Friday 31 May 2019

A final word about last Sunday

For the next few weeks I will be publishing stories simultaneously on this blog and Addick's Championship Diary before switching completely to Addick's Championship Diary.

Soon we have to start thinking seriously about next season and the big challenge we face, as big as going up to the Premier League in 1998: the Championship is now effectively the Premier League Division 2 that Richard Murray foresaw. However, first a final few words about last Sunday.

There have been many good pieces of writing about the experience of Sunday, but one of the best has now been published online by CAST board member Heather McKinlay, one of the small band of Scottish Addicks: Of Magpieand Robins

I went to see my osteopath yesterday: he lived in Greenwich for fifteen years at the time of our ascent to, and participation in, the Premier League. He said that when the second goal went in, he thought of me and almost thought of contacting me, but decided it wouldn't be very professional.

Finally, I have been thinking of how delighted my father would have been, particularly as he was at the first FA Cup final at the old Wembley. He would be particularly pleased that our song mentions Jimmy Seed and Sam Bartram. He would be delighted to see as many Addicks supporting the clubs as was the case before and after the war. And he would be surprised but pleased that I was still there supporting them, after disappointing him by failing to follow in his non-league footsteps and become a professional footballer.

Thursday 30 May 2019

Katrien Meire leaves the UK

Former Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire is leaving the UK although where she is going and what she will do is unclear.

She posted on Instagram as follows: 'My Brexit I negotiated it in less than 3 months instead of 3 years and counting Thank you so much...these last 5,5 years gave me some of the best moments in my life, beyond any wild imagination! This not a goodbye but merely a see you later!' Hopefully, never back at The Valley.

I feel glad all over

I have just come across my horoscope from Sunday which said: 'The events today and over the next week will be brilliant, but they could throw you off balance. The remedy? Take a deep breath and try to enjoy them.'

One of my pleasures in leaving League One is a number of teams we will not have to play next season. Here is my top ten:

  • 1. Accrington Stanley, the dirtiest team I have seen for many years and prize whingers. Shame as they are a well run club.
  • 2. Doncaster Rovers Sour losers. My Charlton friend in Doncaster had a series of messages on the lines of 'We will enjoy seeing Sunderland beat you.' but expressed more vigorously.
  • 3. Gillingham A humiliation having to play them in the so-called Kent derby. Their 'temporary' stand is a disgrace and we can do without their caravans clogging up the roads.
  • 4. AFC Wimbledon Playing in a non-league ground. Well up themselves. Can't get over the franchise issue after all these years.
  • 5. Fleetwood Town Bumped up non-league team. Congratulations to those away fans who went there.
  • 6. Oxford United Gobby. Three sided ground.
  • 7. Wycombe Wanderers. Should be an easy away game for me, but ground is up a dead end road a long way from the station.
  • 8. Shrewsbury Town. Rural team with weird supporters.
  • 9. Portsmouth Unpleasant supporters, strange city.
  • 10. Bristol Rovers Another odd ground. Gasheads an appropriate name for their supporters.

I was going to include Coventry City, but after a gap of several years following their 5-0 defeat in the Mayoral Cup, they have agreed to play Leamington again to open the season on July 6th (!) Hospitality packages available if you have a few hundred quid to spare.

Tomorrow I will look at the clubs I am looking forward to playing in the Championship.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Time to wake up and smell the coffee

The time has now come to consider the challenge we will face in the Championship next season. It has the least level playing field of any division. Many clubs are receiving generous parachute payments and/or have been able to sell higher level players at a big profit (Stoke City want Bournemouth to pay £30m for Butland).

Others have generous owners who are prepared to bend the financial fair play rules to help their clubs, most recently Derby County with a sale and lease back deal for Pride Park which has led Boro to sue them.

One thing is clear: the last thing a Championship club needs is a stingy owner: Championship finances: an authoritative verdict

Charlton do not want to be the new Rotherham.

As the dust settles, Richard Cawley of the SLP gives his verdict on the scale of Lee Bowyer's achievement: Unbelievable that contract has not been sorted

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Roland silent as Bowyer goes on holiday

As Lee Bowyer goes on a well-earned holiday, Roland Duchatelet has not contacted him about contract negotiations, reports the Evening Standard: Silence

Lyle Taylor has warned that there will be a revolt at Charlton of Bowyer is not confirmed as manager. One might add, not just from players.

The end of despair

Ramsgate fan and VOTV editor Rick Everitt can be a bit of a glass half empty guy. That is understandable enough where Charlton are concerned. But the Rickster seems to be in a hopeful mind following our win at Wembley. He regards it as the defeat of despair and the start of a new chapter in the Charlton story: Addicks beat more than Sunderland

The Rickster points out that it was safe enough for the Duke of Cambridge to come to yesterday's Championship play off final whilst it was too insecure for Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet to come on Sunday. However, Prince William is at least a dedicated fan of his club who displays some emotion whereas the barmy Belgian regards it as a business venture worth at best two per cent of his time.

Prince William training with Charlton

This story notes that a variety of celebrities are Villa supporters and explains why Prince William is, given that he doesn't come from Birmingham: Royal supporter

Oddly the list does not include famous economist John Maynard Keynes who wrote an evocative account of an early 20th century match and the time in the pub afterwards (which I think he enjoyed more). Curiously, he also had a great loathing for Ramsgate, something on which he wrote at some length.

I try to console Sunderland supporter

My pharmacist and his two sons are keen Sunderland supporters. His shop is just 100 metres from my home. I went to see him this morning and give him my genuine wishes for their success next season. He said that on Bank Holiday Monday they were in a state of shocked disbelief saying, 'Did this really happen'?

He said that he thought the own goal incident had helped us as it had made our players more determined to fight for the cause.

He feared at the beginning of the season that we would beat them in the play off final. I would have been happy to see Sunderland go up automatically rather than Barnsley.

Sunderland director Charlie Methven has complained that Sunderland fans were quieter than those of Charlton at Wembley which has evoked a mixed reaction on Wearside, some saying you shouldn't criticise your own fans, others that he is telling it as it was: Fans were quiet

Methven does add that Sunderland were up against a bigger club in Sunderland as Charlton have been in the Premier League for much of the last 20, 30 years. I think he needs a fact checker.

An evocative account of Sunday

'Rodster' Graham Speller and his wife recently returned to the UK after some years in Oman. Here is Graham's evocative account of Sunday, reproduced with permission.

Last Sunday was quite an extraordinary day. It began with an early morning train journey into London and despite it being a Bank Holiday Sunday the train was already quite full and many fellow travellers were wearing Charlton colours. It didn't stop there either. As the train sped towards London stopping at Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Orpington it collected more and more fellow Addicks proudly wearing colours, many were shirts from years ago, with designs and advertisements representing a history of club sponsorship down the years.

Once in London the pattern continued throughout the day and didn't stop until alighting the train at Marden at the end of a wonderful day. Apart from our opponents, Sunderland, we didn't see colours of any other side all day. No Manchester United, no Arsenal, no Spurs, no Millwall, no Palace, no one else was out and about today, we were the only show in town. It was a day too that unearthed the depth of support for our club, and it was uninterrupted by others. A wonderful sight then as 38,000 Addicks headed to the national stadium to do battle once again with our friends from Sunderland.

38,000 Addicks represents the highest gathering of Charlton fans I have ever seen in all the years I have followed the team, and represents a threefold increase in the normal home gate of about 11,000 -12,000. If nothing else it shows what potential there is for this club to grow and compete at the highest level. In our manager Lee Bowyer and his assistant Johnnie Jackson we have leaders who can provide effective leadership and drive the team forward, a rare quality. It just needs an owner who values, recognises and harnesses that support. We live in hope.

This day also had the power to unlock the factors that kept many friends away from football. Gradually our list of dedicated Addicks, united through the wonders of the internet, had shrivelled to about nine or ten regular match attenders down from the potential of about thirty. Of course we were always in touch via the internet but the habit of meeting on home and sometimes away match days had shrunk. Today was different. The lure of Wembley, the chance for promotion, the opportunity to get acquainted with old friends again, drew people together in a way that nothing else had managed in all those years of decline.

So, for me the chance to meet and greet old friends again was an opportunity not to be missed. Our chosen meeting place was the The Larrik pub in Marylebone and at the appointed hour we gathered and greeted long lost friends. News and stories were swapped, beers bought and thoughts about the forthcoming match were exchanged. The time went far too quickly.

Into the Stadium and the Charlton fans filled one half of the ground. A visual analysis of the crowd easily demonstrated this wasn't the stereotype football crowd of drunken males. What struck you was this was a family event. Groups made up of families and friends gathered around the bars on the concourse, chatting, drinking and sometimes singing. Mums and dads, girls and boys, couples, small groups of neighbours and friends, some old and entitled to pensions, some not yet old enough to take their Key Stage Two tests, grannies and granddads all anxiously waiting for the big kick off.

Once in their seats, a sea of red, filled every seat that embraced the graceful curves of the stadium. It continued around the opposite side of the ground as the Sunderland fans filled their quota of seats with the same combination of red and white. The kick off, when it came, was a disaster. No one could plan for an own goal. Possession of the ball is a key feature of our game, and over the season I have seen every trick in the book to make sure the ball stays in our possession, including passing back to the keeper. This time it all went wrong in spectacular fashion.

Naby Sarr collected the ball from his team mate, then turned back towards our goal as his options to move forward were closed down by the opposition. Goalkeeper, Dillon Philips had changed his position slightly from where Sarr judged him to be and was unable to reach the back pass as it rolled into the net. You could hear a pin drop amongst 38,000 Addicks.

So here was the challenge. Did the players panic? No. Was there blame? No. Did heads drop, yes, initially for a few moments, but then uplifted by the chorus of support emanating from the Charlton fans, the players dragged themselves back into the game. Passes started to flow, Sunderland's attacks were broken down and we started to create our own chances. It was crucial Sunderland did not score the next goal and ideally we needed a goal before half time to get back with any chance. The equaliser came just before half time and a sense of relief swept through the supporters. Back level, we had a chance.

Both sides could have scored in the second half but Charlton had the better possession and looked more likely to score. The full 90 minutes now expired and extra time and the prospect of penalties if the score was still level were looming large. Four minutes of added time were allowed by the officials and with just 6 seconds remaining the elusive all important goal came after a clever piece of wing play resulted in a deep cross and a scrambled goal when Sunderland failed to clear. The fans erupted in euphoria. Arms and legs everywhere, strangers embraced, grown men cried as we struggled to come to terms with what we had just seen.

In simple terms it means our club has a chance to survive, the manager can now be awarded a new contract and the bulk of the team can stay together for a season in the Championship. If we had lost we feared the worse. Relief then, a chance to go forward positively into the future. The next half hour is filled with celebrations, presentations, photographs, ticker tape and the lifting of a big silver cup.

We take a final look and make our way out of the ground where both sets of fans merge in their trek to the station and car parks. Some fans exchange a few words, but these are kind and respectful words, there is no tension, just respect. For Sunderland, its a long way home and another season in League One. After our last play off final in 1998 against Sunderland they gained automatic promotion the following season, perhaps they will do that again.

For Charlton the future is bright, we just need new owners to harness all that potential. To our current owner, RD, we can leave the last words to the late Jim Bowen, host of Bullseye. "Look what you could have won".

Taylor to Bowyer: How did you do it?

Lyle Taylor asked Lee Bowyer after the Wembley final, 'How the **** did you do it?', i.e., get us promoted. Taylor argues that Bowyer is a modest manager who just gets on with the job. In a long interview with Richard Cawley of the SLP he admits that he did not think Charlton would find a way back after conceding an own goal. Right now, he just wants a holiday and thinks he deserves one, as he does: How did you get us promoted?

If you haven't seen already the Quest programme on the final (now on Quest OD) is well worth watching. It includes an excellent interview with Lee Bowyer for whom my esteem increases by leaps and bounds.

'The Cat' wants to stay on patrol at The Valley

Having scored the equaliser at Wembley, Ben Purrington says that he has enjoyed every minute at Charlton and would like to stay at The Valley. He is still under contract at Rotherham: 100 per cent interested in staying

During the season many fans have taken the view that he was competent at best. Even before his Wembley goal, I had a more positive view. I think he has improved at The Valley and is getting forward down the wing well. He also has a good physical presence.

Monday 27 May 2019

Bauer wants his contract sorted

Wembley hero Patrick Bauer wants his contract sorted out as soon possible: Quick resolution

If Charlton had not been promoted, the big German would definitely have left.

Bauer said: 'In the four years I have been at Charlton, last week was the first time The Valley was really packed. You have this feeling that Charlton fans are happier now, you have a good feeling. Today was a very good trip for them, thankfully we made it even better with the win.'

The morning after the night before

I'm still coming down from yesterday's excitement. I didn't dare to believe that we could win.

I would like to remember those Charlton fans who have passed away during the past year and were unable to be with us. In particular, I remember two whose funerals I attended: Dick Sheppard and Vernon Roper. Chalfont St. Peter Addick Dick was also known as 'Statto' because of his ability to assemble obscure statistics and affectionately as 'Uncle Albert' because of his appearance. He is always remembered whenever the 'Rodsters' get together, these days at the River Ale House or in the summer at Barnes.

Vernon Rover was the driving force between the still existing West Sussex branch of CASC. Maggie and I used their minibus to get to away games as they collected us in Warwick. Vern was a dedicated Addick and a fighter for animal rights. The West Sussex prediction competition is named 'The Badger League' in his honour.

Brian Cole addresses the Valley faithful, unfortunately not many of them had arrived.

Brian Cole was a superb orator at both funerals and is still very much with us. It was a pleasure to see him interview the legendary Sasa Ilic at pitch side yesterday and afterwards to join us in the 'Rodsters' block. By the way, the pitch announcer won £340 from a £10 bet on Patrick Bauer scoring the last Addicks goal.

Many Addicks have said how fair minded most Mackems fans were, congratulating them after the game. You wouldn't get that from many clubs. My pharmacist was at the game with his two sons and he told me at the beginning of the season that Charlton would beat Sunderland in the play off final.

Sunday 26 May 2019

The Reds are going up

Charlton never make it easy. In a dramatic play off final at Wembley today, Charlton came from one goal behind to beat Sunderland 2-1 with a last minute goal to secure promotion to the Championship.

A disastrous own goal in the fourth minute cast a pall over proceedings. I think we use back passes too much at The Valley and Phillips was not able to deal with one from Naby Sarr. But 'The Cat' had his claws out and, like Richard Rufus in 1998, Ben Purrington scored his first goal for Charlton from a Taylor assist to level things up before half time.

Like many others, I thought that the pace of Williams made a big difference when he came on in the second half. All Sunderland could do was foul him.

Sunderland started to pile on the pressure in the last quarter of an hour, but the Addicks stood firm and in time added on Patrick Bauer scored the winning goal.

It was great to see Alan Curbishley shake hands warmly with Lee Bowyer. Grown, even elderly, men embraced me and one kissed me on the cheek.

If we had lost, the future for the club would have been bleak. Now we may keep most of our best players and there is an enhanced chance of new ownership.

Arrangements for the transfer of content to Addick's Championship Diary will be announced later.

Lee Bowyer said, 'It was a crazy game, nothing is straightforward with us. With the mistake early on, I can't say I've ever seen that before, especially in a final. It shows the character of the players we have put together. I have said so many times that we have a unique group and they easily could have gone under, but they were brave and they were men.'

'Once we settled down and started to pass the ball I thought we controlled big parts of the game. The club has been through some bad times. To see everyone to come together and buy into what I was asking for, what we have done is something special.'

A half decent report and pictures from the Sub-Standard, although I do get fed up with the amount of advertising crap on some newspaper pages which affects their load time: Charlton comeback

Saturday 25 May 2019

Addicks arrive from around the world

Charlton fans are arriving from around the world for tomorrow's play off final. One time Valley Party activist Richard Hunt has arrived from the Czech Republic. The Chicago Addick has landed at Gatwick. Sean Williams is on his way from Berlin this morning, listening to the Charlton Live podcast on his headphones and getting quite emotional.

On Radio 5 this morning an Addick qualified for the 'First Hour Crew' (6 am to 7 am badge), having said that he was travelling from Crewe.

Charlton pitch announcer Brian Cole will be on the Wembley pitch today.

According to CAFC Facts and Stats, Charlton have appeared in six matches with crowds of over 75,000 and there will surely be a seventh tomorrow:

  • 98,215 46 FA Cup Final
  • 98,215 47 FA Cup Final
  • 85,000 44 War Cup Final
  • 77,738 98 Play Off Final
  • 75,883 Man Utd 2007
  • 75,031 Aston Villa (Home) FA Cup 1938 (it is thought that the real attendance was much higher given the number of fans who got in without paying).

I don't know how they packed them in at the old Wembley. My father originally came from North Woolwich (Lord Street) and played his non-league football on that side of the river. Hence, he had some residual West Ham sympathies and went to the famous 'White Horse' first FA Cup final at the old Wembley in 1923 (he was fifteen and an apprentice) when the official attendance was 126,047, but in reality was far higher: 'Video'

Friday 24 May 2019

The greatest play off final

BBC Sport has an in depth feature on our last contest with Sunderland at Wembley, including interviews with Sasa Ilic, Steve Brown and the often forgotten Mark Bowen. Relive the day if you were there or learn about it if you were too young to attend: Remembering that day

The Daily Telegraph has also published a feature article on 1998: How Charlton broke Sunderland hearts

Later I must get my 1998 top ready for tomorrow. It could, of course, be their turn.

The Bowyer transformation

Lee Bowyer's impact on Charlton is reviewed in an article in today's Evening Standard: Proving people wrong

The article comments, 'He has breathed new life into the club. Working against a constant backdrop of uncertainty about a proposed takeover that has been ongoing since he first took over as caretaker manager in March last year, Bowyer has built an exciting young team that have reconnected the club with their supporters.'

Referring to stalled contract negotiations, the sagacious supremo said: 'If we get the right result on Sunday, then I would love to lead this team into the Championship. This club should not be in League One.'

38,277 Addicks (or accompanying plastics) will be at Wembley on Sunday.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Doncaster still upset about penalties

Alcalali, Spain: It seems that Doncaster folk are still upset about the decision to take penalties last Friday at the Covered End. The local paper is complaining that they approached Charlton and got no comment. We have other things to think about.

I feel sorry for the Charlton fan I know who lives there and has been given it large.

Turns out there is a big Charlton fan I know in the next valley and he will be heading to Wembley. I am on way back today.

Doncaster swoop for Parker

Alcalali, Spain: Unconfirmed reports have stated that Doncaster Rovers are interested in signing Josh Parker. He does have a great work rate, but he is one of those 'strikers' who has a problem with finding the back of the net.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Victory could mean a higher club sale price

Alcalci, Spain: Roland could put up the sale price for Charlton if they win on Sunday, although I am not sure this Evening Standard report says much that is new: Fresh takeover offer?

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Roland won't be coming to Wembley

Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet has told Talksport he won't be coming to Wembley because of safety fears: Talksport interview

One would have thought that the national stadium could provide sufficient security for someone even as unpopular with fans as the barmy Belgian. After all, he wouldn't have to sit with them. Perhaps he is concerned about what might happen away from the stadium.

He suggested that he was the victim of a 'witch hunt' from ‘uncontrollable’ Addicks fans, who are desperate to see the end of his five-year reign at the Valley.

Monday 20 May 2019

Referee chosen for Sunday

Andy Madley will be the man in the middle at Wembley. He doesn't seem keen on issuing red cards which can determine the outcome of a game: Referee for play off final

Andrew Madley began his refereeing career on the local Wakefield leagues. He quickly advanced through the levels before becoming a Level 3A referee in 2008. This allowed him to act as an assistant referee on the three Football League divisions.

The following year he was promoted to the Panel List which allowed him to referee in the Conference divisions. He then progressed further the following year by becoming a Select Group Assistant Referee, officiating on the Premier League. In 2011, he progressed to his current role, a National List Referee, officiating in the three Football League divisions. Andrew is the older brother of former Select Group Referee Robert Madley.

He refereed two matches in the Premier League this season so clearly is being considered for that level, but almost all his matches were in the Championship. His day job is as a teacher.

Some time ago I planned a visit to see our middle daughter's new permanent home in Spain between the semi-finals and the final. I am told that the WiFi is good in the remote rural valley where their hacienda is located, but I will have to compete with a teenager chatting with her mates in the UK.

Lyle Taylor has been nominated for goal of the season on Sky Sports. When I voted he was second behind Chris Maguire (who he? ed): Watch and vote

Wembley sales top 30,000

Sales of Charlton's tickets for Sunday's Wembley final have now topped 30,000 and there is every prospect that all the tickets will be sold. Last year's League One play off final between Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town attracted a total attendance of 27,000.

I am in a block of 37 friends, members of the so-called 'Rodsters', after the Rose of Denmark pub, otherwise known as the 'Zimmer boys'. We now drink at the River Ale House in East Greenwich established by Charlton fan Trevor in his former lingerie shop.

No doubt some of the 37 could be accused of being 'plastics' as they have drifted away from The Valley, not necessary as boycotters but because of changing life circumstances. Our number also includes a number of representatives of the next generation.

Ben Reeves is returning to training tomorrow: Fitness boost

Sunday 19 May 2019

Lisbie's Wembley farewell

Super Kevin Lisbie, now 40 years old, was substituted at Wembley today as Cray Valley Paper Mills were beaten 3-1 in extra time by Chertsey Town. Defeat denied Cray Valley - a double of their own, after the Eltham-based club had already clinched the Southern Counties East League Premier Division title.

Lisbie made 116 appearances and scored 14 goals for the Addicks. My favourite was one he scored as a substitute at Ipswich to give us a 1-0 victory, but he also scored at Chelsea.

Mind you, he also could miss sitters. I remember bring a friend from Canada to one where he somehow missed a tap in, leading some to call him 'Kevin Missbie.' On this occasion, the bloke beside us complained, 'How much do I pay that guy?'

He reviews his career here, although he seems more attached to Leyton Orient than Charlton: Ends illustrious career

Queue for Aribo grows

Southampton are the latest club reported to be interested in securing Joe Aribo's signature. They can join a queue made up of Celtic, Rangers, Arsenal and Manchester City (the last two as an occasional bench warmer). He may yet end up in the Bundesliga which might be his best bet in career development terms: Joe Aribo

Lee Bowyer would like to keep him, but we may see his silky skills for the last time at Wembley.

Saturday 18 May 2019

Sunderland journo worries about the Charlton challenge

An in depth assessment from a Sunderland perspective of the challenge Charlton present (it's one of these newspaper pages with a lot of rubbish on it, so it may not load quickly): The Charlton challenge

In particular, they think the Charlton formation could be hard to second guess. 'Ross might have to draw up two plans for May 26. Some sides are good enough to just play their own way and let the opposition worry about it, but the league table – which had Charlton third, Sunderland fifth – shows such arrogance will not wash under the arch.'

Lyle Taylor explains why he decided to join the Addicks rather than the Black Cats: Why I rejected Sunderland move

He notes that Sunderland were expected to get promoted because of the size of their budget, but he knew Lee Bowyer would back him to the hilt.

Friday 17 May 2019

It's never easy, but victory is sweet

Charlton rarely make it easy for their fans, but their victory over Doncaster Rovers at The Valley tonight was all the sweeter for being hard won. My intuition was that it would go to penalties which is why I booked a hotel in Greenwich.

I don't think we were at our best tonight. Aribo and Taylor were below par. But when a missed penalty from Donny settled matters, there was a massive pitch invasion. Such scenes of joy have been missing from The Valley for many years.

After a thundering start a headed goal from Bielik in the second minute seemed to put the Addicks on course for victory. A second goal would have settled matters, Donny managed to equalise on the night out of nowhere in the 11th minute. A smart flick from Herbie Kane allowed Rowe to score with what was admittedly a good shot which gave Phillips little chance. The defence seemed to have disappeared. A brilliant low save from Dillon Phillips stopped ex Millwall player Marquis from making it 2-1 on the night shortly afterwards. But Donny's confidence had been given a boost.

The second half became increasingly fractious and had few chances of note, although Josh Parker prodded narrowly wide from a ball in from Taylor, before Butler rose high at the back post to head in Ali Crawford's corner late on and send the match into extra time. We seemed to surrender possession too easily.

Marquis put the visitors ahead on 100 minutes with his 26th goal of the campaign but the Addicks hit back immediately through Pratley to send the game to penalties. The players of both sides were clearly tiring by now.

The police came on the pitch at the end of the game to talk to the referee and apparently the penalties were taken at the Covered End for safety reasons.

Chris Solly, who had come on as a substitute, was the unlikely first penalty taker (although he is club captain) but his shot was a crisp one. Cullen made no mistake with the second and Taylor settled any fears that he might miss. Naby Sarr missed the chance to win it in the shootout after Dillon Phillips had saved from the hapless Marquis, but Rowe blazed wide to send the Addicks to Wembley.

One little memory: a father and son have been sitting in front of me for about twelve years since the lad was about seven. At the Rochdale game he brought his girl friend, Last night father and son took a smiling selfie together.

I travelled back to Greenwich in the company of celebrating French supporters. Slightly ironic as France 24 wanted me for a discussion at 5 pm and were not best pleased when I said no, commenting sarcastically 'Football must come first.'

Congratulations to Patrick Bauer on the birth of his daughter in the afternoon and then going to The Valley to steer us to Wembley.

Richard Cawley's match report is here: Wembley bound

This Evening Standard article which includes quotes from Lee Bowyer is worth a read: All in place for a Premier League return

Thursday 16 May 2019

Rickster's bid for power lost by casting vote

VOTV editor Rick Everitt failed by the casting vote of the chairman to become Leader of Thanet District Council last night: New Council leader

The Rickster has now announced the leading members of his shadow cabinet team. If he had been leader, he may not have had time to continue editing and producing Voice of the Valley,at least in a print format.

Of course, there is now a lot of digital content on the VOTV website. A printed fanzine might seem something of an anachronism in today's digital environment, but I would be sorry to see it disappear.

It is clear that some Charlton fans have taken against the Rickster. He has been derided for his mistaken 'scoop' on the sale of the club, but if I had had the source he did, I would have trusted it as reliable. Sadly, the mantle of 'Scoop' Burrowes from the Kentish Independent of fond memory will not transfer to the Rickster.

Everitt has previously contested a seat for the Labour party in a general election. However, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt has now been cleared of antisemitism charges and the Ramsgate resident is seeking reselection as the Labour candidate for Thanet South in what could be an impending general election: Candidate cleared

In any case, Everitt's age, gender, ethnic group membership and heterosexuality might not make him a favoured candidate for some members of the Labour Party.

Time to end the superstitious doom and gloom

There are always Charlton fans ready to see the glass half empty. Their latest theme is the trend for teams that lost at home in the first leg of the play offs to win on aggregate. Trends are there to be broken. This is all superstitious bollocks (I think I can used that word as a political party is using it in the EP elections).

Fans then say 'This is Charlton' meaning that we flunk it at crucial moments. Well we didn't flunk it in the 1987 play off against Leeds at St. Andrews, even if it was a last minute goal: Play off final. That was a vital win in the Selhurst days. Many consider that if Charlton had been relegated, the club could have folded.

I am not saying we should be complacent about tonight or think that it is job done. I am sure Lee Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson aren't complacent. I am sure that the tireless Lyle Taylor isn't complacent. The crowd need to keep their faith even if there are setbacks.

I am cautiously optimistic because I think the team is better than they were last year against Shrewsbury. We have Lyle Taylor, Dillon Phillips has been a revelation and under Lee Bowyer's guidance, the team has come into form at the right moment and is playing really well. My big problem is which historic shirt to choose for tonight.

The standard of refereeing so far in the play offs seems to have been generally good in so far as I can judge from the highlights. This is because referees have been brought in from a higher level instead of using referees who were officiating at park football a few years ago or long serving petulant failures coming to the end of their careers. The referee tonight is Gavin Ward who usually works in the Championship.

I have just had to turn down France24 who wanted me live on air at 5pm by which time I shall be at the River Ale House. I don't think they were too pleased, saying 'Football comes first' in a rather sarcastic tone. They are the station I most like working for, but needs must.

The greatest game revisited?

It could be a re-run of the greatest game after Sunderland won on aggregate against Portsmouth tonight. A 0-0 draw saw the Black Cats through. Their keeper played a blinder and was man of the match.

It was a scrappy match. A Sunderland defender who fell over the advertising hoardings was punched by a Skates supporter.

I went in to see my pharmacist today who is keen Sunderland supporter and he said, 'see you at Wembley.'

First we need to beat Donny at The Valley tomorrow night or at least draw with them.

When we went to the old Wembley our youngest came with us. She wasn't married then: now she has a daughter at uni.

Fans back brilliant Bowyer

VOTV editor Rick Everitt anticipates the atmosphere as The Valley comes to life again for Friday's match with Doncaster Rovers: Fans turn out to back brilliant Bowyer

For those who think we should not refer to Roland until the play offs are over, I can assure them that he is not mentioned. It's a long time now since the Rickster was de facto Mayor of Welling, but donning the more modest civic robes of Thanet may have the kind of calming effect that Speaker Bercow is always calling for in the Commons. Or not.

Fans have been urged to arrive early tomorrow (but not before the SLP's Richard Cawley has parked up: Biggest crowd for years

Wednesday 15 May 2019

'It's because you come from Greenwich'

I went to see my osteopath yesterday. He knows that I am a Charlton supporter and he lived in Greenwich himself for over ten years. He said yesterday, 'I always knew you were from Greenwich because you pronounce it like the locals' ('Grinidge' rather that 'Grenwhich').

What I learnt yesterday was that he had lived there from 1995 to 2008, surely the most successful period in Charlton's history since the Jimmy Seed era. After the return to The Valley, we won promotion to the Premier League, although admittedly had left a year before my osteopath did.

He is not a football man and never came to The Valley but he remarked how embedded the club was in the local community, respected for its community work and with a high proportion of local supporters.

The win by Derby over Leeds in the play off final yesterday is a reminder that a one goal lead from the away leg is never enough. Mind you, Leeds have been the 'nearly men' of the Championship for some time now.

I remain cautiously confident because of the way the team has been playing. They have come into form at the right time and the morale of players and fans is high.

Latest Roland statement

Roland's sidekick Lieven de Turck has met with the Belgian Ambassador and it has been claimed that officials agreed to meet with CARD because of the threat of a demonstration outside the Embassy: Roland's perspective

I am surprised that the Belgian Embassy felt threatened by a motley crew of football supporters when they would have police protection.

The original CARD press statement said: 'Counsellor Alain Leroy, who reports directly to the Belgian Consul General in the UK [i.e., he is consular rather than diplomatic staff], hosted a delegation from the Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet (CARD) on Wednesday, April 17th at the embassy in Belgravia. He listened closely as the CARD representatives outlined how the actions of his countryman were harming the club, its supporters and its wider community, as well as attracting widespread ridicule in the media and across the football industry.

A CARD spokesperson said: “We were impressed that Mr Leroy was so well informed, which shows how much attention Duchâtelet’s actions have generated beyond the football world. “He had a good knowledge of the situation at Charlton, particularly with regards to the issue of the unpaid staff bonuses and Duchâtelet’s recent bewildering rant demanding that the EFL buy the club from him.”

With Lee Bowyer’s team having already reached the League One play-offs this season, CARD emphasised that the continuing opposition to Duchâtelet was not related to results, or Duchâtelet’s nationality. Among the issues highlighted were the possibility of further protests against Duchâtelet in Belgium if he fails to deliver on his commitment to sell the club, announced 15 months ago, and that these protests were unlikely to be restricted to St Truiden.

The representatives also assured Mr Leroy that the coalition had had nothing to do with the graffitiing of premises linked to Duchâtelet earlier this year, and no knowledge of who was responsible, but explained how it would not be a surprise if other groups took an increasingly militant approach should Duchâtelet remain at Charlton. Although the Belgium Embassy is unable to interfere in private matters, Leroy noted the concerns expressed to him and pledged to report back to the relevant authorities in Belgium, which include government officials, the regional authorities and the police.'

The mood has changed says Jacko

Johnnie Jackson has spoken to The Guardian about the changed mood at The Valley: Bowyer brings back a taste of happiness

The assistant manager said: ';I think the fans feel a real connection because they know we have the club at heart,” Jackson says. “There has been a noticeable change in mood this season. I’ve noticed a bit of a feelgood factor. People still have their grievances at the way the football club is being run but I think they recognise that the team is one they can be proud of and wears the shirt with pride.'

'To see that disconnect with fans saddened me and seeing that come back is something I am proud of. When there have been highs, they have been unbelievable and when there have been lows, I have taken it really personally and got really down about it. I just want the best for the football club. The fact that the home leg is likely to be a sell-out shows how far we have come.'

Manchester or Islington for Aribo?

The rumour mill has linked Joe Aribo with a move to Manchester City, but just as a squad player undertaking occasional bench warming duties. The question has also been posed, is he now good enough for Arsenal? Aribo transfer

I think he would be better off going to the Bundesliga and getting regular first team game time. Even if we go up, I doubt whether the out of contract player will stay at Charlton.

90 minutes away from Wembley

Charlton could be 90 minutes away from a play off final at the new Wembley says experienced SLP sports writer Richard Cawley: The prize

However, Cawley is appropriately cautious. The outcome is not a foregone conclusion, although a draw would be enough. It wasn't one-way traffic on Sunday and Donny have nothing to lose as the underdogs.

Hopefully, it won't go to penalties. But I will be staying overnight in Greenwich just in case.

Over at Sheffield Wednesday, concerns have been expressed about the fact that accounts for the Owls are overdue at Companies House: Red flag over accounts

Katrien Meire was until recently chief executive at Sheffield Wednesday, but her remit focused on the fan experience rather than the accounts.

Steered to victory

Jed Steer was the decisive player in Aston Villa's play off semi-final victory at the Hawthorns last night after he saved two penalties.

The Charlton content is the amazement and incredulity with which the Radio 5 commentator said this morning 'and he was playing for Charlton in the first half of the season.'

I suppose if we do go up this year we will get a repetition of the 'tiny London club' comments made on television news when we won the Greatest Game, accompanied by an expression of shock on the newscaster's face.

1,000 Charlton fans are to be accommodated in the Jimmy Seed on Friday as Donny have not taken up all their tickets to watch their victory. According to VOTV editor, Rick Everitt, the last time this happened was against a match against Barnsley in 2012 when there was a 'football for a fiver' offer.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Another club goes as Roland dismantles his network

Another club in Roland's much vaunted network has been sold, Madrid suburban side Alcorcon. There is certain symmetry in the fact that the purchaser is someone who has a stake in another suburban side, Crystal Palace. At this rate Charlton could be the last network club standing.

The purchaser is Josh Harris who owns a 18 per cent stake in Palace. The price paid for the Spanish second division side is unknown, as is whether it will have any relationshp with Palace: Roland's latest sale

'Steaming hot' quotes from Parker

Richard Cawley of the SLP says he has got some 'steaming hot quotes' by Josh Parker via 'my boy Lou' as he refers to the tireless Louis Mendez. Unfortunately, I cannot access them online at the moment, possibly because they have set fire to the page. However, the essence appears to be that Donny will fear the atmosphere at a packed Valley.

Got it now, but it seems slow to load, possibly because Parker is so excited. He could get the goal he deserves for his hard work: Fearful Donny

I had to speak to my doctor yesterday after a minor medical emergency. As a Manchester City season ticket holder, he is full of the joys of spring and didn't ask me why Charlton are crap which he usually does. Instead, I got an appointment at the start of play today.

Monday 13 May 2019

Lyle lays it on the line

Presenting James Mace with his long service award at Leamington FC's presentation evening

Lyle Taylor has reassured fans that there will be no complacency in the return leg against Doncaster Rovers on Friday: No danger of Charlton going slack

I don't have Sky: the local council has banned it in conservation areas as inconsistent with the image of a Royal Spa. The local pubs that used to have it are now gastropubs. Someone helpfully sent me a map of which pubs still have it, but most of them are places where people are up for a ruck and I have already lost front teeth (see picture). The one exception was a pub near to my bestie's house, but if she caught me in there watching Charlton she would go ballistic as she regards the Addicks as hopelessly down market.

I was therefore reduced to listen to Talksport and who should be commentating but Neil 'Fish Fingers' Redfearn. I have never heard a more anti-Charlton commentary for ages.

Faced with a Charlton win, Redfearn and his co-commentator took the line that Doncaster would win at The Valley as they had in the FA Cup. This line is also taken by The Times this morning. I didn't go to that game as I know we don't do cups. However, as I recall, we didn't have our strongest side out and weren't as motivated as we will be on Friday.

I have booked to stay overnight in Greenwich so I can have a ginger beer or even a shandy at the River Ale House after the game. I think it will be the first time I have spent a night in Greenwich since I was born there.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Black Cats say promotion will be the start of their problems

Possible play off final opponents Sunderland reckon that they have solved 60 to 70 per cent of the financial problems they have inherited, but reckon that the real challenges will start if they are promoted: That's when our problems start

The Championship is notorious for having the most uneven playing field of any division. Relegated clubs receive substantial parachute payments for a number of years (depending on how long they stayed in the top flight). They are also able to sell off Premier League level players at a profit. Clubs like Rotherham find it difficult to compete, while Millwall only clung on by the skin of their teeth.

Although they are frank about the financial challenges they will face, Sunderland still want to go up.

Charlton take lead back to The Valley

Lyle Taylor scored his 10th goal in 11 games. How much we owe him.

Charlton took a 2-1 lead back to The Valley after the first leg of their play off final against Doncaster Rovers this afternoon in front of a crowd of 11,140, including 3,688 Addicks. Doncaster started well and were looking for an early goal, but then two goals in two minutes from Taylor and Aribo put Charlton ahead before the break.

Charlton had to defend more in the second half as they tried to hold on to their lead, although Taylor nearly made it 3-0.

However, the Addicks were tiring in the last ten minutes and Donny got a goal back on 87 minutes.

Bauer, Sarr, Aribo and Taylor were excellent throughout, as was Morgan until he was substituted.

As Richard Cawley has pointed out, The Valley has been a stronghold for Charlton since October so we can be optimistic without being over confident.

Donny started on the front foot and were determined not to give Charlton an inch in midfield. Parker but the ball in the net with a cool finish, but was judged to have fouled a defender. Charlton showed good composure and were good on the break. However, overall, it was rather scrappy in the early exchanges.

Donny threatened with the evergreen Coppinger who put a shot across the front of goal. The tireless Taylor had to track back to defend. However, Charlton withstood the onslaught from the home side.

On 17 minutes Purrington put in a cross, but Aribo's shot was blocked. Parker headed wide Charlton's best chance up to that point in the game, making use of a great ball in from The Cat.

A long range shot from Coppinger saw Phillips save at full stretch. The corner was dealt with. Bauer was booked for a foul on Maquis. It seemed a bit soft, but it was really the result of his attention to the centre forward throughout the game to that point. It was just one foul too many.

Donny had a chance to go ahead when they hit the bar from an Andrew free kick. The keeper saved well from Taylor. On 31 minutes Charlton had their first corner of the game. A brilliant ball from the excellent Morgan found Cullen at the far post clearly onside and Taylor was able to put the ball in the net.

On 34 minutes Charlton tore the Doncaster defence to shreds. Aribo picked his spot well and Marosi could only manage a weak touch as the ball went into the net to make it 0-2.

The Addickted broke into a chant of 'Marquis, what's the score?' Lee Bowyer was a smiling supremo on the touchline. Marosi managed to tip over an effort from Morgan. The Addickted serenaded Maquis what a chorus of 'You're just a s*** Andy Carroll.

Half time: Donny 0, Addicks 2

Coppinger was taken off at half time for Rowe. Cullen had to clear off the line from a Donny corner with Maquis threatening. The start of the second half was quieter than the first half.

A Donny free kick on the edge of the box hit the wall and deflected for a corner which was headed wide. However, Charlton were under a bit of pressure.

On 61 minutes a superb and disappointed Morgan was taken off, but Pratley was needed for his physical presence and to provide a stronger defensive shield. On 65 minutes Parker, who had worked hard, was replaced by Pearce. Blogger Hungry Ted commente, 'Got to say it, Parker’s endless running off the ball pulled their defence all over the place. May not get the credit he deserves without the goals to his name, but played a huge part today.' Apparently, he came off because he had cramp.

Bielik moved into the defensive midfield position. However, it was still three at the back for Charlton.

On 74 minutes Aribo set up Cullen but his header was tipped round the post. On 86 minutes Aribo put in a good cross and the goal was gaping, but it was just over Taylor's head.

On 87 minutes Donny scored through Blair, a scrambled goal that took advantage of a deflected cross. There were fears that Charlton would concede a second late goal, but Bauer cleared a Donny corner. Two minutes into time added on Leeds loan player Wilks volleyed over. Charlton won a late corner to ease the pressure.

There was a tunnel jump by Lyle Taylor to celebrate the success of the boys in yellow and blue.

Serene supremo Lee Bowyer said that he was happy to back to The Valley with a lead, adding that the Doncaster goal was rather fortuitous: Satisfied

Ronaldo thought about buying Charlton

I don't usually hurry to read the 'Lunch with the FT' feature in the Weekend edition of the Financial Times. It's often some boring business person with a big ego who has got lucky but thinks he has a formula for success that can be applied across all sectors. Wait a minute, why haven't they interviewed Roland?

When I saw this week's interview was with Ronaldo, I didn't expect any great revelations. But there it is black on pink. He spent two years in London and last year he considered buying 'unfancied' Charlton Athletic after an approach. Mind you, he also looked at Brentford as well.

Instead he decided to go for a majority stake in an unfashionable Spanish club, Real Valladolid. Reading about his willingness to use his stash and his philosophy of ownership, he would have been very welcome at The Valley. But he was another one that went away.

Saturday 11 May 2019

'The Purr-Fect Tie'

That's the headline in the Football League Paper this morning as defender Ben Purrington bares his claws ahead of today's play off tie with Doncaster Rovers. The Cat emphasised he won't be taking anything for granted. He stated, 'Anything can happen in the play offs - and no team is easier.'

However, the Devonian said 'Morale is high if you're winning games and picking up points. There's a great feeling around the club.'

Purrington feels that Lee Bowyer must take a lot of credit for the positive mood: 'He's just consistently been wanting the best from us in training and in games. He wants to get the best out of us every single day. Tactically, it's all spot on and he makes you keep believing. He's a great manager, he believes in us and that comes across very well.'

Counteracting what seems be almost excessive confidence among Charlton fans, the FLP considers there is not much to choose between the two sides: 'In a sense, there is less pressure on Doncaster, who finished sixth, than on their play off rivals Charlton.'

The FLP account of Doncaster focuses on 38-year old James Coppinger who has played more than 600 games for the club. He thinks it will be very tight, but their home form is good. He felt that Charlton were going all out for the chance of automatic promotion and may now have run out of steam.

Many Charlton fans stayed in Doncaster overnight, some encountering fog as they drove through the evening. Not all the remarks about the town on social media were complimentary and cannot be reproduced here. Apparently, one unfortunate entered a competition for a night in Doncaster and won the second prize of two nights.

I must be careful what I say as I am seeing the MP for Doncaster North on Wednesday, but it's not Beverley, it's not Harrogate, it's not York and it's not even bustling Leeds or 'city of culture' Hull. It might be described as a 'problem area and an area with problems'.

A Charlton friend of mine way from way back married a Doncaster lass, but it didn't work out and now he's living there and working all hours in a supermarket. He has my ticket today.

Leadership role for Ramsgate fan

Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt has been elected as leader of the Labour Group and de facto leader of the opposition on Thanet Council. Labour has 20 seats to 25 held by the Conservatives.

Everitt said in a statement: 'It’s an honour to have been elected leader of such a talented group of new and experienced councillors. We have a manifesto which is full of good ideas for improving the lives of the people of Thanet and this will guide us in how we deal with the issues we will face in the coming years.'

The Rickster has been a thorn in the side of Roland Duchatlet who has made sarcastic references to Everitt in his statements. In Duchatelet's view, Everitt is a disgruntled ex-employee.

Concerns have been expressed that the Rickster's new municipal duties will diminish the time he has to edit and produce Voice of the Valley. However, hard pressed contributors think that they will simply be asked to produce more copy more quickly.

The news has renewed speculation about Everitt's middle name. Candidates are required to declare their full names on ballot papers. One candidate in my ward had to reveal that her middle name was that of the shop her family owns. But when he stood as the Labour and Roland Out candidate in the Newington Ward, Everitt simply listed himself as 'Rick'.

There are three possibilities. One is that the Rickster does not have a middle name. When US president Harry Truman was sworn in, he was mistakenly given a middle name of 'Shipp', his mother's maiden name. In fact his middle name was the letter 'S'.

Another possibility is that his middle name is 'Charlton' as in 'Rodney Charlton Trotter'.

It has been the subject of some discussion at the River Ale House and jokesters have suggested 'Marmaduke'. It is likely that will remain an unresolved mystery.

Turns out that in his role as election agent, Everitt declared his name as 'Richard John'. A prosaic end to the story.

The Chicago Addick has landed

Social media are reporting that the Chicago Addick has landed at Gatwick from Bermuda on his way to the delights of Doncaster. Charlton fans are converging on Donny from all over the globe, not to mention Eltham, Gravesend and Swanley. Over 3,700 Addicks will be at the Keepmoat. The sense of excitement is building.

But not everywhere. Yesterday I went into one of the Royal Spa's 47 coffee shops and there was my friend Kirsty. Kirsty is an art history graduate. I have never heard her say anything about football. But her opening sentence was 'Isn't the football exciting?' But she was referring to what has happened in the European competitions.

Brakes manager Paul Holleran. I have a Holleran face mask.

Last night I went to the presentation evening at Leamington FC. Our manager Paul Holleran has been there for nearly ten years, but this was the first time he has 'bounded' up to me to shake my hand. However, I think he was celebrating the best performance by the fan owned and financially stretched club since its resurrection in 2000.

Then, to my surprise, I was asked to make a presentation to the longest serving player with over 350 games under his belt. As I left, I went to congratulate a Spurs supporter. Eventually, I mentioned the play offs. 'Now which league are Charlton in?'

I find it slightly ironic that having told me to lay off Charlton in my Saturday morning football slot for Radio Scilly and do something on Argyle or even Truro City, there will now be no slot at all. There has been an equipment failure and the vital piece of gear has to be brought from the mainland and there are no flights or other forms of transport on the sabbath. Take this as a good omen if you like.

Radio 5 focused this morning focused on the Portsmouth v. Sunderland play off and then had a long discussion between a Villain and a Baggie. The basic line from them both was that it was make or break time for their clubs.

Well, what about us? If we don't go up, securing the status of the 'nearly men' of League One, it is more likely that key players will leave. As a Championship club, we might be more attractive to a potential purchaser.

I was told recently that the real problem is not the barmy Belgian's basic price, but a number of 'add ons' of his own devising. Admittedly, I was told this in the River Ale House by a geezer from Croydon, but it does sound plausible, the kind of weird thing the buffoon might come up with.

Thursday 9 May 2019

Donny admit they face a tough test

Doncaster Rovers admit they face a tough test against the Addicks, but they are optimistic that they will end up at Wembley. Of course, they are hardly likely to say they are pessimistic and will be lucky to hold Charlton at the Keepmoat. They are taking inspiration from their FA Cup win at The Valley, but we are hardly likely to approach the play off semi-final in the same way: Record against Charlton gives ground for optimism

I am certainly not taking anything for granted. The defeat on penalties against the Rocking Robins at The Valley is seared in my mind. It only takes one bad refereeing decision to change the direction of a game.

The CAS Trust preview is here: Are the play offs really a lottery?

Wednesday 8 May 2019

What I do know about Donny?

An Addick I have known for many years lives and works in Doncaster (for a well-known supermarket), and I have been helping him to get a ticket in the Charlton end for Sunday. It led me to think about what I know about Doncaster.

When I am travelling towards York, the train always gets held up interminably outside Doncaster. When I change trains there for Hull, it is either pouring with rain or blowing a howling wind. Not all the users of the station seem prepossessing. I recall seeing two horizontally challenged ladies of a certain age clutching copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Then the penny dropped. I know the MP for Doncaster North. I sit on a committee with him and I will be seeing him between the two games. I have sat next to him at dinner and we have chatted about our families: I knew his dad and at a dinner when the 2017 Parliament convened, he began his remarks 'Wyn's granddaughter ...' We have never discussed football.

I wouldn't have thought his was a footballing household when he was young. So I looked online and it turns out that he is a self-confessed nerd who likes baseball and American football, He saw himself at one time as a Leeds supporter (his father worked there), but abandoned that affiliation when he became a MP for Doncaster.

I had better not mention Charlton next Wednesday. I have already been told by Radio Scilly where I am mainland football correspondent that listeners don't want to hear about Charlton in my Saturday slot as there are no supporters there and would I please focus on Argyle, Truro City, Torquay United and Exeter City, possibly the Bristol clubs.

There are also a few Manchester City supporters. If you live on an island with a two team football league, often cut off from the mainland by fog or gales, does supporting a Manchester club make you a plastic?

I know quite a few Spurs fans, two of them originally lived in Haringey. I was also pleased to meet some of their fans involved in important community work at a reception opened by the Mayor of Haringey early in the season. Chris Powell is a fan, so congratulations to Tottenham Hotspur.

Callum Harriott let go by Reading

Charlton academy product Callum Harriott has been let go by Reading at the age of 25. He has had serious injury problems while he has been with the Royals: Reading exit

It has been suggested on social media that we take him back at any level, but I am more sceptical. He looks injury prone to me, although I know Charlton has a record of taking players who spend more time in the treatment room than they do even on the training pitch.

Dijksteel talks to continue

Talks about a contract extension with Anfernee Dijksteel will continue once the play offs are over: Talks with young defender

Surprised supremo Lee Bowyer is puzzled why Dijksteel hasn't signed already, but he may want to see what happens in the play offs and whether Bowyer stays.

I think that he is capable of a high standard of play. More consistency is needed, but that will come with time.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Let's have less talk about plastics

I have not been a boycotter and I have kept up my season ticket and the Valley Gold subscription which supports the Academy. I respect the stance of those who do boycott, although one or two seem to have wavered recently.

The play offs are going to attract people who haven't been to a Charlton game for years, but we need their support and we hope that support will continue if we are successful. I would be delighted to see some old friends returning.

Of course, we don't want loyal fans unable to get tickets and the loyalty points system seems crazy to me, not rewarding those who make long trips to away games in obscure northern towns. The priority given to Valley Gold is questionable. If it's any consolation, I don't qualify for a Donny ticket even with Valley Gold and 400 loyalty points. Computer says no.

The one category I don't want to see at the play offs are stripy Nigels (or Nigellas). My father-in-law was Palace: enough said. I don't have as big a problem with Millwall supporters because in the 1950s there were quite a few people who watched Millwall one week or Charlton the next. I had more an issue with the 2,000 or so who headed past The Valley if the Woolwich rejects were at home.

Monday 6 May 2019

A message from our benefactor

Roland Duchatelet has issued a statement praising the promoted teams. He has used it to imply that Chris Wilder did not come to Charlton because of the opposition he would face from the minority of disgruntled fans. What is well known is that Wilder is a Blades fan through and through, but facts don't matter in the world of the barmy Belgian: C'est moi qui parle

In a series of tweets Richard Cawley of the SLP has rebutted the spurious arguments put forward by Roland about Wilder. He has stated, 'The impact that Cafc fans had on Wilder rejecting the job at The Valley? Zero. Fact is that Wilder wanted the Sheffield United job and Charlton's move for him basically sparked them into action - sacking Nigel Adkins and making their own official approach.'

Cawley continued, 'As it turned out, the appointment of Russell Slade drew far more of a mixed response. Wilder had done so well at Northampton that it would have been a very sound appointment.'

Better news was the well-deserved Player of the Year award to Lyle Taylor. Let's hope he will stay. I was also delighted that Naby Sarr came second. He has greatly improved, casting off a status at most derided player to become one of the most popular. Just wait till he scores his winning goal at Wembley! I was also pleased that Josh Cullen came third. I think that he has contributed a great deal this season without being particularly obvious.

10,000 tickets have already been sold for the home play off.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Charlton finish 3rd

Before the match we were calculating all sorts of permutations about the play offs, thinking that the most likely outcome was 4th or 5th. In the end a dominant performance saw a 4-0 win over Rochdale to produce a 3rd place finish and a semi-final against Doncaster. Hopefully, Charlton have come into form at the right time and enter the play offs with momentum. However, sagacious supremo Lee Bowyer has warned that good results against Donny in the season will count for nothing in the play offs: Cautious Bowyer

Lee Bowyer hopes to have Igor Vetokele back from injury for the play offs, just as well given another less impressive performance by Parker: Vetokele

At the end of the game the players came on to the pitch to accept the plaudits of the crowd, the star being Lyle Taylor's nephew who scored at both ends of the pitch. Lee Bowyer made an inspiring talk thanking the fans.

Joe Aribo, Calvin Andrew's own goal, Lyle Taylor and Krystian Bielik did the damage and results elsewhere meant the Addicks climbed from fifth.

Aribo and Taylor each squandered two early opportunities apiece for the hosts before the breakthrough arrived in the 19th minute. Taylor burst through on goal and was denied by Dale keeper Josh Lillis, only for the loose ball to be teed up by Josh Parker for Aribo to fire home a curling shot. It was a good strike from the increasingly impressive player.

Dillon Phillips had to be alert to tip over Callum Camps' 25-yard effort, but it was the Addicks who doubled their advantage after 32 minutes. Taylor whipped in a cross from the right which the visiting defence failed to deal with and the unfortunate Andrew ended up putting the ball into his own net. At first the goal was attributed to Purrington, but he did not celebrate it so I could not deploy 'The Cat uses his claws' headline.

Taylor put the outcome beyond doubt five minutes before the break by latching on to Albie Morgan's excellent pass (he had a good game throughout) and slotting past Lillis. The roles were reversed in the second half when Taylor turned provider only for Morgan to fire into the side-netting. Moments later Parker fired wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy after Lillis had parried out Taylor's drive.

But Charlton's second-half dominance was rewarded 15 minutes from time as the impressive Bielik drilled in the fourth after exchanging passes with Morgan. Taylor was withdrawn a few minutes before the end, allowing the referee to shake his hand and pat him on the back.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Final day stroll

Friday 3 May 2019

Who wrote the Bowyer contract offer?

Unconfirmed rumours have stated that controversial Roland aide Thomas Driesen wrote the initial contract offer to Lee Bowyer. The new contract was due to be sent to Bowyer on Monday and there has been radio silence, it is claimed.

Driesen has stated in the past, 'Managers should not get the final say on transfers. Its not that they don't have the quality of scouting, they just don't have the time to do it thoroughly. They are focused on a million other things, they make irrational decisions. There are exceptions though, 1 in 10.'

It was evident that Driesen did not think that Chris Powell qualified as one of the exceptions.

Ramsgate fan's electoral success

Rick Everitt has returned to Thanet District Council after losing his seat in the UKIP surge in 2015. When he was last on the Council, the Voice of the Valley editor was a cabinet member with responsibilities in the finance area.

Result in Newington Ward:

  • Constantine, Karen (Labour) 412
  • Everitt, Rick (Labour and Roland Out), 365
  • Green Party, 209
  • Conservatives 188 and 181.

In the Eastcliff ward, VOTV production team member Corinna Huxley was returned as Labour and Roland Out, but with a majority of just 46 over the Green Party candidate.

The Conservatives have five more seats than Labour so it is anticipated that they will form the administration and the Rickster will be in an opposition role, something he is not entirely unfamiliar with.

Given that there will probably no implications for VOTV, although Everitt has not so far responded to requests for a statement. I suspect that the hapless contributors may find themselves dragged out of their watering holes more often to provide copy.

Uncertainty about the play offs

Rochdale are safe from relegation and have the worst defence in League One, so that should give Charlton a chance to progress tomorrow: CAS Trust preview

In 14th place in the League, Rochdale have won seven, drawn five and lost 10 away from home. Their away goal difference is -29. Odds: Charlton, 8/13; Draw. 11/4; Rochdale, 4/1.

There is a good chance that referee Charles Breakspear will spoil any party atmosphere.

Where Charlton end up in the league, who they meet in the play offs and in which order will be very much determined by results elsewhere. Working out the various permutations in terms of when and where games might be held is quite complicated. Louis Mendez has provided a helpful chart on Twitter: Play off chart - scroll down

Some Charlton fans have complained that they will not be able to make any of the potential play off dates because of work commitments. I kept the likely dates clear some time ago, but it is easier for me as I largely work on a self-employed basis.

Give Bowyer the time he needs

A video run through of Charlton managers lasting just a few minutes with more attention paid to key figures such as Jimmy Seed and Alan Curbishley, culminating in an appeal to give Lee Bowyer the time and deal he needs: They served and departed

Welcome German Addicks

I have been thinking a bit recently about the times I spent working and living in the then divided city of Berlin at the height of the Cold War. This has been partly stimulated by the excellent series Deustchland 86 which showed how loyal East Germans saw the disintegration of their state before their eyes. It was an awful regime, and I have a bit of a personal grudge (I thought that using poison was stepping outside the rules of the game: in retrospect, I should have worn camouflage).

However, in practice, the east-west relationships were very complex, made even more complicated by the fact that the Occupying Powers, including the UK, had rights in East Berlin. One of the more bizarre roles I have had in my life was to cross over the wall and assert them, albeit as a junior aide to my American boss who was very keen on staging 'provocations' against the 'Commies'. I thought it was all a bit childish, parking in a space reserved for cadres and then calling the VOPO a 'plastic ****hole.

In those days, my German was reasonably good. Needs must. Indeed, with suitably shabby clothing, I could pass off as a DDR citizen, being once mistaken for a member of the Party delegation in East Berlin. Some twenty years later I was at a technical meeting in Kiel which was being conducted in English. I decided that I could make my point more precisely in German. People exchanged glances and I thought I had made a faux pas which is very easy in a foreign language. Afterwards, someone came up to me: 'This is very strange. You speak German with the accent of someone who grew up in a small town near Berlin under the Communist regime.'

One other interesting experience I had in Kiel, the home of the Kriegsmarine was meeting a former U-boat commander. In charge aged 19 at the end of the war, he had refused to take his boat out in a futile action which would endanger his men. This did not go down too well with the Nazis and he was ordered to be executed. However, the Nazi state was still a Rechstaat and in the confusion of the end of the war, no one could find the right paperwork, so he survived.

The German Addicks have come over for the play offs and final. My German has now deteriorated to the point where I could not sustain a conversation, but I hope to meet them. And I won't go on about the Cold War.

Curse of manager of the month?

Lee Bowyer is League One manager of the month. I think all this talk about it being a curse is a nonsense. People were saying the same sort of thing about playing in front of the Sky cameras before we beat Portsmouth.

Local elections

I am not expecting results from the Isle of Thanet until early to mid-afternoon, but I will report on how any 'Roland Out' candidates do.

Thursday 2 May 2019

It's an axe rather than a spanner at Millwall

Should Charlton be promoted, they will face Millwall next season after they finished one place above the relegation zone. Millwall may well think it would be a nailed on six points given the recent record of games between the clubs.

However, Neil Harris considers that a ruthless clear out is needed at the New Den. Speaking after the defeat Bristol City, he said, 'It is a big summer. We have players out of contract and players who want to leave. I will be ruthless. Some players have maxed out what they can do.'

Wednesday 1 May 2019

First the hors d'oeuvres

Many years ago I was talking to someone whose husband owned a restaurant in London. She said that their mains were ok, but their hors d'oeuvres were exceptional. I thought that there was something unsatisfactory about the starters being the summit of a meal.

Tonight I go to St. Andrews for the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup, the oldest county cup in existence. It is a splendid Victorian trophy (see picture) which looks good in our vice-presidents' lounge at the New Windmill Ground. Leamington have won it six times and opponents Nuneaton Borough nine times. BBC Coventry and Warwickshire will be providing live coverage of 'El Warwicko'. The final I really enjoyed was beating Wolves at Molineux two years ago. It was the first time it had gone to penalties and the decisive penalty was scored by Leamington's barmy bin man of a keeper, Tony Breeden.

[Leamington won 4-1. Match report: Pride of Warwickshire. ]Skipper Tony Breeden almost knocked himself out with the trophy lid.

Breeden is the most commanding keeper I have seen since Sam Bartram, albeit at a much lower level. His song is 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' Oppositions seem to freeze as he charges down the pitch and even more so when his powerful and accurate shot ends up in the goal. He doesn't do it too often, but it is an entertainment when he does. He would certainly win the crossbar challenge.

I actually have good memories of St. Andrews with Charlton. Anyone remember the 0-0 draw in the run up to the Greatest Game? It sank the hopes of the Millwall of the Midlands who were beside themselves.

The main event is, of course, the game against Rochdale on Saturday. In accordance with tradition, I will meet my friends in Central London to go by boat to my birthplace of Greenwich, before repairing to the River Ale House in East Greenwich run by Charlton fan Trevor for a ginger beer or perhaps even a shandy.

Last night I went to London for a drinks event for a friend who is a Fulham supporter and getting married in July. It was held in a private club down an incredibly narrow passageway off the Charing Cross Road. On the way there I popped into St. Martins in the Fields for the first time in my life. My grandmother's grandmother was married there aged 18 in September 1819. (Curiously, it was 20 years before she gave birth to her only child, my great-grandmother). The name of my great-great-grandmother was Mary Heaven before she married and it was her granddaughter who was the first Charlton supporter in our family.

My friend pointed out that it could be Fulham v. Charlton next season. I hadn't thought of that and I quite like going to Craven Cottage.