Monday 31 December 2018

Jed Steer recall threat

Aston Villa are considering recalling Jed Steer after Nyland had a season ending injury, while their new keeper signing (which I had hoped would avoid a recall) will not be available until Saturday: Jed Steer recall

Steer has had his critics, particularly from those who would prefer us to use a Charlton product in the form of Dillon Phillips, but I think that he has done a good job for us.

The recall has now been confirmed. Dillon Phillips will start in goal against Walsall and Ashley Maynard-Brewer has been recalled from Chelmsford City to provide cover. The intention is to find another keeper to compete with Phillips in the January transfer window.

As Richard Cawley has tweeted, 'The good news keeps coming for Charlton.'

Heads musn't drop says Taylor

Lyle Taylor says that heads mustn't drop at Charlton after two consecutive defeats, although he admits that Walsall are no mugs: Need to maintain focus

Taylor complains that the pitch at the Ricoh was like a cow field, although that's what happens when you share a ground with egg chasers.

Walsall are currently 14th in the table, although third from bottom in the form table where Charlton are in ninth place. Away from home, the Saddlers have won four, drawn four and lost four. Charlton's home record is won eight, drawn two and lost two. Walsall have now been in League One since 2007.

Winger Ross Ginnelly has already left the Saddlers for his new club, Preston North End.

Typical odds are: Charlton 5/6; Draw, 14/5; Away, 15/4.

Referee Ross Joyce is the youngest referee in the Football League, having started at the age of 15. His reputation is a card happy referee who does not let the game flow and likes to be the centre of attention.

Sunday 30 December 2018

Charlton linked with left back

Charlton are being linked with left back Greg Leigh who is currently playing for NAC Breda in the Netherlands, although he has only had five appearances this season. A Manchester City product, he impressed when he was out on loan with Bury.

We badly need a left back, but whether Roland would be prepared to shell out is open to question.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted, 'Charlton do have interest in Greg Leigh but sounds as if other options being pursued as well. Don't think is nailed on he will be the left back they sign in the January transfer window.' As long as we sign someone.

Saturday 29 December 2018

Too early to assess Pearce injury

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer has said that it is too early to assess the extent of Jason Pearce's injury, but pointed out that Naby Sarr will be coming back from suspension. Billy Clarke is training, but nowhere near ready: Injury updates

Bowyer felt sorry for his players after the Barnsley defeat and questioned the referee's decision-making: Bowyer's verdict

Costly defeat for Charlton

Charlton's 2-1 defeat by Barnsley at Oakwell this afternoon in front of 564 Addicks saw them fall from fourth to sixth in the table with Peterborough winning 4-0 at Accrington. Chris Solly was red carded at the end of the game while a yellow card for Pearce will, I think, mean a suspension for him.

Possession was almost 50-50, but the Addicks had only two shots on target. The two Barnsley goals came in the first quarter of an hour and a 73rd minute strike by Reeves turned out to be nothing more than a consolation.

Barnsley took an early lead when Potts scored from the edge of the box on four minutes. Then on 14 minutes Thiam made it 2-0 with a quality shot from range.

Solly put in a dangerous cross two minutes later, but the keeper was just able to claim it. On 23 minutes the Singalese Thiam was only just over the bar. Six minutes before the break Steer had to make a good save from a low valley.

Steer had to save one on one on 54 minutes. Fosu replaced Pratley on 60 minutes. Pearce was booked for a foul on 63 minutes and Solly a minute later. Toby Stevenson then came on for Pearce who appeared to be injured. Karlan Grant was down with a head injury, but fortunately recovered.

Taylor was fouled in a dangerous position. Fosu's free kick came off the wall, but Reeves scored with the rebound. Dijksteel was booked for a foul. The Barnsley free kick hit the wall. Marshall was replaced by Hackett-Fairchild.

The seven minutes added on saw an effort by Fosu deflected over. In a rather harsh decision Solly then received his second yellow for a foul.

Report from the tireless Louis Mendez is here: Second defeat in three days

Friday 28 December 2018

Tough challenge at Barnsley

It's a tough challenge for Charlton's injury hit squad as they face Barnsley at Oakwell tomorrow in a fifth versus fourth clash. Lee Bowyer is struggling to field 11 fit players. Eight first team players are missing through injury or suspension.

Barnsley have not been defeated at home this season, winning six and losing five, scoring 17 goals and conceding seven.

On Boxing Day they defeated league bullies Peterborough 2-0. Last Saturday a victory at Blackpool ended a winless December.

The bookies have the Tykes favourites to win with a home win 7/10, draw 18/5 and Charlton win 18/5.

Manager Daniel Stendel favours high-intensity pressing and playing with flair.

If you are thinking of going by train, bear in mind that Northern Rail who serve Barnsley are having one of their regular Saturday strikes.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Jamie Ward heads back to Forest

Jamie Ward heads back to Nottingham Forest on January 1st and whether he returns depends on how big a percentage of his salary Nottingham Forest want as there are limits to what Charlton can afford: Ward's future uncertain

Charlton urgently need reinforcements in the January transfer window with Joe Aribo likely to be out for some time, but it is far from certain whether Roland will loosen the purse strings: Urgent need for signings

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Not good enough

'It's Blackpool all over again,' commented VOTV editor Rick Everitt as I left the Ricoh Arena after this afternoon's 2-1 defeat by Coventry City, the same score they secured against us at The Valley. What he meant that was that we had once again conceded a late goal. But the fact of the matter was that our performance throughout was not good enough. Coventry worked hard, but were just that: workmanlike.

Charlton remain fourth but are only one point ahead of Saturday's opponents Barnsley who beat Peterborough who are now two points behind the Addicks.

Dujon Sterling had to make a brilliant goal-saving tackle in the 23rd minute when Nicky Ajose was played through.

We used a get out of gaol card in the first half when the Sky Blues could have been awarded a penalty, after a Patrock Bauer foul for which he was booked, indeed we thought it was just inside, but the referee bottled it, perhaps because he had ignored a Coventry foul just beforehand.

Steer was able to tip the ball over from the free kick. Charlton went close six minutes before the break but Lee Burge saved well from Lyle Taylor's shot. Coventry went ahead just before the break, when Hiwula headed past Steer.

Darren Pratley equalised for us on 58 minutes, taking advantage of a flick on from Bauer in a crowded box. We then had ten minutes or so when we looked threatening. Burge gathered Karlan Grant's low cross after the lively Mark Marshall found a way into the box.

However, after this spell of pressure we seemed to settle for the draw. The fact that both centre backs were carrying yellow cards may explain their failure to get a challenge in for the winning Coventry goal on 88 minutes when Bayliss fired past Steer.

Wiser heads around raised the question of whether Lee Bowyer had selected the right system and tactics, but what was revealed once more was the thinness of the squad. Aribo was not available due to a knee injury which looks like it will be longer than two weeks. The lack of a left back was once again apparent, but we were vulnerable on both flanks and generally lacked width.

Karlan Grant was seen undergoing an fitness test before kick off. He had another one at half time and then came on to replace Ajose. The game benefitted from his positional sense, but he was clearly not fully fit. The subsequent substitute who made a difference was Mark Marshall with his energy and ability to get forward. It was his free kick which set up the Charlton goal.

Lyle Taylor could have picked up a red for a challenge towards the end of the game, but after the referee consulted the linesman he got a yellow, his eighth of the season.

In the five minutes of time added on a clash of heads led to a long delay with George Lapslie led off the field with a bandaged head. His second concussion will surely mean he is not available for a couple of games. The Coventry player had to be stretchered off and hopefully he is ok.

Report from Louis Mendez here: Boxing Day defeat

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer admits that the busy Christmas schedule is taking its toll on his injury ravaged squad: Taking its toll

Charlton join obesity scheme

Charlton are one of five clubs that have signed up to a scheme run by the English Football League Trust called Football Fans in Training. Fans nominated by their GP will be welcomed at The Valley for a three month programme of exercise and healthy eating advice. The scheme aims to help men lose five per cent of their weight and keep it off long term.

Club officials denied that it would be known as the 'Peter Garland Challenge'.

Tuesday 25 December 2018

The end of Christmas Day football

Football was once a feature of Christmas Day, but came to an end in the late 1950s as attendances fell: The end of Christmas Day football

The last Christmas Day match at The Valley was in 1956 when Charlton beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 in front of a crowd of 15,698, petrol rationing being given as the reason for the low attendance.

Many players did not have cars, and had to use sparse public transport services to make their way to The Valley, although sometimes fans gave them a lift.

Once returning from an away fixture 'oop north the Charlton players managed to drink the restaurant car crew under the table.

Monday 24 December 2018

Visiting the neighbours

On Boxing Day I have my shortest journey for a League One match this season when I go up the road for Charlton's visit to the Ricoh Arena to play Coventry City and hopefully avenge our home defeat to them earlier in the season. It's a difference from my usual two-and-a-half hour journey to The Valley.

Coventry have had a bad run and are currently bottom of the form table while Charlton are second. The Sky Blues are 14th in the League One table. At home they have won four, drawn three and lost four.

Reflecting on their 1-0 defeat by Shrewsbury, manager Mike Robins said they were better in the second half 'but it still wasn't the level we needed to be at. We've got to get together, we all have, and make sure we come back strong on Boxing Day. What [the players] can't afford to do is to become training ground players and not be able to transfer it.'

