Wednesday 31 August 2016

Diego Poyet leaves West Ham

Charlton academy product Diego Poyet has left West Ham after a difficult period with the East London Clarets: Diego Poyet

He has tweeted that both he and the club agreed that his development would be best be served by him leaving. He really should have stayed at Charlton longer, rather than signing up for bench warming at West Ham. When he returned to Charlton last season he was no longer a flair player.

He is now a free agent, but I wouldn't want him back.

Welcome, Fredrik Ulvestad

The official site has announced that Fredrik Ulvestad has signed on a year's loan from Burnley. The Norway international is described as a box-to-box midfielder: New signing

Career details for the 24-year old who has a footballing father and brother here: Fredrik Ulvestad

Despite weeks of speculation, most recently focusing on Crystal Palace, it looks as if Ademola Lookman is staying at The Valley. According to Richard Cawley and other sources, the club has turned down a series of bids from Sheffield Wednesday for Morgan Fox, the last one at over £1.25m.

Palace deal for Lookman?

Charlton are trying to sell Ademola Lookman to Crystal Palace. A Glazier will come in the other direction to sweeten the deal: Over to Sainsbury's

Anonymous sources close to the club said: 'Many Charlton fans have fond memories of the days at Selhurst. This can only boost the popularity of the regime.'

Charlton try to sign Liam Walsh

Charlton are trying to sign 18-year old Everton youngster Liam Walsh on loan. He had a successful spell on loan at Yeovil Town last year, but other clubs are also interested: Liam Walsh

Walsh is a central midfielder who is said to be comfortable on the ball and good at set pieces: Bluewash

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Larnell Cole in on trial

Former Manchester United youngster Larnell Cole has been brought in on trial. Somewhat mysteriously, he played for the Addicks against Southampton last night: Trialist

The midfielder was with Fulham, but spent last year on loan at Shrewsbury Town. He is now trying to resurrect his career: Career details

The excitement is too much!

Never mind the paint drying trophy! It's successor, the Checkatrade Trophy, brings Southampton's Under 23 side to The Valley tonight. What with Charlton fans' disgust with the regime, and opposition to the concept of the trophy itself, this could see the lowest recorded attendance at The Valley ever for a game involving some of the first team squad.

No doubt the figures will be boosted to prove otherwise, but some fans may take photos. Meanwhile, if Katrien wants a few running repairs to the stadium, she can call Checkatrade.

Odds: Charlton 7/10, Draw 11/4, Southampton under 23 7/2. The referee is coming all the way from Tyne and Wear, such is the importance of the occasion.

Cautions and sending-offs are exclusive to the tournament and in normal circumstances won't affect other EFL or Premier League fixtures. The EFL clubs will field a minimum of five 'First Team' players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition's existing rules, whilst the invited clubs will have at least six under-21 players in their starting line-up.

This trophy has been roundly condemned across the country: The Contradiction Cup

Even many Premier League clubs have refused to have anything to do with this competition, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Spurs. So one is left with B list clubs putting out B list teams in a D list trophy.

Many fans see this as a Trojan horse for allowing top Premier League clubs to enter their development sides in an expanded Football League. The Football League's response is that people don't like change and the competition needed rejuvenating. Or perhaps abandoning?

Should we get through, a later stage will see a group stage. This would stretch our squad even more and the crowds would not pay for putting the floodlights on.

I had one bit of football fun over the weekend. On the bank holiday the Warwickshire derby saw the Brakes beat the Bardsmen 2-0 at the Anne Hathaway Stadium, allowing the Leamington fans to start the chant 'Two nil, or not two nil?'

Monday 29 August 2016

Left back signed report

Richard Cawley has been saying on Twitter that Charlton have agreed a twelve month deal with Adam Chicksen who is a left back. He was released by Brighton last season. He is 24 and played around 150 games for Brighton: New signing Cawley also says that Charlton got £400k for Holmes Dennis.

Born in Milton Keynes, Chicksen had the rare distinction of being a player for MK Dons who had been born in the home of the franchisees: Career details

There are no official bids yet for Ademola Lookman, but that does not mean that he is staying: Lookman latest

Lookman linked with Baggies

Ademola Lookman is being linked with a £4m bid by West Bromwich Albion who have not had much success in the transfer window so far. I still think it is more likely that he will go to a London club, but it is very likely that he will have gone somewhere by Wednesday.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Jacko injury setback

Johnnie Jackson limped off with a tight hamstring after playing 20 minutes or so on Saturday. The medical department had warned there could be a problem, but thought he might last 60 or 70 minutes: Jackson

No one doubts his dedication to the cause, despite being used as a human shield by Katrien, but one wonders how much playing time he will get this season.

Jason Pearce reckons that both Ezri Konsa and Ademola Lookman have the capacity to play at the highest level: Potential

No doubt Lookman may soon have the chance to do so, at least in a bench warming capacity. Konsa could well be the next saleable product off the line at the Charlton player farm.

Saturday 27 August 2016

Score draw against leaders

Charlton fell back to 9th in League One after a 1-1 draw with Phil Parkinson's table topping Bolton Wanderers at The Valley.

Bolton's 100 per cent start to the season came to an end as a 90th-minute stunner from Ademola Lookman earned Charlton a point. Lookman came off the bench to strike the ball past Trotters keeper Mark Howard from 20 yards. And another Charlton sub Brandon Hanlan could have won it right at the death, but his header hit the side-netting.

