Saturday 6 July 2024

Jones interested in trialists

Nathan Jones is taking a close look at two trialists who took part in the 6-1 win at Dartford: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-labels-charlton-athletic-trialist-best-player-hes-ever-signed-during-his-career/

Jones assessed the signings so far after the win: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-assesses-charltons-summer-business-so-far-after-thumping-pre-season-win-at-dartford/

Fitness issues kept Chuks Aneke away from Princes Park, but he will join the squad going to Slovenia: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-boss-reveals-reason-for-chuks-anekes-absence-at-dartford/

Congratulations to Ezri Konsa on his performance against Switzerland.   The Athletic notes that his coachability has always been his driving trait and that dates back to his development in the Charlton Academy.

Steve Brown backs Godden

Steve Brown discusses the departure of Alfie May and gives a positive report on Matty Godden based on his knowledge of the player: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/steve-brown-exclusive-verdict-on-charlton-athletic-selling-alfie-may-and-supplies-insight-on-new-boy-matty-godden/

Greg Docherty is a good signing: https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/charlton-athletic-boss-hails-impressive-9392515

Thursday 4 July 2024

Second striker joins

Gassan Ahadme joins Charlton on a four-year deal from Ipswich Town.  Richard Cawley comments: ‘ Supposed to be a machine in terms of his fitness.’

Nathan Jones told Cawley: ‘The two strikers we’ve signed have real pedigree and I’d like to thank the board and the ownership for backing us on these signings. Our squad has significantly improved already this summer and we haven’t finished our recruitment.’

Whether we paid the £1m Ipswich were reported to be asking for him is not known, but it would be excessive.   However, the East Anglian Daily Times claims that the £1m has been paid together with add ons which could take it above £1m.

Career history of the Moroccan born in Spain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gassan_Ahadme

Speaking after the move was confirmed, Ahadme said: “Since the first time I spoke with Nathan, I was impressed with the things that he told me, and especially the energy that I felt from him and the things that he wants to do. It’s a really ambitious project and that’s why I’m excited to be here.”

Jones added: “I’m delighted we’ve signed Gassan, he was a real number one target for us. Like with the signing of Matty Godden, it has been a long process - we’ve been pursuing him all summer. We’re delighted to add him, he brings us quality, and a presence and profile of a number nine. 


Tuesday 2 July 2024

Godden signs

Matt Godden from Coventry City has signed a two year contract at Charlton and another striker signing is expected: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-sign-coventry-city-striker-matt-godden-on-two-year-contract/

Sceptics may doubt whether they will score as many goals between them as Alfie May, but then a disgruntled May forced to stay would not have performed as well as last season.

May has bid an emotional farewell to Charlton, but says his wife couldn't settle in London: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/its-been-a-year-ill-never-forget-alfie-mays-emotional-farewell-message-to-charlton-fans/

Saturday 29 June 2024

May goes in June

All the indications are that Alfie May is to join Huddersfield for a rumoured fee of £750,00 which would represent a profit of half a million.   According to Richard Cawley his wife hails from Yorkshire and has already moved the family up there.

It would be disappointing news, particularly given that Miles Leaburn is likely to be out until October at least.  However, if a player wants to go, it doesn't make sense to stop them.

It has been said that Jones thought that May did not suit his style of play and there were one or two occasions when I was surprised he didn't start him.   But that's all speculation.

Reliable strikers are like gold dust even at League One level, but the hunt will now be on.

It now looks as if May go to Birmingham which hopefully might mean a bit more money althoigh it could be in the form of add ons.

Friday 28 June 2024

Jones ambiguous about May

Nathan Jones retains an air of studied ambiguity on the fate of Alfie May: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-boss-nathan-jones-on-alfie-may-future-as-huddersfield-pushing-to-complete-deal-for-striker/

There is little else he can do.   If a player wants to leave and the price is right, then the deal is done.  The focus then turns to a replacement which would be a challenge.