The away games at Coventry and Barnsley are crucial to Charlton's promotion hopes. Ben Reeves thinks that Charlton are well able to cope with the challenge of the busy schedule over the next two weeks. Darren Pratley's return to action is a boost and there is a strong bench: Eager to get his teeth into festive schedule

Average betting odds are 32 per cent home win; 38 per cent draw; 30 per cent away win.

Happy Christmas to all Addicks. Here's hoping for the departure of Roland in 2019 and promotion.

Reeves: we know we can do better

After the Gillingham match Lee Bowyer made clear his dissatisfaction with Charlton's performance, stating 'I would probably say this is the worst we have played for a while. It just gives me the hump when they don't do it properly at times.

Ben Reeves agrees with his boss, saying 'We know we can play better': We know we can be better

The first half performance was better than the second, so Bowyer's half time words do not seem to have had the desired effect.

Tariqe Fosu has been named League One Player of the Week by The Times this morning.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Roland slips to 3rd place in worst owners league

Roland Duchatelet has lost his first place in the worst owners league voted on by fans, being overtaken by Owen Oyston and Mike Ashley: Worst owners

His ratings were: Communication: 1.09/10; Finance: 1.62/10; Football Operations: 1.17/10; Stadium development/upkeep: 2.71/10; Treatment of fans: 1.05/10; Transparency: 1.09/10.

Against League 3 comment, 'Last years winner for “Worst Owner” retains a podium place for 2018, with Charlton Athletic still reeling from the damage inflicted by their absentee, water-rationing, bonus-witholding Belgian owner.'

129 Charlton fans responded to the survey.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Up the Football League we go

Charlton are fourth in League One on the same number of points as Sunderland (who admittedly have two games in hand) after this afternoon's 2-0 victory over Gillingham at The Valley. The Gills were better than last week's opponents, AFC Wimbledon, although that wouldn't be difficult. They did keep going until the end of the game, but never looked like a major threat, although they were without their star striker, Eaves. After last week's bad weather, conditions were relatively mild and calm.

Charlton didn't look too impressive in the opening minutes of the first half after an over clever attempt at kicking off led to them losing possession. Addicks goalkeeper Jed Steer survived an early scare after dropping Darren Oldaker's free-kick and spilling the ball to Connor Ogilvie, whose effort hit the outside of a post. Steer's distribution was rather poor throughout the game.

But Charlton went ahead in the sixth minute when Fosu's clever low pass picked out an unmarked Reeves in the box and he coolly slotted home. The advantage was almost doubled on the quarter hour as Fosu hit the woodwork before Ogilvie hacked clear.

Brandon Hanlan was perhaps unfortunate to glance a header off target from Ogilvie's delivery but the Gills had goalkeeper Tomas Holy to thank for using his leg to deny Reeves a second. However, there was nothing he could do to prevent Fosu's stunning strike from outside the box flying into the top corner six minutes before the break.

Both the team and the crowd were flat after the break, perhaps because they thought it was job done. Former Addick Hanlan almost had Gillingham right back in contention within a minute of the restart, placing a header agonisingly wide from a corner.

Holy was a relieved man after Reeves' 69th-minute cross cannoned back off the woodwork. Taylor had picked up a few knocks in the course of his usual energetic play and was substituted, although the choice of Hackett-Fairchild was a bit of a surprise.

Gillingham's Elliott List headed wide from close range five minutes from time but Charlton never looked seriously troubled as they maintained their promotion push in a straightforward home success. Substitute Mark Marshall drew a save from the keeper in time added on.

Lee Bowyer said that was the worst Charlton have played for a while. Scrappy at times and gave the ball away sloppily. But feels they still deserved the win.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Seven wins in eight

Friday 21 December 2018

Same old song from Roland

Roland Duchatelet has been on Talksport again today, but it is not clear why as he had nothing new to say. VOTV editor Rick Everitt commented, 'Duchatelet is talking rubbish as usual - operating loss is why his asking price is unreasonable. Protests were about cheating the staff out of their bonuses - ask him what the EFL have said to him about that!'

Rick Everitt summarised the interview as follows: 'No answer on player sales in January, no answer on whether he’ll put the price up on promotion, no interest in seeing the team, waffle about the value of the land, sale no further forward but could happen soon.'

Everitt added: 'Operating loss [supposedly putting off buyers] is off the scale because of his mismanagement - if punitive then it affects the asset price. Can’t have it both ways. That’s why he talks about land value BUT the timescale and practicalities of realising that mean it’s not persuasive.'

The claim that protests are putting off buyers is risible as there have hardly been any this year.

It looks like another ego massaging exercise by the barmy Belgian.

Charlton need to stop Eaves

Tom Eaves is the top scorer in League One and Charlton will need to stop him in tomorrow's derby says Lee Bowyer: Gillingham threat. The 6ft 5ins Scouser is now attracting interest from Rangers.

The CAS Trust Preview calls the game 'the battle of the strikers' (Taylor v. Eaves): Match preview

Gillingham are currently 16th in the table and slightly higher in the form table. They have won more matches away from home (four) than at home. Slow starts have been something of a problem for the team.

Odds are 4/6 Charlton, 11/4 draw, 7/2 Gillingham. Our recent record against Gillingham is abysmal with only one win in seven games since the turn of the century.

A new edition of Voice of the Valley will be on sale around the ground before the game. Some of the usual suspects were hoping to start their Christmas libations early, but the vinegar pissers were dragged from their watering holes to provide copy.

As usual, you can order online for delivery to your home, but instead of the usual plain wrapper the envelope will have a photo of the VOTV production team in festive mood at the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons, Ramsgate: Issue 148

Thursday 20 December 2018

Takeover by January?

Lee Bowyer is hopeful that a takeover of Charlton could be completed by the January transfer window: Takeover is close

It appears that the likely new owners are the Australian based consortium, but the composition of the consortium has changed.

Is George Lapslie the new Scott Parker?

In an interesting interview, Lee Bowyer comments:' With my players now, I’d never tell them not to compete. Not to tackle. At Charlton now, we have a player called George Lapslie, who reminds me a bit of Scott Parker. He’s everywhere on the pitch. Tackling, competing for everything. You just have to try and control it. Guide him. But you can’t take that edge away from someone.'

Bowyer says, 'I love the club and I wanted to do whatever I could to help them get back into the Championship. I honestly believed we were going to do that.'

Read the full interview here: Lee Bowyer

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Little hope of DaSilva return

Lee Bowyer would like to bring Jay DaSilva back in as an attacking left back in January, but thinks it is not a realistic prospect. This is in spite of the fact that he has not even been on the bench for the last three games at Bristol City: DaSilva hopes

Monday 17 December 2018

'Bowyer brings hope to unhappy Valley'

That is the headline over a back page feature article in 'The Game' section of The Times today.

'When I was here as a kid it was a nice family club', said Bowyer. 'There was a good relationship between the fans and the players. But when I came back, 18 months or so ago, it didn't seem like that anymore, and it's a shame, because it's a great club.'

'When I took over as manager, I knew that was something I had to put right. And that's what I'm doing. I'm just trying to make the place like it was when I left. Make our football attractive to watch. We've got great players, and they're all together. Once you include the fans in that, it becomes a very difficult place for other teams to play.'

The surprised supremo said, 'I had no intention of becoming a manager. My wife basically said, "You can't sit here watching telly all the time. Go and do your coaching badges, see if you like it." I had no plans, no intentions, but football can change things and now I'm doing it, I'm enjoying it.'

'I'm not too old to lean' says Marshall

Mark Marshall says that he is not too old to learn new things from Charlton boss Lee Bowyer: I can still learn

Marshall said it felt like being hit by a bus when he was injured at Portsmouth and he was still hurting when he played on Saturday.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Clarke: my injury struggle

Today's Football League Paper has a double page spread on Billy Clarke and his struggle to recover from his ACL injury.

Clarke said: 'I'd played the first four months of the season and I was really enjoying it. To have a season ending injury, which has now gone into this season, is unbelievably hard.'

'It's hard times in the gym physically and mentally.' Clarke admits that his method of recovery was largely to take himself away from the team environment. 'There were some lonely times, but it was my own choice.'

'I'm desperate to get back in,' he said. 'Now I'm watching games fully fit and waiting for my opportunity to get back. I give 100 per cent whenever I play and that won't change. I have no doubts I will get back to where I left off. I will also be hungrier and more experienced.'

He commented, 'Lyle Taylor is a great focal point up front and I don't think anyone comes close in this league to his partnership with Karlan Grant. Lee Bowyer has come in and he demands hard work. The same goes for his assistant, Johnnie Jackson. He's gone into coaching as if he's been doing it his whole career.'

Saturday 15 December 2018

Charlton on top of their game

Charlton dealt comfortably with an admittedly poor Wimbledon side at The Valley this afternoon, beating them 2-0 on a bitterly cold, wet and windy afternoon. The Addicks remain in 5th place, but are level on points with Peterborough.

The Addicks suffered an early blow, with just 56 seconds on the clock when Naby Sarr was shown a straight red card by referee Trevor Kettle for a late lunge on Tennai Watson. Sarr now has the unenviable record of the fastest sending off in Charlton history.

Despite this it was Charlton who looked more composed in the early exchanges. They continued to press forward, with Pearce often prominent, and they almost went in front midway through the half when Joe Aribo found Taylor, whose shot was well blocked.

It took until the half hour for the visitors to create their first opportunity but Tom Soares blazed his effort well over. Numerical parity was restored in the 33rd minute when Mitch Pinnock followed in Sarr's footsteps. Pinnock, already on a yellow card for an earlier foul on Ben Reeves, picked up a second caution for diving after going to ground far too easily while trying to shake off the attentions of Patrick Bauer.

Reeves really should have done better when he blasted a shot high over Joe McDonnell's crossbar early in the second half and Aribo also saw two attempts fly off target in quick succession as Charlton continued to knock on the door.

Finally their hard work paid off on the hour and it was Taylor who made the Dons pay with a close-range finish after getting in front of Terrell Thomas to convert Nicky Ajose's excellent delivery.

McDonnell had to rush out of his area to thwart Ajose in the 75th minute, with Taylor testing the visiting keeper moments later with a shot. The game was wrapped up four minutes from time when substitute Mark Marshall, who had been lively when he came on, drilled a low angled drive into the bottom-left corner of McDonnell's net, his first goal of the season.

Lyle Taylor had to have an injection in his toe to enable him to play: Injection needed

Friday 14 December 2018

Ajose: I could have been top scorer

Nicky Ajose reckons he could have scored as many goals as Karlan Grant or Lyle Taylor if he had had a run in the team: I would have matched their goal total

In your dreams.

Thursday 13 December 2018

Taylor available but not Grant

Lyle Taylor will be available for Saturday's match against his former club AFC Wimbledon, although he will not be 100 per cent. It is certain that Karlan Grant will not be available because of his hamstring injury: Bowyer's verdict

Aribo heads for Bundesliga

With six months left on his contract at Charlton, Joe Aribo is free to sign pre-contract agreements in January. With Benfica and Frankfurt among the clubs interested, it looks as if the Bundesliga will be his new home: Bundesliga move

As the article points out, the talented youngster has been a victim of Roland's penny pinching.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Charlton in their Pomp

Charlton went fifth in League One tonight after they beat league leaders Portsmouth 2-1 in a hard fought match at Fratton Park. The Charlton goals came in the first half, the first from Karlan Grant and then by the substitute who replaced him after he was injured, Nicky Ajose. 899 Addicks saw the win in a crowd of 17,891. Charlton have won on seven of their last eight trips to Portsmouth.

There were promising early signs as Charlton broke dangerously into the Portsmouth half. Grant released Taylor, but his half volley was parried by the keeper. Grant's pace was causing real problems for the home side. Grant went down, but received treatment.

On 24 minutes Aribo set up Taylor who put in a low cross and Grant scored from close range. Grant had to go off on 35 minutes. On 43 minutes good work by Lapslie, who was outstanding throughout, kept the ball in. Taylor was then able to put in a low cross and Ajose scored from close range.

A Reeves effort was blocked on 52 minutes. Reeves was replaced by Marshall as Pompey were getting too much freedom on the Charlton right.

Pompey then applied more pressure. Steer made a save on 60 minutes and Lapslie cleared off the line. Pitman and Sarr had a bout of handbags after a clash and they each got a yellow card. Lowe fell over in the area, the first of a number of Pompey attempts to get a penalty, and was booked for his trouble.

Somehow Charlton survived the onslaught, although there were a number of heart stopping moments. A shot from Taylor was blocked. Bielik had to be taken off after he received the benefit of an elbow and Solly took up the defensive midfield role.

A cynical foul by Thompson on Marshall earned him a yellow card. On 87 minutes Green scored for Portsmouth. Lapslie headed clear on the line. Steer was booked for time wasting.

Six minutes were added on. Former Millwall charm merchant Thompson was sent off after a challenge that left Taylor limping.

Smiling supremo Lee Bowyer was delighted with his side's performance: Delighted

Richard Cawley's match report is here: Addicks show steel

Karlan Grant is to have a scan on his hamstring, while Lyle Taylor left wearing a protective boot. Mark Marshall has damaged ribs.

Addicks will miss injured trio

Lee Bowyer admits that Charlton will miss Darren Pratley, Josh Cullen and Jamie Ward at Portsmouth tonight. He would have liked a more physical presence in midfield: Injured trio will be a major miss

In contrast Portsmouth have been relatively free of injuries. They think that this is in part down to the skill of the medical team and due diligence when signing players: Secrets of injury success

The league leaders have won eight games at home, drawn three and lost just one. They have scored eighteen goals and conceded eight. They are third in the form table and Charlton are fifth.

Monday 10 December 2018

Toby Stevenson dropped

Toby Stevenson is to be taken out of the Charlton team to face a highly physical Portsmouth at Fratton Park tomorrow: Youngster taken out

The SLP's Richard Cawley thinks that Lee Bowyer will deploy Naby Sarr to counter Pompey's physical threat.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Rob Lee condemns Roland

In a full page interview in today's Football League Paper former Charlton star Rob Lee tells Roland Duchatelet 'if you don't want Charlton. sell up.' Lee said, 'Charlton is a family club and I have never seen so much animosity over an owner.'

He continued, 'I don't get these guys who buy clubs and don't have any interest in running them. They have a lot of money, maybe they get bored and buy a football club. It's not like a business. You've got passionate people who've been involved for generations. Roland has antagonised so many people. It's simple in my eyes - if you don't want it, sell it.'

Discussing Lee Bowyer, he said, 'I know Lee very well and he's doing a great job with the team. It's just obviously off the pitch that's the problem. I think he will just get on with it on the pitch and rightly not get involved in anything else.'

Saturday 8 December 2018

Bleak month starts with defeat

December has been a bleak month for Charlton in recent years and it started with a 2-1 late defeat at Blackpool which saw Charlton fall out of the play off places to 7th.

Blackpool enjoyed the better chances in the first half when Charlton were lacklustre and led after 16 minutes, with Armand Gnanduillet turning home Liam Feeney's cross from close range. They then came close to extending their lead on 32 minutes, as former Addick Joe Dodoo forced Jed Steer into a sprawling save following a counter attack.

Despite struggling to make inroads in the first half, Charlton made an impact after the break, with Joe Aribo tapping home at the far post ten minutes after the restart. The Addicks went from strength to strength in the second period, with Karlan Grant flashing an effort just wide of Mark Howard's post on 78 minutes. The home side scored the winner on 87 minutes.

Sand blasted supremo Lee Bowyer thought that a refereeing decision affected the course of the game with Curtis Tilt not sent off for a second bookable offence: Referee changed course of game

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Late defeat

Friday 7 December 2018

Heavy pitch anticipated at Blackpool

Lee Bowyer is expecting a heavy pitch when Charlton visit Blackpool tomorrow, but hopes there is no repetition of last year's late postponement: Hoping game will go ahead

A waterlogged pitch would not help Charlton to play their passing game. I watched the Solihull Moors versus Blackpool game on television last Friday and I was not too impressed by the Tangerines. However, their manager thinks they were not at their best and certainly Solihull have a very efficient defence.

The hosts have some classy players in their side, with the attacks being spearheaded by Ivory Coast man Armand Gnanduillet, who has four goals – and his strike-partner Nathan Delfouneso, who also has four. Other threatening players include Mark Cullen, Jordan Thompson and Jay Spearing – whilst Joe Burney, Max Clayton and Paudie O'Connor will not start the tie.

Charlton are two places ahead of Blackpool in the League One table and six places (eighth versus fourteenth) in the form table.

Tony Harrington, who normally referees in the Championship, has been brought in for the game which has been billed as one of the League One ties of the weekend.

Odds (Skybet): Home 6/4; Draw, 21/10; Away, 9/5.

Thursday 6 December 2018

Bowyer: I am over the moon

Lee Bowyer says that he is 'over the moon' after being named League One Manager of the Month, it is something for the club as well as him personally. There is a nice appraisal of his achievements here: Manager of the Month

Unfortunately, 'the curse of manager of the month' means that it is often followed by a dip in form.

Wil Roland retain his crown?

Last year a poll of 4,800 fans voted Roland Duchatelet to be the worst owner in English football. It's a competitive league, but will he retain his title this year? Best and worst owners

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Bowyer nominated for manager of the month

Lee Bowyer has been nominated for League One manager of the month for November, his second nomination this season.

During the month he shepherded Charlton into the playoff positions with four wins from four games. The Addicks scored nine goals and conceded just two in the process.

Joe Aribo has been nominated for PFA Fans Player of the Month.

Back to the Valley Day

Today is, of course, Back to the Valley Day. Here is a short video reminder: Back to the Valley

Saturday 1 December 2018

Bowyer unrepentant as Charlton dumped out of the FA Cup

Charlton are out of the FA Cup after a weakened team lost 0-2 to Doncaster Rovers at The Valley this afternoon. The manner of their defeat left some Charlton fans fuming. One tweeted that 'Charlton defrauded their most loyal fans today' (the attendance was 3,249, 250 from Donny). Another tweeted, 'I have one expectation of any #cafc team - try and win the game. Bowyer’s team selection showed he doesn’t care about this game and that is criminal. Remember that this lot are the backup to the 1st 11 and have shown they’re not up for it.'

The visitors went ahead on 67 minutes when a corner deflected off Marshall right in front of Phillips. Their second goal came when a free kick was headed back across goal and former Millwall striker Marquis scored with a header from close range.

Early in the game a Clarke volley was cleared off the line. But first-half opportunities remained few and far between, a point emphasised when nobody was on hand to apply a finishing touch to Mason's dangerous 28th-minute low ball across the face of goal. Addicks goalkeeper Dillon Phillips had to be alert to deal with Herbie Kane's well-struck volley and Kane then saw a free kick sail over just before the break.

Reeves' shot headed behind by Tom Anderson and then Mason had to produce an excellent challenge on Toby Stevenson inside the area. A Clarke free kick was just over the bar. Marshall put in a good cross, but Hackett-Fairchild's touch was heavy. On 87 minutes the keeper had to save well from a Marshall header.

Lee Bowyer defended his decision to make nine changes for this afternoon's cup tie with Doncaster - 'Missed opportunity. What, of winning the FA Cup? We're never going to win it. The opportunity I had was to give Billy Clarke and Ben Reeves minutes.' It will be interesting to see who Doncaster draw in the third round.

Bowyer was pleased with some aspects today, singled out Mark Marshall for praise - 'the best game he's played since I've been in charge'

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Dumped out

Friday 30 November 2018

Rovers in 'confident' mood

Doncaster Rovers are in confident mood ahead of this afternoon's FA Cup tie at The Valley. They have been working hard in training on their tendency to concede from set pieces: Ready

Ben Reeves is expected to play this afternoon after his spell out injured. There will be a number of changes from the team that beat Burton Albion midweek with the focus remaining on promotion.

Why Villa may recall Steer

With Orjan Nyland flopping at Aston Villa and Jed Steer on form at Charlton, it is possible that he may be recalled in January: Steer recall

I suppose it would be good news for the many Dillon Phillips fans.

The decision to loan Steer out was not popular with Villa fans.

Thursday 29 November 2018

It's time a smash and grab went our way

It's time a smash and grab went our way rather than being hit by a sucker punch says captain Jason Pearce of the win at Burton: About time

Pearce said that Charlton were below their usual standards and the players were knackered by the end of the game. Two brilliant saves by Jed Steer kept them in the game.

Pearce also praised the fans who made the trip for their great support.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Late winner for Charlton

It makes a change from conceding late goals. Charlton scored a late winner through captain Jason Pearce in a 2-1 victory over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium tonight in front of a crowd of 2,348.

The Addicks remain in 6th place with teams above them winning apart from Barnsley who lost at Sunderland, but are two points ahead of the team in 7th place (Doncaster who beat Blackpool 2-0).. It was a rather fortunate victory with the Brewers having 57 per cent of the possession, but there was some good defensive work, including crucial saves by Steer.

Burton went ahead with a rather soft penalty on 24 minutes, but the Addicks won a penalty on 31 minutes converted by Karlan Grant.

On nine minutes Naby Sarr nearly scored an own goal. Bauer made a good block in the box to halt danger man Boyce. On 22 minutes Steer made a super save on to the bar from a header. The rebound went into the net but was ruled offside.

On 24 minutes a Burton player went down over Bielik's trailing foot and the referee awarded a soft penalty which was scored by Akins. The referee had to award Charlton a penalty when Grant was fouled. He took it and, although the keeper got a hand to it, he made it 1-1. On 43 minutes Pearce blocked Cole.

On 54 minutes Aribo pulled the ball back to Lapslie, but his drive was blocked. Sarr made a great challenge when Fraser was clear through on goal. Ward replaced Bielik on 69 minutes. An effort by Taylor was hacked off the line. Fosu was replaced by Marshall. On 87 minutes Pearce scored following a Charlton corner. The Addicks held firm in the five minutes added on.

Lee Bowyer commented, 'Did we deserve the three points? No. But there's a lot of games that we did deserve the three points and left with nothing this season so I'm going to take this one and run.'

Louis Mendez reports on Charlton's unlikely victory: Fourth straight win

Local police said they were investigating a smash and grab raid at the Pirelli Stadium involving the theft of three points with those responsible having made off in a coach towards London.

Monday 26 November 2018

Clough rates Charlton counter attack

Midweek away matches can be very important in determining the outcome of a season and that certainly applies to tonight's game at Burton Albion. Brewers boss Nigel Clough thinks that Charlton are good on the counter attack and dangerous on the break: Clough on Charlton

Burton are currently 14th in League One. At home they have won five, drawn one and lost three. They are eighth in the form table while the Addicks are fourth.

The Brewers lost 3-0 at Blackpool last Saturday and Nigel Clough admitted that they were conceding goals too easily, although this seems to be more of a problem away (18) than at home (seven).

Meire: fans threatened to throw me under train

A new Katrien Meire interview has been uncovered, although unfortunately it is in Flemish: Katrien Meire

It appears that she has negotiated after hours access to the grounds of Chatsworth House and is seen enjoying a picnic with sheep grazing in the distance.

Meire claims, 'At Charlton the fans knew I was taking the train in London Bridge, and they had threatened to throw me under a train.' If this incident happened, it should have been reported to the police.

She also complains about being misinterpreted in an interview where she said we should look to the future which did not mean we should throw the traditions and history of the club in the trash.

Meire also that although the Premier League has embraced internationalism it is not normal in the lower divisions so people are not so used to foreigners.

Aribo's verdict on Saturday and the way forward

Charlton need to stay focused says Saturday's man of the match Joe Aribo: Aribo interview

Aribo said, 'We were good in spells in the game but at times showed we have to dig in and get the result. that’s what we did, we grinded and stayed as a unit. Sometimes you have to win ugly. Sometimes it can feel like that when you’re leading. It feels so easy and like you can take more risks. That doesn’t help us. It gives the opposition a chance to get back into the game as we’re making mistakes.

I felt that on Saturday it wasn't so much risk taking as rather tepid play after the first goal was scored. The crowd was also rather flat.

Southampton may renew the interest they showed in Aribo over the summer when they hoped to secure his signature for less than £1m as part of Roland's fire sale.

George Lapslie and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (a cameo appearance on Saturday) are ready to sign new contracts: Contract extensions

Saturday 24 November 2018

To the Londoners 3-1

Charlton regained 6th place on goal difference in League One with a 3-1 victory over Bristol Rovers at The Valley this afternoon. The win was achieved without talisman Lyle Taylor. However, Patrick Bauer started his first game after his return frominjury.

Jamie Ward, Joe Aribo and Karlan Grant were all on target as Charlton collected a third straight League One victory. Ward's impressive early opener was cancelled out by Joe Martin's stunning 30th-minute equaliser, a fierce shot from distance. After the Ward goal, the game went a bit flat and Charlton failed to threaten. Bilik was prone to give away possession.

But Aribo's header just before the interval, after a scramble following a corner put the Addicks back in front. Grant wrapped it up in stoppage time when he was put clear on goal to complete the simplest of finishes.

The Addicks broke the deadlock in the 10th minute. Jed Steer's long clearance was latched on to by Ward, who burst through on goal before coolly lofting the ball over advancing Rovers keeper Jack Bonham.

Rovers should have been back on terms but Tom Nichols was just unable to apply a vital touch to Stefan Payne's dangerous low cross. The Gas have been criticised by their manager for not being clinical in their finishing and they wasted a number of chances throughout the game.

Martin drilled an unstoppable left-footed effort from 20 yards beyond the reach of Steer on the half-hour mark. With their tails now up, Liam Sercombe tried a long-range volley that flew just off target and then Steer produced an excellent reaction save from Ollie Clarke.

Nicky Ajose was denied at the other end by Bonham moments later and saw a free-kick deflected inches wide of the post just before the break. Rovers' hopes of going in level were cruelly dashed on the stroke of half-time as some sloppy defending was punished by Aribo's close-range header to restore the Addicks' advantage.

Patrick Bauer headed wide after the restart and Ajose was just behind Ward's inviting pull back on the hour as Charlton looked to move further clear. When former Leamington ace Alex Rodman was brought on a substitute, the Gas upped their game. Charlton were put under quite a bit of pressure and at times seemed to be defending too deep. Steer had to be alert to deal with Sercombe's volley at the other end and the Rovers midfielder blazed an effort well off target four minutes from time.

The Gas hoped they could score from a corner and keeper Bonham decided to come up to add his shooting skills. Grant waited up field and capitalised on Bonham's decision to go up for a corner when he was set clear to fire into an empty net.

Rovers looked like relegation fodder, but they still need to be beaten. Solly had a good game. The lively and skilled Aribo got the man of the match award and was star man for the Football League Paper.

Lee Bowyer reckons that Charlton made it more difficult that it needed to be for themselves and that they missed Lyle Taylor: We deserved to win

Match report from Louis Mendez here: Third straight win

Friday 23 November 2018

Gashead boss gets vote of confidence

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has been given the vote of confidence by the club's chairman. Could he be another manager to fall to the curse of Charlton? The Addicks have been something of a bogey team for the Gasheads in the recent past, defeating them 5-1 on their home ground.

Rovers are currently fourth from bottom in League One, but are better placed in the form table where they are just six places behind Charlton. Away from home, they won two, drawn three and lost four.

They are placing their hopes on the absence of Charlton talisman Lyle Taylor who is suspended: Lyle Taylor

The CAS Trust preview notes that it's hard to think of a club against which we have a better record than Bristol Rovers: No win at The Valley for 60 years

That looks us set up for disappointment then.

Charlton have slipped out of the play off places after Coventry drew on Friday evening.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Johnnie Jackson interview

Aspirant sports journalist Charlie Pittock has staged an in depth (and well illustrated) interview with Johnnie Jackson: My life has changed but I still feel like one of the lads

Jacko says: 'Nothing compares to being out on the pitch, nothing will ever beat the euphoria of my last-minute winner against QPR. It was the same level of emotion when we lost in the play-offs at Shrewsbury last year. I was desperate to bow out at Wembley but it wasn’t to be.'

Gasheads get apology

Bristol Rovers owner Wael-al-Qadi has apologised to enraged Bristol Rovers fans after the club was dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league Barnet at home last night: Owner's call for unity

Fearing a relegation struggle, Rovers plan to start their fight back at The Valley on Saturday.

Wealth of copy for VOTV

Stern editorial control is maintained at Voice of the Valley as the latest issue is typeset

Issue No. 147 (my birth month and year) will be hitting the streets around The Valley before the Bristol Rovers game on Saturday. Editor Rick Everitt has such a wealth of copy to choose from that one of the vinegar pissers has had his copy spiked.

As usual, it is possible for a copy to be sent under plain cover for you to enjoy at home, but there is no special Black Friday deal: Details

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Brits put money on the table

Things have speeded up over the last week on the takeover front according to Roland's representative on earth, Lieven De Turck, at a fans' forum held last night: Takeover update

De Turck said of the British group that in the last week he felt they had taken a big step. LDT expected things will be sped up now. He explained that in the past they had shown they had proof of funds but with proof of funds alone they cannot purchase the club. Now they appear close to putting the money on the table.

My concern about this group has always been how much money they have beyond the purchase price to rebuild the club.

Dwe Turck said that the problem with the Australian based consortium was their complexity which was still very high, although there had been some reduction. He said he felt the upcoming transfer window and being sixth in the league helps with the sale of the club which is why he feels there has been movement recently. He still thought the Australians were the most likely bidders which should qualify them for a record as holding the longest negotiation to buy a football club.

Other potential purchasers were mentioned, but they don't look very serious or credible.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

The Old Five

Charlton proceeded to a second round FA Cup tie against Doncaster (who beat Chorley 7-0) with a 5-0 demolition of Mansfield Town at a soaking wetValley tonight. Lyle Taylor scored a hat trick. Mansfield boss David Flitcroft described Lyle Taylor's third goal as 'Cantona-esque'. Even Nicky Ajose got on the score sheet and Lee Bowyer credited him with setting up the first two. Bowyer praised the team's ruthlessness in front of goal.

Not many Addicks enjoyed the spectacle. Rick Everitt tweeted, '1,910 is not only the worst Charlton FA Cup attendance since 1921 but under half the previous worst against Merthyr Town in 1928 - and that was on a Wednesday afternoon!'

The match report from Louis Mendez is here: Mansfield played their part

The BBC has a clip of a goal that gave Lyle Taylor his hat trick: Wonder chip

Page signs new contract

Lewis Page has signed a new contract that will keep him at Charlton until at least 2021: New deal with trigger clause

Smiling supremo Lee Bowyer expressed his delight at the news, although Page is just of five players he wants to sign new deals.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Charlton linked with Italian player

The rumour mill is linking Charlton with former Tottenham player Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Left field deal

He is currently playing for Italian third tier site Rieti, but they are running short of cash and may be open to offers, not that I can see Roland sanctioning one.

He has formerly played for Torquay United and Dover Athletic, but it all looks high risk to me.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Championship plan may keep Charlton in lower leagues

Charlton may have to face a permanent future in the lower leagues if a plan by leading Championship clubs to break away from the EFL comes to fruition. However, there are a number of obstacles in its way: Premier League 2

Millwall are one of the smaller clubs in the Championship who have declared their opposition to the plan.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Ajose has to take his chances

Johnnie Jackson says that Nicky Ajose has to take his first team chances when he gets them, although admits that he suffered from a lack of service against Swansea City under 21s: Has to take his opportunities

Ajose has attracted criticism from some Charlton fans who have argued that he is a waste of space or worse.

The disappointed No.2 also discussed Tariqe Fosu, commenting that he hoped he is coming closer to replicating the form that saw him bag nine goals from midfield last season. 'We know what he’s capable of,'' he said. 'We saw it last season. He hasn’t hit those heights yet this season. Walsall he did really well. He needs to play his way back into form. That was the idea behind giving him more minutes tonight. He’s missed a lot of football with injuries and sometimes to really get up to speed and back to top form you need to keep playing.'

Fans vote with their feet

Just 740 fans saw Charlton exit the Checkatrade Trophy last night with a 0-1 defeat at home to Swansea Under 21s - and some think that was a generous estimate.

The one point of interest was the return of Billy Clarke after eleven months out injured and he came the closest to putting the Addicks level: Lowest ever crowd

The EFL needs to take a long, hard look at this competition. Bringing in Under 23 sides devalues it in relation to the old paint drying trophy, and that is saying something. Of course, the real agenda here is bringing top flight reserve sides into the EFL as happens in Spain.

Interest grows in Grant

Karlan Grant has arguably been the most improved player for Charlton this season and has shown a real eye for goal, combining well with Lyle Taylor. Inevitably, he is start to attract interest elsewhere and has been suggested as a possible recruit for Birmingham City: Replacement waiting at Charlton

Sunday 11 November 2018

There's only one Toby Stevenson

Charlton came from behind in today's FA Cup match to to earn a first round replay with Mansfield Town.

Toby Stevenson bundled in the equaliser 17 minutes from time after CJ Hamilton had fired the League Two side in front on the stroke of half-time, seeing his left-foot shot go in off the post. Winger Hamilton, who had earlier hit the outside of the upright, then saw a second-half effort tipped around the post by Charlton keeper Dillon Phillips, who also saved well from Neal Bishop.

The Addicks created chances but failed to register an effort on target until they drew level. Teenage wing-back Stevenson, who became the first Addicks player to score a hat-trick on his debut in last month's club record 8-0 Checkatrade Trophy win at Stevenage, grabbed the equaliser when he stabbed in from close range as the ball bobbled around the Mansfield box.

Both sides had chances to win the tie as Stags keeper Bobby Olejnik saved from Nicky Ajose when through one-on-one, while Mansfield's Jacob Mellis saw his deflected effort hit the outside of the post and bounce wide.

By the time of the replay we will know who we have been drawn against and how much effort it is worth putting in. In any event, starlet Stevenson should start.

Saturday 10 November 2018

The Great War and Jimmy Seed

BBC North-East takes a look at the Great War and Jimmy Seed. Please note that this is a long report and Seed's story is interwoven with that of others and contemporary events: The Last Pass

Seed's grandson James Dutton commented: 'After arriving in France in the summer of 1916, he struggled, suffering with bad periods of depression, which were only relieved by playing football. He was captain of his battalion team and his good friend Tommy Wilson was captain of another battalion of the Leeds Rifles. These football games really helped him.'

Like so many of those that served, Jimmy remained secretive about many of the details of his time in the army. But his passion for football never wavered and undoubtedly helped him deal with war.

With her brothers away on their European tour of duty, Minnie Seed stole the spotlight. She worked in a munitions factory but had the family's sporting genes. She represented numerous sides in her native North East and beyond - including the most famous of all, Dick, Kerr Ladies.

Seed was gassed twice during the war, but good fortune allowed him to continue his football career and then become Charlton manager. I have dealt with his sacking in 1956 in a recent article in Voice of the Valley. Jimmy's daughter Gladys went into labour on hearing that her dad had effectively been sacked. James Charlton Dutton was born the same day, three weeks early. 'Grandad really struggled after being sacked by Charlton,' added Dutton.

Seed struggled with depression all his life, but he opened up just once to his grandson about his wartime experiences. Dutton describes how much his grandad meant to him.

Friday 9 November 2018

Let's win or lose but not draw

We've only played Mansfield three times in our history, only once at their place which means we've never lost to the Stags: History is a poor guide

Even before all the injury worries, sagacious supremo Lee Bowyer indicated that he would put out a 'B' team at Mansfield, saying that the key aim is promotion. He's right in my view. If we lose, we can put up with a few headlines about a shock result and a few unhappy Addicks watching in the United States. If we win, well and good. In some ways a draw would be the worst result.

The Stags are currently 7th in League Two and 6th in the form table. Four Four Two forecast a 6th place finish. Last season Mansfield progressed to the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Odds: Home 6/4; Draw, 13/5; Charlton, 21/10.

Fan comment from Craig Gittins on 'One change I would make at our club' is 'to get rid of the meandering river of piss in the toilets next to the pie stand.'

Given rail disruption, you deserve a medal if you are going.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Victory on the M6 boosts promotion hopes

Charlton won 2-0 at Walsall tonight with a goal in each half, a Taylor penalty and a goal for the Pole. The Addicks are now back in the play off places at 6th. BBC Midlands, who like to use a 'Charlton were anything but Athletic' line captioned it as a 2-0 Walsall win, perhaps better than my 2-9 typo earlier.

Taylor (a surprise inclusion given injury worries) put Charlton ahead from the penalty spot after just six minutes, sending Liam Roberts the wrong way after Tariqe Fosu's clever turn in the area drew a clumsy foul from George Dobson.

The lively Fosu, who had a great first half, had already curled inches over from 15 yards on three minutes after cutting in from the left. On 20 minutes a Fosu shot was deflected after a Taylor cross. Cullen was booked for a foul. Charlton suffered a blow when Igor Vetokele was carried off on a stretcher with a shoulder injury. he has gone to hospital.

His replacement, Karlan Grant, almost made it 2-0 from Taylor's cross on the brink of half-time but Roberts' fingertips foiled his header with a great save.

In the five minutes added on Charlton had a free kick on the left side of the area after Aribo was fouled. The Charlton bench were calling for a penalty. Cullen's effort was unproductive.

Charlton did double their lead in the 51st minute as a corner fell to Arsenal loanee Krystian Bielik six yards out and he lashed home. Taylor received his fifth yellow card of the season for a foul on 73 minutes, meaning that he will miss the home game against Bristol Rovers while he recuperates.

Walsall took 77 minutes to register a shot on target as Morgan Ferrier's strike brought a great diving save to his left from Jed Steer. The injured Cullen was replaced by Lapslie. Cullen has also dislocated his shoulder. It's Derek Ufton all over again, but in those days you had to stay on the pitch.

Marshall, who had come on as a substitute, won a corner and Bielik's effort was just over the bar. The much criticised Steer then had to punch away under pressure on 90 minutes before the Addicks saw out the five minutes added on.'

Chant of the night: 'Naby Sarr, once he was s****, but now he's all right.'

Congratulations to the 328 Addicks who made it.

Satisfied supremo Lee Bowyer praised a professional performance from his team: Three points on the road

Bowyer now has the highest win rate under Duchatelet (47 per cent) if one discounts the special case of Nugent.

Why the Walsall game is important

Midweek away games in less than salubrious settings are often crucial in determining the outcome of a season which is why today's match alongside the M6 at Walsall is important.

The Saddlers are currently two places behind Charlton in the table. Their record at home is mixed (and less good than that of Charlton): won three; drawn two; lost three, scored nine goals and let in twelve.

In the form table they are fifth from bottom, just behind Charlton who are seventh from bottom.

Walsall went down 1-3 at home to Burton Albion, their third defeat in four matches, so they will be looking for a comeback. Boss Dean Keates, who played 260 games for the Saddlers, said on Saturday, 'The good thing is we have got a game on Saturday. We can hopefully get a reaction.'

The shell shocked supremo added, 'We killed ourselves. We have had an input in every single goal we conceded. I am disappointed, I am frustrated.'

Last season they finished 19th and Four Four Two forecast a relegation slot this season. The fan interviewed forecast 12th.

Odds (Coral): Home, 2/1; Draw, 23/10; Charlton 11/8.

Tom Nield from West Yorkshire will referee Charlton for the first time. He has refereed just six matches in League One and has attracted controversy for poor decision-making.

Monday 5 November 2018

Bielik gets Bowyer to trust him again

Krystian Bielik talks about the shock of being taken off at half time at Rochdale and the determined performance he put in against Doncaster. He makes it clear that he is much more comfortable as a centre back than being used as a defensive midfielder: Getting Lee Bowyer to trust me again

Bielik comments how good it is to have 'Marshy' (Mark Marshall) back again. I thought that he made a good contribution when he came on as a substitute on Saturday. He made some good forward runs.

Sunday 4 November 2018

'Unsung Joe is real gem for Addicks'

That is the headline on a feature on Joe Aribo in the Football League Paper today. He also selected as 'man of the match' against Doncaster.

Sam Parker (former Swindon striker and BBC London pundit) writes, 'Charlton's front two have rightly received a lot of plaudits in the opening months of the season … But it wasn't the deadly strike duo that I was talking about when I made my way home [after the Barnsley game]. Midfielder Joe Aribo continues to excite me every time I see him play.'

'I'd be astonished if he's not being monitored by football clubs higher up the ladder.' [Well, if they weren't before now, this article will draw Aribo to their attention. He could well be number one item in the shop window for Roland's January fire sale. He has eight months left on his contract.]

Aribo came to Charlton in 2016 from Staines Town through a connection with Jason Euell. Parker continues, 'Aribo is an elegant midfielder with great balance and an ability to take people on. He's got a lovely left foot and is very reliable in possession, often manoeuvring himself out of very congested areas.' [I saw examples of this skill yesterday]. His greatest asset is his ability to travel with the ball and drive the team up the pitch. Against the Tykes, he played on the left of a midfield diamond and was impressive throughout.'

'He fits into the current system perfectly, giving them balance slightly to the left [which we need] and has the capacity to contribute both going forward and defensively. With his flair and quick feet he could be a threat further up the pitch as a number ten.' [Worth considering with Taylor unavailable].'

Johnnie Jackson recently told Parker that Aribo 'can go right to the top.' This probably means he is another talent whose progress we will watch from afar.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Win was comfortable but not convincing

A 2-0 win over Doncaster at The Valley this afternoon saw Charlton go to eighth in League One, three points off the play off places. However, despite the clean sheet, it was not that convincing a win. We couldn't get a third goal, despite some chances, and we were dispossessed too easily. As the second half wore on, with Taylor replaced by an unimpressive Vetokele, we were increasingly forced back to defend in depth, giving some anxious moments against rather ordinary opponents. However, both the first half goals were excellent.

Both teams started the game quickly, and Charlton goalkeeper Jed Steer blocked Herbie Kane from close range after three minutes. Niall Mason, who returned from a one-match ban for Doncaster, shot wide after 10 minutes before the Addicks went ahead eight minutes later. Tom Anderson headed onto his own crossbar from a home corner and Aribo was quick to pounce on the loose ball from six yards out.

Charlton nearly doubled the lead in the 26th minute when Ahearne-Grant flicked a low cross by Aribo just wide but he did better seven minutes later when his header was too strong for goalkeeper Marko Marosi.

A free-kick from Jamie Ward hit the post on the stroke of half time. Aribo nearly doubled his own tally for the afternoon just after the hour-mark but he swiped his shot from outside the box off target.

A jobsworth confiscated my bottle of water when I entered the ground, the first time this has happened.

Supremo Lee Bowyer thought that the Addicks were 'outstanding', noting that what was important was the clean sheet and three points: Good reaction to Rochdale defeat

However, Lyle Taylor will not be fit enough to play at either Walsall or Mansfield: Some time on the sidelines

Friday 2 November 2018

Jordan gives it large to Duchatelet

Former Crystal Palace supremo Simon Jordan has ripped into Roland Duchatelet's TalkSport interview, describing it as 'complete and utter tosh': Scathing response

I suppose one has to take allies where one could find them. It also takes an Onanist to spot an Onanist.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Injury blows

Lyle Taylor is a doubt for Saturday with a stomach muscle injury. Lewis Page is going to be out for a month longer than expected, meaning that the left back problem will be with us for longer: Page injury setback

Doncaster want three points on Saturday

Leeds: The Yorkshire Post this morning carries an interview with Doncaster Rovers defender Joe Wright who scored the consolation goal against Coventry City last Saturday. He reckons they can build on their second half performance against Sky Blues at Charlton on Saturday.

He commented, 'we really have to take the game to Charlton.' In the second half at the Ricoh, 'We pressed more as a team and the tempo was a lot faster.'

Rovers have had a forgettable October. They picked up just four points from a possible 24 during the month. That was in sharp contrast to an impressive September which saw them remain unbeaten, dropping just two points along the way.

Wednesday 31 October 2018

CARD statement on Roland

CARD has issued a statement refuting the main points made by Roland Duchatelet in his TalkSport interview: Statement

Some people have argued that we should move on and not rake over past events, but it is Roland who is doing that in order to justify the situation the club is now in. The easiest way to move on would be for him to accept a realistic price for the club. It's just like selling a house: you may have a notion of its true value, but if you want to move, you have to accept the price the market will bear.

Roland was clearly quite emotional in his interview, as Jim White noted, and he clearly does not regard it as his finest hour. This should not obscure the fact that he is an Onanist and, what is worse, does not recognise himself as one. Instead he sees himself as a well-meaning visionary dealt unfair blows by embittered opponents.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

C'est Roland qui parle

I have been listening to Roland Duchatelet being interviewed on Talksport, not helped by the fact that it kept cutting out online. We do better at Radio Scilly! However, he didn't really say anything new. There is a Part 2 to come, but I doubt whether it will be very revealing.

It was really the same old line: relationships with the fans were spoilt by poor communication, and protests by the fans were stopping the club being sold. Asked why he didn't sort out the communications team, he said that Katrien did make some changes. As I recall, that involved the departure of experienced and trusted staff. It was the message that was the problem, not the way that it was conveyed.

VOTV editor and former comms supremo Rick Everitt has commented: 'but chose to have no head of comms for two years from time he arrived. When one was finally appointed she walked out after seven weeks because of his incoherent public rant at fans after the Boro game.'

Roland denied that he was involved in team matters, saying he didn't have the time but 'my people did suggest to play in some ways'. Presumably that included the likes of Thomas Dreisen.

On Chris Wilder, Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted, 'RD blaming Wilder for not coming on negative reaction from fans - and mentions Charlton Life messageboard - over his appointment. My understanding has always been he played off Charlton interest with knowledge Sheffield United situation was developing.' Anyway, Cawley added, 'Also on Wilder, he had the chance to go to Sheffield United or Charlton - a very easy decision when you looked at the state of both clubs at that point.'

Former pitch announcer Big Dave Lockwood has tweeted: 'Less than 2 minutes in and he's lying already. I know he interfered in team selection, I've seen the emails!'

Asked if he was scared to go to The Valley, Roland said that he wasn't, but there were times when it wouldn't have been very appealing. As we know, he enjoys a 'live feed' (of moules et frites).

On the bonuses issue, Roland said that the club had made a huge loss and it was not normal to pay bonuses in such circumstances as the word bonus meant 'extra'. Well, perhaps it does in Flemish, but my understanding was that the bonuses were not linked to profit targets. Apparently the 'contractual' bonuses have been paid, but not the 'discretionary' one.

Roland confirmed that Charlton still represented two per cent of his business empire.

Roland said that he had decided that he had to tell 'the truth' and he didn't care how people reacted, the interviewer having suggested that Charlton fans hated him, later adding that they were decent people too. This exchange would seem to imply that Roland had been economical with the actualité in the past.

Roland claimed that it was not easy to sell a club during 'the competition' as potential buyers reacted to wins or losses. It's difficult to believe that a 1-0 loss at Rochdale would lead a serious buyer to demand a discount.

Roland argued that the protests were a real problem for a new owner. The interviewer suggested that as he was a wealthy individual why didn't he just sell the club. In a bizarre conclusion, Roland kept repeating 'That's what I tried to do.' But at a realistic price?

Monday 29 October 2018

Roland: I feel guilty

In an interview with Talksport, Roland Duchatelet has said he feels guilty and sad for the fans, but emphasises that Charlton is not his life. Once again he insists the main problem was one of poor communication rather than daft decisions.

This is just a trailer and the full interview will be available tomorrow.

One way to expunge any feelings of guilt would be to sell the club at a reasonable price.

Pratley's call to arms

Charlton need to bounce back after their defeat to Rochdale says Darren Pratley: Important to bounce back

Perhaps a clue to what went wrong is his statement, 'We expected to come here and win the game.' Perhaps they didn't realise how much hard graft would be needed, although I like Pratley, an experienced player who puts himself about, albeit adding to his yellow card collection.

Football is a game of fine margins and we could have got a draw (my forecast) or better out of this game. There is no need to panic yet, although we have a tough test against Doncaster on Saturday. We are fifth from bottom in the form table which is a concern.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Leicester City

I would like to express my condolences to Leicester City fans (especially my friend Stacey) and to family and friends at the death of their popular owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who was killed when his helicopter crashed near the ground after last night's match against West Ham United. The BBC has confirmed that he was on board: Accident

It is at times like this that the world of football comes together. As a Leicester University graduate, I was delighted when Leicester City won the Premier League title and that will be a lasting legacy.

One Leicester fan described him as the best owner one could hope for.

Charlton down to 13th

Charlton are down to 13th in League One after losing 1-0 to Rochdale, succumbing to an early goal in the 4th minute from danger man captain Ian Henderson. It was his 99th goal for Dale. Despite having 14 shots on target to Rochdale's 12, the Addicks were unable even to find an equaliser.

Stephen Dooley's square pass found Henderson and the Dale skipper slammed home a low drive from 10 yards. Charlton hit back with Lyle Taylor close to an equaliser, collecting the ball in the centre circle and advancing towards goal before skimming the top of the bar from the edge of the area.

Charlton had a golden chance to equalise in the 20th minute when Brendan Moore was deemed to have fouled Darren Pratley inside the area, but the Dale stopper made amends by diving to his right and beating away Taylor’s penalty.

Charlton created the first efforts of the second-half as Jason Pearce and Taylor both sent efforts off target, before Moore produced a fingertip stop from Josh Cullen’s strike.

And Cullen was frustrated again when his direct free-kick beat Moore and found the back of the net - only to be ruled out for an infringement by Taylor.

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer said after the game that Charlton were very poor first half and did not compete. He has questioned the attitude of his squad in failing to build on the win against Barnsley: Bowyer gives it large

Bowyer thought that Krystian Bielik kept getting caught in possession: Loanee needs to learn

The SLP's report of the game can be found here: Slip to defeat

The small number of Charlton fans calling for Bowyer to go need their heads examined. We can do without more revolving door management. However, Bowyer is relatively inexperienced and he could do with some guidance. The name of Alan Curbishley comes to mind, although some might think it a back to the future move and Roland would never agree anyway.

Friday 26 October 2018

Justice at last

A Charlton fan who had his finger broken at Fulham gets recompense from the Metropolitan Police at last: Incident at the Cottage

I am afraid that football fans are still not treated as the decent people the vast majority of them are. Respect is a two way street.

Dick Sheppard

All too often we remember people in their final years. Fortunately there were plenty of pictures of Dick Sheppard as a young man at the celebration of his life today. Here he is the proud owner of an Austin 7 (my late wife had one and getting it up Shooters Hill was a challenge).

Sadly I am having to attend the funerals of Addicks from what I call the 'Bartram generation'. Chalfont St. Peter Addick Dick Sheppard was at the Roan school with Brian Kinsey. He first went to The Valley in 1948.

There was a large attendance at the celebration of his life at the Chilterns Crematorium today. Pitch announcer Brian Cole was on hand to recall Dick's life as an Addick. At the end of his talk, Brian simply recited the Red, Red, Robin, a moving tribute.

Dick, known to us as 'Uncle Albert'. was a leading member of the group of fans known as the 'Rodsters', of which I am a member, who used to park their zimmer frames at the Rose of Denmark. We now meet at the River Ale House in East Greenwich.

Dick was a great statto and used to provide a range of information about upcoming games on the Glynne Jones mailing list. I have tried to assemble similar information myself and it's not easy.

Dick spent his life working in the computer industry from its infancy, first as an engineer and then in recruitment. Above all, he was a great family man and my heart goes out to his wife Bobby and his two daughters. His grandson gave a perfect recital of a moving poem.

Over Hill and Dale

Currently 17th in League One to Charlton's 11th, Rochdale have a curiously poor home record, having won one, drawn one and lost five. Last Saturday they beat Bradford City 2-0 away, but then lost 3-0 at Wycombe on Tuesday. At home they have scored eight goals, but let in sixteen, the joint highest in the division which suggests some defensive weaknesses.

After three successive top ten finishes, last season was a struggle in the league, and they were only saved on the final day by beating the Addicks, although their FA Cup run took them to Wembley to play Tottenham Hotspur. This was followed a home draw which was televised. Alan Shearer commented on the quality of the passing, but manager Keith Hill pointed out they were prone to silly mistakes. Hill is five years into his second spell as manager.

Rochdale signed six players within a few days of the window opening and fans were hopeful that the recruitment would make a difference. Four Four Two forecast a 14th place finish and the fan interviewee 15th.

Key man is captain Ian Henderson who scored both goals against Bradford from the penalty spot. The 33-year old captain has scored 89 goals in 255 games for the club, assisting a further 33.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Preview

Odds (Coral): Rochdale, 7/5; Draw, 12/5; Charlton, 9/5.

Referee is Andy Haines from Tyne and Wear. Assistant Referees: Wayne Grunnill and Hristo Karaivanov.

Please note that Northern Rail services tomorrow will be disrupted by strike action.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Taylor is up for three points at Dale

Lyle Taylor is very restrained in talking about the tactics directed at him by Oxford players last night or the failure of the officials to do very much about it, but he was prepared to discuss the art of taking penalties : Long interview

He commented,'We weren’t at our best – we were Saturday [against Barnsley]. So we have to just recover right now and get ready for the weekend. If we can go and win at the weekend – and obviously it is an if because it is a game of football and nothing is given – we’ve had a good week if we walk away with seven points.'

Taylor has rapidly become popular with the Addickted for his skills and his response to fans. He was the last off the pitch on Saturday because he had been talking to fans.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Bowyer's disappointment

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer has admitted that Charlton did not really play against Oxford United. The U's game plan of disrupting Charlton worked: Not good enough

A more experienced manager might have found a way of dealing with that and he does have a Curbishley like habit of leaving his substitutions too late.

Bowyer argued that play should have been stopped for the head injury to Josh Cullen before the Oxford goal. All round, it seems to have been a poor refereeing performance, although we benefitted from a rather soft penalty.

Richard Cawley has an interesting interview with Karl Robinson in which the loquacious Liverpudlian admits that he has calmed down a lot. Before coming to Charlton, he did not realise how strong the club's roots were in the community. He thinks that Lee Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson are Charlton through and through and great for the club: Perfect fit

I had this game down as a draw on CAFC Picks and a loss on the Badger League, so I am not really surprised. Even so, we should be beating teams like Oxford if we want more than mid-table mediocrity.

Travel to a mid-week game for me relies on four transport links. I need the car to get to the station (I could get a bus, but that would mean a taxi when I get back after midnight which is expensive). Then Deustche Bahn to Marylebone, tube to North Greenwich and bus to The Valley. The tricky part is coming back when I need South-Eastern to get me to Charing Cross. Once or twice I have missed the 23.07 to Leamington and had to pay £40 for a taxi from Banbury.

Yesterday I was also set to go, sarnies packed and the car wouldn't start. The AA were there quickly but the patrolman had to more or less dismantle the engine, so I couldn't make it. Looks like a blessing in disguise.

Failure to get second goal holds back Charlton

Charlton drew 1-1 with Oxford United at The Valley tonight. A Lyle Taylor penalty put them ahead on 23 minutes, but they then had a number of good chances to go 2-0 ahead, but failed to seize them.

Oxford came into the game more in the second half and eventually equalised. Eastwood was not really tested in the second half. The physical tactics of the visitors and their constant fouls did not give Charlton much chance to play football. The Addicks have now slipped back to 11th in League One.

It was a scrappy start to the game with Charlton not looking very fluent or fluid. The lively Aribo broke away, but took too long and was denied by a tackle.

Reeves got past the keeper and accepted Eastwood's challenge. The referee awarded a penalty which was very well taken down the centre by Taylor to make it 1-0.

Charlton had three good chances after the goal. Aribo headed wide from a corner. Then Grant crossed for Aribo, but he scuffed his shot from ten yards out. It should have been 2-0.

Reeves put in a great block on 40 minutes after Oxford broke.

On 50 minutes Steer had to dive to the left to save from Browne. Fosu got a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

Dickie held down Taylor on the edge of the box. The free kick from Reeves was over the bar. Dickie, the charm merchant from the dreaming spires, then hauled Taylor back again, but did not receive a second yellow card. However, he was substituted almost immediately and was taken down the tunnel by a member of Oxford staff. He was not a happy bunny and was serenaded with 'He's going to cry in a minute' by the Covered End.

On 70 minutes Cullen and Holmes collided, allowing Whyte the space to score. The Northern Ireland international had not been on long as a substitute. Karl Robinson did not celebrate with gusto. On 74 minutes Reeves was not far wide but was replaced by Ward.

On 78 minutes Solly put in a superb sliding tackle as Oxford broke. The five minutes added on received one of the biggest cheers of the night, but Charlton were not able to make any use of them.

Ricky Holmes started for Oxford, having overcome his bad back. He showed flashes of his skill and when he was substituted in time added on there was more applause from the Charlton sides of the ground (mixed with some boos) than from the visitors.

Official attendance was 9,984 with 538 supporting the U's.

Not me guv, says Muir

In a long interview about his philanthropic interests in The Australian, essentially a PR puff, Australian Andrew Muir says he was 'erroenously' linked with a bid for 'lower league soccer club' Charlton Athletic. The article can be found here: LinkedIn

That seems a bit odd, given he was pictured at the ground wearing a scarf long after his involvement was highlighted and has made this statement less than six months after he turned up at The Valley with consortium members.

You couldn't make it up.

'Jimmy Seed' has tweeted: 'Just wanted to confirm that the Aussie consortium has not folded, and Andrew Muir still a part of it, in the background. Reason for lack of comms is still the non-disclosure agreement. Ignore the rumours.'

But, as someone responded, is it a rumour when it comes out of his mouth?

Monday 22 October 2018

Robinson: Charlton fans want their club back

Oxford United are hoping for a repetition of last season's 3-2 victory at The Valley: Win would be huge

Karl Robinson has said that The Valley is the best ground in League One. He commented, 'It’s a really good club and except for tomorrow night I wish them all the luck in the world, because the fans really want their club back.'

Robinson is uncertain what reception he will get. He did his best in difficult circumstances. I just wish he hadn't talked so much.

I see that the news of our cup tie at Mansfield sees us referred to in a local report as 'Valiants'. Groan.

Oxford poised to climb table says manager

Karl Robinson could always talk a good game and following Saturday's 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers, he insisted that his Oxford side will climb the table once they become clinical in front of goal.

Robinson argued that his side were better than their league position (22nd). He explained, 'The difference between us and a top side at the moment is that teams at the right end of League One would have been 2-0 up at half time with a similar performance.'

Is it conceivable that 'Gobby' will be another manager to fall to the curse of Charlton? People in the club who knew him said that he was a nice enough guy but one dimensional in his tactics.

Ricky Holmes did not feature at Bristol Rovers as he was injured (back problem) and is unlikely to play tomorrow night. Of course, he might come off the bench and score. Former Charlton loan player Jon Obika is out for the rest of the season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.

He made 22 appearances for us in two loan spells. Although he only scored three goals, I thought that he had some potential. At 28 the news of a serious injury is a major set back and I wish him well. Robinson says 'He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met in football.'

'Wanted' Ward wants to stay on

Loan player Jamie Ward says 'It is just nice to be wanted again' and hopes to stay on at Charlton after January: Hopes stay can be extended

I don't think he contributed a lot on Saturday. But the 32-year old points out that he will not be fully fit ever again. He can come on for 60-70 minutes and then Fosu can replace him or the other way round.

I would prefer the other way round as I think Fosu is capable of doing something surprising (in a good way).

Sunday 21 October 2018

Will I go to the Oxford United game?

Will I go to the game against Oxford United when club matches from League One and League Two can be seen on the iFollow service? On Tuesday, should I take a five hour round trip to London to watch Charlton play Oxford United, get home at 12.30pm, and pay £23.45 for a rail ticket when I could watch the game on my laptop in the comfort and privacy of my own home?

The answer is clearly 'yes' as I want to greet the returning 'Gobby'. Given that we had a somewhat unexpected victory against Barnsley, I fear that we may trip up against the U's.

The broader issues about the impact of televising games are discussed on our sister site: The digital revolution and football

Saturday 20 October 2018

Sunshine win for Charlton

In brilliant sunshine at The Valley this afternoon Charlton beat Barnsley 2-0 through two well-taken goals by Karlan Grant. The Tykes may have come as the team with the best away record in the Football League, but the first Charlton goal seem to have deflated them.

Charlton's performance was not faultless and we could and should have scored more. The referee, as expected, did us no favours and was booed off the pitch. Charlton have moved up to 9th.

Grant opened the scoring after eight minutes, taking a superb diagonal pass from Jamie Ward and hitting a low shot across Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies and in off the far post. Aribo had a great first half, displaying some silky skills.

Alex Mowatt forced a diving save from Jed Steer from a long-range free-kick after 16 minutes, but that was the only time Barnsley threatened in the first half.

In contrast, the speedy Charlton forwards kept the Tykes' defenders at full stretch and Ward twice had shots saved by Davies. Taylor was tireless throughout the game, in defence as well as attack.

Barnsley introduced top scorer Kieffer Moore at half-time but to little effect and Charlton doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half as Grant converted Lyle Taylor's low cross from close range.

Naby Sarr came on as a late substitute for the injured Krystian Bielik and gave us a few anxious moments. Lee Bowyer was full of praise for the contribution the returning Bielik had made: Bielik

No Aussie takeover claim

While I was enjoying my brunch this morning at the GMT café in East Greenwich, I was approached by an informant wearing a wide brimmed hat. Despite this mode of dress, I recognised him as a reliable source.

He told me that the Australian takeover of Charlton was over. The consortium of twenty was not able to agree what their respective roles should be with all of them wanting a share of the action. Andrew Muir could afford to buy the club himself, but did not wish to do so.

My confidence in the consortium evaporated like the Murray-Darling river some time ago. However, there is no one else who is credible on the horizon as far as I can tell.

Friday 19 October 2018

Barnsley have striker worries

Barnsley have worries over two of their strikers, but it looks as if they might be fit for Saturday: Sweating on fitness

Barnsley are currently 3rd in the table and 5th in the form table. Charlton are 11th and 8th respectively. Barnsley have won four of their matches away from home, drawn one and lost one.

Indeed, Barnsley have the best away record in the country and are particularly strong defensively. They were unfortunate to be relegated from the Championship last season: CAS Trust preview

Last Saturday they beat Luton 3-2 at home. Luton claim they were denied a point when they were wrongly flagged for offside.

The Football League Paper commented: 'If teams won points for style, both Luton and Barnsley would be playing in the Championship next season. This was a quality contest between two sides determined to press high and play low, a fabulous advert for League One. The ferocity of their press and the quality of their passing made the Tykes look like a Championship side in waiting.'

Not much chance for Charlton then! Odds (Bet 365): Barnsley, 23/20; Charlton, 5/2; Draw 13/5.

Referee James Linington, most will remember him earlier this season in the 1-0 defeat to Peterborough at home on a Tuesday night where he gave them a dubious penalty and booked Lee Boywer.

Copies of the new Voice of the Valley have now arrived at the Ramsgate offices. It will be on sale around the ground from 1 pm tomorrow or can be ordered online for delivery to your home address.

Thursday 18 October 2018

New left back needed

Lee Bowyer talks about the need to bring in a left back in January: One key position

Krystian Bielik should be fit for Saturday, allowing Naby Sarr to deploy his skills at left back.

Wednesday 17 October 2018

EFL silent on meeting with Roland

The English Football League has held its meeting with Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet. The meeting did not take place in London, but in Brussels.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has been trying to get information from the EFL Press Office for 48 hours, but without success. On Thursday he tweeted that they would not be issuing a statement on the meeting at this time.

The EFL did issue a statement in August, albeit a rather brief one, saying that the meeting was going to take place.

The statement did point out 'In the context of any debate relating to operational decisions taken by a club, it is important to make the point that these matters are determined by the individual Boards and Executive teams at each our 72 member clubs.'

CAS Trust had what they regarded as a productive meeting with the EFL which did confirm that there is still documentation to be submitted by the Australians: Productive meeting