Sunday 30 April 2023

Methven fronted consortium said to have submitted new offer

Sky Sports News is claiming that the California-based consortium led by billionaire Joshua Friedman has submitted an improved offer for Charlton.   This is the consortium fronted by Charlie Methven:

The report claims that the Marc Spiegel bid is about to collapse and we certainly know that it has hit a roadblock.  However, I have no independent verification of the Sky report from a reliable source.

Richard Cawley comments: 'Not surprised at this development. Charlie Methven’s fronted bid already done bulk of due diligence etc so would be swiftest one to resolve.'

Good information and good sense from Dave here:

Saturday 29 April 2023

Win in last home game

Charlton beat Port Vale 3-3 at The Valley this afternoon and are now assured of a top half of the table finish.

585,652 supporters missed the win.

After 14 minutes the ball is whipped in from the right by Albie Morgan. Forrester doesn't get enough on a clearing header and the ball drops to Tyreece Campbell who drills it low to beat Stone at his near post.

Steven Sessegnon went close to adding to Charlton's advantage but his 25-yard effort dropped narrowly wide of the right upright.

Jes Rak-Sakyi gets the ball on the right of the area, turns away from Benning in a 50-50 duel, cuts inside and bends the ball into the far corner.  2-0 on 59 minutes.

Benning's inswinging corner breaks for Plant who volleys home from close range to make it 2-1 on 62 minutes.

Ashley Maynard-Brewer denied the visitors an equaliser, pushing away Tom Conlon's free-kick.

Charlton break down Vale's left and the ball is worked across for Miles Leaburn to score at the far post on 78 minutes

Politic's shot is handled in the area and Taylor scores from the spot on 97 minutes.

Friday 28 April 2023

Takeover delayed

Marc Spiegel's takeover of Charlton will not happen today, report s Richard Cawley.  Intention had been for that to be the case. Described to Cawley  as "a roadblock" - which was not originally anticipated. Both sides are aiming to still reach a resolution in coming days.

Spiegel's group are now out of exclusivity and that means that Thomas Sandgaard is free to talk to other interested parties.

Thomas Sandgaard responded to an email Cawley sent him yesterday evening saying that today was not a deadline he had set for Spiegel's takeover to happen. He said that people were "working hard" to complete the deal.

VOTV website editor Rick Everitt commented: ‘Second hit to Spiegel’s credibility this week. Crazy prospectus and now failing to deliver on his own briefing promise. Not a good look.’

One last chance to impress at home

At least it was fun on the last day when they came.  Hartlepool now face relegation to the National League.

Burslem's finest come to The Valley tomorrow for the last home game, one that is unlikely to inspire much excitement.  Most of the 600,000 Charlton 'followers' will probably not even check the score.

Port Vale did look relegation threatened at one point, but have scraped together points to avoid the drop, including a 2-0 home win over Bristol Rovers last Saturday.   This result broke an eight game run without a win.

Vale had sacked manager Darrell Clarke with Andy Crosby in interim charge.

Away from home Vale have won five, drawn five and lost twelve.  38 goals have been conceded.  Charlton have won eight, drawn seven and lost seven at home.

Most fans are more focused on what is happening off the pitch, not that developments give much comfort. It would be good if the team could put together a decent performance, but I am not very hopeful.

CAS Trust ask whether it will be a Shrewsbuiy surprise or Morcambe misery?  My guess would be a rather boring draw.

Thursday 27 April 2023

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Investment plea is for acquisitions

Richard Cawley reports: ‘Had further contact from Marc Spiegel's side regarding Charlton takeover. They say they are not looking for funds to run or acquire the club. They say the investment document circulating is to raise funds for some acquisition plans in the next 12-18 months.

Spiegel's side also say they have not been critical of staff or support. Say they had both "in the highest regard" and their desire is to "re-energise". They add they have "nothing but praise for what they have endured in last few years".

They also add that isn't a criticism of Thomas Sandgaard and that without his intervention there "wouldn't be a club" - "all credit to him for rescuing it".’

My hope is that the 600,000 Charlton fans in London don't turn up for the Port Vale game on Saturday.  Perhaps some of them will go to that other London club, MK Dons.

The investment document is a mixture of half truths and misconceptions, to put it mildly.  It doesn't speak well of the prospective owners.

£20m would largely be eaten up by two years' losses, unless some of the 600,000 turn up in SE7.

Spiegel aims to complete the takeover tomorrow (Friday):

CAS Trust are unsurprisingly pessimistic about the investment document (there is a link to read it in full) and explain where the mysterious 600,000 figure might have come from:

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Takeover closer?

Richard Cawley reports that a spokesperson for Marc Spiegel says that they look like they may close their deal for Charlton this week. Exclusivity period has expired with Thomas Sandgaard but they also added that negotiations and talks have continued since then.

