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

Tuesday 16 October 2018

We probably can't afford Cullen

Lee Bowyer would be interested in signing Josh Cullen on a permanent deal, but we probably couldn't afford his wages as Roland tries to revert to his hopeless ambition of running a club on a break even basis. There has also been talk of West Ham wanting a £1m fee: Permanent deal?

I have just realised that when I go to the match on Saturday, it will be my fourth trip to London this week. I have already been for a meeting and to see my cardiologist. Tomorrow I am going for a social event but with a work dimension to it. It reminds me that even if I won £1m on the premium bonds instead of the £25 prizes I win every month, I would have difficulty in affording a base there.

Tracey Leaburn interview

Tracey Leaburn is a very popular figure at The Valley and in this interview with the SLP she talks about her role as players' liaison officer and her 23-year relationship with Carl Leaburn. Apparently, she didn't watch him play and if she did turn up at The Valley, she would often have a glass of wine rather than watch the game: Looking after players

I was there at Ipswich when Carl Leaburn scored his hat trick.

Monday 15 October 2018

'He threw mud in my face'

I came across a press report of a match between West Ham and Charlton in 1958 when I was researching the career of one of my Charlton heroes, Derek Ufton, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

The report by Peter Lorenzo reads: 'The Quiet Man became a Very Angry Young Man for 90 seconds at Upton Park … and it ended with Charlton inside right John "Buck" Ryan, described by his team mates as "the quietest bloke in the club" being ordered off in the 68th minute of the top-of-the-table clash with West Ham.'

'But I must back Bolton referee Tom Cooper to the hilt. Said dapper Tom afterwards: "Ryan was ordered off for striking an opponent … there was no doubt about that." [Interesting that the referee felt able to explain his decision to the media which they won't do today]. Agreed. I saw tall, dark-haired Ryan aim blows at West Ham left back and skipper Noel Cantwell after they had clashed in the Charlton penalty area.'

'In the corridor outside his team's dressing room, Ryan, a 25-year-old softly-spoken Scot told me: "As Cantwell got up he grabbed a handful of mud and threw it in my face. [The pitch was almost waterlogged with clinging mud]. He was mad and that made me mad. I went to retaliate and the referee saw me. He came over, asked my name [no red cards] and said Off"'.

'Provocation there may have been for the unfortunate Ryan - "I've never even been spoken to before." But the referee had no option, despite the fierce and repeated protests of a pack of Charlton players, led by angry skipper Derek Ufton.'

'Said Ufton: "John never touched anyone. He couldn't. I was holding him all the time. In fact, it was Ryan who was punched."'

'Certainly West Ham's 6 ft. right back John Bond could count his lucky stars he was not accompanying Ryan on that lonely trek to the dressing room. Bond, for once losing his icy-cool, almost contemptuous composure, ran 15 yards to join the scramble which developed while Ryan was being restrained by Ufton. This was a completely unnecessary intervention by Bond who, in turn, had to be dragged away by team mate Andy Malcolm.'

'If the Ryan sending off was unfortunate for Charlton, it certainly gave West Ham no advantage. The depleted Charlton side seemed to find new strength.' The result was a 0-0 draw.

Charlton just missed out on promotion, losing the final home game of the season 3-4 to Blackburn. Under the present points system, they would have been promoted alongside West Ham.

Sunday 14 October 2018

'Gobby' bares his soul

The new book by Michael Calvin State of Play reproduces a long interview with Karl Robinson in which the former Charlton manager explains the 'principles' with which he approaches the task of management. It is hardly profound and illuminating, but Calvin describes Robinson as 'young but hugely experienced. A progressive coach, a developer rather than a dictator.'

What it doesn't mention is that 'Gobby' couldn't keep his mouth shut, although he could always talk a good game, even if any resemblance between his remarks and what happened on the pitch was largely coincidental.

Apparently, Robinson phoned Calvin from a M25 traffic jam to say he was on his way out. It would seem that Lee Bowyer had asked Harry Kewell, his former Leeds teammate, about rumours that the Australian consortium intended to bring in Kewell as manager. As it happened, Kewell turned out to be a mirage like Skippy the kangaroo who was supposed to be the new mascot.

However, Calvin reckons that once Kewell confirmed his interest, Robinson's fate was sealed.

The author does acknowledge that Charlton is a club with 'impassioned support [much reduced], a productive youth policy [certainly for selling on] and a viable chance of promotion.'

Calvin also gives it large to Roland, describing his as a 'disrespectful, contemptuous form of investment.' Robinson told him: 'When I came into the club I was told that it was only 1 per cent of his life. His concept was, "I've got millions in this business, and millions in that business. I've got so many other things to take care of." That's immediately translated as "you don't really matter." So you've an owner that basically has said "You're nothing to my life."'

During Robinson's 16 months as supremo, Roland never attended a match and his much vaunted 'live feed' seem to consist of a helping of moules et frites. Robinson visited him twice and they spoke on the phone six times.

Was he one that got away?

Having read a profile of Scott Wagstaff in The Football League Paper this morning, I was left wondering whether he was one that could got away - or not. Could he have done a job for us in League One? He had his fans and his detractors at The Valley, as is so often the case for any player that is not a talisman like Yann Kermorgant. Yann is now playing foVannes Olympique Club, in Group C of Nationale 2, the fourth tier of French football.

Admittedly, a lot of the profile focuses on his hipster style beard which both his parents and his teammates want him to shave off. Certainly if he returned to The Valley, removing it would be a condition of any contract otherwise he might scare very young fans. However, apparently it has taken him two or three years to get it to its current level. It would go down well in Shoreditch (or in the Royal Spa for that matter, as my bestie's son has one).

Having let go by Gillingham, the Kent native is now with AFC Wimbledon. He says that he would have loved to stay at Gillingham as it was his local base. However, he is able to car share with former Addick Joe Pigott.

Wagstaff left Charlton for Bristol City. At the Dons he is back to his original role as a wide attacking man which is want he likes.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Are we in limbo?

The wake at Brighton Racecourse on Thursday for Vernon Roper provided an opportunity to talk with fans, some whom I had not seen for a while, about the state of the club, as well as reminisce about Vernon. One fan challenged me to predict what would happen.

If I was Roland, I would cut my losses and take what I could get (within reason). But I am not Roland and I am not as obdurate a him, and hopefully I have a smaller ego. He seems to a great exponent of the view, if you are in a hole, keep digging.

One fan sagely remarked, 'I think we are in a period of limbo really, notwithstanding the run of wins in September. It does look as if the squad has been found out again and while I think Bowyer has done well it’s unreasonable to expect him to work miracles.'

Historically, limbo is a place outside heaven and hell (not to be confused with purgatory which involves 999 years of watching Palace: incidentally, I see their chairman has been giving it large in the 'i' this morning on the boost football will get from Brexit). Brian remarked that wherever Vernon had gone, he would have already have formed a CASC branch and be organising a minibus.

It's Non-League Day so I am going to see Leamington play Curzon Ashton. Curzon who? my bestie reminded me yesterday in between berating me for my route selection to get across the Leam (it's the equivalent in more ways than one of going south of the river in London and just three bridges).

Thursday 11 October 2018

Standing room only in tribute to Charlton legend

Over a hundred family, friends and Charlton fans crowded into the Downs Crematorium at Brighton today to pay tribute to Vernon Roper. As pitch announcer Brian Cole said in an address that was both moving and humorous, the word legend is over used and often inappropriately, but it applied to Vern as far as Charlton fans were concerned.

21 years ago a group of 12 fans met at business then owned by Brian Cole to form the West Sussex branch of CASC. Vernon was the life and soul of that branch. My late wife and I joined because in the Premier League days we would used their minibus to head north. They would pick us up at the Longbridge roundabout on the M40 at Warwick, turning off into a side road. Once they overshot and we had to climb down the embankment to be greeted by a group of peeing youngsters.

Vernon was diagnosed with MS at 33. He had to live with the disease for over half his life, but he was always cheerful and never complained - well, perhaps about referees. Latterly, he came to The Valley in a wheelchair.

He was originally motivated to support Charlton because of Sam Bartram who was also my favourite player. A whole cohort of Charlton fans from the 1950s is starting to leave us.

Vernon was dedicated to the cause of animal rights and was involved in the Riding for the Disabled charity for over thirty years.

VOTV Rick Everitt travelled along the coast by train from his Ramsgate base to attend and there will be a tribute in the next issue of the fanzine.

Farewell and rest in peace, my old Addickted friend.

I got home to the very sad news that Charlton fan Dick Sheppard had passed away. Dick had been suffering from cancer and I visited him in his home in Gerrards Cross with other Addicks a few weeks ago. Dick was one of the founding members of the 'Rodsters' group that met in the Rose of Denmark, now at the Greenwich Ale House. He was well known for the statistics he provided for the lists run by Glynne Jones. My condolences to his family/

One fan commented, 'We have all been through such highs and lows, as Charlton fans and friends, but Dick always had a smile on his face and a positive outlook.'

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Headaches plague Bowyer

Lee Bowyer has been waking up at 3.30 a.m. and has never had so many headaches, but he is loving it. The shell shocked supremo talk to the Evening Standard in an exclusive interview: Bowyer interview

He reckons that Charlton will soon sort out their defensive worries.

On the takeover, Bowyer said: 'From what I hear, the Australians are still in the driving seat and as soon as they put these papers into the EFL it is theirs.' But then why haven't they submitted these mysterious papers?

Anyway, it was a good interview to read coming out on to the sunny London streets after 75 minutes in a clanking MRI machine in the latest stage of investigations into my chronic Rolanditis.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Silence of the Lamex

That's what they're calling it after Charlton won an all time record 8-0 victory in the Checkatrade Trophy at Stevenage tonight. Before that the biggest away win was 6-0 at Barnsley.

Lee Bowyer's Addicks scored five goals in the second half. Charlton's convincing display was aided by 18-year-old wing-back Toby Stevenson, who netted a hat-trick on his debut, becoming the club's first player to do so on their debut.

The report from the tireless Louis Mendez (goes anywhere, any time, any doss house) can be found here: Rewriting the record books

Hat trick hero Toby Stevenson talks to the SLP. He left Orient because of the lack of an under 23 side: Record breaking debut

Hopefully, tonight's roundup on Quest at 10.30 will show the goals, but they are already available on social media.

Monday 8 October 2018

Deptford is a cool hood?

This morning someone called round to quote for some work on my garden. Somehow it came out that I was originally from London. The garden guy said that he could not stand it down there: the noise; the traffic; the people. But that's why I like living on a main road. And any excuse I am on the train to London, usually two or three times a week.

It's been a bit of a challenge get my head round the fact that Shoreditch is the home of hipsters. But it was an even bigger challenge to read in the Sunday Times that 'Deptford is poised to be crowned the new Brixton/Hackney/Peckham.' Actually, I'm not really used to Peckham.

However, apparently 'the cool kids need somewhere with a sharper edge' and Deptford fits the bill, although it is admitted that 'the southeast London neighbourhood is scruffy, polluted, crowded and plagued by traffic and crime.' Moreover, 'the high street largely remains old school: there's a Cockneyesque street market three times a week, a Victorian pie-and-mash shop and a cobbler.' What more could you want?

What isn't mentioned is that the New Den is close by, giving a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' to the urban vibe.

Mind you, I can talk. Before Charlton games I am now going to drink craft beers dispensed by a Charlton supporter in a former lingerie shop in what is euphemistically called 'East Greenwich'.

Lyle Taylor's cancer crusade

There aren't that many players under the Duchatelet regime who have been a real pleasure to watch, but Lyle Taylor is a key exception. His dedication, trickery and skill really add value to the side. OK, sometimes he misses chances, but I see Premier League players do that that on Match of the Day every week (interesting that Alan Shearer joined the 'B' team yesterday).

The Football League Paper has given Charlton a lot of coverage recently and they devoted a whole page yesterday to Lyle Taylor's cancer crusade. Three of his four grandparents have suffered from cancer which is why he has dyed his hair pink and is wearing pink boots. His aunt has also suffered. He is trying to raise as much money as his can for Cancer Research UK.

All of us know people who have died prematurely from cancer. But there are also success stories. My lifelong friend Terry (Dame Teresa Rees) has been living with a brain tumour which it was not possible to remove for several years. We have been walking in Devon and to dinner in her home city of Cardiff. She has made a podcast about her experience for the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff: Someone else's shoes

In the interview Lyle Taylor talks about the target of a top six finish and his determination to play at a higher level.

Saturday 6 October 2018

How did that happen?

After going ahead just before half time with a penalty, Charlton looked set for three points or at least one against Coventry City at The Valley this afternoon. But on a drenching went day they eventually lost 1-2 to the Sky Blues and their very excitable supporters. The Addicks are now 9th in the table.

Charlton played some very neat football in the first half, but initially with challenging the visitors much. They were perhaps a little unlucky when Fosu's shot was deflected over the bar on five minutes, although supposed danger man Conor Chaplin did the same for Coventry on 14 minutes. However, their threat increased as the half went on, culminating in the penalty. Taylor was brought down by Junior Brown and he took a very effective penalty.

In a closely contested second-half, Mark Robins' side levelled with 10 minutes remaining with a move that saw Luke Thomas cross for substitute Bakayoko to tap-in from close range. After the Addicks had missed a golden chance in front of the Covered End, Bakayoko scored his second.

On the train I heard some Addicks blaming Jed Steer who looks like replacing Naby Sarr as the scapegoat player. However, I do not think the goals could have been easily stopped.

Lyle Taylor, pink boots matching his pink hair, had a great game. He was involved all over the pitch and showed real skill and class.

Lewis Page is going to be out for six weeks and the lack of a senior left back is a real problem. Lewis Page is out for at least six weeks.

Supremo gives it large

A furious Lee Bowyer has said that the goals conceded were 'laughable stuff'. The shell shocked supremo commented, 'It's basic defending - that's what frustrates me … I told our captain Jason Pearce that it wasn't good enough. I called out the back four in general, I said to them, I don't care who you are if you don't do it right, it's not good enough.'

Bowyer also emphasised that the side couldn't keep missing chances. 'Maybe we're taking our foot off the pedal and thinking we're too good and it's too easy. It can't continue.' Bowyer has done his best, but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

It is interesting that the Football League Paper gives a 6 to all the Charlton players this morning. Either it's lazy journalism or reflects an all round mediocrity.

Do Coventry fans get so excited every time they win away? I have never heard so much noise at the station. Nearly 2,000 of them turned out which is almost the size of a home crowd at Coventry Blaze ice hockey.

We play Coventry away on Boxing Day. My bestie has said she will come if I buy a hospitality package, so we shall see.

Friday 5 October 2018

Sky Blues hope to score

Coventry City have had difficulties in scoring when one on one with keeper, but are hopeful they can add to their tally against Charlton's porous defence: Conor Chaplin is the man

At Leamington one of the favourite chants is 'Are we watching Coventree? You're having a laugh. We're watching Leamington F-Cee.'

After the Brakes beat the Sky Blues decisively in the Mayoral Cup a few years, despite the visitors putting out a strong side, they haven't been back.'

However, one has to be sympathetic with Sky Blues fans as they are also members of the quite large Barking Owners' Club. Their hedge fund owners have done their best to run the club into the ground and they are now tenants at the Ricoh of popular egg chasers, Wasps.

Quite a few Sky Blues fans switched their allegiance to the city's ice hockey team. Coventry Blaze, and this week the Coventry keeper was struck in the head by a puck: Freak accident

I have a puck that came off the ice and landed at my feet.

Lee Bowyer has missed out on the League One Manager of the Month award which has gone to Grant McCann. It can be a curse.

Thursday 4 October 2018

Bowyer admits he has not been able to play his strongest side

With all the injuries and now a suspension, it's no surprise that Lee Bowyer has not been able to play his strongest side yet: Injury update

Any physio wanting a job in football as always known that they will have a busy treatment table at Charlton. However, there is good news with Billy Clarke back in full training. Bielik is also back in full training.

Tariqe Fosu had to be used at Scunthorpe when he wasn't fully ready. However, the biggest dilemma the shell shocked supremo faces is at left back with former Dulwich Halmet full back Jamie Mascoll not ready.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Takeover update

The club has issued a takeover update after a special fans' forum on the subject: Takeover update

The Australians are apparently not all Australians, but whether some of them are Kiwis or from some remote Pacific island is unclear. Apparently they still have a few pieces of paperwork to submit. Why this should be the case is unclear. Indeed, the EFL said this was not an issue so someone is being economical with the actualité.

The second party has been more active in the sense that they have been on the dog, but want to stay off the radar. Make of this what you will.

Three other parties have expressed interest, although two of them sound like time wasters. They are undertaking due diligence. They are from elsewhere in Europe which could mean anywhere from Portugal to Finland.

It's all as clear as Thames mud.

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Goals galore at Scunny

Charlton have not won at Scunthorpe for 45 years and they went down 5-3 tonight, ending their undefeated run. For Scunthorpe it was an unbeaten run of seven matches.

A goal in time added on finally paid to Charlton's hopes of getting something from the match. Dijksteel was brought down in the area late on and the Charlton bench was furious when nothing was given.

Louis Mendez of the SLP said that the first half was 'one of the most open games I have ever seen.'

3,341 present, but it is not known how many of them were Addickted.

Charlton have now fallen out of the play off places to 8th, one point ahead of Scunthorpe.

Scunthorpe drew first blood in the third minute when centre-back Charlie Goode applied the simplest of touches to steer the ball home from a corner.

Lewis Page picked up an injury after three minutes and Lee Bowyer has said that it's not looking good: Page injury

Dijksteel replaced Page. The home side broke from a Charlton corner, but their shot was blocked.

On 10 minutes Taylor was inches wide with a header. But then he redeemed himself.

Former Iron striker Taylor nodded in an equaliser and then set up the second for Joe Aribo as the Addicks notched twice in four minutes to turn the contest on its head.

Darren Pratley picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, earning himself a suspension. In the middle of all the mayhem, striker Chris Solly nearly scored with a volley.

Charlton always find it hard to hold on to a lead. Just when the Addicks looked to be in the ascendancy, on-loan Manchester United full-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson rattled in his first senior goal, making use of a corner played back to him and catching out Jed Steer from 20 yards to make it all square again.

And he did not have to wait long for his second, finishing coolly this time from inside the penalty area eight minutes later after exchanging passes with Humphrys.

On 34 minutes Karlan Grant could have passed to the unmarked Aribo for a goal, but he tried the shot himself and it was saved.

On 38 minutes Taylor gave the ball away in the Charlton half and the improbably named Borthwick-Jackson scored again to make it 3-2. Mind you I suppose that his name is no more ridiculous than that of former Leamington striker Courtney Baker-Richardson who scored his first Championship goal for Swansea at the weekend (too expensive for Charlton at £10k).

On 52 minutes Reeves replaced Pratley. On 65 minutes the ball came off the inside of the post from Fosu. Aribo then made it 3-3 but two minutes later Scunthorpe scored from the spot after a handball by Pearce. Morris then made it 4-3 on 72 minutes. Lee Bowyer pulled off substitute Dijksteel on 81 minutes in the hope that Vetokele could conjure something up. He couldn't and in the six minutes added on the home side got their fifth.

Lee Bowyer said after the game: 'We'll have to sort it out. It's not acceptable. Conceding how many goals? Seven in the last two games. Scoring five away from home and not's not good enough.'

Bowyer is one of four nominees for League One manager of the month, but probably the award will go to John Coleman.

Some fans are blaming Jed Steer and Naby Sarr. Nothing I heard suggested that Steer was particularly at fault other than for one goal and he made one excellent save. I suspect it's the old story of people favouring Dillon Phillips because he's a Charlton product.

Sarr can be very good and he can be very bad. He did provide the assist for Taylor's goal. What it all comes down to is that we have a thin squad which can't deal with much in the way of injuries (or suspensions, now they are starting).

Full report from Louis Mendez who had to stay overnight in a S****horpe hotel. I've done that and it's not pretty (although I did like the text a woman friend sent me): Remarkable goal fest

Was Roland a visionary before his time?

I have long believed that Roland was inspired by a European Commission vision of using football as an integrating force. Since he developed his network idea, the pressures of the migrant crisis and other problems have meant that the Commission has taken its eye off this particular ball. It was also pushed by a European commissioner who supported a village team in Luxembourg and was behind the introduction of transfer windows. I attended a talk she gave in Luxembourg some years ago.

Barcelona used to be noted as a different kind of club, owned by 145,00 fans. However, it is now rampantly commercial. Its president is pressing for a European super league and for La Liga matches to be played in the States: Global vision

Roland's vision was, of course, European rather than global. It was always moules and frites rather than anything more exotic. But, to recall my theology lessons at St. Margaret's Church of England school, Plumstead Common, was Roland's role to be John the Baptist?

Or did he just have an over sized ego?

Monday 1 October 2018

Solly admits: I was worried as well

Chris Solly admits that he was worried like many fans about the size of the Charlton squad before the start of the season. But he thinks that there is a great team spirit reminiscent of a few years ago. Players do things together off the pitch, but above all there is a capacity to score goals: Worried fans weren't alone