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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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):

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.