Friday 30 September 2022

'We can still do it'

Jack Payne evokes the spirit of the win over Plymouth ahead of the visit of Gobby's Oxford United to The Valley tomorrow:

Gobby is under pressure from the new Indonesian owners to get Oxford out of League One and has been restrained in the bull**** this week.

CAS Trust think that a result is vital, but don't predict an outcome:

Oxford are 19th in the league but above Charlton in the form table.   Away from home they have won one and lost two.

A bumper last issue of Voice of the Valley will be on sale around the ground tomorrow.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Wollacott not good enough says gospel singer

Joe Wollacott was benched for Ghana's friendly against Nicaragua on Tuesday, but is expected to feature in their World Cup squad:

However, a gospel singer has said that Wollacott is not good enough, particularly in commanding his area and communicating with his defence:

Richard Cawley of the SLP comments: 'We really should have more of this. Cliff Richard on why Harry Maguire merits a starting place. Phil Collins on why 4-4-2 is the best approach for England. Stormzy outlining better pressing tactics.'

Payne could be target for Oxford fans

Jack Payne is likely to be a target for Oxford fans on Saturday given his time at the Magic Roundabout, but that will only fire him up:

Presumably they don't like Garner much either.

Oxford are now majority Indonesian owned, but their start to the season has been judged 'ponderous':

Sunday 25 September 2022

The blame game

In his interview with Charlton TV on Saturday Scott Fraser said that most games are decided in both boxes.  In a sense this is a statement of the obvious, but it was certainly proved against Barnsley: woeful defending and a failure to take chances.   Hence, once again dominance in spells of the game was not turned into a result.   Similar points are made by Louis Mendez:

For me this is down to the players at least as much as the manager or the owner.  The squad is not good enough to secure promotion, but the players are capable of delivering more individually and collectively.

Ben Garner thinks there is enough quality in the squad, but it was only shown on Saturday between the two boxes - which matters but is not what really counts.  I once saw a non-league team which seemed to consist entirely of midfield players with an inevitable result.   It's an old Charlton story - excellent in training, poor on the day:

Saturday 24 September 2022

Defeat oop North

Charlton are down to 16th and three points above the relegation zone after a 3-1 defeat at Barnsley.

Barnsley opened the scoring on nine minutes with a rocket shot from distance by Benson which went into the top tight-hand corner of MacGillivray's goal leaving him with no chance.

Rak-Sakyi threatened, but was dispossessed and Morgan sent the ball high into the stands.

Morgan put in a long cross field ball but Blackett-Taylor shot over.

Rak-Sakyi was about to pull the trigger, but the defender was able to put the ball out for a corner.  Nothing wrong with Morgan's corner, but the move ended with Clare shooting over.

In the two minutes added on a Barnsley corner had to be cleared from under the crossbar by O'Connell, the follow up corner was unproductive.

Charlton had had some chances, but were not clinical in front of goal with shots blazing over the bar.  The tempo of the game was rather slow.

Scott Minto thought that it wasn't a bad first half in terms of performance.   Steve Brown was critical of the lack of closing down for the shot allowing a midfielder to pick it up.  We had picked ourselves up and played some good stuff, but we were too deep.  Peter Shirtliff had had situations as good as the Barnsley goal, but the final piece wasn't there.   Steve Brown said we hadn't had a shot on target (despite seven attempts).

HT: 1-0

Barnsley made it 2-0 on 53 minutes with a back flick in front of goal.   Charlton failed to deal with a ball on the left side of their penalty area with O'Connell caught in possession.

Leaburn replaced Blackett-Taylor on 58 minutes.   Kirk came on in place of Fraser.

Barnsley came close to scoring after Dobson gave the ball away in a rare error.   Charlton were looking shell shocked.   The game was slow and scrappy which suited Barnsley.

Charlton made a triple change including Rak-Sakyi who had picked up a knock. McGrandles replaced Dobson. Payne and Sessegnon came on.   O'Connell was just over the bar from a corner, another chance missed.

Williams fed an unmarked Cole who made it 3-0 for the home side.   On 84 minutes Charlton got a consolation through Payne who finished well after good work by McGrandles.

Charlton tried to apply pressure in the seven minutes added on but to no avail.

The pundits

Peter Shirtliff said that Charlton had played some nice football, but should have come in at least 1-1 at half time.  They gave two goals to Barnsley in the second half, although the home side had hardly dominated the game.

Scott Minto said it was a really poor second half.   Steve Brown thought that Rak-Sakyi and Blackett-Taylor were dangerous.  You couldn't defend your penalty area like we did.   Peter Shirtliff thought that the score flattered Barnsley.  

Ben Garner: the difference between training and playing

Ben Garner said it wasn't good enough at both ends of the pitch, we didn't play with enough intensity. The first half overall was a very good performance.   In the second half it was moments, two very poor goals, you can't give goals away like that.   I'm not blaming anyone other than myself.   We've given them the game second half.  It has to improve and it's on my shoulders.  [Asked about the five substitutions] he said that Jes had rolled his ankle.  The players were trying possibly too hard.  The way we controlled the first half here away at Barnsley was fantastic, there were so many positives.  [Three shots on target for them, one for us].  We have to try and get back to where the club should be.  [Can the players handle the pressure?]  I don't know, there's a big gap between what I see in training and what I see in games.

Richard Cawley commented: 'Lot of talk internally at club about it not being a quick fix for Charlton, but this is their third season back in League One. And at the moment it's not really looking very promising - at all - for a Championship return.'

Friday 23 September 2022

Ben Garner's frustration

Ben Garner talks about his frustration at not being able to spend money on transfer fees during his managerial career and the lack of available money when he came to Charlton:

He isn't finding it an easy ride at Charlton.

Pompey boss hits out at Sandgaard

Portsmouth supremo Danny Cowley has hit back at claims by Thomas Sandgaard that Pompey are trying to aggressively buy their way into the Championship:

Garner emphasises relationship between fans and players

Ben Garner answered a series of questions at a CAS Trust meeting:

He commented: 'The psychological side is vital. The players really need to believe in it. If there are setbacks their confidence can falter. Against Fleetwood we resorted to direct football too early. The players need to be mentally strong even if the supporters are getting impatient. If we don't stick at it how are we going to get better at it?'

He made a number of observations about individual players including Jayden Stockley, Sean Clare and Chuks Aneke.

He emphasised that 'The club is just getting aligned again after all the turmoil and difficulties.'

Return of the Mac

Craig MacGillivray will stand in for Joe Wolacott at Barnsley tomorrow as the first choice goalkeeper is on international duty:

Chuks Aneke remains injured.  Ryan Inniss will be available after his one match ban, although that will be a mixed blessing as far as some fans are concerned.

Charlie Kirk is in the selection frame for Barnsley after being dropped:

Barnsley are currently 6th in the League One table and 5th in the form table.  At home they have won two games, drawn one and lost one.   Last Saturday they won 3-0 at Cambridge.

CAS Trust think that getting something from this game will be a tall order and a point on the road would be a good result:

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Praise for Rak-Sakyi's potential

The Arhletic profiles Jesurun Rak-Sakyi.   Even leading moaners at The Valley have found it hard to say something negative about him.

The 19-year-old’s impact at The Valley has been so impressive that after a handful of appearances he is the centre-fold of the programme. His links with Palace, from whom he is on a season-long loan, are almost forgotten.

Almost, but not quite. Towards the end of the first half, a cross came in and Rak-Sakyi powered a header towards goal which Luke McGee pushed away. Then it came: “Jes Rak-Sakyi is a red, he hates Palace,” sang the home supporters.

“He’s very level-headed but in a self-confident way,” Charlton manager Ben Garner said. “He’s not rash or arrogant; he’s a quiet, unassuming lad who mixes well with the other players but has that inner steel and self-confidence which is so important for attacking players.

“He takes everything in his stride and has adapted very quickly to the challenges and physical demands of the game.”

Against Forest Green, the forward, released by Chelsea in 2019 as a 16-year-old without a scholarship — “the only thing I’d ever known” — was relatively quiet. But he still posed a threat. His confidence and talent were obvious. Any concerns over the physicality of the league have been banished, despite his wiry frame.

Early on, he had the beating of left-back Corey O’Keeffe almost every time. A shift of bodyweight, a darting run down the flank and a cut inside to find a team-mate or take a shot. It all seemed so natural.

In the first half, he darted beyond three players into the penalty area but went down easily, with a free kick awarded against him. In the second half, he again shimmied beyond several opponents and into a dangerous position, but his shot was a wild hack over the bar.

This was not his best performance. The decision-making is not quite there — but his potential showed.

 It is Rak-Sakyi’s dynamic movement, the ability to escape difficult situations and the close control in his dribbling that has endeared him to Charlton fans so quickly.

“Every time he’s played for us he looks like creating or scoring,” Garner added. “If he keeps working on his technique and understanding of certain situations, he will score more goals.”


Saturday 17 September 2022


Miles Leaburn scored a second half equaliser for Charlton in a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood today.  Charlton remain 13th in the table. 

There were few shots on target, two for Fleetwood and three for Charlton.

Charlton’s best chance of the first half fell to Jesurun Rak-Sakyi but he fired over from eight yards out following good work from Charles Clayden.


At the other end Lewis Warrington, Dan Batty and Harvey Macadam all missed the target with efforts on goal, and Admiral Muskwe sent a fierce effort on the turn narrowly over shortly before half-time.

The breakthrough came when Macadam’s ball from the right was missed by Batty and Morton reacted quickest to blast into the roof of the net.

Charlton went agonisingly close to an equaliser in the second half, with Corey Blackett-Taylor crashing a shot against the bar and Mandela Egbo’s teasing cross deceiving everyone in the box and coming back off the inside of the post.

But, just as it looked like Charlton would not find a leveller, Rak-Sakyi’s ball came to substitute Leaburn – introduced just three minutes earlier – and he neatly flicked the ball into the bottom corner of the net.   It has been remarked that Leaburn Senior made a similar back flick at Upton Park 31 years ago.

Rak-Sakyi had a glorious chance to snatch victory as Charlton broke away in stoppage time but keeper Jay Lynch denied him and the game ended all square.

Friday 16 September 2022

No Garner at Fleetwood

Ben Garner will not be in charge at Fleetwood this afternoon after contracting Covid.  Scott Marshall will take the lead.

Garner said: 'We’ve got Anthony Hayes and Glyn Shimell on the coaching staff – plus all the support staff like analysis, sports science and medical. We’re fortunate we have got a very close group and they are all really hard-working.'

Chuks Aneke is the only player not available through injury, although Steven Sessegnon has only trained for two days and will not be used:

Cod Army are global force

Manchester City have their global City Football Group and now Chelsea are seeking to emulate them:

What is not often realised is that Saturday's opponents Fleetwood Town are ahead of the curve.  Fleetwood United are in the UAE's third division and Western Cape Fleetwood are in South Africa's fourth division.  They share the Cod Army's strip.   The owner has companies in Dubai and Cape Town.

Fleetwood are the type of club that Charlton fans moan about when they express their disquiet about having to play in League One.   The population of the town is 25,000, but the club has made £3m from transfer fees in recent seasons.

Every team in League One is there on merit and we have no divine right to beat them because we are a 'big' club.  Fleetwood beat Peterborough 1-0 away midweek.   An away point tomorrow would satisfy me.

Remember the recipe for a long life: support Charlton and only drink alcohol when they win.

I'm going to watch my local non-league club, Leamington, at home in the FA Cup tomorrow.  Admission is £10 with a free cup of tea and biscuits at half time.   The Brakes now have the best defensive record of any club from the Premier League downwards this season, largely thanks to 'The Hawk', the keeper brought in from Burton Albion.

The CAS Trust preview is pessimistic:

Wednesday 14 September 2022

How not to win friends and influence people

Remarks by Charlton non-executive director Leo Rifkind have gone like a lead balloon with fans.

Rifkind tweeted, ‘Financial sustainability in football means money going out = money going in. This means that the club is its own guardian and is ultimately not dependent on ownership funding. We, the fans, as supporting a club in buying tickets effectively own the decision making of a club.’

VOTV editor Rick Everitt retorted, ‘In what sense are you a fan and who are you to tell us about Charlton? You’re just hired help and you know nothing about what works or doesn’t work at this club. If you had any understanding you’d tell Thomas Sandgaard his pricing is absurd, as fans all know.’

Legal eagle Lauren Kreamer commented: ‘The first is that it's staggeringly ill-timed, coming after a bang-average draw to Forest Green on a rainy Tuesday night with the Valley about 1/3 full (if that), where our lack of summer investment was all too apparent.

The idea that fans not buying tickets is the problem would be laughable if it weren't so insulting. People are lying awake at night wondering how they're going to pay their energy bills this winter, and tickets are over £30. There are a multitude of factors at play.

If fans "effectively owned the decision-making", we would have spent some of the Pope + Burstow millions on a striker this summer, we wouldn't have touched the Robots with a bargepole, and the proper Charlton people who have been "made redundant" would still be at the club.

Anyone who believes that ticket sales alone could ever give financial sustainability is deluded. On Duch√Ętelet's (admittedly daft) valuation of the Valley, we would have to sell it out at £30 a ticket (with zero other expenditure) over 60 times to buy it back. See the problem?

The idea that fans are to blame for what we're seeing is deeply concerning. It's out of a playbook we thought had been thrown out. If you can ask us with a straight face "how we are prepared to support our club", you have clearly learned nothing in your short time at our club.

It's 30 years since our fans founded a political party, dug weeds with their bare hands, did everything in their power to get us home. I was six months old. 28 years later, I did what little I could to keep our club safe, like so many have done before me. It's what we do.

Supporter groups have tried time and again to share our combined centuries of knowledge about the club we love. We've mostly been ignored. If you genuinely want to hear our thoughts and learn from our expertise, you know where we are.’

A response from CAS Trust is here:

Why Kirk was left out

My newsagent uncle was a great advocate of 'reading between the lines' of newspaper stories and this is what Richard Cawley reckons we should do in relation to Ben Garner's account of why Charlie Kirk was left out of last night's squad: 

Garner also explained why Jayden Stockley was left out (not entirely convincingly) and why Miles Leaburn started (more convincingly).  He was able to offer relatively little hope on Chuks Aneke:

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Where's the beef?

Charlton are 14th in League One tonight after a 1-1 draw at The Valley with Forest Green Rovers.

The Addicks went ahead after nine minutes, Corey Blackett-Taylor collecting Jack Payne's pass before striking a right-footed finish into the roof of the net.

Blackett-Taylor failed to find the target with a number of other shooting opportunities in the opening 45 minutes.

The hosts paid the price for not making the most of their promising openings as Forest Green levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Charlton goalkeeper Joe Wollacott failed to hold Dominic Bernard's cross and Wickham was on hand to produce a first-time strike.

Charlton survived a couple of goalmouth scrambles in the second half, with Wickham also glancing a Regan Hendry corner narrowly past the far post.

Rovers keeper Luke McGee parried a Jayden Stockley effort, with Jesurun Rak-Sakyi also hooking an attempt over.

The Addicks were reduced to 10 men at the end of six minutes of stoppage time, Ryan Inniss receiving a second yellow card from referee John Busby for a late aerial challenge on Christian Marques.

At least one fan went away happy, winning £11,500 in the half time crossbar challenge.

Ben Garner thought that the second yellow card for Ryan Inniss was harsh and thought that there were a number of errors in the five to six minute period before Joe Wollacott spilled the ball to conceal the equaliser:

Monday 12 September 2022

No free agent striker signing

Charlton will not be signing a free agent striker as no one suitable is available.  Ben Garner wants goals from, all over the team and is going to call more on products of the Academy:

Garner has kept his cards close to his chest ahead of tomorrow night's fixture against the Vegans:

Charlton will be up against former Leamington ace Josh March who scored the winner against Accrington.

Saturday 10 September 2022

The challenges facing Charlton

Scott Fraser reviews the challenges facing Charlton and says we should not overreact to the Bolton defeat:

On a purely personal note, I am to become a great-grandfather in April.   The father plays egg chasing!

Friday 9 September 2022

A club in transition

Charlton fans see the club in transition according to a CAST survey, but the question is transition to what - something better or something worse:

Like all EFL and Premier League matches, tomorrow's game against the Grecians has been called off.

No international break for Charlton

There will be no international break for Charlton and Joe Wollacot will not be available for the Barnsley game.  Craig MacGillivray will deputise.   It was reported that he would be getting his kilt out of storage to join Dundee or Dundee United but the deal did not happen:

Forster-Caskey Wombles deal fell through

A deal to reunite Jake Forster-Caskey with Johnnie Jackson fell through on transfer deadline day.  The report implies that there was incompetence at Sparrows Lane:

Forster-Caskey doesn't seem to have much of a future at Charlton and may leave in January.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Charlton took a step back at Bolton

Scott Fraser is disappointed that Charlton didn't build on their good start at Bolton, but thinks that the equaliser was a handball:

Her Majesty the Queen, EFL fixtures

I am old enough to remember the death of George VIth and the Coronation was a major event of my childhood.  I still have my Coronation mug.  The Queen has been a model of a constitutional monarch and has shown a selfless sense of duty and service.

The English Football League has postponed its two games on Friday.   "A determination regarding the remainder of this weekend's scheduled fixtures will be made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with DCMS and other sports on Friday morning," said an EFL statement. 

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Centre back signs

Former Academy player Terrell Thomas has signed for Charlton: 

Additional cover there is welcome, a forward would be even more so, but there are not many good ones who are free agents.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Wollacott to face Brazil?

Joe Wollacott has been called up for the Ghana squad that is to play a friendly against Brazil:

This could affect his availability for the Barnsley game depending on other international call ups.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Squad not good enough for top six finish

Ben Garner admits that a top six finish would be an over achievement with the squad he has:

TS's break even target is not really achievable in League One, although I think it is actually harder in the Championship given the crazy spending there.

But I'm not putting £8m a year in to stem the losses.   There are limits to what can be expected of an owner.

Expected defeat

I had this down as a 3-0 win for Bolton in the Badger prediction league so the result was more or less what I expected given our poor record there.

Ian Evatt's side were indebted to on-loan Manchester City keeper James Trafford, who twice denied teenager Jesurun Rak-Sakyi with the Trotters leading 2-1.

The Crystal Palace loanee's persistence had forced an error from Johnston for Scott Fraser to fire the Addicks into a fifth-minute lead.

Wanderers equalised when Bradley bundled in Jack Iredale's cross after nine minutes.

Gethin Jones and Bradley then linked for Lee to shoot Wanderers in front with his first goal since last January.

Trafford had already denied Albie Morgan in the first half before keeping out efforts in quick succession from the dangerous Rak-Sakyi, who also curled another fractionally wide

George Thomason had a goal disallowed for offside before Johnson's 76th-minute effort sealed the victory.

Ben Garner reckons we gave Bolton three goals:

Louis Mendez gives his four takeaways from the match, noting that it is the third league match in a row where the Addicks have been below par:

Free agent defender at Sparrows Lane

Free agent Terrell Thomas is training with Charlton:

The Saint Lucia international was in the Academy:

Good news on injured players

Ben Garner hopes to have almost all of his injured players back within a fortnight:

Friday 2 September 2022

Garner hopes Henry will stay

Ben Garner is hoping that Aaron Henry can be part of his long-term plans.  He is out of contract at the end of the season:

Bolton opt for financial prudence

Bolton Wanderers did not make any more signings as the transfer window deadline approached, despite being offered players from the Premier League and the Championship.   The reason was financial prudence:

In 10th place, Bolton have won two and lost one at home.

After last week's defeat at Plymouth, manager Ian Evatt said that defenders were blaming attackers for not taking chances and attackers were blaming defenders for not keeping clean sheets.  'It is a vicious circle.  We fix it by defending our own box better and making sure we take our chances.'  Easy to say, harder to do.

CAS Trust reminds us of our dismal record at Bolton:

I have this down for a 3-0 defeat in the Badger prediction league.

Thursday 1 September 2022

Transfer window ends with a whimper

Attempts to bring Macaulay Bonne in on loan ended when QPR pulled the plug for reasons that are unclear.  I wasn't that enthusiastic about the deal given his difficulty in hitting the proverbial barn door.

The club is now going to look at free agents, but there will be slim pickings there.

Alex Gilbey has gone to Stevenage.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt commented:'Sandgaard’s failure to back the manager sufficiently in the transfer window means he and not Garner will be seen as culpable if Charlton fall short. He might want to hold off on the next appearance in front of away fans. Most fans recognise the case for financial sustainability, but it isn’t going to happen in L1 whatever the owner claims, and premium ticket prices won’t work either. The only way is up, literally, so we have to hope the manager is a miracle-worker.'

Ben Garner talks about his disappointment in the transfer window and what he is looking for in the free agent market: