Wednesday 31 May 2023

Crunch time on takeover

Richard Cawley reports: 'Sounds as if it is crunch time for the Charlton takeover bid by the consortium involving Joshua Friedman and Gabriel Brener, in terms of a resolution either way by the end of this week.'

Aaron Henry has signed a two year contract extension with the option of another 12 months:

He may go out on loan next season to aid his development.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Further takeover delays

Richard Cawley reports: 'I know people want a takeover update but as of yesterday there wasn't one. SPA still not signed with Joshua Friedman's group. If it does get over the line then still a number of weeks going through EFL process for OADT (owners' and directors' test).'

The longer the delay, the less chance there is of a good start to the season.

Sunday 28 May 2023

They were hopeless

We have had our fair share of useless players at Charlton over time, but Roland Duchatelet's network circus managed to produce three outstanding failures:

I remember Polish Pete's one appearance, charging up the field in a manic but directionless attempt to keep up with the play.

Thuram was the worst goalkeeper I have seen at Charlton, a master of the aimless punch out of the ball.

As for Lepoint, he was so bad I have blotted him out of my memory.

Saturday 27 May 2023

Thursday 25 May 2023

Holden meets potential signings

Dean Holden has been meeting some 'exciting players' at the training ground, but nothing can be revealed or settled until the window opens on June 14th:

A great day remembered

My recollections of the Greatest Game as published in Addick's Diary 25 years ago.

Like many Addicks we were in a nervous mood on Monday morning.  Was the fact that we were going direct from Leamington station to the game a good omen? No, it was too late to think of omens, although my wife's intuition was that we would do it thanks to Sasa Ilic. On the train down, we looked out for fellow Addicks, but what we mostly saw were Sunderland supporters who are apparently concentrated in great numbers in 'beechy Bucks' with Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross ringing to the accents of Wearside.

We met up at Wembley with former Warwickshire addick Steve Loveday who now lives in Canada. The stadium itself was showing its age, although it looked smaller than I anticipated. Our seat up high up behind the goal gave us a good view of the pitch and of the sea of red in front of us, as well as the Charlton drummers.

Charlton started impressively and it was 23 mins. when Mendonca put in a stunning strike. I thought that we took our foot off the pedal a little as half time approached. The striking of 'To the Londoners 1-0' also worried me a bit, as it seems to me that that chant is invariably followed by an opposition equaliser. Half time saw some strange representations of birds on stilts manipulated by people with muslin over their faces coming round the track. A nearby Addick shouted 'what are you?' and for me this was the strangest piece of postmodernism I had seen since the outbreak of south coast surrealism at Pompey just before Christmas.

Peter Reid is well known for his forceful but restrained use of a wide range of English vocabulary and he had clearly been at his Biblical best during the interval as Sunderland came out as a renewed and revitalised team. One thing that had been worrying me in the first half was that wide spaces had been opening up in our defence. I was also concerned about Sasa's ability to handle crosses. It was a header from a needlessly conceded Summerbee corner that did indeed produce the equaliser from Quinn. Eight minutes later Phillips scored impressively for Sunderland. 

The Sunderland supporters were now in full song as they anticipated their elevation to the Premiership. Trouble broke out with quite a few Sunderland supporters in the Addicks area, while down on the track a bare chested Wearsider was brought to the ground and handcuffed. The unimpressive Heaney had in the mean time been replaced by Steve Jones who many Addicks would like to have seen on the pitch from the start.

However, Sunderland supporter Mendonca had other ideas when he scored his second and probably his best goal of the game after he split the Sunderland defence with a run. Alan Curbishley later noted the 2-2 situation as a crucial point in the game and Sunderland replied almost immediately with another strike from Quinn. For me the 2-3 deficit was the most worrying point of the game, not least because a lister had dreamed before the semi-finals that we had lost 3-2 at Wembley to Sunderland. In the 76th minute Robinson came on in place of Danny Mills and in my view immediately added a new threat to the Charlton attack.

 It was a Robinson corner that gave Richard Rufus his first ever Charlton goal to make it 3-3. Extra time saw the tiredness showing in the players, with Brown brought on very quickly after the re-start to replace Bright. Summerbee scored for Sunderland in the 99th minute, but Mendonca then had another brilliant finish four minutes later to score the first hat-trick in a play off final. Charlton had replicated their 4-4 score against Norwich the previous season, but in much more crucial circumstances.

So it came to the penalty shoot-out. No worries when Mendonca stepped up to score calmly. I had complete confidence in courageous Steve Brown, as I did in dependable Keith Jones and captain Mark Kinsella. Mark Bowen's experience showed, as did Robinson's skill and Newton's shot was accurate even if not as forceful as usual. The tension was by now unbearable, but what must it have been like for the players making the long walk up to the Sunderland end, or for Sasa waiting for each turn. And it was Sasa who saved Michael Gray's effort at the historic score of 7-6. This was one of the most incredible matches ever seen at Wembley, ranked alongside the Matthews final and the England-Germany world cup final by commentators.

 As we returned to Leamington, our Coventry City supporting neighbour rushed out to share our joy. The calm of a Leamington evening was spolit as a large bottle of champagne was opened in the garden.

That evening I just watched the extra time and the shoot out, but later in the week I watched the whole video of the match. On reflection, I felt that I had been a little unfair to Heaney who did put in some good crosses (was the presence of his girl friend on the celebration bus an indication that he is to be signed?) The player who came across as outstanding on the video was Youds who was strong and determined and made some key interventions. He and Rufus are a Premiership pairing.


The champagne was drunk, but on Tuesday afternoon it was off to London for the third time in less than a week to join the celebrations at Charlton. Along with several hundred other fans we waited in Floyd Road for the departure of the open top bus that was to take the team to Woolwich Town Hall. Past it came at a fair old lick, but with Clive Mendonca clearly visible at the front holding the trophy. Then after younger fans had tried to run after the bus and get several weeks' dose of PM10 emissions, we all went down to Charlton Station where we had a long wait for a train greeted by shouts of 'Are you a Sunderland supporter?' The driver gave a few blasts on his horn, but there was then a long wait before we eventually headed off for Woolwich.

We rarely go to Woolwich and my wife vainly tried to identify the branch of Lloyds Bank where she worked as we headed for a very crowded Wellington Street. The bus was parked in front of the town hall and the crowd was being told by an unknown person that they had been great supporters. I found myself next to the legendary 'scarfman', but gradually found my way to the front behind a bloke even taller than me (the legendary Jeff Prior?) 

Some of the team including Rufus came down to our end of the street, as did Curbs and a very happy Keith Peacock. But it was an overjoyed Sasa Ilic who really worked the crowd, finally coming down to our end to greet a handicapped person. Then it was all over. On the way back to the Arsenal station I saw the tower of the now closed Co-op store in the distance which when I was very young looked like a skyscraper to me (it came to my mind when I first went to Chicago), while the store itself seemed the height of sophistication. A lot has happened since then, but few things as good as these events as we started to speculate on who our first Premiership opponents would be. At London Bridge I and a young woman supporter nearly accidentally hit each other with our furled banners, and we exchanged a few words before heading off to our respective destinations and the Premiership.

What It All Means

It can't be easily put into words. But when I started supporting Charlton in the 1950s we were a leading top flight club. I recently got hold of a programme for a Charlton v.Portsmouth match which marked Sam Bartram's 500th apperance and I noticed that in the table we were the leading London club. Charlton are now back where they deserve to belong. We have been under estimated all season, and now the same people are saying that this 'tiny' (no longer small) club will go straight down again. Well, they underestimate the genius of Curbs; the management skills of Peter Varney; the spirit of the team; and the loyalty of a great bunch of fans. Charlton will show that a well run club rooted in the community can compete with the top Premiership sides.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

The greatest play off final ever - new interviews

The latest Four Four Two has a special feature article on then Greatest Game with interviews with Curbs, Clive Mendonca, Sasa Ilic and Mark Kinsella.   Curbs said: ''Finals are normally an anti-climax and a bit flat. That game was not a bit flat.'

Clive Mendonca recalled: 'Really I wanted to sign for Sunderland.  I'd come down to Charlton, spoken to Alan Curbishley, and was really happy with what he said.'

When Sasa Ilic didn't concede in either leg of the play off semi-finals, it extended Charlton's streak of not letting in a single goal to nine matches.   Ilic comments: 'Your mindset becomes "There's no way I'm going to concede."  You need loads of luck, but when things go well and you're thinking positively, things happen.'

At Sparrows Lane, 'coach Les Reed changed the dimensions at their training ground to match the playing surface at Wembley.  Mendonca commented: 'Wembley - honestly, it's like an ocean.  It's huge.'  Meanwhile, Mark Kinsella was concerned that Mendonca was preoccupied with arranging tickets for his Sunderland supporting family and friends.

Curbishley admits: ''We were the underdogs that day, I suppose.  But we were confident because we hadn't let any goals in and it was a settled team.'

Sunderland charm merchant Niall Quinn recalls: ''Charlton all had suits with flowers on the lapel.  I think we turned up wearing tracksuits, we were the North East tough guys who were going to take down the soft southerners in their suits.'

Curbs observed: 'We had Sunderland where we wanted them.  Because they were a very offensive team and we were quick on the counter attack.  If they committed bodies forward, as I knew they would, we could hit them on the break.'

Quinn recalls ruefully, 'Richard Rufus' goal is the one thing I still insist should have been avoided.'  Curbs states: 'When Rufus scores, you think "Blimey, perhaps our name's on it."'

Had Charlton not won, Curbs believes that the team would have been broken up.  Mendoca says: 'I wish I could have done it against any other team in the league.'

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Dasilva available

Former Charlton loanee and player of the season Jay Dasilva has been let go by Bristol City:

Would we have him back?   Probably not.

Friday 19 May 2023

Swindon let Williams go

Former Addick Jonny Williams has been let go by Swindon.  Hibernian were interested in fitting him out with a kilt in January, but now seem ambivalent:

In League One news, the owner of Fleetwood Town has been convicted of fraud and remanded in custody. He built the club up from the ninth tier.

Solly's story

Chris Solly talks in depth about his promotion with Ebbsfleet and his time with Charlton when he was part of Chris Powell's title winning team:

Wednesday 17 May 2023

New assistant manager and O's friendly in Spain

Danny Senda has impressed Dean Holden and has been appointed joint assistant manager at Charlton:

More on his coaching pathway hete:

Charlton are to play a pre-season friendly against Leyton Orient, not through the Blackwall Tunnel but at their pre-season training camp in Spain:

Mixed news for former Addicks

Best wishes to former Addick Harry Lennon forced to retire from football at the age of 28:

Former Addick Darren Pratley has signed a one year club extension at Leyton Orient where he is club captain:

Former Addicks Tom Lockyer and Alfie Doughty played a key role in securing Luton Town a Wembley play off final and possible promotion to the Premier League:

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Takeover deal done?

An increased Joshua Friedman offer for Charlton has been accepted, subject to contract.  Richard Cawley led to believe Thomas Sandgaard and his associates are continuing to talk with other parties including senior figure at MSD finance group, American businessman Marc Spiegel and Armenian businessman Roman Gevorkyan.

Cawley warns: ‘But this is multiple wealthy people and their lawyers involved. A call to the club earlier this week just got a response of "talks are ongoing" without specifying any more than that.’

'Essentially if the paperwork can get done in time then the plan is that Charlton would be under new ownership by the very early part of June - in time (pretty much) for the opening of the transfer window.'

More here:

Saturday 13 May 2023

Takeover fog fails to clear

CAST have issued an update on the confused takeover situation.   They have found some useful things out, but the overall situation remains as foggy as it is in the Midlands this morning:

The consortium fronted by Charlie Methven have made another formal offer, but have been turned down.  Sandgaard keeps asking for more.  I'm not too keen on the fact that their company is registered in the Cayman Islands, but that is not unusual in football.

American ownership can get it right in League One as the example of Ipswich shows:

Holden makes a good call on exit decisions

I think that Dean Holden got his cull of players and decisions on retained players just about right.  Michael Hector and Terrell Thomas deserved a place, although Aaron Henry will need to continue his development on loan:

Albie Morgan always tried his hardest, but lacks the consistent quality needed in a team hopefully aiming for promotion.  He should find his level in League Two, perhaps reunited with George Lapslie at Gillingham.

Sean Clare may count himself a little unlucky, but never made a position his own.  Again, thanks for everything.   Ryan Inniss will have time to curate his red card collection.

There are six players returning from loans and we may not want to hold on to any of them, apart possibly from Deji Elerewe, but he may have a future at Bromley.   There must be a question mark over Joe Wollacott's future.   Maynard-Brewer has his critics, but perhaps needs a more experienced keeper to challenge him.

Good riddance to Macaulay Bonne who was not the danger at Championship or League One level that the Zimbabwe press thinks, but perhaps it was a slow news day in Harare:

Friday 12 May 2023

Where did the season go wrong?

Louis Mendez provides his assessment of the season just ended.   It's justifiably bleak and, as he points out, supporters are drifting away.  Dean Holden did manage to revitalise a side that threatened to flirt with relegation, but his points average would not have seen us close to a play off place:

Looking forward, he thinks that 19-year old Tyrece Campbell has real potential, his contribution eclipsed by Rak-Saky's hogging of the limelight.

Difficult decisions about retained players

It is expected that the retained list will be out next week:

There are eight out of contract first team players named about whom difficult decisions will have to be made.   Has Aaron Henry shown enoigh?   Probably not.   Should Ryan Inniss be shown the red card from the club?

Albie Morgan is a tricky decision.  He does show flashes of real quality, but are there enough of them?  Does he lack consistency?

May hopes

20-goal striker Alfie May would a good acquisition for Charlton.   He has said that he wants to leave Cheltenham and the Gravesend-born striker is interested in coming to The Valley:

His parents live near the ground and he has been having informal talks with one of our coaches.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Dobbo on what went wrong

George Dobson blames 'inconsistency' for Charlton's disappointing season:

Inconsistency is a symptom rather than a cause.   What it reveals is a lack of quality and, I think, resilence - although this may in turn reflect the relative youth of the players which Dobson refers to.

Monday 8 May 2023

Charlton to be Noah's ark?

David Ornstein of The Athletic reports in relation to the Charlton takeover: ‘There are other interested parties, including two with considerable experience in club ownership. Robert Platek, a partner at American IT billionaire Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital, is looking at Charlton as he is interested in adding an English club to his personal stable of European teams. He already owns Serie A’s Spezia and Portuguese top-flight side Casa Pia, as well as Danish second-tier team Sonderjyske.

But Platek is not the only multi-club suitor with his eye on the Addicks, as Armenian businessman Roman Gevorkyan is strongly considering a bid to make Charlton the flagship of his Noah Football Group fleet, which is comprised of Armenian Premier League side FC Noah and stakes in Hungarian top-flight team Debreceni VSC, French second-tier outfit Paris FC and Siena in Italy’s Serie C.'

Both of these proposals are reminiscent of Roland's network model, not necessarily flawed in principle, but meaning that Charlton's interests are subordinated to a wider plan. 

Sunday 7 May 2023

Retained list coming soon

Dean Holden says that the Charlton retained list will be coming soon after some 'difficult conversations' with departing players:

Holden says that 'the hard work' for next season starts here:

Charlton give lead away twice

Charlton finished 10th after drawing 2-2 with Cheltenham Town this afternoon.

It was a bench packed with youngsters at Cheltenham Town.   Dobson was not risked in case a yellow card earned him a three game suspension.  Red card specialist Ryan Inniss was also not used:

Cheltenham won two early corners after some poor Charlton defending.

Fraser was flagged offside as he put the ball in the net.  Charlton had a lot of possession but their patient build ups could not break down the home defence.

A shot by Henry from distance was not too far over.   Morgan went for goal, but couldn't hit the target.

After good play by Charlton involving Campbell, Rak-Sakyi looked like scoring but Taylor made a fortunate block.

A Henry free kick won by Campbell was easily gathered by the keeper.

After outstanding work by Campbell on the left following a pass from Morgan (who was fed by Thomas) the ball was deflected for Fraser who scored on 34 minutes to give Charlton the lead.

A Chelthenham free kick led to a corner and Charlton took a while to clear their lines.

Rak-Sakyi fell awkwardly and was holding his shoulder.

Rak-Sakyi advanced but slipped and Southwood did enough to stop Charlton scoring a second goal.

Curbs said we deserved to be in the lead.   Steve Brown said that Cheltenham had a bright start and caused a few issues in the opening ten minutes, we were a little bit stretched, but then we started to take control.

HT: Robins 0, Addicks 1

Danger man May put in a great ball, Maynard-Brewer saved but put into the path of Keena to make it 1-1 just after half time.

Cheltenham were lifted and built nicely but the shot was off target.

There was good work by Leaburn and Rak-Sakyi, but Frasser's effort was blocked.

Charlton had a penalty shout after Rak-Sakyi was brought down in the area.

The keeper did just enough to deny Campbell.   Hector ran well to meet the ball from a corner but couldn't get enough purchase on a header.

Sessegnon was involved in some good build play, but the ball wouldn't sit well for Rak-Sakyi.

On 73 minutes Egbo and Henry came off, Payne came on with Asiimwe.

Maynard-Brewer made a great save from May as he looked like scoring his 20th goal of the season.

After a terrible ball out by the keeper, Payne showed great awareness and provided a calm, composed finish to make it 2-1 to Charlton in front of the Addickted.    Nearly a 1,000 of them had more or less filled the away end.

Rylah and Roddy came on and Sessegnon and Campbell went off on 83 minutes.   Maynard-Brewer saved comfortably from Sercombe.

Rak-Sakyi went off to warm applause and Mitchell came on.   Charlton switched off and May's finish was unstoppable to make it 2-2.   May milked his applause: he may not be at the Completely-Suzuki stadium next season.

In time added on, Roddy appeared to have won a corner but the referee awarded a goal kick.

Curbs said that it was probably a fair result in the end, they looked stronger in the second half. 

Plymouth have won the title, Accrington and Morecambe have been relegated and MK Dons will be exercising their franchise in League Two next season.

Saturday 6 May 2023

Leaburn's massive summer

It's a big summer ahead for Miles Leaburn and Dean Holden thinks that pre-season will be beneficial for him:

That is, if he stays.  Necessity means that Charlton have always been a selling club, but I think that one more season with us would be positive for his development.

Friday 5 May 2023

Lifelong fan dies

I am very sorry to report the death of lifelong Charlton fan John Window, pictured here with the Herminator.

John was born in Didcot, but his family moved to Catford when he was young.   He started life as a gas fitter, but built up a very successful stables business.

Once when we were playing in the Netherlands at Roda John gave us a lift in his very smart car to the ground.   On arrival he told the attendant 'Charlton directors' and we were directed to a superior parking place.

John was a great character and a huge fan of Sam Bartram.

Three players have Charlton career ended

Macauley Bonne, Gavin Kilkenny and Matt Penney have told that they will not be required at Cheltenham tomorrow and their Charlton careers are at an end:

Despite extensive practice with a barn door in Kent, Bonne found the net only once on his Addicks return.

Dean Holden is talking to a number of out of contract players over the weekend, including red card specialist Ryan Inniss, and some firm news is expected once Sunday's game is out of the way:

Cheltenham will no doubt think their 16th place finish is adequate, but have the chance to push higher with 14th place possible.  Whatever happens they will be the top spa town team in the football pyramid.  With the relegation of Forest Green Rovers, the fabled 'El Glosico' will no longer be available to them.  Charlton will be keen to secure 10th place.  

At home Cheltenham have won eight, drawn seven and lost seven, losing 13 games away.  ;However, last week they won 3-0 at Wycombe.

The CAS Trust preview points out that former Erith & Belvedere player Alfie May is a real danger man:

Charlton fans win in Thanet poll - and challenge Sandgaard

 Corinna Huxley and Rick Everitt

Charlton fans Rick Everitt and Corinna Huxley have retained their seats on Thanet District Council.  Labour now had overall control of the Council so, as Labour leader, Everitt can expect to return as leader of the Council.

Everitt tweeted: 'That’s one job done. Now, where we, Thomas?'

New opponents

None of the three clubs relegated from the Championship (Blackpool, Reading, Wigan) pose much of a threat in financial terms, at least compared with the promoted clubs.  Indeed, Reading and Wigan seem likely to continue to be beset by financial troubles.

The pundits at Charlton didn't think Plymouth would make it, but they turned Home Park into a fortress and the Green Army are some of the most dedicated away fans in the country.   Ipswich have taken on the mantle of the Massives and declared that they are destined for the Premier League. 

The Massives will no doubt feel aggrieved that 93 points did not secure automatic promotion.  The play offs will not be an easy ride for them with other teams gathering momentum as they lose it.

At the other end of the table, the vegan diet failed Forest Green Rovers.  Accrington Stanley with their poxy ground and limited away support look likely to join them.   Morecambe have struggled with ownership problems and limited home support, while Cambridge United are also in danger.

The well-deserved promotion of Leyton Orient means a Blackwell Tunnel derby.  The promotion of Stevenage means seeing charm merchant manager Steve Evans again.   For some reason I do not comprehend, Stevenage's players have been proclaiming their hatred of Charlton.  Charlton are to take disciplinary action against Alex Gilbey, still under contract, for his role in the anti-Charlton song:

Whether nondescript Northampton will join them remains to be seen.  Carlisle is as long a journey as it gets, but it has been the scene of famous promotion winning victories.   However, Stockport County are determined to secure two promotions in a row.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Well done Deji!

Deji Elerewe scored the winning goal for Bromley in their 2-1 play off win over Woking last night, putting them in the National League play off semi-finals for the first time.   The Ravens now face Chesterfield away:

Many Charlton fans, including reporter Louis Mendez, support Bromley as their non-league side.

George Dobson is in danger of a three match ban at the start of next season and may not be risked at Cheltenham at the weekend:

Storrie stays on

Peter Storrie is to stay on as Charlton chief executive until the end of 2023, although it appears that he is part-time given that he has involved with other clubs, including one in Colombia.  However, her indoors, who features quite a lot in the article, has her own view on his status:

Quite what, if anything, this means for the takeover negotiations is anyone's guess.  A statement from the club would be welcome.

Rak-Sakyi's debt to Charlton

Jesurun Rak-Sakyi says that Charlton will always have a special place in his heart:

Congratulations to the young players on winning the London Senior Cup.

Former Charlton manager Karl 'Gobby' Robinson is set to join Sam Allardyce as assistant manager at Leeds United.  

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Sandgaard rejects new offer

Thomas Sandgaard has already rejected an improved offer for the League One club from the Anglo-American group led by former Sunderland director Charlie Methven.

The group, which is known as SE7 Partners Limited and is funded by three California-based investors, initially agreed to buy a 90 per cent stake in Charlton for £8.5million in December but that deal fell apart shortly before completion in February.

SE7 Partners never completely walked away and on Thursday last week the group made a new offer to Sandgaard: £10.5m for the entire club, with two promotion-linked bonus payments that could take the final price to £11m.

Given Spiegel’s failure to close his deal over the last two months and the fact that Sandgaard had valued Charlton at £11m last year, SE7 Partners felt its revised offer was a fair price for a club that is heading towards its fourth consecutive year in English football’s third tier next season.

However, Sandgaard contacted the group on Saturday to say the price is now £12.5m and he has other interested parties. Including the price he paid to buy the club in 2020, he has invested around £16m into Charlton.

But Charlton, like most clubs in the English Football League, loses money every year and Sandgaard, thanks to the deposits paid by SE7 Partners and then Spiegel, has not had to fund those losses for six months.

Iit should also be noted that SE7 Partners’ threat of legal action is just a threat at the moment but will be activated if Sandgaard refuses to either settle or sell up.

Holden's clarion call for clarity

Dean Holden repeats his call for clarity so that he can prepare for next season as the takeover situation remains uncertain and somewhat opaque even to him: