Thursday 31 August 2017

One in, one out, as Dodoo comes in on loan.

Charlton have signed Joe Dodoo on loan from Rangers until January as the transfer window closes.

The news appears to have been taken calmly in Glasgow. STV reported,'The forward will move to the Valley until January in the hope of finding regular first team football after failing to secure a place in Pedro Caixinha's team. Dodoo joined Rangers last summer from Leicester City and made 25 appearances for the Ibrox side last season, scoring five goals.'

Born in Ghana, Dodoo came through the academy system at Leicester City after being scouted while playing park football: Career details

Charlton chief Karl Robinson said: 'It has been a really pleasing summer for us in terms of the quality we’ve been able to add to the squad and the players we’ve been able to retain.'

However, as the champagne corks pop, one has to ask whether it is Charlton that are in deep do do. Some argued that it showed that Roland Duchatelet was not serious about a promotion challenge.

Farewell, then, Lee Novak

Lee Novak is joining Scunthorpe United on a permanent deal. No fee was involved. It is known that he has been unsettled at The Valley for some time. But if someone does not come in to replace him, we shall be ill provided with strikers. Even Karl Robinson with his Great Big Book of Excuses will have a hard time explaining that one away.

Karl Robinson has now talked about his respect for Novak's decision in terms of needing a new challenge and also being nearer to his family who are 'oop North (although somewhat further north than Lincolnshire): Boss's words of wisdom

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Will we sign a striker today?

I think it's unlikely. To be fair it is difficult to sign a proven striker who will fit into your system at a realistic price. We saw with Nicky Ajose how things can go wrong. It would seem that the club 'leadership' think that the January window might be the time to act if it looks as if we are challenging for promotion, although it is difficult to get good value in that window when there is a lot of panic buying.

My friend Annie formed a negative view of football after leading a football research centre. Too much dressing up, going to Premier League matches and cosying up to movers and shakers. So she is taking me out for the day to get away from the nonsense.

Our sister site takes a look at big money signings and suggests that they are rational, at least in the sense that Kim Jong-in is rational: Transfer window

Dijksteel approach rejected

Colchester United have attempted to sign Anfernee Dijksteel but Charlton have sent them packing and said they want to retain the promising and versatile youngster. Read Richard Cawley's exclusive here: Bid rejected

The Essex side were prepared to consider either a permanent deal or a loan and would have probably thrown in a course of free nail bar treatments for any girl friend.

The U's have a nerve. I saw their new ground for the first time this week when I was going down the A12. Layer Road may have been ramshackle, but it had a bit of character. As befits a ground on a by-pass, the Weston Homes Community Stadium is functional but lacking in character.

Ramsgate pub row rages on

The row over the opening of a mega Wetherspoons in Ramsgate continues to rage with The Guardian now publishing a long feature article on the controversy: Mega pub

Local bars that charge more are understandably aggrieved that they will lose custom. but consumers like the idea of cheaper pints and a standard range of basic but eatable food. VOTV editor Rick Everitt, who played a key role in securing the investment as former Thanet Council member for economic development and Addicktion, has pointed out on Twitter that otherwise an iconic building would have been lost to dereliction.

What is unclear is how what has been described as an 'eccentric' local Belgian bar will be affected, but presumably it has its own special clientele, but is not sophisticated enough for the likes of Roland and Katrien.

It may be that Ramsgate is a resort that has entered what Millwall supporter Rod Liddle defines as the 'Goldilocks zone' for seaside towns in this week's Spectator. Liddle recently had an article explaining chants used by Millwall fans and the readership must have been mystified by the chant directed against Gillingham: 'You can stuff your lucky heather up your ****.'

Anyway, Liddle, who seems rather fond of four letter words describing the posterior states that in such a resort: 'Stuff has changed for the better and there are suddenly very agreeable things to do, places to eat etc. but the area has not yet been comprehensively and irredeemably ****holified by ****holes. There is still a retention of the old: it hasn't all be expunged.' Liddle is actually writing about Saltburn-on-Sea where he lives, a location know for its concentration of Millwall fans.

Green eyeshades were once required kit for aspirant journalists as this picture of me in my youth shows.

There is still some concern that VOTV staff will enjoy themselves so much at the new pub that the next issue will be delayed. However, journalists in the Lunchtime O'Booze mould have been known for a long time for their ability to absorb large amounts of drink and then return to the office, put on their green eyeshades, and get down to the task in hand. I know that my own article is getting increasingly long and will need attention from then sub's blue pencil.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Robinson predicts busy 48 hours

Karl Robinson has predicted a busy 48 hours for Charlton in the transfer window, but notes that players will have to be moved out before others are moved in. He would '100 per cent' like another striker, but whether one can be obtained remains an open question: Supremo's prediction

Charlton maintain momentum with Crawley win

It's only the Checkatrade Trophy, but a win is a win and a good number of Addicks (around 650) saw Charlton maintain their momentum with a 2-0 win over Crawley tonight. Given a start to help him build his fitness, Ben Reeves scored his first goal for Charlton. Then Addicks fan George Lapslie was over the moon when he scored his first senior goal for the club: Action at the Checkatrade Stadium

Lapslie has said on Twitter today that he is overwhelmed by all the messages and thanks fans for their support. His dream is to become Charlton captain: My dream

As anticipated, pitch announcer Brian Cole was among those in attendance.

Karl Robinson praised the ten Charlton academy graduates who played some part in the game and the way that reflected well on the academy.

Umerah signs for Chairboys on loan

Josh Umerah has signed for Wycombe Wanderers on loan until January: Beechy Bucks

The League Two side should be able to offer him some valuable experience to help his development. He played some games with Kilmarnock last term.

He could make his debut for the Chairboys tonight in the Checkatrade Trophy match against Bristol Rovers: Excitement in High Wycombe

The nickname of the club is somewhat ironic given that the only factory producing furniture in the vicinity is the up market Ercol factory located in Princes Risborough.

New opening for Katrien?

As Uefa heads for a possible new confrontation with the European Commission on EU competition law, someone who has a competition law background and has been involved in running a football club could be a valuable asset. Step forward, Katrien Meire: Luxury tax

Roland's idea of a football network across Europe may not have been directly encouraged by the European Commission, but it was very much 'dans le vent' at a time when the Commission saw football as a vehicle for promoting European integration. Of course, once Standard Liege was sold the network lacked a sufficiently impressive mother ship and the Commission has other issues to worry about.

I have to visit Brussels next month and while I am there I will see if I can find anything out about Roland and his intentions.

Monday 28 August 2017

Checkatrade at the Checkatrade

I must admit that it had completely escaped my attention that Charlton were playing away in the Checkatrade Trophy at the Checkatrade Stadium, i.e., the home of Crawley Town, tomorrow night. If we fail to win this match after the victory over Rotherham it will be a devastating blow: not.

I am getting a little tired of these trophies named after brands I have never heard of, although no doubt the whole idea is to raise their profile. I don't think it does their reputation much good among football fans.

In all fairness to Karl Robinson he does get these occasions right by giving some match experience to young and fringe players and that is what I would expect to happen tomorrow night.

There may be quite a decent turnout from Sussex Addicks in order to see these players in action, but I don't expect to see them rending their shirts if Charlton lose.

Away fans are housed in the North Stand at one end of the ground. This covered terrace can accommodate 1,600, but rarely does. It does have a low roof, so if pitch announcer Brian Cole turns up we may make some noise.

Useless fact (provided by Chalfont St. Peter Addick Dick Shephard): '26 year old Aryan Tajbakhsh a Crawley Town midfielder has played for 24 clubs. Not a lot of people know that.' Thank you Dick.

Crawley offers a unique example of a Turkish owned club with the owner, a steel magnate, pumping in the Turkish lira: Keeping Crawley afloat

Don't expect any kebabs though. Pies come from local supplier The Real Pie Company. I'm not sure where the stadium is located in relation to the Gatwick flight paths, so a lack of action on the pitch may not be offset by opportunities for plane spotting.

Odds are: Crawley Town 21/10, Draw 9/4, Charlton 21/20.

My brother-in-law lives in Crawley and claims to know nothing about football, although I suspect he is a covert Palace supporter, which amounts to the same thing.

As EFL builds bridges in China, could Charlton have Chinese owners?

The English Football League is desperately trying to get a slice of the action in China, even to the extent of holding the Carabao Cup draw at 4.15 am UK time, something which Karl Robinson rightly grumbled about. However, interest in Charlton in China has been there for a long time. If the Australian bid for Charlton eventually fails, could Chinese buyers be attracted by owning a London club?

Some of these buyers turn not to have the readies they claim to have, Southampton being the most recent example where interests in gambling capital Macua appear to have a slice of the action. Due caution is therefore necessary but, although I have no concrete information and may be putting two and two together to make five, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility: The East is Red

I reproduce below what I wrote about Northampton Town in the last VOTV (the full article - which I originally entitled 'The Chinese Maze' but the sub gave it a more tabloid style headline - can be purchased with the magazine either online or from Rick Everitt opposite the club shop on match days):

It is surprising that the one [Chinese] takeover that [went ahead before the start of the season] is of League One Northampton Town, a team that experienced difficult times under its former owner. There is an ongoing police investigation into alleged financial irregularities associated with a £10m loan to the club by the local council. The chief executive of the council left his post in July. [Without any compensation].

A Chinese firm 5USport took a 60 per cent stake in the club, but the chairman of the Cobblers, Kelvin Thomas, insists that it is a partnership rather than a takeover. It does show that Chinese firms from a variety of backgrounds are prepared to take an interest in football clubs below the Premier League level. 5USport was formed in Guangzhou in 2008. It appears to have a relationship with Eurosport News.

Kelvin Thomas said, "Originally, I believe they started as a media company and they had the rights to TalkSport in China, and they have the rights to in China, which is a memorabilia site, selling signed stuff from sport stars. They have developed an education/football division recently, and that is what the investment is here, in terms of them looking at the way we can educate in China, and use Northampton Town as a brand in China."

"There is an emerging market there, we all know that, and it is about how do we, Northampton Town, develop that.' And he added: 'I think what’s in it for them, and I think this is a really big advantage for Northampton Town Football Club, is the education market in China. That’s what they see. They now have a brand that they can take into China and sell their educational services, which is important."

Quite how the Northampton brand will help to sell education services in China remains to be seen. Northampton as a place probably does not have a high profile in China and it is quite possible that it could be confused with Southampton.* However, a relatively new company with a low profile may consider that buying a League One club is a cheap route to raising that profile, particularly in China.'

*Former VOTV writer and self-styled No.1 Iceland Addick Olafur Johnansson always used to get in a muddle over Southend. He thought it was the geographical counterpart to Preston North End and argued that both clubs should either have Preston in front of them or could just be called Northend or Southend. I pointed out to him that Southend had the longest pier in England and was situated in the Tnames estuary, but he countered that I was pulling his leg as Wigan had a pier and was in Lancashire.

One big happy family now that Kashi is back

Patrick Bauer emphasises the impact that the return of Ahmed Kashi has had on Charlton. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a player of real quality and we missed him when he was injured. Let's hope we can keep him all season: Kashi's impact

Bauer also discusses the fact that Konsa has not started, despite the fact that he continues to be a target for Arsenal and Everton. I have just discovered that my new Labour MP is a Gooner.

Bauer also said, 'The dressing room is really good right now, we are like one big happy family. Everyone is talking to each other [implying that this was not always the case], we have a great team spirit and I think you can see that on the pitch.' Things are definitely better.

Mea culpa

Clement Attlee once famously said, 'A period of silence from you would be welcome.' I thought that the remark was directed to academic bonehead Harold Laski (which is what many online sources say), but the recent excellent biography of Attlee (Citizen Clem by John Bew) suggests a different target.

Be that as it may, Rick Everitt may soon be directing that remark in that direction. Having provided a constructed narrative of the events surrounding Rick's decision to give priority to a Charlton match than an exam when he was a student, I have now misunderstood the significance of the opening of a new giant Wetherspoons in beautiful, downtown Ramsgate: Massive super pub on the beach

I thought it was being welcomed as a new watering hole for VOTV staff so that they could get wasted before and after producing the fanzine. In fact it turns out to be a cunning plan by the Rickster to revive the Isle of Thanet economy. Although others were involved, he played a leading role in attracting the pub chain when he was the cabinet member for economic development on Thanet council.

I should also qualify economist J M Keynes's critical remarks about Ramsgate by saying that he did spend an enjoyable Christmas there with the members of a pantomime cast.

Saturday 26 August 2017

Looks like no more new signings

It looks as if Charlton will make no new signings before the transfer window closes if one reads between the lines of Karl Robinson's remarks: Transfers

David Martin is no longer training with the club and there is no back up experienced keeper in prospect. Dillon Phillips will not go out on loan and I think that is an acceptable outcome.

Following yesterday's good win at Rotherham, many Charlton fans are relaxed about not having another striker. There is no doubt that the club has been trying, but this is the most difficult part of the market as any big lump that can hit a barn door with a banjo commands a big price.

Yesterday's starting eleven look as strong a team as we have had for some time, but my concern is about what happens when the injuries and suspensions start. This is still a squad that lacks depth.

To the Londoners 2-0

That was the chant of the 520 Addickted at the New York stadium after the Addicks secured a convincing win over Rotherham United. Patrick Bauer scored from a header in the first half and Josh Magennis scored in the same way in the second.

Rotherham missed some good chances in the first half and Ben Amos made some great saves in the second to preserve the clean sheet.

Charlton are now fourth in the table, three points behind leaders Peterborough United. Crystal Palace were booed off at Sainsbury's after losing 0-2 at home to Swansea City.

Charlton started as if they meant business. Fosu won an early free kick in a dangerous position. The free kick from Forster-Caskey on three minutes went off the wall and over for a corner. The corner went out of play from a Bauer header. On four minutes there was good play between Clarke and Holmes, but the latter shot at O'Donnell in the Rotherham goal.

