Thursday 31 March 2022

Fans in the dugout on match days

Charlton are going to be the first club to have fans in the dugout at matches.  A fans’ panel is to be assembled with one representative selected at random from each of the stands and a chair elected by Valley Gold subscribers.

The manager will coach the team during the week and then report to the fans’ panel on Friday afternoon on performances and injuries.

In the meantime the fans will have been visiting the social media sites of Saturday’s opposition to see what their fans think of their players, which are any good and which are judged to be a waste of space (usually most of them).   With all this information they will then select the team and the formation.

On match day the manager will be in the technical area and give tactical instructions to the team.  However, the fans’ panel will vote on the timing and selection of substitutions, but the manager will be allowed a vote.

Under Roland the club had considered complementing the fans’ sofa with a fan’s consultant in the dugout, but the idea fell through when it was revealed that Jonathan Acworth was the preferred choice.

A club spokesman said: ‘It is clear from their comments on social media that fans know a lot about how the team should be selected and the game played, so we thought we would harness that knowledge and enthusiasm.’

Asked whether many fans had coaching badges, the spokesman said that kind of technical knowledge could be deployed in training during the week.   The fans had an instinctive understanding of the game as shown by the success that many of them had enjoyed on Fifa, Football Manager etc.   Indeed, some had direct playing experience of Sunday league football.

Charlton continue to emphasise winning

Even the most pessimistic Charlton supporters have abandoned their 'we'll be playing in League Two next season' narrative.  The remaining matches are something of a balance between trying out new ideas and ensuring that we finish as high up the table as possible:

Richard Cawley notes that Charlton had the seventh highest spend on intermediary (largely agents) fees in League 1 between Feb 21 and Jan 22 - £198k. Most was the Massives at £796k, closely followed by Ipswich £779k.

Cawley will have something to say in the SLP tomorrow about reports on a clickbait site that Tottenham Hotspur are 'furious' about Charlton's failure to use Nile John.  It's hardly worth responding to.

Greatest game hero takes charge of Wombles

Mark Bowen is possibly one of the least remembered members of our Greatest Game side, but he did score one of the crucial penalties.   He was on Charlton Live recently.   He was keen on the Charlton job when it became available.

Now he has taken charge of relegation threatened AFC Wimbledon until the end of the season.   After playing away to the Massives on Saturday, next Tuesday the Wombles are at home to Charlton.

No doubt this twice rearranged match will be portrayed as a 'South London derby'.   Many fans were critical of it being postponed again, but we are looking stronger and we want as many points as possible to get a respectable finish.   So no favours for Mark.

Charlton play Lincoln at home on Saturday.   Imps supporters said that when we played up there we were the worst team they had seen all season.   They may have had a point, but hopefully we have improved.

Johnnie Jackson has reiterated his view that it was the right decision to rearrange the match:

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Sandgaard explains signing problems

Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard explains why recruitment was slow to get under way last summer and why it may not be plain sailing this time:

His many critics may see this as getting his excuses in early, but fans are often very impatient, although it is important to involve new signings in as much of the pre-season as possible.   Last year one problem was that we targeted players who could get into the Championship or sign for a clear promotion prospect like Wigan.

As I have said before, without going all Acworth, sometimes there is hidden talent lower down the leagues, including the non-league system.  It can be relatively cheap and Accrington have done well with Colby Bishop.

Jacko: 'I've seen it all at Charlton'

Johnnie Jackson was interviewed on Talk Sport today.   Here are a few key quotes, some of them courtesy of VOTV columnist Natasha Everitt.

Jacko said: “I've seen it all [at Charlton], I’ve been through some real ups and downs. There was a period there under Chris Powell where we had success and I was really hoping that that would be the catalyst for the club to kick on, and that never happened..."

“Then we got momentum again under Lee Bowyer and myself when we managed to get promoted again to the Championship, but history repeated itself really and we didn’t get the help we needed that season to make a real go of it. We found ourselves falling backwards again.  It’s been disillusioning..."

“But this time round with the owner we’ve got now, Thomas Sandgaard, there’s some real positivity around the place and he’s got some real ambitions for the football club... hopefully those couple of decades are behind us.  The club is in a much better place, much better hands.”

The Orange One recalled the hostile reception he got at The Valley, but spoke positively about JJ: ‘He sounds like a very grown up manager.  I want him to do well.’  Jim White, Roland's mate, reminded listeners that we were going to miss out on the play offs again.

Jacko said we’ve got to try and finish the season strong, win every game.   We need a feel good factor around the place, ending the season with some optimism, some positivity.    It was his 12th season at the club in different roles. ‘I’ve got a real feeling for what the club’s about.   Although I am a young manager I bring a lot of club experience to the table.’

Jacko admitted that it had been more challenging than he had expected.  ‘We were at our most depleted when we faced the toughest run of fixtures.  We’ve come through it now.  It makes you stronger in the long run.’

‘It’s a really important summer for us, recruitment is going to be key.  I have a clear idea of the type of squad I want to build, keeping the right ones from this year that we’ve got a nucleus of.  We’ll need the owner’s help with that.’

More here:

Monday 28 March 2022

Was Jonatan Johansson a one season wonder?

The latest Four Four Two has a supplement on the invention of football, or rather 30 years of the Premier League.   One feature is on 'One-Season Wonders' and among those included is Jonatan Johansson.

This magazine has a bit of form with Charlton, having predicted a dire fate in the year we won the League One championship with Chris Powell.   The club bought the framed copy of the cover.

I liked JJ as a player and I think his contribution went beyond the goals he scored.   I remember the warm reception he received as a Finnish international (106 caps) when we played a friendly against Oulu in northern Finland.

Four Four Two points out that he scored his 13th goal of the season on New Year's Day 2001.   'Newly promoted Charlton were eighth in the table and the £3.5m attacker's noggin had just delivered league goal No.10 of a stellar six months.'

'The former Rangers man managed a mere 17 over the next five years, however, before a six month loan at Championship Norwich in January 2006 finished his spell in English football.'

He did some coaching in Scotland and married a Scottish television presenter.  Returning to Finland, he has been manager of TPS Turku (where he played) since 2020.

Could do better but CBT our main man

Jaded journo Richard Cawley was a bit sarky about  junior journo Louis Mendez and his four match takeaways on Twitter today.  It is true that he does tend to reflect conventional wisdom, but you can read loads of stuff in left field on social media:

Sunday 27 March 2022

Gobby gives it large

Karl Robinson was one of the pundits on the Football League Show this morning.  To be fair, he was better than a football dinosaur like Ian Holloway.   He was quite generous in his remarks (other than for referees) although subtitles would sometimes have helped.

The pundits agreed that Charlton had improved since they had a forward line, noting that Charlton had been unbeaten in the last eight games when both Washington and Stockley were playing.   Robinson rightly highlighted Stockley's key role in defence.  I was pleased that he was captain yesterday.

These points seem to have escaped the goldfish manning their keyboards and demanding that Jacko be replaced immediately, trotting out clich├ęs such as 'It's a results business.'   Football is certainly a short-term business in a country afflicted by short termism.

I have managed to get an appointment in May to talk to my orthopedic surgeon about my left knee, no doubt paying the price for choosing orienteering as a youthful sport.  I had the right knee done four years ago under a regional anaesthetic.   This seemed to involve a lot of hammering and carpentry.   I realise now that I should have given the surgeon a running commentary on his work, urging him to give it more welly.

A new accolade for Charlton is that they top the yellow cards table across all leagues with 99, indeed it could be 100 next week.   Some might see this as evidence of the referees' conspiracy against Charlton identified by both my mother and Gobby.   Or it could be that we give away too many unnecessary fouls.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Victory on the road

Charlton won 1-0 at Doncaster this afternoon in front of around 700 Addicks, many of whom had taken advantage of the subsidised coaches.   It was a story of missed opportunities for the Addicks, and they had to hang on at the end, but it was a third win a row and another clean sheet.   Charlton had nine shots on target to one for Donny.

On four minutes CBT broke and got into the box, Stockley poked a shot past the keeper but a defender was on hand to clear it off the line.

On 16 minutes Charlton were awarded a penalty after CBT was brought dow., Washington instead of Stockley took the shot and the keeper saved.

On 24 minutes a poor goal-kick saw the ball head straight to Stockley who got in the box and squared for Washington, but his close-range effort is saved by the scrambling Mitchell.

Close to the break, Stockley flicked on Matthews' long throw and CBT was inches away from turning it in at the back post.

Missed opportunities were the story of the half as the Addicks headed in all-square at the break.   Louis Mendez said it could have been 3-0 if they took their chances.

HT: 0-0

Finally on 67 minutes Stockley scored.    Excellent work from CBT who skinned his man on the left and pulled back into the box for Stockley to slot home.

A Washington shot was saved by the keeper. Stockley faced an empty net, but his effort came off the crossbar.  How did we not score?

The midfield was starting to tire, Gilbey had worked really hard.   Doncaster won a free kick on the right edge of the penalty area, tiredness showing on the part of Charlton.   Blackett-Taylor went down.   Purrington headed away.

Blackett-Taylor was booked for coming back on without permission, although he was waved on by the fourth official, as an argument broke out between the two benches.

Famewo came on for Charlton in place of CBT.   Six minutes were added on as Donny won a corner.  Fraser swiped it out.    Lee came on for Fraser.

Donny won a free kick near the corner of the area after an alleged foul by Purrington.   Macca made a great claim.   Macca had to make a save with his legs from a shot.   Clare blocked the ball but the referee awarded a goal kick rather than a corner.

The pundits

Steve Brown said we would have comfortably won the game.   Instead we were under pressure at the end.   It was three games without making changes so Jacko had a core he could trust.   They were good results if not great performances.

CBT was derided by negativists as 'scraping the barrel' when he was signed.   Scott Minto said that he had come in again and make a big impact.   CBT said he was enjoying the wing back role, he had never played it before.  He felt he had improved.   'We've got a lot of togetherness in the camp, let's finish the season strong.'   He definitely felt he could last the 90 minutes.

Smiling supremo Jacko praised CBT for his contribution, saying he had cramp when he was substituted:

Jacko admitted that Charlton should have been out of sight in the match:

Charlton are now 14th.

Friday 25 March 2022

Dobson is a 'brick wall'

The SLP's Louis Mendez provides an assessment of Charlton for the Doncaster local paper, characterising George Dobson as a 'brick wall':

Mendez is frank about the disappointments of Charlton's season.   Nevertheless, many Addicks will head north, although it should be remembered that there are many fans who are exiled in the north who come to these games.

Second from bottom Doncaster have managed to win five games at home, but have lost eleven and drawn three.   They have moved up to seventh from bottom in the form table, two places behind Charlton., although in their last three games they have drawn one and lost two.  Last Saturday they managed a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw away at Fleetwood Town.

A good run of results could see Charlton finish as high as 12th, the stuff dreams are made of:

I am going to stick with my original Badger League prediction at the start of the season and go for a 2-1 win for Charlton.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Davison's future in the balance

There are discussions at Charlton about the future of Josh Davison, currently on loan at Swindon.  Apparently they have the right to extend his contract:

He has done well at Swindon and apparently Jacko thinks he does have potential for further development.  Reading between the lines, his future seems to be in the balance.

My personal view is that he has found his level in League Two.

Chris Gunter was an unused substitute for Wales in their victory over Austria.

Give Nile John a chance

Johnnie Jackson hopes to give Nile John a chance before the end of the season, i.e., when we are mathematically safe:

He may well have great potential, but I am far from sure that he was the right loaning signing at this time for us.

The SLP's Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'I'd also say there is a way to conduct yourself. NJ seen as one of top young prospects. Sandgaard already said wants to loan significant number of players next season, can imagine Spurs will think twice about any others.'

I would like to see fewer and more carefully selected loan players, but I'm not paying the bills.

The positive story about Macca

Craig MacGillivray has been subject to some criticism as Charlton's goalkeeper and I think that some of it was justified.  Some of the goals he conceded could have been saved.   Nevertheless, there is a more positive side to the story:

Assists are one thing but Leamington's former keeper barmy binman Tony Breeden used to score goals and not just as penalty taker.   The sight of him tearing up the wing unnerved the opposition but you could only get away with it in non-league football.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Forster-Caskey may be in squad soon

Jake Forster-Caskey will have a second run out with the under 23s this afternoon and if he comes through that unscathed he will be available for the first team squad, presumably at first on the bench:

Long-term injuries are always testing for players and there is a natural concern about whether they will regain their best form.  He was Player of the Year last season and deservedly so.

Monday 21 March 2022

Covid hits Scott Fraser

Because he is asthmatic, Covid was a particular challenge for new signing Scott Fraser:

My brush with Covid came after I had been fully vaccinated, so it was like a head cold, but I know people who have real difficulties with long Covid.

I am hoping that Fraser will make a big contribution next season.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Davison 'makes an impact'

After the pundits spent some time bigging up Millwall in this morning's Football League Show, you could have missed the coverage of our game with a blink of an eye.

However, the pundits did acknowledge that the team had been 'ravaged by injuries'. something that many fans have not been prepared to make an allowance for.

One of them then said that Johnnie Jackson was very popular with fans, although that was not the impression you got from social media before this week's two wins.  Keyboard warriors said that he had to go.  Perhaps a time to try some Survey Monkey polls again to get a better view of what fans think.

The pundits also said that Josh Davison had 'made an impact' at Swindon, finding his goal scoring boots.  He scored his fifth goal with them yesterday in the 3-1 defeat at Crawley.

I wouldn't have him back.  Many fans thought he was not good enough even for League Two, but he may find his level there and we are now unlikely to be relegated.   Good luck to him in the fourth tier.

Aaron Henry scored for Wealdstone in their 4-2 defeat to league leaders Stockport County yesterday.  Charles Clayden is staying with the Stones until the end of the season.

Blackett-Taylor is fine

When Corey Blackett-Taylor was taken off yesterday, negativists immediately said it was another injury, but as I stated in my report it was just a case of not overtaxing him after he had been out for a while.  This has been confirmed by sagacious supremo Johnnie Jackson: 

Blackett-Taylor's future at Charlton poses something of a dilemma.  Yesterday he was not in the match for most of the game then suddenly came alive and scored.  It has been suggested that he was like that at Tranmere.  In the remaining games he needs to show that he can put in a shift across 90 minutes.   I hope he does because I think there is talent and potential there.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Another clean sheet win

Charlton had an unchanged team against Burton Albion on a beautiful spring day at The Valley.   Jason Pearce was struggling with injury and Akin Famewo replaced him on the bench.   The attendance was 11,348 with 320 in the away massive, the lowest attendance in a football for a fiver game.

Charlton didn't get a lot of early possession in a scrappy start.   Burton were trying to get forward as quickly as they could so as to turn Charlton.

Charm merchant Hamer put in a reckless challenge on Dobson, but referee Rebecca Welch showed just a yellow.   The Addicks were still not getting a lot of the ball.

