Monday 30 October 2017

Sunderland fan recalls greatest game

Sunderland fan Gary Burrell recalls the Greatest Game in a recent issue of Four Four Two - and it isn't a pleasant memory.

'I'm an eternal pessimist whenever it comes to watching Sunderland play on the (admittedly rare) big occasion. The 1998 play-off final with Charlton was different, though. With every pre-match pint and splash around the Trafalgar Square fountains, the confidence grew - it was our time.'

'As Michael Gray was shuffling sheepishly towards the penalty spot at 7-6 to Charlton in the shootout, I immediately started to sober up. The team's made me miserable for years. Why did I think it would be any different today?'.

'After several silent pints in the pub, we trudged back towards the Underground, walking past the scene of the crime just as the Charlton players were getting on their team bus. I shouted incoherent, drunken abuse at both Mendonca and Alan Curbishley, which was by far the most mature and sensible approach. I bet that really took the edge off their celebrations later on.'

'"At least you got to witness a play-off final classic," I have been told. I had the consolation of seeing one of Wembley's greatest games. Those words still irritate.'

DaSilva 'comfortable' about Charlton return

Jay DaSilva felt 'comfortable' about his loan return to Charlton and has the England Under 21 squad as his target: Why Charlton move felt right

DaSilva was warmly applauded when he left the pitch when he was substituted late in the game on Saturday.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Holmes secures the three points

A superb 78th minute free kick from the edge of the box by Ricky Holmes secured Charlton a 1-0 victory over Wimbledon this afternoon. The Addicks remain 4th in the table, behind Bradford City on goal difference. Charlton are now 2nd in the form table.

Once again Charlton played too deep for much of the match and the game plan seemed to be to lump the ball over the midfield where Magennis had difficulty of holding it up. The drawbacks of not having a second striker were plain for all to see. There was also too much playing the ball back to Amos which presumably the players had been told to do. We also surrendered possession too easily.

Wimbledon were very physical and received four yellow cards, albeit one for time wasting by the goalkeeper. When they did have a few chances, they wasted them, demonstrating why they have only scored seven goals so far this season. Their defence looked weak when Da Silva tormented them by dribbling the ball along the ground.

Chances were at a premium in a lacklustre opening period, with Jake Forster-Caskey blazing an early free-kick from a promising position over for Charlton (Holmes should have taken it) and the Dons' Lyle Taylor firing wide when well placed. Tariqe Fosu saw a very half-hearted penalty appeal rightly ignored by referee Ben Toner in the 24th minute after going to ground in the box.

A succession of Wimbledon corners created a period of pressure immediately after the break when the crossbar challenger managed to send the ball wide. Konsa nearly scored an own goal from Fuller's free kick two minutes after the start, but it went just wide of the post.

Fosu's strike was charged down by a Wimbledon defender midway through the second half after being picked out by Jay Dasilva's delivery. Dons substitute Callum Kennedy's 74th-minute free-kick was deflected behind moments before Deji Oshilaja blazed over for the visitors.

But it was Charlton who finally broke the deadlock four minutes later when Holmes won a free-kick inches outside the area on the left after he had been fouled by Wimbledon captain and former Addick Barry Fuller. He stepped up to take the set-piece, drilling his effort which arrowed into the top corner beyond the reach of Wimbledon goalkeeper George Long.

The Dons were denied what would have been a bizarre leveller when a below par Chris Solly headed an attempted clearance on to his own bar. Solly did, however, look better after Marshall came on as a substitute.

Karl Robinson has said that he won't be watching the match back, admitting that Charlton were 'very average'. Key players such as Fosu, Clarke, Magennis and Forster-Caskey were not at their best: Very average

Robinson suggested that Wimbledon fans would be better off supporting their own team rather than hurtling abuse at him: Support your team. Robinson got a chorus of 'Robinson's Red Army' from the Covered End, a significant accolade.

Interesting to see a Wimbledon fan getting off at Leamington. It must have been a frustrating journey.

Referee Kevin Toner had a good game despite criticism in the past from Gillingham that he was fast tracked too soon and was not fit to referee.

Incidentally, sources close to HMRC have confirmed that due diligence is taking place at the club.

Football League Paper player rankings

Amos, 6; Solly, 5; Konsa, 7; Bauer, 6' DaSilva 5 (too low in my view); Forster-Caskey, 5; Kashi, 6; Holmes, 6; Clarke, 4 (Marshall, 70, 5) (on a frustrating day, we thought Clarke had a half decent game); Fosu, 5; Magennis, 6.

Hopes of first ever win against Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon are the only Football League club Charlton have played against and never beaten. Last year we lost 1-2 at home. However, there are hopes that we will secure all three points today: CAS Trust preview

The Wombles have won as many games away as they have at home, and they have done that by scoring just three goals, so perhaps they will be hoping for a 0-1 today. Indeed, they have suffered something of a goal drought, scoring just seven goals in the league all season. Last week they lost 0-1 at home to bottom club Plymouth.

Odds are: Charlton 19/20, Draw 23/10, Wimbledon 3/1.

Lack of enthusiasm among fans

Three-quarters of the Charlton fans surveyed feel less enthusiastic about the club than they used to: Survey results

However, although fans are pessimistic about the future of the club under the current regime, they are somewhat more positive than they were. Some feel that they have learned from their mistakes.

In contrast to last season, no fans think we will be relegated and 50 per cent think we will secure a play off place.

Friday 27 October 2017

Striker search is on

Karl Robinson has said that Charlton has contacted clubs about signing a striker in January: Striker search

Robinson doubts whether Vetokele or Ajose could be recalled from their year long loans at Sint Truiden and Bury respectively, and in any case I don't think either of them is the solution to the striker gap.

However, it is not easy to get value for money in the January transfer window.

Thursday 26 October 2017

Flat share pair face up on pitch

AFC Wimbledon's Liam Trotter and Charlton's Billy Clarke are currently sharing an apartment in Beckenham, but the old Ipswich pals will be lining up against each up on the pitch on Saturday. In the meanwhile, there has been some banter going on between the pair: Promised a kicking

As Rick Everitt has pointed out on Twitter, Saturday's match is not a derby as it is being advertised. There is no rivalry or significant fan overlap.

AFC Wimbledon fans may, however, have former MK Dons boss Karl Robinson in their sights.

Robinson muses on striker problems

Karl Robinson discusses the fate of Nicky Ajose who is on a year's loan at Bury, but has not played in a league game since August. He is clearly not seen as the solution to the striker shortage at Charlton. Unsurprisingly, his relations with the Bury management have deteriorated as he sees his career running into the sands.

Leon Best has now been on trial at Charlton for nearly a month. There seems to be no hurry to make a decision with Robinson seeing if he can be played in a under 23s game despite being a thirty something: Trying his Best

Wednesday 25 October 2017

'Why Roland still has to go'

Former Charlton director Craig Norris explains why Roland Duchatelet still has to go despite improved performances on the pitch: Why Roland still has to go

Norris comments, 'Compared to when Duchâtelet took over, the club is a division lower, has a manager who is inferior to the one he inherited and has season-ticket revenues which have fallen sharply. And this is before one looks at the balance sheet.'

The financial fair play saga

It is probably half forgotten now, but one of Roland's calculations when he took over Charlton was that financial fair play rules would create more of a level playing field between clubs. Hence, promotion would be feasible without spending too much money.

One would have thought that Katrien as a competition lawyer would have warned him that financial fair play rules were open to challenge under competition law.

QPR were nevertheless fined a staggering £41m after they went on a spending spree. They have been fighting the fine through legal channels for three years and the latest stage in the saga has now been reached with a panel of lawyers confirming the fine: QPR saga

The Super Hoops are going to appeal against the decision.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Ben Amos will keep a level head

Ben Amos pulled off some stunning saves to secure Charlton's victory at Valley Parade on Saturday. He won unstinting praise from Karl Robinson for the best live save the supremo had ever seen, but he won't let the plaudits go to his head. As he points out, football is a game of peaks and troughs. He also discusses how the wind whipped up by Storm Brian made his task more difficult than usual: Will stay grounded

I am great believer in building a team from the back and I had some reservations about Amos, so it is good to see him finding such excellent form.

Amos was named League One Player of the Week by The Times and got a rare score of 9 from the Football League Paper for his performance.