On eight minutes Kashi lost possession in midfield (a rare event) and Proctor fluffed the chance from eight yards. Moore got a shot away on 12 minutes but Amos was able to deal with it.

Charlton went ahead on 15 minutes after Bauer headed the ball into the net from a Forster-Caskey corner. The Addickted chanted, 'We've got a big friendly German.'

A Clarke effort on 27 minutes was disallowed for offside. Magennis was booked on 29 minutes for a late challenge on Williams. On 31 minutes Charlton product Ajayi put a free header wide.

On 33 minutes Amos did well to get his hand on a Moore cross. DaSilva then broke away down the left. Mattock was booked for taking out Fosu. At the end of normal time the keeper made a superb save, tipping a Holmes corner round the post.

HT: Millers 0, Addicks 1

The opening period of the second half was end to end but with no real chances for either side. Following an unproductive corner on 55 minutes, Charlton won a corner on 58 minutes after a Clarke shot was deflected. From the corner Holmes put in a great ball along the six yard box, but there was no one there to connect.

On 61 minutes Moore shot instead of squaring the ball for the unmarked Proctor, squandering another chance. Magennis signalled his threat with a shot from 35 yards that was just wide: what a goal that would have been. Clarke had another effort which went in the net chalked off as offside. On 66 minutes Magennis took advantage of a Holmes cross to put a header in at the back post.

Proctor had to be stretchered off on 70 minutes. Amos dealt with a corner well and then saved from Ajayi. Kashi showed his dedication to the cause when he headed out from the under the crossbar and was then down for a short time. Holmes got a yellow card for dissent. A great claim was made by Amos. On 86 minutes Charlton made a tactical double substitution with Fosu and Clarke going off and Novak and Ahearne-Grant coming on. From a Forster-Caskey corner, Magennis put the ball over the bar. Ricky Holmes was substituted on 89 minutes by Konsa.

The nine minutes added on were not that eventful, but Vaulks got a yellow card for a foul on Forster-Caskey and Amos had to save from a corner.

One fan tweeted that there will be three South London teams in the Championship next season after Millwall's convincing win over Norwich City. The team did look strong going forward. However, as Alan Curbishley used to say, 'It's a long old season.' It's a bit premature to say we don't need another striker.

But it was certainly a great day out for birthday boy Louis Mendez. As he tweeted at half time, 'A proper game this, a real test for Charlton. And they passed it.

The man himself gives his report here: Excellent Addicks

The Football League Paper has named Ricky Holmes as star man with a score of 8. All other Charlton players (with the exception of Kashi, 6) get a 7 which shows what an all round team effort it was.

Robinson steps up war of words

Karl Robinson has stepped up the war of words before this afternoon's clash with Rotherham. The confident supremo reckons that Jake Forster-Caskey has a point to prove after his difficult spell with the Millers: Point to prove

However, the outspoken Charlton chief admits that the Addicks will have to put in their best performance of the season so far to take all three points this afternoon.

Friday 25 August 2017

The art of prediction

Five of the fans who make predictions on CAFC Picks have got the results for this season right so far, including me. You don't have to be a forecasting genius to predict two home wins and an away defeat.

Tomorrow's game at Rotherham United offers a more interesting test of how the Addicks have progressed. Of the five 'successful' forecasters, two predict a draw and three a defeat (including me).

We could well be too pessimistic if Charlton have really turned a corner as their provisional league position may suggest. Rotherham United have won one and lost two games so far which, along with the score lines, puts them down at 15th. Both teams lost in the Carabao Cup during the week, but I can't take what happens in that competition very seriously.

At the moment many Charlton fans are in the glass half full camp and others take the glass half empty viewpoint. A very small group of hangers on and their running dogs think that Roland and Katrien are marvellous. At the opposite end of the spectrum, everything done by the present regime has to be treated with disbelief.

The glass half full crowd would say that the regime has learnt from its mistakes, has appointed an English manager with relevant experience (as opposed to Belgian or Belgian-linked no hopers) and has made some decent signings for this level. Morale in the team has improved and the time servers have been weeded out. Those of the other view would say that the learning process has been very expensive in terms of both money and lost support.

The glass half empty crowd would say that we are still short of strikers and we can't just rely on the midfield to get the ball in the net. We shall see what happens by transfer deadline day, but there is some force in Karl Robinson's argument that finding a decent striker at an affordable price is not easy.

My personal view is that the price ratio between strikers and defenders is out of kilter, not least in the Premier League. However, just like a house's only real value is what will fetch in the market, transfer prices are influenced by supply and demand (albeit distorted by agents who seem to have run rings round the regime at The Valley).

Robinson is operating under a budget constraint, but that is true of most managers in League One. At least he appears to have a good personal relationship with Katrien Meire.

So where does this leave us? I am on media standby like a retained fireman with a target to be in the studio within 20 minutes of call out. (CNN Sport have me on the subs bench for the transfer window in case they are let down). If I was doing a report for the BBC, I would have to argue 'on the one hand, on the other.' Much as I like the BBC, this often involves giving equivalence to views that I personally think are barmy. Sky are more willing to let you take a line. If it was RT or Al Jazeera (if I could understand what the gallery was saying) I would be asked to take a very odd line. My favourite station to work for is France 24 (for whom I did a lot of work during the general election) because you get a perspective from outside the UK, but one that is intelligent and reasonably balanced.

If France 24 was interested in League One clubs, I would say that I remain somewhat sceptical about Karl Robinson because I think that he opens his mouth more than he should, often somewhat foolishly, but the real test is whether he can deliver the goods in terms of league position. Unfortunately, particularly at this point in the season, we are going to see a lot of the 'goldfish' syndrome where judgments are based on the last result.

If we win tomorrow, it will be evidence for those who take a very favourable view of Robinson. Lose, and the sceptics will feel their case is reinforced. Draw, and there will be a lot of confusion about how to interpret the result.

No wonder I am struggling with my article for the next VOTV, particularly given that even though Rick Everitt is prepared to give me the benefit of doubt about being economical with the actualité, he does think I have been constructing fictional narratives. But of course that is what we all do as fans: as they say, it's all about opinions. I am sitting on the fence, but that becomes uncomfortable after a while.

More about the Millers

I can't get through to the CAS Trust preview, but the headline says that we have been unbeaten away to them for 34 years. Of course, a lot then depends on how many times we have played them, mostly in recent years I suspect. For 101 years they played at the Millmoor stadium which was a 3rd Division North ground if there ever was. I went there with West Sussex CASC to support Brighton and Hove Albion after Charlton had won an earlier kick off at Huddersfield over the Christmas period.

The Aesseal New York Stadium cost £20m to build. It looks far bigger than its realistic 12,000 capacity with a striking design, especially its eye-catching roof. The Football Supporters' Federation made it Away Day of the Year in 2016.

Pundits do not generally expect the Millers to go straight back up. Four Four Two have them as bare survival candidates at 20th. Their fan pundit forecasts a 8th place finish, noting 'we might actually win more than five matches.'

Richie Barker was assistant manager at Charlton in 2016-17 before moving to the same role at Rotherham. On the Millers website it states, 'Richie Barker said that he still has a vested interest in all of the goings on at The Valley for personal reasons too, with his son having recently signed terms with the club's Academy setup.

My boy has just signed for their Under 15s, which we didn't time very well as he signed just as I'd left! I had no hesitation in putting him in a top Academy, where they produce some top players and I'm sure he'll be looked after while he's there and that was another reason that it was difficult to leave..;

Odds are: Rotherham 5/4, Draw 11/5, Charlton 15/8. The referee is Trevor Kettle from Lancashire who is notorious for his erratic decision-making, particularly in relation to Charlton. At any rate Karl Robinson will have a ready made excuse if we lose.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne has got his alibi in early by tipping Charlton for automatic promotion and saying they are the best team he has seen so far (sample size): Promotion tip

Jacko compares new team with that of Chris Powell

Johnnie Jackson thinks there are many similarities between the Championship winning team put together by Chris Powell and that assembled by Karl Robinson: Legend's verdict

He is careful not to overdo the comparison, particularly between the two managers which might cause offence in some quarters (but not in others). He describes both teams as 'dynamic' which could mean 'having momentum' which is very important in football, particularly at the right time (as happened in our Greatest Game promotion).

It could also mean running round like headless chickens. However, I think that what Jacko is trying to do is build morale among both the fans and the team which is commendable, although a task that faces its challenges.

I am trying to write an article for VOTV on Karl Robinson and the current situation of the team. It isn't this early in the season, although I won't finish it until after the transfer window closes. It is also getting rather long, but once Rick Everitt puts his green eyeshade on and gets out his blue pencil, it will be cut down to a reasonable length.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Could next VOTV be delayed?

Voice of the Valley contributors like me are working away on our articles for the next issue, but now we are getting concerned that there will be no sub to edit our copy and no one to operate the hot metal presses on which the fanzine is produced. Excitement is mounting about the opening of a new giant Wetherspoon's in the seaside resort of Ramsgate which is home to the VOTV offices: Super Wetherspoons

VOTV staff can't wait for it to open so that they can get in there and have a glass or two. Columnist Airman Brown has said that he is feeling thirsty already!

I don't know what Queen Victoria would have thought of it being named the 'Royal Victoria Wetherspoons.' She might not be amused, although in fact the old Queen had a great sense of humour and can be seen on film laughing heartily. Once a rather deaf admiral came in to pay his respects and she asked how his sister was. He thought she had referred to his ship and replied 'She needs the barnacles scraping off her bottom' at which the Admiral was surprised when the Queen had a fit of laughter. She also regarded herself as something of an expert on the best sexual positions and shocked some people by advising members of her staff on this topic.

As I am in anecdotal mood, and will be opening the champagne later (not yet!) with her proud mum after my granddaughter's better than expected GCSE results, let me tell you one of my favourites ones about the VOTV editor. As he is a pillar of moral rectitude, the only scandals connected with him relate to Charlton.

Rick Everitt took a degree in Politics at Reading. I happened to know the head of department, Peter Campbell, quite well and got on with him. In the late 1980s he courageously came out as leader of the Gay Tories before this was as fashionable as it is in the Conservative Party today (I can think of two declared Cabinet ministers off the top of my head).

Charlton were playing a midweek away fixture at Derby and Rick decided that this was more important than a relatively unimportant exam. Peter Campbell had no knowledge or understanding of football and came spluttering on the phone, baffled rather than annoyed, asking how a good student could put a football match before an exam. I didn't really get anywhere and eventually had to point out as politely as possible that I couldn't be held responsible for the conduct of Charlton supporting students.


Following exchanges with Rick Everitt on Twitter, it is necessary to point out that in fact the VOTV is not printed on a traditional hot metal press in Rick's garden shed; he is not helped by a team of gnomes and elves; and the Belgian bar in Ramsgate is not frequented by Roland and Katrien.

For the avoidance of doubt, the story about the exam is apocryphal. The Rickster did miss an exam at Reading to attend a Charlton match (source The Valiant 500) which shows that he had the right priorities. It is by no means certain that it was a Politics exam. Rick Everitt did not know me at the time (there was a long gap in my support of Charlton in part related to bringing up a family of three).

I do recollect, but memory can play strange tricks after over thirty years, that Peter Campbell talked to me about a football fan who had missed an exam with some bafflement. (He was our external examiner and it was my job to collect him at Leamington station off the Reading train). He didn't specify Charlton and it could well have been someone else altogether. But, as Rick himself admits, it's a nice story and one that can be talked about over a drink at the new mega pub.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Jacko: club going in the right direction

Reflecting on the defeat at Norwich, Johnnie Jackson says that the club is going in the right direction, although one or two squad additions are needed: The right way

I have great respect for Jacko as a player-coach and Louis Mendez as a journalist and this is a well done and informative interview which is worth reading. However, I am sometimes amused by these 'morale boosting' interviews.

After all Jacko is hardly likely to say: 'We're in deep do do if we don't get another striker and an experienced back up keeper; the squad lacks depth and is too reliant on young players; and I don't like being a human shield for Katrien Meire.'

I have no doubt that Jacko does genuinely think that things are going the right way and it is good to have him on board in his current role.

Richard Cawley has tweeted that Luton Town have made a bid for Barnet ace John Akinde. Charlton are not interested. I don't think we need to go fishing in League Two where I think that defences are much weaker. Luton are desperate to get out of League Two: Mad as hatters

Charlton will not sign Will Grigg

Rumours have suggested that Charlton may sign Wigan's Will Grigg, but this is unlikely to happen: Wigan striker

Grigg had two big points in his favour: he is struggling to recover from a knee injury and played for Karl Robinson at MK Dons, admittedly as a loan player.

Time is running out to find a striker at an affordable price. Unsettled Lee Novak may yet leave.

It now appears that the Addicks did make a bid for Grigg, but it wasn't big enough: Coy supremo

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Charlton exit League Cup

A young Charlton side lost 4-1 to Norwich City to Carrow Road tonight, not a surprising result. The Addicks went 1-0 ahead through Lee Novak. Returning from suspension, he provided a rasping shot into the top-left corner from Tarique Fosu's pass, but then Norwich equalised and it was 1-1 at half time.

Josh Magennis came on after 57 minutes and gave the home side some problems, but his presence did not prevent the defeat. Indeed, the best chance for Charlton to get back into the game when they were 2-1 down and Magennis headed wide.

The Canaries had 59 per cent of the possession, twenty shots to four (nine to two on target) and ten corners to five.

The home support gets the prize for the silliest chant of the season so far: 'You're just a small club in Millwall.'

This morning a Canary supporting friend who no longer lives in Norwich posted that he had taken his two boys to their first game. He had to explain to them that it 'wasn't always like this' and described Charlton as 'lacklustre'. He also said, 'We gifted them a goal after five minutes and they looked genuinely puzzled.'