Bolton had taken the lead through Gary Madine in the 53rd minute after good work from Liam Trotter on the wing.

Both sides could have gone into the break a goal up with Charlton's Jason Pearce heading wide from a Holmes free kick, and David Wheater seeing his effort cleared off the line by Solly and onto the crossbar.

There was a lengthy stoppage of play at the start of the second-half as Bolton's Mark Davies was stretchered off with a knee injury after landing awkwardly when making a tackle.

Fans opposed to the regime unfurled a North Korean flag above the directors' box during the game.

One fan commented after the game, 'Charlton desperately need to sign some attacking midfielders. Croft and Foley are both defensive and have no pace or creation Slade is a defensive manager, when Jackson was injured Lookman should have come on then not Bauer. At home we should be starting with our best attackers.'

Whether Lookman will still be at Charlton after the transfer window closes is a moot point. There are rumours about Yann Kermorgant returning, but I think it's unlikely. He scored a good goal to give Reading victory over Cardiff today.

Football League Paper rankings

Rudd, 6; Solly, 7; Konsa, 7; Pearce, 6; Fox, 6; Crofts, 6; Foley, 5; Jackson, 6; Holmes, 7; Ajose, 5; Magennis, 6. Subs: Bauer (24), 6; Lookman (64), 8; Hanlan, 90.

Duo may be hard to shift

Charlton would like to move out El-Hadj Ba and Jorge Teixeira before the transfer window closes, but there don't seem to be many takers, even for Teixeira: Duo on offer

Now who was it who have Teixeira a 4.5 year contract? Would that be the same person who wants to reduce the wage bill?

Out of the waffle pan into the wok?

Charlton fans are so keen to see the back of Roland and Katrien, that they understandably have not given much thought to likely successors. At the present, the serious money is coming from China. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Chinese investors tend to be consensual and like to build bridges with fans. But not all of them are of the same quality, as our sister site points out: A and B list Chinese investors

Friday 26 August 2016

A toxic brand

It's sometimes useful to remind ourselves that other clubs have been undermined by their owners. This is not to say that it makes it any better for us, but it does illustrate a more general problem.

When Venky's, the Indian conglomerate, took over Blackburn Rovers, it soon became apparent that, while they might know a lot about chickens, they knew very little about football. The club is now at the bottom of the Championship and its financial troubles are increasing. Read a statement from the Rovers' Trust here: Toxic brand

Parky expects 4-4-2

Phil Parkinson expects Charlton to play 4-4-2 when he brings his table topping Bolton Wanderers side to The Valley tomorrow. He also has given the local Bolton paper further reflections on his time at The Valley: London calling

The CAS Trust preview of the game can be found here: Preview

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

Apparently such was the interest in Charlton's view of the match that no one turned up for the press day. In other news, Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire is reported to have turned up quarter of an hour late for her first FA Council meeting and missed her introduction.

There will be an alternative free programme available tomorrow and many fans now have their special black and white protest shirts.

Thursday 25 August 2016

The prodigal returns

Phil Parkinson returns to The Valley with Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and reflects here on his time at Charlton: Parky

He claims he stabilised the club against a difficult financial background which is fair enough.

Addicks linked with Bendtner

Unconfirmed internet reports are stating that Charlton Athletic are exploring a shock move for former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner. The Denmark striker is a free agent following his release from German club Wolfsburg earlier this year. The 28-year-old is still on the look out for a new club and The Addicks are interested in signing him.

However, his wages could be a problem in a club where the purse strings are tightly held for most (but not all) matters. He has been linked with Queens Park Rangers in recent days, but they are not pursuing their interest, so his agent may be getting desperate.

Once one of the brightest emerging striker’s in European football; Bendtner’s career has been blighted by a host of off-the-field problems. But at 28 he still has a number of years ahead of him. The striker joined Wolfsburg on a free transfer from Arsenal in the summer of 2014 and made 47 appearances, scoring nine goals, but things soured last season.

Bendtner was fined twice for breaches of discipline concerning training sessions. In February, the Bundesliga club fined him for driving to training in a Mercedes S-Class when the club are owned by rival manufacturer Volkswagen. Bendtner was then forced to train alone and fined £1,770 for turning up 45 minutes late for a session.

Any car problems could be overcome by an offer of any Belgian made vehicle of his choice. He might then find himself making his way to matches in the same manner as players did in the past: on the bus or on foot.

He is known in Denmark as 'Lord' Bendtner and has been linked in his personal life with Caroline luel-Brockoorf, an associate of the Danish royal family: Career details

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Farewell, then, Holmes-Dennis

I have just returned from a short break in the Scilly Isles to discover that Tareiq Holmes-Dennis has been sold to Huddersfield for an 'undisclosed fee', i.e., well below his true value: Holmes-Dennis

Admittedly, he was not getting many chances at Charlton, but Huddersfield clearly saw something in him.

This took the edge off a creditable away win at Walsall, although I have to admit it wasn't the talk of Hugh Town.

The Guardian has an interesting blog on the issue of the lack of transparency in football transfer fees: Lack of transparency

Friday 19 August 2016

A difficult place to go

Charlton manager Russell Slade thinks that Walsall is a 'difficult place to go' and has doubts about whether he can secure three points tomorrow, particularly with two or three injury worries: Challenge at the Bescot

Our last meeting there in 2011/12 ended in a 1-1 draw and a similar result is possible tomorrow. Odds: Walsall 8/5, Draw 9/4, Charlton 17/10.

Thursday 18 August 2016

Great goals retold

This month Four Four Two features Shaun Bartlett's goal for Charlton against Leicester City in the Premier League in 2001. I still have the t-shirt. It was the 2000-01 BBC Goal of the Season.

Bartlett recalls, 'The moment I hit the ball and it stayed low, I knew that something was going to happen.' The magazine notes, 'After escaping his marker and running behind the defence, Bartlett allowed Graham Stuart's long diagonal ball to drop over his shoulder before smashing home a beautiful left-footed volley from the corner of the penalty area.'

The goal persuaded the Addicks to shell out £2m and turn his loan move from FC Zurich into a permanent deal. 'At that time I was still playing for a contract at Charlton,' Bartlett told FFT. 'Scoring two goals against Manchester United on my debut and then that goal pretty much secured me my three year contract.'

Bartlett admitted that seven time out of 10, that shot would hit somebody in the stand, but the connection was great. His team mates were less convinced, asking for pictures to see if his eyes were actually open. 'Even the manager [Alan Curbishley] himself couldn't believe the strike. I think he was actually more ecstatic than me.'

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Decisive win for Charlton

Charlton had a decisive 3-0 win over Shrewsbury Town last night and from hovering above the relegation zone climbed to eighth in the table. Josh Magennis had an early attempt on goal, but his chipped finish was dealt with by the outstretched hand of the keeper. The Addicks were rewarded for their early pressure when the impressive Holmes curled them into a 22nd-minute lead.

The winger had already demonstrated his threat with his movement and several promising runs when he again received possession in midfield. He began another, before from the edge of the area sending a right-footed effort into the top right corner beyond the Shrewsbury goalkeeper.

Johnnie Jackson's goal almost instantly followed. With the visitors unable to clear a cross from the right in the 24th minute, the club captain reached the loose ball and routinely finished from directly in front of goal. Shrewsbury players complained to the referee that their keeper was on the ground, but that was down to him.

Holmes effectively secured Charlton's much-needed three points in the 31st minute by curling a left-wing corner directly over the keeper and into the top right.

After that it was effectively game over and became more of a kick about, and although the Salopians had more possession, they scarcely threatened. Pearce was standing for no nonsense in defence. Lookman did have an effort on goal that was parried by the keeper.

Rick Everitt gives his take on the match here: Rickster's Report.

I think he needs a new sub when he talks of the 'hospitality' towards Mr. Popularity Roger Johnson. Surely he means hostility?

He focuses on the official attendance of 9,174, including 419 Salopians. In practice, the real attendance would have been much lower.

As he points out, once fans are lost they often don't return. So even if Roland sold out tomorrow to a Kunming-based consortium, they would have a hard struggle getting fans back.

No panic in the camp

Josh Magennis is expecting a physical game against Shrewsbury Town at The Valley tonight. However, he insists that there is no panic in the camp and believes that Charlton have enough to see off most League One rivals despite their faltering start to the season: Optimism

Shrewsbury have had an increased budget this season and signed seven players of proven League One calibre before preseason training had started. A bit of a contrast with the lack of preparation at Charlton. Shropshire's finest are forecast to finish the season in 11th place which would be the best outcome since 1990.

Scottish manager Micky Mellon has a reputation as a canny tactician. Arsenal academy graduate Abu Ogogo is regarded as a key player.

Odds are: Charlton 21/20, Draw 12/5, Shrewsbury 13/5.

Monday 15 August 2016

What would Chinese ownership be like?

Aston Villa, Wolves and West Bromwich Albion have all been taken over by Chinese owners in recent months with encouragement from President Xi and his ten year project to make China a world soccer power.

Hull City are the latest club that look as if they are going to have Chinese owners: Chinese takeover. Like Charlton, Hull City has unpopular owners who have a bad relationship with the fans and have been the target of continuous demonstrations. At least Roland has not tried to change Charlton's name - yet.

It is interesting that in the article linked to above Professor Simon Chadwick argues that Chinese owners try to be consensual and build bridges with fans. Roland shows no signs of selling, but if he did, the most likely purchasers would be Chinese.

Curbs complained about the music

Former pitch announcer 'Big Dave' Lockwood gets a double page spread in the Currant Bun today. He makes clear his dissatisfaction with the current regime at The Valley.

Looking back on his long service since 1993, Dave says, 'Alan Curbishley had me in his office when he was joint manager with Steve Gritt. He told me the music had to be more upbeat. So we changed it and the fans complained.'

Dave started off doing reserve team games and recalls, 'When I started we were in a Portacabin with a disco deck in the corner. The first match was a freezing night in March, so I played "Cold as Ice" by Foreigner as my first song.'

'Phil Parkinson asked me to give a goal to David Mooney because he was low on confidence. I couldn't, it was a blatant own goal, so Parky got the hump with me.' When there was an own goal in the play off semi-final against Swindon, Parky said 'You know what you have to do' and this time Dave obliged.

His best moment was yelling out 'Champions' when we won League One in 2012. His worst moment was trying to be upbeat after losing to Swindon on penalties in the 2011 play offs. His most embarrassing moment was when had to interview two actors who had pretended to have sex in the centre circle for a tacky video made by the club.

Dave notes that the club had a tradition of welcoming back former players, but he was told to stop after he did it for Yann Kermorgant who criticised Rolamd Duchatelet when he left.

The final straw for him was last March, when Roland claimed that protesting fans wanted the team to lose: 'The hardest thing was forcing myself to walk away. In the end I could not continue as a mouthpiece for those running the club. I don't know what Duchatelet's end plan is, but I don't think it would be good for Charlton.'

Farewell, then, Richard Murray

The official site has announced that Richard Murray is resigning due to ill health: Murray steps down

He made a key contribution to the revival of Charlton and the move into the Premier League, although mistakes were made later in his period in office, not the least the appointment of Iain Dowie. In recent years he has been seen as an apologist for the regime.

Nevertheless, one has to recognize his part in the history of Charlton and to wish him a speedy recovery from surgery.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Owner and chief executive need behavioural contract

The Guardian comments: 'Perhaps the saddest part of the latest PR fiasco involving Charlton Athletic is that it seems entirely fitting for what this once‑proud club have become under their current regime.'

'It is certainly difficult to think of any other occasion when a supporter applying to buy a season ticket has subsequently received a letter saying it depends on signing a contract preventing him from making “derogatory comments” on social media about the way the club are run.'

'Unfortunately for Charlton, a certain amount of online criticism is probably to be expected when the club have been relegated to League One, featuring various protests about the owner, Roland Duchâtelet, and the chief executive, Katrien Meire. Perhaps the relevant people should understand that the best way to prevent complaints is to run the club in a way that provokes goodwill. In the meantime, what a shame that the “Agreed Behavioural Contract” does not work both ways, so Charlton’s supporters could monitor the conduct of the people running the club if needs be.'

In a full report, the fan who was asked to sign a behavioural contract says he was gobby but not inflamatory and he is done with the club now: Full report

Saturday 13 August 2016

A work in progress

That is the most charitable thing that could be said about Russell Slade's Charlton after a 1-1 draw with Northampton Town left them just above the relegation zone in League One.

Getting off the bus to go to the Rose of Denmark, someone asked me who Charlton were playing today which suggests that Katrien's SE7 campaign has not been a resounding success. The best part of the day was meeting up with old friends. We also talked to two Cobblers supporters.

It was quite a surprise to see Brian Cole working again as pitch announcer. It will be recalled that the lost the job after a game against the Glaziers in which referred to them as 'Crystal Pal****.'

Commenting on the Bury match, Russell Slade said in the programme that we created opportunities but snatched at them and didn't work the goalkeeper enough. That's how it was in the first half today. All of our shots were from outside the box and, not surprisingly, were either off target or straight at the keeper. The Cobblers went ahead on 16 minutes when a decent cross was followed by a decent header from Revell who for some reason was not been properly marked. It will be good to get Bauer back (he was on the bench).

Ricky Holmes was being constantly barracked by the Cobblers fans. Perhaps this put him off a bit, but he has good pace.

We looked better in the second half, particularly after Lookman came on. Andrew Crofts forced Smith into a smart, low save to top his strike around the post, before Nicky Ajose fired just wide after turning neatly. He should really have scored. An assist from Ajose allowed Johnnie Jackson to level the score on 57 minutes.

Jordan Botaka looked lively when he came on. We pressed hard in the last ten minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net. Lookman saw his free kick turned away in the last minute.

I was impressed with Konsa who showed some nice touches.

There were no red or yellow cards and Darren England had a decent game.

Russell Slade has said that he wants to strengthen the central midfield before the transfer window closes. This is our main weakness at the moment: Manager's verdict

Football League Paper scores

Rudd 6 (looked competent to me); Solly 7 (worked tirelessly); Pearce, 6; Konsa, 6 (I would have given a higher score); Fox, 6 (usual mix of good and bad); Foley, 5 (subbed by Lookman on 60, 6, I would have given more); Jackson, 7; Holmes, 7 (subbed by Botaka on 67); Magennis, 6 (subbed by Novak on 80); Ajose 6.

Friday 12 August 2016

A load of Cobblers?

Charlton face Northampton Town at The Valley today and the CAS Trust in their preview reckon the pressure is all on Charlton: Under pressure

I am less convinced and I am going for a 2-1 victory. There has been another classic public relations disaster at The Valley, but I am not sure that will affect the players too much. The squad has undergone further strengthening, so I am not sure that one can read this result off from the last two. My main concern is that the crowd will be nervous and quick to react negatively to the inevitable errors. Remember, support the team, not the regime!

The Cobblers are forecast to finish 16th this season by Four Four Two. They comment, 'After a title-winning season that turned out better than anyone dared imagine, the summer brought some very harsh realities for Northampton with the departure of manager Chris Wilder and star turn Ricky Holmes.'

'The decision of both men could be seen as an admission that 2015-16 was a one-off, an extraordinary campaign that resulted from a chemistry that nobody could ever recreate.'

The one friend I have who lives in Northampton supports the strong local rugby side.

Odds are: Charlton 11/10, Draw 23/10, Northampton 5/2.

Whether the long trek to The Valley today will be worth it remains to be seen, but I look forward to seeing old friends.

Club clamps down on dissent

A letter sent by the club to the fan seeking to renew his season ticket has been posted on Twitter this morning. Signed by the 'Duty Safety Officer', the fan is required to attend a meeting at The Valley and sign an 'Agreed Behavioural Contract' before his season ticket is issued.

The letter notes 'comments placed on social media websites by yourself have not been particularly constructive'. I could plead guilty to that as well.

The season ticket holder is required to undertake to 'refrain from posting derogatory or inflammatory comments regarding the club or people representing the club in the future on any social media websites.'

The club is, of course, legally entitled to decide whether or not it wishes to issues a season ticket to a particular individual. I do not know what the particular comments were, but if they were defamatory, there is another means of dealing with them. However, this does strike me as extraordinary behaviour that amounts to an attempt to stamp out dissent. It's the sort of behaviour one might find the former German Democratic Republic.

I am not sure that I want to continue to be associated with a club that conducts itself in this way. The club would be better advised to address the concerns that have been responsibly articulated by the Supporters' Trust.

It now appears that the club has dealt with the matter in another and more informal way, but the Supporters' Trust has rightly expressed concern about the letter being sent in the first place: Alarming and naïve

This is yet another case of the club shooting itself in the foot as it has managed to create a negative social media storm. A competent chief executive would stop these events occurring.

Big Dave Lockwood has tweeted that this shows how much the club misses John Little (the former Safety Officer). It would have been a matter of a phone call and a friendly chat.

Thursday 11 August 2016

The investors are out there

The annual survey of football finance directors by BDO reveals that global investors are increasingly focusing their attention on League One and League Two clubs: Where the action is

They are interested in clubs with growth potential. Perhaps they could put in a call to Roland or Katrien. But no doubt they would get the brush off or be referred to billboard sales.

Is it 'scoop' Everitt?

Peter Burrowes of the Kentish Independent used to be known as 'Scoop' Burrowes, but the coveted title may now pass to Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt. Rumours have been circulating that the first issue of the fanzine for the new season, which will be on sale around The Valley tomorrow, will contain an article on Brexit and Charlton by none other than Nigel Farage.

Everitt campaigned against Farage in Thanet South in the 2015 general election, but may be prepared to bury the hatchet in the interests of attracting a high profile contributor.

The Thanet Gazette sent one of their ace reporters round to 92 Valley Road, Ramsgate to pursue the story. The outbuilding where VOTV is produced showed signs of activity, emanating the distinctive hot metal smell of a Linotype machine, while an ancient printing press could be heard thudding away in the background, accompanied by oaths and curses from 'Airman Brown' who refused to confirm or deny the story.

However, the reporter spotted a man up the road working on a dilapidated caravan with a spanner. He turned out to be the only Millwall supporter in that part of Ramsgate and gave an interview about Everitt, the only printable words being 'anorak' and 'train spotter'.

Nevertheless, the reporter had secured her story which is to appear under the headline 'Neighbour says fanzine lowers tone of road.'

More information about the 'bumper' issue of VOTV is here: Voice of the Valley

You are reminded that you can have a free selfie with Rick Everitt if you buy your VOTV from his pitch opposite the club shop.

Read the latest outside assessment of Charlton here: Decline of a model club

Welcome, Jordan Botaka (aka 'the Wizard')

Midfielder Jordan Botaka has signed on a year long loan from Leeds United. He is a DR Congo international: Botaka

The signing has been greeted by the usual chorus of scepticism from the Addickted. The difficulty is that Russell Slade is damned if he doesn't sign anyone and damned if he does. We do need some realism about the quality of signing that can be expected in League One.

Botaka is known as 'The Wizard' because of his skill with his feet and trickery with the ball: Career details

Kilmarnock throw in the towel

Kilmarnock have admitted that they cannot match Charlton's financial firepower as striker Josh Maginnis makes a £250k move to Charlton. He arrived at Sparrows Lane for his medical this morning: Late signing

Maginnis, who started his career at a keeper, has played for Northern Ireland at international level and started his career in the province: Career details

I am trying to remember when we last had a player who was genuinely from Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Valley of Despair

Charlton Athletic is the least satisfactory part of my life at the moment. Admittedly, I am paying the penalty of the orienteering that was my chosen sport when I was young and I have to see a consultant next week about my deteriorating knees.

I have just come back from a wonderful two days in Exeter, seeing old university friends, some of whom I had not met for 45 years. On Tuesday evening I took an old friend and her sister out to dinner and I was not really focused on the game at Cheltenham. However, the 1-0 defeat did not surprise me.

One needs to keep a sense of proportion about these things. Our meeting in Exeter was occasioned by the fact that one of our number has a brain tumour, although fortunately she has responded well to treatment and is currently very well.

I will be coming to The Valley on Saturday with a heavy heart. Some fans are already blaming Russell Slade for the signings he made, but he was constrained by the budget he was given and, from what I have learnt, had to argue to have the purse string loosened for late signings. As he has pointed out, pre-season preparation lacked professionalism before he came and he has had little time to bring the team together. My concern is that he might walk (or be pushed) and we would have someone from the network again.

I first watched Charlton in 1953. I lost touch to the club when I moved to the Midlands and had a family, but I was heartened by the return to The Valley and, with the children growing up, acquired a season ticket shortly after the East Stand opened. (My first game back was with a Burnley supporting friend in the Jimmy Seed).

I have never felt less hope. The problem is clearly the owner, but despite a very effective campaign by CARD, reputational damage has not budged him. Indeed, he has become more obdurate in pursuing his eccentric and parsimonious case.

I think that any buyer is likely to be Chinese. In the Midlands, Aston Villa, the Baggies and Wolves are all now in Chinese ownership. President Xi has a ten year project for making China a leading soccer nation in what is regarded as the Chinese century and a London club with potential might be attractive. Then the East Stand will truly be red.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

First ever meeting with Cheltenham

The excitement of being in League One increases with Charlton playing their first ever game against Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road tonight in the League Cup. It would not have been possible last year as Cheltenham were in the National League.

Cheltenham is a spa town, but if you come in from the motorway you will pass the Government Communications Headquarters which undertakes Britain's electronic surveillance. No doubt there will be a few anonymous men and women from GCHQ in the crowd tonight, but at Charlton we have people who work for MI5. Incidentally, I can recommend my colleague Richard Aldrich's book on GCHQ, available at an airport bookstall near you or at a knockdown price on Amaazon: GCHQ

Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson has only 14 fit senior players for the tie. Club captain Aaron Downes (ACL), Jack Munns (knee), James Dayton (ankle) and Asa Hall (groin) are out along with suspended midfielder Kyle Storer.

Addicks striker Lee Novak is likely to retain his place, again playing with a cast to protect his broken hand.

This may seem as if it is a meaningless match, but it would be good to get a win rather than lose to a newly promoted League 2 side. My fear is that we will lose on penalties, exhausting the squad, although it is likely to include a number of players who would not normally feature. Odds are: Cheltenham Town 15/8, Draw 12/5, Charlton Athletic 7/5.

Referee Brendan Malone from nearby Wiltshire will make sure the city boys are shown no favours. You can read an interview with tonight's 44-year old man in black here: Family business

Incidentally, it is being reported that £7m is now being offered by Burnley for Dale Stephens and we have no sell on clause!

Monday 8 August 2016

Four clubs in race for Lookman

Ademola Lookman has been used sparingly so he is not injured before he is sold on. Four Premiership clubs are reportedly interested: Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur.

Of those, Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to be favourites. I always thought that Arsenal was the most likely destination for the London lad. Our links with the Woolwich Rejects are quite close. However, Liverpool sources appear increasingly confident.

They think that their good relations with Charlton can help following the signing of Joe Gomez last season (who made a promising start at Anfield before getting injured): Exciting youngster

One thing is clear: he can't stay at a League One club in disarray.

Promotion still in our sights says Crofts

Promotion is still in Charlton's sights, according to midfielder Andrew Crofts. He reckons the Addicks were hard done by at Bury and unlucky to come away without something: Rallying the troops

Sunday 7 August 2016

Katrien Meire's work recognised

Katrien Meire's achievements at The Valley have been recognised by her appointment to the FA Council as a representative of the English Football League: Status upgraded

I have to say that I was initially very surprised by this news to say the least, but it has to be remembered that the FA is not there to represent fans but to act as a governing regulatory body for the game. No doubt our chief executive has networked very effectively.

According to former pitch announcer Dave Lockwood it was a case of no one else from the Football League wanting to do it. Apparently, there are still four vacancies.

Her appointment also serves the cause of diversity. I initially welcomed the appointment of a female chief executive because the game is still very male dominated, but her conduct has done nothing to help that cause.

Interesting commentary on the appointment here from the Non-League Oracle: Appointment

Whilst the statement made in the article that 'without fans football is nothing' is right in principle, fans provide a declining proportion of the income stream, particularly in the Premier League, and the share contributed by overseas television viewers is constantly increasing.

At least I am top of the West Sussex CASC 'Badger' predictions league, having forecast a 2-0 defeat at Bury. My overall season prediction is 19th.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Poor start to campaign

Charlton's 2016-17 League One campaign got off to a poor start with a 2-0 defeat at Bury. However, most Addicks seem prepared to give Russell Slade time to build the team.

Neil Danns broke the deadlock with a 71st-minute penalty before substitute Kelvin Etuhu struck on 87 minutes to seal Bury's first opening-day win in eight years. The hosts were on top for most of the contest, with Jacob Mellis and Tom Soares going close early on.

The Addicks replied with Nicky Ajose, one of six Charlton debutants, seeing a low strike parried by Ben Williams. Charlton started the second half brightly, Ricky Holmes firing against the near post from a tight angle.

Roger Johnson consolidated his popularity with Charlton fans by reportedly telling them to '**** off' at the end of the game and 'don't ****ing come if you don't like it. About 1,000 Addicks made the journey to benefit from his advice.

Reflecting on the defeat, Russell Slade said that he hoped to make an additional signing before the trip to Cheltenham on Tuesday: Deal imminent. Striker Josh Magennis is one name that has been mentioned.

The lack of depth in the squad was evident with a substitutes bench with an average age of under 20.

Slade is history man

Charlton are the featured club in today's League One coverage in The Times under the headline 'Charlton owners given time by fans to lift club'. This refers to a one month grace period granted by to the owners by CARD before protests are resumed.

Russell Slade said, 'I felt the opportunity was here to build a team and get this great club back on track. One of the first things I did was show the players a little presentation of the history.'

'To move on you have to see the association with the past and the fact that it's a community club that left the ground and fought to get back, that it was in the Premier League for eight years, in an FA Cup final [and winners]. All these things the players needed to be aware of along with the expectations and values.'

Friday 5 August 2016

Royal welcome for Harriott

Callum Harriott is a player that Reading fans will love says Royals boss Jaap Stam as the former Addick is welcomed to the Madejski: Departure

Harriott has signed at the Madejski for an undisclosed fee. A somewhat mercurial player, Harriott has his fans and his detractors at The Valley, but we wish him well for the future and in the time honoured phrase say 'Thanks for all you tried to do.'

We wait to see if Ademola Lookman moves on, but he is probably being saved for a bigger fee.

A challenging start at Bury

Charlton start their League One campaign at Bury tomorrow. Bury are an historic club who have been members of the Football League since 1894, but they suffer from being in Greater Manchester and in the shadow of City and United. Last year they faced two winding up orders from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, but a run to the fourth round of the FA Cup enabled them to find £500,000 to satisfy the taxman. They seem to have recurrent financial crises and I remember once buying a seat there as part of what would now be called a crowd funding effort to keep them afloat. A friend is a season ticket holder.

Owner Stuart Day is ambitious and insists that the club's debts are manageable, but losses of £2.9m suggest that they are living beyond their means. It's one thing to talk the talk, another to walk the walk.

The 'fan file' in Four Four Two has Michael Prior saying that they will be battling second season syndrome this year. The opposition player he most admires is Charlton's Nicky Ajose who was in the year beneath him in primary school. He would be happy to see his side just stay up. Four Four Two forecast a finish of 15th.

They should not be underestimated, although they will miss Leon Clarke as a 20-a-season striker. Danny Mayor is a key player. He performs best on the wing if the Shakers use the 4-2-3-1 formation they experimented with last season.

Boss Danny Flitcroft favours democracy in the dressing room. The 42-year old likes his players to take ownership, inviting input on tactics and strategy. As well as keeping Barnsley in the Championship in 2013, he won promotion with Bury in 2015.

Four Four Two notes, 'Strength and conditioning is Flitcroft's forte and his side can be dangerous opponents. On their day, the Shakers are capable of beating the best in this league.' The last time we played Bury away we won 2-1, but I think that a defeat is the most likely outcome tomorrow.

Odds are: Bury 15/8, Draw 11/5, Charlton 6/4.

Some Charlton fans are already on their way north and there were reports yesterday that VOTV editor Rick Everitt had been spotted in Stratford on Avon, fortunately not on a day when I had to go there to get my car serviced.

The Rickster claimed to be getting a cultural fix, but there has been local speculation that his real mission was to scout Stratford Town. The town council in Stratford are wealthy because they own properties in the centre of the town and they have replaced the old stadium of the Bardsmen which was in the middle of an industrial estate with the purpose built Anne Hathaway Stadium on the town's leafy outskirts which has all weather training pitches.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Welcome, Jason Pearce

Charlton have signed Wigan central defender Jason Pearce for £1.5m. Wigan fans seem genuinely sorry to see him go. More details: Jason Pearce

According to the Evening Standard we also interested in Scunthorpe's Stephen Dawson, a combative central midfielder: Late signing

Wikipedia claims that the 30-year old is already a Charlton player, but that could just be mischief making.

It will be all right on the afternoon

Charlton are hoping to sign two new players before Saturday's clash with Bury. A mystery player was smuggled into Sparrows Lane this morning and is undergoing a medical prior to an announcement later today. The Addicks are also two thirds of the way to signing another player, according to manager Russell Slade: Late signings

Better late than never, and it looks as if Slade might have won his battle with the powers that be.

However, the price may be the departure of Jorge Teixeira and Callum Harriott: Two in, two out?

Slade has described the situation he inherited at Charlton as 'ridiculous' in terms of a lack of professional preparation for pre-season training: Unprofessional

Curbs pitches for a job

Alan Curbishley recognises that these are difficult times at Charlton and has indicated that he would be happy to return in an advisory role, similar to that he had at Fulham: Give us a job

His return under the present regime would receive a mixed response from fans. However, if his first piece of advice was to tell Katrien Meire to leave the building, it would be worth paying him for that.

I can't see the present regime showing any interest as they have wanted to expunge all traces of the 'old guard' at The Valley. Indeed, an implicit agenda has been to get a new set of fans.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Outcome critical

Rick Everitt: 'For the avoidance of doubt, I is from Ramsgate.'

It is now many years since Rick Everitt was Mayor of Welling and he has retreated to the Isle of Thanet, but he keeps his ear to the ground and appears to have a good idea of what is going on inside the club.

This morning he has tweeted, 'Season hasn't kicked off but battle between Slade and CAFC ownership over signings well under way. Outcome will be critical for club.'

A Voice of the Valley will be on sale at next week's first home game of the season.

Meanwhile, Everitt is reported to have arrived in Stratford upon Avon as he soaks up some culture before heading 'oop north. Could he be visiting the Anne Hathaway Stadium to see if the Bardsmen (Stratford Town) have any players they could loan us?

Thompson isn't coming

Hopes that Louis Thompson would be the central midfield playmaker that Charlton require have been dashed. The under 21 Welsh international is to stay at Carrow Road: Thompson

Club's heartbeat needs to be louder, says Slade

"Some people might think coming here might not be the wisest decision, but this club has got a real heartbeat. It is just that heartbeat is not loud enough at the minute. But it will be," Russell Slade has told the Evening Standard.

'Russell Slade is two months into the job of fixing a broken club. The 55-year-old knew it would be a big challenge to rescue Charlton but it was only after he took over that he realised the size of his task. Slade was appointed to stabilise the Addicks after they were relegated to League One following a disastrous season in the Championship.'

'He took over a club in a spiral of decline. Supporters have watched Charlton crumble in recent years and protests against controversial owner Roland Duchatelet has seen the atmosphere turn toxic.'

Full article at: Club's heartbeat

Charlton to finish 3rd

According to Four Four Two magazine, Charlton will finish 3rd this season. Of course, this same magazine had us hovering just above the relegation zone in Chris Powell's promotion season.

The magazine says: 'The discord between Charlton fans and the club's owner Roland Duchatelet seems irreparable, not helped by chief executive Katrien Meire adding fuel to the fire every time she opens her mouth. But if there's one manager who can bring any sense of calm back to The Valley, it's probably Russell Slade.'

Commenting on Slade, Four Four Two states: 'The softly-spoken 55-year old delivers more than his resources allow and with a remit to get results while slashing the playing budget he did good work at Cardiff, even if the football was a little dreary. Simplicity and continuity are key. Slade tends to find a system to suit his best XI and then stick with it.'

With Ricky Holmes now providing the ammunition for a front two of Lee Novak and Nicky Ajose, it's possible to see a promotion charge taking shape. The drop in standard should also enable Johnnie Jackson to boss matches in a way he hasn't done with any real consistency in recent years.'

Lee Novak is selected as key player: 'Charlton beat off stiff competition to land the Birmingham City striker following on an impressive loan spell at Chesterfield. Novak bagged 15 goals for the Spireites - not bad for an unselfish player who stretches defences.'

Millwall are forecast to be champions and Gillingham 14th.

Putting a more sceptical view, VOTV editor Rick Everitt commented on the Glynne Jones list: 'Rudd’s a good signing as are the other three, but bearing in mind the loans and short contracts we had at the end of the season we’ve lost about a dozen players (Fanni, Motta, Suk-Yung, Sanogo, Makienok, as well as those sold, loaned out or just released) and replaced them with five so far. The squad is way too small and key parts of it are injured. I like Diarra and Kashi a lot, but will they ever play again regularly for us?'

The Rickster continued, 'A lot now hinges on Teixeira, Harriott and Lookman staying. Not sure I’d put any money on it. We have some good kids, but most will need to be played sparingly and when they are ready, whereas the Belgians will probably expect Konsa, Hanlan, Umerah, Thomas, Kennedy, Charles-Cook and Mitov to slot in at this level, along with Ahearne-Grant.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Welcome, Declan Rudd

Declan Rudd has been signed on a year's loan from Norwich City as a keeper, filling the biggest gap in the side: Declan Rudd

He played for Preston last season and the fans there are full of praise for him.

Keeper search gets desperate

As the start of the season approaches, Charlton's search for a keeper gets more desperate. The Addicks have been running the rule over Carlisle United's Mark Gillespie. The 24-year old is clearly competent, but Carlisle are hardly likely to let their first choice goalkeeper go so close to the start of the season: Mark Gillespie

Gillespie started his career with the Newcastle United academy: Career details

Leamington have confirmed that their Sam Bartram style keeper Tony Breeden 'on the wing' will be required for Saturday's opening match against the Romans (Cirencester Town).

Monday 1 August 2016

Season ticket holders explain why they did not renew

Long-term season ticket holders at The Valley explain why they did not renew in this interesting piece: Loss of faith

The latest blogger to discuss why he is apathetic towards the new season, and may not turn up until mid-September, is Hungry Ted. Like other bloggers, he has captured the current mood of Charlton supporters: Not usually a pessimist

I think that I may well follow the practice of the Irish MP in the 1970s who rarely came to the Commons, but arrived with his wife to 'abstain in person' for the confidence vote in the Callaghan Government. I may not go to many matches and may drop out altogether if things go as I fear.

The start of the season is near and even if we make more signings there is little time for them to integrate with the rest of the squad.

Greenwich Borough come home

Many Charlton fans are looking for non-league teams to support as the current regime runs the club down. I always feel that something of a health warning is needed.

I watch third tier non-league football quite often. The banter is often amusing. However, our manager favours the flat back nine who then hoof agricultural clearances to the farmer lurking somewhere near the opposition goal.

The only light relief is provided by the Sam Bartram style keeper who sometimes charges out of his goal and down the wing to chants of 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing'. He has a powerful and accurate shot and I have seen him score from the halfway line against a baffled opposition.

Anyway, Greenwich Borough are the subject of a special 'coming home' feature in this week's Non-League Paper. As someone who was born in Greenwich, I am well disposed to them. Having won the Southern Counties East League, they are now in the Ryman League Division One South which I think means they will have Guernsey among their opponents.

Borough have been sharing with National League South Dartford for the last three seasons. They are now back in the Royal Borough at the Badgers Sports Ground on Middle Park Avenue. Cray Valley have become their tenants.

Among their signings are former Addick Charlie MacDonald.