Monday 23 October 2017

Roland ready to sell

This article from the Daily Mail does not say anything particular new, other than mentioning a £20m purchase price, and I suppose it will not convince sceptics that serious discussions are taking place with the Australian consortium. Of course, they could yet end in failure, but if this turned out to be the case, it would clear the way for other bidders: Duchatelet ready to sell up

Some of the comments from regime apologists on social media are to be expected, dismissing 'stupid rumours'. However, anyone who believes that 'all is good at our club' as a Facebook comment stated must have an unrivalled capacity for sticking their head in the sand.

One ordinary fan commented 'I support the club, I don't care who the owner is.' But if that owner make a series of poor choices about coaches and players, not to mention the chief executive, and wastes large sums of money in the process, that affects progress on the pitch, leaving to an avoidably long stay in League One.

Saturday 21 October 2017

No worries as Addicks take three points

Jake Forster-Caskey said he had no fear ahead of today's promotion clash at Bradford City and the midfielder scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute to send Charlton up to fourth. However, it took two great late saves by Ben Amos to secure the three points for the Addicks. Karl Robinson rated one of the saves the best he has ever seen. The match was played in swirling wind and heavy rain as Storm Brian did its worse.

For the goal Solly put the ball into the back post, Fosu volleyed across goal and Forster-Caskey forced the ball home from close range. Up to then it had been a fairly even game.

Ricky Holmes almost managed to score an early goal for Charlton, but Doyle just managed to stretch out a hand to tip it over the bar.

A shot by Bradford's Jake Reeves was deflected wide after Ezri Konsa’s clearance dropped to him on the edge of the box, but the Addicks forced a succession of corners at the other end. This culminated with Billy Clarke, returning to the club he joined Charlton from in the summer, cutting in on his left-foot and arrowing a drive just wide of the far-post.

A slick move involving makeshift left-back Naby Sarr and the man-in-form Tariqe Fosu saw the latter have the ball nicked away from him just as he was about to play the ball across the face of goal, as the first-half continued to be an end-to-end affair. Holmes curled a trademark free-kick over the crossbar from 25-yards out before Wyke blazed over after some pinball in the Addicks area as the half ended goalless.

The Addicks nearly had the lead early on in the second half, when Holmes’ hopeful cross with the outside of his right-boot swerved towards goal and crashed back off the bar. Stuart McCall’s men broke immediately, with Ezri Konsa doing superbly to deflect Omari Patrick’s shot over the bar.

Friday 20 October 2017

No fear ahead of Bradford game

Charlton have no fear ahead of their clash with play off rivals Bradford according to Jake Forster-Caskey, the player on press duty: Competition for places giving a boost

Bradford have lost only two of their last 37 home matches. However, two of those losses have occurred in the current season.

They were play off finalists last season, after finishing 5th, but lost a number of key players over the summer, two to Charlton. Bradford boss Stuart McCall has complained about this to the local paper, saying that the Addicks 'nicked' two of his most influential players.

At least Charlton won't have to face former Addick Adam Chicksen. The defender is out injured for the rest of the season.

It has to be admitted that Charlton's away record at Valley Parade is very poor, as the CAS Trust preview makes clear: Seeking first goal for 30 years. However, the 2016-17 game ended in a 0-0 draw and another 1-1 draw is a possible result.

Odds: Bradford 5/4, Draw 12/5, Charlton 2/1.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Takeover story updated

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has updated his story on the potential takeover of Charlton: Takeover at advanced stage

I have been surprised (or perhaps not) at some of the reaction on social media to the Rickster's story. Admittedly, Rick Everitt does not hide his light under a bushel and he calls a spade a spade. However, I do not think he is attention seeking, nor is he desperate to sell extra copies of Voice of the Valley. Given its size and the quality of the paper, I doubt whether he makes any money out of it.

Some consider that a takeover would undermine a new found stability, but what that stability has largely consisted of is Roland sticking to his moules and frites and Katrien keeping a lower profile. Both are welcome developments in the sense that Karl Robinson has been given more autonomy. He has got us into the play off places, and should be safe under any new owners, but it is as well to remember that the play off places are a lottery with a one in four chance of winning.

