Powell in her list of honoured persons as he is an all round good fellow.
Charlton centre back Michael Morrison puts his good form with the Addicks to his move back to his native Suffolk. He told the East Anglian Daily Times that one of the highlights of next season for him will be playing the Tractors at Portman Road.
Haverhill lad Morrison has given a longer interview to his local paper which contains some interesting reflections on last Saturday: Haverhill .
Preston manager Graham Westley has directed a new blast at his squad, saying that they haven't a clue about what is required to get success and that he has never encountered such mediocre standards before: Clueless
I cannot imagine any Charlton manager making remarks of this kind in public. Following this morale boosting move by the manager, we had better beat them comprehensively.
Football is known for its charm merchants, but Westley is an outstanding example. During his non-league career, he was not exactly popular because of his ability to wind up opposition managers and fans.
As the Addicks head for the ton in terms of points, Preston North End aim to spoil Charlton's promotion party on Saturday: Preston
In any event those Addicks planning to go in fancy dress will no doubt enjoy their day out. I still remember the fans dressed as the Blues Brothers when we won promotion back to the Premiership at Blackburn.
Preston got rid of manager Phil Brown earlier in the season after they saw through his fake tan but things have hardly improved for them since then. His successor Graham Westley is a controversial figure, notwithstanding his success with the heroes of Hertfordshire, and there have been reports of trouble in the dressing room. Westley claimed that his team and plans were leaked to Sheffield Wednesday before the game at Hillsborough: Leak . However, the Preston players may simply have been overcome by playing such a massive club.
Westley does not seem to have gone down too well with the fans at Deepdale: Westley . It makes you glad to have someone of the calibre of Chris Powell in charge.
Championship clubs have voted to adopt stringent new rules on the extent of losses that clubs can make, backed up by a 'fair play tax' and a transfer embargo. Will Charlton be hit by these new rules?
One of the difficulties is that we do not know exactly what the club's losses are. However, the New York Addick has undertaken a recent careful analysis based on accounts lodged at Companies House and it would seem that the most recent reported operating loss is £6.1m: Losses
That figure could, of course, increase or decrease in the future depending on revenues and expenditure. However, Charlton would not be affected next season when the permissible loss is £10m. However, by 2015/16 it decreases to £5m, of which shareholder equity investment can be no more than £3m. Clubs who break the rules will be subject to a transfer embargo and to a 'fair play tax' if they are promoted to the Premier League.
Four Charlton players are in the PFA League 1 team of the year: Hamer, Wiggins, Morrison and Jackson. One surprise is that the team contains no players at all from Sheffield Wednesday which is something of an insult to such a massive club whereas there are three from the smaller Sheffield club, although one of those is no longer available for selection.
The full list is: Hamer (Charlton), Hunt (Huddersfield), Morrison (Charlton), Maguire (Sheff Utd), Wiggins (Charlton), Jackson (Charlton), Quinn (Sheff Utd), Gleeson (MK Dons), Potter (MK Dons), Rhodes (Huddersfield), Evans (Sheff Utd.
Charlton are interested in signing Fleetwood Town striker Jamie Vardy. Chris Powell believes that Vardy is a player who can make the step up from non-league where he has also played for Stockbridge Steels and FC Halifax Town.
Leicester City and Crystal Palace were watching him earlier in the season, but are thought to be no longer interested. However, Fleetwood's local rivals Blackpool are thought to want to secure his signature. The Cod are under no pressure to sell and are likely to want around £1m.
When we heard that the departure of the Rickshaws had been delayed, then we knew that the championship was in our grasp. 10-man MK Dons duly obliged by beating Sheffield United 1-0 to cue warm celebrations. It had been achieved with a rather laboured victory over Wycombe Wanderers who were not without quality, but they were fighting to beat relegation.
Before the match started it was good to see the owners on the pitch with Chris Powell, but above Richard Murray recovered from his recent stroke.
We started the game by changing ends which always makes me uneasy. I thought that we were a bit casual in the opening stages and Wycombe won an early corner. They decided to take this short which in my view rarely works and demands a level of skill which the Chairboys did not possess.
