Sunday 28 February 2021

VOTV editor's patience with Bowyer running out

VOTV editor and Ramsgate-based fan Rick Everitt gives his assessment of the situation at Charlton following the latest defeat.  As he notes, the Addicks have accumulated more red cards than points at home:

As I read the article, it is a thumbs down for Bowyer.  One small point of disagreement: the reason the shaken supremo was not in the dressing room at half time was that he was giving instructions to his four substitutes.   Having four substitutes, of course, says something about the wisdom of his initial selection.

Replacement managers sometimes don't live up to their billing

One argument for not replacing Bowyer now is that it may be possible to get a better replacement in the summer and if time is taken over the decision.  We have had too many failed successions at Charlton in the past.  Remember Iain Dowie?

I don't think appointing Johnnie Jackson as an interim manager would work as, despite his low profile, he is presumably part of the problem.   Some have suggested Jason Euell advised by Alan Curbishley and, as a short-term solution, that makes more sense.   However, don't imagine there is a queue of quality candidates wanting to manage a League One club in trouble.   Neil Harris is, of course, available.

One of the pundits on The Football League Show this morning said that he thought that Bowyer's exasperation was making him very emotional and this was communicating negative vibes to the players.

That, of course, could be an argument for replacement, although the pundits thought he should be given more time.  Sandgaard, I suspect, is not one for hasty decisions, but Bowyer could fall on his own sword.

Following the decision of Greenwich Council to ban Charlton players from walking dogs as they cannot hold on to a lead, they have been forbidden from travelling to Wigan on Tuesday as pointless journeys are not permitted.

Bowyer warns players

One player is to be dropped by shaken supremo Lee Bowyer for costing the side too many goals and although he is not named it looks like Deji Oshilaga:

Bowyer says he is dumbfounded by the failure of some of the squad to take on board the instructions he gives them.  He told players: 'This is your careers, but this is also my career.'

Saturday 27 February 2021

Valley of Disaster

Charlton were beat 3-0 by Blackpool at The Valley this afternoon, two of the goals scored from the penalty spot.  A team in form beat one lacking confidence and showing indiscipline with Pratley and Aneke sent off in the second half.   

Aneke would be out for four games and Pratley for two.  The Aneke sending off is going to be appealed.

There were no real positives: the players simply aren't good enough.   There were no Charlton shots on target.  We go again Tuesday at 6 pm at Wigan.   Charlton are now down to 12th, behind Crewe on goal difference.

Bowyer made four substitutions at half time, but whatever the plan was it was wrecked by Pratley being sent off for a second yellow immediately after the break.  He should have been substituted.  It was an odd way of marking his 100th appearance in a Charlton shirt.

Bowyer's line afterwards was to complain about the officials.  Some of the decisions were harsh, but they weren't all wrong by contemporary standards.

Before the game Bowyer said that he had chosen Washington over Aneke because he needed pace up front, but he admitted afterwards that he was disappointed with his performance.  Curbs said pre match that he was 'a bit surprised' by that choice.   

He was also concerned that the midfield would have a job to do with two wingers playing.   Bowyer admitted afterwards that the wingers had no impact on the game which is why he changed things around at half time.

I didn't have time yesterday to post anything about Kevin Lisbie's contribution to the build up, but you can find it here on the new Charlton Retro page:

Post match Bowyer interview

Bowyer said: 'We gave them a good start, after that the officials did us, one decision after another.' Scott Minto suggested that Blackpool were more athletic and sharper.   Bowyer argued that in the first half, 'They did it a little better than us.  I don't think there was much in it.  [Not my view].  These people [officials] keep making decisions against us.'

Scott Minto asked how difficult it was to keep a settled side.   Bowyer said one couldn't go Saturday-Tuesday with the same players.  But he admitted, 'The players are not in a good place, look nervous at times.'   Minto asked about the home form and Bowyer said 'You have to look at why' which is a statement of the obvious, but it then became evident that different players kept disappointing him.

Scott Minto suggested one could try going with the best eleven.   After Bowyer had gone, Curbs suggested keeping a settled side and shape for one week would be possible.  In a parallel universe, one could have Curbs in as interim manager until the end of the season to show the continuing relevance of the one time cry from the stands: 'Sort it out Curbishley.'

Match report

After a cagey start by both sides, Charlton inevitably went behind within 10 minutes.   Simms simply out paced Oshilaja who brought him down and Yates scored from the spot on 9 minutes to make it 0-1.

On 14 minutes Charlton won a corner.  After a good header back in by Famewo, Stockley found the back of the net with a header but it was judged to be offside (I was not convinced).

The Blackpool midfield were denying Charlton any space and the Addicks were having to adopt the non-league tactic of hoofing the ball forward to no effect.

On 25 minutes Pratley (not for the first time) conceded a free kick which led to a Blackpool corner, but Purrington cleared with a header.  Oshilaja got a yellow card for a foul.

The referee was getting increasingly fed up with Pratley.  He had a long chat with him on 32 minutes and it wasn't about whether the Charlton captain had any hints on beard care or controlling your waistline.  

Following a free kick, Stockley had to put in some good defensive work.   Blackpool were being given lots of space to operate in and Ward was left unmarked on the right on two occasions.  Then nobody chose to close Virtue down, he was given space to strike and chose his spot to put the ball past Amos to make it 0-2.  Woeful defending again.

Pratley was given a yellow card for a handball that he felt was inadvertent, but the referee had had enough of him by then.

HT: 0-2

I don't think four substitutions have been made at Charlton at half time before and it suggests that Bowyer made serious errors in setting up the team.  Maatsen replaced Purrington, who hadn't played badly, but the youngster did at least show some energy.  Washington, who as Bowyer put it had not been screaming to say 'I want to play next time' was replaced by Aneke.  DJ, who had been anonymous and Millar, who had been below par, came off.  Matt Smith came on, and did show some nice touches, but Ben Watson contributed little.

But you know if Darren Pratley is on a yellow card he is going to get a second, so why not take him off?  On a yellow he should have been cautious but he got in a tangle with the Blackpool right back Gabriel on the ground and referee Huxtable was surrounded by Blackpool players demanding that he be sent off. The bearded wonder took his time, but showed the second yellow.

On 51 minutes Watson put his foot in on Yates.  Whether he made much contact was unclear, but these days that is enough for a penalty.  Amos judged which way the former Liverpool Under 23 player would send the ball, but Yates got it underneath him to make it 0-3.  Game over, although Charlton did show a bit more fluency and urgency in the second half.

The referee continued his entry in the 'most cards against Charlton in one match' contest with a yellow card against Shinnie for a foul.  He then spoke to Aneke at some length and clearly had him in his sights.  To show balance he gave Yates a yellow card for a foul.

Charlton did manage to win two corners in succession, but they were unproductive as is so often the case.  Maatsen won another, but it also had no end result.   To his disappointment, Stockley headed wide from a Shinnie free kick.  Famewo got a yellow card.   Stockley, who had been feeding on scraps, was replaced by Schwartz who made contact with the ball once

Amos had to save from Mitchell who had been given too much space.  Aneke was judged to have extended his arm near the referee and was sent off.  Curbs said afterwards that we should appeal.

Charlton did manage to escape conceding another goal.   You can change the manager, but he would have to deal with the same group of players.  

