Sunday 30 September 2018

Unsung heroes

When you start reading this, you may wonder where the Charlton content is, but I do get there eventually.

Most of my adult life was spent in a household where there were four girls/women and me. So it's not surprising that almost all my close friends today are women. I feel comfortable talking to them about hairstyles, hair colour and fashion.

However, football is a big gulf between us. They find my interest in it baffling, even though one of them was the highly successful director of a football research centre. In particular, they can't understand why I support Charlton rather than a top six club. Only of them has an interest in football and she is a Tottenham Hotspur fan. Cue jokes about 'she doesn't have an interest in football, then' but at least it's not Palace. I would add that Chris Powell is a Spurs fan and had a season ticket at one time.

She was pleased that I went to Tottenham on Saturday afternoon for the opening of an exhibition by the Mayor of Haringey in which I am an exhibit. It's odd to see your story on an information board funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Even odder to have people come up to you to shake your hand, say they remember you and that you were a 'star' (clearly not).

Meeting members of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation

It was good to meet representatives of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation who are clearly doing some great work in the community and want to contact me to record my 'life story'. They were a bit shocked to find that I was born south of the river!

Last week a Bulgarian friend of mine invited me out to dinner. We had what I thought was a good natured discussion about my interest in football, but she mistakenly thought she might have upset me and invited me out again. That led to a very interesting discussion about cultural differences and why she finds my 'Englishness' a problem. That's understandable, given that she has lived in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, the United States, the Netherlands and now the UK. I have only lived and worked abroad for short periods of time.

Given that one of her passports is still Bulgarian, and that she has property there, I was shocked that she had never heard of Radostin Kishishev who earned 89 caps for Bulgaria. But that led to a train of thought.

One of the Charlton Facebook groups recently invited fans to name their favourite player of all time. The answers were inevitably generational. Among the most popular choices were: Sam Bartram; 'Killer'; Mark Kinsella; and Sir Clive Mendonca.

But what about the players who were unsung heroes? Players we may have slagged off at the time, but came to appreciate what they offered later. Often they were midfielders. I would suggest the following names from different eras:

  • 'Squib' Hamond who passed away recently and worked away in the midfield engine room in the days of the maximum wage (he later became a hospital porter).
  • Keith Jones, disliked by many because of his role as a defensive midfielder which sometimes involved playing the ball sideways or backwards. But he scored his penalty in the Greatest Game and scored a winner against Liverpool.
  • And, just to wind up my friend, Radostin Kishishev.

Radio Scilly

Just to update you on my role as mainland football correspondent of Radio Scilly (see earlier story). I got the dreaded vote of confidence at the weekend, but my football preview was not used. This led to an exchange of views online on Sunday morning with the new managing director. This was awkward as she is a long-standing friend: I made a special trip to the islands for her wedding reception. She ticked me off on air, but also said I was forgiven. So we shall see.

Saturday 29 September 2018

Run of wins comes to an end

Charlton's run of wins came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Luton Town this afternoon. To look at it more positively, we are unbeaten in six. The Addicks stay 6th in the table.

Instead of conceding a last minute goal, Chris Solly scored a 95th minute equaliser, volleying home from a corner. He had not scored for six years (his last goal was away at Blackpool) and has scored just twice in 269 appearances.

Fosu scored clinically from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Aribo had been brought down, giving Charlton the lead. Luton boss Nathan Jones has complained that it was outside the box which makes me glad I have my sight test coming up as it looked inside on Quest.

Luton should have levelled 10 minutes into the second half but Elliot Lee was denied by Jed Steer - the striker's rebound hitting the outside of a post. The introduction of Harry Cornick inspired Luton, as after missing an excellent chance, he beat Steer to Collins' flick-on to make it 1-1 after 74 minutes.

Steer made a brilliant save from Lee but was beaten again with nine minutes to go. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's shot cannoned off the woodwork and Collins converted the rebound.

The report from Louis Mendez can be found here: Dramatic late points

Friday 28 September 2018

Back to Kenilworth Road

Luton Town have aspired to a new stadium for a long time with sites near the M1 being discussed. But they are still in Kenilworth Road which must be one of the odder stadiums in the Football League. I remember visiting there in the 1990s and going through a passageway alongside a house and then climbing some steps adjacent to a back garden to get into the away end.

Heather McKinlay can recall a not altogether happy experience in the 1970s: 41 years of hurt

I met the local Hatter in one of the Royal Spa's 47 coffee shops this morning, but he had little insight to offer beyond saying that both teams are doing 'quite well'. I might have got more out of the predominantly Portuguese speaking clientele, but they were more interested in games in their native Brazil.

Charlton are currently 2nd in the League One form table and Luton are 7th. Most of their success has been at home with three wins, one draw and no defeats. Last week they drew 0-0 at Blackpool, but that was largely due to some super saves made by the home keeper.

Four Four Two forecast a 7th place finish at the beginning of the season.

Luton supremo Nathan Jones says of the Addicks: 'A tough game. a good side, a very good side. The manager has done well there under difficult circumstances, fair play. They're a good side, a big club for this level. They've got good players and it will be a real good test of us, our structure and where we are because there are sides that are Premiership, or ex-Premiership sides at this level, and they're one of them. it'll be a tough test, but a great test for us.'

On Charlton's strike force, he said: 'They've got some potency there, Lyle Taylor and Karlan Grant are a real potent strike force at this level and we will have to be at our best. But, we're in good form at the minute, two back-to-back clean sheets, so we can't go into it in any better defensive form, so we will see. It's a wonderful game, full house. Charlton is a wonderful club, I have actually worked for them, so I know what a fantastic club it is, but I also know what a fantastic club we are.'

Jason Pearce says that the feeling in the camp is really positive at the moment. Lee Bowyer is a tough manager to please, but that is the way the defender likes it: Happy at demands

Have I been sacked?

In the Porthmellon Studio of Radio Scilly

My position as mainland football correspondent of Radio Scilly may be in jeopardy. I was planning tomorrow to reassure local Plymouth Argyle supporters that their team put in a decent performance at The Valley last Saturday. The Argyle Community Trust was working with the Five Islands Football Club training youngsters on St. Mary's in August.

Yesterday morning the station was on auto pilot. Morning show host Will Lethbridge was revealed by Facebook as being in Barcelona. Ofcom had changed the license holder at 6.01 a.m. that morning. Investigations at Companies House revealed that Zoe Parry and her partner had resigned as directors. BTW, I was interested to learn that one former director had 'Charlton' as his middle name. I thought that only happened on Only Fools and Horses!

This morning I tuned in and heard the dulcet tones of community bus driver and local councillor Steve Sims. It was evident that he was struggling with the equipment and the running order. It also emerged that no one was ringing in to answer the breakfast brain teaser, but eventually someone did and got it right.

I sent Steve a message of sympathy because I wouldn't like to host the morning show which is the peak listening time and he did read it out on air, so perhaps all is not lost. Having been involved in commercial radio since it started, I would struggle with the equipment!

But don't expect my football preview tomorrow! I'm not sure that anyone listens, although a friend who was staying in a hotel was told by the owner that 'he knows all the managers.' Which I don't! Some of them I wouldn't want to know.

Thursday 27 September 2018

Mad as Hatters

I am meeting a Hatter tomorrow morning to discuss Saturday's game between Luton Town and Charlton Athletic.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that 'Bedfordshire Police will be running a free bussing operation for all Charlton fans attending the above game. The busses [sic] will be located at the train station and can be utilised to get to and from Kenilworth Road Station [stadium?] Officers will be at the station to assist and answer any questions. Luton has a guided busway system which if circumstances allow, will be able to get Charlton fans to the ground and back from the stadium to the station within 2 minutes.'

I do not know what you are supposed to do if you intend to go by car. Presumably the bus operation is in part intended to deal with all the Addicks hard men that will be arriving (including the Bloke Behind Me who lives in the area). Perhaps there are memories of the notorious visit by Millwall to Kenilworth Road in 1985 which influenced Mrs Thatcher's stance on football: Riot

Tuesday 25 September 2018

TIT bid for Charlton has collapsed

Charlton fans hoping for a takeover received a further blow when it was revealed that the Trotters Independent Trading bid for Charlton has collapsed. The following is a transcript of a conversation between Del Boy and Roland.

Bon joor Roland, it's your old mucker Del Boy.


Del Boy from Peckham what has just been voted the eleventh coolest place on the planet: London's coolest neighbourhood

Mon Dieu!

Nous parlons Franglais?

Bien sur.

Trez bien. Now when we were last on the dog you said you wanted 60 for your debts and 40 for the club and I said we could run to a ton.

C'est vrai.

Now Roland I am prepared to up my offer. In preparation for Brexit we are making Belgian style beer here in London.

[Roland is shocked into speaking English]. It's a travesty!

Non, mon ami, it's not a tapestry. But, as it so happens, I have a consignment of authentic Bayeux tapestry tea towels which I am happy to throw in.

Je bois café - et l'eau du robinet!

Like the Academy players! But I bet you like a nice glass of Belgian beer. Our beer is made by monks in a monastery in New Cross and it is called 'Pissoir New Den'.

Roland: Sacre bleu!

No, it's not blue Roland, it's a nice golden colour.


No, Roland, this is nothing to do with Tony Watt.

Are you that M. Everitt from Ramsgate in disguise? Is this a wind up?

I'm not that plonker, it's your old mate Del Boy from Beckham with the brother whose middle name is Charlton.

You take me for a fool! I'm a billionaire visionary. I will not sell the club to you!

Truth is a relative thing

In a new announcement on the club website, it is suggested that truth is a 'relative' thing for CARD: Clarification of bonus situation

It is also stated: 'In the meantime the club investigated how this issue became national news in the UK and beyond, a significant blow to the reputation of the club and owner and to the ability of the owner to sell the club.' Presumably it became national news through the normal processes of journalism with the story then picked up outside the UK by, for example, outlets in Belgium.

We could have a discussion about what is meant by 'truth'. Those things that are indisputably factually correct can be relatively trivial. For example, we know that VOTV editor Rick Everitt lives in Ramsgate. Indeed, he confirmed this yesterday by tweeting a picture when he was enjoying the amenities of the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons pub. Other than he was able to enjoy the sunshine rather than subbing the next issue of VOTV, the wider significance of this fact is limited.

Everitt has, however, responded to the club statement from the Isle of Thanet in his usual forthright manner: It's you have a problem with the truth, Roland

Most things are a matter of interpretation, even in a court of law. However, what is evident is that Roland Duchatelet is launching a vigorous campaign to defend himself with the EFL. He is entitled to do this, but it might have been a better use of his talents and energies to build a good relationship with the fans in the first place.

It is interesting that he is now described as a 'billionaire', presumably in euros. Previously I had thought that he was just a multi-millionaire. But evidently when it comes to selling the club he is keen to recoup the £65m of debt accumulated by one of his companies. I suppose that if I was in his position, I would want to as well, but it could be argued that poor decision-making by the owner has contributed to this outcome.

The debate about who has been economical with the actualité will no doubt rumble on. At least we can take some pride in the team and the management. Going to The Valley has become less of a painful duty.

Monday 24 September 2018

'We believe' says Reeves

Ben Reeves now believes that Charlton are on a par with the best sides in League One: Up with the pacesetters

Reeves said: 'The belief is important for us. We believe from the top. The manager and everyone down. The crowd as well behind us. It was great for us to get the winner right in front of them. Last year that could have fizzled out into a 1-1 draw. I think it was brilliant to get the goal right in front of the fans. They deserved it and we deserved it.'

I think that making Lee Bowyer permanent manager gave him and the team a boost. At the end of last season, he looked really grim as he walked through the middle on the pitch. But on Saturday he came over and applauded the East Stand (which had been noisier than usual). There is a video on social media and you can hear someone using an old fashioned football rattle.

For once Roland made the right decision. For now I am happy to put takeover talk to one side and do the best with what we have. I would still like Roland to move on, though.

Saturday 22 September 2018

Charlton move into play off places

Charlton moved into the play off places at 6th after their 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle at The Valley this afternoon. The Pilgrims showed that they are a better side than their league position suggests and it was by no means an easy victory with some edge of the seat moments.

Charlton started very brightly, as is so often the case, and had the visitors under the cosh in the opening minutes of the game. But it was Argyle who opened the scoring early on when Graham Carey was left unmarked to head home Joel Grant's cross from the left. Steer should possibly have moved more quickly to intercept the ball.

However, the home side were level three minutes later when Grant poked home from close range after Jason Pearce knocked Ben Reeves' corner back in. Reeves had a good game. Aribo had a spectacular run from one end of the pitch to the other.

Charlton should have taken the lead from the penalty spot before half-time, after Antoni Sarcevic fouled Chris Solly, but Lyle Taylor saw his effort saved by giant 1.98 metre goalkeeper Matt Macey, with Grant putting the loose ball into the side netting.

Macey blocked the onrushing Ward three minutes before the break, while the first effort of the second half saw Grant's effort deflected off the crossbar. The Addicks seemed at sixes and sevens in the first phase of the second half, but eventually recovered their composure.

Arsenal loan keeper Macey did his best to waste time as Argyle hoped their pilgrimage to London would be rewarded with a point, but the referee took little action. He did, however, managed to book the hard grafting Taylor after he had fairly won the ball.

A shot by Lewis Page with five minutes left also hit the frame of the goal as Charlton pressed, and the winner arrived when Grant pounced on a header by substitute Igor Vetokele.

With four successive victories, it is a case of 'In Bowyer we trust.'

Friday 21 September 2018

Green Army!

The Garrison Field stadium on St. Marys, Isles of Scilly.

I am the mainland football correspondent of Radio Scilly and every Saturday morning I present my review of the past week and look at what is coming up. How many people are listening (most probably online) is a moot point, although I was once stopped in the street in Hugh Town by an indignant local Hibernian supporter in 'see you Jimmy' mode who complained about my lack of coverage of the Scottish game.

When I was appointed to the football role by the then station manager he told me that I need not bother with coverage of the island league which has just two teams and has attracted some publicity as the world's smallest football league. Once the main tourist season is over, the Woolpack Wanderers will play the Garrison Gunners in the Charity Shield, followed by the league and various cup matches. The off islands can no longer raise football teams, although they do manage cricket teams.

I have been treading on eggshells in preparing this week's broadcast because Charlton are playing the most favoured team on the islands, Plymouth Argyle. In part this is because the Pilgrims send across staff to train the islands' football starved youngsters (they have to leave to live on the mainland once they are 16). If one wanted to go to an Argyle match, one would have to hope the planes were running on Saturday morning (the ferry, known locally as 'the vomit comet', does not run in winter). It would then be a two hour or so train journey from Penzance to Plymouth. Return would not be possible until Monday as no planes run on a Sunday.

When I was young we used to go to Cornwall in the winter to pay our respects to my mother's forbears. We would usually head back on a Saturday and as the train meandered through Cornwall, we would pick up Argyle supporters, peaking at Liskeard. My father would become increasingly animated, hoping to start a conversation with one of them about their team.

One of my island friends who manages a utility service also keeps a house in Truro. He then gets the sleeper up to London on Friday night. However, you arrive in Paddington before the underground starts running and although I usually manage to get a reasonable night's sleep, it is not the same as sleeping in your own bed.

Anyway, this week I have already travelled down from Warwickshire to London twice already and I will be setting off especially early on Saturday. My women friends (referred to by one of my children with total inaccuracy as my 'harem') have always viewed my involvement in Charlton with a mixture of amusement and contempt, one describing it as 'hopelessly retro'. What they all agree on is that it is a very down market club. One won't let me take her eight year old grandson who lives in Dulwich on those grounds.

One of my friends who was involved in football through her work had to attend Premier League matches and schmooze with movers and shakers in the game. She was very successful at this, but it gave her a distaste for football. I was telling her this week about the time I went for a pre-match meal at Charlton and was addressed as 'Wayne' throughout. She commented, 'That speaks volumes about Charlton.'

What I have arranged to do this Saturday is to meet some fellow supporters in my birthplace Greenwich for brunch. This has been approved as a respectable up market venue, although I have kept quiet about exactly where we are meeting.

Thursday 20 September 2018

Injury update

Krystian Bielik and Darren Pratley are among the players who will not be available for Saturday's game against Plymouth Argyle: Injury update

Plymouth's current league position is out of line with expectations before the season began and the quality of their squad.

The Pilgrims are currently bottom of the table, having failed to win a match and drawn three. They lost 0-1 at home to Blackpool last Saturday. Blackpool were reduced to nine men by the end of the game, but Argyle boss Derek Adams said his side had not been clinical enough in front of goal.

Last season the club was seventh and Four Four Two predicted a 10th place finish, while the chosen fan saw them finishing 6th. FFT took the view that manager Adams had overseen 'a phenomenal two years at the club.' At some point their luck will change, but hopefully not on Saturday.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Can Bowyer win four on the spin?

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Moules and frites not on offer

The club is offering a 'taste of Italy' meal package before Saturday's match against Plymouth Argyle. Italy comes to SE7 through the medium of lasagne which I expect to cook for my own dinner this evening.

I went on one of these packages before the Wigan game last year as I had been in London during the day. I was addressed as 'Wayne', although I have to admit that Welsh first names are difficult. I was at an event yesterday where someone addressed me as 'Winston' and then the person doing the book signing (whom I knew) had to ask how to spell it.

I was then asked whether I had travelled down from Wigan that day.

Surely we should be offering Belgian food as a tribute to our owner whom we know enjoys a live feed. We could have moules and frites washed down with a Belgian beer and followed by Belgian chocolates. Actually, one of the things I like about Belgium is that you can eat and drink very well at reasonable prices.

Nevertheless, I have mixed feelings about a country where I have spent a lot of time and become interested in its history and fractious politics. The conclusion that I have reached is that it is a northern version of Italy, a rather corrupt country in which the state is overly bureaucratic but rather ineffective (if only because of the bitter linguistic divisions).

This then allows people like Roland to think they can tower above this landscape. Of course, his venture into politics failed and I was amused by the Belgian programme in which he outlined his latest thinking. A middle aged lady sitting behind tried to maintain an expression of studied neutrality, but succeeded in conveying baffled boredom.

I am enjoying the current crime series set in Ghent which is being shown on British television, if only because it plays into some of my prejudices. Of course, it's all in Flemish which I find incomprehensible, but at least they subtitle. Another series which I enjoy, Outlander, subtitles when the characters are speaking French, but not for long passages in Gaelic. As a consequence, you literally lose the plot, but I suspect the hand of the Scottish Government where the series was shot, albeit it with generous subsidies from Westminster.

Roland lost the plot some time ago, but he is the sort of personality who his view is obstructed by his over sized ego. For him, we lesser mortals can only see the shadows on the walls of the cave, to use Plato's analogy.

Monday 17 September 2018

Bauer out for two months

As soon as things are looking up, we get another blow. Patrick Bauer has tweeted: 'Devastated to find out that today’s MRI confirmed that I have completely ruptured the fibular collateral ligament in Saturdays game against Bradford. I will be sidelined for a couple of months, but will work very hard to be back stronger!'

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'We were saying on last night’s Charlton Live that everything was going too well at the moment and something had to go wrong. Happily my guess of “a gas leak at the training ground” is so far unfounded.'

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Step forward Naby Sarr.

Spider plague hit Valley

The minutes of the last Fans' Forum have revealed that The Valley was hit by a spider plague over the summer with them weaving their wicked webs.

A fan said she was not happy with the state of The Valley for the opening game. Roland's representative said for the first game of the season the seats were not clean enough. He said it was not good enough and apologised.

He explained since then the club have been working with an external pest control company. Staircases and previous roosting areas have been cleaned. Feedback from fans suggest those areas have been resolved.

He also explained there had been a challenge with cobwebs. Because of the summer climate the stadium has seen an increase in the amount of spiders. The cleaning team are now using additional equipment to deal with cobwebs.

Anyone who has seen spiders in Australia might want to consider whether some examples were accidentally released by the visitors from down under at the end of last season. In any event, the cobwebs were a metaphor for what was happening to the club, now swept away by Lee Bowyer's broom.

Sunday 16 September 2018

A beam of light from Ramsgate

Skilled writer though he is, VOTV editor Rick Everitt can veer towards pessimism and even cynicism. In all fairness one might say in that sense he represents the typical Charlton supporter. Indeed, some are far more gloomy and make their views known at high volume at homw games.

So it is a pleasing surprise to see the Rickster writing about a Charlton revival from the Isle of Thanet and in particular praising Lee Bowyer: Take a bow boss, you deserve it after Bradford

Everitt writes: '[T]here is already a sense that Bowyer is the most suitable person to manage Charlton since Chris Powell – and, perhaps with the addition of Phil Parkinson, one of only three really cut out for the job from the 12 incumbents since Alan Curbishley left in 2006.'

'He gives the firm impression of taking no nonsense, in contrast to a predecessor for whom nonsense was never more than a microphone away.' I would add to that I think Bowyer showed considerable tact and maturity in his remarks about the kilted bovver boy now in charge of Bradford City.

More critical publicity for Roland

Der Spiegel is Germany's leading news magazine. It has published a long story on the theme of 'Duchatelet Destroys Charlton': Belgier spart englischen Drittligisten kaputt

I once had a reasonable command of German given that I lived and worked there in Berlin (and apparently acquired the accent of someone living in a small town in the former East Germany: there may be reasons for that). Unfortunately, I have largely lost my facility with the language and it would take me too long to translate (online automated translations are often poor in my experience). I love the heading on 'kein Frühstück für die jungen Spieler.'

The Football League Paper also has an editorial and a back page story on Friday's protests. Some have derided them because of the small turnout but the point was to attract media attention.

Does media attention affect Roland? Whatever he says, I think it may do, particularly if it is in Belgium or a leading German publication. He sees himself as a visionary and this kind of publicity undermines that. I will write at greater length on this and why I think Belgium is a northern version of Italy.

The latest in depth treatment to appear is from Paddy Power: Paddy Investigates Charlton

Saturday 15 September 2018

Decisive win for Charlton

It was a decisive 2-0 win for Charlton at Valley Parade today with the increasingly impressive strike partnership of Grant and Taylor contributing the goals.

Steer had to make an important save on two minutes, but a minute later Karlan Grant scored at the other end, his third of the season. He picked up possession on the left, cuts into the box and finished across the keeper.

On 12 minutes McGovern picked up the first of many bookings in the game for a cynical challenge on Taylor as he broke away. Grant received a yellow card on 26 minutes for simulation.

Two minutes later Grant turned provider for Taylor, but his half volley was just wide of the post. This was the start of a period of real pressure from the Addicks when they should have scored. Aribo fed the unmarked Grant but he fired over from eight yards. On 31 minutes a dangerous ball from Ward was hacked away. Then a Ward shot deflected off Taylor for a goal kick. Ward shot over the bar from distance.

HT: Bantams 0, Addicks 1

Bradford had a series of corners after 50 minutes but failed to take advantage. Bradford coach Greg Abbott was given a yellow card for whingeing. Aribo received a yellow card for simulation. On 59 minutes a Bradford corner was hacked away.

Lapslie replaced Reeves on 65 minutes. On 67 minutes Bradford appealed for a penalty against Pearce. Charm merchant Bradford manager David Hopkin was booked for his protests.

The yellow cards continued with Knight-Percival getting one for a foul on Cullen. Lewis Page got one for a challenge. On 76 minutes Vetokele replaced Ward. A few minutes later he made a great turn and shot, but the keeper made the save. Then a minute later Taylor scored from nothing, putting the ball in the top right corner.

Sarr replaced Grant on 90 minutes and Charlton saw out the five minutes of added time.

Charlton have now moved up to 7th, one point before four teams occupying the play off places.

Hopkin continued to complain after the game, claiming that Bradford should have had two penalties. Bowyer said of his former team-mate, 'We are both winners. It is tough for him at the moment'.

Bowyer said, 'I think we deserved to win. In the first half we should have been two or three goals up and missed some good chances.'

'In the second half we went off the pace a bit and Bradford gained a bit of momentum without creating anything. Our back four were solid and the midfield players in front of them broke things up and the strikers scored two goals.'

Football League Paper star man 'Karl Ahearne-Grant' [sic]. Taylor also got a score of 8. All other players got 7 apart from Page who received 6 and Vetokele (sub) 6.

Friday 14 September 2018

When Charlton were top four

The Times points out this morning that it is 13 years since a team from outside the top six were in the top four in the Premier League at this time of the year. That team? Charlton Athletic.

But it's back to reality with a bantamweight contest today. We won 1-0 at Bradford last season and drew 0-0 the season before.

Charlton's latest signing Jamie Ward is expected to make his debut for the club. Ward joined on loan from Nottingham Forest on deadline day and has returned from international duty with Northern Ireland unscathed. Josh Cullen is available again after international duty with Republic of Ireland Under-21s and some fans think we missed him against Wycombe.

Bradford will be without Josh Wright and Kelvin Mellor for boss David Hopkin's first home game in charge against Lee Bowyer's Addicks. Midfielder Wright and defender Mellor both sustained hamstring injuries in last week's defeat at Blackpool. Defender, former Addick and Zimbabwe international Adam Chicksen has a possible hairline leg fracture and midfielder Hope Akpan is not ready to return following a shoulder injury.

Winger Sean Scannell (groin) is also still out, so Hopkin could hand starts to youngsters Lewis O'Brien and Jordan Gibson.

The big debate in Bradford is whether 'sorry is enough' to restore relations between the chairman and the fans: Restoring relations

Also big news is the opening of the first Pizza Express in the city.

Odds: Bradford 2/1, Draw 11/5, Charlton 29/20. Odds on promotion by any route: 8/1.

Protests outside Football League offices

Charlton fans protested outside the offices of the Football League in London today, while Blackpool fans protested outside the Preston offices: Protests. (Anyone remember when their offices were in Lytham St. Annes, the posh part of Blackpool?)

Two Charlton fans met with EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey in London. EFL commercial director Ben Wright was also present. Harvey assured them he will bid to meet directly with Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet as soon as possible. According to a video released on social media, he has already talked with the Belgian.

I am sceptical about the ability of the EFL to put its own house in order. The issues that are concerning fans such as the narrow definition of the fit and proper person test might be better dealt with by an independent regulator. But I recognise that is not on the agenda at the moment, so talking to the EFL is the only option. Unfortunately, it tends to take a narrow view of its responsibilities.

Bradford owner is controversial

Bradford City face Charlton at Valley Parade tomorrow at a time when they are second from bottom in the League One form table while Charlton are 7th. But new Bantams boss David Hopkin is not fazed. Citing his experience as captain of Crystal Palace he says, 'I have always been a leader.' Well, Leamington's mad binman captain could say that as well after hitting the post last Saturday from inside his own half.

Hopkin swapped a safe post in Scotland for what the Football League Paper described this week as 'England's most perilous post.' [Shome mishtake shurely?] The 48-year old led Livingston to two successive promotions and quit days after securing a place in the Scottish Premier League. He may well have decided that the new town team had got above their level and it could well be that he gets a bigger salary in Yorkshire.

Hopkin told the FLP, 'I had five or six offers in the summer but there was none that looked like a challenge. This is different. It's one of those clubs in England that should be much higher and that's the attraction.'

Bradford co-owner Edin Rahic is seen as controversial (i.e., barking) and is on his fourth manager of 2018. Stuart McCall got the boot in February despite reaching the play off final the previous season and sitting sixth in League One. Michael Collins was appointed in the summer at the age of 32 and told get on his bike after just six games.

In between, caretaker Simon Grayson rejected a two year deal amid concerns over the owner's involvement, rumoured to include meddling in tactics and team selection. In other words, it is the opposite of the Roland problem: too much hands on instead of hands off.

In fairness to him, he has apologised for his mistakes which is more than Roland has done: Apology to fans

Rahic and Hopkin emphatically deny these claims and having met with Edin and the other co-owner Stefan Rupp insists that he is in control of everything on the football side. Hopkin also rejects suggestions that he has unfinished business at Bradford after his club record £2.5m move from Leeds in 2000 lasted just 11 games. He admits that 'It didn't go as I'd hoped, but Bradford made their money back when I joined Palace.'

Back then Hopkin was a midfield destroyer with a fearsome reputation and this followed him into coaching. In his early days at Livi he was described as a 'tattooed nutter' who acted as 'bad cop' in the dressing room.

Hopkin insists that, while he is not Mr Nice Guy, his style is now more nuanced. He will even put an arm round a player, 'but some people need a bollocking … My players just have to understand that I have certain standards - and that if those standards drop, I will let them know.'

Thursday 13 September 2018

Harry the Hornet goes after Glaziers row

Controversial Watford mascot Harry the Hornet has stepped down. It is not clear whether there will be someone else inside the costume this weekend.

Harry was accused of disgraceful behaviour by the Glaziers after he mocked diving by their only star player Wilfrid Zaha: Hodgson gives it large

Roy Hodgson said such behaviour by the Palace mascot would not be acceptable, but their practice of letting large birds of prey loose in the ground is open to question.

There have been many controversial mascot incidents over the years but the one between Wolvey and the three little pigs was one of the funniest: Rumble at Bristol City

Our current mascot costumes are pathetic. Sir Valiant sometimes appears without his sword which is a pathetic plastic item useless for sticking up the backside of a hapless lino.

I know they are there for kids, but bring back Floyd and Harvey!

Al-Hasawi: it's no deal

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted, 'No public comment from Charlton on Fawaz Al-Hasawi but been told no chance of a deal happening. Blowing a non-disclosure agreement within 24 hours isn't exactly the way to get things off on the right footing.' It could, of course, have been a contrived attempt to get other bidders to act.

I was certainly unenthusiastic about him, but there has been a bit of a rush to judgment.

If Roland cannot find a buyer, and the club continues to lose around £1m a month, he may simply decide it is no longer a viable business and recover what he could from the assets. Although he pretends not to be bothered by reputational damage, such a move would create a tsunami of protest that would swamp the Thames Barrier.

However, we do need to be careful about what we wish for. Realistically, any purchaser of Charlton is going to be from outside the UK. Brits who have a big fortune don't want to turn it into a small one.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Former Forest owner tours Valley

One day soon all this will be mine?

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'Lieven De Turck, Roland Duchatelet's man at Charlton at the moment, was showing former #NFFC owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi around The Valley this afternoon.'

As Mendez notes, Al-Hasawi was a controversial owner at Nottingham Forest.

He has been involved in a legal battle with the club: Dispute

He was chairman of Forest from 2012 to 2017. There were frequent changes of manager as a formula for success was sought: Time as chairman

He does claim to have learnt from the mistakes he made at Forest and would take a back seat at a new club appointing a chairman (please not Murray Mints) and a chief executive: Learning from mistakes

Bowyer has no complaints about Roland

Lee Bowyer has no complaints about Roland. He reckons that he has the owner's backing and that he cares, as evidenced by his concern about crisp rage: Backing

I don't blame Lee Bowyer for talking in these terms. If I had just been appointed to a job, I wouldn't say that my employer was a useless so-and-so who was shafting me. What we want Lee and Jacko to do is to focus on preparing the team and getting the best out of them and ignore any noises off.

Some fans think this is part of a strategy to soften up fans for an announcement that the takeover is off. I don't really know anything, but I don't much hopes of it going ahead. We then just have to hope that Lee Bowyer can progress with what he has.

Do recorded attendances matter?

It is no great surprise to learn that published attendances do not reflect those in the ground. Many clubs report attendances on a 'tickets sold' basis which includes season ticket holders which is perfectly legitimate. However, the figures for different clubs are certainly interesting Attendances

Football finance expert Rob Wilson believes publicising 'tickets sold' attendance figures is done for commercial reasons. He says publishing higher attendance figures could 'potentially bring in better sponsors' and generate more interest in season ticket sales by making them appear a 'scarce resource'.

Historic attendance figures are rarely reliable. There were ways of sneaking into grounds that were far less secure than today. It was alleged that some gatemen were involved in fiddles to benefit themselves or friends. Clubs often depressed attendances to reduce their 'entertainment tax' liability which was easy enough to do when almost all transactions were in cash.

Even today there are a lot of uncertainties relating to attendances, for example how does one treat complimentary tickets? Some people are entitled to them, e.g., match sponsors or the referee who gets them for his mum. Indeed, I once saw someone I know at a non-league match whom I would not have expected to see at any football match. It turned out that the lino was her boy friend and she was admiring his action with the flag.

The interesting question for me is why are fans so interested in attendances? In part it is because claims to be a 'big' club are based on attendances. Falling attendances may be seen as a vote of no confidence in the owners.

At Charlton it has been claimed by fans with some justification that reported attendances have been inflated, possibly to help facilitate the sale of the club. However, given that owner Roland Duchatelet is bent on austerity measures it could be counter productive as my recollection is that the Football League claims an attendance based levy on clubs.

I should now point that a Ramsgate fan has contacted me to point out that the levy is actually based on receipts rather than attendance. In days gone by the press used to publish receipts as well as attendances. Of course, in those days the away club got a share of them. Thus there is no penalty in inflating the attendance through comps which may not even be used in order to give the impression that things are going better than they actually are.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Valley of no hope

Demoralised Charlton staff are losing hope that the Australian takeover of the club will take place. It felt very close at the end of last season (when some of the Australians turned up at The Valley) but feels some way away now: Collapse of takeover deal

In a sense this has been evident for some time, but it leaves no clear way forward with the club continuing to lose money. I would not put a lot of faith in the alternative bid.

The club has issue a statement claiming that a key issue between it and the fans has been one of communication and asking whether the protests have helped the sale of the club: Club comment

The CAS Trust response to the statement can be found here: About more than communication

The CARD response can be found here: Serial incompetence

I and others are having difficulty making sense of the statement which suggests that it might have written by Roland himself rather than by a hired hand.

The Chicago Addick makes a good point in his blog when he says that the real significance of the statement is that it shows Roland is up for a fight. In my view it wouldn't take much for the EFL to back down in the face of owner resistance, issuing some anodyne statement about better communication.

Charlton fans are due to protest outside the offices of the Football League on Friday. However, it has to be recognised that the League's perspective is very different from that of fans with the clubs are seen as independent businesses with decision-making in the hands of the owners. The League is not happy about reputational damage, or the prospect of a club failing, but the speed with which it has initiated talks on Charlton suggests that it does not see it as a priority issue.

The fact that the League allegedly misled clubs about the live streaming of matches last Saturday is symptomatic of their attitude. There is no doubt that they would like to exploit this market, even if it means fewer fans in the ground as away fans might not travel and also some home fans who travel long distances. For more on this controversy, see our sister site: Why iFollow row is important

Monday 10 September 2018

Charlton youngster joins Benfica

Highly rated Charlton youngster Jeremy Sarmiento is to join Benfica rather than Manchester City: Signing

Reading the positive reports on the first competitive start by Joe Gomez for England, there is no doubt that the Charlton academy can still spot and develop players with potential. It would be good to see more of them at Charlton, but that is not realistically possible.

Taylor gives it large

Lyle Taylor reckons he plays better when he is angry after being roughed up by the Chairboys on Saturday: Lyle Taylor

The Monteserrat international commented, 'There were a few instances where my shirt was being pulled off my back and I was being wrestled to the floor. These things seem to happen more often to me than others. What can I do about it? Not a lot. I’m aware that my disciplinary record this season hasn’t been the best. I’ve got three bookings, though not all for losing my rag.'

He also revealed that Jason Pearce walks on the pitch angry.

Sunday 9 September 2018

'Rookie manager learns from his mistakes'

There is a fair and balanced feature article on Lee Bowyer in the Football League Paper this morning. They have given us some good coverage lately as has the Sub-Standard.

What I do think is that what happened in the past is water under the bridge. Everyone is entitled to redeem themselves from youthful mistakes, however serious.

Admittedly, Bowyer had a very direct way of expressing his customer dissatisfaction at McDonalds. However, now a fisheries entrepreneur in France, he is a changed character.

He is Charlton through and through and I am happy for the team to go forward under his leadership, hopefully at some point rid of Roland. One of my favourite Lee Bowyer memories is of him turning up in the row behind me at a midweek Charlton away match in Huddersfield after he had joined Leeds.

Bowyer's win rate after twenty matches is 45 per cent.

The article notes that when Bowyer was 32 and at Birmingham City, he said, 'I won't ever become a manager. No chance. I've seen their stress, and I've had enough stress in my career.'

The article lists Bowyer's various misdemeanours, including getting a record 105 Premier League cards. 'At his best, Bowyer was one of the Premier League's greatest goal scoring midfielders, a player of wiry stature and fierce determination who in 2002 hauled Leeds to the brink of the Champions League final. Briefly, he was courted by every club from Manchester to Milan.' Apparently he did all this while basing his diet on McDonalds.

The article notes, 'He grew up on the Teviot Estate, an isolated outpost on the Isle of Dogs that was defined by poverty, violence and racial tension.' The article doesn't mention this, but I bet it had its fair share of Spanners. However, it is emphasised that 'Bowyer himself has never used childhood influences to justify his actions, but does resent the fact that he isn't allowed to escape his past.'

The FLP article refers to an article in the Observer in 2003 which researched Bowyer's past and it can be found here: Background

It is noted that Bowyer now only drinks in moderation and works tirelessly on community projects and with charities like Shelter. Last year he coached Charlton Invicta, the club's LGBT team.

Bowyer has commented, 'Whenever I have made mistakes I have held my hands up … But I know that I am a good person and a loving person, so I don't have to prove myself to anybody.' Quite so: just do the job for us on the pitch, as I am confident you will.

Saturday 8 September 2018

Charlton go up to 8th

Charlton went up to 8th in League One after a 3-2 win over Wycombe Wanderers. They went behind in the first half, but equalised before half time. After going 3-1 ahead, a late Wycombe goal produced a tense end to the match.

Charlton started brightly, but Gareth Ainsworth's side took the lead when Randell Williams cut inside to place an excellent shot past Charlton keeper Jed Steer. However, the Charlton marking that led up to this goal was very poor.

The home crowd went silent, broken only a rise in the level of moaning from the row behind. Their main complaint was that Wycombe were a League Two side, but they got promoted on merit.

Ajose just could not handle his man and was consistently lightweight, leading to his half time substitution.

The Chairboys gifted the Addicks an equaliser 30 minutes later when Lewis Page's cross was deflected into his own net by Sido Coelho Jombati. Charlton nearly went ahead prior to half-time but Karlan Grant's close-range effort was denied by Ryan Allsop before Lyle Taylor's overhead kick just shaded the crossbar.

Brian Cole paid a heartfelt tribute at half time to West Sussex CASC secretary Vernon Roper who died this week.

Charlton started the second half with only ten men, Reeves only appearing to replace Ajose after a few minutes. I wonder if Ajose threw a last minute strop during the break (apparently he was injured).

The Addicks took the lead when Patrick Bauer stretched to find Taylor, who could not miss from the goal line.

Naby Sarr then doubled Charlton's lead nine minutes later after he poked the ball home from Ben Reeves' free-kick. Taylor was fouled right by the East Stand, but the lino failed to flag. When he was replaced by Dijksteel a few minutes later, Taylor had just finished having a few words with the asso.

After the failure to flag for the foul, Wycombe then got a corner and substitute Paris Cowan-Hall's bullet header in added time gave Bowyer's red and white army a few late nerves but the Addicks held on to claim all three points.

I thought that the late card to Steer for 'time wasting' was harsh. Referee Salisbury obviously thinks that he is 'firm but fair'.

The Bloke Beside Me (Paul from Bexleyheath, now writing in the programme) was very sceptical when Lapslie came on in place of Darren Pratley who was in danger of getting a second yellow (but also injured). However, he had to admit that Lapslie's pace and dedication helped to prise open the tiring Chairboys.

He also said that coming from behind to win was a special feeling and he could now face Sainsbury's with equanimity.

On the bus a Wycombe supporter said they had done well against Charlton, a Premiership side. Not for ten years, lady. On the tube some Wycombe supporters complained to me that Taylor fell over a lot, but I don't think he was faking it.

The Chairboys were surprised at the small number of home supporters. However, as I heard a fan say to his son before the game, 'If we did't have that tosser in charge, we would have six or seven thousand more in the ground.'

'The Beast' lumbered around, but his main utility seem to be as a distraction rather than a serious threat. I do think that Wycombe will stay up.

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth was co-host on Quest last night. The second longest serving manager in the EFL came across well. He defended sticking to his style of play, saying it just needed tweaking.

Newly installed supremo Lee Bowyer was interviewed and was clearly unhappy with the performance, saying sometimes it was necessary to 'win ugly'. In training the players found each other well and had good one touch, two touch, but there had been none of that.

Some fans were surprised and unhappy that Dillon Phillips was replaced, but I always thought that Steer was meant to be number one. Bowyer said that his distribution was better and this was shown when he put a great long ball up to Taylor.

When I arrived at the ground, there were no VOTV sellers outside Sam Bartram's old shop as is usually the case. I did wonder whether Roland had landed inflatables with his agents on the Thanet coast during the night and intercepted the white van on its way up from Ramsgate. However, I was able to buy a copy from the Rickster himself and I think he is justified in claiming that it is a particularly strong issue. It even has a story about how his neighbour Dave [sic] reacted to the white van being loaded before the Fleetwood game.

Friday 7 September 2018

Usmanov will not bid for Charlton

Alisher Usmanov has made it clear that he will not make a bid for Charlton 'who have not been in the Premier League since 2007': No Charlton plans

Given Roland's recent 'I know nothing' remarks the hopes of the Australian bid reviving any time soon are slim. The outlook is bleak, at some point the club could possibly be in danger.

Some Charlton fans will be relieved that they do not have to deal with an oligarch from eastern Europe. However, any club that wants to be a serious competitor these days needs a wealthy foreign owner (there are a just a few exceptions, e.g., Bristol City). As we have found out, some of these people are barmy and others are dodgy.

However, the idea that Charlton could survive as a 'family club' under fan ownership is a non starter. Portsmouth had to convert from fan ownership to progress.

Victory against Wycombe?

CAS Trust are hopeful of a victory against Wycombe tomorrow, pointing out that they are only of two clubs against which we have a 100 per cent record in the league. This conveniently overlooks the humiliating League Cup defeat at home when we were in the Premier League: The beast comes to The Valley

Four Four Two forecast a 20th place finish at the beginning of the season. Gareth Ainsowrth has been manager since 2012 and has 'unquestionably got Wycombe to punch above their weight. Always attritional and rarely pretty, the Chairboys rely on physicality and experience up top. Ainsworth is frequently criticised for Wycombe's route one football, but no one can argue with the results it yields.'

The second issue of Voice of the Valley will be on sale around the ground and, as well as the usual vapourings of the vinegar pissers, there will be an extensive interview by Matt Wright with Nicky Bailey, described as an admired Charlton player from the last decade (admittedly quite a short list). Apparently he talks about that penalty miss. More details of the latest issue here: Pure vinegar

There is also an interview with a disgruntled ex-employee.

As usual you can order a copy to delivered to your own home under plain cover in case you don't want to be spotted by a jobsworth wandering around The Valley with the fanzine. The guy who searches my bag will certainly find my copy.

Today's game can be watched on iFollow for £10: Watch live

Roland will not be at Football League meeting

The Football League will be meeting Charlton to discuss the situation at the club early next month, but Roland Duchatelet will not be there: Duchatelet skips meeting

Instead he will be represented by sidekick Lieven De Turck. He has no official position at the club, but then very few people do at a senior level.

Of course, we all appreciate that Charlton is a very small and rather tiresome part of Roland's business empire with its disgruntled employees and ex-employees.

Lee Bowyer has briefly discussed the takeover with Roland, but did not derive any concrete information. Bowyer has no knowledge of the rumoured Usmanov bid, but that means nothing either way, as he would probably be the last person to be told.

Thursday 6 September 2018

Usmanov to swoop for Charlton?

Alisher Usmanov is considering using some of the money he made from selling his Arsenal shares to Stan Kroenke to made a bid for Charlton: Charlton bid

Usmanov has already pledged to put more money into Everton (although some reports are saying he has now decided against this), but is said to want a club of his own and to see potential in Charlton.

Health warning: rumours about Usmanov having an interest in Charlton first surfaced a few months ago.

However, the story does have some plausibility. Usmanov does have the readies, at least £600m of them (unlike the Trotters Independent Trading bid). He does want to control a football club on his own and would probably prefer a London one. Charlton has a good stadium and training ground.

Charlton stalwart passes away

I am very saddened to report the death of Vernon Roper, secretary of the West Sussex branch of Charlton Athletic Supporters Club. CASC no longer exists as such, but a small group of devoted Addicks with Vernon to the forefront kept the West Sussex group going. In particular, Vernon was involved in the 'Badger League' fantasy football competition based on Charlton results.

I am a member of the West Sussex branch because in Premier League days I and my late wife would pick up their minibus heading north for away games. Pitch announcer Brian Cole was often at the wheel or on the bus, as was Vernon.

Brian Cole has stated, 'Vern was the man that kept the branch running and arranged so much for Charlton fans living in his part of Sussex. Tickets, travel events and player meetings were all arranged by Vern. He was a founder member and I am going to miss a good friend.'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted, 'Lovely man who did a huge amount for other fans and was always ready to help.'

A fan has tweeted, 'Vernon was a great help and support to me in the days when the supporters club branches thrived. Always had time for a chat when I saw him on match days.'

Lee Bowyer becomes 'permanent'

Having served his apprenticeship, Lee Bowyer has deservedly been appointed permanent first team manager: First team manager

He has done his best in very difficult circumstances. This may be a sign that any takeover is receding into the distance.

Chairboys hope to retain their seat

Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth reckons that the Chairboys have already learned valuable lessons about life in League One. The Trust-owned club made a faltering start to life at a higher level. After scoring 79 goals last season, the boys from beechy Bucks had a home 0-0 draw against Blackpool on the opening day of the season, followed by a 3-0 defeat at Doncaster and a 1-3 loss at home to Bristol Rovers. They then got a 1-1 draw in a midweek game at Plymouth and last Saturday achieved a 2-1 at Bradford. As is so often the case, they are a team whose confidence has been boosted as they prepare to meet the Addicks.

Ainsworth told the Football League Paper 'We're finding out that when you get chances you've got to take them. And if you give chances the opposition in League One, they do take them. The difference for me in League One is the forward play. It's sharper and more clinical - you can't give too many chances away. League One is new to a lot of us, and it's a work in progress.' Survival in the third tier is the aim for this season.

An old school friend of mine lived in many different places (and with many different women) over the years before retiring to his native Essex, but the one place he disliked because it was so unfriendly was High Wycombe.

When Rushden & Diamonds were still playing I occasionally went to matches there and on one occasion they beat Wycombe Wanderers. The Chairboys fans took exception to a decision by the referee and stayed in their seats after the match chanting 'Chairboys' which I suppose was appropriate as they were sitting down. I could still hear them as I walked up the hill to my car. They may not have a huge support, but they are keen and will probably turn out in numbers in the hope of replicating the League Cup defeat they inflicted on us when we were in the Premier League.

The worst part of it is that I will encounter them on the way home at Marylebone, no doubt in a state of great excitement if they have secured an away draw against a 'big' clb. Charlton fans know that we used to be a big club but have been ruined by Roland.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Bowyer pleased with Marshall's reaction

Lee Bowyer was pleased with the way in which Mark Marshall reacted to being dropped from the Southend game on Saturday: Bowyer pleased

After being struck down with violent sickness and dizziness at Southend on Saturday (let's hope he didn't eat any shrimps) Patrick Bauer has now recovered and is back in training.

The Checkatrade trophy game with AFC Wimbledon was 2-2 after ninety minutes, but the Wombles claimed a bonus point by winning a penalty shootout: Checkatrade

Naby Sarr was captain and the former Dulwich Hamlet full-back Jamie Mascoll opened his goal account for Charlton.

Proceedings were enlivened by a proposal on the pitch. How romantic can you get.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Former player finds happiness on his native heath

Former Addick Tony Watt, now with St. Johnstone, has been named Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month and is now eyeing a Scotland recall: Success story

When he was at Charlton, he clearly had talent, but was also mercurial. He could unzip defences but was also rather selfish and didn't pass when he should have done.

However, clearly the return to his native heath suits him: the smell of the heather, the skirl of the pipes, the freedom of the kilt.

My best man was a St. Johnstone fan.

Watching Charlton in the 1950s

I have added a chapter on Charlton to my online account of growing up in S.E. London in the 1950s. You have to scroll down to Chapter 4: Charlton in the 1950s

Some of this material has appeared in Voice of the Valley.

Monday 3 September 2018

Fosu can't play in Checkatrade

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted, 'Tariqe Fosu unable to play in [Charlton's game against AFC Wimbledon] - even though the game does not count as one of his suspended matches. Absolute shambles. Has to serve three-game ban before eligible to play in the tournament.'

Louis Mendez commented, ' Had a decent rant about the stupid rules for this on the [Charlton Live] show last night. We’re forced into playing a certain amount of first-teamers but then can’t count it as a first-team game in terms of serving suspensions. Plus we have to play u23 sides. Farcical.'

Of course, one might say that the Checkatrade Trophy is farcical. A poll of Charlton fans on Twitter on whether the attendance would be below 1,000 or between 1,000 and 2,000 was split 47%-47% when I last looked.

AFC Wimbledon are something of a bogey team for us and we could go out on penalties. However, I am more focused on Saturday's game against the Chairboys.

Tube line for Charlton?

A few years ago I did a spoof article on April 1st about a spur tube line to be built from North Greenwich to The Valley. The station would have been decorated with mosaics of Sam Bartram. Killer and Clive Mendonca.

Now, however some powerful economic interests are asking for the Bakerloo Line to be extended to Charlton: Canary Wharf owners demand

Having a direct link to Marylebone would certainly suit me, particularly since direct trains between Charlton and Charing Cross have been cut back.

Bielik didn't know where to celebrate

Krystian Bielik did not know where to turn to celebrate after scoring his first senior goal to give Charlton victory at Southend on Saturday: I didn't know what to do

The youngster was winning praise from fans around me at the last home game and the feeling is reciprocated. He commented, '[The fans] are unbelievable. Hopefully we can see the same support when we play at home.'

It was a good weekend when Charlton won and Millwall and Palace lost. Not so good for one of the players coming off the Leamington production line, Courtney Baker-Richardson. Making his debut for Swansea City against Millwall, he was sent off after five minutes and has been named villain of the week by The Times. He put it down to over enthusiasm and it's certainly a big step up from the Vanarama North to the Championship.

Sunday 2 September 2018

'Game is poorer for Roland's influence'

This is the headline over a piece by Chris Dunlavy in today's Football League Paper. The paper has been giving it large to Roland for a few weeks now, so much so that one wonders if it has been infiltrated by the disgruntled Charlton ex-employees that figure so largely in Roland's version of reality.

Dunlavy writes, 'It was nice of Roland Duchatelet to ring Lee Bowyer - the millionaire [??] ex-Leeds United player - to ask if he was OK following last week's protests at Th Valley. Shame he didn't mention the minimum wage staff whose bonuses he withheld to see how they were getting on.

Yes, he's trying to sell the club. Allegedly. And, yes, the books reportedly show "a very bad financial year".

But the Belgian has a personal fortune of more than £400m. Refusing to pay a measly £50,000 of incentives to people who all need the money is spiteful and insensitive.

Duchatelet, who has made a hobby out of ruining football clubs, likes to frame himself as a crafty spendthrift bringing sanity to a crazy industry.'

In reality, he is merely a svelte Mike Ashley. a mean-spirited and ruthless bottom liner who will ride roughshod over the little man just to pinch a penny. Keep up the protests Charlton fans - the sooner this charlatan is gone, the richer the game will be.'

When are Dunlavy and the FLP going to come off the fence?

Also an interesting piece by disgruntled ex-employee Steve Sutherland here: When trust goes, what's left?

Saturday 1 September 2018

Charlton win after 101 minutes

Charlton's game are often the longest in the Football League and it was 101 minutes before they secured all three points against Southend United at Roots Hall this afternoon. Their 2-1 victory put them 10th in the table.

It was ten versus nine at the end with two Southend players sent off and one from Charlton after an injury time fight involving 18 players.

In the first half there was plenty of effort from the Addicks but to no effect leading to a 0-0 half time scoreline. Charlton did go close to opening the scoring through Patrick Bauer and Nicky Ajose in the first half, while they also had strong shouts for a penalty waved away when Lewis Page went to ground while under pressure from Stephen McLaughlin.M/p>

On 56 minutes Fosu replaced Bauer and Bilik dropped into the back four. One minute later Grant won possession from Turner and squared for Taylor who scored.

However, Charlton find it hard to hold on to a lead and four minutes later Robinson equalised for Southend.

Lapslie replaced Pratley on 71 minutes. Vetokele came on for Ajose on 85 minutes. Two minutes later Bielik put the Addicks ahead, heading home from a Cullen corner.

Five minutes were added on: they might as well make the second half 50 minutes. A big fight broke out and Fosu was sent off, accompanied by Kightly and Southend keeper Oxley. Lapslie got a yellow card.

There were 1,537 Addicks in a crowd of 6,386. The atmosphere was reported to be excellent.

Louis Mendez tweeted on Sunday morning about the red cards: 'All three red cards seem fair. Kightly kicked Fosu when he was on the floor. Fosu then head butted him. Oxley then ran over and punched Lapslie in the face.'

Lee Bowyer hopes that after 163 days as caretaker manager, his position will be made permanent: Ready for a permanent role

Jamie Ward signing

Louis Mendez notes, 'Jamie Ward was (presumably) signed after yesterday's 12pm deadline so can't be involved today, and then is off with the Northern Ireland squad for games with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Israel. So we won't get to see him for a couple of weeks.'

The career details of the 32-year old are here: Jamie Ward

I agree with the Chicago Addick that Lee Bowyer has done well on the limited budget provided by the penny pinching barmy Belgian.

My eldest granddaughter is about to start a Psychology degree and if she wants a case study Roland would be an interesting one.

Chris Powell is worried about the state of his old club: Saddened. However, he says: 'One thing you cannot dampen at Charlton is the spirit of those supporters. You can never blow that Charlton flame out. One thing I know for sure is that club will go on because the supporters are quite remarkable.'