A report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Much changed team

His reports are always good, but he increasingly reminds me of the US vice-president who asked to describe his role said 'You die, I fly.' In the case of Mendez, it sometimes seems like a case of travel a long distance to irrelevant match and stay in the local doss house (although he did do better on his Devon break).

Our priority is promotion.

Robinson gives it large on Carabao Cup

Karl Robinson has made it clear that he can't take seriously a competition for which the draw is at 4.15 a.m. in the morning, not to mention the mistakes that have been made in relation to Charlton in the two draws so far. It was a bit much asking us to put two teams out in the first round.

Needless to say, both squads are depleted: Key men missing

The Canaries have had an indifferent start to the season and are currently 17th after just one win. There also seems to be trouble in relation to the youth players: Youth players defended

I suppose it will be a nice night out for Addicks who have retired to or work in Norfolk, of which there are a few. I was surprised to hear of disturbances in the sleepy seaside town of Cromer which I have always enjoyed visiting, but it has been alleged that members of the travelling community were involved.

Rod Liddle is a Millwall supporter who writes in The Times and the Spectator. To be fair, he has been supportive of the campaign against Roland. In a recent Spectator article he discussed Millwall chants. This must have perplexed the rather conservative and elderly readership, but I suspect they like anything that is politically incorrect. A chant against Gillingham fans involved the placement of lucky heather where the sun doesn't shine.

Enough of the stream of consciousness about this largely irrelevant competition. Goodness knows what the result will be, anything could happen, but I will go for 4-2 to Norwich.

Odds are: Norwich 3/10, Draw 17/4, Charlton 9/1. I don't bet, but if I did, it would almost be worth a punt on the Addicks pulling off a surprise.

Should you be going tonight, please note that the normal route off the A47 to Carrow Road is affected by a road closure.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Big changes at Norwich

Karl Robinson is to make wholesale changes at Carrow Road on Tuesday for the League Cup tie, just as he did at Exeter: Back up squad

This is sensible given the relative importance of the League Cup. We probably wouldn't win with a full first team squad and could pick up injuries.

Saturday 19 August 2017

The big wins always happen when I am not there

Charlton won a convincing 4-1 victory over Northampton Town yesterday: Victory

They did so without me being there. Perhaps I should stay away. I remember missing a 5-1 win over Preston North End when the electric wires came down on the line to Euston. Some Addicks were trapped on a train for hours.

This weekend is my last chance to spend some time with my granddaughters as a group before they take their divergent paths into adulthood: one starts work tomorrow; one is going to music college in Birmingham; one has to make her decisions about which universities to apply to this year. Southampton, where she was born and her father is a season ticket holder, looks like it may be first choice.

I have forecast all three results correctly so far this year on CAFC Picks. I haven't go the scores right on the West Sussex CASC 'Badger' League. We shouldn't be lulled into a sense of false security, as the Chicago Addick has pointed out. We still need another striker.

One Addick who was there commented that the Forster-Caskey goal alone was worth the admission price and that Amos was much better today.

Charlton are now 6th in the table.

Novak's future uncertain

It is being reported that Lee Novak is considering leaving The Valley. It is known that he has been unhappy here for some time and Karl Robinson has held talks with the player's agent. While it is unlikely that many fans will rend their shirts at the prospect of his departure, but it leaves us even more short of 'strikers'.

It can't be a question of wages as Chris Lines has told the Bristol Post that he is surprised how much Charlton players are paid.

Meanwhile, glamour club Barnsley are the latest to be targeted by Chinese investors: Barnsley takeover

Thursday 17 August 2017

Supremo defends Amos

Karl Robinson has defended on loan keeper Ben Amos after suggestions that he was responsible for the second goal scored against Charlton by Plymouth on Saturday: Shaky start

Robinson says that the ball went through Chris Solly's legs, a claim that is being investigated in case it qualifies for an Alan Pardew Half Baked Excuses award. Robinson also claimed that Amos was not match fit yet as he had not played pre-season.

Charlton's defending at corners continues to be a concern, but Robinson said: 'Ben Amos came out to claim corners, something we maybe haven't had in the past. But then, the problem with that is he might drop one or two and people only focus on the one.'

Dillon Phillips remains reserve keeper for now and has yet to go out on loan. He is regarded as a work in progress and Charlton had hoped to sign an experienced back up keeper.

KR: I can't guarantee we will sign a striker

Karl Robinson has said that he cannot guarantee that Charlton will sign a much needed striker before the transfer window: Worrying update

Looks like will be playing 1-1-4-4, subject to fitness and suspensions.

The supremo had his alibi ready, 'It’s not my fault, it’s previous things that have been done and maybe people have been left to do what they need to do and put us in this position. We’ve not really spent money in the summer, we’ve done things right. I’m not one for wasting money, I like to do things in the correct way and give young players a chance.'

Robinson made an implicit response to criticisms that he failed to take Courtney Baker-Richardson for £20k:'You can bring a striker in for a minimal fee but does he really have an effect and drive the football club forward? I’m not sure. We have to have someone who is going to have an effect.' I can see the force of this argument, but sometimes it is worth taking a risk on a young player if he would not cost much in wages.

Charlton were interested in a loan deal for prolific Bristol City striker (and former Gashead) Matty Taylor, but it is no surprise that he is not available in this window: Staying in Bristol

I do not think that Robinson is at any risk. He has developed an effective working relationship with Katrien Meire and would seem to be on good terms with her.

Investors target Football League clubs

Tying the kangaroo down seems to be difficult

The annual BDO survey of football finance directors has a good reputation. The 2017 report finds that investors are increasingly targeting Football League Clubs with a 'staggering' level of approaches being reported: Takeover targets

I don't know whether Charlton's 'chief financial officer' was one of those who responded to the survey. So far we only know of interest in Charlton from the Australian consortium and judging from the report in the last VOTV Roland seems to blow hot and cold about this.

I suppose it's always possible that someone else might be interested, but this would depend on a realistic asking price, particularly in relation to the accumulated debt pile.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Those were the days

On Saturday my non-league team, Leamington, play Stockport County at home in the National League North. I won't be there or at The Valley as it is my last chance to spend some time with my granddaughters before they become, in effect, adults. One starts work on Monday; one is off to music college in Birmingham; and the third is deciding whether to enter the exacting selection process for Cambridge University.

In 2000 Charlton were away at Stockport. In those days I travelled away on the West Sussex mini bus. Usually, I met them in a quiet road just off the M40 junction. Once they took a wrong turn and I had to clamber down the embankment to be greeted by a number of them answering a call of nature.

On this occasion my car had broken down so the minibus came into the Royal Spa where bemused residents saw Charlton supporters clambering out for a toilet break. Not surprisingly, they managed to meet a Coventry City supporter, but, more surprisingly, a Watford fan.

Fortunately the guy who drove a hearse was not at the wheel that day and we made good time to the Railway End at Stockport. Pitch announcer Brian Cole managed the challenge of squeezing through the narrow turnstiles.

I found the programme which contains an extraordinary discussion of the toilet on the Charlton team coach. Read more here: Where you when you were good?

Thanks, but no thanks

Charlton are not going to sign free agent Cameron Stewart. He would only have been signed if Ben Reeves had not come: No deal

What everyone is waiting for is news of a striker being signed, but nothing appears to be immediately on the horizon.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Life outside the Premiership

The pharmacist in my local chemist is a keen Sunderland fan. We haven't talked about football at length for a while, but we did yesterday.

Of course, we talked a great deal around the time of the Greatest Game. I think that particularly at the time there was little ill feeling between the two clubs, rather the contrary.

He said that when Sunderland were in the Premier League, he hardly paid any attention to other leagues. I asked him if he got fed up with the endless relegation struggles, but he said they were exciting.

Many pundits have written Sunderland off this season. Four Four Two which admittedly does not have a great track record predicted a 14th place finish, but that echoed the views of others. However, they have made a stronger than expected start to the season.

My pharmacy friend said that he had found out that there was a programme about the Football League starting at 9 p.m. on Saturdays which he had never heard of, but was finding really exciting.

He did not realise that Charlton were now in League One and had heard nothing about Roland and the protests against his ownership. League One was terra incognita to him, 'there be dragons'.

Today we celebrate (or not, according to your views) 25 years of the Premier League. I enjoyed Charlton's years there, even if did mean playing matches on odd days at odd times. I doubt whether we will ever return, but getting to the Championship is a reasonable aspiration.

For more of my views on the Premier League: Huddersfield Town and When I dedicated a book to Curbs

Also Hyper inflation and Win, lose, on the booze

Monday 14 August 2017

League Two ace could be new striker

Barnet's John Akinde could be the answer to Charlton's striker problem. He has been buzzing in League Two and would probably cost around £1m: Barnet target

Not good enough for Charlton: Courtney Baker-Richardson joins Swansea City

Baker-Richardson came on for Swansea City in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night and provided a cross that allowed the winning goal to be scored against Cheltenham Town.

Former Charlton and West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet is on trial with Cardiff City: Welsh chance

Katrien Meire has been re-elected to the FA Council: Victory

Signing new striker is imperative says Pearce

Some Charlton fans think that Jason Pearce has more of the qualities of a Charlton captain than the much respected Chris Solly. Louis Mendez of the SLP is back from his sojourn in the west country eating cream teas and touring Plainmoor.

He has been talking to Pearce who says that it is imperative that Charlton sign a new striker before the transfer window closes: We must land a new striker

As Richard Cawley has tweeted, it's a commonly held view, but there's no harm in repeating it.

Karl Robinson didn't sound too hopeful at the weekend, emphasising all the difficulties. It sounded as if he had been looking his Great Big Book of Excuses again.

Pearce has also leapt to the defence of Ben Amos. This is a captain talking: In defence of the keeper

Saturday 12 August 2017

Charlton 14th after Devon defeat

Photo: Louis Mendez

Charlton are 14th in an admittedly provisional League One table after losing 2-0 to Plymouth Argyle at Home Park. The score was 0-0 at half time. Jervis scored for the home side in the 53rd and 87th minutes.

It was the Addicks who had the first chance as captain Chris Solly's thumping long-range drive was saved by Pilgrims goalkeeper Luke McCormick. McCormick immediately bettered that stop with a brilliant reaction save to send striker Josh Magennis' close-range follow-up around the frame of the goal and safety. Ben Amos matched his opposite number's efforts, going full stretch to fingertip Gary Sawyer's shot around the post. From Graham Carey's corner Amos also relied on instinct, using his feet to clear Jervis' first-timer off the line.

In his post-match interview Karl Robinson felt Charlton did not take their chances in the first half when they were on top.

Jervis would not be denied in the 54th minute, with the striker finishing at the far post after central defender Ryan Edwards nodded down Carey's corner.

Fans have been expressing concern that we had to play an unfit player up front and about the lack of depth in the squad.

Karl Robinson told the SLP's Richard Cawley that the hunt for a striker continued, but a reliable goal scorer was not easy to find and expensive by League One standards: Striker search

Charlton have even looked at the bottom of the Conference. If they had looked one tier down they could have had ex-Coventry City Courtney Baker-Richardson for £20,000 from Leamington. He was certainly better than tier two of the non-league. Swansea City (and Leicester City) thought he was worth a punt and he has joined the Swans.

He was a player who had suffered from the Sisu induced turmoil at the Sky Blues and had to rebuild his career in the non-league system.

Crystal Palace lost 0-3 at home to debutantes Huddersfield Town.

So, farewell then, Tony Watt

After talks with four Belgian clubs including Lierse, Tony Watt is set to seal a deal with Heverlee Oud-Leuven this weekend: Valley exit

The club plays in the second division in Belgium: Leuven. The city of Leuven is known for its breweries, including Stella Artois. The city was brutally sacked by the Germans in the First World War with mediaeval manuscripts being burnt. However, it has a fine restored town square where you can enjoy a Stella or two. It is now a Flemish speaking area.

The mercurial Scot had his fans and his detractors. For my part, I offer the message from the newsreels when Neville Chamberlain stood down in favour of Winston Churchill: 'Thanks for all you tried to do.'

Charlton are left short of strikers. Leamington's ace striker and former Coventry City player Courtney Baker-Richardson has signed for Swansea City for an undisclosed fee after a tussle between them and Leicester City: From non-league to Premiership

Leamington have made it clear that they will reject any offers for their captain and Sam Bartram style keeper Tony Breeden. Bin man Breeden's chant is 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' With a fierce and powerful shot, he has scored from open play after charging down the wing and scored a penalty against Wolves to win the Birmingham Senior Cup.

Here is what each Charlton manager on the managerial merry go round said about Watt: You what?


There has been a correspondence in the Financial Times this week about why the King of Belgium is called the King of the Belgians. Is it:

  • (a)To try and reconcile the Flemish and Walloon communities which threaten to tear the country apart
  • (b)Because the King of France had called himself King of the French to signal that absolute monarchy was over
  • (c)Because of Belgium's colonial aspirations which lead to Belgians living overseas

A suitably Belgian prize will be offered (not moules and frites with Roland). No takers yet, so maybe I'll incorporate it in the Christmas quiz.

Another one who got away

When Dale Stephens moved to Brighton a Seagulls fan I knew (sadly no longer with us) asked me what I thought. My response was that he could expect the occasional sensational goal, otherwise although he was a very competent player, he was nothing special.

How wrong I was. In its Premier League season preview The Times says: 'Dale Stephens is very important to Brighton, so their best piece of business was probably to get him to re-sign.'

In the Four Four Two preview fan Scott McCarthy says, 'Our most underrated player is Dale Stephens. He isn't flashy, but you notice when he isn't playing.'

He made 84 appearances for Charlton between 2011 and 2014, scoring 10 goals: Career details

Good luck to the Seagulls, especially against Palace.

Friday 11 August 2017

Derby want Lookman on loan

Derby County want to take Ademola Lookman on loan from Everton to replace Tom Ince: Lookman

Lookman made eight appearance for the Toffees last season, but has been on bench warming duties pre-season.

Green Army

Plymouth Argyle are forecast by Four Four Two to finish 9th in League One this year, having 'found their natural level', while the fan quoted thinks they will sneak into the play off places.

Fiery Glaswegian manager Derek Adams is known as 'An excellent wind-up merchant ... who leave behind a long string of grudges in the bottom division.' It will be interesting to see how he gets on with voluble Scouser Karl Robinson.

Key player is Graham Carey. He was the subject of intense transfer speculation, but signed a new contract just one day before his existing one was due to expire. In 96 outings, he has scored 26 goals and provided 29 assists.

New recruits include Ryan Edwards, a solid centre back brought in from Morecambe, while Jamie Ness from Scunthorpe is expected to add midfield bite. Ruben Lamerias from Coventry is rated as a gifted playmaker. Gregg Wylde has been brought in from Millwall to add width.

Not surprisingly, Argyle feel that they didn't learn very much from Charlton's midweek outing at rivals Exeter: Grecian blank

Addicks fans are waiting to see who the referee will be (John Brooks from Leicestershire) and whether he has signed up to the referees' conspiracy identified by Karl Robinson. It is thought that this might have got underway at a pre-season gathering of referees when it was suggested that they should try and award a red card to Charlton at each match. Any referee failing to do so would buy a round of drinks at the next get together.

Robinson may well be a 'highly respected' manager as the Plymouth paper calls him, but he should take some lessons from Katrien Meire and the PR consultants on keeping his mouth shut.

I find this a difficult match to call but I am going for a 1-1 draw and no red cards. Our last league game there (2010/11) ended 2-2. Odds: Plymouth 8/5, Draw 11/5, Bristol Rovers 9/5

(Rather late) CAS Trust preview here: Argyle

I'd like to express my appreciation for all that Plymouth Argyle do to help with football training for youngsters on the Isles of Scilly, help that is much needed. Remember that my weekly football slot is on Radio Scilly on Saturday mornings, usually between 9.45 and 10.00: Radio Scilly

Thursday 10 August 2017

Why Dillon Phillips is not ready for No.1 spot

Karl Robinson has explained why he thinks Dillon Phillips is not ready for the No.1 spot. He still hopes to bring in a back up keeper before the end of the transfer window: Not yet ready

Robinson has praised the board for flying the team to Exeter for Saturday's clash with Plymouth (he uses the word 'jetting' but I would have thought 'turbo prop' was more appropriate): Jet set

It's still a fair way from Exeter to Plymouth on congested roads, but Plymouth Airport has closed.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Red card takes edge off victory

A red card for Andrew Crofts took the edge off Charlton's 2-1 victory over Exeter City in the Carabao Cup. A fuming Karl Robinson implied that the Addicks are being targeted by referees: Cup victors

The supremo was in a defiant mood after the game, giving it large. In a post match interview with Louis Mendez before he headed to Liverpool he said that he did not care if he 'got done by the FA': Tough talk

There were seven Academy graduates in the side and they all played their part. The goals came from Billy Clarke and Regan Charles-Cook.

308 Addicks made the trip to Devon in an attendance of 2,699.

Monday 7 August 2017

Roland to sell Sint Truiden?

Reports in the Belgian press are suggesting that Roland Duchatelet is considering selling Sint Truiden to Japanese investors. This would be a surprising as if Roland has had an emotional connection with any football club, it is home town side.

If Roland sold the mother ship, would he be more inclined to sell Charlton? In the latest Voice of the Valley Rick Everitt has identified the Australian billionaire behind the Australian consortium interested in buying Charlton. He seems to be a good guy in more ways than one. At one time the Australians thought they were close to securing a deal to buy Charlton, but matters seem to have cooled in the last few weeks.

Charlton consider bid for Godden

With striker worries continuing at The Valley, Charlton are considering a £1.5m bid for Stevenage's Matt Godden who has been linked with the club before. Stevenage have already down two bids from League One clubs: Striker bid

Karl Robinson has now knocked back hopes of an approach for Godden, implying that it was a rumour started to increase his value: Rumour mill

Sint Truiden have sacked their manager after two games, one of which they won. It is thought that Chris O'Loughlin, who recently returned to the mother ship, may be in the frame.

David Martin training at Charlton again

David Martin has been training at Sparrows Lane again: Free agent

Karl Robinson is looking for a back up keeper for first choice Amos with Dillon Phillips likely to go out on loan. Martin has the merit of having played for the Franchisees, but he is interested in regular first team football so he is not a solution.

Watt can shine, says Solly

Tony Watt can shine in the absence of Lee Novak and Josh Magennis, says Charlton captain Chris Solly: Striker shortage

Karl Robinson defended Watt's role in the game by saying he was only following orders. However, I am not sure that he executed those all that well. Instead of chasing the ball or marking players, he seemed to be standing still or wandering around aimlessly quite a bit of the time. The effort wasn't there.

I hope Chris Solly proves me wrong.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Magennis out for two weeks

Josh Magennis will be out for two weeks with a knee injury. Karl Robinson has not ruled out further comings and goings in the squad: Magennis

A completely changed side will be taken to Exeter for Tuesday's Carabo Cup match against the Grecians with Academy players given a chance to show what they can offer.

10 man Charlton battle for the points

10 man Charlton battled for the points in a 1-0 nil win over Bristol Rovers yesterday. They showed considerable resolve after they went down to ten men after five minutes and there was good team work. Bristol Rovers also failed to take advantage of the situation.

Novak had the chance to show what he could offer Charlton today but went in for a completely unnecessary challenge. The referee hesitated but then showed red. It could have been yellow, but the referee has grounds for his decision. There was then a scuffle in which Solly out himself about and for a moment I thought that a yellow card had been shown.

Charlton stood firm after the early blow while Gashead's bearded wonder Sinclair was advised that he lived 200 miles from Shoreditch. On 38 minutes Bauer scored for Charlton. I did not think that it had completely crossed the line, and Karl Robinson later admitted that it hadn't, but the linesman gave it.

Congratulations to Stuart McRae on winning the crossbar challenge at half time and £10,500. He had been practising and Jason Euell's advice to stay calm paid off.

Rovers still failed to offer any sustained pressure after the break, although Amos had to save from new boy Liam Sercombe. Tom Lockyer's 35-yard lob nearly caught the keeper out, but he tipped it over the bar. Tony Watt was brought on after 70 minutes in the hope that he might score a second goal, but he was a complete waste of space, failing to chase the ball. The sooner he goes out on loan the better.

In the last 15 minutes or so Rovers started to dominate the game more, possibly because Charlton were tiring after playing so long with 10 men. We were vulnerable down the left with No.3 for Rovers, Lee Brown, looking threatening. However, we held on, to the relief of the recorded attendance of just under 13,000 (there seems to have been a late surge in season ticket sales).

Amos only had one save to make, given the wayward nature of the shots from the visitors. However, he seemed to have trouble holding on to the ball, punching it out riskily at one point. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'He's a typical Charlton goalkeeper.'

Fosu had been billed by one commentator as likely to be a 'livener' from the bench, but he started and made a considerable contribution. Clarke got a standing ovation when he went off. However, my man of the match was Jay DaSilva who showed real skill.

Football League Paper player ratings

Amos, 7; Solly, 6; Bauer, 8 (star man); Pearce 7; DaSilva, 8; Forster-Caskey, 7; Kashi, 8; Fosu, 8; Clarke, 7; Holmes 7; Novak, 2; Watt, 4; Ahearne-Grant 5. It is unusual to get so many scores of 8.

Friday 4 August 2017

Bring on the Gasheads/Pirates

Charlton secured their biggest aggregate score against the Gasheads aka Pirates last season, but we should not expect a repetition this season (although in any case they finished above us in 10th place): CAS Trust Preview

The only Jordanian owned team in the Football League have seen owner Waed-al-Qadi increase the budget and they are forecast to finish 3rd by Four Four Two. Manager Darrell Clarke is regarded as 'One of the hottest properties outside the Premier League.' The 39-year old is said to be an ace at reading body language and identifying tactical problems. 'He is also said to excel in pre-game team talks, gauging the mood in the side's dressing room and always saying the right thing before the game starts.'

Liam Seccombe is regarded as a key player. The classy 27-year old midfielder fell out with Oxford boss Michael Appleton. They still need a replacement for top scorer who crossed over to Bristol City in January.

Defender Tom Broadbent has an interesting back story. He is technically still in the Army until September and was shot at in Afghanistan: Tom Broadbent

Odds are: Charlton 13/10, Draw 11/5, Bristol Rovers 15/8. We have won two and drawn one of our last home encounters with the Gasheads and I am going for a 2-1 win tomorrow.

Man in the middle is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire.

Tomorrow is the first time the Alan Pardew Award for Half Baked Managerial Excuses will be available (although not necessarily awarded).

Why Stephy Mavididi move broke down

Karl Robinson has explained why the move to bring Stephy Mavididi broke down. Charlton did not even get a chance to sit down and talk to the youngster for whom Arsenal clearly have other plans: Why move broke down

'That's football,' shrugged the phlegmatic supremo.

Should we sign Matt Godden?

Charlton should sign prolific Stevenage and former Ebbsfleet United striker Matt Godden this website urges: Splash the cash

No doubt we will see a lot of 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 this season. What the post overlooks is the importance of Ricky Holmes when it comes to scoring goals.

I am actually quite happy with the squad, other than a lack of strength in depth. Injuries and suspensions could reveal a vulnerability.

Thursday 3 August 2017

One good thing to come out of Ramsgate

The economist and Aston Villa supporter John Maynard Keynes insisted that nothing good ever came out of Ramsgate. Everything there was second or third rate.

However, there is one first rate thing that comes out of Ramsgate and that is Charlton fanzine Voice of the Valley. The murky seas and chalky cliffs that made such an indelible impression on Keynes do not seem to have deterred editor Rick Everitt and the first issue of the new season will be on sale around The Valley on Saturday.

Following the 6-1 demolition of Ipswich in the final pre-season friendly, the fanzine asks if things are finally looking up for the Addicks on the pitch, with Kyle Andrews taking an in-depth look at the transfer window. There's a special focus on player of the year Ricky Holmes, while Rick Everitt has been to see what's been going on at Sparrows Lane over the summer. The usual crew of vinegar pissers has been rounded up to contribute articles. In my case, the Rickster tracked me down in the Orkney Islands to provide copy.

This issue will come with a free sachet of vinegar to enhance the reading experience. If you can't or won't come to The Valley, it is possible to take out a postal subscription. The fanzine will be delivered in a plain wrapper for you to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your own home. More details at Voice of the Valley

Robinson has injury worries

Karl Robinson has a couple of injury worries ahead of Saturday's opening game against Bristol Rovers, but he won't say who they are: Injury doubts

The manager says that he knows seven of the players who will start the game.

Robinson has denied that Josh Magennis has turned down a contract extension: Comfortable conversation

Unfortunately, the deal to bring Neymar to Charlton fell through, the player deciding he preferred Paris to London.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Robinson happy to wait for Reeves

Karl Robinson is happy to wait for Ben Reeves to decide whether he wants to come to Charlton. Championship clubs are still chasing the midfielder: Why the deal is taking so long

Which will be the longer wait? Reeves or a 161 bus?

One thing you can say about Karl Robinson is that he finds the time to keep the press up to date with what is going on.

According to a CAFC Facts and Stats tweet, Reeves is joining today (Thursday). Mavididi is going elsewhere and Watt is leaving sooner rather than later.

Apparently there has been Championship interest in both Watt and Harry Lennon. Karl Robinson has hinted that Watt may go, but Lennon is going to stay and get himself fit: Duo attract interest

Reeves spent the night in Greenwich and has emerged unscathed. Karl Robinson reckons he will be a star player and will get fans off their seats: Set to sign

The long awaited signing was finally completed on Thursday evening with a two year contract: Done deal

Fans proved wrong

Katrien Meire and Roland Duchatelet have proved Charlton fans wrong over the summer, claims this blog post: Fans get it wrong

It's 'Bravo!' for Katrien Meire according to this article, the key being the recruitment policies. Of course, a lot of that is down to Karl Robinson, but at least Meire and Duchatelet gave him a free hand.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But I am certainly am prepared to get behind the team and hope they exceed my expectations. The starting eleven looks competitive for this division, but I still have some concerns about a lack of strength in depth.

According to one online poll, Charlton fans are pretty divided between those who think we will finish in the promotion or play off places, and those who predict an upper mid table finish.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Robinson doesn't fear the axe

Charlton manager Karl Robinson does not fear Roland Duchatelet's propensity to use the axe on his manager. Indeed, he is closing in on Guy Luzon's ten month record as a Charlton manager under the current regime: Unfazed supremo

Robinson said that the transfers had been done differently and more economically this summer. He also discussed Chris Powell's time as manager.

Robinson hopes to get Stephy Mavididi back from Arsenal on loan. His spell at Charlton was cut short by a serious hamstring injury: Arsenal striker

Robinson wants to get Charlton back where they belong

Karl Robinson has said that he wants to get Charlton back where they belong, saying there was an honesty to the club in the successful period under Alan Curbishley: Summer of change

Robinson said that he had only spoken to Roland Duchatelet once or twice over the summer and had been given a free hand.

There is no doubt that Robinson has been working hard to turn things round and his heart is in the right place. But it's a results business.

Former Charlton interim manager Kevin Nugent has joined Millwall in charge of first team development.

Phillips to be sent out on loan

Dillon Phillips is to be sent out on loan. Karl Robinson admits he does know anything about goalkeeping, but reckons Phillips will be No.1 at The Valley in the future: Highly rated

The club is intending to sign a No.2 keeper to back up 'monster' Ben Amos, but it looks as if no one with a MK Dons pedigree will be available.