Ipswich Town could be about to face a revival:

Stand up for Curbs

A petition to name a stand at The Valley after Alan Curbishley has now attracted 2,000 signatures.   VOTV editor Rick Everitt explains why he thinks it is a good idea:

The outspoken Ramsgate-based fan also attacked head on the myth that Curbs was driven out of The Valley by disgruntled supporters, most recently made use of by Glaziers boss Roy Hodgson to stall his own defenestration.   The more prosaic truth is that the contract negotiations between Murray Mints and Curbs could not be resolved.

Seasiders out for revenge

According to the headline in the Blackpool Gazette the Tangerines are out for revenge at The Valley today.  In particular, defender James Husband 'will be looking to banish his nightmare memories of Charlton.'

Given Charlton's recent form, one might think that they face an easy task when they take their trip from beside the Irish Sea to the River Thames.   I have been slipping down the West Sussex Badger League prediction table and my forecast of a 2-1 win over Blackpool this afternoon made at the start of the year looks over optimistic.   A useful home point might be possible.

Blackpool's midweek game had to be postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.   Last weekend they managed to beat promotion prospects Portsmouth 1-0 at Fratton Park.   Manager Neil Critchley said afterwards: 'We were positive, believed in ourselves and got our reward for that.'

Charlton fans have a reputation for being some of the most pessimistic in football and some are already talking about a relegation battle.   9th is not a relegation position and Charlton are 12th in the form table.  It looks more like midtable mediocrity to me.

Above all, one can't read results off the table in what is a more competitive league that many fans are prepared to allow.  Just because a club is a 'small' one doesn't mean they can't perform on the pitch.  The size of your stadium or your fan base doesn't give you a right to be in a particular league.   According to Sheffield Wednesday fans, they are a 'massive' club but they are in a relegation battle.

As the CAST preview notes, Blackpool have plenty of attacking threat (although C J Hamilton is out injured at the moment):

Our historic record against them is not good, although some of that may be down to Stanley Matthews: Played 65, won 19, drawn 16, lost 30.

Super Kevin Lisbie will be the guest on Valley Pass today.

Friday 26 February 2021

Charlton now at 33/1 for promotion

The bookies have virtually written off Charlton's promotion chances with the Addicks priced at 33/1, notes Richard Cawley of the SLP:

Cawley notes that Lee Bowyer will have be in charge for three years next month, albeit at first as a caretaker role, and he knows that results will have to improve.

It's been a turbulent three years with some difficult ownership problems to deal with.   In the crucial period last summer the club was in the hands of people who have been described as charlatans (shurely, businessmen of the highest probity and great foresight?, ed).

Gratitude can be a rapidly evaporating commodity in football and there is no room for sentimentality.  As the cliché says, it is a results business.   However, excessive short termism is also to be avoided and that is certainly Thomas Sandgaard's perspective.

Bowyer claims play off hopes are still alive

Bowyer says that Charlton's play off hopes are still alive and he takes responsibility for recent poor performances, but thinks the players need to do the same:

I think that the chances of a play off place are now not good unless there is a major turn round in performances and form (plus a little luck with the woodwork and officials).   Promotion would be a concern because I do not think we are ready, nor would summer signings entirely solve the problem.

The Bowyer in or out debate ultimately becomes irrelevant because he will be here until the summer.  I just think too much emphasis is put on decision-making manager while careless mistakes by the players are discounted.

Lack of energy leaves supporters feeling let down

Benjy Nurick assesses Charlton's recent performances and form for the SLP:

Nurick says 'It's hard to say what the solutions are.'  At least he is more honest than the many would be managers on social media.

He notes: 'But while mistakes and bad luck are just about understandable, it’s the total lack of energy in the closing stages at The Valley on Tuesday that will leave supporters feeling let down.

It’s fair to wonder if this last week has been the most deflating for Charlton since Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover. Ignoring the long-term seasonal goals, ignoring the promotion battle, Lee Bowyer and his team have a huge task on their hands to breathe life back into this season and avoid a pedestrian final few months.'

Deal author's memories of Charlton

Our latest Charlton Retro post features an interview 20 years ago with Charlton fan Charlie Connelly.  The successful author and broadcaster now lives in Deal and swims in the English Channel every day, but is yet to meet Desmond from Deal:

Charlie was a friend of one of my daughters at university and knew my late wife.

Sandgaard: how my skill set can help Charlton

Thomas Sandgaard talks about buying Charlton when it was 'days away from administration' and talks about the skills he has acquired in his careers that will help him to run the club successfully:

As Sandgaard has announced from Englwood Co. his company Zynex continues to prosper:

Various sources have stated that Sandgaard has declared his support for Lee Bowyer.   This is not the dreaded vote of confidence, it is a sign that he is not beset by the short termism that dominates English football and English life more generally.

If he decides he wants to replace Bowyer, he will have a better choice of available candidates at the end of the season.   The Covered End choir blog has reviewed available candidates and has suggested that most of them would not want to come to a League One club.

Thursday 25 February 2021

Famewo in on Saturday

One or two fans have been suggesting that Akin Famewo should be sent back to Norwich but he is in the squad for Saturday.

Besieged boss Lee Bowyer has defended his selection decisions, pointing out that he relies heavily on the medical advice of head physio Danny Murphy:

Please note that is not the Danny Murphy who used to play for Charlton; whose former wife slagged off Curbs in her column in The Times; and now delivers his verdict on Match of the Day in a droning monotone. 

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Retreating to the past

The one thing that has cheered me up during recent performances has been the presence of Curbs on Valley Pass, reminding us of happier days.   There have been great interviews with the likes of Steve Brown, Johnnie Robinson and Morts.   Super Kevin Lisbie will feature on Saturday.

This is therefore a good time to launch the new Charlton Retro site which will look back at the club's history, drawing on articles that I have written for Voice of the Valley (by permission of Rick Everitt) and on my blogs.

The first article is really an overview of Charlton's history, arguing that opportunities were not seized to make Charlton the Arsenal of South London in the period before and after the Second World War:

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Valley of Despair

One of my friends said at the weekend, 'The one thing I don't want to hear is "We go again on Tuesday."'

Bottom club Burton Albion completed the double over Charlton with a 2-1 victory at The Valley tonight.  Charlton opened the scoring on 9 minutes through Stockley.

Charlton were controlling the game for the first 20 minutes, but I noted that Burton were getting back into it.  A lack of concentration at the back allowed Burton to equalise.

Charlton never really got into the game in the second half and after Burton scored their second goal, they chased the game in a frantic and ineffective manner.  A series of substitutions made little or no difference.  As Curbs noted afterwards, Burton got stronger as the game went on.  If it hadn't been for Ben Amos, Charlton might have lost by a bigger margin.

Charlton's faint hope of  promotionhas gone which is probably just as well as they would struggle to survive in the Championship.  The focus now has to be on rebuilding in the summer.

The best part of the evening was the interview with Morts beforehand and he said afterwards that Charlton should have got tighter to stop the two goals.

Bowyer said: 'We started well, the change of shape worked, the right personnel, our second goal was onside.  Our decision-making in the final third was not good enough.  I don't think we deserved to lose the game.  I said to the players, "I'm embarrassed."   I will take the blame.  We will move on and go again Saturday.'

Minto asked whether it was mental, physical or tactical? Bowyer said that players can take their foot off the pedal, it happens too many times.   'In football, you have to be at it..  There are things I can't control, their finish or their final pass.'  Minto asked why the attacking substitutions didn't work.  Bowyer replied, 'They're [Burton are] solid, they are hard working honest lads.'   He added, 'Wrong decision at times, just taking care.'

Minto: 'Why it's not clicking?'.   Bowyer: 'We can't keep conceding and switching off, sloppy defending. How many times do you keep saying the same thing?   I've got to put this right.   I'm not making any excuses, we should have won tonight.  It's up to me now to try and put it right.'

Bowyer's remarks before the game were sadly prescient when he said that the players were a pleasure to watch in training and we had to take that into the game.   What was needed was to make the right decision at the right time, 'I can't control it.'

Morts commented, 'Blackpool will say "we know what we need to do on Saturday."'

The match

Charlton had a chance to go ahead on two minutes when Purrington fed Oshilaja who put in a good cross, Stockley made a great leap but the keeper dived to the right to divert the ball on to the bar.

On eight minutes following good hold up play by DJ allowed Shinnie to do well and win Charlton a corner. Before the game Stockley said the first 10 minutes had not gone to plan in recent games, but he was able to put in a powerful header to make it 1-0.

After a move started by DJ, Millar won a free kick in a good position.  Shinnie's effort was a good one and he hit the crossbar.  If that had gone in, it would have been a very different game.

Oshilaja conceded an avoidable corner and Burton showed intent by putting the ball in the side netting. Following a throw in, Smith was allowed to waltz into the area unchallenged (admittedly he would be expected to be on the right) and former Aldershot Town ace Fondup was able to equalise.

Matthews headed away a free kick conceded by Oshilaja.  Purrington won Charlton a corner and there was good subsequent play on the left but no final product.

With Wallace going down, Rowe replaced him.   Watson conceded a free kick and Amos saved from Rowe.  Fed by Matthews a Stockley header came off the bar.  Oshilaja followed through and put the ball in the net, but an offside decision was given.

HT: 1-1

On 49 minutes there was a moment on real danger when Matthews played a loose ball.   On 52 minutes Rowe had acres of space to power down the pitch and put in a ball that looped over Amos to make it 1-2.  After that Charlton were chasing the game and forgetting how to pass.

On 55 minutes DJ was taken off and Aneke came on, I was disappointed that he didn't start.  The best chance for Charlton in the half came on 62 minutes when Purrington drew a fingertip save from the keeper.  A Pearce header lacked the pace to trouble the keeper.

An effort from Hamer glanced off the bar and may have gone in if it hadn't been for a slight deflection from Millar.  Purrington and Pearce came off and Maatsen and Schwartz came on, but neither of them make a difference, particularly the Danish pastry.   Aneke won Charlton a corner but it was unproductive.

Charlton were becoming increasingly frenetic, exemplified by Millar shooting wildly over when he could have put the ball down on the ground in the area.

Amos made a good save from Rowe.  Smith replaced Watson but didn't get a touch.  Amos had to save from Rowe again in the five minutes added on.

Monday 22 February 2021

Burton better under Hasselbaink

Burton Albion have improved under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says Lee Bowyer:

When Hasselbaink played for us he was coming to the end of his playing career and had the turning circle of an oil tanker, although he did make 36 subsequent appearances for Cardiff City.

For those who say we should easily beat the bottom side, I would remind them that every team is in this division on merit.   Indeed, Burton are two places above us in the form table.  Charlton have lost more matches that they have won or drawn at home.   Admittedly, Burton have won just twice on the road but they have drawn five times which may point to tomorrow's result.

Burton were beaten 0-3 on Saturday by a resurgent Sunderland, now under new French ownership.  Haselbaink admitted that his side had not defended set pieces well, but do we have the ability to exploit them?  Our corners are often poor (a long-term problem) and we are not great at free kicks without Forster-Caskey.

At least we will have Chuks Aneke back and, alongside Jayden Srockley, he can trouble opposition defences.

It's a long time since we beat non-league Burton 7-1 in the FA Cup back in the 1950s.

It's a no brainer for Bowyer critics.   Draw or lose, they can go to town; win, and it's no big deal.

Two midfielders out

Alex Gilbey pulled a hamstring in training on Thursday and is not available for the game against Burton Albion tomorrow night.   Jake Forster-Caskey will also be out for a couple of games.   An assessment will be made about whether Akin Famewo is fit (he understandably looked a bit rusty at Fleetwood, although his stats were good):

Underrated?   Keith Jones

Fans keeping talking about the failure to bring in a central defender, but it seems to me that the midfield often offers insufficient protection to the defence.   People always criticised Keith Jones back in the day, but I think that an intelligent defensive midfielder offers a lot that is not always apparent.

Jake Forster-Caskey in my view is an underrated member of the side, he is an intelligent box-to-box midfielder.   We miss him when he isn't there.

Roy Hodgson's version of history

Under pressure Glaziers manager Roy Hodgson thinks that Charlton is a good example of why one should stick with a manager:

Something of a myth has grown up around the departure of Curbs.   He went because he wanted to go.  As he has said on Valley Pass recently, he got frustrated by the way in which Charlton faded in the latter part of the season.  He is still searching for an explanation and thinks that possibly the squad was trained too hard pre-season.

As always, there were a few moaners who wanted Curbishley replaced by someone who would 'take us to the next level'.  They were a small minority, although it is possible one of the may have got on 606.

Even the Bloke Behind Me who was always shouting 'Sort it out Curbishley!' might be prepared to sign the petition to have a stand named after him:

The latest VOTV includes an interesting interview with Garry Nelson.   You can order a copy online and it will be delivered by first class mail in a discreet plain envelope for you to enjoy in the safety, comfort and privacy of your own home.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Naby Sarr reflects as does Lookman

Naby Sarr reflects on his five years at Charlton in an interesting in depth interview with Benjy Nurick: 

Ademola Lookman, who scored the winning goal for Fulham against Sheffield United yesterday, reflects on his 'happy time' at Charlton, noting the talent that comes out of South-East London:

Elsewhere yesterday Lyle Taylor missed a sitter for Nottingham Forest but Omar Bogle scored a penalty for Doncaster. 

Ricky Holmes has returned to his native mudflats and rejoined his boyhood club Southend at the age of 33.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Charlton fortunate to get a point

I predicted a score draw at Fleetwood this afternoon, but I did not expect it to be so hard for Charlton to manage 1-1.  After going ahead on five minutes through Jayden Stockley, the Cod equalised before the break.  Charlton were under the cosh in the second half and scarcely troubled Cairns in the home goal.   

The second half was as bad a performance as I have seen this season by the Addicks.  Scott Minto said afterwards, 'We got away with it today.'

Charlton remain 9th in the table on the same number of points as Oxford United, but they have two games in hand.

There was a gusty wind, but as Curbs pointed out afterwards, Fleetwood adapted to the conditions better. Steve Brown suggested we could have got the midfield higher up the pitch.  Curbs said that we never put four or five passes together.

Lee Bowyer said: 'What a horrible game to watch, the conditions made it like that.  It wasn't pretty.  We scored a good goal, but that was the only time we crossed the ball.   The performance could have been better. It's a tough place to come, but disappointing to come away with a point  They played the conditions better.'

On Matt Smith, Bowyer thought that he sometimes spent too long on the ball, he was neat and tidy on the ball, but coped less well with the physical side.

Before the game Curbs said, 'We've got to put a run together and it's got to start today.'   Afterwards he said, 'We've got to start this run and it's got to start Tuesday.'   He noted that we would be playing the top teams in the run in.

I suppose one can say that Highbury is a neat ground, certainly less exposed than the old North Euston Hotel ground.  It's interesting to see standing terraces at both ends.

At five minutes I was relieved that Charlton hadn't conceded, but then Millar made a great run.  Shinnie showed real skill and Stockley was able to score with a diving header.

The ball was in the air a lot and both sides were making use of the long ball.  I thought that we looked vulnerable on our left and their right.

Vassell advanced on goal, but failed to make use of the opportunity.   I thought he might have been offside, but in any event Famewo - who looked a bit rusty - was guilty of ball watching.

Charlton were trying to release Stockley with long balls but the wind carried them forward.  Vassell shot straight at Amos.

Cairns saved from Smith.  Maatsen kept the ball in play, but with no VAR the referee and lino had to have a chat before declaring an offside.

On 41 minutes Fleetwood got round and behind Charlton for the first time.  The Addicks couldn't cope with the pace of Duffy.   In a well-worked move the home side were able to equalise.   This allowed them to play some stupid goal music.

HT: 1-1

I have to agree with what Curbs said at half time, we had a problem on their right for most of the half.  It was the way were set up, there was no one on the left.  Shinnie had to come over to help Maatsen.

On 47 minutes Pratley added to his collection of yellow cards.  Gunter had to make a safety first clearance into the stand.

In an attempt to keep the ball on the floor Charlton were playing out from the back but it kept placing them in danger with Fleetwood's high press.   We just couldn't clear our lines.  Danger man Vassell drew a parry from Amos.

On 55 minutes Bowyer made a triple substitution.  This does raise a question about whether he had set the side up in the right way for the conditions in the first place.  Schwarz - who had done very little; Smith - who had been out of his depth; and Pratley - in search of a second yellow, all came off.  On came Morgan, Washington and Watson.

Amos saved from Vassell and after continued Fleetwood pressure had to make a difficult save.  With Maatsen failing to cope, Purrington replaced him on 60 minutes.  Amos (who deserves some credit) had to make a diving save.   The Fleetwood corner was overhit in the wind.  Charlton started to concede free kicks.

After an Amos save, Gunter had to clear.  Charlton just could not clear the ball.   The referee spoke to Vassell for the third time after he tried to claim a penalty.

Stockley fouled Holgate who made the most of it, rolling around an agony.  This started a tussle which brought both linos on.  Stockley got a yellow card for the foul and Madden and Rossiter got yellow cards for their part in the fracas, along with Oshilaja.

Charlton did manage to get the ball up the other end after 80 minutes and won an unproductive corner.  A shot from Millar was deflected for another corner.

The five minutes added on were a worry for Charlton with Fleetwood having brought on their top goal scorer, but a corner for the home side was overhit.

A bit underwhelming

A Luton perspective on Andrew Shinnie signing for Charlton (until the end of the season):

I think that fans have been a bit underwhelmed by this and it is really an exercise in complying with the rules on loans.   Shinnie has some skill, enough for League One.   What happens to him next year will be one of a series of decisions to be made about what is needed to try for automatic promotion.

Friday 19 February 2021

Score draw at Fleetwood?

Fans could get a morale boost from tomorrow's encounter with Fleetwood Town, but whether they will get it is another matter:

Charlton have now slipped to 9th in the table and the two teams are next to each other in the form table. The Cod have won six games at home, drawn five and lost three.  They have conceded just nine goals and scored 19.  Charlton have scored one more goal away and have one of the best away records in League One.

Fleetwood supremo Simon Grayson reckoned that they lacked composure and guile in their 1-0 defeat at Plymouth last Saturday.

Thomas Sandgaard is still hoping for a top six finish.  My Badger League forecast for this match as 3-3.

At least fans won't have to go to Fleetwood.  However, we can expect a wave of negativity if Charlton fail to win.

Roddy's role in helping younger players

There has been little discussion by fans of the role of Charlton's experienced technical director Ged Roddy, but one of his key tasks is to help Academy players make a seamless transition to senior football:

Sandgaard is thinking about the future structure of the Academy and path taken by Brentford, but is looking at restructuring rather than abolition.

Charlton supremo Thomas Sandgaard says that the club's television service has almost quadrupled users since it was improved and this, together with some smart player trades, means that the financial position is a little better than forecast.

Liam Millar interview

Liam Millar talks about his playing style, admits he sometimes has difficulty with the final ball and discusses the difficulty of adjustment to life in England.  He suggests that Lee Bowyer and Steven Gerrard have similar coaching styles:

Thursday 18 February 2021

No early return for Inniss

The latest news on Ryan Inniss suggests that he will be out until April which is a blow given that he was one of our key players, particularly in terms of stopping us leaking goals:

The club did look for centre backs in the transfer window, but no one of sufficient quality was available within the then constraints of the salary cap.

Liam Miller talks about playing on the left for Charlton despite being right footed:

Loan signing to be made permanent

One of Charlton's six loan signings will be turned into a permanent deal before the match at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, which one is unclear.  However, it is only permissible to have five loan signings in the squad and at present there are five: 

Less encouraging news is that there are no decent prospects in the free agent market.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Why the arrival of the ESL matters for Charlton

I've been dipping in and out of the Financial Times Football Business summit today.  I would like to have listened to more, but one industry that is doing well at the moment is publishing so I am rather busy!

Clearly a lot of what is being said is not relevant to Charlton as we are hardly one of 'Europe's fifty top sports franchises' to quote a comment by a recent speaker from the US.

A lot of discussion has been about the European Super League (the revamped Champions League is just a watered down version of this).   Large amounts of serious American money is arriving in European football, and even the Bundesliga are in discussions with them about a stake.   What they don't want is European ideas like promotion and relegation threatening their asset values.

One clear take home message is that the Premier League is going to have to be reduced in size because there are going to be a lot more European matches.   Probably only to 18 clubs in the first instance, but even that will have a knock on effect on the Championship which is already a de facto Premier League 2.

The relevance for Charlton is that I think any return to the Premier League is looking less likely, even if we can get out of League One (which won't be until next year at the earliest).

I should add that the Super League is by no means a done deal, but there are some powerful forces behind it:

Does Ben Watson have a future at Charlton?

Judging by the responses of some Charlton fans on social media, no future at all:

There is going to have to be a major revamp of the squad in the summer, who is in charge of that remains to be seen.   The 'Bowyer out now' crowd have a clear view.   Others of us think that the end of the season is the time to make a balanced assessment given that promotion was not realistic this season (and would probably have not been survivable).

Monday 15 February 2021

Building international links for Charlton will be complex

Former chief executive Peter Varney talks about the global links he built when was at Charlton:

He recalls: 'It used to be a brilliant sight on a home match day in the North West Quadrant at The Valley seeing all the different coloured country branded scarves and flags from our overseas supporters. Hermann Hreidarsson (Iceland), Claus Jensen (Denmark), Jonatan Johansson (Finland), Martin Pringle (Sweden), Dennis Rommedahl (Denmark) and Mathias Svensson (Sweden) would always give up their time to speak to the travelling fans from Scandanavia and elsewhere.'

He reckons there are now new opportunities for the club.   The international dimension will be challenging and complex, but would benefit from a bottom up approach.

One of my memories from the Premier League days is turning on the television in Kunming in south-west China and seeing an intelligent discussion of how Curbs and Keith Peacock (now a great-grandfather) worked together.

Gilbey gets his chance

Alex Gilbey has been something of a disappointment since arriving at The Valley but gets his chance to show what he can do with the Under 23s this afternoon.  Apparently Gilbey has been afflicted by a couple of personal issues which sympathetic supremo Lee Bowyer says have now been resolved:

Bowyer not immune from criticism

In his latest column for the SLP, Benjy Nurick defends Lee Bowyer against what he thinks may be a vocal minority criticising him:

Nurick concludes: 'That isn’t to say, however, that Bowyer is immune from criticism. Valid questions have been asked about his extensive rotation this season while the decision not to pursue defensive reinforcements in January will continue to raise eyebrows until Charlton stop leaking goals.'   [Thomas Sandgaard says that a search was made for a centre back but no one of sufficient quality could be found within the constrains then imposed by the salary cap].

'It’s fair to wonder if his position is the least guaranteed it’s been since taking over. It’s entirely possible that Charlton miss out on the play-offs which would make for a disappointing season any way you look at it. But this summer, Charlton have a chance at something of a fresh slate for the first time in Bowyer’s tenure and it would be rather merciless not to give him the keys to that new beginning. After all, has this rough patch really been bad enough to discredit all the good work he’s done?'

BTW, the 'real statistical evidence' he quotes on the impact of the Valley crowd would not be given the time of day by any statistician.

Sunday 14 February 2021

Charlton slip to 8th

Oxford's 2-1 victory over Wigan this afternoon moved them ahead of Charlton on goal difference.  However, Accrington's 2-2 draw at Lincoln kept them behind the Addicks in 8th place on goal difference.

Somewhat bizarrely, the second half was badly delayed by a fire in one of the floodlights.  A club spokesman dismissed suggestions that 'Gobby' had been trying to give a boost to plants for his landscape gardening business in Milton Keynes.

The pundits on The Football League Show thought that the second yellow card against Chuks Aneke was harsh, leading the presenter to remind them it wasn't 1987.

Saturday 13 February 2021

Poor defending leads to home defeat

Charlton's poor home run continued with a 2-3 defeat by Gillingham at The Valley this afternoon.   It was the sixth home game without a win.

The Addicks didn't have a lot of luck with Chuks Aneke being harshly sent off on 69 minutes.  However, poor defending could be blamed for all of the three Gills goals.

Lee Bowyer argued that the defeat came down to the red card and a poor start.  'There's not much I can really criticise.  The second goal [for Gills] was a great strike.  We were on top for a lot of the time.  We competed well.  Their staff were intimidating the officials, they do that.'  

Bowyer added, 'It's a contact sport, it's becoming not a contact sport.  When we went down to 10 men we fought hard.  Chuks said I tried to win the ball.  It's a foul, but not a yellow card.'

With Rob Lee featuring in the Valley Pass build up, it was inevitable that his son would score, but not within the first minute.   A wayward header from Oshilaja let Lee in. Bowyer said, 'It was the last place you should head it.'

Charlton made an instant response.  Aneke got past the keeper, but the ball was cleared off the line.  On five minutes he hit the woodwork.

Gillingham nearly went 2-0 up after they powered down the left and nearly scored from the corner.

Forster-Caskey made a good run and Millar also ran well, but the final ball was lacking.   Then a good delivery from Millar saw Aneke hit the post.   On 14 minutes Millar pounced on a mistake in the Gills defence and Aneke made it 1-1.

A tussle in front of the Gills bench saw the horizontally challenged Evans shouting and the referee had a word with him, but no more.

A fierce shot from Darren Pratley was tipped over the bar.  Forster-Caskey went down with a hamstring problem on 25 minutes and DJ replaced him.

Aneke won Charlton a corner, but Shinnie's effort was poor.

Charlton had been on top since the equaliser, but suddenly the visitors started to apply pressure.  I'm never quite sure why matches suddenly turn in that way.  Pearce lacked pace in defence and Amos was out of his goal, but Purrington pounced from nowhere to make a key defensive intervention.

Pratley had to concede a corner, Oshilaja cleared initially but the defence started to panic and Ogilvie had the space to put in a screamer.  It was a great strike that left Amos with no chance.

In three minutes added on, Shinnie put in a good effort but it took a deflection and just led to an unproductive corner.

HT: 1-2.

On 50 minutes DJ won a corner and Shinnie turned provider for Stockwell who scored with a header to make it 2-2.

Gillingham were being given too much space, but fortunately Akinde's effort went wide.

A Gills free kick in a dangerous position was cleared with a header.  Bonham saved from Aneke.  I was still concerned about how much space the visitors were being given.

The referee had already warned Chuks Aneke and he was given a yellow card for running into Tucker.  He needed to be careful, but two minutes later he received a second yellow.  It was harsh, but consistent with current interpretations of the rules.

Tucker received a yellow card for a foul on DJ.  The visitors kept obstructing free kicks and finally McKenzie received a yellow for his efforts in this respect.

Oshilaja got a yellow card for simulation which I do not think was justified.  So did Lee Bowyer and he got a yellow card for his complaints.

Lee had a shot off the crossbar.   Millar and Purrington then retreated as Dempsey advanced, allowing him to advance into the penalty area and score.  Bowyer thought that the team was running out of legs.

Schwartz replaced Purrington.   DJ shot with his weaker left foot and his effort was tipped over.  With four minutes added on, Morgan replaced Pratley.   Charlton should have had a corner, but only got a throw in.  Pearce received a late yellow card.

Many games were postponed, but Sunderland beat Doncaster 4-1 to push Charlton down to 7th.

Friday 12 February 2021

Charlton's muscular front pairing

Jayden Stockley talks about why he chose Charlton, the good service he is getting and his partnership with Chuks Aneke.  He admits he doesn't have pace, but he's good in aerial clashes and thinks Charlton now have a muscular front pairing:

Lee Bowyer discusses his frustration at the way the salary cap hindered Charlton in the last two transfer windows and what might replace it:

CAS Trust discuss whether Charlton might get a home win at last:

My Badger League prediction was a 3-1 win for Charlton, but they are a bit of a bogey team for us.  The Football League Show pundits last weekend thought we might be at the start of a run.  Let's hope they're right.

Thursday 11 February 2021

Officials need to be strong in face of Gills

Lee Bowyer insists that the officials have to stand firm in Saturday's derby with Gillingham.  The sanguine supremo thinks that Gillingham got away with an unfair penalty in the 1-1 draw there earlier in the season:

Unfortunately, the standard of refereeing in League One leaves a lot to be desired.   Either they are constantly blowing the whistle or waving the flag or they ignore offences or start responding to them inconsistently.

42-year old Kevin Johnson is in the man in the middle.  He splits his time between League One and League Two.

He is balding which is always a bad sign in my opinion.  However, should anything at the stadium need fixing he is a property maintenance officer.

Stockley bothers Gills boss

Charm merchant Gills boss Steve Evans reckons that Charlton are more difficult opposition now that they have signed Jayden Stockley.   The card collecting supremo had hoped to sign Stockley himself, but quickly realised it would require more than a bag full of used fivers and that his target would go to a 'big' club:

It's a smart move by Evans to get his excuses in early, even a draw can then be claimed to have been achieved against insurmountable odds.

Gillingham have a slightly better record on the road than at home, having won five, lost two and drawn five, scoring 16 goals and conceding 15.  They are two places below Charlton in the form table.

Patrick Bauer helped to persuade Jayden Stockley to come to Charlton:

'The Cat' to face Gills

Lee Bowyer has confirmed that Ben Purrington will definitely be starting against Gillingham on Saturday:

Until recently Purrington was derided by some fans, but his experience offers more defensive solidity than the energetic Ian Maatsen who gets forward well but can be caught out in defence.

Sign him up

Special SLP columnist Benjy Nurick argues that Chuks Aneke should be given a new contract asap, I view I fully endorse:

Aneke is a real nuisance to opposition defences and shows great skill in front of goal.  The end of the salary cap gives us more flexibility, although there is still a salary cap management protocol which is turnover related.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

He really was a one off player

Four Four Two had a feature in a recent issue on the 100 best Premier League players ever (remember that football started in 1992).  18 clubs had no such player, including the likes of Oldham and Swindon, but also Crystal Palace.

'Judas' Defoe is there, but his association with Charlton is not mentioned.  Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is at No.71, but he joined us when his powers were fading.

There at No.63 is Paolo di Canio and in my view he did make a real contribution.  I remember him coming on at Portsmouth and pumping up the Addickted when he came on and took a corner.

The magazine says: 'Di Canio offered excitement and identity.   Combustible, controversial and charismatic ,,, he was the master of the feint, often beating the defender or goalkeeper an extra time before shooting.'

Di Canio did, of course, shove referee the late Paul Alcock.  I was far from happy with Alcock after he refereed a 3-3 draw at Anfield which we could have won without his decision-making.

There is no doubt that Di Canio had a temper, but he also showed his softer side by giving Curbs a dessert he had prepared himself when he joined the club.

Some fans were unhappy with his politics, but having spent some time working with Italians, all I would say is that it is a very different country.

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Games in hand fail to benefit rivals

Pessimists have argued that every game in hand for Charlton's rivals represents three points but that's not how it worked out tonight.   Accrington lost 0-1 at home to Plymouth Argyle.  Sunderland lost 2-1 at Shrewsbury.  Even mighty Doncaster lost at Fleetwood, so Charlton remain in 6th place.

Desmond from Deal commented: 'Bowyer may not be a good manager, but he gets more than his fair share of luck.'

There is also good news on Akin Famewo's return to match fitness.  He was able to play over 60 minutes with the under 23s this afternoon:

Elsewhere, charm merchant Marcus Maddison got sent off on his first appearance for Bolton Wanderers.

Panel rules against salary cap

An arbitration panel has upheld a complaint by the Professional Footballers' Association that the League One and Two salary cap was illegal and unenforceable:

It will be replaced by the old Salary Cap Management Protocol (SCMP) which took account of turnover rather than imposing an absolute limit on spending.

The salary cap has been a major constraint for Charlton, but this change has come after the closure of the transfer window, although we could take advantage of it in relation to players who are free agents.

Richard Cawley of the SLP discusses the change here:

The background

Here are some extracts from an article I wrote for VOTV last year:

SCMP limited spending on player wages to a percentage of a club’s turnover. In League 1 clubs could spend a maximum of 60 per cent of their turnover on wages, in League 2, the limit was 55 per cent.   The wages of coaching staff were not included. There were no restrictions (in themselves) on the amount a club could lose or spend on transfer fees.   Initially introduced into League 2 in 2004/5 for guidance purposes, sanctions for breaching the SCMP thresholds were introduced during the 2011/12 season, with Swindon the first club to be sanctioned under the rules. 

League Two clubs voted in favour of squad salary caps to replace the Salary Cap Management Protocol in August 2020, doubtless because smaller clubs saw it as a way of constraining their bigger competitors.  There was overwhelming support in League Two, but in League One the vote was 16 for, seven against and one abstention.

The cap takes the form of a total limit of £2.5m in League One and £1m in League Two.  This averages out at around £1,700 per player per week in League One (just over £88k a year) and £1,000 per player per week in League Two.  To solve the issue of clubs currently paying in excess of the caps, the EFL will not account for any wages players earn over each league’s average salary.  So, if a player currently earns £3,000, then only £1,700 of his wage would be recorded for the cap.  

When calculating total salary spending, the ‘cap’ includes: basic wages; taxes; bonuses; image rights; agents’ fees; and other fees and expenses paid directly and indirectly to registered players.  There are financial penalties for overspending of up to five per cent which would amount to £125,000 in League One and £75,000 in League Two.  Above five per cent and clubs will be referred to a disciplinary commission that will be able to dock points. 

The Professional Footballers’ Association set out a substantial critique of the salary cap proposals which they described as illegal and unenforceable.  They considered that the proposed rules lacked clear objectives.   They claimed, ‘there is no evidence e.g. supported by financial modelling, of how the regulations will aid future financial sustainability or why they are the appropriate mechanism to achieve the overall objectives (which do not appear to have been defined).’   It was unclear how the salary cap had been determined.   

The issue of an allowance for marquee players appeared not to have been considered.  ‘ The proposed salary caps, if implemented, could potentially reduce the ability of clubs to generate commercial revenue with sponsors and commercial partners now fully aware that clubs wage obligations will in some cases be significantly reduced. This effectively represents a potential loss of revenue to EFL clubs.’

The rules appear to be based on the Premiership Rugby Salary Regulations, but there were a number of differences between the two competitions, not least in the range and disparity of clubs. The PFA noted, ‘The financial performance of clubs in League One and League Two has remained relatively consistent in the last ten years with revenue growth being matched by increases in staff costs. Financial disparity is prevalent with the average ratio of top to bottom revenue generators being 7:1 in League One and 3:1 in League Two between 2014/15 and 2018/19.’   They pointed out that there were more important disparities between League One and League Two with a much higher ratio of highest to lowest revenue generating clubs (7: 1) in League One compared with League Two (3: 1).   

They were concerned that the process of developing the new regulations had been rushed through without proper consultation, arguing that it typically took between 11 and 25 months to devise new sporting regulations.

The Charlton diaspora

The upcoming 'Kent derby' with Gillingham led me to reflect on the locations of Charlton supporters.  Of course, they are to be found all over the world.    I have met them in Canada and Australia.

There are more Addicks than I thought in Scotland, including one in Shetland.   Before the pandemic I used to go to Orkney once a year, but the only League One supporter I encountered was someone who was Ipswich Town.

Outside of London itself, one finds the greatest concentration of Charlton supporters in Kent, as reflected in the pattern of Valley Express services when they were at their peak.   For example, someone I know from my old road in Plumstead Common now lives in Maidstone which is a centre of Addicktion.

There is a bit of an issue about what one calls 'Kent'.   When I was growing up, my mother somewhat resented the fact that her slightly more prosperous sister lived in Belvedere, Kent.   It's a consolation that the house, ironically called 'The Den', is lived in today by a Charlton supporter.

I do get a bit irritated with Pointless contestants who say they are from Bromley, Beckenham or Welling in Kent (recent examples).   You are in Greater London and ought to be proud of the fact!

Somehow the Kent coast attracts some of the most diehard supporters.  VOTV editor Rick Everitt lives in Ramsgate and is leader of Thanet District Council.

The coast facing France is a strong area of Charlton support including Derek from Dymchurch and Desmond from Deal.   I often wonder if Desmond ever runs into author, broadcaster and podcaster Charlie Connelly at Deal Town.   I think that their perspectives on life and football are somewhat different.

When we left London we moved to Essex and Chelmsford City was the club of choice for my friends.

Here in Warwickshire Addicks are thin on the ground.  Indeed, I was so shocked when I saw someone walking down The Parade in Leamington wearing the shirt that I didn't speak to him.

When I was mainland football correspondent for Radio Scilly, the original station management told me that people wanted to hear about the Manchester clubs and Liverpool.   The new management told me to focus on Plymouth Argyle and Truro City.

In reality many different clubs were supported.   Once I was accosted by a Hibernian supporter in Hugh Town who complained about my lack of coverage of Scottish football.

I had better be careful what I say about Gillingham, but the pundits on The Football League Show on Sunday noted that manager Steve Evans now has more bookings than any of his players.  They also forecast that Charlton were about to go on a run.  Gillingham are a bogey team so beating them would be a start.

Monday 8 February 2021

Street fighting man

Dulwich Hamlet supremo Gavin Rose talks about new Charlton signing DJ, saying that he came to them as a street footballer and they honed his raw talent:

At my non-league club Leamington we run a production line for League One and League Two clubs (think about the two goals that Colby Bishop scored against Charlton) and it is remarkable what can be done with talented youngsters picked up from village teams.   Having the same manager for over 10 years helps.

Clean sheet the main plus for Oshilaja

Keeping a clean sheet on Saturday against the Keystone Cops of football was more important for Deji Oshilaja than scoring his first goal for Charlton:

Back in form after recovering from injury the recovering centre back said that it will be a tough and physical game against Gillingham on Saturday.

Oshilaja was in The Football League Paper's League One Team of the Week.

Interesting to see how fans are now heaping praise on Purrington when he was a scapegoat player not so long ago.

Sunday 7 February 2021

Saturday 6 February 2021

Charlton win all the battles

Charlton beat Rochdale 2-0 this afternoon at the Crown Oil Arena.  The goals came in the first half from Aneke and Oshilaja.  Charlton were in control of the game from start to finish.   Playing against the strong wind in the second half, the Addicks did not score again but were able to deal with Rochdale's pressure.  

Everyone in the team contributed.   Curbs said afterwards, 'They won all the battles in every department.'

Lee Bowyer said afterwards: 'We did the basics today well from start to finish, created chances.  Nit picking should have more, [but] I'm happy.'   More comments from Bowyer (who then had to start his night shift in a mini cab office) here:

On six minutes Purrington found Millar who made a great run and fed Aneke who turned brilliantly to score the opener.

Dale tried to get back into the game and Amos read the ball well.   Pearce cut out a dangerous cross.  Purrington made a great tackle.  An effort from Millar was deflected and went off the crossbar.

Charlton worked well on their left and Purrington won the corner.   A header from Stockley was tipped off the bar, Forster-Caskey recovered the ball, Pearce passed it on and Oshilaja made it 0-2 on 27 minutes.

Charlton went to sleep for a minute and Pearce defended well.   On 33 minutes Aneke struck from distance but the ball came off the post.   Oshilaja defended a counter attack well.

Millar was brought down in the area and there should have been a penalty for Charlton, but the referee paid no attention.

Baah had been kept quiet and a shot from him went harmlessly over.

Gunter won Charlton a corner from a Forster-Casker ball, but Stockley headed over.

HT: 0-2

Purrington headed away an early Rochdale corner.   Charlton launched a good attack, but Millar was off target.

A Rochdale free kick came off the wall and led to a corner.   Baah fell over, but Millar ran forward with the ball.   Gunter got a yellow card.   Rochdale made a double substitution on 59 minutes.

Manchester City prospect Baah started to look more lively and a Rochdale corner came off the post, possibly helped there by Amos.   On 67 minutes Dale made two more substitutions, bringing on Conor Grant.

Following good work by Stockley, Aneke was up ended just outside the area and O'Connell received a yellow card.  Aneke took the free kick rather than Shinnie or Forster-Caskey and it went over the crossbar.

An Aneke shot was tipped past the post by the keeper, but the referee ruled that it was a goal kick.  On 77 minutes  Matthews and DJ came on for Gunter and Shinnie (who had played well).   DJ looked good.  Rochdale brought on their fifth substitute.

Danger man Humphrys put in a shot that Amos claimed at the second attempt.  Aneke turned provider for Millar who could have scored if he had shot straight away.  Oshilaja defended well.

On 85 minutes Schwartz replaced Aneke.   Dale applied some late pressure, but Charlton rode it out.

Oshilaja was man of the match.   Purrington also deserves praise for an excellent performance.

Desmond from Deal despairingly commented: 'Every time we think it is Bowyer's last game, he sneaks an away win.'

Not the day to forecast a 0-0 draw

I suppose that the Crown Oil Arena is the kind of venue Charlton fans have in mind when they complain about being in League One.  I don't like it either but it is likely to be our home for another year.  

Whether it is Rochdale's remains to be seen.  They have pulled up to 18th in the table, but are still below Charlton in the form table.

Over the years we have played Rochdale 19 times, winning 10, drawing four and losing five. Goal crazy Rochdale have only won once at home this season, but they have drawn five times and lost four.   At home they have scored 16 goals and conceded 25.   

Charlton have won more times on the road than at home, seven wins compared with four, scoring 18 and conceding 14.

I think this is an occasion for an attacking formation and my Badger League prediction was a 3-2 win for Charlton.

One thing that can be said with confidence is that a 0-0 draw is unlikely:

Happy Birthday to Jason Euell!

Friday 5 February 2021

Sandgaard gives no comfort to 'Bowyer out' crowd

Charlton now have one of the best attacks in League One according to owner Thomas Sandgaard:

The doughty Dane recognises that there have been injury problems in central defence. He added, 'We were unable to find central defenders who simply had enough quality. We were fishing for some, but it did not go our way.'

In an implicit rebuke to keyboard warriors who have targeted Lee Bowyer, he pointed out that the beleaguered boss was dealing with a lot of new players.

In relation to excessive expectations he pointed out  that, 'Our focus has primarily been to strengthen the team for the remainder of the season, more than it has been to prepare for life in the Championship.'   The top two looked beyond reach, but a top six finish was possible.

The interview doesn't offer much comfort to the 'Bowyer out now' crowd, rather the contrary.  He notes that promotion to the Championship would leave a lot more work to do, compared with another year in League One.

Sarth London's Richard Osman spells out Charlton's woes

The team of Richard Cawley and Louis Mendez at the SLP provide excellent coverage of Charlton.  The fact that Cawley is a Fulham supporter allows him to stand aside from South London rivalries and take an objective and balanced look at what is going on this side of the river.

Although Cawley has absorbed some of the elliptical, nuanced and ironic style of his fellow Fulham supporter Richard Osman, he speaks quite frankly about Charlton's defensive failings:

He does, however, see Jayden Stockley as a real plus, but the problems are not at that end of the pitch.  And tomorrow the Addicks face goal crazy Rochdale.

Some might read this article as somewhat critical of Lee Bowyer.

Thursday 4 February 2021

Bowyer has had to rebuild each year

Lee Bowyer said that he has to rebuild a team every year since he became manager which no one else in League One has had to do:

There is a slight hint of getting your excuses in first in this, although clearly the Duchatelet years were difficult for any manager.

Two questions to answer on transfer window

In his latest column for the SLP, Benjy Nurick assesses the transfer window at Charlton:

He asks two questions and gives a definitive answer to one of them, hedging his bets on the other.

'"Did we improve our squad?”  “Did we do enough?”    The first question can unequivocally be answered “yes”, Charlton’s squad has no doubt improved with their January transfer dealings.  The second question is tougher to answer. Ask me in a month.'

I was talking to an Addick down in the Garden of England earlier about recruitment and appointments.  We both agreed it was the most difficult aspect of our work as managers and we has both made mistakes.  As well as making appointments in our own institutions, we also acted as external advisers to senior appointments.

That was difficult enough, albeit many candidates did a good job of shooting themselves in the foot.  However, compared with recruiting footballers, it was straightforward (although 'golden hellos' could be an issue).

Bowyer admits: my Maddison gamble didn't pay off

Besieged boss Lee Bowyer admits that he took a gamble with Marcus Maddison and it didn't pay off:

For Bowyer's many critics, this will be grist to the mill.   When I had management responsibilities, I made some poor recruitment decisions, but I didn't face trial by social media.  I just had to live with the consequences.

I am by no means uncritical of Bowyer.   However, I do think that there is excessive short termism in football and managerial turnover has increased far too much. 

The evidence of managerial changes turning things round is rather weak and anecdotal.   At least you have to be careful what you wish for.   It is too easy to appoint a dinosaur like Sam Allardyce and hope for a miracle which doesn't come.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Bowyer explains Millar decision

Lee Bowyer has explained that he did not start Liam Millar last night because of the threat of injury: 

With hindsight it might have been better to play him for the first 60 minutes than the last 45, but these decisions are never easy.  In any case, his presence might not have overcome the lack of defensive cohesion.

Tuesday 2 February 2021

No Candlemas cheer for Charlton

Tonight was Candlemas, marking the formal end of Christmas, and Charlton gave Portsmouth a late present as Pompey won 3-1 at The Valley.

Once again defensive errors cost Charlton.  They did manage to get to 1-1, but could only hold on for a few minutes.  After they went 1-3 behind, the Addicks showed some urgency but it was desperate stuff and they never looked like scoring.

Curbs said afterwards that Portsmouth dominated every area and defended well.  They were the better side in every department and were stronger.

I was surprised that Millar did not start.  He was Charlton's sharpest player in the second half, making good runs down the left and evading Portsmouth players.  (Bowyer later said he had a tight hamstring after MK and will start on Saturday).

Albi Morgan hit the crossbar on eight minutes, but perhaps he should have laid the ball off to the available Stockley.

Portsmouth always looked dangerous on the counter attack.  Pratley slipped and Portsmouth won a corner.  Amos punched the ball out and Charlton were slow to react.  Naylor was able to turn provider for Jacobs who slammed the ball in to make it 0-1.

HT: 0-1

Pratley was on a yellow card and being targeted by Portsmouth so Bowyer replaced him with Ben Watson. Millar replaced Morgan.   Charlton had an early penalty call after Watson was pulled back, but the referee couldn't see it.

On 51 minutes a good corner by Shinnie allowed Stockley to score his first Charlton goal with a header which went in off the post.

We held on for just three minutes.  A free kick allowed Naylor to put in a free header to make it 1-2.

Charlton failed to clear, Watson surrended possession in front of goal and Cannon made it 1-3.

Schwartz had made little contribution (Bowyer said he needed service) and Aneke came on to provide more of a physical presence.

Oshilaja, who had defended well, went down in a clash of heads but recovered.

Eight minutes added on saw no real chances for Charlton.

Lee Bowyer said afterwards: 'Portsmouth are very good at what they do, if you don't match them, you lose.  We gifted it to them, we gave them the ball in bad areas, really sloppy in possession in the first half.  We were soft, the referee was soft, he fell for all their play acting.'

'They were clinical and our final decision-making was not good enough.'

'I've said to the players, we've got to put a good run together.   There will be no excuses.'

Candlemas is also an old Celtic festival marking the midway point between the winter and spring equinoxes and the end of the solar winter.  It has been increasingly a winter of discontent for Charlton so let's hope for better times as we move towards Spring.

Euell in for Wimbledon manager

Jason Euell has applied for the managerial vacancy at AFC Wimbledon.   He started his career at the club. Apparently he applied and was interviewed last time round:

Super Alan Pardew has been linked with the post, but apparently is not interested.  The Wimbledon-born maestro is content with his current role in Bulgaria:

Emma Hayes is out of contention.

Monday 1 February 2021

Last minute signing of winger

Some Charlton fans were having a good whinge about the transfer window yesterday evening, but hopefully a late signing will have calmed them down.

It was a fraught transfer window which had as many down as ups.   Quite what happened at Crewe and a later deleted story about interference by an 'unofficial agent' must remain one of life's mysteries.

In any event Charlton made a 11th hour signing of pacey Swindon winger Diallang Jaiyesimi.   The Rocking Robins were paid a six figure fee for the South Londoner.

Lee Bowyer said that he was 'over the moon' to get him while Thomas Sandgaard said that adding youth and pace to the squad had been an objective throughout the window:

Originally with Dulwich Hamlet, and then with Norwich City, he is a versatile player who can perform on the left or right wing:

'Bad boy' to depart?

Unconfirmed reports (reproduced by the Sunderland Echo) are saying that Marcus Maddison could be moving to League Two Bolton, it appears as a permanent deal.

There have been reports of tensions between Maddison and Lee Bowyer and allegations that he has been an unsettling influence in the camp.

Some background:

The gamble didn't pay off and the tattoo parlours of Bolton have a new customer:

It is also been rumoured that Solomon-Obator has committed to Wigan for the rest of the season after turning down an offer from Charlton.

Josh Morris from Fleetwood Town will not be joining Charlton.

Bowyer defies keyboard warriors


Lee Bowyer explains why he will not be signing a defender in the transfer window:

This will disappoint the many Charlton fans who have gained extensive managerial experience on Football Manager and Fifa.  

I don't expect my doctor to tell me who Charlton should sign, actually his opening gambit is always 'Why are Charlton crap?'   But then he is a Manchester City season ticket holder, while other members of the practice support Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday.

Farewell, then, Jonny Williams

Jonny Williams is having his medical in Cardiff this afternoon.   Lee Bowyer has said that he will miss his smile:

Views of Williams clearly differ among the Addickted.   For me, he was capable of moments of real skill, but they came too rarely.   His personality made him popular both at the training ground and with fans.

I wish him all the best for the future, particularly with the Welsh language which is extraordinarily difficult for non-native speakers.   His father was born in Ynys Mon, but I don't think he has ever lived in Wales.   Apparently he hails from Tunbridge Wells!

My nephews excuse my lack of facility with the old language, but it hasn't gone down so well when I have needed translation facilities at Sennedd committee hearings.

Standout player for Swindon joins the Addicks

20-year old Arsenal player Matt Smith has joined Charlton on loan.   He has been a standout player at Swindon Town:

Smith joined Arsenal aged seven:,_born_2000)

The Athletic has run an in depth feature on him (I don't have any financial connection with this publication, but I find the subscription good value).

They say in relation to his time with the Rocking Robins: 'In his nine games, Smith averages two tackles and two interceptions per 90 minutes (both club highs) while also laying on three key passes every two games (third highest at Swindon). Although he has only made one assist so far, his ability to split the defence from deep, as he has done for Balogun so often, is proving beneficial.'

It is thought that he will be able to develop more quickly at Charlton than at Swindon.

Charlton defender Brendan Wiredu is to join Colchester United.  

On Instagram Wiredu has said that he is sorry to leave the club he joined at the age of seven, but could not turn down a first team opportunity.  He expresses his thanks for all the support he has received.   He has been somewhat unfortunate and I wish him every success with the U's where he will join Callum Harriott.

Warp speed for Kirk

It's transfer deadline day and Charlton are up to warp speed.  The SLP's Richard Cawley has confirmed a Sky Sports story that Charlton are negotiating a deal for highly rated Crewe winger Charlie Kirk:

Cawley has subsequently stated that it looks as if the deal is off.

He would serve as a replacement for Jonny Williams, but there is no further news overnight from the Welsh capital.  Williams qualifies as a Welsh international by virtue of his father being born on Ynys Mon, so I doubt whether he speaks the old language.