'No dickheads' says Jones

Nathan Jones has told Richard Cawley that his policy on signing players this summer is "no dickheads, no passengers." 

 “Everyone that comes in has to really want to compete and get to the next level. So they are not just seeing out their career and coming for a holiday or just go through the motions - that’s the passengers bit."

 “And we don’t gamble on character. We like strong characters here. People that will test and test the environment? No problem. But anyone who doesn’t want to work hard or had issues in the past and is not entirely buying into what we want to do, we don’t do.”

Fine words and one with has suggested that the policy should be applied to fans as well.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Changes at the top

Charlton are set to confirm Charlie Methven as chief executive officer, with a remit for the off-pitch side of the club.  

Global Football Partners have reviewed management structures and there are other changes. Chairman Jim Rodwell will oversee football operations with Andy Scott continuing as technical director but no longer on the board, in effect a demotion.  Paul Elliott appointed vice-chairman.

As for Methven, I was initially doubtful about him based on Sunderland.   He can certainly talk the talk, now he can show what he can do.  At least he knows more about football than some CE)Os we have had.

Wednesday 26 June 2024

No pressure on Jones to sell valued May

Nathan Jones has been asked about Alfie May, teports Richard Cawley. . Says there is "zero pressure for me to sell or let go any footballer at this football club". Says priority is to come out of this window "categorically stronger" than going into it. Has promised that "if you trust us, that's what we will do". 

Talked about getting pelters at Luton for some decisions made on the squad. Adds that Alfie has been "really important in what we do". Also added he has "real value".

Monday 17 June 2024

Luke Berry signs

Midfielder Luke Berry has joined Charlton on a two year deal from Luton Town.

Nathan Jones told Richard Cawley: 'His last appearance was in the Premier League and his next appearance is going to be for Charlton Athletic, so that’s the type of calibre that we want to attract. We’ve fought off a lot of Championship interest for Luke..'

Saturday 15 June 2024

Chris Powell comments on MBE award

Chris Powell has responded to the well-deserved award of a MBE for services to football.

“The game I love has given so much to me, but this recognition wouldn’t be possible without the support of so many people, including everyone at Links Primary School,Cranmer Middle School and Raynes Park High School."

 “I would also like to thank the staff, players and supporters at the clubs I played for, managed and coached. I am proud to have represented each and every one of them on the pitch and on the touchline. I always thought that representing my country and The FA would be the pinnacle of my career, as both a player and a coach, but this honour is beyond my expectations."

.“Additionally, I would like to thank The PFA for all their support, and for having the great honour of being their chairman. I feel it is also appropriate to give mention to the charities I work with and represent, such as Prostate Cancer UK, Show Racism the Red Card, Kick It Out (Let’s Kick Racism out of Football) and The Football Foundation, all of whom do incredible work, and I’m proud to support."


Thursday 13 June 2024

Bid for May?

Clickbait sites are suggesting that Huddersfield Town are planning a bid for Alfie May.   There may be something in it as new supremo Michael Duff was with May at Cheltenham Town.

Richard Cawley reports that Charlton have rejected the Huddersfield bid, but an enhanced offer can be expected.

Addicks may take spanner to the defence

Charlton are interested in a permanent deal for Millwall centre back Alex Mitchell who has impressed on loan signings: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/exclusive-charlton-athletic-eye-deal-for-millwall-centre-back/

Career details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Mitchell_(English_footballer)

Monday 10 June 2024

Keeper signs

Goalkeeper Will Mannion has signed at Charlton: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/articles/c4nnw8ppv9mo

It is expected that the Addicks will seek a second keeper signing with the existing keepers yet to be offloaded.

Saturday 25 May 2024

Friday 24 May 2024

Dunfermline deal is still live

Richard Cawley reports: ‘I don't believe Charlton’s bid for Dunfermline's Josh Edwards has been rejected, as has been reported north of the border. And also it isn't a six-figure offer either.’

The Scottish viewpoint on the left back here: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/sport/football/4989632/dunfermline-pars-reject-bid-josh-edwards-charlton/

He also reports that interested the Addicks are in a deal for Cambridge United keeper Will Mannion. He is due to be a fee agent at end of June. Mentioned in piece, but they are also looking to bring in an experienced stopper to battle it out for the number one spot.

Monday 20 May 2024

So it's Crawley and Bolton

Next season's League One is now complete and it's looking more competitive than last season.  I would rather have faced Oxford than a Bolton side who feel they have been denied a promotion that was theirs.

I had dinner with my brother-in-law on Saturday.   He claims to have no interest in football which is understandable as his father was Palace which tends to destroy interest in the game.   However, as a Crawley resident, even he knew they were in the play off final.   They overcame expectations by winning: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/05/crawleys-surge-to-success.html

Quite a few Addicks live out that way, but their away end is not big enough to accommodate our support.

Friday 10 May 2024

Summer break

I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks.   Working for a political publishers in a general election year means that my day job is busier than usual with commissioning, editing, meetings and book launches in London.     I also want to find time to see the three generations of my family now settled in Spain.

One last word.   Fans often dismiss League One as a 'poxy' league, but as the authoritative Swiss Ramble has recently said it is a 'very competitive' league'.  Birmingham City, Wrexham and Stockport County are all going to pose problems.   Even Rotherham may be in yo yo form under charm merchant Steve Evans and Peterborough will want to overcome their disappointment.   Hopefully, Bolton will go up.

I'm certainly not banking on promotion.   And I'm not happy about the 12.30 and Friday night kick offs under the new Sky regime which make life difficult for supporters like me who have a return travel time of five hours.   Any thought of buying a season ticket again is out of the window.

It also looks as if we are going to lose Charlton Live which was the daft Dane's aqueducts moment.  I enjoyed the chats about the Curbishley era and Steve Brown's barbed comments.

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Scott Fraser uncertainty

There is some uncertainty about the future of Scott Fraser who has been on loan at Hearts and has one year left on his contract.   Many fans would be happy to let him go and he is keen to don the kilt.  However, it appears that Hearts want him on the cheap so for now he has been told to report back for training at Sparrows Lane: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/scott-fraser-expecting-charlton-athletic-future-discussions-after-hearts-loan/

Saturday 4 May 2024

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town have been relegated to League One next season, both clubs with American owners.

Blues were sixth in thr Championship earlier in the season when they sacked John Eustace as he was apparently not trendy enough for the owners.

Living up to their reputation as the Millwall of the Midlands, Blues fans invaded the pitch and fought with stewards after today's match.

The American owners have bought a site for a new stadium at Bordesley alongside the railway line to New Street so they won't want to stay in League One.

Huddersfield are a team we have played in three different divisions in living memory and are likely to challenge for promotion.

Rotherham have put their faith in Steve Evans, the most charming manager in the EFL, to restore their flagging fortunes and burnish their reputation as a yo-yo club.

Wrexham with their £20m revenue also have American owners and have global appeal, ranking as the second most poopular team in the United States: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/05/can-wrexham-sustain-its-success.html

To those who say League One is a poxy league, it's going to be even more competitive next season.

Many Charlton fans come from four or even five generations of supporters, but my late father and I represent two generations, albeit spanning over 100 years of support.

Next week I am hoping to see my great-granddaughter, but her dad is an egg chaser.   Having not succeeded in professional trials in the UK he has signed for a Spanish club and played for them against Barcelona last weekend and, of course, three generations of my family were there.

Friday 3 May 2024

Farewell, and thanks for all you tried to do

Tyreece Campbell has agreed a new deal with Charlton, reports Richard Cawley.   The winger had been due to be out of contract this summer - although age would have meant he was liable for compensation. Terell Thomas and Michael Hector both released along with Richard Chin, Jack Payne, Lewis Ward and Diallang Jaiyesimi (who he? Ed).

The retained list statement also seems to indicate no late U-turn on George Dobson's move to Fehervar. "The club would like to thank George Dobson, who has played 144 games for Charlton since joining in 2021. He's given his all for the club in every training session and every game and everyone at the club wishes him all the best in Hungary."

Lualua and Wickham have not been offered new contracts, all loan players are returning to their clubs.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Chuks Aneke is leaving by mutual consent.

Nathan Jones discusses his philosophy and plans here: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-built-a-luton-legacy-now-summer-of-transfer-and-squad-construction-awaits-at-charlton-athletic/

Thursday 2 May 2024

Jones on long-term goals

Nathan Jones engages in some expectations management, warning that Charlton may not get promoted next season, it is a long-term project: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/were-not-just-looking-to-get-out-of-league-one-charlton-athletic-boss-nathan-jones-on-longer-term-goal/

Unconfirmed reports are statingthat Charlton Athletic have submitted an offer for their former academy player Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu from fellow relegated League 1 side Fleetwood Town. The midfielder is keen on a move back to the capital with personal terms not set to cause and issue.

Interest in Sky Blues striker revived

Charlton have an interest in Coventry striker Matt Godden: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-hold-an-interest-in-coventry-city-striker-matt-godden/

Career details - he spent two seasons at Ebbsfleet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Godden

However, securing a new goalkeeper is a priority, although Istead and Maynard-Brewer are still under contract.

Keith Peacock

Happy 79th birthday to a true Addicks legend.   Two random memories of him.   Watching a reserve game at The Valley near the front, a corner went wrong and he turned to us and said, 'And we practice that every day at the training ground.'

Turning on Chinese television in Kunming in Premier League days and seeing a feature on how he and Curbs worked together.

I had something of an end of season bonus when my non-league side Leamington beat Redditch United 1-0 in the Southern League play offs.  They now face Telford away.

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Could we have ended up playing at Havering?


Broollands: it was also used for motor cycle speedway

A report in the Non-League Paper on Sunday brought to mind a rumour that was circulating among the Valley faithful in the md 1950s.   My father mentioned it to me and it might have been discussed in the Charlton 'Parliament' held in my uncle's newsagents in Lakedale Road late on a Sunday morning: it was the nearest thing we had to social media.

The rumour was that the board had considered relocating to Romford and renaming the club 'Athletic' just as Woolwich Arsenal became 'Arsenal'.  The argument was that Romford was more of an up and coming area than South East London.

Romford FC are in the FA Vase final, although they have had a nomadic existence and currently play at the former East Thurrock United ground which is 18 miles from Ronford.

However, the point as far as Charlton is concerned was that the Brooklands stadium (sold for redevelopment in 1977) had a capacity of 20,000 and regularly attracted 6,000.

Fortunately there was no repeat of the relocation to Catford.

Monday 29 April 2024

Valete and salvete

We say goodbye to Derby County who have been a troublesome side for us ever since that FA Cup defeat.  Our sister site looks at their road from near extinction to promotion: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/04/drebys-humble-recovery.html

We welcome Mansfield Town and Nigel Clough, a manager I rate   It's been a long road to promotion back to the third tier, but the Nottinghamshire club are now looking to expand capacity.

Charlton's away fans are a hardy and dedicated lot, but how many will fancy a midweek away game in February in Mansfield?   I don't think they will be easy to beat.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Small matter

Technical director Andy Scott on Thierry Small: “I’ve had a couple of conversations with his agents and we’ve made him a new offer, a long-term deal that he and his agents are considering.

“If that doesn’t happen by the time we need to activate the option then we will activate it and continue those negotiations.

“Thierry will definitely be here next season and we’re delighted about that because he’s a fantastic person."

Some fans might wish that Andy Scott wasn't here, although I lack the knowledge to pass judgment on him.

Saturday 27 April 2024

Charlton go behind

Charlton went 1-0 behind to Wycombe Wanderers in beechy Bucks this afternoon, conceding a first half penalty in front of 1,781 Addicks in the away end.

A fan commented: 'Just about sums our season up 1st half poor penalty to give away from a poor defence all season, midfield not creating enough chances and not enough shoots or goals throughout the team in general, need about five new starting players of quality for a promotion push next season.'   [Probably more, given that the league looks more not less competitive].

Fiorini, LuaLua and Campbell came on for Anderson, Ness and May at half time, leaving May with 23 league goals.   Former Leamington ace Colby Bishop would need to score two in 45 minutes to catch up.  [Bishop has now been subbed off for Pompey so May has the Golden Boot.  We now owe Cheltenham a five figure sum].

Dobbo was booked for a strong challenge.  Isted made a really impressive stop - gets down to block a free-kick then somehow keeps the rebound out from close-range too.

A big chance - Campbell's cross was palmed out by Ravizzoli and Dobson can't convert the rebound from inside the six-yard box on the stretch.

Aneke replaced Kanu on 58 minutes, probably a swan song for the injury prone big man.

Fiorni rattled the crossbar but, apart from a flurry of yellow cards, that was that.

Charlton finished 16th, ahead of Reading on goal difference, but the Royals had points deducted.

Nathan Jones makes it clear how dissatisfied he was with the performance today and that big personnel changes are needed.   Three managers and just four clean sheets: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-as-charlton-finish-16th-in-league-one-final-day-defeat-at-wycombe-highlights-how-much-personnel-change-is-required/

Friday 26 April 2024

Keeper is down under

Ashley Maynard-Brewer will not be in the squad for Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow as he injured his jaw in a collision: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-boss-confirms-goalkeeper-absence-for-wycombe-match/

He may well be brave as Jones says, but I think that a quality goalkeeper should be at the top of our shopping list for next season with a reconstructed defence in front of him.

The Chairboys are 11th in the table and three places ahead of Charlton u the form table.  They bave won eight, drawn seven and lost seven at home.   The season may well peter out for both clubs with a draw.

The away end has sold out which says a lot for the devotion of Charlton fans.

A new state of the art pitch is to be installed at The Valley next season funded by a £750,000 grant from th Premier League and £650,000 by the owners: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-confirm-new-state-of-the-art-pitch-to-be-installed-at-the-valley-ahead-of-2024-25-season/

All women's matches will in future be played at The Valley.  

Nathan Jones set to meet with Charlton's out of contract players next week to discuss their futures, reports Richard Cawley. The likes of Michael Hector and Terell Thomas both free agents at end of June.

Thursday 25 April 2024

Owners to back Jones over signings

The club's owners have said they will back Nathan Jones in the summer transfer window.   We have heard this before from owners, of course, but it is surely the best way for them of getting a return on their investment: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-owners-fully-intent-on-backing-nathan-jones-in-summer-transfer-window/

Jones has said that he will avoid loan signings.   Whilst there has been the odd success such as Rak Sakyi, there have also been numerous failures with players who are not fit enough or simply not good enough.

Whilst we don't know the final shape of the division for next season, often lazily dismissed as a 'poxy' league, in fact it looks as if it is going to be even more competitive.

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): https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/every-charlton-player-wants-george-dobson-to-stay-midfielder-conor-coventry-on-skippers-future/

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: https://www.castrust.org/2024/04/will-we-see-an-upbeat-ending-to-the-season/?v=79cba1185463

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: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/04/pompey-did-play-up.html

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: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68819844

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/three-managers-cant-be-that-inept-at-coaching-defensive-responsibilities-nathan-jones-on-the-tough-decisions-to-make-after-charltons-draw-at-cambridge/

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: https://football-italia.net/charlton-athletic-cellino-brescia/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-reiterate-desire-to-keep-george-dobson-at-charlton-athletic-but-admits-skippers-future-is-unclear/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-im-disappointed-we-didnt-beat-wigan-athletic-but-the-level-of-performance-was-there/

He has discussed how he intends to tackle Charlton's defensive woes: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-boss-nathan-jones-explains-how-he-will-address-addicks-defensive-woes-following-2-2-draw-with-wigan/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-names-wigan-player-who-he-felt-should-have-been-booked-instead-of-him-during-valley-draw/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/its-my-life-charlton-athletic-boss-nathan-jones-on-huge-energy-expended-to-turn-around-league-one-form/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-delighted-with-charlton-display-during-win-over-play-off-chasing-barnsley/

Jones explained why Tennai Watson was rested: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-explains-tennai-watsons-absence-for-victory-over-barnsley/

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: https://www.castrust.org/2024/04/barnsley-bring-formidable-away-record-to-the-valley/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-has-impacted-charlton-athletic-but-previous-woes-mean-that-they-will-still-finish-with-low-league-one-points-tally/


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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/jones-has-mixed-feelings-as-charlton-athletic-extend-unbeaten-league-one-run-to-10-matches/

Karoy Anderson was rested for the match: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-boss-explains-absences-from-squad-for-stevenage-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:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68679765

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/michael-hector-says-international-experience-with-jamaica-can-only-benefit-charlton-midfielder-karoy-anderson/

Hector would like to stay at Charlton beyond this season: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/michael-hector-id-like-to-stay-at-charlton-athletic-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: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/03/league-one-financial-results.html

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-boss-nathan-jones-wants-bulk-of-summer-transfer-business-done-before-the-end-of-june/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/alfie-may-sets-sights-on-first-charlton-athletic-hat-trick-to-boost-league-one-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': https://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/2024/march/preview-charlton

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-boss-nathan-jones-looking-forward-to-run-of-home-games-after-really-strange-schedule-of-away-matches/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/exclusive-interview-with-thierry-small-on-charlton-athletic-chance-beating-statistics-at-everton-and-verdict-on-southampton-stay/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-defenders-displays-aiding-his-push-for-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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-academy-boss-avory-humility-helps-our-young-players-go-on-to-excel/ 

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-boss-nathan-jones-george-dobson-has-been-brilliant-since-ive-been-here/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/harry-isted-on-putting-northampton-town-error-behind-him-and-draw-at-fleetwood-town/ 

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: https://castrust.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=47ab8cc58db1fe6727e9ed9c2&id=236c1f0de8&e=97ed1d02c3

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: https://footballeconomyv2.blogspot.com/2024/03/why-liverpool-have-to-follow-multi-club.html

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/physical-phenomenon-charlton-boss-confirms-deal-pending-for-former-luton-and-brighton-winger-lualua/

More about LuaLua here: https://www.castrust.org/2024/03/who-is-kazenga-lua-lua/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-athletic-boss-on-adding-size-and-presence-with-deal-for-ex-palace-striker-and-update-on-lloyd-jones-availability/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/narrow-self-interest-charlton-athletic-shareholder-hits-out-at-crystal-palace-and-west-ham-over-efl-funding/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-set-to-enter-free-agent-market-again-to-further-bolster-charlton-athletic-squad/

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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/charlton-forward-alfie-may-targets-league-one-golden-boot-after-hitting-20-goal-mark/

Reaction from Nathan Jones: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/nathan-jones-pleased-with-so-much-of-charltons-display-during-his-first-valley-win/

 

 

 

 


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: https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/sport/we-didnt-try-to-kick-anyone-charlton-boss-nathan-jones-reacts-to-post-match-comments-by-northamptons-jon-brady/

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): https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/sport/24169679.carlisle-united-taking-sell-out-support-charlton-athletic/

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: https://www.castrust.org/2024/03/another-decisive-day-against-carlisle/