Saturday 31 December 2016

Draw is good result

An away point was really the best result Charlton could hope for at Southend today. A 90 minute equaliser scored by Andrew Crofts made it 1-1 for a share of the points.

Simon Cox put the Shrimpers ahead halfway through the first half.

However, Joe Aribo and Jorge Teixeira were then both denied by Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith before the Shrimpers almost made it 2-0 when Stephen McLaughlin fired against the right post. In reply, Ezri Konsa and Jordan Botaka were both .denied by Smith.

The Crofts goal was made possible by excellent work by Aribo who earlier had hit the bar. Shortly before the goal Phillips had denied Atkinson to stop the Shrimpers going 2-0 ahead.

Lookman was omitted from the side, having been diagnosed with 'transferitis'.

About 1,800 Addicks made the trip. They were praised by Karl Robinson, along with Aribo after the match: Giving youth a chance

Charlton remain 12th.

No hope of signing Millwall midfielder

Karl Robinson would like to sign Millwall midfielder Shaun Williams in the transfer window. Needless to say, he was once at MK Dons, However, Millwall have hopes of promotion and are going to hold on to all their key players: Set to fail

Friday 30 December 2016

Welcome back, Tony Watt

Having failed to get sufficient game time on his native heath with Hearts, Tony Watt has returned to Charlton: Watt returns

Karl Robinson rates Watt, having tried to sign him for MK Dons at the beginning of the season.

However, Robinson has made it clear that Watt has to show that 'he has got the balls to play for me' and will put him through a gruelling fitness test: Prove you can play

With the focus on Watt Cristian Ceballos and Igor Vetokele are to stay in Belgium: Players on loan

Tough trip to Southend

Southend United are now sixth in League One and third in the form table. They are unbeaten in eleven games, having dispatched AFC Wimbledon 3-0 on Boxing Day. Whilst it is the case that Southend are the only club against which Charlton have won more than fifty per cent of their matches, that was when our relative positions were different: CAS Trust preview

Karl Robinson has got his alibi out early, complaining that he could put out almost a whole side of injured players. Of course, we miss the likes of Ricky Holmes, but we just have to do our best.

Our new youthful loan signing from Chelsea (Jay Dasilva) won't be available until January and is presumably there to replace Lookman. At 5ft 4", he is the shortest signing since Matty Holmes.

Making some reference to the trip to Belgium, Robinson says that 'The President has his theories.' Yes, and pretty wild most of them are, and based on little knowledge of football.

Odds are: Southend, 11/8; draw,23/10; Charlton 2/1. I don't see a happy end to an unhappy year.

Robinson to raid Franchisees for players

Karl Robinson hopes to take two players from the MK Dons in the January transfer window. Samir Carruthers is a central midfielder and Ben Reeves is an attacking midfielder. Both are out of contract in the summer: Double raid

Now here's an idea for Roland: why not attract less stupid fans by moving Charlton to Milton Keynes?

Thursday 29 December 2016

Roland sounds off

I don't have a precise source for these comments, but apparently Roland has said that getting to the play offs is of secondary importance. 'The important thing is that we fulfil a social function, people meet in the stadium every two weeks.' Far fewer of them than used to!

Not much hope then of Il Presidente reinvesting the Lookman money in the squad. I'm not renewing next season unless Roland goes.

Massives to swoop for Fox?

Sheffield Wednesday are reported to have renewed their interest in Morgan Fox. Many Addicks would no doubt say 'Good riddance!' He was booed off at his last Valley appearance.

He is certainly the current scapegoat player. Oddly enough, it was another left back, Paul Sturgess, who fulfilled that role in the mid-1990s.

My view of Fox is that when he is good, he is very good and when he is bad, he is very bad. He has some quality, but lacks consistency. Perhaps he could find that elsewhere.

A fee of around £1m seems possible as the Owls seek to boost their promotion hopes: Man in demand

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Farewell, then, Ademola Lookman

Everton have agreed a fee with Charlton for Ademola Lookman so that the transfer can go ahead at the beginning of the January window. There will be no loan back. Lookman still has to agree personal terms with the Toffees: Lookman

Everton have a new scouting regime and director of football Steve Walsh tasked his scouts with identifying the five best youngsters in English football.

No League One club is going to turn down £10m or £11m for a player that cost them nothing (and at least who isn't going to Palace who were interested). Charlton have been a selling club throughout their history. The crucial question now is whether His Excellency President Duchatelet will use the money to buy quality players to reinforce the squad.

Monday 26 December 2016

Jacko has the makings of a good manager

Johnnie Jackson has the makings of a great manager, according to Charlton supremo Karl Robinson. In the meantime, he wants the 34-year old to take a bigger role in coaching: Top manager

It should all be harmony and light, then, as they head off on Eurostar today to meet up with Roland.

Robinson and Jacko off to see Roland

Manager Karl Robinson and captain Johnnie Jackson are to travel to Belgium tomorrow to meet Roland Duchatelet and plead for new signings. Chief executive Katrien Meire will travel with them to ensure that they behave themselves.

However, Robinson is already respectfully referring to Roland as 'the president'. (Curiously, Katrien has referred to him as 'The Shareholder', but one could think of other names). The trio, along with Richie Barker, will take in the match between Sint Truiden and one time mother ship Standard Liege.

Robinson wants two midfielders and a winger (the latter presumably to replace Lookman). Robinson declared confidently on Goal Rush, 'We're going to spend in January.'

The meeting will be in English, but translation from Scouse will be available.

More about the trip here: Summit talks

Robinson breaks his duck

Karl Robinson secured his first victory for Charlton with a 1-0 victory over his old club MK Dons thanks to a first half Ademola Lookman goal. Charlton are now 12th, six points off the play off places.

650 or so 'stupid people' saw the victory, a banner declaring the ignorance of the Addicks supporters.

Charlton lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Magennis, Ajose and Lookman up front.

After a scrappy opening, the Franchisees created more chances. Fortune smiled on Charlton when Dean Bowditch had to go off injured with the home side sowing confusion by bringing a second George Williams on to the pitch.

Then somewhat against the run of play Crofts picked out Lookman with a superb defence splitting ball and the youngster finished calmly on 38 minutes.

Johnnie Jackson had to be pulled off with an injury in the second half and the impressive Aribo came on. The home fans became increasingly restive and vocal.

Bauer defended well. Aribo set up Ajose, but his shot came off the keeper. Lookman was booked for time wasting and replaced by Chicksen.

In the four minutes added on, there was the rare treat of a cameo by Roger Johnson. Ulvestad powered towards goal and Walsh got a yellow card for bringing him down.

Interesting to see former Addicks Yann Kermorgant and Callum Harriott score great goals for Reading today.

Sunday 25 December 2016

Those roundabouts

In all his years in charge of the Franchisees Karl Robinson must have grown familiar with the roundabouts of Milton Keynes. He cannot have anticipated making two quick returns to stadium:mk with his new team.

The voluble Scouser has had plenty to say for himself since coming to Charlton, but the pressure is on him to deliver some points. The absence of a new manager bounce has led some Addicks to regret the departure of Russell Slade or to suggest that Kevin Nugent should have been given a chance.

However, as Rick Everitt has argued in VOTV, the question of who the manager happens to be is really a diversion. The real problem, as The Times noted on Saturday, is Roland Duchatelet's 'calamitous ownership'.

The simple fact is that the squad is not good enough to reach the play offs (I do think it is good enough to avoid relegation). In particular, the central midfield gives the ball away too easily and can't get into the box quickly enough to give the forwards some service.

The real test for Karl Robinson will not be today's result, but whether he can persuade Roland to make some decent signings in the transfer window.

In games at this level in the league against the Franchisees, we have won one, lost one and drawn one. Odds: MK Dons 21/20, Draw 5/2, Charlton 5/2.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Preview

Saturday 24 December 2016

Scilly times

At Radio Scilly's Porthmellon studio

When Zoe Parry became the license holder and station manager at Radio Scilly earlier this year, I thought that my job as mainland football correspondent might be in jeopardy. I went to the islands to meet Zoe and not only was my 9.45 slot on Saturdays confirmed, she tasked me to cover the US presidential elections and develop a bespoke series on islands.

Zoe, who has extensive experience in commercial radio, stood down from her job at Islands Partnership today to devote more time to the station. Meanwhile, station DJ Will has to deliver five hours of live programming from 7 to 12 noon each day.

Zoe and I will be working on some new programming ideas in 2017.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has published the best report I have seen yet on the two team football league on the islands: Smallest league

Wishing all Addicks a Happy Christmas and a Roland and Katrien free New Year.

Friday 23 December 2016

Sky Blues to swoop for Ajose?

Russell Slade appears to have been so impressed by Nicky Ajose during his stint at Charlton that he wants to sign him for the Sky Blues, reports the Coventry Evening Telegraph: Ajose

Ajose nearly signed for the Sky Blues before. The 20 goals a season form he showed at Swindon has not been replicated with the Addicks, but if he went to Coventry, he would at least be familiar with an environment in which games are interrupted by protesting fans.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Robinson gives it large

The following report has appeared in the Evening Standard

CHARLTON manager Karl Robinson was today holding one-to-one meetings with his players after slamming their display at The Den. Charlton are now without a win in five games since Robinson took over and he delivered a brutally honest assessment of the problems at The Valley.

The club are languishing in the bottom half of League One and their fans have staged a number of protests in recent months in a bid to get owner Roland Duchatelet to sell up. "Right now not many people will be proud of what they are seeing," said Robinson, who took over at the end of last month. "It is not good enough and there are certain aspects of the club I am not happy with.

"For too long there have been too many fingers pointed in different directions. We need to stand up and take responsibility on the pitch and in the dugout [which is rather crowded]."We talk about the owner and everything else but that was about us and that was not good enough. If we had won, it would be masking an awful lot of problems.

"If the players cannot take this, this is what it takes to play for a big club like Charlton Athletic. I think sometimes people do not realise how lucky they are."

Asked what he would discuss in the meetings, Robinson said: "The truth. What I think. I am going to be honest they think of their performances over the last two games. We cannot keep going the way we are. People need to understand what it takes to play for this club. We have to be better. If people cannot accept that, then I am not the man for them to play for.

"It might be a bit of positivity towards them as well. To build them back up. Do not see it as a negative. I want to build them back up.I am straight and hopefully my players appreciate that they get told the truth."

Charlton have serious injury problems but they are in danger of falling out of play-off contention if their poor form continues.The Addicks are seven points off the top six and the January transfer window cannot come quickly enough for Robinson. "We need to bring in players," he said. [Let's hope Roland uses some of the Lookman money to fund them].

Palace sack Pardoo

It's inevitably taken a long time for the truth to sink in, but Crystal Palace have sacked Alan Pardew, their chairman saying that the Glaziers could not afford to be relegated: Pardew

It's not so long ago that he was tipped as the next England manager, but recently he has had to dig deep into his Great Big Book of Excuses. Accounts of his illustrious career usually fail to mention the damage he inflicted on Charlton.

Sam Allardyce is tipped to take over, but no doubt Alan Curbishley will be mentioned by lazy journalists.

I had to laugh when listening to the commentary on the recent Palace v. Chelsea match which came from what Rick Everitt has called 'the contraption that passes for a main stand' at Sellout. Not only was the commentators' vision restricted, but as they craned their necks towards the Sainsbury's End, they complained that it smelt dank. 'Yes, it even smells dank in August,' remarked one of them.

Of course, the downside of this development is that while Pardew might have taken the Nigels down to a more appropriate level, a new manager might well keep them up, so Christmas has come early for them. An Allardyce side might be less pretty to watch, but he would grind out the points.

Twitter reports are claiming that Pardew will get a pay off of £5m, so he can cry all the way to the bank.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Charlton manager Karl Robinson doesn't have time to read the papers so he claims to not be aware of Roland Duchatelet's comments about Charlton's fans as 'dumb' or 'stupid': Too much on my plate guv

After last night's admittedly predictable defeat at Millwall, some Charlton fans are demanding that Robinson walks the walk as well as talks the talk. Some are even saying, 'Come back Russell Slade, all is forgiven.'

Until there is a change of ownership, nothing will get sorted.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Boycott king Slade joins Coventry

Russell Slade clearly likes clubs where the fans are in dispute with the owners, as he has joined Coventry City as manager: Russell Slade

Sources close to Slade said, 'What's not to like? If there are no fans in the ground, no one can see his negative tactics.'

Into the Den

In a specially arranged Yuletide peace and harmony fixture, Charlton play Millwall at The New Den tonight. Charlton's record against their neighbours is not good to say the least and the last we played them there at this level we lost 4-0. Charlton have not beaten Millwall since 1996.

Odds are: Millwall Evens, Draw 12/5, Charlton 11/4. Millwall expect to be close to full strength: Millwall preview

Josh Magennis claims to be 'fired up' for the game. Let's hope so: Magennis

Charlton manager Karl Robinson says that the match is about actions not words. He revealed that it is a 'massive' game: Get in

Let's just hope that after this evening he doesn't have to replace his book of football clich├ęs by a copy of Alan Pardew's Great Big Book of Football Excuses.

Millwall have been having their own troubles with Lewisham Council trying to slap a compulsory purchase order on some of their land, including that used by their Community Trust. The origins of this improbable gentrification project are rather murky and likely to be fought out in the courts.

Monday 19 December 2016

Another PR disaster

So much for hiring expensive consultants, Roland's latest outburst has made the Currant Bun: Dumb fans

I watched the video of his interview, shame it was in Flemish rather than French. If this programme passes for entertainment in Belgium, Sundays there must be boring.

What was clear was that at some points the young interviewer was making Roland squirm as he was obliged to say 'No! No!' more than once. I also liked the way they used footage of the protests which made it clear they were well supported and a still of the taxi.

The studio audience looked bored and bemused, but I suppose if you are a middle-aged lady from Ghent it wouldn't mean a lot to you.

May I suggest that the Belgian ambassador in London tells King Philippe of the Belgians that this isn't doing his country's image any good at all. Usually people associate chocolates and beer with Belgium, and the First World War. Now they see a prize chump displayed before them.

Philippe (left), have a quiet word with you errant subject.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Roland's Christmas message

Roland Duchatelet has delivered what is in effect a Christmas message to Charlton fans through an interview on Belgian TV and it is not one designed to win friends and influence people.

Apparently, he thinks that those who have opposed him are 'stupid people'. From what I know of the CARD activists, a number of them are high calibre individuals and this is reflected in the ingenuity and sophistication of their campaign. Roland once again comes across as arrogant and obdurate. Admittedly, there is a view that business skills can be applied to any activity, including running a country, but in my view football requires very specialised forms of knowledge and some direct experience of the game.

According to Roland, the campaigners are not real supporters but activists motivated by considerations other than the true interests of the club. In the past it has been suggested that this might include disgruntled ex-employees and those opposed to a woman holding senior office in a football club.

Duchatelet criticises Chris Powell for not accepting help and advice in the form of the largely useless players that were shipped over from the network. It quickly became clear that Duchatelet and his advisers had no conception of the strength and quality of the Championship which many analysts would rank as just behind the top four European leagues (or perhaps even better than France's Ligue 1).

In response to one question, there is at least a hint that he might not go on for ever. Charlton may represent a mere 1.5 per cent of his empire, but perhaps it is beginning to take up too much of his time and emotional energy.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Flat Charlton go down to dismal defeat

Charlton went down to a 0-2 defeat at home to Peterborough this afternoon in a performance that disappointed those hard core Addickted who have kept the faith. Karl Robinson doesn't seem to have been able to sprinkle any magic sparkle dust on the side.

With the mist literally rolling in from the Thames, the visitors played in a luminous yellow and set themselves up as 4-3-3 against Charlton's 4-4-2. The Addicks did press quite well in the opening minutes.

However, the Posh were then able to score too easily on 21 minutes. A free kick conceded by Botaka was taken by the lively Taylor. The inswinging cross left Phillips with no chance with Tafazolli the scorer.

It was worrying to then see signs of panic with players taking out their frustrations on each other. The crowd also became restive.

Charlton did make a decent start to the second half, playing with more urgency and intensity. Ajose put a shot just over the bar, then Magenniss saw a shot come off the post while Botaka hit the crossbar.

However, it was effectively game over when Edwards scored for the Posh. Phillips should have perhaps not stayed on his line. The Addicks made a double substitution, giving Aribo his first league start and he and Chicksen did liven things up. Ajose should have scored from a corner.

Once again problems in the central midfield were evident. Fox was booed from some sections of the ground when he was replaced by Hanlan.

Charlton are 13th, one place ahead of Millwall, but these positions look likely to be reversed next week. Official attendance was 10,193, of whom 1,017 were from Peterborough.

Friday 16 December 2016

Bring on the Posh

Charlton face Peterborough United at The Valley tomorrow. They are currently in the play off places with a four point lead over the Addicks. In the form table they are one place ahead of Charlton in 7th.

The Posh's away record is strong, winning four, drawing two and losing just three. They have scored 11 goals away and conceded ten.

It is ten years since Darragh McAntony bought Peterborough and he will be overseeing his tenth permanent boss this season, having appointed Grant McCann who was eager to take his big break in management. He likes to use a midfield diamond.

We last met Peterborough at home at this level in 2010/11 when we won 3-2, a possible score tomorrow.

Odds: Charlton 5/4, Draw 5/2, Peterborough 2/1.

A new Voice of the Valley is out tomorrow and it seems that it is taking a moderately favourable view of new boss Karl Robinson: Warm feelings

It is rumoured that VOTV editor Rick Everitt will be wearing a Santa Claus outfit tomorrow and will have a sack of presents for Katrien and Roland. Katrien gets a one way Eurostar ticket to Belgium and a file of Edith Piaf singing 'je regrette rien.' The man who has everything, Roland, was more difficult to cater for but will get personal development books on humility and listening skills.

The CAS Trust preview of the match is here: Tough test

I can't be there as I am still recuperating from my knee replacement, but thanks to the Warwick orthopaedic team for doing an excellent job. The sawing and hammering during the op was impressive, but I have had hardly any pain and family and friends have rallied round to look after me.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Addicks go out in extra time

Charlton exited the FA Cup in extra time at stadium:mk yesterday. Ben Reeves and Dean Bowditch both struck early in the first period of extra time for the Franchisees. Earlier the teams could not be separated after 90 minutes as Daniel Powell and Adam Chicksen netted for MK Dons and Charlton respectively, the Dons goal resulting from a Charlton error.

Not only do MK Dons face a thumping from the Seagulls, their fans may find there are no Southern Trains to get away on afterwards.

Lookman to join Toffees

It looks as if Everton have beaten off competition from Arsenal and Liverpool to secure the signature of Ademola Lookman in the January transfer window. With add ons the fee could eventually be £11m: Lookman

Charlton would like to have loaned Lookman, but the Toffees are in great need of a replacement for Yannick Bolase who is out injured for the rest of the season. They think that Lookman is that replacement.

The sale would be a great feather in the cap for Roland's 'player farm' strategy.

Giving youth a chance

New era Charlton is known for giving youth a chance, exemplified by Thomas Driesen. It is remarkable how far you can get with a combination of nerdishness, an innovative hairstyle and sycophancy, provided you have your own back bedroom and laptop.

Tonight Charlton's young players get their chance at stadium:mk with at least four or five under 21s making an appearance. Charlton's supremo Karl Robinson has given fans a heads up that he is fielding a weakened side: Eight changes

The Franchisees may also reshuffle the pack with neither side being that enticed by being given a thumping at the Amex in the third round.

Monday 12 December 2016

The answer lies 'oop north

Historically the north-east was an important and fruitful recruitment area for Charlton. Times have changed, but Richard Cawley has tweeted that Karl Robinson and his entire coaching staff are heading north to look at potential targets in the January transfer window. How this fits in with tomorrow night's game at MK Dons is unclear, but Milton Keynes does not count as north,

Saturday 10 December 2016

Addicks keep clean sheet

Charlton kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Bradford City at Valley Parade this afternoon, remaining 11th in the table. I suppose we would have taken it beforehand.

The Addicks hit the woodwork twice in the first half and had the ball cleared off the line when perhaps Magennis should have done better.

Charlton gave the Bradford a defence a torrid time in the first half, hitting the post, seeing a shot cleared off the line and having a penalty appeal turned down. The penalty appeal came in the ninth minute as Bradford defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival wrestled for the ball with Magennis.

Three minutes later Magennis saw his angled shot hit the far post and rebound to safety after running on to a pass from strike partner Nicky Ajose, while he also had a shot cleared off the line by Bradford right-back Stephen Darby after taking a pass from Lee Novak.

Bradford's best first-half chance was in the 37th minute when Nicky Law supplied a through pass for Jordy Hiwula, but Dillon Phillips came quickly off his line to block the shot.

The home side had the better of the second half with Hiwula again having their best chance. Mark Marshall played him through on goal in the 59th minute, but he was again denied by the impressive Phillips.

Patrick Bauer got an injury time sending off for a second yellow card.

Dillon Phillips would not be happy as back up

Dillon Phillips would not be happy as back up keeper at Charlton and is determined to make the most of his time in the limelight as number one. He joined the club at the age of seven and talks about his formative experiences: Back up not good enough

Friday 9 December 2016

Bantam weight challenge

Charlton's last visit to Valley Parade was in Premier League days, but new manager Karl Robinson has been there a number of times with MK Dons, usually on the losing side, Robinson continues to promote his message of respect for the fans and positive thinking, no doubt aide by the club's expensive new communications aides: Looking for change of luck

It's a results business and I don't see us getting one tomorrow.

Over stocked with centre backs

Karl Robinson has reasonably decided that Charlton are over stocked with centre backs, but choosing who should go is not an easy decision. Will it be determined by who can fetch the best price, with a number of our players attracting attention from higher league clubs: On their way out?

If any departures led to the recruitment of a creative central midfielder, it would be welcomed.