Cawley warns, ‘Not only does any party buying Charlton need to pay the sum agreed with Thomas Sandgaard, they also have to show EFL how they will fund/run the club for the next couple of years. That process has become more stringent.’

He adds: 'If the deal falls through then TS needs to cover the losses. Summer months are the most painful as no income. Not got exact figures to hand but think £700k a month.'

According to Bloomberg, Spiegel is seeking financial backers for his takeover.   His bidding company — Football Strategies Group — has been in discussions with Charlton since early February, according to an investor document. 

Football Strategies Group signed a potential £11.6 million ($14.4 million) deal for Charlton. It is also looking to inject £20 million into the London club, according to the document. It describes loss-making Charlton as an attractive risk-adjusted investment, though doesn’t say what size stake is being offered. 

“Our ambitions are more than just purchasing a club,” Spiegel said in a telephone interview with Bloonberg. “We want to elevate the club, expose it to new audience and win on the pitch.” A spokesperson for Charlton declined to comment. 

From Spiegel's Charlton sales document: 'Current talent level and work ethic among employee base is not up to par.' VOTV website editor Rick Everitt comments: 'Might well be true but I’m not sure this is how you want to introduce yourself to existing staff?'

Saturday 22 April 2023

Shrimps net Charlton

A fellow fan messaged me beforehand to say that this was surely a three point banker, but Morecambe won 3-2 at The Valley just as they did last year.

Aaron Henry replaced Scott Fraser in the Charlton team against Morecambe this afternoon.

Morecambe took the lead after seven minutes following a mistake by Aaron Henry through a powerful and accurate strike by Stockton which went into the top corner.   Charlton had not won this season after conceding the first goal.

Dobson had to make a saving tackle to deny a threat which would have led to a second for Morecambe.

Steve Brown criticised the Charlton performance as loose and slack.   There was a lack of tempo.

Charlton won a corner after an unforced error from a cross by Payne.  The ball flashed across the goal.

Hector conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area.   The ball went straight into the wall.

Leaburn received a yellow card after an incident with Souare who fell to the ground.

Steve Brown noted that Albie Morgan in an attacking midfield role was struggling to get into the game.  He was being man marked.

A Henry corner was easily gathered by Ripley.   Stockton tried to lift the ball over Maynard-Brewer, but did not succeed.

With three minutes added on, Charlton equalised.   Sessegnon put in good work, crossed to Payne and the ball came off Rak-Sakyi's knee.

Louis Mendez commented: 'We've been treated to some poor displays this season but that first-half, other than the very end, must be right down there.'

Steve Brown said that the one thing that stuck out for him was tempo, we were so slow.  Curbs thought that Morecambe had done a real good job on us.   'I've been saying this for some time, I don't think there are enough leaders out there.'  It took us a long time to get over the goal.  

HT: Addicks 1, Shrimps 1

Charlton won an early corner.   Payne took the corner, but Leaburn's header went over.

Souare had kept Rak-Sakyi in check, but had to be replaced because of an apparent hamstring.  

Morecambe took the lead again after Stockton slid in after the cross came in.  The defending was poor.  Charlton were aggrieved that they did not get a free kick for a foul on the halfway line. 

Charlton made a double substitution.   Payne was replaced by Campbell.   Fraser came on for Henry.

Dobson won a corner.  Fraser's corner was headed away.  Ripley gathered a cross from Campbell.

Maynard-Brewer got a hand to a shot from Stockton, but Weir scored on 63 minutes.   Charlton thought there had been a handball on halfway and let Morecambe players run.   Steve Brown said that naivety was the kindest way he could put it.   There was no resilience, no desire to defend the penalty area.

Sessegnon made way for Kanu.   Steve Brown thought that Leaburn looked leggy and tired. 

Fraser collected the ball, turned instantly and put the ball past Ripley to make it 2-3.

Rak-Sakyi's effort was deflected wide for a corner taken by Morgan.   The ball was cleared off the line by Stockton.  The move ended in a handball.

Campbell put in a great cross, but Kanu's effort was deflected.   The corner was unproductive.

Six minutes were added on.  Charlton won a free kick near the corner flag, but everybody was stationary.

It was Morecambe's first away win in 20 games.

Curbs said it just wasn't good enough.  Dale Stephens said we had conceded really sloppy poor goals.

Dean Holden says we cannot lose to the likes of Morecambe if we are going to challenge next season:

Louis Mendez is unsparing in his criticism of the Addicks in his four takeaways from the game and what he has to say hits the nail on the head.   This is a side lacking character:

Not been a good football weekend, as my non-league side was relegated from the National League North.  