Some cynics are saying 'we've been here before' and they won't believe it until they read it on the official site. That will be the last place the news will appear. Of course, this has been bubbling along under the surface for some time. I have been given information from time to time on the understanding that I do not directly use it. However, I think we are near an outcome one way or the other.

Rick Everitt has better sources than I do and the key paragraph in his updated story is the concluding one: 'I can report with certainty that the due diligence is at an advanced stage. While that does not guarantee a deal will be concluded or any timeline, it will necessarily have required extensive co-operation from the football club, which is unlikely to have been forthcoming without significant proof of funds and an indicative agreement on price. In short, the approach has to be a credible one and of interest to Duchatelet simply to have got this far.'

As the writer of the Drinking During the Game blog put it well, '[Rick Everitt] is a good judge of when it's safe to say something and when it isn't.' What I am also sure about is that Rick is Charlton through and through.

Charlton takeover imminent

A takeover of Charlton, most likely by the Australian consortium is imminent reveals VOTV editor Rick Everitt: Deal near

As revealed in the fanzine, this involves businessman Andrew Muir, former owner of the Good Guys retail chain who has considerable funds at his disposal.

The Rickster reveals, 'Voice of The Valley has been told by multiple independent and well-placed sources that due diligence on a potential sale has been taking place – and today that a deal could even go through before the end of the next week.'

VOTV understands that the deal would now include the acquisition of Charlton Athletic Holdings Limited, the entity that owns The Valley and Sparrows Lane, as well the football club itself. Suggestions to the contrary were a source of concern to some fans following the initial report.

Details remain sketchy and the timeline changeable, but the deal has been brokered by the Everton director Keith Harris.

My view is that a Chinese takeover is unlikely at this time as the Communist Party Congress is still in session in Beijing and there will be no green light for new takeovers until its business is completed.

Charlton would become the first Australian owned club in the UK. Tinnies all round!

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'We've been here before. Everyone remain calm.' Well, yes, but it is difficult to remain calm.

Not at his Best

Leon Best is still training with Charlton Athletic, but no offer will be made to him until he is fully fit. This is a welcome change from the usual Charlton practice of signing players who then disappear to the treatment table, but Karl Robinson reckons that he has learnt his lesson from the Ben Reeves experience: Carry on training

It's a steep and often expensive learning curve at Charlton, but that's better than no learning curve at all.

Bradford a 'properly run club' says Robinson

Referring to the warm remarks made by former Bantams Mark Marshall and Billy Clarke about Bradford City, Charlton coach Karl Robinson has commented, 'It shows the club is run properly and the quality they have at the club is there to see.'

Some of us might feel that there is a contrast with Charlton in terms of being properly run, but I am sure that is not what the supremo intended, given the mutual respect that he and Katrien Meire have for each other.

Robinson also revealed that he tried to sign Billy Clarke three times. He is a good signing, but Robinson refused to say why Bradford decided to let him go, hinting at some dark secret known only to him and la belle Katrien: Third time lucky

Why getting back to the Championship is so important

An excellent piece of in depth analysis by Wigan fan Richard Pike shows why it is so important for Charlton to get back into the Championship, but also draws attention to some of the special challenges facing smaller London clubs: New financial realities

He points out that the Championship is increasingly becoming like a Premier League Division Two, fulfilling a prediction made by Richard Murray a long time ago. He argues that a growing gap is emerging between the Championship and Leagues One and Two.

Ten year income projections suggest that by 2027 each Championship club will receive an average of £13m each season from solidarity payments and the television deal, an increase of £6m on the current figure. League One clubs will see their income from these sources go by only £0.25m from £2m.

One general argument he makes is that city clubs have an advantage over town clubs with an increasing presence in the Championship. However, this does not necessarily work in a huge city like London. A club like Brentford has to compete with historically larger neighbouring clubs such as Chelsea, Fulham and QPR.

However, he does admit that it is easier to get sponsorship in London. The competition that Charlton faces is rather different from Brentford and, properly run, it has a large potential fan base in Kent. Millwall appeals to a particular type of clientele, while the less said about the Nigels the better.

No celebrations for Clarke at Bradford

Billy Clarke can't wait to get back to Bradford on Saturday. Such is his respect for the Bradford fans that there will be no celebrations if he scores: Expecting a good reception

Clarke was rested against Oxford on Tuesday, but is expected to feature on Saturday.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Addicks call in Big Sam

Former Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce was at The Valley on Saturday. It has now been revealed that Karl Robinson wants him to hold a defensive coaching clinic to sort out the back four: Big Sam

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Marshall injury problem worse than thought

Mark Marshall's injury problem is worse than was thought, having developed a new dimension in training. He looks unlikely to be fit to face former club Bradford in another battle of play off contenders on Saturday: Injury worry

It was ever thus at Charlton: sign a promising player and he spends more time on the treatment table at Sparrows Lane than on the pitch.

Charlton stay 5th

Charlton stay 5th in League One after an unsurprising 1-1 draw with play off rivals Oxford United tonight. The result denied the home team a fourth successive league win.

Oxford did most of the pressing, but they had to come from behind to claim a point. Inevitably, Tariqe Fosu put the Addicks ahead in the 18th minute when he charged down Curtis Nelson's clearance and touched the ball past keeper Simon Eastwood before running on to score.

But the U's equalised 10 minutes before half-time when right back Christian Ribeiro bagged his first goal for the club. James Henry's right-wing cross was poorly headed out by Chris Solly and Ribeiro fired a left footed volley into the net.

Oxford finished the half strongly with Josh Ruffels curling a shot wide, and Ricardinho's drive blocked on the line by Jake Forster-Caskey. In the second half, Wes Thomas was twice denied by Ben Amos, but Charlton also went close with Fosu scooping a shot wide, and Eastwood saving from Billy Clarke.

It was no bore draw and the Oxford Mail thought that the home side had their work cut out against what they judged to be a well-drilled Charlton outfit: Oxford Mail report

Naby Sarr is selected as man of the match by the News Shopper with what they thought was his best ever performance in a Charlton shirt: Player ratings

Karl Robinson said that though he thought the Charlton performance was one of the best under his reign as supremo, he was frustrated with the result: 'I would swear if I could'

Play off contenders meet

Its sixth versus fifth at the Kassam Stadium tonight as Oxford United play Charlton. In the old days, it used to be said in football that it was a good idea to get your retaliation in first. It's also a good idea to get your excuses in first if you are a manager as an insurance policy. Supremo Karl Robinson has done that by talking up Oxford: Oxford are dark horses

Charlton fans may see again striker Jonathan Chiedozie Obika who was signed from relegated rivals Swindow. Jon Obika had two spells on loan at Charlton from Spurs: 2013 appearances 10 goals 3; in between 2014 at Brighton appearances 5 goals 0; 2014 appearances 12 goals 0. However, he did not feature in the Oxford line up in their 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, so I assume he is injured. The winning goal was scored in the 82nd minute by substitute Alex Mowatt who is on loan from Barnsley.

In 2016/17 the equivalent match ended 1-1. It could do again. At home, Oxford have won three, drawn two and lost one.

Louis Mendez has tweeted that Charlton have not lost an away game to Oxford United since 1987 and have never lost at the Kassam Stadium. I can remember playing them at what had been the Headington United ground with its Mecanno stands. Some of them are now at Leamington.

Four Four Two forecast a 5th place finish for the Bulls, but the loss of manager Michael Appleton to the No.2 role at Leicester City led fan Tony Fallows to think that mid-table was more likely.

New supremo Pep Clotet is a Catalan, so his mind may be elsewhere. He earned his UEFA Pro licence by the age of 26. He managed the B teams of Espanol and Malaga, either side of spells in Scandinavia, before spending the best part of four years as the faithful assistant to Gary Monk at Swansea and Leeds. He is known for his tactical prowess and attention to detail.

Charles Breakspear from Surrey will be the man in the middle, let's hope Josh Magennis doesn't have to use his boxing skills again. Why are so many referees bald?

Odds: Oxford 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8.

Monday 16 October 2017

Bring on the White Tigers

Waiting for a train at Exeter St. David's yesterday morning I bought a copy of the Western Morning News out of curiosity. There was a big feature on the FA Cup hopes of Truro City (Klub Peldroes Truro in Cornish). Little did I anticipate that Charlton would be drawn at home to the White Tigers in the FA Cup. Keslowena. Bledhen nowydh da? They are currently third in the National League South

Football in Cornwall faces special challenges. Truro's nearest away game is Weston Super Mare which is 150 miles away. The team actually trains in Exeter and departs from there as almost all the players are Devon based.

The club has faced some big challenges and almost disappeared some five years ago because of the actions of a big spending owner: Truro City

Cornwall is egg chasing country and football can struggle. The last Cornish team to reach the first round of the FA Cup was in 1969. Falmouth Town got as far as the first round three times in the 1960s and also won the Western League a number of times in the early 1970s. I used to watch them with my father when I visited my parent's retirement home (my mother's family was from Cornwall), indeed it was the last club we watched together. The Cornish pasties were superb.

Some sceptics have argued that Truro City will not fill the Jimmy Seed, but I remember that they brought a big away contingent to Leamington a few years back. There will be the added incentive of a trip to London, so I expect the sleeper will be filling up as soon as a date is known. One of my friends on the Isles of Scilly also has a house in Truro and makes a return trip to London every other weekend.

Amos may want to stay

Leaving aside the usual clichés about giving 100 per cent etc. (at least he didn't claim to be giving more than 100 per cent) this interview suggests that Ben Amos may be interested in staying at Charlton after his loan spell. He was frozen out at Bolton and has had other ups and downs in his career: Fully focused on Charlton

We will have plenty of time to assess him, although if we do get promoted, signing a proven Championship quality keeper would be a priority. I have my reservations about Amos even at League One level (we have shipped quite a lot of goals), but let's wait and see.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Valley hero joins Bromley FC

Former Charlton defender Roger Johnson has joined Bromley FC. The 34-year old has been out of contract since being let go by Charlton.

Non-league players are generally closer to the crowd and there is often an exchange of views, e.g., spectator to right back 'Run harder!' Player,'I'm running as hard as I can.'

In this case spectators can be expected to told where to go if they don't like what they see.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Charlton up to 5th

Charlton moved up to fifth in League One after a 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers at The Valley. Leading scorer Fosu scored the winning goal in the ninth minute. His strike from the penalty area caught out the Doncaster keeper at his near post.

Josh Magennis has been to see concussed referee Rob Lewis who is ok. The referee was brought down by the striker at the start of the second half. This led to a seven minute delay. He is mobile, but feeling a bit sick.

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'My nerves are shredded even though we defended fairly comfortably.' However, the Addicks survived some last minute pressure. The visitors had 59 per cent of the possession but only three shots on target compared with seven from Charlton. An effort from Clarke came off the bar in the second half and both Kashi and Magennis threatened.

Karl Robinson has played down the significance of the injury picked up by Mark Marshall in training, saying that he does not regard it as too serious.

Grinding out results can be an important part of a successful season.

Friday 13 October 2017

Steep learning curve for Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers have found the transition from League Two to League One to be a steep learning curve. Defences are harder to crack and chances come less readily. They have scored in only half of their league games, although last weekend's 4-1 win over Southend has boosted morale: Quick learners

Rovers are currently 17th in the table while Charlton are 6th. The gap in the form table is narrower: 14th and 18th.

The CAS Trust preview points out that Doncaster have played six of the eight teams in the table, whereas Charlton have played six of the bottom eight: Stronger than they seem?

Odds: Charlton 7/5, Draw 23/10, Doncaster 19/10.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Which non-league clubs do Charlton fans support?

Many Charlton fans also support a non-league club. Indeed, some purists have only going to non-league football since the Belgians took over at The Valley. For example, someone from my old home cul-de-sac in Plumstead Common has given up his season ticket and is now following Maidstone United which is where he now lives as part of the Kent diaspora from the home boroughs.

I am the only Charlton supporter to follow Leamington, but I know that among the more local clubs that Addicks follow are Welling United, Bromley FC and Ebbsfleet United.

A slightly more exotic choice is Dulwich Hamlet. This blog's sister site at has had a catastrophic crash for unexplained reasons, but a new site looks at the current crisis facing the Hamlet: The fate of Dulwich Hamlet

An Addick has written in about Dulwich Hamlet: 'I well remember The Hamlet from the earliest of childhood days. I believe that the legendary Edgar Kail and Bert Coleman were respectively the last amateur outfield player and goalkeeper to be selected for the full England team. Sir Stanley Rous gained his initial experience as a referee at Champion Hill in the 1930's and even though he was subsequently elevated to President of FIFA freely contributed to Club handbooks etc.'

'Charlton may possess a superstore but for those wishing to buy Hamlet regalia a visit to the Mega Container is the ultimate retail experience!' Common links with the Addicks would include John Ryan ( who I recall playing for Dulwich prior to Charlton ) Peter Reeves and the Smith twins ( Peter played over 400 games for The Hamlet and Paul featured in the Addicks youth and reserve teams circa late 1960's.) As with the Addicks I always wish The Hamlet to survive and flourish.'

For those going to the Doncaster Rovers game, a new Voice of the Valley will be available. I am going to Exeter for the weekend for yet another reunion, so I have ordered my copy to be sent by post from the Isle of Thanet. More information at: Old and new theme

Wednesday 11 October 2017

The Best we can get

Striker Leon Best is training with Charlton this year so that Karl Robinson can take a look at him. He is a free agent, having been let go by Ipswich Town at the end of last season: Taking a look

Mick McCarthy had had enough of the journeyman by January: He won't play for me again

I make it twelve clubs he has played for in his career, including his start as a youth player at Notts County. He has been on loan at various clubs, including three spells at the Massives. On one occasion he scored against Charlton: Doing the rounds

Given that lack of choice up front is our biggest problem, it is worth at least taking a look at anyone who is available, but I can't say I am that excited.

Powell: I could come back

Chris Powell has said that he could return to The Valley under different ownership: Won't rule out return

One should never say never, but I don't think we should go back to the future. I have a lot of time for both Alan Curbishley and Chris Powell, and they should always be welcome as honoured guests. However, when it comes to choosing the next manager (which I don't think will be anytime soon), we should look elsewhere. I would consider Jason Euell.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Luzon speaks out - again

Once the PR consultants found Guy Luzon's number they made sure that the former manager would be available to giving a running commentary on all things Charlton. His latest contribution is to argue that Naby Sarr needed time to adjust to English football: Sarr needed time

Is it really that different? Next: Karel Fraeye on how he had to adjust to different gravity on this side of the Channel.

Monday 9 October 2017

New contract for Europe's top keeper Pope

Nick Pope has impressed on his debut at Burnley and has signed a new contract until 2020: Former keeper

Pope is now officially the best keeper in Europe's top five leagues: Europe's best

A statistician would point out that you can't base anything on such a small N, but although a target of some complaints while at The Valley, he was much better than his successor.

Another former Charlton player at Burnley, Johann Gudmundsson scored in Iceland's 2-0 victory last night which saw them win their group and qualify for the World Cup, the smallest country ever to do so.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Charlton content in fanzine documentary

A 40 minute documentary on YouTube tells the story of the fanzine movement in English football. It sets the context of the 1980s well, pointing to links with similar magazines on the music scene and the bad treatment of fans at that time who were all stereotyped as hooligans: Watch it here

Fanzines are now a dying means of communication. The West Ham fanzine, featured in this documentary, came to end with the move to the London Stadium which is surrounded by private land.

We still have Voice of the Valley and Rick Everitt features in this documentary with scenes shot at The Valley with an anti-Roland emphasis. We also get a peep inside the VOTV offices in Ramsgate.

Marshall glad to return to his roots

In a very interesting exclusive interview with the SLP's Richard Cawley, Mark Marshall talks about returning to his roots in South London. He was raised in Deptford which, as he points out, was five minutes from the Toolbox, but just 25 minutes from Sparrows Lane.

He talks about the challenges he has faced as a footballer, including his recent injury, and how he has been given a boost by being around family again. His return to first team action seems to be being well managed.

Read the full interview here: Return to roots felt right

Saturday 7 October 2017

PR consultants hard at work

Charlton's PR consultants have been clearly been hard at work, placing a piece in Kent Live giving seven reasons why 'sleeping giant' Charlton could win automatic promotion: Seven reasons

Much of the article is a hymn of praise for Karl Robinson who emerges as possibly the best manager in English football since Sir Alex Ferguson. The OTT tone of the piece is illustrated by the claim that Charlton have 'strength in depth'. Clearly evident up front.

I could come up with seven reasons while Roland Duchatelet remains a ****.

Friday 6 October 2017

Luzon sure that fans will warm to Roland

Former Charlton manager Guy Luzon is convinced that Charlton fans will warm to Roland Duchatelet if the club is promoted to the Championship this season which he thinks is sure to happen: Roland will win over fans

Let's hope he is right about the promotion, but it won't change my mind about Roland. I can't forget the bad decisions that were made, the pile of debt has been accumulated or the way that fans have been treated, not least by Katrien Meire. However, for many it is simply a results business.

Award for Ricky Holmes

Ricky Holmes has been made PFA Player of the Month award for League One for August/September: Ricky Holmes

The downside is that this only underlines his appeal to prospective bidders in the January transfer window, notably Sheffield United.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Charlton player scores against Germany

Germany have not lost an away qualifying game for 83 years so it was no surprise when Northern Ireland lost to them 1-3 at Windsor Park tonight. However, a Josh Magennis header gave them a consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game.

I'm not sure if a Charlton player has scored against Germany before.

Chris Powell interview

FC Business have undertaken an interview with Chris Powell, in which he talks of being brought up as a latch key kid in South London and his pride at being capped for England. Part 1 of the interview is here: Chris Powell

Konsa sale will be used for team building not buildings

Charlton chief Karl Robinson has admitted that Ademola Lookman was sold in January to pay for building work at Sparrows Lane. However, should Konsa be sold in January, Robinson wants the money to go into building up the team: Right kind of building work

A number of Premiership clubs are watching Konsa and it is very likely that he will be sold in the transfer window.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Attendance figures have never been accurate

An interesting article in The Guardian looks at the question of attendance figures. It points out that these are never just a dry statto matter, but that football fans get quite emotional about them: Attendances

The article argues that attendances have long been inflated in the United States because they help to attract commercial sponsors or avoid the loss of a franchise. This practice has spread to the UK, in part because of American investors in football.

In the past attendances often understated the crowd. First, some clubs creamed off some of the gate money so they would not have pay 'entertainment' tax on it. In the days when the away team got a share of the proceeds, this would mean less money for them. (The newspapers used to publish gate receipts as well as attendances, but the figures were not reliable). Second, gatemen had various fiddles such as letting pals in at half price and pocketing the money. Third, at most grounds, certainly at Charlton, there were ways for youngsters to get in without paying. Some of the really big Valley attendance figures may understate the size of the crowd.

One complaint against the current regime is that they have inflated attendance figures. Clubs do have to count season ticket holders whether they are there or not because of the levy they pay on attendance to the Football League.

However, it does seem that the current regime has been generous in giving away complimentary tickets. Some have to be provided: for example, the referee is entitled to some for his mum or those who like to follow their favourite man in black. Of course, giving away tickets to schools etc. can be a perfectly sensible marketing strategy. But it does mean that the attendance figures do not offer a reliable basis for comparison across seasons or matches.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Fosu expected to be bench warmer

Charlton's top scorer Tariqe Fosu expected to start the season warming the bench rather than being a first team regular. He admits that the team has conceded too many easy goals, but says that confidence is high: Fosu interview

Apparently he is concerned that he could lose his place to Mark Marshall or Ben Reeves.

I notice that press reports give his full surname of Fosu-Henry. Indeed, he has a rather long name: Tariqe Kumahl Malachi Akwesi Fosu-Henry.

He does look like one of the really good signings made in the summer.

According to CAFC Facts and Stats, Karl Robinson now has the best win ratio under Duchatelet at 37 per cent, just beating Chris Powell at 36 per cent. (I have not counted Kevin Nugent who has the highest score as so few games were played under him). Karel Fraeye comes out at a dismal 14 per cent.

Robinson has backing for January signings

Karl Robinson has said that Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet will back him with further signings in the January transfer window if the Addicks are in with a chance of promotion: Transfer guarantee

It's a shame this money could not have been made available at the beginning of the season, although Robinson says that it would have been a risk to make more signings then. However, it is difficult to get value in the January window when poor quality players are often on offer at inflated prices.