Monday 22 April 2024

Players want Dobbo to stay

Conor Coventry says every player wants George Dobson to stay next season (as do probably almost all fans):

Richard Cawley of the SLP comments: ‘Contract is legally binding. Only way to change that is agreement between the two clubs. Plus you've got to factor in what GD wants to do. I'd hazard a guess that having signed for another team from July 1 it wouldn't be a great look - even if he was so-inclined - to say that he wanted to stay!’

Saturday 20 April 2024

Return to Charlton

I made the trek down to London yesterday expecting a draw and that's what I got.  Because of the Wembley semi-finals the train I normally catch was terminated at Princes Risborough so I had to transfer from a six coach train to a three coach one, fortunately a helpful railway staff member found me a seat.

I found myself sitting opposite a Leyton Orient fan who had booked hospitality for himself and his wife (and they lost to Fleetwood).  Fortunately, I was able to make the GMT cafe in East Greenwich, see old friends at the RAH and meet up with Steve from Petts Wood outside the West Stand.

From my seat at the top of the Lower West just outside hospitality I had an excellent view, a perspective I had not seen befire, and it was good to be back in The Valley again.

In the first half Shrewsbury were clearly more up for it, indeed aggressive and sometimes theatrical which took in the referee.  I wasn't impressed by Istead who should have called for a ball that went fot a corner and Gillesphey was as bad as everyone told me he was.

As usual it was panic stations in defence and the inevitable happened when Udoh, a former Leamington player, scored for the Shrews.

Dobbo opened the second half with a decisive goal, racing on to Connor Wickham's through ball and evading the keeper to score in an empty net in front of the Covered End.  How we are going yo miss him.   Nathan Jones wants to keep him, but his manner after the match suggested this really was goodbye.

Chuks and Kanu were brought on, but didn't make much of a difference.  We were dispossessed of the ball too easily.

Karoy Anderson headed over from close range after meeting Thierry Small's cross from the left shortly before the hour mark while Marosi got down well to parry away substitute Daniel Kanu's strike.

Two interlopers got on the pitch, pausing the game,    As the Salopians sang, 'What the ****ing hell was that?'

Another draw, equaling our club record.   It has been pointed out that this was the lowest position since 1926, although it should be noted that there was a third division north and south then.

It was a poor group of players but Nathan Jones managed to stop us getting relegated.  He made a short but appropriate speech after the game and it was a subdued parade of platers.  Now let's hope we have a clear out and he gets the players he wants.   I do have more confidence in this group of owners than their predevssors, although it's a low bar.

Friday 19 April 2024

The draw of London

Poor health has kept me from The Valley for longer than I would have liked, but I have bought a ticket in the Stand of the Living Dead for tomorrow and am going to make the five hour return journey to London.

I am anticipating another draw and am looking forward to the presentation of the draw specialist trophies for both the EFL and League One.

Shrewsbury drew at Bolton on Tuesdaty.   Shropshire's finest may not be mathematically safe, but they are as good as.

Away from home, the Salopians have won five, dawn five and lost twelve.

After last Saturday's home loss to Wycombe shell shocked Shewsbury supremo Paul Hurst said: 'I can see and hear the fan's [sic] anger a little bit in this game, but I can't stand here and say I don't agree with them.  It is hard to put into words what we have witnessed this afternoon.  It was a nothing performance.'   But then there have been a few of those at The Valley.

The CAF Trust preview suggests there may be reason to hope for a win:

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Valete Portsmouth, Salvete Stockport

Congratulations to Portsmouth on their promotion to the Championship, that's one less worry for pitch announcer Brian Cole.

Inevitably former Leamington Colby Bishop scored for Pompey last night.   We could have had him for £50k but he was snapped up by Accrington and then by Portsmouth.

Portsmouth's departure is not altogether good news for us as we were a bit of a bogey team for them, unbeaten against them this year.

I believe I am right in saying that we have played Pompey more than any other club.   More about their resurgence here:

Stockport are the only club whose ground I have visited both for Charlton and for my non-league club Leamington.   Their fans were a lot of trouble when they came to Harbury Lane and one got on the pich and poured a pint of beer over our then goal keeper. the Barmy Binman.

Stockport see League One as a way station to their rightful place in the Championship so they will be in confident mood.   Confidence is important in football, but it is also possible to be over confident.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Salvete: Wrexham

Wrexham will be joining League One next season and there is no doubt that they pose a real threat.  They show that even a club in an obscure location, albeit now a city, can be globalised with the right backers and a third Disney+ series.  Under former Addicks manager Phil Parkinson they will benefit from momentum.  Football finance guru Kieran Maguire thinks they will be competitive:

Monday 15 April 2024

Salvete: Rotherham United

As one of the longer lasting League One clubs, one of our tasks is to ‘welcome’ the seven new opponents who will be joining us next season.   Rotherham United have already been relegated from the Championship.   In the season so far they have won just four matches (none away) and have conceded 85 goals.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Rotherham has had its economic and social challenges since the decline of the steel industry.   It is very much in the shadow of a more vibrant Sheffield.

When I was an undergraduate (nearly sixty years ago) one of my flat mates had a girl friend who came from Rotherham.   Not only that, her family owned the leading (probably the only) department store in Rotherham.  When he went up there he was given a tour of the department store with every member of staff bowing and scraping to Miss X.  

I can’t give her name because she is still alive and I had a bit of a run in with her which looks bizarrely amusing in retrospect, but annoyed me at the time.   What was evident was that the family were not short of money including a big house in an even then expensive Cornish resort.  The point here is that Rotherham was once a prosperous working class community.

Now, ‘Rotherham has been ranked the unhappiest place to live in England according to a survey. Rightmove asked 21,000 people to complete a study based on their overall happiness with their area and what makes a place feel like home. Out of 221 cities, towns and villages surveyed, Rotherham came bottom of the list.’

Many years back after seeing Charlton play an early kick off at Huddersfield, some of us went over to see Brighton play at Millmoor, Rotherham United’s then ground.   I thought it was a typical old style Third Division North ground, atmospheric but not 21st century.

Now the Millers have a smart new stadium, the New York Stadium (actually named after a local area), but they keep yo yoing between the Championship and League One, although the training ground is a swamp and apparently frequently under water. They have been relegated in four of the last eight seasons, owner Tony Stewart refusing to splash the cash and put the club into debt.

Stewart owns a local lighting manufacturing firm.

Former supremo Matt Taylor missed all his summer transfer targets and ended up signing players who were too old or injury prone to attract interest elsewhere.

They might be better off trying to consolidate in League One, taking advantage of not paying Championship wages to improve the infrastructure.  A decent training ground is a key to success.

Match day attendances are a constraint: the record at the new stadium was 11,758 against local rivals Sheffield United in 2013.

However, the owner and the fans will expect them to compete so they could well be in the running for promotion.   In other words, they are a potential thorn in our side as we seek to escape from League One.

Saturday 13 April 2024

Jones insists it's the players to blame for defensive errors

Charlton are now mathematically safe after yesterday's draw at Cambridge.  But as the draw specialists prepare ro claim both the EFL and League One draw specialists trophies, Nathan Jones says that three managers cannot be responsible for the defensive blunders, it's the personnel:

However, Charlton cannot beat the all time third tier draws record which is 23.

The Addicks scored first after 23 minutes when George Dobson's pass was taken down on the edge of the box by Connor Wickham, who then fired low beyond Will Mannion to mark his full debut with a goal.

In added time Mannion made an excellent save to deny Tyreece Campbell, and soon after the break he also pushed Tyreeq Bakinson's shot wide.

Instead Cambridge hit back after 50 minutes through Macauley Bonne (yes, him), who struck a powerful shot on the turn from the edge of the box and celebrated his first U's goal against one of his former clubs. His fellow players stopped him from going to the away end as the big lump cupped his ears.

Charlton missed a huge chance to go back ahead 13 minutes from the end when Dobson played sub Alfie May through on goal, but the division's top scorer saw his shot come back off the far post.

In the final seconds of the game Mannion again came out on top, denying May at his near post.

Charlton lose £100k a week

A grim financial picture at Charlton is revealed by the club's latest accounts as analysed by football finance guru Kieran Maguire.   I will review them myself given a few days.

Charlton have now submitted their 22/23 accounts.  Revenue at £9.8m no change.   Wages £10.3m up 8%.    Operating loss for year was £9.9m up 2%.  Player purchases £113k.   Player sales £565k. Club was sold after end of season

Charlton are losing about £190k a week as no money left after paying wages for the day to day costs of the club.

Charlton total losses from all the seasons it has been in existence now exceed £57 million. No cash at end of 22/23 in the bank.  Charlton borrowed £8.5m in 22/23 to provide working capital to pay the bills.

Over half of Charlton’s income comes from ticket sales. Payoffs (to manager?) were £148k in the year.

Charlton paying £678k rent in 22/23 (to Roland). Wage bill down but still £105 for every £100 of income.

Charlton squad by end of season cost £2.4m. Player write downs were over £100k.

Loans from owner in year took total Charlton borrowings to nearly £28m.  Charlton could still have to pay money to Roland’ DuShatalay’ if promoted to Premier League.

Old owner of Charlton controlled club via a company in that bastion of transparency, the Cayman Islands.

Charlton paid out £229k to agents over past year

According to the Football Association, Charlton paid out £229k in agents' fees over the past twelve months, putting them upper mid table in League One.

Derby topped the table with £434k, but Fleetwood managed £386k.  Whether their owner played any part from his prison cell is unknown.

Cheltenham and Carlisle spent the least at £63k.

Friday 12 April 2024

Why are Charlton the EFL's draw specialists?

The main moaner narrative now is that there is nothing left to play for.  But as Curbs has pointed out, the more we have a good finish to the season, the easier it will be to recruit the players we want to recruit to challenge for promotion.

Nathan Jones is certainly taking tomorrow's trip to Cambridge tomorrow seriously.  

Jones told the SLP''s Richard Cawley that he will continue to field his strongest starting line-up: Jones: "If George Dobson is in my best 11 - regardless of whether he is coming out of contract or not - that is fine. "I've been critical before, or in my mind, of teams who are mid-table and want to experiment. Trying to do things differently causes problems when a team is trying to stay in the Football League."

 "For example when I was at Luton there was a team in the Championship which wanted to experiment but we were still trying to stay in there. That won't be Charlton Athletic. We will be trying to be the best version of us - with integrity, with credibility and try to pick our best 11 to win every game. That's what we do."

Not only are Charlton certain to get the League One draw specialists trophy, they also in line for the trophy for the whole EFL.   I have not had a good season with predictions in the Badger League, but 2-2 tomorrow may not be far off the likely result.

I haven't analysed all the draws, but I think that defensive shortcomings account for a lot of them not being wins.  Also, most games now go on for over 100+ minutes, indeed Charlton's games are very often the last to finish.   Fitness may be a factor.

Cambridge have a far better home than away record and are fighting for League One survival.  However, they are five points clear of Burton Albion and Port Fail.   I think that Fleetwood and Cheltenham are destined for the drop and the final position will go either to the Brewers or the Valiants.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Charlton not for sale despite Italian interest

Charlton owners Global Football Partner state that they are absolutely committed to their running of the football club.There have been reports in Italian media that former Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has been weighing up a move if he sells Brescia.

Charlie Methven, on behalf of GFP , told the South London Press: "Charlton Athletic is a fantastic club and will always attract interest from players, managers and even people who ultimately might want to own the club.”

 "Our ownership group, Global Football Partners, are intensely proud and happy to be the owners of the club and any thoughts of selling it couldn't be any further from our minds. As such, we note the speculation with a wry smile and - whilst being respectful of any interest which is either lodged with us, or speculated about - we are simply 100 per cent happy and proud to be the custodians of Charlton Athletic for the medium to long term."

I'm not sure why some people think this is a non story.   There is certainly an Italian angle:

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Dobbo's uncertain future

Without conducting a poll postings on social media suggest that most Charlton fans would like to retain George Dobson.  Nathan Jones would certainly like to keep him:

Jones is careful not to say anything disrespectful about Hungary.  It does have a beautiful capital city and some great cuisine, but the language is impossible and it is ruled by an unpleasant authoritarian.

What no one really knows is how much it would cost to buy Dobson out of his pre-contract and how much Charlton would be prepared to pay - given that it would deplete the overall transfer budget.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Sloppy defending nearly costs Charlton

Sloppy defending nearly cost Charlton their grip on the League One draw specialists trophy at The Valley this evening, but an equaliser from substitute Chuks Aneke saw the game end 2-2.   

Charlton moved up to 14th, although we have played more games than some teams around us.  Cheltenham and Fleetwood both lost and we are 11 points above the drop zone.

It was no joke for Wigan keeper Tickle when Lactics captain Hughes put an own goal pat him in a scrappy first half.  There may have been a case for the goal being disallowed because of a foul by May, but none of the Wigan players protested and we have had more than our fair share of bad decisions.

Charlton started the second half, playing towards the Covered End, with real energy, but failed to convert a number of chances.  Sloppy defending then allowed Wigan to score twice.

Nathan Jones took a risk making three substitutions, including taking off Alfie May.  Chuks Aneke missed a sitter, sending the ball into the Covered End, but redeemed himself with his headed goal.

I though that we had some fluent play and good approach work in the second half, but could have been more clinical - and we always looked vulnerable to a counter attack.

Fans singled out George Dobson for his contribution, and he nearly scored.

Nathan Jones was disappointed with the result but pleased with the level of performance:

He has discussed how he intends to tackle Charlton's defensive woes:

Implicit in what he says is the current personnel are not good enough.   Curbs commented last night that he thinks that Jones has more leverage over recruitment policy than previous managers.

Jones was booked by erratic referee Swabey who may well have broken his bottle of hair restorer in the dressing room.  The Charlton supremo thinks that a Wigan player should have been booked for simulation:

All to play for against Wigan

Charlton's players are a talented bunch who were under achieving, but now they are together.  Nathan Jones talks about the energy he has expended to bring that about:

Tonight Charlton face Wigan at The Valley.   A win would take the Addicks closer to absolute safety and even hold out the prospect of a top half of the table finish should other results go our way.

This would give us a platform for next season, enabling us to retain Alfie May and recruit other promising players as the squad is shaken up.

Charlton are currently 7th in the League One form table and Wigan are 12th,  In the real table they are three places above Charlton.

Their home record is much better than their away record.   Away from home they have won five, drawn five and lost ten.

Last Saturday the Lactics had a goalless draw at home with Port Fail.  Wigan boss Shaun Maloney said, 'It wasn't too bad, it was just ok' but admitted that his side became 'a bit toothess'.

Monday 8 April 2024

It's all God's will says the Welsh Wizard

Nathan Jones recently spoke to The Athletic (very good value in my view) and here are a few excerpts from the interview.

'he south-east Londoners, a top-flight club as recently as 2007 but who were flirting with relegation to the fourth tier of English football when he took charge, have pulled away from danger and there is a real sense of optimism as thoughts turn to next season.

“We want to get the club back to where it’s been in previous seasons,” Jones tells The Athletic. “We believe there’s an infrastructure here that’s wonderful, a fanbase that’s wonderful, a history of being in the Premier League and with good planning, with real good decisions, with a lot of God’s will, that’s where we’d like to return to.”

Jones is keen to have “99 per cent” of his squad for next season in place by late June, to allow time for a thorough pre-season with the right personnel already assembled. “That’s the type of things we want to create here,” he said, “not going into pre-season where we’re six short and we’re signing people in August.”

For Jones, a born-again Christian, his faith has been important in guiding him through testing moments. He has religious tattoos — including a version of Michelangelo’s painting The Creation Of Adam across his back.

“It gives me a set of values that I stick by,” he says. “I never get too high or too low, everything I believe is God’s will. So if God takes me to a tough, tough period, then I know he’s going to bring me through it to something different or he’s going to teach me."

“I speak to (Newcastle head coach) Eddie Howe and Brendan Rodgers (manager of Scottish champions Celtic) on a regular basis.”'

Quite a few Charlton legends over the years have been born again Christians such as Keith Peacock and Chris Powell.   I'm sure it can inspire them, although as an Erastian it is not my cup of tea.  As chair of the friends of the local parish church, I find my theological disputes with the vicar quite testing.  He did allow me to show Life of Brian in the Church, but drew the line at my suggestion of a Halloween event in the crypt.

Saturday 6 April 2024

Take that you Tykes

Two excellent first half goals by Alfie May saw Charlton win 2-1 over Barnsley at The Valley this afternoon and he nearly scored a third.   Chuks Aneke failed to score a penalty after Tyreece Campbell had been brought down.  Barnsley got their goal from a penalty.

Even if they are not mathematically safe, Charlton are now very unlikely to be relegated and the 'we'll be playing in League Two next season' crowd will have to eat their words.  We have reached the magic 50 points.

May broke the deadlock with a tremendous free-kick in the 20th minute to fire Charlton ahead.

Adam Phillips grabbed an equaliser for Barnsley eight minutes later from the penalty spot following a handball by Kayne Ramsay.

But, after a dreadful miss from inside the six-yard box by Devante Cole, the Addicks regained the lead in the 40th minute when May curled in a shot from the left corner of the box following a clever dummy by George Dobson.

Barnsley did not take their defeat well and their charm merchant assistant coach Jon Stead was sent off in time added on. 

Alfie May and George Dobson were selected for the League One team of the day by The Football League Paper.

Carlisle were relegated and Burton, Cambridge, Cheltenham and Shrewsbury all lost.   Reading and Port Vale drew.  Fleetwood did not play today.

Nathan Jones was delighted with Charlton's display:

Jones explained why Tennai Watson was rested:

Friday 5 April 2024

Draw specialists meet away win record holders

Whilst the Tunnel Boring Machines League One Draw Specialist Award will be on standby at The Valley tomorrow, the real threat is Barnsley's away record:

They have only lost once away all season and have scored 38 goals, the highest total in League One.

Nathan Jones has had a positive impact at The Valley, the stats show, but the poor start to the season means that we may end with our worst ever points tally in League One:

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Nigels annoy Beckenham residents

 Private Eye reports that residents living alongside the Glaziers' academy training ground in Beckenham 'have been infuriated by building work and traffic chaos.'

Crystal Palace acquired a 75-year lease on the former Nat West Bank sports ground in 2018.   Although the land is protected as metropolitan open ground Palace got permission for a building housing an indoor training pitch.   Bromley council planners advised that 'community benefit' outweighed any harm to protected land.

Local residents say that the club's activities have made their lives a 'total nightmare'. The North Copers Cope Road action group 'has logged use of the site outside permitted hours, photographed frequent traffic queues, recorded an increase in traffic accidents, and noted unauthorised works taking place.'

Although the report does not state this, it is more than likely that Nigel Pooter and his mates have been turning up in the hope of spotting future talent to compensate for its relative absence in the current team.

Monday 1 April 2024

Bore draw sees Charlton edge towards safety

A 0-0 draw with Stevenage saw Charlton edge towards safety this afternoon.   With seven draws in the last ten the Addicks are odds on favourites for the League One draw specialists trophy.   DVDs of the game are to be marketed as a sleeplessness cure. 

Relegation rivals Cheltenham, Reading and Port Fail all lost while Shrewsbury's game also ended 0-0.  Charlton remain 16th.

The only redeeming features were a good performance from Hector and a clean sheet.   Big Dave Lockwood remarked, :'As football matches go, that one was pretty awful.'

Nathan Jones understandably had 'mixed feelings' about the match:

Karoy Anderson was rested for the match:

Jones has at least instilled enough into an inadequate squad to avoid relegation, a major rebuild is needed in the summer.

Sunday 31 March 2024

Evans award moved to lounges

A presentation that was to be made pitch side today to Stevenage manager Steve Evans has had to be moved to the lounges after he received a further touchline ban for breaching a touchline ban in force:

Evans was due to receive the Estee Lauder Football Charm Merchant Lifetime Achievement Award.   This is voted for by the Guild of Referees and Linesman and according to the citation was awarded for his ‘forthright and uncensored advice to officials since 2005.’

The Glaswegian is also to receive a framed photograph of him being escorted by the police from Blundell Park at half time.

His contract was recently extended by Stevenage until 2026.

Friday 29 March 2024

Unbeaten run continues

Away draw specialists Charlton continued their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Exeter City this afternoon.

The Gtecians made a storming start and a quality cross allowed former Addick Ben Purrington to open the scoring after five minutes with a pinpoint header.

Charlton came close to equalising thtough Dobson just before half time, but the ball was ruled not to have crossed the line and Purrington made the clearance.

Aneke came on a second half substitute and scored the equaliser, well it actually deflected in off Diabatel, but Aneke made good use of Bakinson's cross.  May had a chance to secure all three points towards the end of normal time with the keeper stranded but hit the post.

There were too many overhit balls and once again we looked vulnerable defensively.

Charlton remain 16th, seven points ahead of Port Vale at the head of the relegation zone, although they have a game in hand.   Lower table sides generally did well, but with Cheltenham winning at Fleetwood the Cod Army look to be increasingly at risk.

Karoy Anderson was substituted at Exeter, but Michael Hector thinks that his international experience with Jamaica can only benefit him:

Hector would like to stay at Charlton beyond this season:

Charlton's financial results for 2022/23 should be out soon.   Meanwhile, here are some figures from three other League One clubs:

Jones goes for early transfer decisions

Charlton fans may not have such a long wait as usual for transfer decisions this summer as Nathan Jones hopes to get 99 pet cent of the work done by the end of June, not that he intends to take much of a holiday:

As he has indicated before, some members of a bloated squad may be leaving, while I suspect (and hope) there will be less reliance on last minute loans than in previous seasons.   In fact, there might be some kind of coherent plan and time for the squad to get to know each other.

We will need it as we are likely to face Wrexham who have comfortably absorbed a £5m loss which is more than some LeagueTwo clubs make in annual revenue.   Stockport County have just reported a £4.5m loss.

Meanwhile, Alfite May is targeting his first Charlton hat trick to boost his Golden Boot hopes:

Thursday 28 March 2024

A draw in Devon?

Exeter's cathedral and its many churches will be busy with the Stations of the Cross tomorrow, but tickets are going fast for the 15th versus 16th clash at St James' Park.   The Grecians have not played for 13 days, but are confident on the basis of their recent 'good form':

This has seem them go up to 14th in the form table while a resurgent Charlton are 5th.  At home Exeter have had a mixed record: won six, drawn seven, lost seven.  Charlton have drawn ten games away and are in the running for the League One away draw specialists trophy.

Exeter are known for having problems in the final third, but Charlton still display defensive weaknesses.  But who knows what we can achieve?

I lived in Exeter for two years and never went to a match there.   I remember walking past there one midweek evening as crowds gathered.   I walked on with indifference to collect a takeaway.

Nathan Jones has noted that seven of his ten games with Charlton have been away and he is looking forward to getting back to The Valley on Easter Monday:

I won't be able to give this much attention as I am hosting a family meal before my granddaughter and great-granddaughter emigrate to Spain the following day.   It will probably be the last time all four generations are together.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Big hopes for Small

Thierry Small has impressed doubters since his arrival at The Valley and Richard Cawley interviews him about his hopes here:

I’ve been really enjoying my football and I really love being in London,” Small told the South London Press. “The Charlton fans are amazing. and it is a brilliant changing room to be part of."

Terrell Thomas may be in line for a new contract:

Saturday 23 March 2024

Charlton's England links

With Ezri Konza the latest Charlton academy product to appear in an England shirt, it is a good time to review what our Academy achieves: 

Former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney recalls: 'Very moving interview with Sven Goran Eriksson tonight [on Channel 4] that was tinged with sadness. He was a regular visitor to The Valley and was always excellent company along with Tord Grip and gave Chris Powell and Luke Young their England debuts. A genuinely nice and warm person.'

David White adds: 'Couldn’t agree more, Peter. He told me many times how he loved the atmosphere at the club and in the boardroom.'

Are Brentford the contemporary Charlton?

I always think that Brentford are a recent example of where Charlton could have gone with better owners.  They are also not the Super Hoops who arrogantly tried to poach Curbs as their manager.

In today's Financial Times football (and many other things) guru Simon Kuper reviews Alex Duff's book Smart Money: the Rise and Fall of Brentford FC published by Constable at £22.

Here are some excepts from his review:

'One day in 2005, when little Brentford Football Club were threatened with administration, a man named Matthew Benham phoned the club offices asking how he could help. He ended up making an anonymous loan. Benham, an unflamboyant professional gambler who grew up supporting Brentford, went on to use statistical insights to lift the west London club up the divisions to the Premier League.

Founded in 1889, Brentford were for almost all their history a suburban neighbourhood club. They drew their support from the white working-class streets around Griffin Park, their ground until 2020, which had a pub on each corner. They had a brief heyday in the then first division either side of the second world war, marked by an ill-judged tour of Nazi Germany in 1937. After relegation in 1947, they went through a 70-year lean patch. In the 1960s they nearly merged with Queens Park Rangers.

To this day, Brentford lease a training ground from the 700-year-old Mercers’ Company, which channels the proceeds — in a very British story — to the expensive private school St Paul’s. The club’s seemingly permanent lack of potential was nicely summed up in a chant by QPR fans in 2018: “You’re just a bus stop in Hounslow.”

But by then, Benham was already working his quiet magic. Benham was raised near Eton school, where his parents were teachers. He began watching Brentford because it was the nearest professional football club, only 17 miles away. He studied physics at Oxford, then “became a star derivatives trader” in the City, before going into sports gambling. 

There was money to be made here, because bookmakers were miscalculating the odds of football matches. Quants (data analysts) had developed more sophisticated methods to assess the true form of clubs. They looked beyond results, which were skewed by chance — a ball that rolled in off the post, or didn’t.

Once his loan to Brentford morphed into a full-blown takeover of the club, he set his quant employees a new task: as well as predicting the results of matches, they would try to win them, for Brentford. They identified undervalued players, and developed new tactics.

One of many inefficiencies they spotted in football was a neglect of the set pieces — principally corners and free-kicks — that produce about 30 per cent of all goals. Many clubs barely practised them. To Benham, this was as if a student didn’t bother preparing 30 per cent of an exam, so Brentford hired an Italian set-piece coach. Through superior intelligence, they routinely beat richer opponents. 

[Of course, other clubs have now woken up to this and Liverpool are using AI to analyse and advise on corners as I discussed recently].

They also managed to make a profit from transfers while getting promoted to the Premier League. Today Benham, whose wealth is estimated at $300mn, is the Premier League’s second-poorest owner, yet his club are likely to survive again this season.'

Thursday 21 March 2024

A price to pay if Dobbo stays

Nathan Jones is full of praise for George Dobson, but the only way we can stop him going to Hungary is by paying a transfer fee.   In other words, it's a cock up:

If I had young children like Dobbo I am not sure I would want to expose them to one of the most difficult languages in Europe.   But then I suppose children pick things up quickly.   My great-granddaughter is about to go and live in Spain and I am told that she will be trilingual in English, (Castilian) Spanish and Valencios.  

Monday 18 March 2024

Another one that got away

My partner laughs when we are watching a Premier League game, which she thinks is the only place football is played (apart from La Liga) and I say, 'former Charlton player'.

When Alfie Doughty was 18 he was sent on loan from the Addicksto Kingstonian in the Isthmian League. He spent around 10 weeks playing in the seventh tier of English football before returning to his boyhood club.

Five and a half years on, and Doughty has played in the fifth tier in the National League with Bromley, experienced relegation from the Championship with Charlton and struggled to get into the team at Stoke City.

Now he is 24 and has not only helped Luton Town get promoted to the Premier League but has become one of their standout players in England’s top flight.

Doughty spent 15 years at Charlton’s academy, coming through with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez and Aston Villa centre-back Ezri Konsa. His aim has always been to play in the top division and he is doing it with aplomb.

His versatility and trustworthiness have meant he has been relied on both sides of the pitch at wing-back, and heading into their match with Burnley, no Luton player had created more chances than Doughty.  A high number of those chances have arrived from set pieces, with Doughty in charge of free kicks and corners. Only West Ham United midfielder James Ward-Prowse has created more chances from set pieces in the Premier League than the Luton player this season.

Doughty’s drive and deliveries are among the top reasons Luton remain in a fight to stay in the Premier League. As for Doughty, this level looks more and more like one he belongs at.

Saturday 16 March 2024

May scores 25th goal of season

Charlton are 17th in League One after a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood Town, ten points clear of relegation zone leaders Cheltenham, although they have two games in hand.

Alfie May's 25th goal of the season was not enough for Charlton as Fleetwood hit back late to earn a 1-1 draw .

May scored from the penalty spot but substitute Ryan Graydon rescued a point for the hosts with six minutes left, rounding keeper Harry Isted before tucking home from a tight angle.

The Cod Army started strongly with Xavier Simons denied by a super save from Isted.   More on Isted here: 

Former Addick Jayden Stockley also headed inches wide, still with less than 10 minutes played.. The hosts continued to press, Brendan Wiredu and Gavin Kilkenny also going close.

The Addicks' first decent chance came after 36 minutes when Macaulay Gillesphey drilled narrowly over the top.

The visitors went ahead in first-half added time when May tucked home a penalty after he had been felled by charm merchant Shaun Rooney.

Fleetwood went close soon after the restart when Bosun Lawal saw a well-struck shot saved by Isted. Wiredu also headed wide from Phoenix Patterson's cross.

At the other end Thierry Small's effort was saved by Jay Lynch, before Graydon went on to salvage a point for the hosts with time running out.

Top LMA job for Pardoo?

Safe in his hands

Alan Pardew, 62, is among those standing in the election to succeed Howard Wilkinson as the chairman of the League Managers Association (LMA).

Now 80, Wilkinson is standing down at the end of the season after 34 years leading the organisation he helped to establish. Eight people, including both male and female candidates, have been nominated for the position and the LMA’s 680 members will send ballot papers next week and have four weeks to vote.

Pardew’s pitch includes that he has played and managed at every level, and that he wants to promote more inclusion of ethnic minority coaches.

No doubt he will not mention that he screwed up big time at Charlton.

Friday 15 March 2024

Can we be fleet of foot at Fleetwood?

Although they are third from bottom in the real table,. Fleetwood moved up to 15th in the form table last weekend and secured a respectable 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.   This was also the scoreline away at promotion chasing Stevenage last Saturday.

Fleetwood claim that defensive solidity is their key, but they have conceded 30 goals at home and won just four, drawn three and lost eleven.

Perhaps the owner will deliver one of his inspirational messages from his prison cell and the Cod Army will see a result banged to rights.

Fleetwood has a population of 26,000 which is about a quarter the size of the mini conurbation I live in and there is just a third tier non-league team here which seems more realistic.

BBC1's Football Focus are visiting my non-league club Leamington tomorrow to mark Paul Holleran's (pictured) 700th game in charge (the programme will go out on Easter Saturday).   Some bleeping may be necessary.   Holleran does not hold back in advising referees.

CAST preview here:

Why Roland was half right

I have never been one of the 'things were better under Roland' school.  Indeed, they have become a lot quieter recently.  There is the Steve Sutherland argument that we were wrong to upset him given that he still owns The Valley and Sparrows Lane.

Where Roland was half right was in pursuing a multi club model.   Manchester City pioneered it, but now Liverpool have realised they have to follow suit:

Where Roland went wrong was that he didn't have enough money to buy good or at least promising clubs and the football knowledge to deploy players across the clubs.

However, the tide of globalisation continues in football and no domestic regulator is going to stop it.  The model may return to Charlton one day.

LuaLua deal pending

No deal for Fosu at Charlton, but one for LuaLua is pending:

More about LuaLua here:

Nathan Jones has stated what Conor Wickham brings to the squad in the absence of Aneke and Leaburn and also explains why Lloyd Jones did not feature last week:

Tuesday 12 March 2024

One place drop

Stopping by for a curry at lunchtime in the Royal Spa today, I was surprised to see an Exeter City player enjoying the express lunch.   However, it was a convenient stopping place on his way to Shrewsbury.  The curry must have done him good as the Grecians defeated Shropshire's finest 3-0.

Charlton have dropped one place in League One tonight with Wycombe going above them as clubs used up games in hand.  However, Cheltenham are still ten points behind at the head of the relegation zone.

The home game against Wigan on March 23rd has been postponed due to international call ups.

Shareholder Charlie Methven has been giving it large to Crystal Palace and West Ham:

I understand that Charlton have now apologised to West Ham for the OTT comments.

May I also add to the praise for the debut of 12-year old Sydney on Charlton Live on Saturday.   There's a lot to be said for starting in the media at a young age.   Photo below is of me on live television at age 13.

Saturday 9 March 2024

Jones may swoop for ex Addick

Nathan Jones is looking to further strengthen the squad by entering the free agent market, including former Brighton winger Kazenga LuaLua and ex Addick Tariqe Fosu:

Richard Cawley adds: 'Charlton were waiting to discover full extent of Kazenga LuaLua's contract situation as they weighed up a deal. Either is or was contracted to Levadiakos.'

Victory at The Valley

Charlton didn't make it easy, but at last they won at The Valley with a 3-2 victory over Carlisle United, Alfie May scoring a brace.   The Addicks are 14th in the table, ten points ahead of the leading club in the relegation zone - Cheltenham Town who lost at Oxford.

Luke Armstrong put the Cumbrians in front but May levelled before the break. Daniel Kanu then shot the Addicks ahead before a Taylor Charters penalty brought the Cumbrians level.  Former Addick Lavelle's under hit back pass allowed May to score his second goal to secure the points.

Thierry Small was involved in Charlton's early attempts, cutting in from the left and drawing a save from Harry Lewis.   Then on 15 minutes United's keeper made an excellent save, keeping out George Dobson's goalbound header as May crossed into the box.

Gillesphey was caught on the ball by Diamond, who combined with Jack Ellis to win a corner. Taylor Charters' low delivery was kept alive by Harrison Neal and when Charters crossed again, Lavelle helped it on and Armstrong managed to hook a shot around a defender and high past Isted.

In response, a Terell Thomas header lacked power as Lewis smothered the chance.

But Charlton's increased pressure eventually told as, from the right, Daniel Kanu placed a shot into the path of the arriving May, who was ahead of Lavelle as he tucked the shot low to Lewis's right to level the scores.

The Addicks were now firmly on top and Lewis had to backpedal to turn a floated Dobson delivery over the United bar.

As Charlton took control. Kanu put them in front as he latched onto a clever May pass and got away from Lavelle's attentions to dig a shot high past Lewis.

But nine minutes later Carlisle fought back - Armstrong held in the box by Gillesphey, referee Tom Nield pointing to the spot and Charters firing confidently into the top left corner past Isted.

United could then have gone behind again soon after but Kanu, free in the box, nodded Watson's header against the left-hand post.  Lewis made a good save from a Conor Coventry shot before Simpson sent on Emmanuel and Sean Maguire in a double change, Charlton introducing Wickham for his debut.

The Blues then went behind as Lavelle, facing his own goal, under hit a pass back to Lewis - May intercepted, took it wide of the keeper to the left and then steered it home from a narrow angle at close range.

Debutante Wickham had a shot saved by Lewis as Charlton broke.   Anderson was below par and had to be withdrawn carrying a yellow card.

The Covered End erupted into chants of 'Nathan Jones' Red Army'.

Attendance: reported as 13,978, 872 from Cumbria.

May is now targeting the League One golden boot:

Reaction from Nathan Jones:





Friday 8 March 2024

Aggression is part of my job says Jones

Northampton manager and Australian charm merchant Jon Brady has been accusing Charlton of kicking the hell out of one of his players, saying that from being a good footballing team [sic] under Appleton, they have become an aggressive side.

The Welsh wizard has given a robust reply: 'If they (his players) are not aggressive then I’m not doing my job. Every opportunity I get in life I want to take and go after – be aggressive and front-footed.  I want us to be a front-footed, high-pressing and a hard-working team that makes it really difficult.  I don’t want anyone being in the comfort zone playing against Charlton. If that is what people see then brilliant.”

Full story at:

Thursday 7 March 2024

Cumbrians out in force

More than 800 Carlisle fans will be making the journey from Cumbria for tomorrow's clash at The Valley (I suspect that at least a quarter live in London and what used to be called the Home Counties):

Carlisle are bottom of the league and second from bottom in the form league.   They have won just two games away, drawing three and losing twelve.   They have conceded 30 goals and scored just 14,   They have lost nine matches in ten. In other words, they are just about ready for a shock result.

Paul Simpson admitted that his side struggled against the pace of Reading in their 1-3 home defeat last Saturday and says that he finds the athleticism of League One teams a problem.  Our group is getting fitter and faster, we just need to avoid the defensive errors.

Critics have said that our performance at Cheltenham was gritty rather than accomplished.   However, I will settle for the goals and points and wait for us to play like Manchester City.   This is a time for what Curbs called grinding out results, the flowing football can come later.

Most managers don't make that much of a difference the statistics show, but Nathan Jones may well be an exception to the rule (as is also happening with 'Chopper' Harris at Millwall).  The dedication and passion of the Welshman is transmitting to players and fans.

CAS Trust preview here:

Fleetwood owner got 13 years in prison

We've had some rum owners at Charlton but none of them has actually sent an audio message rallying fans from his prison cell.

Last summer, the owner of Fleetwood Town, Andy Pilley, was sentenced to 13 years for ripping off small businesses and charities up and down the UK via his utilities companies, stealing money from vulnerable people and becoming rich in the process.

Yet, overlooking the halfway line at the club’s Highbury Stadium, there is still a shrine to the man who was also imprisoned in 1998 for conspiracy to steal from the Post Office and last year was convicted of crimes which a judge described as a “sordid tale of squalid lies, greed and fraud”.

“There’s only one Andy Pilley,” — a phrase chanted by Fleetwood fans at away games this season — says the banner put up by fans just outside the stadium grounds.

Pilley oversaw six promotions at Fleetwood, taking the club from the 10th tier to the third in a decade, despite the north-west town (population: 26,000) being the smallest with an English Football League club.   In purely footballing terms, Pilley has been an excellent owner.

Pilley paid for Fleetwood’s Highbury stadium improvements as well as a state-of-the-art training centre at Poolfoot Farm, which was opened by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2016, with the media reporting the cost at £8million.

“We’re on a peninsula,” Pilley said in 2015. “We can’t get any more fans from the north, the east or the west because we are surrounded by water: river and sea.”

Almost half of its neighbourhoods are in the 10 per cent most deprived in the UK according to official government statistics. It is an isolated coastal town without a major employer or industry — meaning BES Utilities and Pilley’s other companies are a big deal, alongside the town’s other notable company, Fisherman’s Friend, a throat lozenge developed for fishermen working in the freezing Atlantic waters.

Despite resigning as a director of the club’s parent company immediately after his conviction, Pilley still owns Fleetwood Town.

EFL rules required him to divest his shares after the “disqualifying event” of his lengthy prison sentence, but nine months after his conviction, this has not happened.

The club says it is in a “continued dialogue” with the EFL about a change of ownership. “Andy Pilley (is) in the process of divesting of his shares,” a spokesperson said. “Mr Pilley resigned as a director of the club shortly after the verdict.”

The issue with Fleetwood Town is not what the money is being spent on or how the club is being run, it is where the money came from in the first place: companies owned by a man who has now been jailed for serious crimes.

However, the future looks uncertain regarding Pilley and his companies, with legal action bubbling against his company BES.

Pilley was the man who turned Fleetwood Town from a non-League minnow into an established EFL club, but his crimes mean he now has to follow their fortunes from a prison cell.


Tuesday 5 March 2024

Former Addick destined for England slot

Extracts from an article in The Times yssterday:

Gareth Southgate will name his latest England squad next week, with Luke Shaw, Marc Guéhi and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those expected to be missing.

If he is looking to offset all of those absentees in an instant, then one name in particular should be scribbled on his squad sheet: Joe Gomez.

Whether at left back, centre back, right back or, even latterly as a midfield No 6, Gomez has been exemplary for Liverpool this season, his ability to adapt to whatever role is asked of him without quibble making him a manager’s dream.

Southgate has always been a huge admirer of Gomez only for serious injury, firstly with the under-21s and then the senior squad, to thwart his desire to make him a cornerstone in his plans.

This season, he has made 17 appearances at right back, 14 at left back, four at centre half and now two starts in the centre of midfield.

Klopp said last week that Gomez had “saved our lives 20 times” this season given the number of injuries that have left his squad depleted. That Klopp saw the potential in Gomez — the only player whose arrival at Anfield, in summer 2015, pre-dates that of his manager — to come into midfield speaks volumes of his natural talent.

The only thing Southgate would not be getting by recalling Gomez is goals. The former Charlton Athletic youngster, who moved to Merseyside for a bargain £3.5 million nine years ago, is still searching for the first in a career spanning 234 appearances.

The sound of the Anfield crowd imploring him to “shoot” whenever in the opposition half has become an irritation, though Klopp is hoping for the moment to arrive before he leaves in the summer. He has even promised to pay Gomez’s wife, Tamara, money should he break his duck and is now considering letting him take a penalty.

Charlton up to 14th

After winning 3-1 at the Completely Suzuki stadium tonight, Charlton went up to 14th in an admittedly still crowded table with other teams having games in hand.   Nathan Jones' Red Army was the chant at the end of the game.

Late strikes from Tyreeq Bakinson and Alfie May earned Charlton victory at Cheltenham to ease their relegation fears.

The improving Addicks took a first-half lead through Daniel Kanu before Liam Sercombe's 70th-minute leveller set up a tense finish.  But the late double lifted Nathan Jones' side seven points clear of their hosts and the drop zone.

It took 19 minutes for them to break the deadlock, with Conor Coventry releasing Tennai Watson on the right and his low ball was turned in by Kanu for his 10th of the season.

May was denied by Liam Kinsella's block in the box and Luke Southwood foiled another effort from the ex-Cheltenham striker, who skewed the rebound wide.

Matty Taylor saw a low shot deflected wide, but Charlton were on top for much of the first half.

Cheltenham equalised when Jordan Thomas weaved past two defenders and forced Harry Isted into a low save, but he could only parry it to Sercombe, who tapped home.

However, the often criticised Bakinson struck four minutes from the end with a low shot that Southwood reached - but could not keep out - after George Dobson's pass.

And former Robins hero May added the third in the 90th minute, tapping into an empty net after collecting Freddie Ladapo's pass as Charlton extended their unbeaten run to six.

In a day when the media were praising former Addick Joe Gomez, who looks having a regular England slot, Thierry Small attracted much praise for what he brought to the game.  He got his own chant from the Addickted.

Nathan Jones hails 'a big win':

Will May go 'Completely Suzuki?'

Alfie May speculated on Charlton Live last Saturday what reception he will get at the Completely Suzuki stadium tonight..  Cheltenham supremo Darrell Clarke hopes he gets a good reception before the game, but is intimidated during it, saying that his players know a lot about him:

May has said that he will not celebrate if he scores.  Will he be in the right frame of mind?

It's Cheltenham's game in hand and they hope to pick up all three points to plunge Charlton further into trouble.

Over 600+ Addicks are expected to make the journey tonight.

Cheltenham are currently fourth in the form table while Charlton are 14th.   In recent matches they have won three, drawn two and lost one.

They have not scored a lot of goals at home (18) compared with Charlton's 29.   They drew 0-0 with Burton on Saturday.   They could have lost but for a 94th minute clearance off the line.  

Monday 4 March 2024

Jonwa praises 'top notch' Academy

Almost all Charlton fans accept that the Academy is one of the most positive aspects of the club, even if some of the promising players it produces leave us too soon and do not yield as big a transfer fee as might be hoped (although some fan expectations are unrealistic).   Even so, it is pleasing that Nathan Jones is so positive about it and the part it plays in his plans:

Sunday 3 March 2024

Don't chuk it away

Nathan Jones is clearly going to use fragile game changer Chuks Aneke sparingly, but I think he could (or should) be on the bench for the six pointer at Cheltenham:

Cheltenham are the highest ranked spa town team n England.   The appropriately named Sulphurites (Harrogate) are doing better than usual in League Two this season.

Bath City, who were rivals for Football League membership with Charlton in the 1920s, never made it to the Football League.  Currently in the National League South, they are overshadowed by the rugby club.

And here in the Royal Spa (Leamington) Brakes were relegated to the third tier of non-league at the end of last season.

Isted will bounce back says defender

Moaners have found a new target in Harry Isted, but one poll I have seen suggests that there is little enthusiasm among fans for the return of Maynard-Brewer.

Defender Macaulay Gillesphey is confident that the keeper will bounce back from his error:

Nathan Jones 'hammered' Isted in the dressing room afterwards, but said he probably shouldn't have done as he is 'a really good keeper':

Anyway, we might have got all three points if we had been more ruthless in taking chances.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Sickfields for Charlton

After Zidane scored for Charlton in four minutes, but a second half defensive error involving keeper Harry Isted cost the Addicks all three points against Northampton this afternoon.  Isted held up hands in apology to the Addickted after the game.

Charlton had four shots on target to one for the Cobblers.  They had six corners to three.   It's an away point, but it feels a bit like a defeat.

The away end was sold out at Sixfields as Charlton fans queued for the one available turnstile.

If they had held on to the lead, Charlton would have advanced to 15th but are now 18th, ahead of Cambridge and Shrewsbury on goal difference.   Port Fail lost at Derby, Fleetwood beat Wigan 4-2, Reading won at Carlisle and Cheltenham drew 0-0 with Burton.  Shropshire's finest lost 0-2 at home to Blackpool.   Cambridge lost 2-0 at Bolton.

Charlton took an early lead when Karoy Anderson repaid the confidence of Nathan Jones and poked the ball home via a deflection inside the opening five minutes.

In a first half of few clear cut chances, Tyreece Simpson shot over after some good work by Kieron Bowie while Thierry Small and Alfie May both tested Louie Moulden. Bowie also had a half chance but couldn’t get a clean strike on the ball after Simpson closed down a clearance from the Charlton keeper.

The Shoe Army sang 'Premier League, you ****ed it up, but the Addickted replied 'Premier League, you'll never sing that.'

With the game approaching the hour-mark, Mitch Pinnock fired into the side netting from an acute angle just before Sam Hoskins and Louis Appere came on in a double change.

The game was still in the balance but Charlton went close to making it 2-0 when Alfie May headed against the post with Tennai Watson unable to find the target on the follow-up. May then looked certain to convert a chance at the back post only to be denied by n interception from Sam Sherring.

Louis Appere equalised for the Cobblers with ten minutes to play, the substitute capitalising on a defensive mix-up from Charlton to tap home into an empty net. The goal boosted the Cobblers and with momentum switched Jack Sowerby fired just over from distance but in the end both sides had to settle for a point.    Eight extra minutes were played: Charlton games are always one of the last to finish.

Big dilemma for Palace owner

John Textor called for the Premier League spending rules to be relaxed at the FT Business and Football summit — or ditched altogether — so that rich owners can pump their own money into clubs and cut the gap with the top teams.  He also wants a World Super League, although participants might be surprised by the facilities at Selhurst Park.

Textor’s Eagle Football Group owns Olympique Lyonnais, RWD Molenbeek, Botafogo and is the largest shareholder in Crystal Palace. Textor said spending limits stopped ambitious clubs from upgrading their squads in the transfer market and amounted to “anti-competitive behaviour”. He cited the example of Nottingham Forest’s billionaire owner Evangelos Marinakis. Forest were charged by the Premier League earlier this year for breaching spending rules.

“Has this really been a problem, that everyone is going bankrupt? The sustainability issue is a fraudulent issue. Somebody shows up and tells Marinakis, an incredible guy in terms of resources and assets . . . and says we know you have [the money], but we’re worried about you Mr Marinakis. Don’t spend it.”

He went on to say that linking spending to revenue would merely make the Premier League less and less competitive and people would lose interest.

“I’ve got to somehow find a way to put Crystal Palace against Erling Haaland [of Manchester City]”, he said. “If you get an injury you don’t get to pull a £15mn player off the bench you’ve got to take somebody from your academy because you can’t afford to have that player on your bench. That’s not sport. Is anyone really having fun with this?”

He added: “Don’t tell me if Leicester City can do it, anybody can do it. It’s broken.”

Friday 1 March 2024

Cobblers in buoyant mood

On the back of three unbeaten matches, including a 2-0 wn at Burton last Saturday, Northampton Town are expecting a big crowd at Sixfields tomorrow as they seek to halt Charlton's revival.   Manager and former Rushden & Diamonds legend Jon Brady is in buoyant mood as he looks to halt Charlton's revival.

At home the Cobblers have won eight, drawn four and lost five, scoring 24 but conceding 19.

Pessimists have been scrabbling around for a narrative this week and were reduced to trying to find individual players to slag off.   Well, I will give them one: Charlton are often at their best against strong opposition.

However, I am sure that Nathan Jones will not be complacent and will fire up the team and the travelling fans.  It will be a great disappointment if we end up tying the laces of the Cobblers.

About 1500 Addicks are expected to be there:

Thursday 29 February 2024

Congratulations Alfie May!

Alfie May is EFL Player of the Year.   At least we got one recruitment decision right, although one could argue there have been more in January.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

We did the Ram raid

It was a massive win for Charlton at Derby tonight and Nathan Jones was full of praise for the Addickted who went.  It was a tough assignment, but results elsewhere went our way and pessimists were left searching for a new narrative.

Reaction from Nathan Jones here:

Teenager Karoy Anderson scored his first senior goal to earn Charlton a shock win at promotion-chasing Derby.   Eiran Cashin put Derby ahead but Alfie May scored from the penalty spot before 19-year-old Anderson sealed Charlton's first win since November.

Worth revisiting a September interview with him:

Derby dominated from the start, but did not have a shot until the 25th minute when Korey Smith fired wide from the edge of the box.

Charlton did well to frustrate the hosts, but they fell behind to a set-piece in the 39th minute.  Nathaniel Mendez-Laing swung over a corner and Cashin got in front of a defender to head in at the near post.

Charlton should have equalised in the 61st minute when substitute Chuks Aneke headed a corner against the crossbar, but they were level four minutes later.

Home goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith brought down Daniel Kanu and May stroked the penalty into the bottom right corner.

Charlton stunned Derby in the 80th minute when a mistake by Ebou Adams let Kanu in and although Wildsmith saved, Anderson smashed the rebound home.

The perspective from Derbyshire here:

Derby look to bounce back tonight

Derby County went down 2-1 to promotion rivals Barnsley on Saturday, but they are looking to bounce back against Charlton tonight.

Derby are a bit of a bogey team for us ever since they beat us in the cup final.  I remember a match at The Valley where we went ahead and they won 4-2.  We usually suffer a ram raid at Pride Park.

Derby are currently second in the table and have won nine at home, drawn four and lost three, scoring 28 and conceding 15.  They are third in the form table while Charlton are fourth from bottom.

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho said on Saturday: 'Charlton are in a false league position.  I can't see them staying down there for long.'

Let's hope he's right but we need points and it's going to be hard to get even one tonight.

Saturday 24 February 2024

When a goalless home draw is seen as progress

Yesterday's draw against Portsmouth received an enthusiastic response on social media from the Addickted, confounding those who like to read results off the table. Our position is still precarious but there is a new spirit, cohesion and determination in the team.   Critics of Nathan Jones have had to bide their time.

Despite the teams' contrasting form of late, Pompey had only won one in 10 against the Addicks before this game and experienced another stern test during a first half in which both sides struck the woodwork.

Daniel Kanu hit a post in the third minute for the home side and Paddy Lane's header came back off the crossbar for Portsmouth after 16 minutes.

In a much less open second period, the visitors had the chance to snatch an 88th-minute winner when Myles Peart-Harris was sent through on goal but he was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Macaulay Gillesphey.

Portsmouth failed to capitalise on losses for both Derby and Bolton and although the stalemate meant Charlton claimed another impressive point, they are now 18 games without a victory, matching the longest winless streak in the club's history.

Unfortunately, Lloyd Jones - who has been praised even by the hyper critical - picked up a booking for dissent and will now miss the next two games:

Keeper Harry Isted also deserves credit for his part in keeping a clean sheet for the first time in 22 matches:

Friday 23 February 2024

Jones wants to slash squad size

Nathan Jones wants to slash the size of Charlton's squad in the summer:

Whilst admitting he is still finding about them, the clear implication is that some of them are not good enough for League One - or even League Two.

Debunking the Curbs myth

The myth that Alan Curbishley was pushed out by impatient fans at Charlton is one of the most persistent in football and it needs debunking: 

The board did not handle his departure well, and particularly his replacement by Dowie, but that is another matter altogether.