Sunday 31 December 2017

Jacko hopes takeover will bring fresh start

Johnnie Jackson hopes that a takeover at Charlton will bring a fresh start with a clean slate for the players: Fresh start

Jackson also discusses his 'working relationship' with Katrien Meire and says he never had a problem with her. I felt he was placed in an awkward situation on occasions when he had to act as her human shield, but he handled these situations with calm professionalism which is a measure of the man.

In another interview the skipper says that his recent displays prove that he still has something to offer on the pitch:

It is being reported that finance director David Joyes has resigned. He is expected to join Middlesbrough. He comes from that area originally and VOTV editor Rick Everitt thinks that there is no link with the resignation of Katrien Meire.

Saturday 30 December 2017

The ex-Charlton player who sacrificed his knighthood

Reading the New Year's Honours List today reminded me of a story about Ted Croker. Ted only featured as a centre half for Charlton in the 1950/51 season. His career was interrupted not just by the Second World War, when he was a flying officer, but also by the Korean War when he was called up by the RAF.

From 1973 to 1989 Ted served as secretary and chief executive of the FA. It would have been customary for his retirement to be marked by a knighthood, but Ted had blotted his copybook. Indeed, he was the first FA secretary in a century not to be knighted.

In 1985 Margaret Thatcher held a crisis summit at 10 Downing Street. Various football dignitaries were required to attend and Mrs Thatcher asked what football was going to do about its hooligans. Ted replied: 'These people are society's problems - we don't want your hooligans in our sport, Prime Minister.'

Before he joined the FA, Ted developed and marketed a snow blowing machine called the Croker Sno Blo.

Four back for Gillingham

Karl Robinson will have more players to choose from for the New Year's Day clash against Gillingham. Patrick Bauer, Jason Pearce, Jake Forster-Caskey and Leon Best are expected to be available: Gillingham choices

However, Harry Lennon will not be available after picking up an injury at Wigan where he was substituted.

Charlton in talks with two consortiums

Charlton are in talks with two consortiums about a takeover, one Australian and one described as 'British based': Takeover talks

British based could mean a number of things, but most likely it would mean British front men (or possibly participants) with the real money coming from elsewhere, e.g., Kuwait.

Friday 29 December 2017

Robinson heralds new era

Karl Robinson hopes that any takeover at Charlton goes through quickly as he prepares to herald a new era: Hopes for quick takeover

Robinson admits that he is none the wiser as to whether any new owners would keep him on. New owners sometimes want a new manager, but in other cases they are happy to assess the existing manager before coming to a decision.

Robinson says that due diligence would have to be done which I thought had been completed for the Australian bid. Either Robinson is out of the loop or a new bidder has emerged.

Joe Dodoo has returned to Rangers. He has to rank as one of our least successful loan signings.

Superb point on the road

Charlton gained an unexpected point in a 0-0 draw at league leaders Wigan tonight in front of 372 Addicks. Charlton were well organised and difficult for Wigan to break down. As a consequence, Charlton have gone up to 8th, one point off the play offs.

In an action packed last twenty minutes the game could have gone either way, but the Addicks withstood a Wigan onslaught with Konsa at his best. It is worth bearing mind that the average age of the Charlton back four was 21.

Marshall was back in the team and Lennon made his first start for a long time. As a consequence, Konsa played at right back. Ahearne-Grant was up top with Magennis on the wing.

Sarr burst forward for 50 yards but a Wigan defender stopped him setting up Ahearne-Grant. On 15 minutes referee Kettle boiled over and booked Marshall for being hit by the ball from a quickly taken free kick as he repositioned himself.

Wigan had their first chance on 21 minutes when a cross came in, but the ball was headed over. An Ahearne-Grant cross was cut off just before Jackson could bundle the ball home.

On 45 minutes, Kashi was booked for a challenge. In the three minutes added on, Ahearne-Grant hit the side netting.

Wigan won an early corner after the break, but it was unproductive. A Kashi free kick on 53 minutes went over the bar. Marshall put in Ahearne-Grant, he rounded the keeper, but his shot was blocked from a very tight angle.

Magennis was booked for time wasting. On 69 minutes Amos saved well from Jacobs. On 72 minutes Holmes replaced Marshall. Lennon received treatment a few minutes later and Dijksteel replaced him.

For the remainder of the game Wigan started to threaten more as they saw the expected nailed on three points slipping away. Amos did well to smother the ball at the feet of an attacker. Following a Wigan corner, Amos saved a header from six yards out.

In a great break Ahearne-Grant ran the length of the pitch but was inches wide, Holmes put in a poor free kick in the last minute of normal time.

In time added on, Wigan hit the inside of the post. Byrne got a yellow card for a foul on Ahearne-Grant as he forged forward. He was replaced by Hackett-Fairchild. Sarr got a yellow card for time wasting. Wigan wasted a late free kick. The league leaders had been tamed.

Nathan Byrne loved his time at Charlton

Nathan Byrne said that he loved his time at Charlton, 'they're a good bunch of lads down there': Expecting entertaining game

What's the betting he scores against us if the match goes ahead?

The state of the League One table is such that Charlton cannot fall below 9th.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Katrien lands on her feet

A number of Charlton fans have been suggesting what job Katrien Meire might take after leaving Charlton and not all the suggestions have been very complementary. However, it appears that she has secured a job at another English club, although the club has not yet been named: New job

She has not retracted comments that upset Peter Varney and the former chief executive is now minded to pursue his legal action against her: Valley takeover dispute

Karl Robinson says that Katrien was in tears when she announced her departure: In tears

The Chairman of the Charlton Supporters' Trust, Steve Clarke, was interviewed by BBC Radio London about her departure, seeing it as a step in the right direction: Interview

Striker loan target injured

It is not unusual for Charlton signings to spend most of their time on the treatment table once they arrive, but this time a loan prospect has been injured before he arrived. Preston striker Eoin Doyle has been on loan at Oldham, a loan that was due to expire this week. He was a target for Karl Robinson, but now it has been discovered that he unfortunately has a blood clot, ruling him out: Striker loan move setback

Farewell, then, Katrien Meire

Katrien Meire has stepped down as chief executive officer of Charlton Athletic as she goes in search of new challenges: The long nightmeire is over

She will not be immediately replaced given that talks to sell the club are ongoing. Readers of VOTV knew that in mid-November, but it is surprising how many fans refused to believe well-sourced stories.

Richard Murray and Roland Duchatelet will take care of the day-to-day running of the club in the interim.

Streets around SE7 remained quiet after the news was released and there were no reports of fans rending their shirts.

The Evening Standard says that it does think that a deal to sell the club is imminent: Takeover talks

The year ahead

It is very unlikely that Charlton will secure one of the automatic promotion places. Wigan are soaring ahead and even if Shrewsbury falter Scunthorpe or Blackburn Rovers could easily take that place.

If we do get into the play offs, and that very much depends what happens in the transfer window, we have to remember that they are a lottery. A return visit to Wembley could result in the disappointment of defeat.

Clubs in the Premier League can turn a profit given the large broadcasting income (Everton are the latest example). However, Championship clubs have to spend big if they want to win promotion: Bournemouth spent 237 per cent of turnover on wages in their promotion year. You have to spend just to stand still. Marcus Evans has owned Ipswich for ten years now and, in effect, has spent £100m just to keep them out of League One.

Even a League One club is no place for a disinterested hobbyist. So what are the prospects of a takeover? Normally reliable sources are giving mixed messages, but it is evident that the real sticking point is Roland's asking price.

There has been talk of interest from the Middle East, but some think this has been talked up to increase the interest of the Australian bidder.

There has been talk of resuming protests, but it has been pointed out that doing that now makes it look as if we only complain when the results are poor. What seems clear is that the really effective protests, in terms of getting a response from Roland, are those that take place in Belgium.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

17 injured including Ricky Holmes

Charlton now have 17 players out injured and Ricky Holmes has joined them on the treatment table. Striker Josh Umerah was called back early from his loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers, but now he has picked up a knock: The treatment table

Perhaps the one good thing about Holmes being injured is that it might lessen interest in him in the transfer window.

No wonder Harry Lennon is saying Charlton could miss out on the play off places: Play off warning

It does look as if there could be snow in Lancashire on Friday night. We are in no condition to play Wigan.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Robinson hauls in players for 7 am

After what he viewed as an 'atrocious' performance at Southend, Karl Robinson brought in his players at 7 a.m. today. They will have to sit down and watch yesterday's match: Early start

However, the shell-shocked supremo is still confident that he 'has what it takes' to secure a top six finish. Charlton do expect most of the injured players to recover within a fortnight: Injury update

Yesterday I went to watch my non-league team, Leamington. They faced superior opponents in Brackley Town. But they never gave up and battled away, securing an injury time equaliser. Is there the same spirit at Charlton?

Robinson revival fades

After a 3-1 defeat at Southend this afternoon Charlton have slumped to 9th in the table. The Robinson revival has turned into mid-table mediocrity, not that another manager could do any better with the available materials.

Charlton went behind after two minutes at Southend, Cox scoring for the home side. Ranger headed down a deflected shot and Cox bundled the loose ball home from close range. The Addicks continued to look shaky in defence.

On 11 minutes it was 2-0 to Southend. Former Charlton man Michael Turner headed home, taking advantage of a free kick from the right. It was a dreadful goal to concede, so easy.

Holmes gave a glimmer of hope when he managed to sting the palms of Oxley from the edge of the area. Holmes then volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box, having collected a DaSilva throw in.

Charlton had their first real chance on 30 minutes when Ahearne-Grant came in on an angle after he had been released by Reeves but he hit the side netting.

On 38 minutes Leonard picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ahearne-Grant. Charlton then won a corner, but we rarely make anything of them, and it was cleared.

A shell-shocked Charlton improved after the break and got back into the game in the 66th minute when Ben Reeves sent a low, left-footed shot into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

But Southend hit back and made sure of a welcome win when Cox netted with a powerfully-struck low volley from 10 yards.

The report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Boxing Day defeat

Monday 25 December 2017

The end of the pier show

Charlton face a team one place ahead of them in the form table at Southend United today. The fact that the teams are 6th and 13th in the real table shows how much injury hit Charlton's form has suffered recently. Karl Robinson says that he will have three crocked players back at Roots Hall, but won't say which ones.

A sign of the club's difficulties is that they were only able to name six substitutes for the game. Perhaps younger supporters with recent Sunday league experience should have turned up with their boots. The one piece of good news is the return of Ricky Holmes to the line up. Ahmed Kashi also starts.

Southend have won five, drawn five and lost one at home this season, but have only conceded nine goals, compared with 13 for Charlton at The Valley.

The Shrimpers lost 3-1 at Scunthorpe last Saturday which probably says as much about the Iron as it does about Southend. Manager Phil Brown said after the game, 'There are certain things we are doing at the moment which we are getting punished for. Some of the stuff we are doing is okay, but only up to a point. That point is believing in our creativity in the final third.'

Whether Charlton are capable of punishing Southend remains to be seen. Charlton have scored 13 goals away from home this season, half the number of table topping Wigan. Peterborough, who are one point behind the Addicks, have scored seven more.

The most likely outcome looks like a draw to me. Charlton have been unbeaten in their last four Boxing Day fixtures (two wins, two draws). Whether that will be enough to maintain Charlton's tenuous hold on the play off places is doubtful.

1,200 Addicks are expected to attend. They won't have enjoyed the first half. Southend were 2-0 ahead at the break and Charlton had rarely threatened.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Aribo ready for loan move

Joe Aribo is ready for a loan move in the January transfer window - but only if he is not playing regularly: Loan move

Gareth Southgate was at Burnley's game yesterday and it was reported that he was watching Nick Pope for a possible England call up.

Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester City and West Ham United have all been reinvigorated by a managerial change, but there has been no bounce under Alan Pardew at West Bromwich Albion. How can this be?

Saturday 23 December 2017

Charlton manage to stay in play off places

Charlton have managed to stay in sixth place after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Blackpool at The Valley this afternoon, thanks to results elsewhere.

Blackpool looked poor in the first half while Charlton put some fluent movements together, going ahead through a well crafted goal from Joe Aribo who weaved his way through the opposition. In the second half, Blackpool looked more impressive while Charlton started to lose their fluency. We thought that we were more fragmented after Leon Best went off: he won some balls for us which we wouldn't normally win. Unfortunately, he has reportedly done his hamstring. Magennis also looked better on the left.

The inevitable equaliser came in the 89th minute. Karl Robinson had some harsh words for the referee after the game and some of his decisions were baffling, but it was our inability to score a second goal that was the real problem. Robinson said that the referee was atrocious: Karl speaks his mind

The Addicks went ahead in the 15th minute when academy graduate Aribo's low finish found the back of the net and nearly doubled their advantage when Leon Best met Jay Dasilva's inch-perfect cross from the left but his header drew a superb point-blank stop from Ben Williams.

The Tangerines retained more possession in the second half in their pursuit of an equaliser, but both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances and it took until the 89th minute before Gary Bowyer's side eventually levelled through Gnanduillet.

Charlton were unable to deal with a goalmouth scramble and the powerful striker headed past Ben Amos from close range with Blackpool's first registered shot on target of the match and earn a point.

Friday 22 December 2017

Could we about to lose our record against Blackpool?

Charlton have not lost to Blackpool in our last seven meetings. They haven't won at The Valley since 1976. But, as Louis Mendez has pointed out, we are without the spine of our team.

The eight players out are responsible for 117 out of 231 starts this season and have scored 21 of our 28 league goals.

Blackpool are currently 14th in the table. They have won two, drawn four and lost five away from home. They are sixth from bottom in the form table, but we are third from bottom.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Blackpool

Konsa Everton move reports denied

Karl Robinson has denied Merseyside media reports that Ezri Konsa will move to Everton in the January transfer window. The reports surfaced after the Toffees sent their chief scout to watch Konsa at Ewood Park last Saturday: Everton link

Jiminez and the secret plan to leave The Valley

Tony Jiminez never held any shares in Charlton and wanted to move the club from The Valley to the Greenwich Peninsula. This was revealed in a High Court judgement earlier this week and VOTV editor Rick Everitt has written a detailed report online: How Jiminez schemed to leave The Valley

The latest VOTV will be on sale around the ground tomorrow and includes an interview with former chairman Martin Simons. You can also buy the fanzine online and have it posted to you. It will arrive in a plain wrapper in case your postman is a Nigel.

Just a reminder if you are coming to the game tomorrow that there are no trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East or London Bridge. There is a basic half hourly service at Charlton to and from London Victoria.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Transfer plans adjsuted

Karl Robinson hopes to bring in an attacking midfielder to replace Billy Clarke in the transfer window, as well as still as going after two strikers: New transfer plans

It's never easy to get value in the January transfer window. It might be worth looking at a lower level for a player hungry to develop their career.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Latest injury blow

Jason Pearce is to have a scan on his knee today after he fell awkwardly in training: Knee problem

There was less scope for training ground injuries back in the 1950s as all the players did was run round the pitch or up and down the East Stand steps or go on a 'training walk'. It was thought that if they didn't see the ball during the week they would be hungry for it on Saturday.

Clarke out for rest of year

Billy Clarke is out for the rest of year with a season ending knee injury: Billy Clarke

Jake Forster-Caskey is also out for the rest of this year. Although prone to the occasional mistake, he has been a useful player.

If you have a paper thin squad, it will fall apart at some point.

Monday 18 December 2017

Getting back to basics

Ben Reeves feels confident after Charlton's performance against Blackburn on Saturday. The Valley is a tough place to come to and it's just a question of getting back to basics: We can finish higher than Blackburn.

In an extended interview with Louis Mendez Reeves says that he is getting fitter every week and hopes to be spending more time on the pitch than the treatment table: Hopefully my Charlton career can kick on now.

Of course, what all this is emphasises is the thinness of a squad that is vulnerable to the inevitable injuries. Indeed, as one fan has commented, what was really surprising was how long it took this squad thinness to cost us.

I was interested to read that Alan Pardew thinks that he picked the wrong team against Manchester United. Sounds familiar somehow.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Clarke injury causes concern

The knee injury which led to Billy Clarke being substituted at Blackburn is causing concern, another addition to a long list of unavailable players: Really worried

Karl Robinson insists that he is calm despite Charlton's poor run of form and wants fans to stick with the players: Keep calm and carry on

Another December defeat

Charlton have won only one game in 17 in December under Roland's regime and now it is 1 in 18 after they went down 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers this afternoon. They remain 6th in the table on goals scored.

A goal in each half proved the difference as Rovers made it six wins on the spin in League One with victory over Charlton at Ewood Park. An own goal from former Blackburn man Leon Best set Rovers on their way before Danny Graham's late header ensured three points went to the home side.

Substitute Best flicked home Charlie Mulgrew's superb free kick on the half hour to put the hosts ahead in a pretty dominant first half. But the tables turned in the second 45, with Charlton having the majority of the play but failing to find a way past David Raya and a resolute Rovers backline. And that allowed Rovers to produce a sucker punch, with Graham heading home in the dying embers of the game.

Inside the opening minute Josh Magennis shot from range but it was never going to trouble David Raya in the Rovers goal. Rovers were having plenty of the ball but struggled to create any clear cut chances in the opening stages, whilst for Charlton, Billy Clarke should have done better on the edge of the box but fired well over the upright inside the opening 15 minutes.

But on 18 minutes Rovers had a great chance to get the opener, but neither Bradley Dack or Dominic Samuel could get on the end of a wicked Antonsson delivery from the left. On the half hour Rovers did find the net and it came from the boot of Mulgrew, whose whipped free kick into the box took a deflection off the head of substitute Best and nestled into the bottom corner of the net.

Charlton came out of the blocks quickest in the second half, the home side denying a curling Reeves effort just four minutes into it before denying Magennis' follow up effort, which would have been ruled out for offside had the Northern Ireland international tucked the ball home. Rovers were struggling to get into the half and Mowbray made a double change a minutes before the hour, with Graham and Joe Nuttall coming on to replace Dominic Samuel and Antonsson.

The Charlton pressure kept coming and Mark Marshall hit over the bar from a free kick with time ticking on. The Addicks were throwing more men forward and Jake Forster-Caskey tested Raya from range before Best looked to make amends for his own goal but could only loop a header onto the roof of the net.

Despite Rovers not being at the races in the second half, substitutes Nuttall and Graham combined before the latter nodded home with the last touch of the game to add gloss to the scoreline and secure all three points.

The report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Defeat

'Ruthless' supremo to loan out Ahearne-Grant

Karl Robinson is prepared to be 'ruthless' and 'harsh' and Karlan Ahearne-Grant's recent run of form will do him little good as the supremo considers loaning him out in the transfer window along with Joe Aribo: Attacker's future

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.