Washington advanced via Route One and put in a chip over the advancing keeper to make it 1-0 on 12 minutes.    Macca flicked on from a long throw and kicked the ball straight up the field to Washington who scored with one touch.   It was his 10th of the season, all in the league.

Burton won a second corner.   Matthews cleared away and Charlton got a throw in.  

Charlton conceded another corner.   A free kick was given for a foul on Stockley.  

The Addickted started a chorus of Valley Floyd Road.    Burton won another corner.  Matthews headed away.  Charlton won a free kick for offside.

Charlton were struggling for possession and build up play.   They needed to be more clever with their movement to stretch the Brewers defence.   Niasse was booked for a high boot on Clare.

Lavelle had to head away a goal bound ball.   An effort by Oshilaja came off the bar.  He had time and space to pick his shot.

Garrett had to dive to make a save from his own player.    Charlton continued to look uncomfortable in possession.

Blackett-Taylor was coming into the game really for the first time, created some space and made it 2-0.  After some patient build up play, his ball dribbled in at the near post with Garrett's view obstructed by Stockley.  When he was signed, one leading moaner said we were scraping the barrel.

Despite the score line it had not been the most comfortable first half, but Charlton took their chances.  Hasselbaink was not happy and loitered to speak to the official.  He still wasn't happy after the break.  Steve Brown said there had been a lot of aerial bombardment.  We needed to defend the long throws well, getting the second phase right.  Scott Minto thought at times we weren't close enough.   Steve Brown said we need to keep the ball a lot better than we had.   Burton had shut us down quicker.

HT: 2-0

Oshilaja got a yellow card for a foul on Stockley.  Fraser's free kick wasn't the best.   An effort from Washington was blocked.

A Blackett-Taylor effort was over the bar.  He came off as a precaution as he had played more than expected in midweek when returning from injury.  DJ replaced him.

Charlton were looking more comfortable on the ball in the second half. 

Gilligan was booked for an off the ball foul on Washington.  Burton made a double substitution.

Fraser put in an excellent cross for Stockley but his header was saved by Garratt.

Burton won a corner at the Jimmy Seed stand.  The ball was blocked away by DJ at the expense of another corner which was unproductive.

Dobson dealt with a moment of danger with a superb challenge on Chapman.   There was a vigorous chorus of Valley Floyd Road.  A shot by Niasse was well blocked by Matthews.   Chapman was booked for a foul on Dobson.

On 81 minutes Fraser was replaced by Lee to provide fresh legs.   Burton claimed that Clare had handled the ball, but a free kick was awarded for a push.

Clare intercepted a shot from Chapman. 

Five minutes were added on.   There were two opportunities for Charlton, but they were not taken.  An attempt from Washington was blocked.

It wasn't a classic game, but it was another three points.   It was the first double of the season.

Charlton are now 15th, Shrewsbury had a surprise win at Rotherham.

Johnnie Jackson said it was a good professional performance, not at our best, would like to have seen more goals.   The conditions were difficult.  There was a swirling wind and a dry pitch.   We defended our lead well, they have that threat with the long throw.   We dealt with double figures in terms of long throws coming into our box.  We're scoring goals again and now we're looking more solid.  I think we can manage it better at times, there was lots of space in behind them at times.   The players have stepped up.   They've all done that to a man.

Charm merchant manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink insists that Charlton were not better than his side and their defeat was down to individual errors.   In a sense he may be right, but they only had one shot on target while we took at least some of our chances:

I am not pretending that it was a great performance but we are 13 points above the relegation zone and Crewe will find it very hard to overtake us now.


Friday 18 March 2022

Going for a Burton?

What America Addick Doug Chapman calls 'the fellowship of the miserable' among Charlton supporters had their relegation narrative punctured by an admittedly scrappy win over the mighty Gills, but there is no doubt that we need more points on the board, if only to secure a respectable finish.

The visit of Burton Albion tomorrow should present an opportunity, not least if both Stockley and Washington start.  Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has trotted out the usual guff about it being a 'tough' fixture which gives him an alibi if they lose and allows him to wear the victor's crown if they win.   A draw and he can say it is a good away point.

When he was with us at the end of his career Hasselbaink had the turning circle of a Russian oil tanker sent back to port with its cargo.   However, he has done a decent job in allowing the Brewers to continue to punch above their weight.

Burton don't have a strong away record, having won four, drawn four and lost eleven.  Two weeks ago they lost 4-1 to Gobby's Oxford United at the three sided stadium with its unrivalled view of a car park.

In the clash of the former non-league clubs last Saturday they beat Fleetwood Town 3-2 in front of a crowd of 2,648, a figure exceeded by some National League clubs.  Former Everton striker Oumar Niasse scored two of the goals.   Fleetwood opened their scoring with an own goal from one Deji Oshilaja.  Burton's goals were scored from second phases from set plays which is a concern for Charlton given our vulnerability there.

At the beginning of the season a forecast a 3-0 win, but now I would be content with a win by a one goal margin.

According to CAS Trust it might be our best chance to get a double this season:

Thursday 17 March 2022

How to beat Burton

A horse watches a game at the Harbury Lane ground in the Warwickshire countryside.  The following week he brought some friends.   Non-league dogs attend in club colours.

On March 8th my non-league side Leamington faced Burton Albion in the semi-final of the Birmingham Senior Cup which began in 1876.  The splendid Victorian trophy is currently in the Brakes boadroom after they beat Wolves at Molineux in a penalty shoot out three years ago after which the pandemic saw the competition suspended.

Burton brought what they called 'a strong side' which included 11 first team squad members to the Your Co-op Community Stadium formerly the New Windmill Ground.  Leamington won 1-0.   The part-timers put in a real shift and played some decent passing football.   They wanted it more than the Brewers and that always counts.

You can see 11 minutes of highlights here:

I have to apologise for the five or six chances missed by Brakes striker Kelsey Mooney, a school friend of my partner's grandson.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Season ticket holders unhappy with Sandgaard

Fan discontent over freebie ticket arrangements at The Valley continues.  It is adding to the volume and intensity of complaints about the Sandgaard regime and I agree that this has not been handled well.

A fan known to me has commented: ‘At the dentist's this morning his assistant asked me, "Were you there last night?" Because she had been there at the game too. She complained about the number of youngsters running about during the game, sitting wherever and generally causing disruption, probably all on free tickets. I want to hear Sandgaard explain why he doesn't think this devalues my season ticket and how he'll persuade me me to renew rather than take the freebies.’

It should perhaps be noted that VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted: ‘For transparency and to be fair, I had a (scheduled) 90-minute meeting with Wayne Mumford this morning at which we discussed the CAFC ticket stuff. It’s clear the club is relearning some of the lessons from the 1990s and 2000s so hopefully we’ll see an end to the recent chaos.’

‘It’s notable that they are finding exactly what we found in the past. It’s just information sharing on my part, to be clear. If it’s useful to the club then I’m happy to do that.’

Some may object to discussions with the Rickster for whatever reason, ranging from his role as leader of Thanet Council to claims that he is really a shape shifting lizard controlled by Bill Gates.  The point is that he has substantial experience of largely successful crowd boosting initiatives following the return to The Valley, not least the Rickshaw service.   There are positive lessons to be learned and mistakes to be avoided.

It would also be useful to talk to former chief executive Peter Varney.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

One is enough

Charlton beat Gillingham 1-0 at The Valley tonight, the goal coming on 39 minutes from Alex Gilbey pouncing in the box.    Pontus Dahlberg spilled Corey Blackett-Taylor's initial attempt and although the keeper reacted quickly to block Jayden Stockley's follow up, Gilbey slammed home.

Gillingham stayed in the game, their midfield pressing up the pitch more in the second half, but the Addicks held firm.  Masterton blasted over one of the best chances for the visitors on 89 minutes.  Charlton were able to manage the six minutes added on.   There was a tunnel jump for the first time in ages.

The returning Corey Blackett-Taylor was impressive in the first half but faded somewhat and was eventually replaced by Jason Pearce as the game to an end.   Curbs said the returning player was really dangerous, put such a shift in.   

The return of Conor Washington was a big plus.

Attendance was 9,278 with 1,559 away fans.

Charlton are now 16th, ten points above the relegation zone.  Teams below us lost.

Alex Gilbey said he knew his output this season had not been good enough.  He had a few chances before the goal.  'We knew we had to start on the front foot, get our fans on side  We were a little bit sloppy towards the end, but showed a lot of heart.'

Smiling supremo Johnnie Jackson had plenty of praise for Gilbey and the way in which he had responded to advice, as well as the team more generally:

Gillingham's new venture in charm merchant managers, Neil Harris, thinks that they deserved to get something out of the game:

Why shunting back Wombles game may be a good idea

Many fans have reacted negatively to a second postponement of the away fixture at AFC Wimbledon, but Richard Cawley explains why it might be a good idea:

Although Chris Gunter is not highly regarded by many fans, his absence does permit a postponement.  More importantly Conor Washington is on standby for Northern Ireland and may be needed against Luxembourg.

Cawley's key point is that the longer the game is postponed, the more likely is that Chuks Aneke, Ryan Inniss and Jake Forster-Caskey.

The importance of confidence

In his latest post the Chicago Addick captures well the pall of gloom and the nervousness that hangs over The Valley ahead of this evening's so-called 'Kent Derby' against Gillingham.

Confidence is an important ingredient in football and Charlton can't find a win or even score a goal from open play.   Under their new manager Gillingham have won a couple of matches and have moved towards the middle of the form table while Charlton remained rooted to the bottom.

All this has provided a field day for the many Charlton fans who seem to derive their greatest football pleasure from being negative and pessimistic about the team they support.   If I felt as negative as they did, I think I would think stay away.  As it is, the negativity and high expectation of the fans lead me to think that might be the right thing to do.

Now, of course, they have a point.  Many of them put it down to persistence with a 3-5-2 formation, but are the players there for a 4-4-2?   Do the players care very much anyway?  Good performances in training crumble once they get on the pitch for a game, although that could be confidence again.

One can imagine the Gillingham manager's team talk: 'Push them hard from the kick off.  They will concede a silly free kick in a promising position.   MacGillivray will stay rooted to his line while the defence lack height and will be at sixes and sevens (although watch out for Stockley).  You will get a free header and they will be chasing the game with their heads down.'

Calling for the head of JJ now is a waste of time as we would have difficulty in getting a good replacement, quite apart from the cost.  His position should be reviewed at the end of the season before making any signings.  

If we are relegated, we will need a different kind of manager.   League 2 football is closer to non-league with a reliance on hoofball and a penchant for head tennis in midfield.

One bright spot tonight could be the return of Conor Washington to the starting line up.  He has an ability to get in behind defences and could even score himself.

I think we will get a useful home point.  Bear in mind that six of the teams below us have far worse goal differences, itself worth a place in the table.

Richard Cawley reports that the away match against the Wombles has been called off as Chris Gunter has been called up for Wales.   On balance, good news.

Monday 14 March 2022

Lyle Taylor gives it large

In a two page feature in The Football League Paper Lyle Taylor celebrates his bromance with Lee Bowyer and makes it clear what he thinks about Charlton fans.

Talking about Bowyer, the Blues loan player says: 'Lee Bowyer is the reason I am here.  No disrespect to Birmingham City, but I wouldn't be here if he wasn't the manager.'

'We have a relationship that is not just football.  We've had a good relationship ever since I first met him, we just get on.  Speaking to him is very easy.   There's a lot of respect mutually.  I've got a lot of time for him as a man and a manager.'

The article notes 'Bowyer guided Taylor to the best time of his career with 32 goals in 58 league games at Charlton, but it ended in headlines with Taylor refusing to play.'

In my view that was unprofessional, but the charm merchant clearly has a different view.  'There was no straining of the relationship [with Bo].  He, as well as the players, said in my position it was really difficult to play.  Every man and his dog had an opinion on what I did.  I care for so few of those opinions.'

'You can call me whatever you want, because that's been done throughout my career.  My relationship with the manager didn't change.  It didn't change when Charlton were relegated, he didn't hold me accountable.  It wasn't my fault and I don't really feel we need to keep going over it.'

As for his spell at Forest, Taylor says 'I was climbing Everest in a pair of flip-flops and speedos.'

Jacko explains unused loan players

Many fans have understandably complained about the loan signings of Nile John and Juan Castillo, arguing that it does not reflect well on our recruitment.

Shell shocked supremo Johnnie Jackson explains that they have not done well in training and there are players in front of them.  Castillo had opportunities and didn't take them, while John has been more unfortunate: 

Hopefully we are only paying a proportion of their wages.    I would rather try out more of our development players.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Players must expect fans to be frosty

Johnnie Jackson said that players must expect the kind of frosty reception they got from Charlton fans after yesterday's performance at Accrington:

The keyboard warriors have, of course, been out in force displaying pictures of their coaching badges.  Of course, recent performances have been unacceptable, but changing the manager again is not going to sort things out at this stage.  The task now is survival and a clear out in the summer.   JJ's performance will be reviewed as part of that.

It's been a great weekend for fans who like to wallow in gloom and predict relegation.  I stand with Steve Brown who said there is enough quality in the squad to get the needed few additional points (remember there are other teams that are rubbish).   I don't think we'll beat in form Gillingham, but I am hopeful of a point.

If we did get relegated, one bonus might be that we would shed some of the moaners who don't realise how bad things have been in the past and go down to a core of loyal fans.

Keeper gets public rebuke

Shell shocked supremo Johnnie Jackson has admitted that Craig MacGillivray is not commanding his six yard box:

This was evident yesterday when Accrington keeper Savin was willing to come out of his box to snuff out threats.   Admittedly, there should be better communication and more pace from the Charlton defence as Curbs pointed out.

I didn't want Amos to go, but presumably he had a better offer from Wigan.  Many fans are pinning their hopes for next season on the return of Ashley Maynard-Brewer who impressed at Ross County in the Scottish Premier League before his injury.  The SPL isn't the greatest league in the world, but it is surely as good as League One.

Jacko is clearly baffled by the form of the rest of his players, suggesting it is a confidence problem rather than a lack of effort.  Certainly they seem to train well but then fail to deliver on matchday.

Fans continue to insist that the formation is the problem, but does he have the players for 4-4-2?  I know it's all supposed to be about the manager in modern football, but I think more of the fault rests with the squad, although I was surprised that Gilbey was omitted yesterday,.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Not good enough again

424 Addicks saw another disappointing display in a 2-1 defeat at Accrington this afternoon.   Once again Charlton failed to score from open play and conceded from defensive errors.  The Addicks were not able to take advantage of the home side going down to 10 men.

Charlton are seven points above Gillingham in the drop zone who come to The Valley on Tuesday. The Addicks are 17th.

Charlton won an early corner after coming close to scoring with a half volley from Lee at the Wham Stadium against Accrington, but Savin made an excellent save.  Stockley's header from the corner went wide.

A shot from Accy was dealt with well by Macca.  After a free kick from McConville a Sykes header was just wide.   It wasn't well defended.

Charlton won another corner after good work by Stockley, but it was headed away by Sykes.  The Addicks won a second corner.   The keeper grabbed it at the second attempt.   Purrington fed Stockley, but a heavy touch by him led to an Accy free kick.

Pearce headed clear and a shot was off target.  The Charlton midfield need to get to grips with the second balls.  An Accy header went over the bar.

After a good opening few minutes, Charlton were struggling to get into the game, a not unfamiliar story. Then Lee called for a handball against Coyle when the ball struck his arm.   The referee made the decision after hesitating and Stockley scored from the spot on 18 minutes to make it 0-1 a little against the run of play.   It's good to get some luck for once.

Leko was brought down by blunderer Coyle who received a yellow card.   On the whole, Leko was not in the game that much compared with Stockley.

Lavelle had to clear behind for a corner which animated the home crowd.   Stockley headed away and it was flicked on by Lee as Charlton attempted to counter attack.

Set piece woe and defensive errors

Accy won a rather fortunate free kick.  Charlton couldn't clear their lines and after a goalmouth scramble the home side equalised in scrappy play, a header going beyond the Addicks player on the line.  Longelo scored the goal.  Macca could have done better by asserting himself more.   Once again Charlton conceded in a disappointing way from a set piece.

A counter attack by Accrington saw them take the lead on 33 minutes, a Charlton cross leading to their goal.  Leigh fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.   Once again it was an avoidable goal with the opposition given too much space.   Charlton had enough players back but weren't concentrating in the final third.   Steve Brown said the communication was poor.  Coyle limped off.

Charlton were attacking but the referee stopped the game.   Dobson and Pell received yellow cards, the Accy charm merchant having struck Dobson who reacted.

Clare received a yellow card for challenging Pell.   Following the free kick, Charlton struggled to clear their lines, Dobson eventually clearing the danger.

Charlton had another free kick to defend, another unnecessary one given away.   The header was won by Pell but the move ended in a goal kick.

Three minutes were added on after a lively first half.   Charlton were not winning enough first touches, although the wind was a factor.   Purrington had a throw in but had no real options.  

Steve Brown said that Accy seemed to anticipate more than we did.

HT: 2-1

Charlton won an early corner.  Fraser's delivery was decent but it was headed away.

Charlton gave away another silly free kick, this time from Lee.  Clare won the header.  The ball was eventually claimed by Macca.

A shot by Purrington was straight at Savin after some good build up play.  He could have done better even though it was a tight angle.

A shot from Leko was deflected away by Rodgers.   He was getting into the left channel more.  The corner was cleared away.

Pearce fouled Bishop a yard or so from the penalty area.   Pell's shot hit the six man Charlton wall. Gunter cleared from off the line from Sykes and the Accy player couldn't take a second opportunity from the six yard box.

Pearce came off for Washington.  Leko switched to right wing back.

On 63 minutes Leigh led with an elbow in an aerial challenge on Clare and received a red card.

Charlton made a handball claim as Leko's cross hit a hand, but a corner was given.  DJ came on to replace Purrington on 71 minutes.  

Charlton were not displaying any creativity.   The Addicks had not created one chance since the home side went down to ten men.  Accrington continued to work hard.

Lee put in a good ball, but Savin saved from Stockley with a punch.   Burstow replaced Gunter on 86 minutes in a last throw of the dice.

A goal from Washington in time added on was chalked off for handball and he was booked.

The pundits

Curbs said that Charlton were flat again, two poor defensive goals.   Steve Brown said that the referee could not see the claim for the second penalty, nor could the assistant.   Curbs said the referee had already given one that was 50-50.   Accrington never gave us too much of an opportunity to build.

Curbs said they made a really good start and then succumbed to something we expected.  They knew what they were up against.   Steve Brown said that we were under massive amounts of pressure for the first goal.  MacGillivray was stuck on his line, Savin was not.

Curbs said that for the second goal there was no urgency, players were strolling back.   Steve Brown said it's a difficult place to go, their bobbly pitch suits the way they play.  It was a bit like under Nigel.

Curbs hoped there would be a decent atmosphere against the Gills.   Tuesday night would be a big game.  We had got to stop it.   Steve Brown said you have to earn the right, no one gives you a result.  We were not physically matching work rate or chances.   It must be difficult for Johnnie to know who to trust.   When things went wrong in the 90 minutes in the heat of battle it was down to the player.

Thomas Sandgaard tweeted that 'Much more work needs to be done.'  Indeed.

Thanks for asking

The club wrote to me yesterday about my poor attendance at home games this season.  Unfortunately, I have had a minor but persistent condition that has affected my mobility.

My GP is a Manchester City season ticket holder and follows them around Europe. He has made it clear that I am to keep away from the 'crap' teams I support, including my non-league club.

I have listened to all the commentaries and watched games that have been streamed.   It looks like I might get a clean bill of health soon, so I may be able to make the tail end of the season.

Addick's Diary will have been running for 25 years next season and it may be time to call it a day.   Next year it will be 70 years ago when I first went to The Valley.  Blogs are less popular than they were and the Burgundy Addick provides excellent match reports while Drinking During the Game and the Chicago Addick provide incisive analysis.

I want to concentrate on my more general football work, including the television work I do for the Press Association/Globelynx for stations in the Gulf and Far East.

However, I am considering a podcast.

George Dobson is a rare standout player

Even leading moaners have been able to make only occasional criticisms of George Dobson - and any player makes mistakes or has an off day.  He looks like being voted in as Player of the Year:

Words are cheap, and any player is going to praise a new club, but his commitment to the club comes across to me as genuine.   If people don't believe him, his efforts on the pitch show that he is prepared to give his all.

Nigel Atkins didn't rate him, but that speaks volumes about him as a manager.  Johnnie Jackson could see the quality.

Some fans didn't like Keith Jones because he passed the ball sideways, but sometimes that it was a defensive midfielder has to do.

I have always had a lot of time for relatively unsung players in the midfield engine room, starting with 'Squib' Hammond about whom I had my first football argument with my father.  Later I sponsored Keith Jones and dedicated a book to him.

Friday 11 March 2022

Donning the kilt works wonders for former Addick

It's perhaps an unlikely success story, but Charlton product Regan Charles-Cook has benefitted from donning the kilt.  The Lewisham-born player feels really at home in Dingwall playing for Ross County (the former Highland League side is the most northerly club in the Scottish leagues).  What is more he can now keen a mean macaroni cheese:

Ashley Maynard-Brewer is on loan with the Staggies, but has been out of the side since breaking his nose.

The glamour is too much

One of the presenters on the EFL show (the Oxford supporting podcaster who was on Charlton Live recently) said that League One was a 'brilliant' league.  Charlton fans might disagree when they have to play the likes of Accrington Stanley.  Watching the live feed in lockdown it was possible to see a park football game going on behind one goal.   The ground can accommodate 5,450 with seats for 3,100.

Yet every team in League One is there on merit.   After the old Accrington Stanley club was finally forced out of existence by the gas being turned off, Stanley made their way up through the non-league system.  (The original founding club in the Football League was just called Accrington).  Sandwiched between Blackburn and Burnley, they have been punching above their weight.   (Some Buinley fans treat them as a second club).

One sensible move they made was to recruit Leamington ace Colby Bishop who has scored a steady 12 goals a season, including at The Valley last year.  The £10k fee was apparently too much for Charlton.

Finding themselves in a battle to finish in the top half, John Coleman's side have won three of their last six games while losing the other three.

Their most recent victory came at the end of February, as they came back from behind to defeat promotion-chasing Wycombe Wanderers 3-2.  They travelled to Portsmouth on Saturday, and, despite the hosts playing with 10 men for 70 minutes, they suffered a 4-0 thrashing.   A furious Coleman kept his players locked in the away dressing room for an hour after the game, delaying their trek back 'oop north.

Accy will now hope to bounce back from that demoralising defeat to maintain their spot in the top half, as the Lancashire outfit look to replicate last season's 12th-placed finish in England's third tier.

Charlton are bottom of the League One form table while Stanley are 11th.   Accy's away record is poor (lost eleven and won just three) but at home they have won ten and lost just four, scoring 32 and conceding 25. The Addicks have won just four away from home and lost ten.

The CAS Trust preview emphasises their strong home record:

Johnnie Jackson says that Conor Washington will not be available tomorrow whilst Chuks Aneke is 'weeks away' which could mean he will not appear again this season:

Ever hopeful, I think we might be able to get a point.

Thursday 10 March 2022

Who should stay and who should go?

Johnnie Jackson reveals, not surprisingly, that the conversations have begun with out of contract players at Charlton:

In general this is an opportunity to say 'thanks for all you tried to do' to an under performing squad, but most fans would (I think) like to retain Conor Washington who has an ability to penetrate opposition defences.

I know this is controversial, but I think this is a case for Ben Purrington.   Curbs has had some very positive things to say about him on Charlton Live and he can play in more than one position.  In other words, a useful squad player.

Jake Forster-Caskey is a talented player and we were right to stand by him, but like Ryan Inniss he is too much of an injury risk.

Did we get the readies for Burstow?

What does the Government's decision to constrain Chelsea's operations mean for Mason Burstow and Charlton?

The short answer is I don't know and it all depends on how things play out over the coming weeks.

It should be noted that the terms of the licence allow 'Inter-club payments to discharge obligations which existed before 10 March 2022 under player loan arrangement [and] Inter-club payments to discharge obligations which existed before 10 March 2022 under player sale arrangements.'

It is unclear whether the £1.6m has been paid and who is paying Burstow's wages while he is on loan - they could well be shared.

Burstow's recent appearances have been disappointing and some fans think we did good business in selling him off when we did.

For me it's another case of a young player being pushed forward too quickly too soon, in this because we lacked a forward line.  The service he has been getting has not been great.

In Burstow's case it was all about potential.   If he doesn't go to Chelsea, hopefully he can be nurtured more slowly at The Valley.

Former players make the news

Scott Carson came on as a substitute for Manchester City in the Champions League last night.  Three years ago his teammates bought him a ticket for a tour of the stadium as that was the only way he would see it.

He was on loan at Charlton in 2006-7, only missing two matches because of his loan deal.  It wasn't his fault that we were relegated and he was the first loan player to be named player of the year.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has finally retired at 36:

With us from 2011 to 2013 he scored 22 goals in 42 matches and contributed to Charlton securing the League One championship.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

One point shaved off relegation zone lead

Relegation battle advocates received a slight boost to their narrative last night when Morecambe drew 1-1 at Bolton. the home side only equalising at the last minute.  Given the stats, the Shrimpers were lucky and there was trouble on the touchline involving both managers, although only one was booked.

One cannot rely on results elsewhere, although I remain convinced that we will not be relegated as I believe there are five or six teams worse than us.   However, we need to get at least a point at Accrington, never easy, and try and win the so-called 'Kent derby' against Gillingham.

Brakes supremo Paul Holleran famous for upbraiding referees

At Accrington we will face ex Leamington ace Colby Bishop, one of several Football League players nurtured at the Harbury Lane production line where Paul Holleran has been in charge for over ten years and approaching 600 games in the Your Co-op Community Stadium dugout.   Our greatest periods of success at Charlton have been with long-serving managers (Seed, Lawrence, Curbishley) but these days many fans seem to think the solution is a revolving door.

Last night Leamington faced a strong Burton Albion side that contained several League One players.  The Brakes won 1-0 in the semi-final of the Birmingham Senior Cup.   They currently hold the splendid Victorian trophy, winning it before lockdown in a penalty shoot out against Wolves at Molineux, the Brakes keeper scoring the decisive goal to the chagrin of Wolves fans.

Monday 7 March 2022

Stockley gives it large

Jayden Stockley has warned his fellow players to stand up and be counted if they want to be at Charlton next season:

The problem is many of them may not want to be and most of them do not deserve to be, fortunately many are out of contract.

Charlton fans have lost their title as the biggest moaners in football following Manchester United's defeat by Manchester City.  Gems like 'you might as well play the reserves' have been heard from supporters of the mighty Reds, leaving aside clashes in the Sky studio.

To be fair, Spurs fans are probably the biggest moaners in football, although Arsenal fans ran them close when they were turned against Arsene Wenger.

Our own Ukranian

On Saturday The Times had a feature on our Academy coach Sergei Baltacha.  We should pause to reflect on what he has gone through and is going through.  Charlton as a club comes well out of the article.  We do look after our own.

'At the Charlton Athletic training ground the kindness and respect shown to Sergei Baltacha is plain to see.  People approach unprompted and give the academy coach hugs.  He has been offered days off but says thank you but no.  Charlton and football are his escape because when he is home reality invades again.'

Four or five times a day he calls his 67-year old brother Georgi in Kyiv who is waiting in his apartment ' armed with hope and a Kalashnikov.

He was the first Soviet citizen to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain to play football for an English club, Ipswich Town in 1988.

His late daughter Elena, despite struggling with a debilitating liver condition, she became a British No.1 tennis player before she died from cancer aged 30 in 2014.

What upsets him is that when he grew up in the USSR he felt there was a brotherhood between the different nations.   'His trauma is that while the fighting continues, all he can do is watch.'

Sunday 6 March 2022

Macca is star man

Craig MacGillivray is in the League One team of the week and Sunderland's boss has given him credit for the draw at The Valley yesterday:

I have been a bit disappointed with some of his recent performances, perhaps become a parent affected him.  Anyway his return to form is another cause for hope.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Charlton stop the rot

Charlton ended their run of defeats with a 0-0 draw against Sunderland at The Valley.

Jayden Stockley and Scott Fraser came back for Charlton's game against Sunderland at The Valley, but was the real problem the formation as many fans have suggested?   Sean Clare (wearing an outfit that Curbs said deserved a fine) said that the formation suited a lot of the players, what had been missing had been a platform up front.  Curbs said that the return of Jayden Stockley was crucial.

Nathan Broadhead was brought straight back into Sunderland's starting line-up.  The on-loan Everton striker is fit again after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal the week before Christmas.

A Sunderland corner won after five minutes was directed straight at Macca with a header.

A challenge saw DJ on the ground as he was caught on the shin and might have been penalised if there was VAR.

A Sunderland corner was headed away well by Stockley.  Sunderland came at Charlton early and tried to attack, securing comfortable possession.   The Addicks were being dominated and needed to keep the ball better.

After a great pass from Fraser, Burstow was caught offside.   The crowd was relatively quiet despite the generous distribution of free tickets available from your local newsagent.   My uncle was never asked to do that in the 1950s.

Lavelle was in late with a cynical challenge and received a yellow card.   Every cross seemed to be going beyond the three centre halves.

MacGillivray made a save at the expense of a corner.   From the corner Stewart missed a clear goal scoring opportunity for the Black Cats, but he headed wide.

Sunderland were trying to turn the Charlton back line with balls over the top.   Good defending by Lavelle dealt with Stewart who headed wide and landed awkwardly.  He looked fine to carry on.

Charlton conceded a corner from nothing, Macca put too much on it.   DJ got a strong foot to the corner, hitting the top of the Curbishley stand.   Sunderland were making life difficult for Charlton when they were in possession.

DJ had to head behind for another Sunderland corner.   Charlton couldn't get out of their defensive third and hadn't managed a goal attempt after nearly 30 minutes in.   It was another header from Stewart from the corner but again it went wide.

Sunderland won a free kick just outside the Charlton penalty area, 10-12 yards left of the centre marking.   Pritchard's free kick was tipped over by Macca for a corner.   He certainly had to deal with it. Macca clutched the ball from the corner.

Charlton continued to be on the back foot under pressure.    From a Lee free kick Stockley's header went wide.

It started to rain.   A sliding challenge from Lee took out Gooch and he received a yellow card for a clear foul on 40 minutes.   Pearce defended well for a throw in.   

A Stockley header went wide of the post.   A ball from Lee was cut out for a Charlton corner in added time.   The referee flagged for a push.  

Steve Brown commented that in earlier matches we would have gone behind with the pressure we were under.  Sean Clare said we had done well to come out at 0-0.   Greg Stubley said we did enough to stay in the game and gradually we had grown into it.  Scott Minto thought we were playing too long and not giving the front two a chance.

HT: 0-0

Gunter put in a decent block to stop Broadhead.    He then made a great saving challenge.    Macca saved from Gooch.

Steve Brown said that Sunderland pressed very well as a unit.   It was difficult for Charlton to break through the press.

Macca saved well from Winchester, it was along the deck at pace.   Steve Brown said it was a very similar pattern to the first half.

It was quite a bitty opening, but the visitors were in control.   Charlton couldn't get sustained possession with fifteen minutes of the half gone.

Charlton won a free kick near the tunnel for a foul on Purrington.   Lavelle's header was just wide of the post and went into the side netting.

Gunter had to put the ball out for a corner as safety first.  DJ and Purrington got the ball clear, it came back in, Pearce headed it clear and then Stockley.  Eventually Charlton won a free kick.   Fraser was replaced by Gilbey.   Fraser had struggled to get into the game, perhaps still affected by having had Covid.

After a counter attack by Charlton with a hook on by Stockley, Burstow put it wide of the post.    He perhaps waited too long to make the shot.

Broadhead came off for Sunderland, replaced by the Spurs loan player Clark who soon looked lively.  Gilbey put in a ball to Burstow, but it was blocked.   For the first time in the game it was end to end.

Leko came on to replace Burstow who had not made a great impression on the game.   Pritchard had to come off after a clash with Dobson, he had looked dangerous at times, but his end product was disappointing.

Pearce made an important interception as Clark approached and the game entered the last 15 minutes of normal time.   Purrington got a yellow card for a challenge as the Sunderland players surrounded the referee demanding more.

Macca saved well from Stewart after a good move by the visitors.   Roberts replaced Gooch for Sunderland. 

Steve Brown said Charlton had been harder to break down, but Sunderland won a corner.   DJ headed away.  Sunderland got the ball back in but headed over.

The visitors won another corner, the ball deflecting off Gilbey.   Charlton dealt with the corner well, Stockley made an important challenge.

Macca had to save again as the Black Cats counter attacked.   Five minutes were added on.   Leko won Charlton a free kick by drawing a foul.  Lee took the free kick but Lavelle failed to score with a header which went over the crossbar.  Dobson made a great block as Sunderland threatened and Charlton won the goal kick.   Wright fouled Stockley and got a yellow card.    Lee took the free kick, but Stockley could not take the opportunity and may have been offside anyway. 

Praise for Pearce

Curbs said MacGillivray had had a good game.  We put in some good defensive blocks.  I thought we were more defensive in our wing back play.  We got some decent balls in in the second half, we were just not able to get on the end of it.  Sean Clare said we weathered the storm, sometimes we were our own worst enemy.  Scott Minto said that Pearce was very good.   Sean Clare said you knew what you were getting with Pearcey.  Curbs said some of the balls up to Stockley were aimless.   Sean Clare said that Fraser was a player who needed the ball.

Jason Pearce said we had 'to get back to basics, we done that.  Sunderland had a lot of goals in them, we stayed resolute as a unit.  We feel we needed to be tough on each other, nothing personal.  Macca made two brilliant saves.   Today there was no booing, the fans were really behind us.  We need to be better in possession, we will work on that.  We are delighted with a point.  Accrington's always going to be a tough game.'

Jacko said it was a real battling performance based on hard work and spirit.   'There's been questions asked this week of all of us.  There have been some good honest conversations.  We looked each other in the eye and said we all need to do more.   There was a period in that first half when they were having corners and lots of set plays, Stewart is a real threat in those situations.   I thought Craig was excellent. We did a lot of work in the week on limiting the opportunities, forcing them into wider areas, narrower angles.   Jayden's a massive player for us, excellent work rate from the front.   We need to be better in possession of the ball.  Blackett-Taylor is coming close to fitness.   We've got another clear week, you can focus on your training, another tough test coming up.'

Charlton remained 16th, nine points above the relegation zone.

Sandgaard's plans disappoint some fans

Thomas Sandgaard has set out his plans for the transfer window which include more loan signings to the disappointment of some fans:

Loan signings have been a mixture of the good (Conor Gallagher), the mixed and the poor.  However, any fan who feels able to fund a new player should contact TS.

TS has also explained that he intends to appoint a new CEO and they do not need to have a football background:

Again the lack of a football background has been criticised by some fans.  TS has argued that he wants the club to run as a real business, but the difficulty is that football is unique sector of the economy and society as I have argued in my book Political Football.   I am prepared to offer a free signed copy of the book to any fan who can identify a credible candidate for CEO (entries of Peter Varney not allowed: also please note that signed copies of the book are worth less than unsigned copies).

Of course, some of us recall our experiences with Katrien Meire.   What always puzzled me about her was that she was a competition lawyer but she never apparently told Roland that his assumptions were flawed in competition policy terms.

Stockley lays it on the line

Fans may prefer to blame Johnnie Jackson for recent poor performances, but in a firm message to his fellow players Jayden Stockley has made it clear that the players have to take responsibility for inconsistency:

Speaking like an old fashioned club captain, Stockley said: 'We’ve set ourselves targets and fallen short. If that is not hurting each and every player then there is something seriously wrong – because the mindset has to be to get this club back where it has come from.  If you don’t want to be a part of that journey then there is no use to you being here,'

It's refreshing to see a player take responsibility for what happens on the pitch.

In another development, the club appears to have issued an excessive and random number of complementary tickets for today's game.   The 'Fill The Valley' objective is laudable, but one has to be careful not to upset existing season ticket holders.

Friday 4 March 2022

Could happy days be here again?

Probably not as far as many Charlton fans are concerned as the Addicks face Sunderland at The Valley tomorrow.   Many fans seem to enjoy wallowing in gloom more than looking for more positive signs.  the CAS Trust preview is here:

For what it's worth, the manager of my pharmacy is a keen Sunderland fan.   He regards Charlton as a bogey team and is still recovering from the last play off defeat.  He regards it as a bad omen if I go into his shop just before a match, but I had to go in yesterday and have to go in again today.

Sunderland's recent form has been inconsistent and they are in the bottom half of the form table, although Charlton are second from bottom which will please the fans forecasting relegation.  I don't bet, but if I did Iwould take short odds on Charlton surviving.   The teams below us are not that great.

Last Saturday's 3-1 victory over Wigan for Sunderland included two penalties, but then you have to win them and score them.  Away from home the Black Cats have a remarkable record of win six, draw six, lose six.   No doubt they will be hoping to improve the win column tomorrow.

The local paper has declared that 'it is a good time to play Charlton', citing our run of defeats.  However, the nominated player is more cautious describing it 'as a tough place to go' - but then, of course, that makes the win look even better:

Charlton should have Jayden Stockley and Scott Fraser back with Conor Washington possibly on the bench.  It is difficult to see how we could be expected to win matches without a proper forward line.  Stockley is also key in defence from set pieces, although perhaps we rely on him too much.

However, many fans think the problem is the formation rather than the players.   I simply don't know - I don't have any coaching badges, I have never played even park football or enjoyed any success on Football Manager.

My sport was orienteering and what you learn from that is actually quite relevant to football.   I would say that the key lessons are: having a clear sense of purpose and direction; maintaining a steady pace for the long haul; navigating well and reading the terrain ahead; overcoming obstacles and not becoming disheartened by them.

All that could apply to a football club.   I wasn't able to listen to Thomas Sandgaard's Q and A, but hopefully he is becoming more realistic about the scale of the task he faces.  A summary of the meeting is available here and apparently it reads better than the overnight tweets:

I do not think that a club the size of Charlton can ever be in the Premier League again.  With the Championship distorted by parachute payments even that is a big ask so clubs like Peterborough end up as yo-yo teams.   We may have to settle for League One football for a few years yet.   Some fans may leave, but we could then up with fewer moaners and more of a core of loyal supporters.

Thursday 3 March 2022

Ramsgate fan rebukes owner

Tweeting from his Thanet base,VOTV editor Rick Everitt has pointed out a number of errors in recent statements by Thomas Sandgaard.

'According to TS last night, Charlton made an operating loss of £100m over several decades before RD turned up. Club did run an operating loss 1992-1998 - which aggregates to £7m. From 1999 to 2008 it often made an operating profit but the aggregate is a loss of about £15m.

This isn’t the actual loss though because it doesn’t account for player trading. In the next seven years, under RD, the operating loss was £70.5m. Thomas claimed that RD improved the finances but the facts suggest he made them MUCH worse.

Charlton made an operating PROFIT during five of eight PL seasons and lost £59k in another. They did make an operating loss of £7.5m in 2005/06 and £11.6m in 06/07, and £6.6m in the First Division in 99/00, but the claim there was a £100m cumulative operating loss pre-2014 is false.

In 2009/10 it would have made an operating loss of £3m on trading without a big debt write-off (which shows as profit). Thereafter the operating loss was £10m in 2009/10, £6m in 10/11, £6.8m in 11/12, £6.4m in 12/13. So, you can make a case for about £50m over 21 years before RD.

It’s also the case that the"Spivs"* inherited relatively little debt in 2010/11, because the former board had wiped most of it in 2009. Comparisons with Derby County are ridiculous and amount to no more than the obvious point that English football is a money pit. Yes, we know!'

* Shome mishtake shurely - ed. Experienced entrepreneurs who had plans for a new ground for the club

A long-standing fan from London has provided an alternative view: 'There seems to be some dissent on TS comments around the debt of the club when RD bought it. Rick Everitt is disputing TS figure of £100M saying it was only about £7-8M and that the club made some small profits when in the Premier League. 

Without looking at the accounts I guess the difference is RE is looking at the balance sheet, which doesn’t include any directors’ loans that had been written off, whereas TS is including them as the loads were required to cover external debt so therefore meant there was a loss that would have been shown if the loan was still in place. I get where TS is coming from.'

Jacko's plea for time

Keyboard warriors are calling for Johnnie Jackson to go (probably the same ones who called for him to be hired), but Jacko thinks that the time to judge him is after the summer and the transfer window:

Washington back soon

Conor Washington should be back soon.  If I read this correctly, he could be on the bench against Sunderland and return against Accrington Stanley:

Complainers say that the absence of a forward line has nothing to do with the absence of a forward one and is the result of Jacko choosing the wrong formation.  As I don't have a coaching badge, I can't adjudicate.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Sandgaard claims get sceptical reception from fans

Thomas Sandgaard has claimed that Charlton have the third largest budget in League One:

He also claims that Charlton are aiming for a top two finish next season and that Johnnie Jackson remains part of his plans which will disappoint those fans who have been calling for the manager's head:

Sandgaard's claims have been greeted with scepticism by some fans who say they have heard it all before. It is also being said that Sandgaard is now telling people how badly the club was run when it was in the Premier League, based on the operating losses.  It is questionable whether he can have a useful opinion given he wasn’t around at the time. He seems to have taken on board certain things from Roland about how the latter was let down by the staff, but of course they were Roland’s staff.

Having said that, he is the owner and we are unlikely to get a new one - even Chelsea may not find that easy.   I always feel constrained about criticising owners when all I put in to the club is a season ticket and a Valley Gold subscription.   Actually I have put some money into my non-league club because at that level a few K can make a real difference.

Some perspective is needed on ownership issues,  Although it now seems a long time ago we had the spivs  who wanted to sell The Valley and move to a soulless stadium on the Greenwich Peninsula.   [Ed - entrepreneurial owners with a strategic vision].  We then had Roland who hollowed out the club.  They were followed by East Street Investments who admittedly brought a new class of vehicle to the West Stand car park, but attracted the opprobrium of fans despite their unique entrepreneurial qualities.

I know some fans say it is a ridiculous argument to say that we should be glad to have a club, but it was in real jeopardy and may still be.   I would rather play in the National League than disappear altogether.

I think that TS is a classic example of someone who has been successful in business thinking that they can apply those skills in football which is a unique sector of the economy and society.   Any person with money would be best advised to stay away because you will turn a large fortune into a small one and get a lot of grief along the way.

'Wronged' Southall seeks to prove his point

Matt Southall feels that he was wronged at Charlton and is out to prove a point with his involvement at Rochdale which is heading for a court case:

Come back Roland, all is forgiven?!

Football fans, particularly Charlton fans, never cease to amaze me.  I often wonder about their decision-making in their day jobs, but I suppose a different side of their personality comes out in football.

A number of fans on social media keep suggesting that life was better when Roland was 'in charge'.  They argue that he provided funds: yes, he did, but they were loans with interest attached.  The interest rate was reasonable, but the club now has a big pile of debt which could still threaten its future.   The first thing that TS has to pay for is the lease on The Valley and Sparrow Lane.

The barmy Belgian had no emotional connection with the club, attending just one match.   His interest was in building a network of European clubs, an idea poorly executed and eventually abandoned.  In the meantime he foisted on us some hopeless continental players (nominated by boy wonder Thomas Driesen) and a merry go round of managers.   Remember Karel Fraeye?

He also appointed a chief executive with no prior experience in football who negotiated some poor contracts with excessive lengths, inflated wages and a lack of sell on deals.   Then we had innovations like the fan sofa which is as naff as it gets.

Perhaps worst of all, he allowed the sale of the club to East Street Investments.  

Some people say that TS doesn't have enough, but people need to wake up and smell the coffee.  A billionaire is never going to come to Charlton.

Some people object to him playing his guitar on the pitch, but if I put millions into a club I would expect some personal benefits.

Some of the money has been poorly spent, but that happens at clubs apart from Charlton.  I was as guilty in many other fans in thinking that Kirk was a good signing.

Last night's results show once again that the clubs below us are not that great and at least four or five of them are clearly worse.