Payne's 'difficult' campaign

Jack Payne says it has been a 'frustrating' season for him, but he doesn't think he has been unfairly treated and he has been his own biggest critic:

Friday 21 April 2023

Charlton go shrimping

Charlton face a Morecambe side desperate for points in their relegation battle at The Valley tomorrow. Away from home, the Shrimps have won just one, drawn six and lost 14.  They have conceded 42 goals.  Charlton have won eight, drawn seven and lost six at home.  

Cole Stockton scored the winning goal at home to Wycombe last Saturday and he seems to have found his shooting boots again after an indifferent season by his former standards.

Morecambe have faced some ownership ups and downs with the takeover by a 20-year old entrepreneur not yet complete.   Wages have been paid late.  Their low average attendances (4,310 last season) make it difficult to compete in League One.

Morecambe boss Derek Adams reckons that Charlton should have been contending for promotion this season and takes hope from last year's 3-2 victory at The Valley:

I had forgotten that Morecambe has signed former Addick ace Papa Souare in a desperate attempt to strengthen their squad:

As CAS Trust say, attention will soon switch to the ownership situation and whether there will be funds for strengthening the squad.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Three points on the road

Charlton moved back to 10th in League One after beating MK Dons 1-0 this evening.   Macauley Bonne was dropped after his social media antics and there were four changes overall:

Holden has now drawn a line under this issue:

Jack Payne struck the winner to condemn the Dons to their first defeat in eight games and leave them three points above the drop zone with three matches remaining.

Both teams struggled for fluency in the first half, with MK Dons forward and former Addick Jonathan Leko coming closest when his shot from outside the box was tipped onto the post by Ashley Maynard-Brewer.

A terrific driving run down the left by Zak Jules three minutes after the restart led to him picking out Mo Eisa, whose shot was pushed away by the alert Maynard-Brewer.

It took until the 56th minute for Charlton to have their first shot on target when Steven Sessegnon's swerving strike from distance needed beating away by Jamie Cumming.

But he had no chance when Payne broke the deadlock on the hour mark by whipping a superb finish into the far corner from Jesurun Rak-Sakyi's lay-off, ensuring the Addicks bounced back from Saturday's 6-0 hammering at Ipswich.

The Addickted have been commenting on social media that Payne is an underrated player who should be used more.

Dean Holden saw it as the perfect response to last Saturday's drubbing at Ipswich and said it was a committed performance by players which saw the first clean sheet since February:

Can Dons defend their franchise?

I don't really buy into the 'worst result in Tier 3 since dinosaurs were roaming in Maryon Park' narrative about the defeat at Ipswich.

It was, of course, a very poor result.   The midfield caved in and the defence had no answer to an excellent Ipswich side who have had money lavished on them.

Tonight we face MK Dons who are keen to defend their franchise and avoid being relegated to League Two and the ignominy of facing AFC Wimbledon.   The Wombles are now 19th in League Two, although probably safe from relegation.   At least the 'Johnnie Jackson was a great manager who should never have been sacked' crowd have piped down.

MK Dons are 19th in League One, but had moved up the form table to eighth.    Their home record is worse than their away record, having won just four, drawn six and lost eleven.  The 2-2 draw against Cheltenham on Saturday saw the visitors score a 97 minute equaliser.

Those who like to read off the result from the last one will no doubt predict a defeat, but a draw looks more likely to me.

Shell shocked supremo Dean Holden says that it's a quick turn around from Saturday, but it is now a mindset and mentality thing:

Monday 17 April 2023

Leaburn not for sale

Dean Holden insists that Miles Leaburn is not for sale after a report linking him to Aston Villa:

Let's hope so, but the situation at Charlton can change despite assurances.

Dean Holden is going to have a word with honorary Mensa member Macauley Bonne after the bright spark liked two Ipswich posts on social media after Saturday's defeat:

Saturday 15 April 2023


Charlton went down 6-0 at Ipswich this afternoon, but remain 11th in the table.  Ryan Inniss added to his red card collection by being sent off.

Ipswich made a fast start, forcing three successive corners and also had a penalty appeal turned down for handball against Addicks defender Michael Hector.

Chaplin soon put Town in front in the seventh minute with his 20th league goal of the season when he drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

It was soon 2-0 when Chaplin collected a throughball from Nathan Broadhead to dispatch a right-foot shot past Ashley Maynard-Brewer.

Former Ipswich striker Macauley Bonne was denied a goal for Charlton in the 27th minute when Town keeper Christian Walton dived full length to palm away his header.

At the other end, Nathan Broadhead forced a good save from Maynard-Brewer.

Charlton had a penalty appeal turned down just before Chaplin completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes left with a close-range finish.

Ladapo made an instant impact of the bench to make it 4-0 in the 75th minute before scoring again with a right-foot drive into the top corner.

To compound Charlton's misery defender Ryan Innis was given a red card when he fouled Ladapo just outside the penalty area before Davis completed the rout in the fifth minute of added time.

Dean Holden put what he described as a 'thumping' down to individual and collective errors:

Holden said that the 'humbling' experience demonstrated the gulf between his mid-table sides and those at the top of the division:

Louis Mendez doesn't hold back in his four takeaways from the game:

Friday 14 April 2023

Fraser now playing in position that suits him

In an in depth interview, Scott Fraser says that he got on well with Ben Garner but Dean Holden is a good man manager and plays him in a position that suits him better:

Ipswich spend big in promotion hunt

Just how much it can cost to make a serious bid to get out of League One is revealed by the spending by the new owners at Ipswich who have put £32.5m into the club.

At Portman Road Ipswich have a formidable record having won thirteen, drawn six and lost just one.  Drawing at Cheltenham Town last week was a setback but they are still very much in contention for automatic promotion.

The referee is a Sheffield Wednesday fan but he may over compensate to show that he is not biased against Ipswich.  Well, that was the plan, but he has now been replaced.

In the prediction league I had this down as a 3-1 Ipswich win and there is a certain amount of whistling in the dark in the CAFC Trust preview:

Thursday 13 April 2023

Holden's high praise for Rak-Sakyi

Dean Holden reckons that Jesurun Rak-Sakyi is one of the best young players he has worked with - low-maintenance but high output:

Holden reckons he has a great future - unfortunately not with us.  However, his progress may encourage other Premier League clubs to loan us promising players for development and let us keep them the whole season (unlike Conor Gallagher).

Palace are not going to make an early decision about another loan move next season:

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Holden's high praise for Ness

Dean Holden thinks that Lucas Ness has had a 'brilliant' season and has much more potential to unlock:

On a personal note, I am now a great-grandfather.  One of my granddaughters had a daughter today on her 22nd birthday.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Charlton lost over £10m

Charlton lost over £10m in 21/22 from operations, player sales reduced this by £3.3m, reports Kieran Maguire.  Charlton bought players for £1.7m in 21/22. Sales were £3.7m.

Charlton had loans of £20m at 30 June 2022and have since borrowed a further £6m from the owner. Charlton borrowed £3.5m in the year.

Interest costs £12,000 a week in 21/22.  Wages £108 for every £100 of income.

Income up as tickets sold via end of lockdown. This offset lower commercial and broadcast income. Over £500k in severance pay costs arose in year.

Charlton total losses over the years now exceed £48m.

VOTV website editor Rick Everitt comments: 'The £10.1m operating loss announced by Charlton for 2021/22 is virtually identical to the previous season if you take into account an adjustment made as part of the takeover in 20/21. Generally comparisons with 20/21 are complicated because of lockdowns. An operating loss of £10m is actually better than the club managed in L1 in the prior spell at that level under RD.'

He continues: '‘Matchday income was £4.9m which was up on the three L1 seasons under RD - 50% higher than 16/17 and 17/18. Commercial up £500k on that comparison. Reflects pro-Sandgaard and opening up sentiment in 21/22, I think. Also shows the huge difficulty in breaking even at this level.’

Everitt adds: 'Charlton have received 11 more interest free loans from Sandgaard’s Clear Ocean Capital this season, totalling £6m. Total now due is £16.5m.'

'Accounts note that the club may be sold and it is expected his financial support “would then cease”. Suggests he wouldn’t be retaining a shareholding as that would normally require an ongoing contribution?'

Monday 10 April 2023

Charlton scrape home

Charlton managed to beat Burton 3-2 at The Valley this afternoon, once again finding it difficult to hold on to a lead.  The Addicks went up to 10th, but are eight points behind Portsmouth.

Miles Leaburn took a knock at Bristol and was replaced by Bonne against Burton Albion.  Egbo also returned for the first time since October.  Sessegnon was managing his injury.

After a slow start, Campbell had an attempt on goal but MacGillivray saved.

Some magical work by Rak-Sakyi saw him score on seven minutes.  He created it all himself.  Burton had eight players in the penalty area/  He completely fooled two players.

Thomas put in a cross for Ral-Sakyi, but his effort went straight at the keeper.

Morgan shot straight at MacGillivray after being set up following some good work by Bonne.

A great run by Fraser, he poked it forward to Rak-Sakyi who made it 2-0 on 16 minutes.

Following a Charlton corner, Campbell put the ball just over the bar.

A Burton corner was unproductive.  Fraser took a shot, but he was off balance and it went over.

Dobson had to concede a corner after Egbo was caught out.

In the second minute of two minutes added on Maynard-Brewer dropped the ball leading to an open goal and Burton made it 2-1 through Hughes.  They had been getting back into the game.

HT: Addicks 2, Brewers 1

Campbell provided a cross and Bonne read the situation well making it 3-1 on 49 minutes in front of the Covered End.

A Burton free kick led to a corner.  Bonne headed it away.

Helm was replaced by Ahadme.   MacGillivray saved from Bonne at the second attempt.  

It was a triple substitution for Charlton on 66 minutes.   Egbo came off and Kane came on, as did Henry and Payne.  Fraser came off as did Dobson who had taken a knock in the penalty area.

Bonne hit the bar from the edge of the area.  Lunar player Moon got a yellow card for a foul on Campbell.

Following a corner conceded by Payne, Burton got the ball just over the line to make it 3-2.  Once again Charlton were vulnerable from a set piece.  Burton had so much space at the far post.

Thomas had to concede a corner, but it was eventually cleared.   The substitute Carayol went for goal and was not far wide, catching Maynard-Brewer by surprise.

Kane put in a good cross but Rak-Sakyi fired over.   Payne got a yellow card for a challenge.

On 87 minutes Bonne and Morgan came off and Mitchell and Kanu came on.  Charlton conceded another corner, but it ended in a free kick.

Five minutes were added on, the Burton manager berating the fourth official for not giving more.  Payne got a second yellow card for a foul and was sent off.  The free kick went over the crossbar.

A late Burton corner was dangerous but unproductive.  Hector got a yellow card.  It  had been a scrappy second half.

Report from Louis Mendez and comments by Dean Holden here:

Holden thought that the red card for Payne was harsh:

Holden provided a positive update on the fitness of Miles Leaburn:

Four takeaways from the game by Louis Mendez here:

How Rak-Sakyi helps Charlton's counter attack record

In a feature on Charlton, yesterday's Football League Paper revealed that only Plymouth have scored more goals on the counter attack this season.

Jesurun Rak-Sakyi commented: 'I'm at my most dangerous on the counter attack because that's were the spaces are.  I like to get on the ball and get on defences when they're not really set.  It's been a tough season, but, over the last few weeks, we've shown an intensity to get after teams and win the ball back which is what the manager wants.'

Burton Albion come to The Valley today on the back of a 2-1 win over promotion hopefuls Barnsley.  Burton have moved up to 10th in the form table and are probably out of relegation danger (Charlton are 5th).  Away from home Burton have won five, drawn four and lost ten.  

We have only lost to Burton once, but that was 0-1 at home in 2021.   Some of us remember a 7-0 cup win in 1956.

Saturday 8 April 2023

Holden bares his soul

Dean Holden gave an in depth interview to The Times yesterday, reproduced below.  He comes across as a person of considerable qualities, one fan who read the report said that it reminded him of Curbs.

When Charlton Athletic were losing at half-time against Oxford United in Dean Holden’s second game, he showed his players his frustration. “The tactics board got snapped in half,” Holden recalls.

“That’s not in my nature normally but we were terrible in that first half [with] players not running and a performance I wasn’t prepared to accept.” His players reported in for training at Sparrows Lane, New Eltham, for what they feared would be a loud, challenging debrief on the League One defeat. “They were expecting a bit of a video nasty,” Holden adds.

Instead of a video, Holden showed them a cherished photograph of him with his daughter, Cici Milly, who contracted meningococcal sepsis while on holiday in Lanzarote in 2012. The blood infection spread rapidly to Cici’s brain and she never recovered. Cici was 17 months old.

“I know that trauma has made me a better parent, better husband and better manager because of the empathy it gives you,” Holden says. “I was open to the players about the situation and what that meant to me in my life. I said to them, ‘Don’t waste tomorrow, don’t waste today, you’re a young professional footballer, it’s the best time of your life.’ ”

Seize every second. Charlton won their next two games. Such has been Holden’s impact that he has been given a three-year contract and they head to Bristol Rovers on Friday afternoon on the back of a five-game unbeaten run, including Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing of Shrewsbury Town.

His players come into his office to open up about any concerns or problems. On the wall opposite Holden’s desk is a picture of him with his family, a larger photo of Cici and the exhortation: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

Talking in his office on Tuesday, Holden looks at the picture. “When Cici died, I couldn’t get through the day,” he says. “The stats within two years of a child dying — 88 per cent of parents separated. I said this to the players after the Oxford game that there was an 88 per cent chance against me and my wife Danielle [Nicholls, the television presenter] making it and we did.

 “It’s about hope. So if we’re 12 points away from the play-offs or 2-0 down at half-time, it’s just about our mindset. It’s always around having the humility to appreciate what we’ve got. The sun’s shining, yes we just won 6-0, but now we’re back into work again.”

The Charlton players respected their manager opening up. “I made myself vulnerable. I had a player, nowhere near the team, knock on the door and speak to me about personal things in his life, big things. Players know I have their back. When you show your own vulnerability I don’t think it makes you weak.

“Normally players would be scared of speaking to the ‘boss’, opening up, [saying] ‘I’ve got some issues with my girlfriend,’ as he might leave them out of the team. I’d never do that. I’m definitely a better manager because of my experiences.

“Look, I have to make big decisions, who we keep at the club, who plays on a Saturday, but I don’t see why you have to be an arsehole about that. I’m honest and truthful with them. That helps.

“At a previous club, this player trained badly for a couple of days. He found out he’d had his underfloor heating on for two years and he didn’t know. He got this bill through, and it was quite a heavy bill — and this was before the stupid bills recently. Even though he was now earning a good salary that just threw him completely because he came from a really tough upbringing.

“Now that sounds ridiculous to someone who might have lost a child but that’s his life, that’s his norm. He opened up to me. I said, ‘Right, fine, we’ll fix it.’ The club fixed it, he trained the next day, played and I should say he scored a hat-trick, but he didn’t.”

Holden’s empathy emanates from the trauma. “After Cici died, we joined a group called The Compassionate Friends [a charity for bereaved parents]. We’ve met parents from the Hillsborough Disaster, and some from the Manchester Arena bombing. When you see [the footage of] parents stood outside the arena waiting for their kids to come out, it was heart-breaking.

“Only the work I’ve done since our daughter died enables me to do this. I meditate twice a day, I do yoga, I do the Wim Hof cold water immersion. That enables me to stay calm and safe. Some of the stuff I do is classed as weird. Football’s opening its eyes a bit but it is still really institutionalised.

“I went to see Stuart Lancaster, the rugby guy [former England head coach], at Leinster just before Covid and they had a meditation class from 8am to 8.30am, and I thought, ‘You’d not see that in football.’ We brought yoga in here, we do deep breathing — all the stuff that’s scientifically proven but has got a bit of a stigma to it. I’ve got my incense sticks over there and my Ganesh Buddha. I don’t care if people think I’m weird.”

It calms him. “People think you don’t care as much because you’re not this raving lunatic who’s really depressed when you lose. Me moping around here on a Monday morning after we got beat will not help the players.”

Holden points to an envelope on his desk. “There’s a list in there. We asked the players what could be improved around here. They write down suggestions, no name. It’s free information for me. Sometimes it’s ‘Showers freezing after training’ [or] the kit; some said they’d rather know the team on a Friday because sometimes I pick the team on a Saturday.

“I want people to bring in ideas and challenge me. I want to empower players. When I was out of work, Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest was great to me and I saw how he empowers his staff. Thomas Frank [the Brentford manager] has been brilliant to me. I just like the way he operates around the training ground, the way he is with the players, empowering them.”

Holden encourages conversation about events outside football. “We spoke today about the conviction yesterday of the fella [Thomas Cashman] in Liverpool [for killing Olivia Pratt-Korbel]. We talk about all sorts of situations. We had the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation in last Thursday. It was round the corner from here where Stephen Lawrence was murdered [in 1993].”

Charlton need Holden’s calming influence. “We were in trouble when I came in,” he says. The club are losing £6 million to £8 million a year and the owner, Thomas Sandgaard, wants out. “There’s talk of a new consortium coming in to help the finance with Thomas,” Holden says. “There is a lot of uncertainty.”

Peter Storrie, the former West Ham United and Portsmouth chief executive, has been appointed to a similar position by Sandgaard to act as a consultant. The previous owner, Roland Duch√Ętelet, still owns The Valley and Sparrows Lane. It’s complicated.

Despite the problems upstairs, there’s so much hope out on the grass. Miles Leaburn, son of the club legends Carl and Tracey, is another graduate of Steve Avory’s consistently productive academy and scoring freely, with five in his last four games. “And he’s not just a goalscorer,” Holden says of Miles, “He’s a target man who can hold it, he’s rapid, he can run in behind. He’s got a bit of steel, he’ll take a hit from a centre back but he will give it back as well. And he’s only 19.”

Leaburn was one of five home-grown players starting against Shrewsbury: Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Terell Thomas, Albie Morgan and Tyreece Campbell, 19 like Leaburn, were the others. Two teenagers, Zach Mitchell and Aaron Henry, came on while Daniel Kanu, another academy product, remained on the bench. Sean Clare, who came off injured, left the academy at 15 so doesn’t count as an academy graduate. “The conveyor belt at this club is like no other,” Holden says. He still expects to bring in some older heads in the summer. “We have to get out of this division [they are 12th in League One] as soon as we can, hopefully next season. Then go again.”

Training on Tuesday morning reflected the confidence in the squad, and with plenty of focus on wing play in Holden’s 4-3-3, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, the 20-year-old on loan from Crystal Palace, showed why he is highly regarded with a stream of accurate crosses from the left. Staff talked of Rak-Sakyi’s first-rate attitude as well as talent.

Holden, 43, loves helping these prospects flourish. He’s driven by his own experiences growing up. “My parents taught me a work ethic, no excuses, be good to people. My dad never took a day off in his life.” He always found time to support Holden, take him to training at Manchester United, where he has a season-ticket. Not all parents are as supportive. “There was one boy who played poorly in an under-16 game at a previous club I was at and his dad just drove off, left him.”

Holden didn’t make it at United but found a pathway at Bolton Wanderers. He enjoyed a good career but knows how hard it is. “I broke my leg three times and didn’t get a free kick for any of them,” Holden recalls. “After the first break, I was never able to get to the level I wanted. One leg was 1.5cm shorter after the operation. My right leg is bent like a banana.

“But to play to 35 is quite an achievement, even though [it was] not at the level I wanted. I always felt I let my mum and dad down. Because of everything they did for me as a kid.”

It is another reason why Holden has such empathy for his Charlton players. He knows the risks and strains and that is why he urges them to seize every moment.


Friday 7 April 2023

Back to reality

After last week's excitement it was back to reality for Charlton as they lost 1-0 to Bristol Rovers, John Marquis scoring for the Gas on 70 minutes from the penalty spot.  The penalty was awarded for a Dobson handball.

It was one of few chances created by either side, as Joey Barton's team were shot-shy following a break of 20 days since their last competitive game, and the in-form Addicks unable to keep a five-game unbeaten run going.

Charlton did, however, threaten twice through Miles Leaburn, who almost converted crosses from Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Tyreece Campbell in either half, while substitute Daniel Kanu could not convert a good chance with a minute of regulation time left to play.

Rovers defender Lewis Gibson also cleared off the line in injury time to stop Leaburn's header going in and to preserve a second clean sheet in the Pirates' last four home matches.

Dean Holden thought that Charlton did not create enough chances:

Holden's plea: let fans vote for Rak-Sakyi

Dean Holden thinks that Charlton fans should be allowed to vote for Jesurun Rak-Sakyi as Player of the Year despite the fact that he is on loan for Crystal Palace:

Thursday 6 April 2023

Slap on the wrist for Southall

The English Football League is set to announce a set of mild sanctions for the three men who tried to buy Birmingham City last year.

Following a five-month investigation, the league charged former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez, British businessman Paul Richardson and former Charlton Athletic chief executive Matt Southall with alleged breaches of its owners’ and directors’ test (ODT) in February.

The trio were the main drivers of Maxco, a company set up to buy the club, a company set up in early 2022 but their proposed, two-stage, £35million takeover collapsed in December. According to the league, however, they had already been effectively running the club, without formal approval, which is against the rules.

But, six weeks on, the matter will be closed this week, with Lopez accepting a one-month ban from involvement with an EFL club, suspended until the end of the 2023-24 season, with Richardson agreeing to a two-month period of ineligibility, also suspended until the end of next season.

Southall’s ban will be six months, with only three of them suspended, as the league considered his breaches of the ODT rules to be the most serious. The 38-year-old was Maxco’s nominated consultant at the club and made no secret of his close involvement in Birmingham City’s summer transfer window or their plans for the January window.

Even in Southall’s case the sanction is little more than a slap on the wrist as his three-month ban will start immediately, making him eligible for work in the football industry again this summer.

Given Southall’s previous involvement in the crises at Charlton Athletic and Rochdale, where he acted as a consultant for a group that attempted a hostile takeover of the League Two side, some fans will be surprised that his ban is not longer. He, however, denies any intentional wrongdoing at Charlton, Rochdale or Birmingham.

Why Selhurst Park is used for US tv series

The Athletic explains why what they call a ‘dilapidated’ Selhurst Park was used as the setting for a popular tv series.

'Nestled between a petrol station, a supermarket and rows of terraced houses in one of the more deprived corners of London, Selhurst Park – the home of Crystal Palace Football Club – is an unlikely setting for one of America’s most popular television shows.

Yet when the makers of Ted Lasso, the Apple TV series about a fish-out-of-water soccer coach, were wondering which stadium to use as the home ground for the fictional AFC Richmond, an underdog club valiantly scrapping against English football’s elite, they could hardly have chosen a better spot.

Selhurst Park is what its supporters would call a ‘proper football stadium’. Its critics — and particularly visiting supporters whose view of their side is almost certainly going to be blocked by a TV gantry, a pillar, or possibly both — would be less generous.

One side of the stadium, the Main Stand, is as old as the ground itself, which celebrates its 100th birthday next year; its opposite number, the Arthur Wait Stand, was considered state-of-the-art when it opened in the 1960s; one end, the Whitehorse Lane Stand, is backed onto by a Sainsbury’s supermarket

You do not queue to enter Stamford Bridge with the smell of jerk chicken wafting across a turnstile stationed opposite a second-hand car dealership.  Given Palace have yet to win a major trophy in their 117-year history, glory-hunters have come to the wrong place.'

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Holden assesses Rovers

Dean Holden assesses tomorrow's opponents Bristol Rovers.  Charlton fans have bought all available away tickets:

Aaron Collins has been named the third best player in League One by Four Four Two.

Monday 3 April 2023

Thomas wants to stay

 Former Academy player Terrell Thomas would like to stay on at Charlton beyond the end of the season:

Dean Holden has provided an update on the fitness of Mandela Egbo and Todd Kane, the latter will play in the London Senior Cup at Welling on Tuesday:

Sunday 2 April 2023

Morgan's contract renewal in balance

Dean Holden still has to make decisions about out of contract players, including Albie Morgan.  It is clear that he has mixed feelings about him:

So do I.   As happened yesterday, there are moments of real quality, but also disappointments.  Holden thinks this is because he wears his heart on his sleeve too much.  Enthusiasm can overcome judgment.

Charlton recycled?

A normally reliable home boroughs source tells me that the takeover is almost complete and just needs EFL approval.

If this turns out to be the case, let's hope that Dean Holden is given sufficient funds to strengthen the squad in the summer.  We have been disappointed before.

Saturday 1 April 2023

First 6-0 Valley win in 46 years

Charlton won 6-0 at home for the first time since 1976 (against Swansea City).

It was a busy opening few minutes with Shrewsbury displaying their physicality. Campbell won Charlton a corner.  Morgan's corner was unproductive.

Clare fell awkwardly and stayed down. He may have turned his ankle. After a few minutes he had to come off.  Sessegnon came on.

By the halfway mark neither keeper had been tested.  It had been a game of nearly moments.

Charm merchant Flanagan got a yellow card for fouling Rak-Sakyi.   From a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, Fraser put the ball over the wall and into the net into the top corner on 26 minutes.  It was a brilliant free kick.

Sessegnon got a yellow card.  A header from Leaburn was straight at the keeper.

Dobson got a harsh yellow card for challenging Flanagan.  Thomas headed the ball away from the free kick and Shipley's effort went wide.  

Charlton went 2-0 up on 38 minutes.  The referee Bobby Madley played a good advantage for a foul on Fraser which saw a subsequent yellow card for Saydee,   Fraser put in a long ball, Rak-Sakyi saw the run of Morgan who drilled it past the keeper.

Four minutes were added on.   Rak-Sakyi saw a gap and made a brilliant finish with his left foot to give Charlton their third.  Louis Mendez commented: 'The Rak-Sakyi goal reminds me of a couple Scott Parker scored back the glory days. Away at Leeds and home v Southampton. Slalom through a tight penalty area and then a nonchalant stroke/prod home. '

Shrewsbury had a late corner.   Thomas did well to head it away.

Charlton had been a lot more threatening in the final third than Shrewsbury.

Curbs said they were three fantastic goals, all different.   The second one was a wonderful counter attacking goal.   We had a lot of pace in the side.   Under Holden there was not so much passing around at the back.  Our first look is forward.

HT: 3-0

Shrewsbury won a corner on 56 minutes, but the move ended offside.   A corner taken by Fraser was a waste.

Leaburn made it 4-0 on 61 minutes.   It was a fantastic low shot from 25 yards.

With Dobson on a yellow card, he came off and was replaced by Henry.   Mitchell came on for Hector.

The referee blew up for a penalty for handball after Flanagan intercepted a goalbound strike from Sessegnon and the charm merchant was sent off at The Valley once again (he was sent off before for Sunderland).   Leaburn scored to make it the old five on 70 minutes past the morose Marosi.

Charlton were under pressure after a corner but the ball seemed to come off the crossbar and it was cleared.

On 76 minutes Bonne and Payne came on for Thomas and Fraser. Shrewsbury broke and won a corner which ended in a goal kick.

Charlton were denied a sixth by the flag and Rak-Sakyi a second.

Five minutes were added on. Charlton made it 6-0. Bonne scored! He controlled Henry's strike and picked out the bottom corner.

Official attendance 13,041. 

The pundits

Curbs said we looked really dangerous, the whole thing had been perfect.  

Dean Holden said that Miles Leaburn had a premonition he would score a brace today:

According to the Shrewsbury manager the first three goals were against the run of play, but I don't remember Maynard-Brewer being troubled much.

Louis Mendez is able to give a positive vibe to his four takeaways for once: