Friday, 15 December 2017

No hope at Blackburn?

Louis Mendez has helpfully reminded us that Charlton have lost every away match before Christmas since 2009. While this has something of the 'we have never been beaten by this team on a Thursday in February' statement, one has to factor in Blackburn's current form compared with ours.

Blackburn are currently top of the League One form table and third in the actual table. They also won their Cup game at Crewe midweek. Charlton are currently 11th in the form table.

Last Saturday they won 3-2 at Peterborough with 23-year old attacking midfielder Bradley Dack providing two of the goals. A Dack corner provided the assist for skipper Charlie Mulgrew who was named as League One player of the month.

Charlton will still be without the injured Bauer, Fosu and Kashi for the game.

The supporters' trusts at the two clubs have issued a statement ahead of the game on the importance of ownership, complaining of incompetence, arrogance, instability and absence at their two clubs which has affected supporter morale: The importance of ownership

CAS Trust have also supplied a blog post arguing that the cultures of Belgium and Britain are more different than Roland supposed. It's an interesting piece, although I am not convinced by the argument that Britain is relatively less hierarchical and we see everyone as equal: Culture Clash

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Defending Josh Magennis

Josh Magennis has had a poor run of form recently, but the defence mounted of him here argues that he hasn't had good service: He'll score the goals for promotion

I have noticed a few misses when good chances presented themselves, but no striker is perfect, particularly at this level. The real problem has been the absence of a quality strike partner.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Robinson fines players for social media posts

Karl Robinson is to fine some players for their social media posts after Saturday's defeat to Newcastle. A number of player got on to a train for Newcastle (what's wrong with London?) for their Christmas party after the game and some fans were upset by posts of them laughing and joking after defeat in the commemorative match: Facing fines

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Historic result reversed

Charlton's 1-0 victory over Portsmouth on the return to The Valley 25 years ago was reversed with a 1-0 defeat this afternoon. Charlton remain 6th in the table.

There was a good atmosphere before the game with the opera singer and a larger than usual crowd. However, there was a game of football to be played.

The first half was more or less even with some end-to-end football but few real chances. DaSilva was weaving some occasional magic. It was Portsmouth who had the opening effort of the game with Gareth Evans seeing his shot tipped over by Ben Amos after 26 minutes. Pompey then had Conor Chaplin's goalbound effort superbly blocked by Chris Solly before Joe Aribo's header glanced off the post for the hosts just prior to half-time.

A dubious free kick was awarded against Charlton after the break and Magennis put the ball in his own net to make it 0-1. After that, Charlton were under a lot of pressure with the midfield losing control and a rather harsh penalty was awarded against Solly. It looked if it was going to be 0-2, but Amos managed to make the save.

Charlton then got back into the game more, and there was hope of at least a draw. However, they lacked the cutting edge that would give them a goal. The Addicks came nearest to an equaliser when substitute Leon Best's header was tipped wide by the keeper.

I'm not sure I would have taken Marshall off as I thought he had quite a good game and was able to penetrate down the wing.

There was some criticism of Holmes where I sit with the suggestion that he should be sold in the January transfer window so we could buy a more consistent player. He had one poor shot on goal and once again did not always pass when he should have done, but I am not sure I would get rid.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Robinson reckons takeover would end his career

Karl Robinson thinks that a takeover at Charlton would end his career at The Valley: Career ending

I find this a bit surprising. Robinson has done reasonably well and might be able to achieve more with a less constrained budget. So new owners might be prepared to give him a chance.

Lookman scores twice

Ademola Lookman showed that he had not lost his eye for goal when he scored twice in Everton's Europa League win in Nicosia last night. The Toffees were full of praise for the youngster: Blistering strike

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Bauer and Kashi out for a month

Patrick Bauer and Ahmed Kashi have been ruled out for a month with foot injuries. Fosu remains unavailable: Foot injuries

There are always going to be injuries, but this reminds us that the biggest challenge to our promotion ambitions is the thinness of the squad.

Colin Walsh recalls that day

Charlton legend Colin Walsh recalls the day the Addicks returned to The Valley and he scored the winning goal against Portsmouth. He was fined for turning up late as he was held up by fans.

He was always confident that Charlton would return to The Valley and bought a house in Bexleyheath where he still lives, although it was a nightmare getting to games at Selhurst: Colin Walsh interview

'Sweaty' Balmer will be driving down from Scotland to stay with him so that he can attend Saturday's game against Portsmouth.

Rick Everitt tells the story of the return to The Valley from his perspective as Mercury sports editor at the time: How the Battle Was Won

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Still in the Cup

Charlton beat the Swansea City development squad 3-2 last night to proceed to the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy. A brace from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and another goal from on form Karlan Ahearne-Grant gave the Addicks victory in an entertaining game: Cup progress

The Swansea view is that Charlton's experience showed and the Addicks took their chances: Swans

Who is Andrew Muir?

With Andrew Muir and his Australian consortium reportedly granted a period of exclusivity in their bid for Charlton, what is known about the prospective owner? Voice of the Valley readers will already know something about him.

However, Football London has tried to find out more about him, although it wasn't an easy endeavour. They suggest that he is an 'out of the box' thinker and that Charlton fans need to be wary of him: Australian consortium

Of course, fans are so keen to escape the depredations of Roland that it is easy to throw caution to the winds. But at least he isn't a B or C list Chinese investor called Mr.F.Yu which was always a risk.

Reacting to the formation of a 'Roland Out' political party in Belgium, Roland Duchatelet has commented, 'another nasty upsetting of a small group of ex-CAFC supporters. It's a small minority that cannot find our policy, ninety per cent of the supporters do.' Yes, it's those disgruntled ex-employees pissing vinegar again.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The little fox in the box

Karlan Ahearne-Grant's goal against Peterborough gave him confidence after a long barren spell. He is trying to be a 'little fox in the box': More confidence

Where are they now?

A look at what has happened to the players in the historic opening match against Portsmouth following the return to The Valley. For example, 'Sweaty' Balmer is now a 'qualified' fork lift driver. I remember that he and his wife were thinking of opening a children's nursery, but it was pointed out that all the pupils would end up with strong Glasgow accents: Where are they now?

Happy Back to the Valley day. It's a double anniversary for me as it's the day I met my late wife, although not that day.

Protesting Charlton fans, in an echo of the Valley Party, have formed a 'Roland Out Today' political party to contest the next local elections in Sint Truiden: Political party

The website for ROT can be found here: Roland Out Today

Monday, 4 December 2017

No deal for Lewington

There will be no deal for Dean Lewington who is currently training at Sparrows Lane. He has been frozen out at MK Dons and Karl Robinson is helping his former player out as a favour to a stalwart of the Franchisees: Veteran training with Addicks

Sunday, 3 December 2017

'Second rate' Charlton can concentrate on league

Charlton can concentrate on the league after being beaten 3-1 by AFC Wimbledon this afternoon in the second round of the FA Cup. One leading fan tweeted, 'For the avoidance of doubt, we have been second rate all afternoon.' Brian Haines consoled himself with the thought that 'we're spared the predictable disappointment of a rubbish draw in the third round.'

The Addicks started brightly enough with a Marshall shot blocked on the edge of the box. After a DaSilva pull back, an Ahearne-Grant shot was blocked by the keeper's legs.

Charlton were not looking solid at the back and McDonald scored on 10 minutes from a loose ball in the box after Osailaga had stormed through.

On 22 minutes, following good work by Marshall down the right, Ahearne-Grant equalised.

Amos made a good save from a low Taylor strike. Just before the break, an effort by Magennis was blocked and a short corner routine inevitably failed to work.

Charlton started the second half well. Long made a good save from Holmes at the near post. From the corner the ball fell to Marshall, but Long pushed his powerful strike away. A shot from DaSilva was deflected by Long on to the woodwork and Magennis put the rebound over.

Best replaced Ahearne-Grant on 68 minutes. On 70 minutes McDonald burst through on the right and Taylor put a loose ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to make it 2-1.

Hackett-Fairchild replaced Marshall on 75 minutes. Magennis headed a Forster-Caskey free kick across goal, but no one could collect. On 80 minutes a penalty was awarded against Dijksteel and Taylor made it 3-1 to put the game beyond reach.

Lennon came on as a substitute on 88 minutes, his first appearance for Charlton in 13 months.

Attendance, 3,270, 723 disappointed Addicks.

Karl Robinson has said that missed opportunities led to Charlton's defeat with the key period being the first fifteen minutes of the second half: Missed chances

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Curbs warns Roland

In a double spread feature in this morning's Football League Paper Alan Curbishley warns Roland Duchatelet to back Karl Robinson in the January transfer window - or face the wrath of supporters.

Curbs said: 'The main thing is that the owner has picked someone who understands the division and knows what it takes to be successful. We've had lots of managers go in there who didn't understand the league. had never been there before and had to spend months getting to grips with it.'

'It's imperative that Charlton go up. They have to be back in that Championship. They are playing in front of 10,000 in a 30,000 stadium and the atmosphere needs lifting.'

Reflecting on his own career, Curbs said that what he doesn't see recurring is a manager staying 15 years in the same job. He admits that the hiatus in his own career was partially self-inflicted. He had plenty of offers, but waited for the perfect job, only to fall off the radar.

'When I left West Ham, the opportunities simply weren't there.' He couldn't make a return now: 'I've been out too long now. A lot of that's been my fault, but what's done is done. The fact is I think the people who own football clubs now don't even know who I am.'

Is scepticism about sale reports justified?

Some scepticism is being expressed about the latest reports about the possible sale of the club, given that such reports have appeared before. This scepticism is not just being expressed by regime apologists who flatly refuse to contemplate the departure of their hero.

Some useful clarification has been provided by a normally reliable source: 'There haven’t really been any false alarms, to be honest. Duchatelet has been willing to sell for some time and has progressively admitted that in his public and private comments. Being willing to sell and able to sell are two different things. The latter requires a viable buyer.

There has been interest at various times but none of it has progressed to the current stage, either in terms of legal process or frantic management activity, partly because Duchatelet has blocked it. The Times knows nothing that isn’t in the public domain and less than many Charlton fans know.

This deal may still not get over the line, but to characterise what’s happened as a series of false alarms both underplays the present situation and overstates what has been said before. This is very close.'

A South London Press report makes the point that this is the first time that Duchatelet has said publicly that the club is for sale. They name Australian Andrew Muir who has been featured in Voice of the Valley. However, price will be the key in any sale: Open to offers

Friday, 1 December 2017

Chris Powell joins Spurs

Chris Powell has joined Tottenham's scouting team. He has been working for Spurs on an ad-hoc basis, scouting players in Britain, but he is not expected to join the club on a full-time basis.

The 48-year-old has been out of work since leaving his role as Derby's assistant manager in March and his last managerial job was at Huddersfield, where he spent 15 months until November 2015.

He is a Spurs fan, but famously scored a winning goal for the Addicks at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.

Roland puts club up for sale

The following report has appeared in The Times: 'Roland Duchâtelet, the controversial owner of Charlton Athletic, has put the club up for sale and admitted that he should not have invested in football.

The Belgian bought Charlton nearly four years ago when they were in the Championship but has faced strong protests from supporters in recent seasons over the way that he has run the club, who are now in League One.

CARD (Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet), a supporters’ group, have put pressure on him to either invest or sell his stake in the club. Stunts have included a mock funeral being held before kick-off, beach balls being thrown on the pitch and a pitch invasion.

Until now, Duchâtelet,71, had been adamant that he would not sell Charlton. “I have not decided anything, I am open to possible offers, I will take the time to think, but contrary to popular belief I have not made any money from football, this rarely happens for investors, those who say otherwise are wrong,” Duchâtelet said.

“It’s not that I’m fed up, I have other activities and my age,” he said. “Actually, I wanted to leave football after the sale of the Standard Liège. Football is an exciting world, but very complex: there is a lot of underground influences, we decide a lot about emotions, we make and break your image on the basis of rumours, social networks create real background slides that are difficult to answer [not quite sure what this means but it is a typical Roland remark]. “It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot about how social media have an impact on the psychology of masses and how they can influence decisions which affect many people.”'

It should be noted that an interview with the French language press has a somewhat different emphasis with Roland saying he has decided nothing, he would be open to offers eventually for Charlton and his other clubs (but there is an alternative translation, see comment below), but he is taking time to reflect. However, it is also evident from this interview that he has no found his experience in football an unhappy one.

Regime apologists have persistently denied that reports that Roland was interested in selling the club and that prospective purchasers had undertaken due diligence.

Injury worries ahead of cup game

Charlton will be without eight first team players for the FA Cup tie against Wimbledon on Sunday. Patrick Bauer had to go off with a foot injury on Tuesday, although his performance was rated as rather tepid before then: Injury worries

Robinson says he is not concerned about abuse from Dons fans, although it does not reflect well on them and perhaps they should move on. I do wish people would stop calling the game at the non-league Kingsmeadow ground a 'derby'.

Robinson also says that the timing of the Checkatrade trophy game on Tuesday against Swansea is not helpful. Charlton could have to face former Leamington ace Courtney Baker-Richardson who is in the Swans development squad.

Robinson still aiming to sign striker

Karl Robinson is still seeking to sign a striker in the January transfer window, although if Leon Best is successful he may sign just one striker rather than two. Following Tuesday night, the jury is still out on Best: Striker search

It's not easy to get value in the January transfer window. There is always the risk of getting a striker who is injury prone, out of form or has an attitude problem. We have had experience of all these at Charlton.

Charlton legends, among them Kevin Lisbie, Carl Leaburn and Jon Fortune, will train with the first team today as a means of bringing home the significance of next week's Portsmouth game: Legends

CARD are planning to issue fans with red-and-white rosettes before the game as a tribute to those involved in the campaign to return to The Valley. I can remember when people wore rosettes (often home made) and carried rattles.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Two late goals rescue point

Two late goals rescued a point for Charlton against Peterborough United at The Valley tonight after the visitors had gone ahead 2-0. First Ricky Holmes scored from the penalty spot at the end of normal time. Then Karlan Ahearne-Grant scored from open play. Charlton remain in 6th place in the table.

Following a Charlton corner a Holmes header was cleared off the line. At the other end Amos saved from Madison. On seven minutes the keeper had to make a big save when Mariott was one on one with him.

On 11 minutes Peterborough went ahead. Madison sent in a dipping free kick and Edwards stabbed it home at the far post.

Kashi fired over the crossbar from 25 yards out. Two minutes Bent laid the ball down the area, an effort from Magennis was blocked and Forster-Caskey was offside on the rebound. DaSilva then put in a cross and a powerful effort from Marshall was parried by the keeper. On 38 minutes a Holmes free kick failed to find anyone.

On 51 minutes Amos dived to keep out a strike from Madison. Injured captain Patrick Bauer then had to go off and Dijksteel came on in his place. On 58 minutes Marriot put Peterborough 2-0 ahead from an Edwards cross.

On 71 minutes Charlton made a double substitution, taking off Kashi and Best and bringing on Aribo and Ahearne-Grant. On 85 minutes Forster-Caskey stopped Charlton going further behind by clearing an Edwards strike off the line.

Forster-Caskey was then fouled in the box for the penalty. Sarr headed the ball down for Ahearne-Grant to score from close range. Hopefully it will give his confidence a much needed boost.

Official attendance was 9,532 (453 Peterborough), but there were far fewer in the ground.

One fan commented, 'We seemed to be playing a format that sees Kashi drop back to play between the two centre halves, with both full backs pushing forward. Towards the middle of the second half Kashi was subbed for Aribo and we went much more 4-4-2 and looked more balanced. Dijksteel came on for BFG when he was injured, and played at left back - looked to be the best thing to see until the final 5 minutes became the high spot.'

The report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Injury time comeback

Bring on the Posh

It will be a cold night under the lights at The Valley as Charlton take on Peterborough United. Their manager Grant McCann has said, 'Charlton are a good side and Karl Robinson always likes his teams to play passing football so it should be a good game. The Valley is a great stadium with a wide pitch. The games are coming thick and fast at the minute and we will utilise the squad because there are a few players struggling with knocks and niggles.' This implies a few injury worries for the visitors.

According to Four Four Two 'Fans remain unconvinced that he possesses a fire in his belly that club owner Donagh McAnthony can identify with'. The Posh finished 11th last season and Four Four Two forecast a similar 12th place finish this time. The fan interviewed thought they would finish 9th.

There were great hopes at the beginning of the season for Ricky Miller, signed from Dover, but he only came on as a sub on Saturday. He wasn't able to play for the whole of August as he was serving a retrospective ban for biting a Guisely player.

Peterborough are currently two places below Charlton in League One, although lower down the form table. Like Charlton they lost 2-0 on Saturday, in their case at Rochdale. Away from home they have won two, drawn four and lost three.

Last year we lost 0-2 at home to them. Odds: Charlton 21/20, Draw 13/5, Peterborough 12/5.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Loan back sought for Konsa

Charlton will seek a loan back for Ezri Konsa if (when) he joins a Premier League club in the January transfer window. Many fans were disappointed that such an arrangement was not made for Ademola Lookman when he joined Everton: Loan back

Leon Best is ready to sign a short-term contract with Charlton until January.

Solly wants to stay at Charlton for the rest of his career

Charlton has been Chris Solly's whole life since he was eleven and he wants to stay at The Valley for the rest of his career: I want to stay at Charlton

Solly said that the highlight of his career so far was the 2011-12 promotion season under Chris Powell.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Solly could have moved away

Academy product Chris Solly made his 250th appearance for Charlton at Scunthorpe yesterday and Karl Robinson says that he had opportunities to move away from The Valley: Could have left club

Ben Reeves will not be fit for the Peterborough match on Tuesday: Reeves still out

Charlton slip back to 6th

Charlton slipped back to 6th in League One after succumbing to two second half goals at Scunthorpe.

The opening 10 minutes were pretty quiet with both teams working sizing each other up, but both were willing to attack. There was no goalmouth action until the quarter hour when Scunthorpe won a corner when Ezri Konza flicked out a boot to take the ball away from a lurking Madden after Funso Ojo had put a ball into the box.

But from that corner Ricky Holmes robbed Lewis and produced a surging run deep into the Scunthorpe half. He played in the overlapping Mark Marshall but Matt Gilks came out to close down the angle and save with his feet.

The game sprung into action just before the half hour when Gilks produced a brilliant save to deny Josh Magennis. Ricky Holmes produced a peach of a cross from the right and Magennis headed it back across goal but Gilks managed to get a hand to it to divert it on to the post.

Then seconds later, Gilks was on hand again to turn a long range strike from Holmes around the post. But then it was Scunthorpe’s turn to threaten as Madden got free down the right and Hopper got his header on target which was tipped over the bar by Ben Amos.

Holmes continued to threaten in the second half. But Josh Morris, brought on as a substitute after half time, changed the course of the game in the space of three second half minutes just after the hour. With the home side awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal Morris curled the ball round the wall and into the top corner, leaving Amos no chance.

Then on 64 minutes Morris picked up the ball 20 yards from goal and sent a curling shot right across goal into the far corner to give United a cushion against a shell shocked Addicks side. Wallace almost made it three when his cross come shot looked to be drifting in but Amos was across to claw it away from under the crossbar.

Karl Robinson said after the game that he could not have asked any more from his players: Players did nothing wrong

Friday, 24 November 2017

Curse of Pardew

It looks as if Alan Pardew is being lined up to be the next West Bromwich Albion boss.

His first two games would be at home to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace, scenes of his former triumphs.

Accounts of his career will airbrush out his time at Charlton as they usually do.

Scunny match is of key importance

All games are important in League One. Getting three points off Rochdale on Tuesday was necessary to maintain our momentum. However, tomorrow's third versus fourth clash at Scunthorpe United is particularly important as we need to beat the teams who are likely to be also contesting for promotion places.

Scunthorpe midfielder Funso Ojo somewhat mystifyingly claims to know Charlton from Belgium: 'They’re a big club and I already knew them from Belgium because they have a Belgian owner. As we are playing at home, I don’t think they will let us play because most teams know that if they let us on the ball, we can do great things. We need to find a way around that though.'

Keeper Matt Gilks says: 'Charlton are a great team, they’ve got a good squad and are very capable of getting promoted themselves. We’re not fearing them, but we will pay them respect. Hopefully, we come out on top and get another three points.'

At home in League One the Iron have won four matches, drawn three and lost two. They have won more matches (six) away from home.

Whenever I go on a farm visit in Lincolnshire, I seem to run up against keen Iron supporters who are well represented in the more prosperous parts of the local farming community.

Our last two league matches at Scunthorpe ended in draws: 0-0 and 1-1.

Odds are: Scunthorpe 11/8, Draw 11/5, Charlton 19/10.

The Scunthorpe Telegraph has interviewed Charlton fan Jack Bates who is positive about Karl Robinson (who has now been at the club for a year): Positive atmosphere

Scunthorpe will not be Robinson's holiday destination this year as he thinks it is a 'horrible place to go to': CAS Trust preview

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Naby Sarr always wanted to stay at Charlton

Naby Sarr always wanted to stay at Charlton after a difficult debut and is grateful to Karl Robinson for giving him a second chance in the summer: Never wanted to quit

He says that he found football in the Championship 'totally different' to France and Portugal and needed time to adjust. I always find it difficult to believe it is that different, even if it is played at a faster pace and is more physical.

Church gets his retailiation in first

Former Addick and now Scunthorpe player Simon Church reckons that Charlton made a big mistake in letting Lee Novak and Andrew Crofts go at the beginning of the season. Novak is now the Iron's leading striker, although Crofts has struggled with injuries: Charlton strengthened the Iron

Church himself will not be available to demonstrate his unerring instinct for goal on Saturday as he has a hamstring injury.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ahearne-Grant lacks confidence

Karlan Ahearne-Grant knows that some of his performances have not been great and lacks confidence says Karl Robinson: Lacks confidence

Ahearne-Grant was put into the first team too quickly because of a lack of strength in depth. He has developed some bad habits like shooting straight at the keeper as he tries to score.

Nevertheless, needs must. Given injury problems in the squad, he may well start at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

Karl Robinson is being very cagey about the future of Leon Best who must be approaching a record for the time spent training at Sparrows Lane without getting a decision one way or the other: Best update

Fans are being asked to suggest names for the new training pitches at Sparrows Lane, Pitchy McPitchface won't do. How about Nightmire?

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Forster-Caskey secures the points

Charlton went 4th in League One after beating Rochdale 2-1 at The Valley tonight. The Addicks did not start the game well and went behind, but Jake Forster-Caskey equalised and then scored the winner in the second half. Attendance was a thin 8,801 (146 away).

Marshall had an effort on 11 minutes that was not too far away, but generally it was a sluggish start for Charlton. Rochdale were well organised with five at the back and the Addicks were struggling to get a foothold. It was therefore no surprise when on 13 minutes the unmarked Gillam took advantage of a low cross from Bunney to put the ball in the net for the visitors from eight yards out.

On 21 minutes Done hit the inside of the post from the edge of the box following a mix up between Amos and DaSilva. Half-hearted marking was allowing Rochdale to create charges. They were also engaging in niggly fouls, but eventually referee Breakspear awarded a yellow card.

On 35 minutes DaSilva put in a cross from the left. The ball fell well for Forster-Caskey who was able to prod it home to equalise. On 40 minutes a Marshall drive was just about held by the keeper.

After the break Ahearne-Grant came on for Reeves who is now an injury worry. He had a hamstring problem and is now a doubt for Scunthorpe: Injury worry

Whatever Karl Robinson had said them during the interval, Charlton displayed much more pace in the second half and looked more effective.

On 51 minutes Kashi hit the base of the post. Amos then had to make a great save, tipping the ball over.

On 60 minutes Marshall put in an angled ball from the right, Lillis spilled it and Forster-Caskey scored from the rebound to make it 2-1.

On 78 minutes a Marshall shot was blocked and Magennis, who had a good work rate, put the ball over. On 79 minutes Ahearne-Grant shot straight at the keeper.

With four minutes of normal time left, Amos made a great one handed save to prevent another 2-2, somehow tipping Bradden Inman's volley over the bar.

Major injury blow

Charlton's leading goal scorer, Tariqe Fosu, is going to be out for up to five weeks with a thigh injury. He initially picked it up against Portsmouth and it has turned out to be more serious than initially thought: Major injury blow

Monday, 20 November 2017

Another 'big match'

When Jake Forster-Caskey can say in all seriousness and without fear of contradiction that tomorrow night's game against Rochdale is a 'big match', it strikes home the situation we are in. But we need the three points to keep our promotion challenge going. Then we won't have to play Rochdale again on a cold Tuesday night in November.

Rochdale are currently third from bottom in League One, although they are in a slightly better position in the form table. On Saturday they lost 3-1 at Oldham.

Manager Keith Hill admitted that it was a fair result, conceding that one of Oldham's strikers was 'free as a bird in the box' which does not suggest a watertight defence. Rochdale have not won any games away from home this season, but they have drawn five. We can do without another draw. Our last three home matches against them at this level have seen a win, a draw and a defeat. Last year we lost 0-1.

Last season they finished 9th and Four Four Two forecast a 7th place finish. The magazine described Dale as 'having a well-oiled conveyor belt' following the departure of a number of key players for the Championship. However, the club remains an attractive destination for players seeking a loan.

Press duty player Jake Forster-Caskey has said that Charlton are ready to take out their frustrations from Saturday on Rochdale: Midfielder's verdict

Patrick Bauer could be available, although probably on the bench. He was missed on Saturday.

Louis Mendez has reminded us on twitter that Charlton have won only two of their last eleven games played at home on a Tuesday night.

The bookies favour us. Odds are: Charlton 5/6, Draw 5/2, Rochdale 10/3.

Happier Valley

The Daily Mail notes the absence of protests at The Valley, but points out this does not mean that fans are reconciled with Roland. They still want him to go and if a 'for sale' sign can be hung outside the ground at Blackpool, why not at Charlton: Happier Valley

Saturday's Voice of the Valley covered the completion of the due diligence process and the more than thirty issues it has thrown up, including complex technical ones such as sub-leases which will not be resolved quickly.

Rick Everitt has tweeted that it is time that the national media did some work on the real story and forced Charlton to make a statement.

Forster-Caskey sees the positives

Jake Forster-Caskey reckons that if Charlton continue to play the way they did against MK Dons on Saturday they will secure many more victories. He points out that the Addicks have now gone eight games unbeaten: Banking wins

He says that he was close to the penalty incident and no way was it a penalty.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

'We were robbed'

That was the conclusion of Steve from Petts Wood after today's 2-2 draw with MK Dons at The Valley today and his comment echoed the feelings of many Charlton fans. However, whom we were robbed by? An incompetent referee or our own failure to take our chances when we were ahead in the first half and we were dominating the game.

At that stage we were playing some very good football with precision passing and good insight into where space might open up. Six minutes in Josh Magnennis put us 1-0 ahead with a precision header from a Forster-Caskey corner. A deflected curling effort from Forster-Caskey came off the post. We could have put the game to bed because I think that MK Dons would have caved in if they had gone 2-0 behind.

As it was, they got back into the game(although they didn't have a real shot on goal until 36 minutes) helped by the fact that many of their very physical challenges were overlooked or dealt with very leniently by the folically challenged referee, not least when Ricky Holmes was wrestled to the ground by their charming No.7. In the second half he started to give out a blizzard of yellow cards to both sides indiscriminately, having lost control of the game.

We were still 1-0 ahead at the break, but the visitors equalised. After that we were less in control of the game. Ben Reeves going off after taking a knock didn't help. A great run by Kashi put us 2-1 ahead in the 87th minute by creating an own goal from a Fosu cross, but then the linesman flagged for a penalty after a dramatic drive by Peter Pawlett.

Early in the second half Mark Marshall should have doubled the lead but was stopped by Nicholls when through on goal. But after 63 minutes substitute Agard levelled, heading in at the far post from a Scott Golbourne cross. Moments later MK Dons striker Chuks Aneke went through on goal but fired wide.

An injury time opportunity was wasted after a poor ball in by Ahearne-Grant.

A lot of credit goes to Josh Magennis for his tireless efforts, always chasing down the ball. Naby Sarr had a good game at the back. Ricky Holmes should not try and do it all himself, but should pass the ball.

But at the end of the day Charlton have fallen back from 3rd to 5th. The Northamptonshire referee meanwhile got his lift back to Milton Keynes on the Dons team coach from where his wife could pick him up. (Given some misunderstandings, I need to clarify that this was a joke. But he might as well have done given his performance. I don't think referees should be chosen from locations near one of the teams playing).

Karl Robinson said after the game that he would be kicking his cat in frustration if he had one (as the Football League Paper put it this morning, 'The cat's not got Karl's tongue'): Frustration

Football League Paper rankings

Amos, 6; Solly, 6; Konsa, 6; Saar, 7; DaSilva, 7; Marshall, 7; Kashi, 5; Forster-Caskey, 8; Holmes, 9; Magennis, 8; Reeves, 6 (Fosu, 6).

Friday, 17 November 2017

The franchisees are in town

Charlton face MK Dons at The Valley today. I must make sure the train I get from Coventry does not stop at Milton Keynes.

The Franchisees are currently 14th in the table but fourth from bottom in the form table. They have actually won three of their eight games away, as many as they have won at home where they have been something of draw specialists.

Four Four Two forecast a 8th place finish at the beginning of the season while their fan commentator saw them in the play off places at 5th. Former Hearts boss Robbie Nelson is in charge.

24-year old 'swashbuckling' ex Arsenal youngster Chuks Aneke was highlighted as 'key player' at the start of the season. In last Saturday's 1-0 win over Fleetwood both managers admitted that he was the difference between the two sides as his goal gave MK Dons their first league win since the beginning of September. Robbie Nelson said, 'Chuks Aneke is a top player. He has been doing a lot of work in training and staying behind after'.

We have won three of our four league games against MK Dons at this level, one by 5-1 in 2009-10, but we lost last year's encounter 0-2. (Karl Robinson's first game at The Valley as manager was a 0-0 draw with them in the FA Cup). As the CAS Trust preview notes, 'On 4th April this year came one of the most depressing performances of the last few years when MK won 2-0 at The Valley. It seemed almost as if the emotion and pageantry of the PC Palmer memorial tributes had drained the life out of the Charlton players. Now we host them again at a time when optimism around the club is probably at its highest since the start of the Bob Peeters season.'

Richard Cawley interviews 'man of the moment' Tariqe Fosu: Point to prove

A new edition of the Voice of the Valley will be on sale around the ground before the game. If you want to enjoy the thoughts of the vinegar pissers in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can order a copy online: Deathless prose

Charlton talking to Best

Charlton are talking to trialist Leon Best about his future. Although Karl Robinson has said that the content of the talks will be kept 'internal', he admits that 'we like what we see': Transfer talks

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Big price range at Charlton

The latest BBC Price of Football study shows that Charlton have both the second cheapest (Bradford City have the cheapest at £149) and the most expensive season ticket in League One at £175 and £500 respectively.

They also have the most expensive single ticket at £34. Full report here: Data for all leagues

Whether that represents a smart pricing strategy or incompetence is a matter of opinion.

The myth of Alan Curbishley and Charlton fans

There is a persistent myth that Charlton fans wanted to get rid of Alan Curbishley and replace him by someone who would take us 'to the next level', the implication being that we were a bunch of idiots with excessive expectations who didn't know when we were well off. Here is the latest airing of this myth: Ridiculous expectations

As Dave Lockwood has pointed out on Twitter, only a tiny minority of fans ever held this view. What most of us wanted was for him to be given the financial backing subsequently provided to Iain Dowie who promptly wasted it.

Sint Truiden CEO has a dig at Roland

Sint Truiden's CEO seems to have had a big of a dig at Roland as the sale of the Belgian club is completed, saying that you cannot run a football club like a company: Diminishing network

Roland no longer owns any clubs in Belgium. The future of Charlton remains uncertain, although it seems that due diligence by prospective purchasers has now been completed and has thrown up a number of issues.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Konsa to go but £5m price tag

Karl Robinson believes that Arsenal and Everton target Ezri Konsa will go in the January transfer window, but wants a minimum of £5m for him. I would say he would be lucky: Konsa

However, it is evident that January signing plans will depend on the fee he attracts.

Will cup game be televised?

Unconfirmed rumours are suggesting that the FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon may be televised on Monday evening. Latest reports suggest that it will be 2pm on Sunday.

Today is Roland Duchatelet's 71st birthday. Unfortunately, there will be no group of banner wielding protesters in Sint Truiden to greet you at your 'live feed'. Give yourself a treat: sell the club.

However, perhaps he is too busy at the moment selling his first club, STVV: Japanese buyers

Google Translate says: 'In June Roland Duchâtelet sold twenty percent of its shares in STVV to Digital Media Market. That DMM will be the main shareholder has been known for months. That deal would be officially announced during the winter break.'

'According to the latest news article, it is likely that the acquisition will be publicized on Tuesday, November 14th. Japan is playing that night at the Jan Breydel Stadium against the Red Devils. Dozens of Japanese media have been [sent] to Belgium. An excellent moment for DMM to attract extra attention in Belgium and Japan.'

Five players could go out on loan

Five players could go out on loan in the January transfer window, according to Karl Robinson. They are all fringe players and there are no great surprises in the names. Whether they have much of a long-term future with the club remains to be seen. What is a surprise is that the manager thinks that the midfield requires further strengthening when we have seen some stellar performances: January plans

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Charlton go 3rd

Charlton went third in League One yesterday courtesy of Plymouth Argyle. Their pilgrimage to Valley Parade saw them beat Bradford City 1-0, depriving them of their goal difference advantage over the Addicks. Charlton remain 2nd in the form table.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Response to Meire interview

An interview by Katrien Meire in the Belgian magazine 'Knack' gave the impression that the protests against her and Roland Duchatelet were motivated by misogyny and xenophobia. CAS Trust board member Heather McKinlay has written a reply: Response to Meire interview

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Joe Gomez praises Avory

As he waits for a possible England debut, Joe Gomez has praised the help given to him by Steve Avory at Charlton: He helped my career

We shall remember them

Jim Mackenzie was one of the founders of Charlton Athletic, serving as honorary secretary and he died one hundred years ago this year. An interesting and informative blog post about his life: Remembering a Charlton hero

Robinson discusses cup draw

Karl Robinson discusses Charlton's FA Cup draw against Wimbledon and the 'banter' that will inevitably accompany it: I'll say something stupid in the build up

Charlton lost their Checkatrade trophy match to Portsmouth at The Valley 0-1.

Congratulations to Alan Curbishley on his 60th birthday, alas no longer mentioned every time there is a managerial vacancy.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Lennon due for return

After being out almost a year injured with a groin problem, Harry Lennon should be available for selection soon. He has taken part in back-to-back training sessions. However, Charlton are not short of centre back options and some fans do not rate him that highly. Offers for him were nevertheless turned down during the summer: Closing in on return

Marshall fulfills his childhood dream

When Mark Marshall was growing up in Deptford it was his dream to play for Charlton and joining the club felt like coming back home. He had a few Championship offers in the summer, but wanted security. He says that team spirit is good and Charlton have a good manager: Marshall interview

Marshall has also talked about the frustrations he has faced since his move to Charlton: Frustrations

Pompey hungry for victory

Portsmouth are hungry for victory over a 'big club' when they play Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy at The Valley tonight. Manager Kenny Jackett is hoping that the 'goals will flow': Jackett looking for goals

Odds for the match are: Charlton 6/5, Draw 12/5, Portsmouth 23/10. Charlton are at 16/1 to take the Checkatrade trophy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Victory required effort

Charlton beat Truro City 3-1 at The Valley this afternoon to progress to the 2nd round of the FA Cup. The White Tigers gave a good account of themselves and Charlton had to both graft and display skill.

There was plenty of well-drilled precision passing by the Addicks, although I felt that sometimes we needed to show more urgency and press forward more. However, after the game, Karl Robinson said that he thought we opened up too much at the back as we went in pursuit of more goals.

A lot of our shots were straight at the keeper (others blazed over) but he showed that he could guard a net as well as make fishing nets. Amos had to make some good saves and Solly cleared off the line in the first half.

The Addicks hit the crossbar early on through Jake Forster-Caskey's header and Ben Reeves put the hosts ahead with a smart half-volley on 10 minutes. Mark Marshall's deflected shot (some might have counted it as an own goal) doubled Charlton's lead but Tyler Harvey headed in to pull one back in front of 996 travelling fans. At this point I started to think about the timing of the night sleeper from Truro and whether one could go to a replay, even if there was extra time, and get it back to London.

Reeves made it 3-1 with a drilled shot across goal 20 minutes from time. Truro had a shot deflected off the crossbar in time added on.

Charlton fans applauded the Truro players off the pitch at the end of the game.

Karl Robinson said that having Mark Marshall and Ben Reeves available was like having two new signings: Robinson upbeat

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Full page feature on the big match in The Times

The Times has no doubt about which is the big FA Cup match tomorrow: Charlton Athletic v. Truro City. They have devoted a full page feature to the game, although the focus is very much on the White Tigers. Manager Lee Hodges says that the match means 'absolutely everything.' 'There have been tears,' he said.

Chairman Peter Masters says that the club's business model does not stack up: 'We get gates of about 400-500 and 300 on Tuesday nights and we've got to put in £20,000-£25,000 a month just to keep going. If we put in £15,000 a month, you'll end up around the bottom of the league. If you stick in £25,000, you'll stay at the top.'

Under the ownership of property developer Keith Heaney Truro won the FA Vase, but the financial crisis pushed him into bankruptcy, and propelled the club towards winding up orders and a filing for administration.

Masters heard the club needed a £50,000 bond to stay in the National League and saw an opportunity. He brought in his friend local taxi magnate Philip Perryman. There was a £4.5m debt, but he was able to negotiate that down to £80,000.

The Stadium for Cornwall. which Truro would share with the Cornish Pirates rugby union team, is due to be ready by September 2019, but if it isn't the club will face big problems. As it is, with their Treyew Round ground due to be redeveloped, they have to find somewhere to play next season, possibly at Torquay.

Lee Hodges has said that he will not park the bus against Charlton, but has instructed his players to attack: Truro boss sends warning to Charlton

Odds: Charlton 2/9, Draw 19/4, Truro City 12/1.

Keeper is familiar with nets in more ways than one

A barber, a window fitter, a carpenter and a keeper who makes fishing nets three days a week are among the part-time players from Truro City who will take on Charlton in the FA Cup on Sunday: The opposition

Friday, 3 November 2017

Congratulations to Joe Gomez

Congratulations to former Addick Joe Gomez on his call up to the England squad to face Germany.

Gomez, the current England Under-21s captain, has forced his way into Jurgen Klopp’s first team squad at Liverpool. The 20-year-old joined from Charlton Athletic in 2015 and has recovered from a cruciate ligament injury shortly after coming to Anfield.

Gareth Southgate said, 'I think a back three is perfect for [Gomez]. He's quick, athletic, can use the ball, great personality.'

Strong side against White Tigers

Charlton Athletic will put out a strong side when National League South side Truro City visit The Valley in the first round of the FA Cup on Sunday: Strong side

However, Josh Magennis will not be available as he joins Northern Ireland for their World Cup decider against Switzerland so Joe Dodoo will lead the Charlton attack. Ahmed Kashi is suspended after receiving a fifth yellow card last Saturday.

The Cornish side are expected to bring a thousand supporters to South-East London.

It is the first time that the White Tigers have reached the first round of the competition and manager Lee Hodges says that it is fantastic to be drawn against 'one of the giants': Bursting with pride

Truro City's chairman says he would ask Torquay United if the clubs can share Plainmoor if the White Tigers are promoted from National League South. Truro will leave their Treyew Road ground at the end of the season in order for it to be redeveloped. The club hope to move to the planned Stadium for Cornwall, but work on the arena in Truro has yet to start.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Best team in Cornwall - ever. (As a former follower of Falmouth Town, I might dispute that).

I will be previewing the game on Radio Scilly around 9.40 am on Saturday.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Robinson fuming at performance

Despite Charlton's 3-2 win over Fulham Under 21s at The Valley last night, which saw them progress to the knockout stage of the coveted Checkatrade Trophy, Karl Robinson was left fuming at his young team's performance: Fuming supremo

Joe Aribo scored a late winner for the Addicks.

The attendance was the lowest ever (741) for a competitive fixture at The Valley.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Charlton needs strikers: Best is a striker

That is the conclusion reached from a review of the pros and cons of Charlton signing Leon Best on a short-term contract. He has now been training at Sparrows Lane for a month: Should Charlton sign Best?

He does have a rather poor goal scoring record and is injury prone. The argument that that doesn't matter as the midfielders are scoring goals strikes me as spurious. If that is the case, do we need an old warhorse lumbering around up front?

On the other hand, it would give us a bigger choice of formations and he might be better at holding the ball up than Magennis.

Two sides in form clash at The Valley

Two sides in form clash at The Valley tonight as Charlton face Fulham Under 21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. Depending on the result, either side could go top of the table: Excitement mounts

Bet 365 odds are: Charlton 8/11, Draw 13/5, Fulham U21 18/5.

Fulham celebrity supporter Richard Osman is thought to be unlikely to attend. In fact, he thinks it's pointless.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Sunderland fan recalls greatest game

Sunderland fan Gary Burrell recalls the Greatest Game in a recent issue of Four Four Two - and it isn't a pleasant memory.

'I'm an eternal pessimist whenever it comes to watching Sunderland play on the (admittedly rare) big occasion. The 1998 play-off final with Charlton was different, though. With every pre-match pint and splash around the Trafalgar Square fountains, the confidence grew - it was our time.'

'As Michael Gray was shuffling sheepishly towards the penalty spot at 7-6 to Charlton in the shootout, I immediately started to sober up. The team's made me miserable for years. Why did I think it would be any different today?'.

'After several silent pints in the pub, we trudged back towards the Underground, walking past the scene of the crime just as the Charlton players were getting on their team bus. I shouted incoherent, drunken abuse at both Mendonca and Alan Curbishley, which was by far the most mature and sensible approach. I bet that really took the edge off their celebrations later on.'

'"At least you got to witness a play-off final classic," I have been told. I had the consolation of seeing one of Wembley's greatest games. Those words still irritate.'

DaSilva 'comfortable' about Charlton return

Jay DaSilva felt 'comfortable' about his loan return to Charlton and has the England Under 21 squad as his target: Why Charlton move felt right

DaSilva was warmly applauded when he left the pitch when he was substituted late in the game on Saturday.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Holmes secures the three points

A superb 78th minute free kick from the edge of the box by Ricky Holmes secured Charlton a 1-0 victory over Wimbledon this afternoon. The Addicks remain 4th in the table, behind Bradford City on goal difference. Charlton are now 2nd in the form table.

Once again Charlton played too deep for much of the match and the game plan seemed to be to lump the ball over the midfield where Magennis had difficulty of holding it up. The drawbacks of not having a second striker were plain for all to see. There was also too much playing the ball back to Amos which presumably the players had been told to do. We also surrendered possession too easily.

Wimbledon were very physical and received four yellow cards, albeit one for time wasting by the goalkeeper. When they did have a few chances, they wasted them, demonstrating why they have only scored seven goals so far this season. Their defence looked weak when Da Silva tormented them by dribbling the ball along the ground.

Chances were at a premium in a lacklustre opening period, with Jake Forster-Caskey blazing an early free-kick from a promising position over for Charlton (Holmes should have taken it) and the Dons' Lyle Taylor firing wide when well placed. Tariqe Fosu saw a very half-hearted penalty appeal rightly ignored by referee Ben Toner in the 24th minute after going to ground in the box.

A succession of Wimbledon corners created a period of pressure immediately after the break when the crossbar challenger managed to send the ball wide. Konsa nearly scored an own goal from Fuller's free kick two minutes after the start, but it went just wide of the post.

Fosu's strike was charged down by a Wimbledon defender midway through the second half after being picked out by Jay Dasilva's delivery. Dons substitute Callum Kennedy's 74th-minute free-kick was deflected behind moments before Deji Oshilaja blazed over for the visitors.

But it was Charlton who finally broke the deadlock four minutes later when Holmes won a free-kick inches outside the area on the left after he had been fouled by Wimbledon captain and former Addick Barry Fuller. He stepped up to take the set-piece, drilling his effort which arrowed into the top corner beyond the reach of Wimbledon goalkeeper George Long.

The Dons were denied what would have been a bizarre leveller when a below par Chris Solly headed an attempted clearance on to his own bar. Solly did, however, look better after Marshall came on as a substitute.

Karl Robinson has said that he won't be watching the match back, admitting that Charlton were 'very average'. Key players such as Fosu, Clarke, Magennis and Forster-Caskey were not at their best: Very average

Robinson suggested that Wimbledon fans would be better off supporting their own team rather than hurtling abuse at him: Support your team. Robinson got a chorus of 'Robinson's Red Army' from the Covered End, a significant accolade.

Interesting to see a Wimbledon fan getting off at Leamington. It must have been a frustrating journey.

Referee Kevin Toner had a good game despite criticism in the past from Gillingham that he was fast tracked too soon and was not fit to referee.

Incidentally, sources close to HMRC have confirmed that due diligence is taking place at the club.

Football League Paper player rankings

Amos, 6; Solly, 5; Konsa, 7; Bauer, 6' DaSilva 5 (too low in my view); Forster-Caskey, 5; Kashi, 6; Holmes, 6; Clarke, 4 (Marshall, 70, 5) (on a frustrating day, we thought Clarke had a half decent game); Fosu, 5; Magennis, 6.

Hopes of first ever win against Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon are the only Football League club Charlton have played against and never beaten. Last year we lost 1-2 at home. However, there are hopes that we will secure all three points today: CAS Trust preview

The Wombles have won as many games away as they have at home, and they have done that by scoring just three goals, so perhaps they will be hoping for a 0-1 today. Indeed, they have suffered something of a goal drought, scoring just seven goals in the league all season. Last week they lost 0-1 at home to bottom club Plymouth.

Odds are: Charlton 19/20, Draw 23/10, Wimbledon 3/1.

Lack of enthusiasm among fans

Three-quarters of the Charlton fans surveyed feel less enthusiastic about the club than they used to: Survey results

However, although fans are pessimistic about the future of the club under the current regime, they are somewhat more positive than they were. Some feel that they have learned from their mistakes.

In contrast to last season, no fans think we will be relegated and 50 per cent think we will secure a play off place.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Striker search is on

Karl Robinson has said that Charlton has contacted clubs about signing a striker in January: Striker search

Robinson doubts whether Vetokele or Ajose could be recalled from their year long loans at Sint Truiden and Bury respectively, and in any case I don't think either of them is the solution to the striker gap.

However, it is not easy to get value for money in the January transfer window.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Flat share pair face up on pitch

AFC Wimbledon's Liam Trotter and Charlton's Billy Clarke are currently sharing an apartment in Beckenham, but the old Ipswich pals will be lining up against each up on the pitch on Saturday. In the meanwhile, there has been some banter going on between the pair: Promised a kicking

As Rick Everitt has pointed out on Twitter, Saturday's match is not a derby as it is being advertised. There is no rivalry or significant fan overlap.

AFC Wimbledon fans may, however, have former MK Dons boss Karl Robinson in their sights.

Robinson muses on striker problems

Karl Robinson discusses the fate of Nicky Ajose who is on a year's loan at Bury, but has not played in a league game since August. He is clearly not seen as the solution to the striker shortage at Charlton. Unsurprisingly, his relations with the Bury management have deteriorated as he sees his career running into the sands.

Leon Best has now been on trial at Charlton for nearly a month. There seems to be no hurry to make a decision with Robinson seeing if he can be played in a under 23s game despite being a thirty something: Trying his Best

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

'Why Roland still has to go'

Former Charlton director Craig Norris explains why Roland Duchatelet still has to go despite improved performances on the pitch: Why Roland still has to go

Norris comments, 'Compared to when Duchâtelet took over, the club is a division lower, has a manager who is inferior to the one he inherited and has season-ticket revenues which have fallen sharply. And this is before one looks at the balance sheet.'

The financial fair play saga

It is probably half forgotten now, but one of Roland's calculations when he took over Charlton was that financial fair play rules would create more of a level playing field between clubs. Hence, promotion would be feasible without spending too much money.

One would have thought that Katrien as a competition lawyer would have warned him that financial fair play rules were open to challenge under competition law.

QPR were nevertheless fined a staggering £41m after they went on a spending spree. They have been fighting the fine through legal channels for three years and the latest stage in the saga has now been reached with a panel of lawyers confirming the fine: QPR saga

The Super Hoops are going to appeal against the decision.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Ben Amos will keep a level head

Ben Amos pulled off some stunning saves to secure Charlton's victory at Valley Parade on Saturday. He won unstinting praise from Karl Robinson for the best live save the supremo had ever seen, but he won't let the plaudits go to his head. As he points out, football is a game of peaks and troughs. He also discusses how the wind whipped up by Storm Brian made his task more difficult than usual: Will stay grounded

I am great believer in building a team from the back and I had some reservations about Amos, so it is good to see him finding such excellent form.

Amos was named League One Player of the Week by The Times and got a rare score of 9 from the Football League Paper for his performance.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Roland ready to sell

This article from the Daily Mail does not say anything particular new, other than mentioning a £20m purchase price, and I suppose it will not convince sceptics that serious discussions are taking place with the Australian consortium. Of course, they could yet end in failure, but if this turned out to be the case, it would clear the way for other bidders: Duchatelet ready to sell up

Some of the comments from regime apologists on social media are to be expected, dismissing 'stupid rumours'. However, anyone who believes that 'all is good at our club' as a Facebook comment stated must have an unrivalled capacity for sticking their head in the sand.

One ordinary fan commented 'I support the club, I don't care who the owner is.' But if that owner make a series of poor choices about coaches and players, not to mention the chief executive, and wastes large sums of money in the process, that affects progress on the pitch, leaving to an avoidably long stay in League One.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

No worries as Addicks take three points

Jake Forster-Caskey said he had no fear ahead of today's promotion clash at Bradford City and the midfielder scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute to send Charlton up to fourth. However, it took two great late saves by Ben Amos to secure the three points for the Addicks. Karl Robinson rated one of the saves the best he has ever seen. The match was played in swirling wind and heavy rain as Storm Brian did its worse.

For the goal Solly put the ball into the back post, Fosu volleyed across goal and Forster-Caskey forced the ball home from close range. Up to then it had been a fairly even game.

Ricky Holmes almost managed to score an early goal for Charlton, but Doyle just managed to stretch out a hand to tip it over the bar.

A shot by Bradford's Jake Reeves was deflected wide after Ezri Konsa’s clearance dropped to him on the edge of the box, but the Addicks forced a succession of corners at the other end. This culminated with Billy Clarke, returning to the club he joined Charlton from in the summer, cutting in on his left-foot and arrowing a drive just wide of the far-post.

A slick move involving makeshift left-back Naby Sarr and the man-in-form Tariqe Fosu saw the latter have the ball nicked away from him just as he was about to play the ball across the face of goal, as the first-half continued to be an end-to-end affair. Holmes curled a trademark free-kick over the crossbar from 25-yards out before Wyke blazed over after some pinball in the Addicks area as the half ended goalless.

The Addicks nearly had the lead early on in the second half, when Holmes’ hopeful cross with the outside of his right-boot swerved towards goal and crashed back off the bar. Stuart McCall’s men broke immediately, with Ezri Konsa doing superbly to deflect Omari Patrick’s shot over the bar.

Friday, 20 October 2017

No fear ahead of Bradford game

Charlton have no fear ahead of their clash with play off rivals Bradford according to Jake Forster-Caskey, the player on press duty: Competition for places giving a boost

Bradford have lost only two of their last 37 home matches. However, two of those losses have occurred in the current season.

They were play off finalists last season, after finishing 5th, but lost a number of key players over the summer, two to Charlton. Bradford boss Stuart McCall has complained about this to the local paper, saying that the Addicks 'nicked' two of his most influential players.

At least Charlton won't have to face former Addick Adam Chicksen. The defender is out injured for the rest of the season.

It has to be admitted that Charlton's away record at Valley Parade is very poor, as the CAS Trust preview makes clear: Seeking first goal for 30 years. However, the 2016-17 game ended in a 0-0 draw and another 1-1 draw is a possible result.

Odds: Bradford 5/4, Draw 12/5, Charlton 2/1.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Takeover story updated

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has updated his story on the potential takeover of Charlton: Takeover at advanced stage

I have been surprised (or perhaps not) at some of the reaction on social media to the Rickster's story. Admittedly, Rick Everitt does not hide his light under a bushel and he calls a spade a spade. However, I do not think he is attention seeking, nor is he desperate to sell extra copies of Voice of the Valley. Given its size and the quality of the paper, I doubt whether he makes any money out of it.

Some consider that a takeover would undermine a new found stability, but what that stability has largely consisted of is Roland sticking to his moules and frites and Katrien keeping a lower profile. Both are welcome developments in the sense that Karl Robinson has been given more autonomy. He has got us into the play off places, and should be safe under any new owners, but it is as well to remember that the play off places are a lottery with a one in four chance of winning.

Some cynics are saying 'we've been here before' and they won't believe it until they read it on the official site. That will be the last place the news will appear. Of course, this has been bubbling along under the surface for some time. I have been given information from time to time on the understanding that I do not directly use it. However, I think we are near an outcome one way or the other.

Rick Everitt has better sources than I do and the key paragraph in his updated story is the concluding one: 'I can report with certainty that the due diligence is at an advanced stage. While that does not guarantee a deal will be concluded or any timeline, it will necessarily have required extensive co-operation from the football club, which is unlikely to have been forthcoming without significant proof of funds and an indicative agreement on price. In short, the approach has to be a credible one and of interest to Duchatelet simply to have got this far.'

As the writer of the Drinking During the Game blog put it well, '[Rick Everitt] is a good judge of when it's safe to say something and when it isn't.' What I am also sure about is that Rick is Charlton through and through.

Charlton takeover imminent

A takeover of Charlton, most likely by the Australian consortium is imminent reveals VOTV editor Rick Everitt: Deal near

As revealed in the fanzine, this involves businessman Andrew Muir, former owner of the Good Guys retail chain who has considerable funds at his disposal.

The Rickster reveals, 'Voice of The Valley has been told by multiple independent and well-placed sources that due diligence on a potential sale has been taking place – and today that a deal could even go through before the end of the next week.'

VOTV understands that the deal would now include the acquisition of Charlton Athletic Holdings Limited, the entity that owns The Valley and Sparrows Lane, as well the football club itself. Suggestions to the contrary were a source of concern to some fans following the initial report.

Details remain sketchy and the timeline changeable, but the deal has been brokered by the Everton director Keith Harris.

My view is that a Chinese takeover is unlikely at this time as the Communist Party Congress is still in session in Beijing and there will be no green light for new takeovers until its business is completed.

Charlton would become the first Australian owned club in the UK. Tinnies all round!

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'We've been here before. Everyone remain calm.' Well, yes, but it is difficult to remain calm.

Not at his Best

Leon Best is still training with Charlton Athletic, but no offer will be made to him until he is fully fit. This is a welcome change from the usual Charlton practice of signing players who then disappear to the treatment table, but Karl Robinson reckons that he has learnt his lesson from the Ben Reeves experience: Carry on training

It's a steep and often expensive learning curve at Charlton, but that's better than no learning curve at all.

Bradford a 'properly run club' says Robinson

Referring to the warm remarks made by former Bantams Mark Marshall and Billy Clarke about Bradford City, Charlton coach Karl Robinson has commented, 'It shows the club is run properly and the quality they have at the club is there to see.'

Some of us might feel that there is a contrast with Charlton in terms of being properly run, but I am sure that is not what the supremo intended, given the mutual respect that he and Katrien Meire have for each other.

Robinson also revealed that he tried to sign Billy Clarke three times. He is a good signing, but Robinson refused to say why Bradford decided to let him go, hinting at some dark secret known only to him and la belle Katrien: Third time lucky

Why getting back to the Championship is so important

An excellent piece of in depth analysis by Wigan fan Richard Pike shows why it is so important for Charlton to get back into the Championship, but also draws attention to some of the special challenges facing smaller London clubs: New financial realities

He points out that the Championship is increasingly becoming like a Premier League Division Two, fulfilling a prediction made by Richard Murray a long time ago. He argues that a growing gap is emerging between the Championship and Leagues One and Two.

Ten year income projections suggest that by 2027 each Championship club will receive an average of £13m each season from solidarity payments and the television deal, an increase of £6m on the current figure. League One clubs will see their income from these sources go by only £0.25m from £2m.

One general argument he makes is that city clubs have an advantage over town clubs with an increasing presence in the Championship. However, this does not necessarily work in a huge city like London. A club like Brentford has to compete with historically larger neighbouring clubs such as Chelsea, Fulham and QPR.

However, he does admit that it is easier to get sponsorship in London. The competition that Charlton faces is rather different from Brentford and, properly run, it has a large potential fan base in Kent. Millwall appeals to a particular type of clientele, while the less said about the Nigels the better.

No celebrations for Clarke at Bradford

Billy Clarke can't wait to get back to Bradford on Saturday. Such is his respect for the Bradford fans that there will be no celebrations if he scores: Expecting a good reception

Clarke was rested against Oxford on Tuesday, but is expected to feature on Saturday.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Addicks call in Big Sam

Former Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce was at The Valley on Saturday. It has now been revealed that Karl Robinson wants him to hold a defensive coaching clinic to sort out the back four: Big Sam

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Marshall injury problem worse than thought

Mark Marshall's injury problem is worse than was thought, having developed a new dimension in training. He looks unlikely to be fit to face former club Bradford in another battle of play off contenders on Saturday: Injury worry

It was ever thus at Charlton: sign a promising player and he spends more time on the treatment table at Sparrows Lane than on the pitch.

Charlton stay 5th

Charlton stay 5th in League One after an unsurprising 1-1 draw with play off rivals Oxford United tonight. The result denied the home team a fourth successive league win.

Oxford did most of the pressing, but they had to come from behind to claim a point. Inevitably, Tariqe Fosu put the Addicks ahead in the 18th minute when he charged down Curtis Nelson's clearance and touched the ball past keeper Simon Eastwood before running on to score.

But the U's equalised 10 minutes before half-time when right back Christian Ribeiro bagged his first goal for the club. James Henry's right-wing cross was poorly headed out by Chris Solly and Ribeiro fired a left footed volley into the net.

Oxford finished the half strongly with Josh Ruffels curling a shot wide, and Ricardinho's drive blocked on the line by Jake Forster-Caskey. In the second half, Wes Thomas was twice denied by Ben Amos, but Charlton also went close with Fosu scooping a shot wide, and Eastwood saving from Billy Clarke.

It was no bore draw and the Oxford Mail thought that the home side had their work cut out against what they judged to be a well-drilled Charlton outfit: Oxford Mail report

Naby Sarr is selected as man of the match by the News Shopper with what they thought was his best ever performance in a Charlton shirt: Player ratings

Karl Robinson said that though he thought the Charlton performance was one of the best under his reign as supremo, he was frustrated with the result: 'I would swear if I could'

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 clichés 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

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Best we can get

Striker Leon Best is training with Charlton this year so that Karl Robinson can take a look at him. He is a free agent, having been let go by Ipswich Town at the end of last season: Taking a look

Mick McCarthy had had enough of the journeyman by January: He won't play for me again

I make it twelve clubs he has played for in his career, including his start as a youth player at Notts County. He has been on loan at various clubs, including three spells at the Massives. On one occasion he scored against Charlton: Doing the rounds

Given that lack of choice up front is our biggest problem, it is worth at least taking a look at anyone who is available, but I can't say I am that excited.

Powell: I could come back

Chris Powell has said that he could return to The Valley under different ownership: Won't rule out return

One should never say never, but I don't think we should go back to the future. I have a lot of time for both Alan Curbishley and Chris Powell, and they should always be welcome as honoured guests. However, when it comes to choosing the next manager (which I don't think will be anytime soon), we should look elsewhere. I would consider Jason Euell.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Luzon speaks out - again

Once the PR consultants found Guy Luzon's number they made sure that the former manager would be available to giving a running commentary on all things Charlton. His latest contribution is to argue that Naby Sarr needed time to adjust to English football: Sarr needed time

Is it really that different? Next: Karel Fraeye on how he had to adjust to different gravity on this side of the Channel.

Monday, 9 October 2017

New contract for Europe's top keeper Pope

Nick Pope has impressed on his debut at Burnley and has signed a new contract until 2020: Former keeper

Pope is now officially the best keeper in Europe's top five leagues: Europe's best

A statistician would point out that you can't base anything on such a small N, but although a target of some complaints while at The Valley, he was much better than his successor.

Another former Charlton player at Burnley, Johann Gudmundsson scored in Iceland's 2-0 victory last night which saw them win their group and qualify for the World Cup, the smallest country ever to do so.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Charlton content in fanzine documentary

A 40 minute documentary on YouTube tells the story of the fanzine movement in English football. It sets the context of the 1980s well, pointing to links with similar magazines on the music scene and the bad treatment of fans at that time who were all stereotyped as hooligans: Watch it here

Fanzines are now a dying means of communication. The West Ham fanzine, featured in this documentary, came to end with the move to the London Stadium which is surrounded by private land.

We still have Voice of the Valley and Rick Everitt features in this documentary with scenes shot at The Valley with an anti-Roland emphasis. We also get a peep inside the VOTV offices in Ramsgate.

Marshall glad to return to his roots

In a very interesting exclusive interview with the SLP's Richard Cawley, Mark Marshall talks about returning to his roots in South London. He was raised in Deptford which, as he points out, was five minutes from the Toolbox, but just 25 minutes from Sparrows Lane.

He talks about the challenges he has faced as a footballer, including his recent injury, and how he has been given a boost by being around family again. His return to first team action seems to be being well managed.

Read the full interview here: Return to roots felt right

Saturday, 7 October 2017

PR consultants hard at work

Charlton's PR consultants have been clearly been hard at work, placing a piece in Kent Live giving seven reasons why 'sleeping giant' Charlton could win automatic promotion: Seven reasons

Much of the article is a hymn of praise for Karl Robinson who emerges as possibly the best manager in English football since Sir Alex Ferguson. The OTT tone of the piece is illustrated by the claim that Charlton have 'strength in depth'. Clearly evident up front.

I could come up with seven reasons while Roland Duchatelet remains a ****.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Luzon sure that fans will warm to Roland

Former Charlton manager Guy Luzon is convinced that Charlton fans will warm to Roland Duchatelet if the club is promoted to the Championship this season which he thinks is sure to happen: Roland will win over fans

Let's hope he is right about the promotion, but it won't change my mind about Roland. I can't forget the bad decisions that were made, the pile of debt has been accumulated or the way that fans have been treated, not least by Katrien Meire. However, for many it is simply a results business.

Award for Ricky Holmes

Ricky Holmes has been made PFA Player of the Month award for League One for August/September: Ricky Holmes

The downside is that this only underlines his appeal to prospective bidders in the January transfer window, notably Sheffield United.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Charlton player scores against Germany

Germany have not lost an away qualifying game for 83 years so it was no surprise when Northern Ireland lost to them 1-3 at Windsor Park tonight. However, a Josh Magennis header gave them a consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game.

I'm not sure if a Charlton player has scored against Germany before.

Chris Powell interview

FC Business have undertaken an interview with Chris Powell, in which he talks of being brought up as a latch key kid in South London and his pride at being capped for England. Part 1 of the interview is here: Chris Powell

Konsa sale will be used for team building not buildings

Charlton chief Karl Robinson has admitted that Ademola Lookman was sold in January to pay for building work at Sparrows Lane. However, should Konsa be sold in January, Robinson wants the money to go into building up the team: Right kind of building work

A number of Premiership clubs are watching Konsa and it is very likely that he will be sold in the transfer window.