Tuesday 28 February 2017

Robinson blames the players

Karl Robinson has turned to Volume 2 of his Big Book of Excuses and blamed the players (the subtitle of the chapter is 'How to Lose the Dressing Room'). Some of them are insufficiently brave, lack bottle and don't deserve to wear the shirt: Players lack bottle

Robinson said that he wished he could say how deep problems Charlton were. We can all agree with that and 200 disgruntled ex-employees will be making the point in Belgium at the weekend.

According to a tweet from Richard Cawley of the SLP, Johnnie Jackson has said that some players are 'not giving their all.'

Stephy Mavididi is out for the rest of the season, a great shame as he looked useful: Mavididi

Holmes hat trick can't save Charlton from defeat

An impressive Ricky Holmes hat trick could not save Charlton from a 4-3 defeat by Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow tonight.

After going 1-0 behind, the Addicks were 2-1 ahead at half time, but two home side goals in quick succession put the Shrews 3-2 ahead. Charlton then equalised, but fell behind.

The Addicks seemed to be unable to deal with Shrewsbury counter attacks.

On 13 seconds Novak drew a good save from Leutwiler in the Shrews goal. Good play by Botaka saw Holmes on target from a tight angle. Aribo played in Botaka whose good effort was saved at the expense of a corner. A home corner saw Rudd beaten to the punch, but the ball went over.

On 12 minutes Dodds created Shrewsbury's opener out of nothing. He was given too much space on the edge of the box.

Magennis then made use of a Botaka cross and Leutwiler had to make a great save clawing the ball from under the bar. With Shrewsbury counter attacking, Rudd had to make two saves before a shot was blocked.

Magennis fed Novak who turned provider for Holmes who put a great shot into the top right-hand corner to make it 1-1. Following a handball, Charlton won a free kick on the edge of the D and Holmes put a powerful shot into the top corner of the net.

HT: 1-2

A Teixeira header from a Charlton corner was cleared off the line. A Holmes cross was turned behind. From a Holmes cross, Teixeira headed straight at the keeper.

A long ball came over the top and a Roberts shot across goal was not dealt with by Rudd: 2-2. Shrewsbury countered from a Charlton corner and Whalley made it 3-2. Rudd saved from Roberts.

Jackson got a yellow card for a foul. Rudd made a good save from Yates. Rudd saved from Whalley's long range effort. Shrewsbury had two corners in succession, but Rudd punched the ball away.

On 69 minutes Botaka and Magennis were replaced by Ahearne-Grant and Watt. Holmes made use of an Ahearne-Grant cross to make it 3-3. Holmes has scored five goals against Shrewsbury this season.

Novak put a Holmes cross over. A Novak back heel was saved. Shrewsbury counter attacked and made it 4-3 through Dodds. After that Charlton lost momentum and struggled to get the ball. DaSilva replaced Jackson. Aribo and Watt got yellow cards.

In time added on, the keeper just got to a ball from Holmes. Rudd save from Whalley to avoid further humiliation.

Karl Robinson was busy looking in the index of his book of excuses for '4-3 defeats'. 351 Addicks witnessed this shambles.

Shrewsbury look for win over 'beleaguered' Charlton

Charlton make their first visit to Greenhouse Meadow in nearly seven years tonight and Shrewsbury, who have won their last four home games, are looking for a win over the 'beleaguered' Addicks: Salopian preview

Shrewsbury are currently 18th in the table, but 9th in the form table where Charlton are fourth from bottom. Apparently, we haven't beaten Shrewsbury away since 1972.

Odds are: Shrewsbury 19/10, Draw 2/1, Charlton 11/8.

Monday 27 February 2017

Football League's top talent factory

The Evening Standard has been to Sparrows Lane to find out how Charlton have created the Football League's top talent factory: Talent factory

Roland has certainly had a number of financial successes from his player farm recently, it would have been nice to see a bit more of them at The Valley.

Saturday 25 February 2017

'Now you know what you've been missing'

This was the comment of Steve from Petts Wood after I witnessed my first live game at The Valley since my operation in December.

The goal conceded to Bury was a defensive shambles, and I did not see how we were going to score a reply. Admittedly, as Karl Robinson commented after the game, we created some chances, the best falling to Lee Novak in the second half, but we were unable to take advantage of them. Robinson, however, thought that we did enough to win and that the team's mentality was better than against Oxford: Created enough to win

There seems to be a lack of pattern in the play and organisation in the team. The midfield seems to disappear completely at times. If one is going to play with one up front, the support needs to arrive more quickly. Novak looked increasingly frustrated as the game wore on.

Mavididi was the one play on the pitch with a touch of flair and some pace and it was not good to see him stretchered off at the end with a hamstring injury. Forster-Caskey has also picked up a hamstring injury.

Curiously, the announced attendance was the same as for the football for a fiver match against Rochdale. Clearly the programme which generates the attendances had a glitch.

Karl Robinson said that we are now hitting the post or the bar an average of two times a game. Unfortunately, there are no prizes for that unlike the £6,500 nearly won by the fan who came close to hitting the bar at half time. It was one of the best moments of the game.

Friday 24 February 2017

Robinson reflects on three months and the cycle of failure

Karl Robinson reflects on three months at Charlton and what needs to be done to break a cycle of failure: What needs to be done

Robinson says that there needs to be a change of culture and he doesn't mind upsetting people if it helps Charlton to be successful. Robinson makes his customary argument that it will all take time, forestalling the threat of the dreaded vote of confidence.

No Charlton content - yet

I have written the first chapter of a online 'book' about growing up in South-East London after the war which may be of interest to some readers. There isn't any Charlton content yet, but a later chapter will be dedicated to Charlton: Growing Up in S.E.London

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Red cards outweigh wins

Charlton went down 0-1 in a dismal defeat to Oxford United at The Valley this evening. Red cards are now outweighing wins with Chris Solly sent off. 9,101 allegedly watched the spectacle (699 from Oxford) but that figure includes season ticket holders who had the sense not to turn up.

Charlton started brightly enough with Byrne hitting the crossbar from 25 yards on three minutes. Mavididi, making his first start at The Valley, then had a good run on eight minutes but fired straight at Eastwood.

Former Charlton loan player McAleny put in a snap shot from 25 yards on 12 minutes and it went in off the post.

Charlton had a lucky escape in 19 minutes when Edwards put a free header over the bar. He displayed similar inaccuracy later in the game.

Forster-Caskey put in a cross, but the effort from Magennis went over the bar. Forster-Carskey got a yellow card for a challenge.

On 36 minutes Magennis won a free kick which led to a Charlton corner. A header from Teixeira was just over. Just before the break Crofts and Lundstrom got a yellow card for a disagreement.

HT 0-1

Charlton continued to show a lack of creativity in the first phase of the second half, but things livened up for a while after a double substitution. Watt replaced Forster-Carskey and Aribo replaced Byrne. Mavididi hit the post on 59 minutes.

Bauer got a yellow card, but the free klck on the edge of the box was cleared. Solly got a red card for taking out Lundstrom. Aribo got a yellow card for a trip on McAleny. Crofts was replaced by Botaka.

In six minutes added on, a last gasp Charlton corner was cleared off the line.

Here's to you, Karl Gobinson. And, thank you, Roland.

Karl Robinson said after the match that he knew what had to change, but he couldn't put it right immediately: Fans weren't wrong to boo us

Lee Bowyer has now joined Charlton as a permanent assistant coach, giving the Addicks more coaches than Valley Express.

'Hot heads' heading for Belgium

A coalition of Charlton protest groups is heading for Belgium on March 4th to stage a joint protest with Sint Truiden supporters against Roland Duchatelet.

Duchatelet claimed the protesters are 'a few hot heads who previously worked directly or indirectly for the club and who were shown the door due to their rebellious and rowdy attitude”'.

He added: “They also don't like the fact that I give [chief executive] Katrien Meire my support.”

The vast majority of the protesters, as far as I am aware, have had no direct or indirect connection with the club other than as supporters. VOTV editor Rick Everitt was formerly a club employee, but the club agreed a financial settlement with him on the day his case came to an employment tribunal.

Oxford's selection dilemma

Putting together Oxford's team at the moment is like assembling a jigsaw according to their manager Michael Appleton. The U's have thirteen games to play in just over forty days, starting tonight at The Valley: Selection jigsaw

Their manager has urged the U's to move on from their 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup away to Middlesbrough: Move on

Oxford are one place above Charlton in the table, but are third in the form table. However, they think there is little hope of reaching the play off places. Away from home, they have won five matches, drawn three and lost seven.

Odds are: Charlton 6/4, Draw 23/10, Oxford 9/5.

Monday 20 February 2017

Tex wants more game time

Jorge Teixeira would like more game time. He was sidelined under Russell Slade, although there was speculation at the time that that was because he was being prepared for sale. He has got more action under Karl Robinson, but not as many starts as he would like: Teixeira

I think he has a case. He is a committed player who can score goals as well as defend.

Sunday 19 February 2017

Three draws in four games

Charlton drew 3-3 at Rochdale yesterday, their third draw in four games, enabling them to secure thirteenth place in the table. Manager Karl Robinson said that the chances the Addicks had missed in the first half had been criminal.

Niall Canavan's opener was cancelled out by Jordan Botaka, while Jorge Teixeira put Charlton ahead before the break before Calvin Andrews' leveller. Substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing gave the home side the lead again, but Teixeira got his second just before full time.

Rochdale went ahead after four minutes following an error by Declan Rudd. He failed to claim McDermott's free kick, allowing Canavan to tap home. However, Rudd did well on 25 minutes with a diving save to keep out Andrews' header.

Five minutes from the break Botaka broke free and though his effort hit the post, he made no mistake with the rebound.

Substitute Stephy Mavididi ran past several home players in a 66th minute run, only to be denied by Wilson. From the corner Bauer nodded down for Teixeira to give the Addicks the lead. Once again Charlton showed they could not hold on to a lead when Henderson's cross was headed past Rudd by Andrew.

Mendez-Laing put a curling shot past a diving Rudd on 84 minutes but Bauer nodded down for Teixeira to score the equaliser two minutes from the end.

Friday 17 February 2017

Testing time for Robinson

Criticism of Karl Robinson is mounting with his record at the helm of Charlton no better than that of Russell Slade. Both his formations and team selection are open to doubt: Fading hopes

The underlying problem is that, taken collectively, the team are really not good enough to maintain a sustained play off challenge. Tomorrow at the Crown Oil Arena (aka Spotland) they face a Rochdale side who have had a dip in form recently, but are still ahead in the table (9th). In the form table they are 21st while Charlton are 10th.

Rochdale have been relaying their pitch this week after it deteriorated and was no longer conducive to the quality football to which they aspire.

No surprise that the bookies have Rochdale as clear favourites: Rochdale 5/4, Draw 23/10, Charlton 11/5.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Unbeaten run comes to an end

Charlton's unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Oldham tonight. The home side went ahead with a snap shot on four minutes. Charlton managed to win 16 corners over the game, but were unable to convert any of them into a goal. They were unable to repeat the feats of their recent opponents by scoring a last gasp equaliser. The Addicks stay in 13th place in League One.

There were four changes in the side with Magennis starting up front, Mavididi making his first start, Forster-Caskey and Botaka starting in midfield.

Magennis had a great chance to score in the opening minute. He was one on one with the keeper, but put the ball over the bar. Banks then scored for Oldham from 20 yards.

Rudd saved well from McLaughlin on 11 minutes. After an uninspiring opening phase, Charlton did apply some pressure in the middle part of the half, but then faded again. A tackle from Konsa halted a run from Erin on 32 minutes.

Early in the second half a Magennis header was just wide. Botaka, who had not been that prominent, was replaced by Holmes on 58 minutes. Forster-Caskey put the ball over from 30 yards. A Konsa tackle halted an Oldham break. A free kick was conceded on the edge of the box, but the shot went over the bar.

Solly was hauled down in the box and there was a clear claim for a penalty. Forster-Caskey was replaced by Watt. Rudd saved well from Taylor. Novak replaced Mavididi who had been lively. A Bauer header from a corner was tipped over the bar. A Novak volley was caught by the keeper.

Six minutes were added on, but by then Karl Robinson was thumbing through his big book of excuses. He put it down to poor finishing: Broken record

Report from Louis Mendez here: Play off hopes badly hit

Monday 13 February 2017

It's Shezurrection at Oldham

The Times has a full page interview with Oldham manager John Sheridan ahead of tomorrow's clash with Charlton at Boundary Park. It's his third stint with the club, having saved them from relegation last season, so fans are hoping for another 'Sherzurrection'.

On Saturday their 3-2 win over Coventry City was a fourth win in seven games since Sheridan's return, one more win than Oldham had previously managed in the league all season, lifting them out of the relegation zone.

Writer Gregor Robertson describes Sheridan as 'one of a dying breed in football with an edge, nasty streak, fire in the belly, or whatever phrase you care to use, for whom winning seems to mean that little bit more, and whose drive to succeed can shake the very bones of those around him.'

Sheridan is not afraid to tell officials what he thinks of them. During a short stint at Notts County, he called Eddie Ilderton a 'disgrace' and 'useless', adding that his kids 'wouldn't get any ****ing Christmas presents because of ****ing you.' He then told the fourth official, 'You really are a c***. I'm gonna knock you out, you c***.'

Sheridan explained, 'It's just a winning mentality, trying to push us over the edge and get a result.'

Following an ankle injury, on form Charlton midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey is a doubt for tonight's game: Injury doubt

Odds: Oldham 29/20, Draw 21/10, Charlton 2/1.

Results in earlier years: 2009/10 Oldham 0 Charlton 2; 2010/11 Oldham 0 Charlton 0; 2011/12 Oldham 0 Charlton 1.

Late goals a big problem for Addicks

Conceding late goals is a big problem for the Addicks. Without them in their last two matches they would be two points off the play off places with two games in hand. Karl Robinson thinks it's a mentality rather than a fitness problem: Costly concessions

Stunning start by Charles-Cook

On loan Charlton midfielder Regan Charles-Cook made a stunning start to his spell at Solihull Moors, helping them to a 3-0 home win over FA Cup giant killers Sutton United.

On 90 seconds a jinking run took him into the area and although his shot was saved, Shepherd Murombedzi pounced on the loose ball and fed Charles-Cook who tucked the ball into the net. Charles-Cook then netted his second on the stroke of half time. Afolayan turned in Charles-Cook's cross on 70 minutes to complete the scoring.

Moors boss Liam McDonald said of Charles-Cook, 'He's high energy and athletic and he can play football. But he also knows when to express himself and when to keep it.'

Charles-Cook celebrates his 20th birthday this week.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Draw specialists do it again

Charlton confirmed their status as the draw specialists of League One with a 1-1 result at AFC Wimbledon today. Ahead at half time, they once again conceded in injury time.

Play offs? I don't think so. The Addicks are now 13th.

Elliott scored a dramatic late equaliser before being sent off. Wimbledon's pressure finally paid off with almost the last kick of the game when Elliott finished well - only to be shown a second yellow card (he had already been booked for a foul on Solly) for over-celebrating the goal.

Ricky Holmes' excellent free-kick looked to have been the difference between the two sides as he curled home expertly after Joe Aribo had been fouled. Aribo almost doubled the Addicks' lead five minutes later but his effort curled just the wrong side of the post. He was named Man of the Match by the Football League Paper.

The Wombles finished the half better and goalscorer Holmes was lucky not to see red after a vigorous tackle on Lyle Taylor was deemed only a caution by referee Carl Boyeson.

Lee Novak spurned a glorious chance to double Charlton's lead just after the break, but found the side netting.

Supremo Karl Robinson, who was the subject of an unflattering banner from the home support, took umbrage at something said by a member of the ground staff at the end of the game and had to be restrained from going over to him.

Dons manager Neil Ardley said that action would be taken against a member of their staff: Verbal abuse

Friday 10 February 2017

Forster-Caskey feeling at home

Jake Forster-Caskey feels that he has settled in well at Charlton and likes being close to home, he tells the SLP's Richard Cawley: Feeling settled

Two views of tomorrow's fixture

The Wharf takes a relatively optimistic view form, arguing that AFC Wimbledon have hit a bad patch while Charlton are in form and poised for an assault on the play offs: Charlton should overcome

The CAFC Trust preview thinks that Charlton's play off ship may have already sailed, although some fans will be making the trip tomorrow by boat: Missed boat?

Wimbledon manager Neil Ardley thinks that the state of the pitch will influence the outcome: Water sports

Wombles captain Barry Fuller is, of course, a product of the Charlton academy.

My fear would be another draw to add to Charlton's impressive tally.

Odds: Wimbledon 5/4, Draw 9/4, Charlton 9/4

Monday 6 February 2017

Five things we learned from the Fleetwood game

The Wharf discusses five things we learnt from the Fleetwood game, including the fact that Charlton know how to play dirty: Lessons learnt

Accentuate the positive

Andrew Crofts tries to put a positive spin on Charlton's recent performances, emphasising the extent to which they have been unbeaten: 18 Cup Finals

What that conceals, however, is a propensity to draw matches, often because of a failure to hold on to a lead. The most usual result for Charlton, home and away, is a draw (thirteen in all). Admittedly, they are second in the form table.

Saturday 4 February 2017

Home draw specialists

Charlton drew 1-1 with Fleetwood at The Valley today in front of an official attendance of less than 10,000. After a frustrating start, they went ahead on 37 minutes through the returning Ricky Holmes who was substituted in the second half to a standing ovation.

There was a long delay to the match around the 60 minute mark as the fourth official took a long time to replace an injured lino. Fleetwood started to exert more pressure towards the end of the half and equalised in the ten minutes added on. Nathan Byrne was then harshly sent off for a foul.

Cole broke through on two minutes, but an angled shot was well saved by Rudd. Fleetwood packed the midfield and defence and Charlton needed to make more use of width. The Addicks were not finding it easy to find a way through. Just before the half hour mark, the visitors had a succession of three corners and there were signs of panic in the Charlton defence, but ultimately the ball was cleared.

A minute's applause paid tribute to Liam Meadows on 29 minutes, following by a rousing chorus of Valley Floyd Road from the Covered End.

On 37 minutes, following a Charlton corner, Forster-Caskey, making his Valley debut, picked out Ricky Holmes who put the ball in the net from a yard out.

On 41 minutes, Byrne was taken out from behind by Schawbl, but the referee gave nothing. However, Forster-Caskey was given a yellow card for a late challenge. McLaughlin was then booked for a foul on Holmes.

HT: Addicks 1, Cod Army 0

On 47 minutes a fine run by Konsa won Charlton a corner. A run down the left by Holmes won a corner on 49 minutes.

On 58 minutes there was a break in play after a lino was injured. At first it was thought that it was earache caused by Uwe Rossler, but it turned out to be an ankle injury. It took an age for the fourth official to get changed, a cheer being raised when he took his trousers off.

Cole pounced on a loose pass by Chicksen and got through, Rudd made a great save.

Chicksen had to go off on 65 minutes because of injury and Jackson had to slot in as left back, not somewhere where he is really comfortable. A cross from Holmes found Bauer, but his header lacked power. Holmes got a yellow card for a foul.

A Fleetwood effort hit Bauer and Rudd claimed. Watt had a big miss on 77 minutes, but he was offside in any case. Holmes went off and Novak came on. Some of the floodlights went off, presumably Katrien had forgot to feed the meter.

As the visitors stepped up the pressure, a volley was just wide. Teixeira was brought on to shore up the defence with Forster-Caskey going off to applause. A Fleetwood corner was not easily cleared by Charlton.

In the ten minutes added on, Konsa got a yellow card for a foul. Charlton failed to clear a Fleetwood corner and Bell made it 1-1. Watt won a free kick and there was a loose ball in the box, but Fleetwood cleared. With Charlton down to ten men after Byrne was sent off, Fleetwood tried for a winner and hit the post.

Official attendance was 9,916, of which the Fleetwood massive contributed 140.

Charlton have slipped back to 12th, six points off a play off place.

There were angry scenes at Sellout Park as the Glaziers lost 0-4 to Sunderland.

'Fans will never accept our owner, but he wants success'

This is the headline over a double page spread interview of Karl Robinson by Henry Winter in The Times this morning.

Robinson covers a range of topics from Tony Watt's caffeine consumption to his wife's dress shop. The story starts with the recent meeting with fans in the Greenwich Tavern. Robinson says, 'For me, it's more important to heal the club than win promotion.'

Of Katrien Meire he says, 'She's remorseful about some of the things she's said and done at Charlton. She's learning on the job. She's emotionally attached to Charlton, she loves being at Charlton and is desperate to get it right.'

Of Roland, Robinson says, 'He doesn't meddle one little bit. The wage bill is the biggest I have ever had even when I was in the Championship with MK Dons. [Maybe all that does is tell us about penny pinching at the Franchisees]. At no stage in my conversations with the owner or chief exec was this fractious club, this divided club ever hidden from me.'

Of Tony Watt, he says, 'He is so talented it is ridiculous ... Tony is the most complex footballer in England, extremely talented, crazy, unstable, caring, unfit, argumentative. He drinks too much caffeine .... We are trying to occupy Tony's mind'.

Robinson says that the passion at The Valley is 'phenomenal' 'But this undercurrent slightly pulls you back. The players will say it's not troubling them because of the macho mentality, but some have told me they find it difficult at times.'

Friday 3 February 2017

Haddock v Cod

Tomorrow sees the first meeting at The Valley between Charlton Athletic and Fleetwood Town. In the Four Four Two review at the beginning of the season, a Fleetwood fan singled out the visit to The Valley as one he was looking forward to.

With their usual forecasting accuracy, Four Four Two saw Fleetwood finishing 22nd. Last season they were 19th. Fleetwood are currently 4th and top the form table in which Charlton are 5th. At home they have lost just one match, but away from home they have lost six, winning five and drawing three. They have not lost in the league since early November. Last Saturday Uwe Rossler had four strikers on at the end of the match as they snatched a draw from Southend.

Owner and chairman Andy Pilley has put £10m into the club, although he is now moving towards a self-sustaining model. Steve Pressley was did not live up to his billing as manager, and was seen by fans as tactically inept, but Uwe Rossler is very shrewd.

Bolstered by the win at Bolton, many Charlton fans see the play offs in reach. This match will be a key test of that ambition.

The CAS Trust preview is available here: Three points?

Odds: Charlton 31/20, Draw 11/5, Fleetwood 9/5.

Thursday 2 February 2017

Konsa saved for the club

Ezri Konsa was saved from going to a Premier League top club during the transfer window and he and other talents will be protected in the future, claims Katrien Meire: Ezri Konsa

Looks like the PR guys have been earning their money.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Manager to meet with fans

Karl Robinson is to meet with fans tomorrow to discuss their concerns. What is not clear is which fans and how they were selected: Meeting

It has now been revealed that two CAS Trust board members met with him and a report will be available in due course.

How was the transfer window for Charlton?

Not surprisingly, VOTV editor Rick Everitt takes a somewhat critical view of the outcome and of the video statement by Karl Robinson: Flickers of light

The Rickster's line is: 'Whether the squad is sufficiently equipped to mount a successful late promotion challenge is another question altogether. It seems unlikely, if only because of the size of the challenge. The recent average points tally of a team finishing in sixth place is 74 and only twice in the last ten seasons has it fallen lower. A realistic requirement is probably 76. Charlton, in 11th, have 39 points, with 19 matches remaining. Having won a third of their matches to date, they now require not just play-off standard performances but title form to make the top six in three months' time. And that's just to reach the knock-out phase.'

My view from the start of the season was that this was a solid mid-table squad (I never believed those who said we were going to get relegated) with an outside chance of sneaking into the play offs. That remains my view after the personnel changes.

The Haddock v. Cod clash on Saturday should give us an idea of where we stand. To those who say we should be rolling over clubs like Fleetwood, I would remind readers that they are backed by a wealthy and generous owner (decision-making also appears to have been good).

I have seen commentary on the boards praising the passion in Robinson's statement, and saying that it is irrelevant whether he made a similar statement when he was in charge at MK Dons.

I do think the January transfer window is quite a tricky one in which to operate effectively and I think that, given those constraints (and Roland's control of the purse strings), Robinson has done a decent job.

It is a shame that Roger Johnson did not have a chance to re-boot his career at Gillingham where he would probably have been a good fit. Allegations that he failed the medical have no evidence base and I can advise one fan that there is no such illness as 'fowl mouth'.