Saturday 30 September 2017

Searching for Roland

I was in Brussels from Thursday to Saturday. At one time I always seemed to be back and forth on Eurostar going to tiresome meetings in windowless rooms in Commission offices. I never thought I would be back in a work capacity again, but we live in interesting times.

Work tasks completed, I thought I would make a few enquiries about Roland, but the general response I got was 'Roland Who?' He had a higher profile in the Belgian capital when he had his own political party and was running in parallel with the then Commission agenda to use football as an integrating force.

However, then I hit pay dirt. I was having coffee with a lobbyist and it transpired that his father was a Charlton supporter and he had been to some games at The Valley himself, although he now supports Spurs. He is going to make some enquiries among Belgian contacts.

Fosu hat trick puts Charlton back in play off places

A hat trick from Fosu gave Charlton a 3-1 victory at Fleetwood this afternoon and put them back in the play off places at 5th.

It was a fairly even affair until Fosu pounced on Ricky Holmes' chip towards the far post to put the Addicks ahead. The game then opened up and Fleetwood equalised when Devante Cole fizzed a ball into the box where Bobby Grant was looming to fire a left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner.

Jokes started to circulate on the internet about Charlton being unable to hang on to a lead, but Fosu struck again five minutes before the break as he danced past several static Fleetwood bodies in the box before poking the ball past Alex Cairns.

The home side searched for a leveller in the second half, with boss Uwe Rosler switching to three in attack, but they could not find a breakthrough as Charlton claimed the all-important next goal. Jay Dasilva released Fosu to sprint towards goal, riding the challenge of Town skipper Nathan Pond before firing home to complete his hat-trick.

Charlton were denied a fourth by the flag as Forster Caskey's goal was ruled out.

Report from Louis Mendez is here: Away day triumph

VOTV editor made the long journey from Ramsgate to Fleetwood and his match report is here: Fosu on fire

Tuesday 26 September 2017

'I'm like a broken record' admits supremo

Charlton chief Karl Robinson admitted that he was like a broken record in his post match interviews as he thumbed through the well worn pages of his Great Big Book of Excuses. Charlton should have been out of sight after the first 35 minutes and had to be better in certain situations. He was desperately trying to get miracle worker Naby Sarr on as a substitute when the second Walsall goal was scored: Keep repeating myself

Karl Robinson has also explained why more has not be seen of Joe Dodoo. He points out, reasonably enough, substitutes have to make an impact. Reading between the lines what he is really saying is that Dodoo is not good enough: Limited playing time

There were no pipers playing laments when he left Glasgow and that should have told us something. The fact is that he was a last minute stopgap after we had been unable to sign a quality striker because the funds weren't there.

Charlton denied at the death

It looked as if Charlton might take all three points at Walsall tonight, but a last minute equaliser meant they had to share the spoils, although they remain 7th in the table. Addicks also had to digest the news that Jason Pearce will be out for ten weeks with knee ligament damage.

Rick Everitt tweeted that Charlton were well on top in the first half. They scored a good goal in the 13th minute when Tarique Fosu controlled Jake Forster-Caskey's lofted ball over the defence before superbly slotting home under pressure inside the box.

Saddlers goalkeeper Mark Gillespie did well to keep out Billy Clarke's thumping drive before exceptionally tipping Josh Magennis' header onto the post.

It was a slightly fortunate equaliser for the hosts in the 41st minute as Tyler Roberts stuck his leg out to turn Nicky Devlin's cross from the right home. Right at the death Holmes seemingly secured all three points as he volleyed home after Chris Solly's cross was cleared.

But a mere twelve seconds after kick off Agyei supplied the equaliser with a curling strike from distance as Walsall levelled for a second time.

Five lessons we learned from the game: Same old Charlton

Karl Robinson has said that both Ben Reeves and Mark Marshall with feature at Fleetwood, although quite possibly from the bench: Boost

Monday 25 September 2017

Possible changes at Walsall

There is speculation about possible changes for the Walsall game. While supremo Karl Robinson has been speculating about rotating players as Charlton seek their first win in four games, the only likely one is that the injured Jason Pearce will be replaced by Ezri Konsa: Three changes?

The Saddlers are currently 13th in the table and in a similar position in the form table, having won 2-1 at Oxford on Saturday. Their home record is better than their away record: they have won two and drawn two at the Bescot. In previous games at this level since 2009, we have drawn two, lost one and won one.

Walsall were predicted to finish 21st by Four Four Two. Their fan commentator said, 'The club has lost the fans' support over the summer due to some bad calls, so they need to prove themselves again. We will finish just outside the drop zone. It's going to be a hard season to watch.'

Unfortunately, their key player is their goalkeeper and we saw on Saturday how a good keeper can deal with Charlton's efforts on goal. Mark Gillespie was brought in from Carlisle.

Odds are: Walsall 9/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 6/4.

Remembering a key victory at Walsall

Charlton were away at Walsall on 7th March 2000. A fan recalls, 'That was a great game in the championship. Charlton on the way to promotion under Curbs. How different the atmosphere around the club is now.'

So many Charlton legends played. My match report was as follows: 'Sack the Board.This was the final ironic chant of jubilant Addicks at the Bescot Stadium after a 4-2 win over Walsall gave Charlton 12 league wins in a row and put them 12 points clear at the top of the table. Indeed, around four hundred Walsall fans demonstrated afterwards using the same chant with real feeling.

Charlton had gone 1-0 down after Graham Stuart had conceded a penalty which Dean Kiely was unable to save. However, two goals from Andy Hunt and one from Mark Kinsella put them 3-1 ahead by half time. The Saddlers came out determined to be reseated in the second half and eventually made it 3-2. But Mark Kinsella replied almost immediately to make the final score 4-2.

I have rarely heard the Addickted in such good voice as they were at Walsall. Waiting for our train in the concrete wastes of Birmingham New Street, we suddenly heard a spirited and loud rendition of Valley Floyd Road. On arriving at the ground, we were astonished to learn from the programme that in fact Grimsby were playing Walsall, but a hastily xeroxed insert apologised for the mistake. We were equally astonished to find that the home of Rushden and Diamonds at Nene Park is more luxurious and has larger stands.

We found ourselves among a group from the Covered End, Block E who quickly launched into a whole range of Charlton songs dedicated to different players such as 'Stevie Brown, he won't let you down.' Later, a row did break out between (male and female) Covered Enders about whether the 'South London' song was sexist. However, a great barrage of noise was kept up throughout the match. There were some hilarious moments such as when a very horizontally challenged lady St.John's Ambulance worker went past who was embraced by a bare chested and also horizontally challenged Addick to a chorus of 'who ate all the pies?'

It was all too much for the Saddlers: one cloth capped local gesticulated in despair. I have never seen home fans leave a match so early. The Walsall area used to be known for its skill in the old craft of pattern making and it was Walsall rather than Charlton who imposed a pattern on the early part of the game as the visitors had to remind themselves that the nature of the stadium did not mean that they were playing in the San Siro at Welling. Robbo got down the wing on six minutes and put in a cross that went straight into the hands of the vertically challenged keeper. Ricketts was the nearest thing Walsall had to a danger man and made up in determination for what he lacked in skill and Deano had to save from him on ten minutes. Robbo decided to have a run on goal, but it predictably came to nothing.

The Saddlers showed that they meant business with a shot from Wrack that went just wide on seventeen minutes. Charlton then conceded an odd corner as a result of a long clearance by the somewhat unsettled Kinsella who had already given the ball away once. Kiely had no difficult in collecting the ball straight from the corner kick. Then disaster struck. Stuart put in a tackle on a ball which was either going out of play or at worst would have produced a corner. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and it has to be said that he was right to do so. Robins took the kick for the Saddlers and although Deano managed to touch the ball with his foot it ended up in the back of the net. Looking rueful, he was probably wishing that the Evening Standard had not chosen to focus on his chance of a club clean sheet record.

Charlton were soon back in it, however. A minute later Robbo put in a cross to the man up front Andy Hunt who out jumped Viveash to put the ball in the back of the net. Eight minutes later Robbo did a repeat with another cross for a Hunt header unchallenged by the porous Walsall defence. Then in time added on Newts put in a great ball to Kinsella which he drove into the back of the net. 3-1 to the Londoners.

Walsall won an early corner in the second half and drew a good save from Dean Kiely. Then a few minutes into the half they had a goal ruled offside. They were certainly looking determined, however, while Charlton seemed to be prepared to sit back more. Shaun Newton did, however, burst through and tried a shot for once. Unfortunately, it went straight at the keeper who was not able to keep hold of it but then save for a second time. Walsall continued to push forward and were given plenty of space by an unusually lax Addicks defence. Kiely had to punch one ball out, thankfully forcefully. Matias shot wide after a rare error by Steve Brown had allowed him to advance. Ricketts got in a one-on-one with Kiely on 59 minutes, but Warwick's finest diverted the shot on to the post and then scrambled to save it. A Walsall free kick was headed off the line, apparently by Barness.

However, a goal for the home side was looking increasingly likely and it came after two Walsall corners in succession. From the second on 65 minutes Vlachos used the ball from Matias to put in a downward heaver. Resilient as ever, Charlton swept down the other end from the re-start. Kinsella picked up a loose ball in the area and put it decisively into the back of the net.

At 4-2 to the Londoners, it looked unlikely that the Saddlers could gallop back in, but Tiler was brought on in place of Stuart to strengthen the defence. Murmurs of 'Pringle' began to be heard from the faithful and shortly before the half hour he was brought on in place of Svensson. Inevitably, he missed a chance to score from a few yards out, having been played in by Newts. There have been contrasting accounts of what happened, but it looked to me as if the keeper made some kind of interception before the ball hit the post. There was one final scare when Walsall were given a free kick within shooting distance, but the ball was easily cleared. The ref wanted to keep play going for as long as possible, but we eventually made the train. While waiting on the platform, a great cheer went up when it was learnt that the Spanners had lost at home to Scunthorpe, prompting a chorus of 'We hate Millwall' to the bemusement of the good folk of the Black Country.

It was an exciting and enjoyable game, although certainly not Charlton at their best. Walsall were given too much space to exercise their admittedly limited skills. But a win is a win, even in a Conference style stadium nestling under a motorway. I was surprised to read on the list that our supporters have been quiet. They were certainly noisy where I was and people seemed to be in a mood to relax and enjoy our continuing progress. I found that I was still hoarse when I started to lecture at 9 the next morning.

Controversial match analyst Bob the Dog felt it necessary to take a walk while he cogitated on the choice of the award of the Silver Bone. John Robinson was one possible candidate, but he had already got the official Man of the Match award. Much improved Anthony Barness was also a possibility. In the end, the wily canine decided to award the Silver Bone to manager Alan Curbishley. Tuesday night was another great team effort by Charlton and it is a team assembled and coached by Curbs. As the usually modest and cautious Curbishley said after the match, 'twelve wins on the spin is a fantastic achievement.' One person on the list has started a 'Curbs must go' campaign which seems incredible when the team is twelve points ahead at the top of the division. Curbs has his faults, we all do, but the time had come to recognise his achievements.

Dean Kiely did not keep a clean sheet, but apart from one rush out of goal, he had another good game. He is on Bob's short list for Player of the Year. Chris Powell had another excellent game and was a contender for the Silver Bone. Incredibly, my notes contain remarks as 'good header by Barness to Kinsella' and 'Barness cleared off the line'. Credit where credit is due, Barney has made great strides since rejoining the team. Rufus made some key interventions once again. Steve Brown was as dependable as ever. Newts provided a superb assist for Kinsella to score, although he could have made more of his own chance to score. Stuart did not have his best game before conceding the penalty and seemed unsettled afterwards. My notes for the first half contain a couple of references to Kinsella losing possession in potentially dangerous situations, often by failing to take the safe option rather than the clever one, but all that is cancelled out by his two goals.

There had been fears that Robbo might not play because of an ankle injury, but there he was fizzing away and providing two great assists for Andy Hunt to score. Another two goals from the league's leading scorer Andy Hunt . What more can one say? I thought that Svensson gave his all again, but he lacks that something special one finds in a player like Clive Mendonca. Curiously enough, I think that Martin Pringle has something special. The anti-Pringle camp's views will have been reinforced by another failure to score, but he causes havoc among opposition defences. And before any one compares him with Carl Leaburn, let me say that the lanky Swede is a far more skilled if unpredictable player. Tiler did a solid job when he came on and will be a worthy replacement for Rufus at Maine Road.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has given her Hiss of the Match for the first time ever to the stadium which she regards as unfit for a pedigree puss to frequent.

Reeves to feature in next two games

Ben Reeves is to feature in the next two away games at Walsall and Fleetwood: Ben Reeves

I assume that he will start from the bench, given that he is only just returning to fitness. Indeed, the original plan was to start him in an under 23s game, so there is just a hint of panic here.

Magennis confident he can do the business

Josh Magennis is confident he can do the business for Charlton this season and perhaps score 20 goals for the first time: Likes proving people wrong

Magennis implies that Charlton did not need to bring in another sure fire striker. However, the argument for that was not that Magennis was not good enough, but that he could not be expected to do it all on his own. If he gets injured, we are in trouble and in any case we will lose him occasionally for international duty.

Joe Dodoo does his best, but he is not really a reliable League One striker. The real issue was whether Roland was prepare to loosen the purse strings as part of a serious bid for promotion rather 'let's see if we can get lucky and do it on the cheap.'

I don't blame Karl Robinson for this, although it does show the limits of his effective working relationship with Katrien Meire. He should also avoid raising expectations by cutting out some of the hyperbole, no wonder some fans are calling him 'Gobby'. The attendance was under 10,000 on Saturday, even with the chance to get in for £5 if you could claim an affiliation with Greenwich University.

There are whispers about possible Chinese interest in the club. Many years ago I did an April Fool's Day spoof on a Chinese takeover. It could become a reality.

Elsewhere, Roy Hodgson has unveiled a cunning plan to prepare Crystal Palace for their game against Manchester United: a closed doors friendly with Bromley. Shouldn't trouble Bromley.

Saturday 23 September 2017

EFL to review conduct of club owners

The English Football League has issued the following statement: 'The ongoing issue of the conduct of club owners, directors and executives is one that has been repeatedly raised by the media, government and other key stakeholders, and has on many occasions led to public perception issues for the League, its clubs and competitions. It was therefore agreed at the Summer Conference that there was a requirement to conduct a review.

At its meeting today, the EFL and clubs formally began a consultation in an attempt to understand what the specific concerns are and whether they can be dealt with under existing regulations or if reform is required in an attempt to avoid future reputational damage.

The consultation will look to: a) discuss with clubs an appropriate formulation of the responsibilities expected of the clubs themselves, the club owners, directors and other relevant employees; b) begin to outline conduct which could be considered contrary to those objectives, and how the EFL would begin to assess whether that conduct falls short of what is expected at any particular level; c) begin the process of developing guidelines on when the EFL may intervene to remind clubs and individuals of their responsibilities and where appropriate remedial action is not taken, proceed to regulatory action if it is viewed that the conduct is bringing clubs and/or the EFL into disrepute.

Clubs will now respond formally to a consultation paper and the matter will be discussed further later this season.'

It will be noted that the consultation will not talk to disgruntled fans or even to their representative organisations such as CARD.

One can imagine that Charlton will say that their protests were orchestrated by disgruntled ex-employees and easily led hangers on and that the club has learnt from earlier mistakes and is now a new course. But still heading for the rocks.


Supremo may rotate at Walsall

Karl Robinson is considering rotating his squad for Tuesday's match at Walsall. Joe Dodoo has been pressing for a start: Freshening things up

However, as the shell shocked supremo comes to terms with the fact that Charlton's squad is too thin for a sustained promotion challenge, he made it clear that he is no dictator. Any changes would be discussed with Johnnie Jackson and Lee Bowyer.

A photo has appeared on Twitter of Jason Pearce leaving the ground on crutches.

Josh Magennis does not feel down after the draw and points to the quality throughout the squad: No reason to be in the dumps

Still over 50 years without a victory

Charlton chief Karl Robinson gives it large about the referees' conspiracy

It is now over 50 years since Charlton beat Bury at home and this afternoon's game at The Valley ended 1-1, the same score as at half time. Charlton dominated possession 58 per cent to 4 per cent and had eight shots on target to three for the visitors. However, Bury committed 19 fouls to six for Charlton.

Magennis scored on 38 minutes, making use of a pass from Forster-Caskey, after Charlton fell behind to an early goal from Jermaine Beckford.

After a lacklustre first half, Charlton began creating more opportunities in the second, with Billy Clarke seeing a deflected effort parried away by Murphy, while Patrick Bauer should have done better with an off target header. Murphy was kept busy, showing good reflexes to deny Forster-Caskey from close range before tipping Magennis' last-minute header wide to earn Lee Clark's side a point. No surprise that Murphy was named as star man by the Football League Paper.

The match showed how much we depend on Ricky Holmes.

The Addicks have slipped out of the play off places to seventh. It's a sobering fact that seven of our nine games have been against teams 14th or lower.

Supremo Karl Robinson has complained about his lack of attacking options and says that the substitutes who do come on don't make a big enough impact. He was also critical of his players' performance in the first twenty minutes: Honest admission

Bury boss confident of win

With top scorer Jermaine Beckford back in the side after recovering from a knee injury, Bury boss Lee Clark is confident that his side will beat Charlton at The Valley this afternoon: Win certain

44-year old Geordie Clark is a hard taskmaster on the training ground. He expects his men to as they are told and charge through brick walls without questioning his methods.

Beckford arrived in the summer from Preston. He knows his way to goal at this level, having scored 72 times in 116 League One games for Leeds from 2007 to 2010.

33-year old Beckford has played at 11 different clubs: Career details

Friday 22 September 2017

Not quite a bogey team

I didn't realise that we haven't won at home against Bury for over fifty years: No victories

Admittedly we haven't played them that often but the game that sticks in mind was a frustrating 0-0 draw at home in Division One on 31st January 1998, the year of the greatest game. (We had already drawn the away fixture 0-0). Bury had some big defenders, but above all they had Dean Kiely in goal and we learnt the right lesson from that by recruiting him.

Bury are currently 3rd from bottom in League One and second from bottom in the form table. Away from home they have won no matches, drawn one and lost three. Looks like a nailed on Bury win then! The absence of playmaker Ricky Holmes through suspension has to be a concern.

Last year they finished 19th and Four Four Two predicts an advance to 18th this season.

Our two previous matches at this level resulted in a 1-1 draw in 2011-12 and 0-1 defeat last year. Odds are: Charlton 3/4, Draw 11/4, Bury 17/5.

Clearly we need to get back to winning ways. Can we do it? I would like to think so.

No more disruption say CARD

The Campaign Against Roland Duchatelet say that there will be no more disruption of matches, but they will continue to seek the Belgian owner's removal: Still want him out

Quite how this will be achieved is unclear, although it is doubtful whether more protests would have any effect. In my view the most effective protests were in Belgium, not least when Roland's 'live feed' was interrupted by a banner paraded past the restaurant window.

Danny Murphy was asked some time ago on Talksport what would satisfy protesters and he said 'Results'. There's a bit more to it than that, but fans are prepared to give Karl Robinson a chance to show what he can achieve.

Thursday 21 September 2017

Scott Parker's bad career choice

This When Saturday Comes essay about Scott Parker has been around for a while, but is worth a read. It argues that Scott Parker's departure from Charlton stalled his career, as well as being bad for the Addicks: A sorry tale

If he had stayed, we might have had an outside chance of qualifying for Europe that season.

'I was stupid' admits supremo

Charlton chief Karl Robinson has admitted that he was 'stupid' to put Ben Reeves into a competitive game at the beginning of the season, but his progress is such that he may be able to 'drop in' to an under 23 game before long.

Mark Marshall's progress from the treatment table is behind that of Reeves, but he may soon be able to join the first team when they warm up: Injury update

I think that the claim in this report that they are 'nearing a first team return' is a bit misleading.

In a subsequent interview, Robinson said that Ahmed Kashi and Chris Solly are fit enough to play three games a week, notwithstanding the quick pace at which Charlton play: They can do it

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Double thrill for ultra Addickted

Any Addicks among the 154 at Park View Road tonight for the Kent Senior Cup clash between Welling United and Charlton had a double thrill. First, they saw popular Valley hero Roger Johnson come on a substitute as part of his fight back to fitness. He later picked up a yellow card for his collection.

Then, Naby Sarr scored an injury time winner to propel the Addicks into the quarter final of the competition. The Wings had earlier been reduced to ten men.

'I saw Naby Sarr' score t-shirts would be more of a niche market than 'I saw Leaburn's hat trick' (which I did).

Meanwhile, tickets are available for Saturday's match against Bury for £5. All you have to do is to take part in the University of Greenwich's 'takeover day' by declaring yourself to be a student or staff member: Takeover Day

Sale rumours are just that

Rumours have circulated on social media that Roland Duchatelet is close to selling Charlton: Rumour mill

We have been here before, of course. One day the rumours will be true. I am not saying that these rumours are baseless, there have been discussions with interested parties before now. It's just that I can't validate them from any reliable source.

Sunday 17 September 2017

Richard Collins

I am sad to report the death of Richard Collins, ex CAFC Chairman and long serving director. He served as a director under five Charlton chairmen from Michael Gliksten to Martin Simons and had two spells as chairman in the 1980s.

Former director David Sumners said, 'A Charlton man through and through, a very good friend, very kind with a big heart. He will be sorely missed.'

A long-term fan commented, 'That is very sad news and breaks another link with the most enjoyable and successful time in Charlton's post war history.'

Saturday 16 September 2017

Gills manager escapes curse of Charlton

Gillingham manager Ady Pennock offers a rare example of a manager not being sacked after playing Charlton when that was scheduled to happen. According to The Times he was due to be informed at the end of the game by director of football Peter Taylor and chairman Paul Scally that his services were no longer required.

Noberto Solano had been lined up to replace him. Solano was the first Peruvian to play top flight football in this country and has been working as Peru's assistant coach.

Unfortunately, the Gills bosses failed to take into account Charlton's tendency to lose matches they should be able to win and Pennock has got a stay of execution.

Supremo blames inexperienced subs bench

Shell shocked Charlton supremo Karl Robinson has claimed that an inexperienced subs bench contributed to Charlton's defeat at Gillingham yesterday with those who came on failing to make an impact. The continued unavailability of Marshall and Reeves is constraining him: Shouldn't have lost

Any club is going to have some injuries at some point in time and as the season goes on there will be suspensions, Ricky Holmes being the first of those, although he was unfortunate to be the victim of a wrong decision by a referee still adjusting to a lack of methane and Earth gravity after being brought in from Titan.

The simple fact of the matter is that what Robinson likes to call a 'streamlined' squad is too thin and lacking in depth. There is a limit to what you can ask developing youngsters to do, however potentially talented they may be. The blame for the thinness of the squad ultimately lies with Roland who hopes to get promotion on the cheap.

88-year old record comes to an end

It was always a risk of relying on our 88-year old record of not being beaten by Gillingham in the league. Charlton went down 1-0 at Priestfield this afternoon and are now 6th in the table.

The home defeat to Wigan was excusable, but failing to even get a point from the bottom club is far more worrying. It calls into question the narrative of the club having turned a corner. Charlton made Gillingham look good.

A further blow was that Ricky Holmes needlessly picked up a fifth yellow card in the nine minutes added on and will now be suspended. Referee Graham Salisbury subsequently apologised for giving the yellow card as all Holmes did was to throw the ball down on the ground to where the free kick was to be taken. He will still miss next Saturday's game against Bury: Referee's apology

The stats would seem to suggest that Charlton had the upper hand with 54 per cent of the possession. They had 23 shots on goal to nine for Gillingham and of those twelve were on target as against five for the hosts. The Addicks had eight to corners to two, but those they did have seemed to be cleared very easily. One needs chances, but one also needs to take them and get the ball in the back of the net.

The luxury away end at Priestfield was sold out with 2,358 Addicks present. They had to queue for some time to get in and then some had to stand in the aisles and gangways. Given what they then watched on the pitch, it was perhaps not a great surprise that three smoke bombs were thrown on the pitch towards the end of normal time. I am not advocating such action, but it reflects a deep sense of frustration.

On four minutes Holmes put in a cross to Magennis but he fired straight at the keeper, setting the scene for much of what was to follow.

On 12 minutes the home side got a free kick on the edge of the box. It rebounded off the bar and was headed in, but was ruled to be offside. Nevertheless, Sky and other websites had the score as 1-0 to Gillingham for some time, causing confusion among absent Addicks.

Ehmer received a yellow card for a foul on Holmes and this was followed by a booking for O'Neill. The Gills keeper Holy seemed to be leading a charmed life and was really man of the match. A volley from Clarke was blocked, and he put it straight back at the keeper from 25 yards.

There was a penalty shout on 40 minutes after Fosu got hacked down, but a corner was awarded. Further analysis suggested that the Gills had got the ball through Fosu's legs. Kashi got a yellow card for a foul on Byrne. Wagstaff was down for some time and had to be replaced by Parker.

HT: Gills 0, Addicks 0

After a Charlton corner, a Gillingham break saw Amos deal well with a dangerous cross with Eaves lurking. Magennis put in a shot from six yards out, but the keeper saved.

On Tuesday night, I thought that we were vulnerable on our right, although I wasn't sure why. This proved to be the case again with the Gills breaking through down their left, allowing Eaves to score from close range on 54 minutes. It's all very well saying it was against the run of play, but Gillingham seized an opportunity which Charlton had failed to do.

And so it went on. Clarke was hauled down on the edge of the box, but Holmes was not able to make anything of the opportunity and put the ball wide. Fosu was replaced by Dodoo on 68 minutes, but the substitution hardly made Charlton hearts beat faster. Indeed, Dodoo's main contribution seems to have been a tame shot from 25 yards out on 76 minutes.

In the meantime, Bauer had come close to scoring with a header, but his effort was cleared off the line by Byrne. Karl Robinson then made his last throw of the dice, taking off the unimpressive Forster-Caskey and the more impressive Clarke. Konsa came on, as did Ahearne-Grant. Unfortunately, the youngster's best is not good enough for League One. We simply don't have enough firepower up front. Indeed, it was Konsa who provided more of a threat with Holy having to deny him from point blank range on 88 minutes.

The keeper got a yellow card for time wasting. Magennis fired at the keeper on 89 minutes. Charlton matches usually go on well after 5, and nine minutes were added on. However, one could have added ninety minutes on and the Addicks wouldn't have scored. Holmes got an avoidable yellow card for bouncing the ball in frustration when a free kick was awarded against Magennis. Pearce put the ball into the side netting.

The report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Robinson will be deflated

Two pieces of good news about former Charlton players. Legend Dean Kiely has been appointed goalkeeping coach at Preston North End. Nick Pope made some superb saves to ensure that Burnley got a point from their fixture at Liverpool.

Indeed, two former Charlton keepers were interviewed on Match of the Day. Pope praised the team spirit at Burnley, while Newcastle's Rob Elliot also appeared, having made an excellent save against Stoke.

Also there is the Legends United match tomorrow to look forward to. Perhaps, as Louis Mendez has suggested, Ricky Holmes could serve out his suspension there.

Palace break record

Could Pardew return to provide a safe pair of hands?

Crystal Palace have become the first team in the top flight to go five games without a goal. Under miracle worker Roy Hodgson they went down 0-1 at home to Southampton. It's just possible that both the Addicks and the Glaziers could be in the Championship next season.

Torrential rain soaked some Palace supporters during the match.

Some jokers have suggested that Hodgson's own future may be in doubt: Hodgson sacked

Robinson keeps faith with defeated side

Karl Robinson is starting with the same eleven that were defeated by Wigan on Tuesday, the right call in my view: Boss keeps faith

Scott Wagstaff is reported to be starting for Gillingham.

Barnsley takeover has lessons for Charlton

Barnsley FC are about to be taken over by a high powered consortium that involves both Chinese and American money and individuals with a proven track record in football and baseball. Barnsley is hardly the most glamorous of locations, but the new owners hope to replicate the success enjoyed by clubs from small northern towns such as Burnley and Huddersfield: Barnsley's new owners

Charlton are located in London, but not in the most fashionable part of the capital, although important changes are taking place both locally and in the wider catchment area. There is clearly potential, but it should be noted that Barnsley made a £13m profit last year and have a debt of just £6m.

Thursday 14 September 2017

Rebooting the run is the task at Gillingham

The Bloke Behind Me had it in a nutshell on Tuesday night: 'We were beaten by a better team.' Saturday's short trip to Gillingham gives Charlton a chance to reboot their promotion challenge. We have not lost a league game to them since 1928/29. Over 30 games played, we have won 14, drawn 12 and lost four.

Gillingham are currently bottom of League One and are yet to win a match at home. Last season they finished 20th, surviving by the skin of their teeth after Port Vale failed to find a late goal on the final day. This season Four Four Two is forecasting a last place finish.

Fan Danny Smith told the magazine, 'This season will be different to last because we're starting with much lower expectations.' Asked, 'Are you concerned about Gills' lack of firepower, especially with Cody McDonald gone, he replied, 'I am. But then I am pretty concerned about the defence and midfield as well.'

Owner Paul Scally is involved in an expensive legal battle with former club caterers Centerplate which is scheduled to be heard in court before long. Four Four Two refer to 'unsavoury issues behind the scenes.' I don't know what they mean, but it sounds as if the club has bigger woes than Charlton.

For the hosts Lee Martin serves the first of a three match ban following his sending off against AFC Wimbledon. Billy Bingham (concussion) will be assessed up until the last minute to see if he is fit to play. Bradley Garmston (calf) and Aaron Morris (knee) are definitely unavailable although Liam Nash (tonsillitis) will return.

When the Rickshaw was launched Gillingham took exception to what they saw as an invasion of their home turf in the Garden of Kent, but in reality their support is concentrated in the Medway towns. I don't have any figures to hand, but my guess would be that there are more Addicks than Gillingham fans in Kent as they have dispersed from the home boroughs. It is perhaps symbolic that fanzine Voice of the Valley is now produced from the Isle of Thanet.

This is a must win game, but the so-called 'Kent derby' could always provide a banana skin.

Our last two matches against Gillingham at this level ended in 1-1 draws. Match odds are: Gillingham 27/10, Draw 27/10, Charlton 19/20. Odds on Charlton for promotion are 3?1. Relegation 33/1.

The day the earth moved

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has provided an online freebie. It is not about a cliff fall in Ramsgate or what happened when the VOTV staff left the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons after putting the latest issue to bed.

His article from VOTV 136 on what has been happening with the redevelopment of Sparrows Lane can be downloaded here: The day the earth moved

Few injury worries ahead of Gills game

Charlton chief Karl Robinson has few injury worries ahead of Saturday's match at Gillingham. Josh Magennis picked up a minor knock but is expected to be available: Injury update

Ben Reeves is moving towards match fitness. He thus follows an honourable tradition of new Charlton recruits having a spell on the treatment table at Sparrows Lane.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Reality check, but no need to panic

Charlton's 0-3 defeat at home to Wigan last night was a setback, but there is no need for a Crystal Palace style panic. Charlton have only dropped to 3rd and the next two games are promising. Gillingham should be beatable, even if they put their caravans in front of the goal to compensate for their weak defence. We should also be able to beat Bury. As VOTV editor Rick Everitt tweeted, 'The good news is we are not playing Wigan on Saturday.'

Wigan looked the stronger side from the start of the game last night and are clear promotion candidates. They immediately started to threaten down our right and had great pace. They had a number of big lads in their team and were not afraid to get physical, indeed perhaps the referee should have awarded yellow cards before he did. Their passing was very accurate.

It was also clear that having just one forward up front was not much of an answer. Magennis was wandering lonely as a cloud at times as the midfield seemed to evaporate as it went back to help the defence, often to no avail.

Supremo Karl Robinson said with some justice that Wigan were the best attacking team in the league, but blamed himself as much as the players: Chief's apology to fans

One concern is that Ricky Holmes picked up his fourth yellow card for an unnecessary foul: One booking away from suspension

Robinson praised Addicks fans for staying on at the end of the game to applaud the team, but I must admit that Steve from Petts Wood and I left when the third goal went in, which is very unusual, although in my case making sure that I catch the last train and don't have to pay £40 for a taxi from Banbury is a consideration.

My day started at UCL where I finally convinced them that I am a UK citizen so that over lunch we discussed work plans up to 2020. However, after reading my horoscope in the Sub-Standard I'm not sure I will be here that long!

Great view towards my old home halfway up Shooters Hill on the Dangleway

I ticked one item off my bucket list when I took a trip on the 'Dangleway' as one Charlton blogger likes to call it. (He now appears to be following West Ham). It may not add much to London's transport infrastructure, and it needs a heavy police presence to guard it, but it is a very enjoyable tourist attraction.

I had booked in for the curry night in the North Stand. After getting over being addressed as 'Wayne' and asked if I had come down from Wigan during the day, I have to say that the young staff were very friendly and the curry was excellent.

Then it was time to take my seat in the East Stand for the evening's 'entertainment'. I don't have the official attendance figure, but the contingent from Wigan was small and there were a lot of gaps. Our row in a prime position in the East was about a third full.

The visitors threatened as early as the opening minute when Massey sent a diving header just wide of the right post from Michael Jacobs' cross. Shortly after Jacobs then tested goalkeeper Ben Amos when forcing him to dive to his left to save his shot from 10 yards. Although Amos did quite well, his decision-making can be poor.

Charlton's first sight on goal came in the 23rd minute when Tariqe Fosu's powerful strike was unconvincingly saved by Jamie Jones. The Addicks followed that with a fine effort from Jake Forster-Caskey who struck the left angle before Josh Magennis headed the rebound wide with Jones already beaten. We thought that Magennis should have done better.

Wigan took the lead at the worst possible time on the stroke of half-time. Reece James produced a low cross that beat Amos and the Charlton defence to leave Massey with a tap-in. One couldn't say it was against the run of play. At times it was like watching Leamington succumb to superior opposition.

The second arrived with similar ease in the 70th minute. After collecting a long ball and under little pressure, the lively Nathan Byrne played in Massey who, similarly unchallenged, had the time to powerfully pick his spot into the bottom left corner.

Continuing the theme of static defending, after Jay Dasilva's attempted clearance fell to Morsy, Wigan's captain (and yellow carded charm merchant) controlled possession and shot in off the left post three minutes from time.

All the pounding on London streets had taken its toll on my unoperated knee, so thanks to those who helped me up the East Stand steps.

Despite not getting home until 12.30 to be confronted by a cross cat, I do find night games at The Valley strangely invigorating, even when we lose.

Are Charlton interested in Josh Wright?

Former Addick Josh Wright was at the Charlton v. Southend game on Saturday and it was thought it was because he was seen as a potential signing for the Shrimpers. However, they do not have the readies and suspect that the Addicks may be interested in the free agent: Josh Wright

However, it appears that Plymouth Argyle are now in the frame.

In a varied career which has taken him to some of the most salubrious locations in the lower leagues, including Scunthorpe United and Gillingham, Wright spent most of his time with the Addicks out on loan and only made two appearances: Career details

It's the hope that kills you

I have full day in London today, not least going to University College London with my documentation to prove that I am a UK citizen and, yes, I was born in Greenwich but not on a foreign registered vessel (or the Woolwich Free Ferry for that matter). At least UCL are offering me lunch.

I am looking forward to tonight's game, particularly after not being able to get to London on Saturday (thank you, Richard Branson). I think it will be a real test of our promotion credentials. Wigan are currently 8th in the table and have won two and lost one away from home. The defeat was 1-0 on Saturday to league leaders Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews celebrated their 3000th league match with their first win over the Latics since 1991. Wigan charm merchant Ryan Colcough was red carded after the match for foul and abusive language.

Wigan manager Paul Cook said after the game: 'Our big lumps [shurely big players, ed] didn't perform. We lacked a clinical finish in the first half but we have to piock ourselves up and react in a positive way to a negative result.'

Four Four Two forecast a 4th finish for Wigan at the beginning of the season. The fan commentator also thought they would finish in the top six which sounds plausible. The magazine commented, 'A large chunk of the squad that won the third-tier two seasons ago remains in place, even if the club does not have quite the same clout from parachute money that it had then.'

The big risk now is excessive expectations.

Jason Pearce is aggrieved at being let go by Wigan and determined to get one over them, let's hope his efforts don't cross any lines and upset Surrey referee Charles Breakspear: Facing former club

I am using Deutsche Bahn today to avoid the risk of any travel disruption. My efforts to get some compensation out of Virgin seem unlikely to succeed given the need for funds to repair hurricane damage on Richard Branson's private island.

Odds: Charlton 7/4, Draw 21/10, Wigan 33/20.

Monday 11 September 2017

Central defence in tune

Jason Pearce says that he is pleased with how his defensive partnership with Patrick Bauer is developing and talks about how they deal with the big lumps they face in League One: Coping with the big men

As far as Neil Ranger is concerned, who was only released from prison the day before, I would have thought his electronic tag might have slowed him down.

Ricky Holmes has been selected for League One goal of the week by The Times this morning. The citation says, 'A tight turn on the edge of the Southend United area created space for a low shot into the bottom corner.'

Sunday 10 September 2017

Palace cancel goal of the month competition

Crystal Palace have cancelled their goal of the month competition. Instead, fans will be asked to choose which of the seven defeats in the last eight games was the most promising.

It is 1924 since a team in the top flight lost their first four games without scoring a goal (Preston North End).

Palace have now sacked Frank de Boer after 77 days in charge of the Glaziers and England maestro Roy Hodgson is tipped to succeed him: Merry go round. You'd almost think you were talking about Charlton.

Former Addick keeper Rob Elliot, born in Greenwich, was in goal for Newcastle in their 1-0 win at Swansea.

He signed for the Barcodes in 2011 and has made 42 appearances, he is now 31: Career details

Saturday 9 September 2017

Cracker of a game expected against Wigan

Charlton chief Karl Robinson is expecting fireworks on the pitch when Wigan Athletic visit on Tuesday: Boss knows exactly what to expect

He regards them as one of the most well-resourced teams in the league, so evidently he has been looking at the index in his book of excuses under the heading 'Moneybags'.

It is concerning that both Ahmed Kashi and Chris Solly need assessing before Tuesday because of long-term injuries. Kashi in particular has been key to Charlton's revival this season. Solly was Karl Robinson's man of the match on Saturday.

I failed to make the game yesterday. Having bought a ticket and got on the platform, we were then told that Virgin Pendolino services were disrupted because of unexplained problems in the Birmingham area. I suppose I have the consolation that my money (apx. £40 when you add in £5 parking) will go towards the restoration fund for Richard Branson's hurricane hit island. Next time I should go with Deutsche Bahn from Leamington.

I will be using them on Tuesday, as I am planning a day of activities in London. Katrien's alma mater, UCL, is giving me some hassle. I have done work for them for several years and I do have associate fellow status, but they have now decided I may be masquerading as a British citizen. The fact that I was born in Greenwich cuts no ice, indeed it has led to suspicions that I was born on board a ship. So I have to turn up in person with my passport.

I decided to take in the curry night before the match, but despite assurances that my ticket would be popped in the post when I booked last week, it has not arrived.

Charlton go second after win on the spin

Charlton are second after a 2-1 win at The Valley this afternoon. Two goals in three minutes in the second half from Magennis and Holmes saw the Addicks take all three points with the Shrimpers replying from a corner.

It was a bit of a slow start from Charlton against Southend United. Two early Charlton corners were unproductive. There was good work from DaSilva to stop McGlashan past him with the ball. Solly inadvertently gave the ball to Kightly and Pearce had to recover the situation. A Southend corner went over the crossbar. Clarke put in a dangerous cross, but it was dealt with by the visitors.

Amos kept out a deflected cross and Ranger fired wide. Kashi put in a speculative effort from 35 yards which was fisted out by Oxley in the Southend goal. A great break from Fosu and Holmes led to a Charlton corner. As the half hour mark approached, Pearce was not too far wide from the edge of the box. Oxley saved from Magennis as Charlton imposed themselves on the game more. A Cox shot was dealt with by Pearce.

A Magennis shot was deflected for a Charlton corner. The lively Clarke was only just wide from the edge of the box. McGlashan was booked for a foul on Kashi.

Charlton were not having it all their own way, and one frustrated fan tweeted, 'Where's the Charlton of the last few weeks gone?'

HT: Addicks 0, Shrimpers 0

The second half started quietly and the first event of note was a Charlton corner won by Holmes on 53 minutes. An effort by Forster-Caskey was saved. On 57 minutes Magennis was unable to connect with an excellent Fosu cross. Good work by Clarke won Charlton a corner. A long throw led to a Southend corner.

On 65 minutes Fosu fed Solly who set up Magennis who put the ball in the back of net. This was followed three minutes later by a great goal by Sheffield United target Ricky Holmes. With his back to goal on the edge of the box he turned his man and put the ball in the bottom right-hand corner.

Southend pulled one back on 79 minutes, White making use of a corner, a situation where Charlton are always potentially vulnerable.

An equaliser threatened on 83 minutes when Amos couldn't deal with a cross, but Magennis cleared off the line. Clarke got a yellow card for kicking the ball away at a Southend free kick. Kightly was booked for a cynical foul on Fosu as he broke clear.

On 86 minutes Holmes went off to a standing ovation and Dodoo made his Valley debut. Fosu was then replaced by Konsa. Amos claimed a Southend corner on 90 minutes.

Five minutes was added on by the referee, surely unreasonable given that Ranger had to be indoors by 7 pm to comply with the conditions of his curfew. He won't be able to go to next week's away game at leaders Shrewsbury Town.

Karl Robinson said after the game that his man of the match was Chris Solly. He bigged up Southend, saying they had not been given enough respect: I haven't looked at the table!

The words 'respect' and 'Southend' reminds me that a friend of mine wants her ashes tipped off the end of Southend Pier. As she is a bit younger, I may not have to participate. It's not something I anticipate with relish on a cold day with the wind blowing off the estuary.

The match report from Louis Mendez of the SLP can be found here: Perfect Valley record

Earlier in the day my companion on the Cat Awareness Day stall in the Royal Priors said that she had never met a Charlton Athletic fan before.

Friday 8 September 2017

Shrimpers boss hopes to sign Josh Wright

Beset by injury problems, Southend United boss Phil Brown (at 58 the oldest manager in League One) hopes to sign former Addick Josh Wright in time for tomorrow's game at The Valley. Wright was released by Gillingham after playing four games for them: Former Addick

Southend 'bad boy' Nile Ranger has a double task tomorrow: beating the Addicks and beating his curfew. He has to be back in his drum in Tottenham by 7 p.m. to comply with the terms of his release from prison last month, and Phil Brown thinks it will be a challenge given the state of the London traffic: Beating the curfew

Southend are currently 15th in the table, having drawn one match and lost one away from home. Charlton are top of the form table and the Shrimpers are mid-table. Last Saturday they drew 0-0 at home with 10-man Rochdale. Keith Hill complained that Brown had influenced the referee by having a 'touchline cuddle' with him. Brown said that with the defensive crisis at the club, he was pleased to keep a clean sheet.

Last season they finished 7th and are forecast to take 10th place by Four Four Two. The fan interviewed by them forecasts a finish in the play offs.

No definite news has been heard recently of a planned move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm, much needed as Roots Hall is literally falling apart.

The CAS Trust preview suggests that expectations level at The Valley tomorrow will be at their highest for three years: Great expectations. Let's hope they are not disappointed, although I am as confident as I can be of a win. Nothing is ever certain at Charlton: I remember a shock 0-3 evening defeat at home to Southend when both clubs were in what was then Division One.

Odds are: Charlton 13/10, Draw 12/5, Southend 2/1. The referee in line for a touchline cuddle is Gavin Ward of Surrey.

Previous results at this level: 2009/10 Charlton 1 Southend 0; 2016/17 Charlton 2 Southend 1

Thursday 7 September 2017

Upbeat mood in Ramsgate

There's an 'unusually upbeat' tone to the second Voice of the Valley of the season which comes out tomorrow: New issue. One reason is Charlton's good start to the season. Another is suspected to be the opening of the Wetherspoons mega pub in Ramsgate where VOTV staff have been refreshing themselves.

It's not just regime apologists, hangers on and the usual suspects who have been buoyant in the last week or two. There is no doubt that the atmosphere in the dressing room has improved and this has contributed to better performances and results.

However, it's not quite a case of 'Roland and Katrien, all is forgiven.' As one fan who styles himself a modest critic of the regime, 'They are learning from their mistakes, but we are still burdened by them.'

Often Charlton seem to be playing teams that are at the top of the table when we meet them or are just coming into form. Playing some of the weaker teams in the division has helped us to get off to a good start. Long may it continue.

Remember that if you order your VOTV online by 3 pm, it will be posted out today by first class mail using the super efficient Isle of Thanet postal service. Alternatively, you can buy it from around The Valley tomorrow. As usual, if you want a selfie with editor Rick Everitt take your selfie stick along to his pitch opposite the club shop.

Who let the dogs in?

Photo by Charlton author Paul Breen

The club is considering taking a leaf out of the practice at non-league clubs of admitting dogs to the ground. It is felt that this would boost attendances as soon fans would be more willing to come if they could be accompanied by their canine companion. The decision has not gone down well with Charlton supporting cats.

Robinson praises Roland

Karl Robinson, the longest serving manager under the current regime, has praised Roland Duchatelet, saying that he has not interfered in first team affairs: Longest serving manager

Roland is evidently still taking advantage of his live feed (when not enjoying moules and frites at a local restaurant). He texts Robinson about performances, praising them when the team have performed well but not got a result.

A more sceptical note has been struck by VOTV editor Rick Everitt. Tweeting from his Ramsgate base (aka the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons), he said that the decision to bring in Chris O'Loughlin must then have been taken by Karl Robinson which is hard to believe given that Russell Slade was sacked over it.

Normally reliable sources suggest that Robinson and Meire have a good working relationship.

Holmes is not for sale, insists supremo

In the face of renewed interest from Sheffield United, Charlton chief Karl Robinson has made it clear that the star player is not for sale. It is thought that the Blades might make a bid in the January transfer window: Not for sale

Of course, there is a difference between making a declaration of intent in September and what actually happens when a Championship outfit comes along with an offer that is attractive to the club and the player.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

VOTV staff head for the pub

Ramsgate: Some of the worst fears of Voice of the Valley readers were realised when it was reported that fanzine staff were heading to the country's largest pub, the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons on the resort's seafront. Would the staff be too merry to complete the task of editing and producing VOTV 137?

However, it now appears that the latest issue has been put safely to bed. The articles have been sub-edited, the pages set up and everything sent off to the printers ready for Rick Everitt to drive his white van up from the coast and Saturday and distribute copies to his happy band of helpers to sell around The Valley.

The staff are off to the pub to celebrate what the Rickster has called a 'cracking' issue. I must admit that I was concerned about my own article which was the longest I have ever written for the fanzine. It struck me as a little too stream of consciousness and I urged Rick to make liberal use of his blue pencil once he had donned his green eyeshade.

Rick has certainly had to write less of the issue himself and among the contributors are Kyle Andrews who is in my view one of the best online commentators on Charlton, particularly when it comes to match reports. There is also an article by an ex-director and an ex-player interview. Rick is pleased with the range and quality of the interviews, so he may go beyond one pint of shandy at the Royal Vic.

Ironically, just as Charlton are doing much better, my non-league team Leamington are doing much worse. I inadvertently had some teeth dislodged in the celebrations when Leamington's keeper scored the opening goal against Alfreton Town last night (they eventually lost 2-3) and have an early morning visit to the dentist tomorrow.

Sam Bartram was my boyhood hero

Canine supporters help boost the attendance at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium

I have to admit that Sam Bartram was my boyhood hero at Charlton. He was a bit of a showman and a risk taker which is perhaps why he didn't get very much in the way of international preferment.

My father was very sceptical about his retail venture in Floyd Road, saying that people went in there thinking they would be served by him when he had installed a manager. His own subsequent career in football management was not that successful, but then he became a football writer in a day when the Sunday papers liked to have 'big names'. Probably if there had been Match of the Day he would have been on it occasionally, although he didn't have a lot to say for himself in the way that the likes of Alan Shearer do.

Leamington's current keeper, Tony Breeden, is the nearest keeper I have ever seen in style to Bartram, although not of the same quality. However, the sight of him tearing down the pitch unsettled opposition teams and there is a particular pleasure in seeing a keeper score other than from a corner or a penalty. Now that the Brakes have been promoted to the National League North, he is find life more challenging and the club are second from bottom.

Tony Breeden saves in the penalty shootout at Molineux, having scored the first penalty. Crowd is to left.

In particular, Breeden was noted for his fierce and accurate shots, but seemed to have lost his shooting boots. I last saw him score at Molineux against Wolves Under-23s to win the Birmingham Senior Cup, a splendid Victorian trophy that sits in the boardroom.

Last night, however, the madcap biman got his first goal of the season, leading to the chant not heard for a while: 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' Leamington still lost 2-3 though.

Monday 4 September 2017

Forster-Caskey's story

Jake Forster-Caskey was featured in yesterday's Football League Paper. He got his double barreled name because his father was Darren Caskey, the former Spurs, Reading and Notts County midfielder; his stepfather is Nicky Forster, a striker, who also played for Reading and for Brentford.

He finds both of them a great help with their extensive Football League experience: 'They definitely keep me grounded when things are going well and they're good to turn when things aren't working out or when I'm going through new experiences. It helps more when you're at a low more than when you're on a high because they've been there and done that.'

The midfielder said, 'I came to Charlton in January and I felt towards the end of last season I started performing how I expect myself to perform ... When I came in, we had a lot of good players but I'm not sure there was a winning mentality. There haven't been too many new players coming in this summer, but the mentality has definitely changed.'

Forster-Caskey played on loan for Karl Robinson at MK Dons and believes he is benefiting from being given the freedom to play under Robinson. 'He has gathered a good group of players and we have young, hungry players who want to do well for the club.'

'I'm looking to get back into the Championship, and that's where Charlton want to be too.'

Was Holmes criticising supremo?

In what might look to some like an implicit criticism of Charlton chief Karl Robinson, star player Ricky Holmes has said that he would not have let Lee Novak and Andrew Crofts leave the club: Star's regrets

In particular he was gutted to see the departure of Novak with whom he roomed. Who he will have to share with now remains to be seen.

Billericay Dickie

Former Addick Paul Konchesky was in the media spotlight once again when he appeared for big spending Billericay Town in the FA Cup on Saturday. Our sister site looks at what is going on in the Essex town under their new owner: Giving it large

Sunday 3 September 2017

A good transfer window?

This blog post thinks it has been a good transfer window for Charlton. Certainly there have been positives and the article makes a good point when it says that the biggest boost has been the return of Kashi: Transfer window review

Boosterism gets a good welcome in the present optimistic mood. However, Northampton and Oldham are clearly both struggling teams and I would be cautious about reading off a sure promotion challenge from these early results. Things do look better than last season, however, particularly in terms of the cohesion of the team.

Oldham manager is first to get half baked excuses award

A smooth take off with Alan Pardew

Oldham manager Chris Sheridan has been the first recipient this season of the Alan Pardew Half Baked Excuses award devised this summer by Four Four Two after he blamed the referee for 'ruining' yesterday's game at Boundary Park. He also blamed known trouble maker Chris Solly for getting charm merchant Ousmane Fane sent off: Sheridan blasts referee

On this occasion the prize is a framed copy of a 'bent' Pardew £20 note.

Saturday 2 September 2017

Charlton go 3rd

Charlton went third after a 4-3 victory at Boundary Park against Oldham this afternoon with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Oldham were down to men on 54 minutes following a second yellow card.

'Who needs strikers?' Holmes opened the scoring for Charlton on 18 minutes, followed by Fosu on 21 minutes. Clarke scored on 62 minutes and Dodoo on 72 minutes. Dodoo is the 80th Charlton player to score on his debut and the 8th from the bench.

Kashi and Holmes were thought to be class acts today.

The sequence was 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 (penalty against Bauer) which was the half time score. Then 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4.

A full report from the tireless Louis Mendez is here: Big win 'oop North

Discussing the match, Karl Robinson said he was proud of his players but: 'I don't think we were great. We were great in the first 35 minutes, but we came off it. We got sloppy.'; Gritty win

Football League Paper rankings

Compared with last week's stellar rankings against Northampton these suggest a less good performance, particularly for the defence: Amos, 5; Solly, 6; Bauer, 5; Pearce, 5; Jackson, 6; Kashi, 6; Forster-Caskey, 7; Fosu, 8; Clarke, 7; Holmes, 8; Ahearne-Grant, 8 (Dodoo, 50, 7).

Friday 1 September 2017

Magennis is hero of the hour

Charlton's only senior experienced striker was the hero of the hour as the province of Northern Ireland beat the statelet of San Marino tonight. Fortunately, he emerged without an injury.

He was on target twice as Northern Ireland scored three goals in eight second-half minutes to see off a stubborn San Marino 3-0 in Serravalle.

After a nervous first 70 minutes, Magennis side-footed in the opener and then headed home from close range. Northern Ireland have won four games in a row for the first time ever.

Northern Ireland now need just a draw from their next match against the Czech Republic in Belfast on Monday to seal the group runners-up spot after the Czechs lost 2-1 at home to Germany.

Debut goal for Doodo?

New signing Joe Dodoo has a reputation for scoring a debut goal when he moves to a new club. Another way of putting it is that he starts well then fades.

With Magennis away on international duty, he is likely to start and may well have a chance of getting the ball in the net. Oldham Athletic have zero points so far, and the only two goals they have scored have been away from home.

In their matches so far, there has been a pattern of the Latics starting poorly in the first half and then staging a recovery that is too late to put matters right.

Although they were founders of the Premier League, Oldham have been in League One longer than any club. This is their 21st season in a row in the third division. Last season they finished 17th.

Last year we lost there 1-0, albeit on a cold night in February, but the previous three outings at this level have seen two wins and a draw.

CASC Trust's preview suggests that it could be a scrappy win for Charlton putting the Addicks in the top two: Preview. If that is the outcome, Karl Robinson will think that his slim line squad strategy has worked. Supporters, having had their confidence undermined by the events in the transfer window, may succumb to the Goldfish syndrome.

Odds are: Oldham 16/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 10/11. The chances of a Charlton away win look good, which is probably another way of saying it will end in a bore draw.

Squad is streamlined says supremo

Following criticisms that the smallest Charlton squad for some time is too thin, Charlton chief Karl Robinson has hit back saying that in fact the squad is streamlined with all the dead wood cut out: No players earning money for nothing

Of course, we can all name a few players in the old squad who were a waste of space. One in particular comes to mind. However, there are risks in relying on a barebones squad once we get into winter and injuries and suspensions start taking effect. It's all very well to say blooding youngsters is part of our DNA: we all want to see Academy players given a chance, but not so early and quickly that it undermines their morale and adversely affects their development.

Farewell then, Andrew Crofts

Andrew Crofts has left Charlton after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. Something of a journeyman footballer, he had become a fringe player. However, he tried his best and once again we use the words of the newsreels on the departure of Neville Chamberlain as prime minister, 'Thanks for all you tried to do.'

As with the departure of Lee Novak, the streets around The Valley have remained quiet and there have been no reports of disgruntled fans rending their shirts.