We then won our first corner taken by Stephens. The ball was cleared off the line and then saved. Wycombe then demonstrated their ability to counter attack and they were not far wide with their attempt. They then broke again, but this time the ball was well over.
Wright-Phillips shot at the keeper who made a double handed save. Then Kermorgant won a free kick which he took. His excellent effort went over the wall and into the net to make it 1-0.
The Covered End told us that MK Dons had gone 1-0 ahead. Wright-Phillips was one on one with the keeper, but he made the save. Hamer had to save from close range, not the easiest of saves to make. Charlton won a corner taken by Jackson but it was unproductive. A free kick was awarded against Pritchard, but the Wycombe effort went off the wall. Solly provided good defensive work to clear.
Scott Wagstaff was fouled as he advanced on goal and Eastmond received a yellow card. It was in a similar position to the free kick from which the goal was scored, but Jackson's effort went over. Wright-Phillips had a chance, but put the ball just wide. Hamer made a good save.
Then on 45 minutes, with Kermorgant down from a head injury, Wycombe danger man Stuart Beavon made it 1-1.Half time: Addicks 1, Chairboys 1
Wycombe were boosted by their goal and gave Charlton some nervous moments in the first twenty minutes of the second half. This started the usual suspects in the East Stand moaning, so it is probably worth quoting what the Football League Paper had to say this morning: 'As is the sign of champions, Charlton were resilient in defence and ultimately clinical in attack.'
Scott Wagstaff had the opportunity to create something, but instead of keeping the ball on the ground but sent it sailing over. Wiggins won Charlton a corner. Hamer made a great save at the expense of a corner for the Chairboys which for some reason they took short again. Wright-Phillips received a yellow card. This gave the Wycombe fans the chance to proclaim, 'Bradley Wright-Phillips you're more **** than Shaun.' In any event he was withdrawn on 70 minutes and replaced by Haynes who offered more pace against the suspect Wycombe defence.
It was Haynes who set up Kermorgant whose pull back was placed in the net by Stephens. Haynes burst through but his effort was saved. Grant Basey was taken off and received warm appluase from the Addickted. Hamer made another good save. From the resultant corner, Hamer claimed the ball authoritatively.
After the four minutes added on, we had to wait a few minutes more while the match at MK Dons was finished and then Big Dave Lockwood told us that we were champions. One fan managed to evade the heavy security cordon and did a good job at dodging the security men before embracing Bradley Pritchard. Some Wycombe fans stayed behind to applaud our players.
Congratulations to Charlton fan Jane who managed to make an excellent statement in support of the team on the six second spot on 606 last night.
The coveted Silver Bone has gone to Ben Hamer who now has quite a collection of them. A couple of great saves in the second half kept us in the game and he was not really at fault for the goal.Solly had another very competitive game and is very likely to pick up Player of the Year. I voted for Wiggins because I think Solly is going to get it anyway (or Kermit) and I wanted to see Wiggins get a placing in recognition of his contribution. However, he did make a few errors today. Morrison also created a few problems through misunderstandings with Hamer. Cortwas solid, although I am not sure where he was for the goal. Stephens started well, but then faded and started making unforced errors, although he redeemed himself with a well-taken goal. Pritchard stuck to his task with dedication and energy. Jackson still seems a little off the pace. Wagstaff tends to be inconsistent and spoilt one potential scoring opportunity through a lack of thought. Wright-Phillips missed a couple of good scoring opportunities. The goal scored by Kermorgant was a classic. Haynes not able to make use of his one scoring opportunity, but did play a part in the winning goal.
There is no Hiss of the Match. The officials were generally competent and the game was played in a fair, competitive spirit with relatively few fouls and only two yellow cards. However, why is it that couples now feel that they are entitled to stand alongside one another on escalators on the tube rather than allowing those on the left to pass?
Our return to the Championship has been generally welcomed and here is the latest positive story: Mirror .
Wycombe Wanderers are saying they can spring a surprise today, but I am confident that we can take a step towards the title, perhaps a big one depending on what happens at MK Dons.
There have beeen criticisms during the year for our failure to play stylish, expansive football but I think it was important to secure promotion by grinding out results. Today, however, against a weakened Wycombe defence, we can afford to be more adventurous. 3-0 to the Addicks.