Charlton beat Aston Villa under 21s 2-1 tonight in front of a crowd of 1,283 including Thomas Sandgaard.
Mason Burstow put the Addicks ahead in the first half. Villa equalised, but shortly afterwards Jayden Stockley was brought down and scored from the penalty spot on 43 minutes.
An Albie Morgan free kick rattled the inside of the post on 55 minutes.
Stockley made way for Leko on 65 minutes with Friday in mind.
Harness had a good game in goal.
Johnnie Jackson said: 'Really pleased. The most important thing was that we got
through. But some good performances in there and good football at times. Some
things to learn from as we do every week. But a good night’s work in all.'
The draw for the third round is on Saturday, still regionalised.
The Rickster has further commented: 'Disappointing to hear that the club are not
planning to run a supporters’ coach to Gateshead. I think that’s a poor
decision that lets down some of the most diehard fans for the sake of risking a
few hundred pounds, which is easily offset by profit they have made on other
Remember that the club will get a cut of ticket revenue from
this game - if it chooses to accept it - and presumably a share of the TV fee
too. Plus there is substantial prize money if they win the game.
I suspect this is a decision based on not understanding the
fan base rather than the financial impact of possibly running with low numbers,
which is trivial.'
One fan remarked: 'Especially with the replay, meaning fans had to wait 10 days
to see who we played whilst travel and hotels prices increased each day.'
Update: the club has changed its position and will take bookings from this morning.
The Non-League Paper reckons that Friday night's game at the International Stadium between Gateshead and Charlton has all the makings of a FA Cup classic: 'A Friday night under the floodlights pitching an in-form National League North club against a former Premier League side now struggling for consistency in League One.'
The NLP points out that Charlton have not won more than one game in the same FA Cup campaign for eight years.
Gateshead was beset by unscrupulous individuals who nearly wrecked the club, an all too familiar tale in football. They are now controlled by a supporter-led consortium. They have remained a full-time club and are viewed as 'one of the most attractive clubs in Non-League's second tier.'
We need to put out a strong side to avoid the humiliation of another defeat by a non-league side on television (Northwich Victoria) and because there is a chance of securing a really exciting tie in the third round.
Charlton's unbeaten run came to an end at Shrewsbury with a 1-0 defeat in an ugly and uninspiring game.
Charlton fans had a nightmare journey with trains to Shrewsbury suspended. Fans had to get taxis from Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Crewe with one fan paying £65 for a Uber from Crewe. It was a very cold day with a strong swirling wind creating difficult conditions at Montgomery Waters Meadow. In attendance of 6,158 there were 949 Charlton fans, many arriving during the first half.
Shrewsbury won an early corner from a free kick and the home side came close to opening the scoring.
An unforced error gave the home side another corner after seven minutes. Charlton had been pegged back and were uncomfortable in possession.
MacGillivray had to make a great save from Bloxham at the expense of a corner. Soare was not with his man and allowed a cross to come in.
Clare matched Bowman physically in a superb defensive move. Shrewsbury had once again got down Charlton's left hand side.
Gilbey took a shot on 21 minutes from the edge of the penalty area driving it low and the keeper did well to put it away for a corner. Charlton won a second corner. It was taken short and cleared.
Blackett-Taylor made a great run, Washington attacked the ball and Bennett cleared it off the line for a corner. Charlton had a spell of possession and increased the pressure. Shrewsbury pulled a lot of players back to defend their penalty area. The Addicks were finally getting a grip on the game, having weathered the early storm.
Pike had to limp off for Shrewsbury. Charlton won another corner. The substitute came on.
Shrewsbury were often playing with a back line of five and two central midfielders in front of them, making it difficult to get in behind. Charlton were almost 70 per cent in possession, but had not created very much.
An effort from Washington after a run by Blackett-Taylor was saved and then saved again, Charlton winning a corner.
Shrewsbury won a free kick in a dangerous area, Famewo being booked.
A shot by Lee was parried. A shot from Bloxham went over the bar.
Davison was taken off and replaced by Leko. After some minutes he won a corner for Charlton. Good work by Lee led to a second corner which was cleared away.
Shrewsbury were happy to sit back and wait for a Charlton mistake. They made a striker substitution, like for like physically.
Soare got a booking for a foul. DJ came on for Blackett-Taylor. Famewo had to defend at the expense of a corner. Soare headed away. The game was very scrappy with players anxious not to make a mistake.
Leko dug the ball out well and Charlton won a corner. Lee was booked for dissent. Clare was booked for a foul.
Four minutes were added on. Perhaps inevitably, Udoh scored, a foul on Dobson being ignored by the referee. Jason Euell was booked.
Curbs thought we laboured, any quality was few and far between. We didn't keep the ball patiently enough in the final third. Elliot never really got going today. The conditions did not allow us to control the game.
Jacko said he was really disappointed with the nature of the goal, long throw in our box. In the late stage of the game you had to have that killer mentality. We had switched off for a second and it cost us. In the second half of the first half we were dominant and then we stopped passing in the second half and when we did do it it was slow. The quality of our cross was particularly poor. Once we stand back we can be pleased with how it's going. Today wasn't our day.
In this podcast Brian Cole talks about being a pitch announcer at Charlton. There's a lot of stuff about United and West Brom to start with and Brian starts talking at around 12 minutes: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1190093/9601353
Jason Pearce is a doubt and we will also miss Jayden Stockley against a physical Shrewsbury side. They drew 1-1 with Sunderland midweek despite playing with 10 men for almost all the second half. Their home record is much better than their away record where they have not won a match. At home they have won four, drawn two and lost three.
Curbs said before the match that it would be as big a test as against Plymouth and it proved to be the case. Charlton have dropped back to 14th after a 2-2 draw.
In the second minute DJ drilled in a good cross after being set up by Davison and the keeper put it in his own net.
Gilbey made a great run, but Davison put the ball over and was justifiably annoyed with himself.
A great clearance by MacGillivray saw Washington forge forward on route one and chip over the keeper to make it 2-0 on 27 minutes.
Morecambe were back in the game immediately. Gunter brought down Stockton and got a yellow card. The penalty was scored by the striker to make it 1-2.
Peter Shirtliff thought we have been a bit wasteful after a bright start. There had been opportunities where the end product had not been clear cut. The players could do better as they had great technical ability.
Curbs said we had not been patient and precise enough. It had been scrappy. Steve Brown said that there had been a lot of sloppy passes and sloppy play. We had to elevate our game by five to ten per cent. Fatigue was setting in. [The pitch was rather heavy with sand, presumably from the bay].
HT: Shrimpers 1, Addicks 2
Following a Morecambe corner, they hit the bar but Famewo had been fouled.
DJ put in a great long pass to Washington, but Morecambe defended well.
Dobson got a yellow card for a foul. Morecambe made a substitution, Dufus going off and Philips coming on.
Morecambe got a free kick in a dangerous position, but it was put wide.
From a corner O'Connor equalised with a free header to make it 2-2. on 71 minutes. A tiring DJ came off and Blackett-Taylor came on.
Following a Charlton corner, there was a scramble in front of goal but no one could score. Kirk replaced Gunter. On 85 minutes Burston replaced Davidson. Unfortunately, Davison is out of his depth.
The referee blew the whistle just as Dobson was about to pull the trigger.
Curbs said it was a laboured performance, there were a lot of misplaced passes, we never got going in the second half. The fans were drained in the second half because of the performance. The game was drifting away from us. Steve Brown said it just petered out later in the second half.
Steve Brown said we had twelve to six opportunities on goal and twice as many on target. We weren't as sharp as on Saturday.
Conor Washington said it was a tough game, we knew it was going to be tough. We were a little bit sloppy in possession, two poor goals to concede, but as strikers we have to do better.
Johnnie Jackson we started really well. Getting pegged back from 2-0 up was disappointing, but it was another point on the board. Were the energy levels quite there, maybe a little bit sloppy in some of our play. It's a tough place to come. Our attitude was spot on, the boys tried their best. We had enough chances to win the game, we didn't test the goalie enough. The penalty gave them a lift. It's a good run, six games unbeaten.
Shrewsbury would be another similar test, I have to see how our squad are tomorrow. Can we turn up there with the right attitude? We have to find ways of freshening it. Curbs said he didn't have many bodies to make changes.
Steve Brown said we had to be careful not to lose the game.
He has done a decent job with limited resources at Burton and he is certainly better than some of the external candidates that have been mentioned.
Fans and players continue to declare their enthusiasm for Johnnie Jackson, but this will be a business decision taken by the owner. If it was down to me, I would give Jackson a 18-month contract, but I am not the person paying the bills.
As for a mass exodus of fans if Jacko is not appointed, if I had left every time I was dissatisfied with a managerial appointment, I would have left multiple times. I still haven't got over Dowie who did us real damage (Karel Fraeye was just a joke in bad taste).
Charlton beat Plymouth Argyle 2-0 at The Valley this afternoon to end the table topping side's unbeaten run. The Addicks are now 12th in the table.
Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe said' We weren't quite at our best while Charlton were. We were beaten by the better team.'
The Addicks almost went ahead after seven minutes, when George Dobson pounced on sloppy defensive work, only to pull his shot off target. After further Charlton pressure, where they forced a number of corners, Elliott Lee put a Dobson cross just off the outside of the post on 22 minutes.
Plymouth started to get into the contest and just before the half hour mark Ryan Hardie beat the offside trap but goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray saved well.
Charlton still dominated the rest of the half, but were unable to find a way to make their superiority count.
It was 0-0 at half time. They suffered a blow 10 minutes after the restart, when captain Jason Pearce was forced off the field with injury.
Former Argyle player Ben Purrinton opening the score against his former club in the 61st minute. Dobson received a short corner and delivered an angled cross which reached The Cat beyond the far past and he drilled a shot past Cooper in the Plymouth goal.
In the 84th minute Conor Washington raced past the Plymouth defence to make it 2-0.
Substitute Mason Burstow tweeted: 'Buzzing to make my league debut in a packed out Valley,
making my family and friends proud!! Fans were absolutely amazing, thanks for
all the support! Been a dream of mine since I started playing football. Big
game, Big win.'
The SLP's Louis Mendez commented: 'How we can claim this was ‘mistaken identity’ is a bit weird as clearly Kettle booked who he wanted to book. But the fact the authorities have gone with it shows they must have felt it was a harsh yellow.'
Discussions have been held with Aston Villa assistant manager Michael Beale who spent eight years in the Charlton academy.
One fan commented on social media: 'I think Sandgaard is possibly trying to figure out still if
he's ready because yes there's the honeymoon period when we get the wins in but
will Jackson be able to turn around a bad result in the future? Does he have
the know-how to work the transfer market? I'm sure there's a few other skills
in the job that we don't even consider as fans.'
VOTV editor Rick Everitt has commented: 'I think
TS has handled the manager appointment just fine so far, but “30 days” is a
hostage to fortune if Charlton carry on
winning. And if they don’t it could look like he was waiting for the team to
start losing to appoint someone like Hasselbaink (no thanks).
I thought that Altrincham would beat Gateshead at home, but all credit to the National League North side. Courtesy of Leamington TV, you can see some highlights of the 'Heed playing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PSTWh6hjIQ
Five minutes into his Charlton Athletic debut, Matt Holland
was struggling. Not because of a lack of fitness, or a lack of understanding
with his new team-mates, but because he could barely tell his own side from the
Charlton, in their red shirts, were away at Plymouth Argyle,
whose home kit is green, as part of a pre-season tour in 2003.
Being colour blind, Holland could not distinguish between
the two, and only by focusing intently on the different designs of the respective
sides’ shorts could he tell the difference.
Every time I looked up, all I could see was one colour,”
Holland told The Athletic of that day in Plymouth. “I ran
over to the dugout. Mervyn Day was assistant manager, with (manager) Alan
Curbishley up in the stands. I said, ‘Merv, I have a big problem. I can’t
tell the difference between the two teams here’. I was having to look at the
shorts, which were different, but that isn’t great if you’re trying to do
“He must have thought, ‘What the bloody hell have we
signed?’ He told me I’d have to get on with it and that there was nothing they
could do. I told them after it was a bit of an issue: I always did things
quickly, one and two touches, and kept the ball moving. If I have an extra
touch and have to look up that takes away from my game so I had to say I’ve got
a problem here.
“We had green, orange, red bibs in training and he had to
make sure I had a colour I could see. He was conscious in training that I got a
colour I could tell my team-mates apart in, so I knew which team I was on.
“Those are the only times I’ve had major issues.”
Holland, 47, is now working in the media and adds: “I have
had problems watching games, on TV and when I’ve been commentating, where the
two teams are very similar. I have to really, really concentrate just to see
the difference between the two.”
Altrincham's co-chairman talks about the club who are likely to host Charlton in the second round of the FA Cup.
“Money talks more than you might think,” says Bill Waterson,
co-chairman of Altrincham. “That’s not unreasonable given that players have a
very short playing career so they can’t afford to be altruistic. They have to
maximise their earnings and it’s difficult to argue with that.”
Altrincham have been in the National League since the start
of last season after winning the play-offs to land a return to the top tier of
non-League after a five-year absence. They have a proud history outside the
country’s top four leagues but since their return to this level last season,
the gaps that have opened up within the league have grown more obvious.
“There are three types of club in the National League — the
big clubs relying on the momentum of averaging over 5,000 spectators,” Waterson
says. “There are the ambitious clubs that are not traditionally Football League
clubs but have a big-money backer and are working their way up the pyramid.
Then, there are those who don’t feel they can compete."
“The jump from one to another is quite substantial, as we
are finding now trying to go from a club aiming to avoid the relegation zone to
one challenging at the top. There is a chunk of clubs towards the bottom of the
table who are biding their time. That’s an operating model which is, ‘Don’t
worry about us, we’re just passing through’.
“We’re counting up to 50 points, so looking down rather than
up in terms of what we expect to do this season, but our ambition is to be one
of those smaller clubs competing with those traditionally bigger clubs. It’s
about attitude as much as anything.”
If we are ever in a position to go up, we will be ready to
go up and will be able to hold our own. It’ll be easier in some respects to
hold our own in the Football League than it would be to get out of the National
League just because of some of the resources that are available to the clubs at
the top of this league.”
Gateshead supremo Mike Wilkinson says that his side will have to improve to get a surprise away win against Altrincham in Tuesday's replay which will determine which side face Charlton in a televised FA Cup clash.
The Altrincham squad has been hit by injuries and Covid cases, but a number of players highly rated by manager Phil Parkinson (not that one) are now returning.
Alty have lost three games in a row in the league and were fortunate to coming away with a point against Boreham Wood at home yesterday. They are currently 12th in the National League.
Charlton piled on the pressure after the quarter hour mark with a succession of corners. A big argument broke out in the penalty area after the third corner. It looked as if Oshilaja was holding Stockley down. He may have hit out with his arm. Both players were sent off. Steve Brown said at half time that he thought that neither the referee nor the assistant referee knew what was going on.
Charlton won another corner, Famewo flicked it on, bypassing two defenders and Purrington scored from within the six yard box. He read the situation very well to score his third goal of the season.
Lee got a yellow card after a trip. The referee talked to both managers as they clashed in an increasingly heated atmosphere. Jacko gave as good as he got from Hasselbaink. Kettle booked DJ for hitting the ball off the hoardings.
Hemmings was booked for a dive in the box.
Charlton had around two-thirds possession in the half. Burton had not had a shot on target. Five minutes were added on. Famewo was booked for time wasting at a throw in. This means he will be suspended for the next game. The steaming Kettle booked someone in the tunnel. Apparently it was Arter, an unused substitute.
HT: Brewers 0, Addicks 1
MacGillivray made a great save from Powell at the near post as Burton started on the front foot. Charlton were able to clear the resultant corner.
A good cross from Davison was headed behind before DJ could make use of it. Josh Parker said afterwards that this was a bit of a wake up call.
Burton were playing further forward than in the first half. At times Charlton struggled to get out of their half.
The hard working Davison who showed signs of tiring came off and was replaced by Blackett-Taylor.
The 1,000 or so of Addicks fans in a crowd of 3,500 made a lot of noise.
Famewo did superbly well to win a free kick for Charlton. O'Connor shot straight at MacGillivray.
Good play from Lee teed up Purrington and led to a Charlton corner.
On 83 minutes DJ, who had pointed to his groin, was replaced by Elerewe. Gilbey headed away from a free kick.
Four minutes were added on. Famewo made a great tackle and brought the ball away. Lee made good covering defending and Charlton won a free kick. Jacko and the players celebrated with the fans.
Steve Brown said that we were very resilient, something we had been over the last four or five games, it was a brilliant clean sheet. Defensively we were doing things very well. The balance of the side had changed, we had been too easy to play through. We had a nice balance in centre midfield. Gilbey covered run after run after run.
The Cat said the sending offs affected the way Charlton pressed. In the second half Burton had a lot more of the ball. We were showing that we were a solid compact unit, getting to know each other. It was a completely different story, we knew what we were doing in possession.
Jacko said it was a great win, a strange game. It was a proper away performance, you have to suck up a little bit of pressure. We limited them to very few chances. He thought that the referee should have booked both Oshilaja and Stockley. I thought we had a real good shape about us. What you need is that whole hearted honesty (referring to DJ).
I received an email from Companies House today informing me that Lieven de Turck has been appointed a director of Charlton Athletic Holdings Limited - the company which retains the freehold of The Valley and Sparrows Lane.
VOTV editor Rick Everitt has explained, 'This is Duchatelet’s move, presumably because he does not want to be sole director in case he is incapacitated.'
'De Turck was Duchatelet’s representative at Charlton - or on earth, given how disconnected he was - once Katrien Meire left in 2017.'
The VOTV editor speculates that 'Hopefully, Thomas Sandgaard will buy the training ground. We need to control that to get Category 1 Academy status. The ground can follow after we retain our better players for longer and sell for more.'
JJ said that he wanted Morgan to be smarter in his play and positioning. As I have argued before, he might benefit from a loan spell at a lower level.
One fan commented in response to the Louis Mendez story: 'The harsh reality is, despite us all wanting him to succeed
as an academy product. He’s never been close to good enough for us and I highly
doubt he ever will be. Loan him out, see if that helps, he just never seems to
be fired up for anything.'
After their 1-0 defeat tonight at Leyton Orient, Charlton finished second in their pizza trophy group which means an away fixture in the next round. Smyth scored for the home side in the 77th minute after they had gone down to ten men. Charlton went down to ten after Papa Souare had to be pulled off with a hamstring problem.
Johnnie Jackson said: 'Disappointed to lose the game. Never like losing. Didn’t like the circumstances of their goal, it was a really poor goal to concede. I was disappointed with the second-half. First-half we did well.'
700 Charlton fans were there which was more than at the last pizza home game.
In an interview published in the Football League Paper today Alex Gilbey says that he believes that he and his teammates let Nigel Adkins down but that self-reflection has led to a determination to climb the table.
He said: 'As a unit, both team and staff, I feel we let the previous manager down. We were in a really bad rut. We had some really bad results and poor performances. I feel that we needed to look at ourselves in the mirror as you can't always blame previous managers or other factors.'
'We have started to press as a team. We were also really low on confidence, which is changing.' Gilbey said that he had to see a specialist in London to sort his breathing out after he returned to training from Covid.
Gilbey said that he wanted Johnnie Jackson to be made permanent manager: 'The lads want, and are doing everything they can, to get Johnnie the job. Everyone here thinks the world of him. Obviously the fans do as well. Since he came in, I feel we have gone back to basics, which is really good for the group.
It is also a question that has been raised on the Addicks International Facebook page with one suggestion being that he would benefit from a loan spell in which he got game time every week.
One international fan commented: 'We’re still waiting for Albie Morgan’s season to really kick off. I hoped that today’s cup tie would be the catalyst for that but it didn’t really happen for the young midfielder. It feels like he’s been around forever as he first joined the squad so young but other than flashes here and there, we’re not getting a consistent performance level that he should be capable of. '
Another said: 'Before the season began I felt it was a make or break one for him and it looks as though it may be the latter. As others have said, he has ‘bags of potential’ but perhaps his football brain doesn’t quite match.'
The Hawks were tight and compact at the back in the early exchanges. Charlton's efforts were off target. The Addicks were dominating possession. Clare blocked a shot from Roberts.
Charlton started to be more direct with the centre halves bringing the ball forward. Charlton's balls forward were often too heavy or too long.
Just after the half hour mark the Hawks were up front for a change and were perhaps growing in confidence.
Clare put in the first shot on target but it was straight down the keeper's throat. In general Charlton were struggling to create opportunities, players unfamiliar with one another were not on the same wavelength.
Kirk won the first corner of the game after good work by Elerewe. Jacko was unhappy with the set piece.
A shot by Kirk was comfortable for the keeper.
Elerewe got a yellow card for a necessary challenge. Henderson parried the free kick and then caught the ball. The Hawks were looking better on the counter attack. Charlton's front two were struggling to get into the game.
In time added on, the Hawks got a free kick and had bodies forward. It was punched away by Henderson.
Charlton had not created chances of note. The visitors were stifling the Addicks. Charlton had most of the possession with 73 per cent of the ball, but hadn't done anything with it. Soare and Blackett-Taylor hadn't been in it enough. In so far as anything was created, it was by Clare, Famewo and Elerewe.
HT: Addicks 0, Hawks 0
A shot from Chambers was dealt with by Henderson. A Blackett-Taylor cross was too high and too far in front of everybody. Blackett-Taylor put in a good delivery, but the keeper did well. A Blackett-Taylor shot was over the bar.
Havant and Waterlooville had to make a substitution after an injury which saw their player stretchered off. Paul Rooney came on.
From a Charlton corner the ball went over the bar for a second corner.
Famewo conceded a corner. Henderson had to palm the ball away from a header probably by the player-coach Collins and Clare completed the clearance.
Kirk put the ball over the bar from a tough chance. Morgan and Arter came off and Watson and Lee came on. Lee hopefully would be able to provide a better connection between defence and attack.
Davison scored with a firm header on 71 minutes. Lee had supplied a ball to Kirk in a great position for a good cross. The Hawks had been tiring a bit in midfield with spaces opening up.
Davison was taken down inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty. This followed more good work by Lee. Stockley drilled it into the top corner in front of the Covered End.
Charlton won a corner after good defending. Blackett-Taylor should perhaps have passed to Davison.
A shot from Lee came off the bar but Soare and Stockley combined and Stockley made it 3-0.
After an injury the Hawks had to bring on a keeper, Searle, as a substitute as they had used up the bench. He had to play up top.
Mason Burstow came on in place of Stockley. Clayden came on as well in place of Soare who was a bit upset at coming off.
A shot by Blackett-Taylor cannoned off Rooney for a corner. A shot from Lee took a deflection for another corner.
After a great block by Davison, Burstow shot superbly to make it 4-0.
Six minutes were added on. Green made a good recovery tackle on Blackett-Taylor at the expense of a corner which was headed clear. A shot by Clare was comfortably over. Washington came on in place of Davison. An attempt from Burstow just missed Washington and went wide of the post.
Lee made a real difference, but credit also for Elerewe who had an excellent game.
Louis Mendez of the SLP reports: 'We're all wary of Havant & Waterlooville's cup pedigree
after that game they had at Liverpool in 2008, but shocked to see they've got a
player in their squad now who played for them in that game! Jamie Collins
played the full 90 at Anfield and re-joined the Hawks this year.
They've also got former Addicks goalkeeper Ross Warner
amongst their ranks but believe he might be injured. In Jake McCarthy they've
got a midfielder who has scored nine in his last 10.
Jamie Collins, mentioned above, also captained Sutton during
their run that saw them beat Leeds and lose to Arsenal during pie-gate, under
now Hawks boss Paul Doswell.As Jacko says, let's avoid becoming the story.'
Hawks supremo Paul Doswell is aiming for a replay. Doswell also says that Havant & Waterlooville have only brought a squad of 14 so sounds like they’ll only have three subs. We’ll have nine on the bench and can use five.
Charlton make nine changes. Stephen Henderson starts in goal. Stockley and
Famewo keep their places from Tuesday. Elerewe starts after signing his new
The Athletic profiles Curbs as he carries out his Charlton TV duties.
It’s quite a strange experience, watching a football match with God.
Because, in a small corner of south-east London, that’s what Alan Curbishley is to many fans of Charlton Athletic.
It was 15 and a half years ago that Curbishley left his job as Charlton manager, but pretty much everything he watches over from our perch high in the Alan Curbishley Stand at The Valley, both physical and ephemeral, was built by him. Other than Jimmy Seed, who took them from the Third Division to runners-up in the top flight in the mid-1930s and then won the FA Cup in 1947, he’s the most significant single figure in the club’s history.
In a bijou television studio at the top of “his’” stand, The Athletic joins Curbishley to watch the third game in caretaker charge for another club legend, Johnnie Jackson.
Charlton, on the back of two massive wins under Jackson away to Sunderland and 4-0 at home to Doncaster Rovers, come from behind to draw 1-1 with Rotherham United, who could have gone top of League One with a win.
When Curbishley took over in 1991, for the first four years as co-manager with Steve Gritt, Charlton weren’t so much a football club as a loose concept, a homeless group of players who had been relegated from the top flight a year earlier and had spent the previous six playing as tenants at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park, after The Valley was deemed unsafe for habitation in the fallout of the deadly fire at Bradford City’s Valley Parade.
When he left, at the end of 2005-06, they were an established Premier League club having spent seven of the previous eight years in the top division, consistently punching above their weight and not finishing below 14th in six of those seasons among the elite. The Valley was a buzzing, functional home, rebuilt from a barely habitable wreck into something of which to be proud.
Curbishley in front of the stand named after him at The Valley (Picture: Charlton Athletic)
But they were relegated the season after his departure, finishing second-bottom after playing under three managers before the turn of the year. Two seasons later, they dropped again, back into the third tier for the first time since 1980-81. They haven’t been back to the top flight since. In fact, they haven’t been close: a ninth-place finish in the Championship under Chris Powell in 2013 is the nearest they have come.
The House That Curbs Built has, for much of the time since he left, been reduced to rubble by bad or indifferent owners.
There is a new optimism around the club now though, after Thomas Sandgaard arrived just over a year ago and started to rebuild. Things are undoubtedly much more positive than they have been for years, but they remain in the lower reaches of League One, having just sacked Nigel Adkins, the 13th permanent manager (14, if you count Jose Riga’s two spells separately) since Curbishley’s departure.
“When I was there and what we did to get the club where it was, it was a massive combined effort from everybody,” Curbishley tells The Athletic. “The fans ended up forming a political party that helped persuade the council to get back to The Valley. We were all fighting for one thing. And then to watch it sort of disappear…”
Curbishley tails off. He thought he had left things in the sort of state that would protect their future. “When I left,” he says, after one of the biggest sighs you will ever hear, “it was (announced) before the season ended, which was to give the new manager time to get his feet under the table, and pre-season to decide which way he wanted to go and get his philosophy across, et cetera.
“Looking from afar, I thought that they’d be bouncing straight back (from that 2006-07 relegation), because it was a well-run club and they would have prepared for the worst.”
Curbishley slightly avoids the question when asked if he was ever angry that all of his great work was wasted so quickly. He seems more disappointed than angry, which somehow seems so much worse. “It was fairly difficult to get enthused about what was going on at the club,” he says, mainly referring to the five years of Roland Duchatelet’s controversial ownership in the previous decade, but really it could have been any period from 2006.
That disappointment is part of the reason Curbishley largely stayed away from The Valley, even as a fan, for the best part of a decade after his departure. He went back a few times during Powell’s tenure (2011-14), then took more of an interest when Lee Bowyer was manager (2018 until this past March), but otherwise, the most important man in Charlton’s modern history had little or nothing to do with the club until last year.
That decision was also motivated by the 63-year-old’s colossal status at Charlton, where he also had two spells as a player, making almost 100 appearances. “I didn’t want to be someone who would look like a little busybody. You know, ‘Look at me, look at what’s happened since I left’ and all that sort of stuff.” Essentially, he didn’t want to loom over the club and whoever was in charge at the time. “But I was obviously taking note of what was going on, and the disappointments,” he says, trailing off again.
Even with all of this in mind, it’s baffling that Curbishley has had no formal — or even informal — involvement with Charlton from when he left until last year. He hasn’t been involved with any of the various takeover bids that have hovered around the club in recent years (something that, again, he has not invited) and there has been no formal advisory role or ambassadorial position.
It was in the middle of the pandemic, in September last year, when Sandgaard bought Charlton and, given that the Dane lives in Colorado, USA, he had to rely on remote viewing to follow the club he had just bought.
Dissatisfied with this coverage, he decided to launch Charlton TV, a standalone service that provides coverage of every league game, to allow supporters to watch games at a time when COVID-19 restrictions meant when they weren’t allowed to attend.
Curbishley was brought in by Wayne Mumford — a former Birmingham City team-mate and now Charlton’s commercial director — to host the coverage, alongside former Charlton and Chelsea defender turned TV presenter Scott Minto, which has proved extremely popular even after restrictions were lifted and turnstiles started clacking again.
The anecdotes fly as The Athletic watches on, from tales of the old days at Charlton to stories involving British racing driver Nigel Mansell, Frank Lampard Snr’s pub and The Who, who were managed by Curbishley’s older brother Bill and played a couple of gigs at The Valley in the 1970s. He and Minto discuss former team-mates — Rob Lee, whose son Elliot is currently on loan at Charlton from Luton Town; Kevin Lisbie, whose twins are apparently both promising young wing-backs.
There is often another former club great as the third Charlton TV panellist (on this occasion, it’s EFL expert and Athletic contributor Ali Maxwell), which is when the nostalgia really flows.
“That’s what spurs the chairman on, because he can see the potential,” says Curbishley. “When you see the old footage of the Premier League years and the stadium sold out and the team beating the Liverpools and the Arsenals and the Chelseas, you can see that the potential is there.”
But the most striking thing is Curbishley’s enthusiasm for all things Charlton. You would have forgiven him for viewing The Valley as almost a mausoleum for his life’s work, a place that once symbolised his greatest achievements but has so often served as a reminder that what he built crumbled so quickly.
Not so. As the game goes on, he becomes more and more animated, graduating from frustration at some impotent attacking in the first half to slapping the studio window and bellowing “NOOOOO!” when Charlton miss a chance in the second, to a guttural roar when they equalise through Conor Washington with seven minutes to go.
It’s heart-warming to see a man who went from being defined by this club, to becoming so disillusioned he barely set foot in the place for a decade, come back around to caring deeply again. “Since I’ve been going back, I’ve been getting a little bit more enthusiastic. If I was sitting in the stands, I’d probably be a little bit more reserved.”
The Athletic asks if he ever goes into the stands to watch with the fans, but is greeted with a look as if we’ve suggested he strips off and goes for a swim in the nearby River Thames. “He’d never be left alone,” says Minto.
Curbishley has been out of management since 2008 (more on that later) and says he doesn’t watch games like a manager anymore, thinking about what he would do in certain situations. He’s a fan now, referring to “we” rather than “Charlton” in the show, but also a fine pundit: he has the quality that all good analysts have — the ability to spot things us laymen wouldn’t see, or at least point them out much more quickly than we would.
He references his predecessor Lennie Lawrence, the only other manager to take Charlton into the top flight since Seed, but it was Curbishley who not only guided success on the pitch and comfortably their highest league finishes since the 1950s, but raised the funds to make The Valley home again.
The sales of midfielder Lee and defender Anthony Barness in 1992 paid to make the ground habitable again. “This stand was condemned,” he says, “and the one opposite was temporary. It would be here in the winter, then be shipped off to St Andrews, or wherever, for the (Open Championship) golf in the summer.”
It was the proceeds from their promotions in 1998 (via that play-off final penalty shootout against Sunderland) and as champions in 2000 that meant they could turn it into a 27,000-capacity stadium.
It’s an apt metaphor that the stand on the side of the ground we’re watching the Rotherham game from had been deemed unfit for purpose when Charlton returned to The Valley in 1992, but the structure that’s there now bears Curbishley’s name.
His legacy is physical, but also cultural. It’s also probably not a coincidence that the two most popular and probably most successful managers they have had since his departure, Powell and Bowyer, played for the club under him.
For a generation, Curbishley was Charlton.
After leaving in 2006, Curbishley took over at West Ham and kept them up, with a significant assist from Carlos Tevez, from relegation in the same year that Charlton dropped. He resigned early in the 2008-09 season following a disagreement about player sales, the legal aftermath from that took a year to resolve and he was pretty picky about the job offers that came his way after that. By his own admission, he was perhaps a little too picky.
He started doing more TV work, the enthusiasm for management dimmed slightly and eventually, the phone stopped ringing.
Aside from a couple of spells helping out in the background at Fulham, Curbishley hasn’t been directly involved with the game for nearly 13 years. This makes it all the more baffling that he hasn’t had any involvement with Charlton previously, but at least Charlton TV and the naming of this stand, announced in August, has gone a little way to fix that.
“Every time I walk in there and I see it, I can’t quite believe it,” he says. “I still think it’s strange. I thought that’s the sort of honour you get when you’re long gone.”
Curbishley is very much still around. And happily, he’s back around at Charlton Athletic.
It is still possible that the league match away to Burton Albion will go ahead. Conor Washington has been called up by Northern Ireland and Chris Gunter will join Wales, but Harry Arter may not be picked by Ireland.
Louis Mendez of the SLP reports: 'Couple of stats I've just worked out for a piece - since
Johnnie Jackson has come in we've gone from conceding 2.25 a game (last eight
games) to one in three games. Plus we're having 34% more shots per game and 61%
more shots on target. The Jacko effect.'
I would have taken a draw before the game and it was a battling performance from Charlton at The Valley to share the points with Rotherham 1-1. The Millers went ahead through Miller in time added on in the first half.
Charlton played well in the second half, although McGillivray had to make a superb save to keep the Addicks in the game. Washington equalised for Charlton in then 82nd minute. It was tough test and Charlton came through.
Curbs said that in the second half Charlton took the game to Rotherham, they weren't afraid. We matched them in the first half. We got bodies in the way, no one had a free shot.
Charlton are now up to 18th.
Curbs said that the referee was inconsistent all night.
Conor Washington said: 'There were a few missed chances. The overriding feeling is disappointment we couldn't go on to get the three points. I felt I was going to get in on one of those long balls. On balance, especially the second half, we deserved to win the game. This place can be a real fortress for us. The fans were brilliant. We might be guilty of not being clinical enough, that is something we have to work on.'
Johnnie Jackson said: 'It was a good game, two good teams going at it. They made things very difficult. We had to come out second half. If one team was going to go and win it, it would be us. We were relentless in our attacking play. I'm disappointed with the nature of [their] goal. I am absolutely delighted with the lads, I demand that they play for the shirt and become a battling team, they're doing that. Conor chases lost causes all night, it was a great goal, chasing a defender down.'
Jayden Stockley got a yellow card for leading with his arm on three minutes and perhaps this subdued him a little. Washington was wide. Stockley headed away from a Rotherham corner. A Charlton corner was wasted by taking it short.DJ shot straight at the keeper. Famewo got a yellow card for a foul. Wiles got a rather soft yellow card. Washington shot at the keeper from a few yards out. Smith got a yellow card for a foul on Pearce.
In two minutes added on a Famewo error required Gunter to make a block. Following a long throw, Miller scored for Rotherham. It was their first shot on target. There were complaints that the ball had gone out of play. The marking could have been better.
Charlton started well. Following a free kick, Gilbey had a scoring opportunity but blasted over. Ihiekwe should have got a second yellow card after bringing down Gilbey, but the referee bottled it. He was taken off immediately.
MacGillivrary saved from Smith at the expense of a corner. He then had to make a superb save at short range.
Rotherham had a spell of pressure and there were signs that Charlton were tiring a little. Blackett-Taylor replaced DJ.
Conor Washington forged forward and a deflection helped the ball into the far corner of the net. Purrington got a yellow card for a challenge.
Five minutes were added on, but Charlton were not able to take advantage. We are starting to look up rather than down. The next league game may not be until the 20th against table topping Plymouth.