Tuesday, 19 September 2017

EPL at 25

Hmm..........it was tough to pick an image that sums up 25 years of the EPL !

This year we actually have a connection with the Premier League, we’re both celebrating a 25th anniversary.

In my view not only as a Charlton fan but a total football one too I believe ours is the one more worth celebrating.

Our celebration is one that has the genuine football supporter at its heart. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the EPL’s. Some believe that the game and overall football experience has been improved by the inception of football’s elite league but I beg to differ.

Football in general is now a very different beast to that which existed 25 years and it’s not just the emergence of the EPL that has led to that. The world’s governing bodies FIFA and UEFA have made decisions which have greatly damaged the game.

Let’s examine various aspects of English football today compared to that of 1992 and see if it’s any better ( other than Charlton back in S.E.7 of course ! ).

EPL and The Football League

The EPL setting up itself as the governing body of top flight English football and eventually saw the number of teams reduce from 22 to 20 teams as we could hardly expect players to play so much football !

The aim, we’re led to believe was to improve the quality of the football. In reality many seasons down the line how many really good and memorable games are there ? Sunday saw Chelsea and Arsenal play out a pretty uninspiring goal-less draw despite the usual pre-match hype from Sky that frequently accompanies such fixtures.

In similar fashion to Charlton dropping down a division I’m not aware of a reduction in season ticket price to reflect the loss of the 2 home games ( lower quality football in our case of course ).

The Football League despite naturally having more members and “ customers “ than the EPL is very much the poor relation in every sense of the word.  

Competitiveness of the League

Given that success in the EPL is largely driven by the extent of the financial backing a club has it comes as little surprise that while 49 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League only six have won the title:-

Chelsea (5)
Arsenal (3)

We are highly unlikely to ever see a repeat of Nottingham Forest’s triumph in winning the top flight having just been promoted from the second tier.

Competitiveness in Europe and World Football

Since 1992 the European Cup / Champions League has been won by :-

European Cup – Man Utd 1999 & 2008, Liverpool 2005 and Chelsea 2012.

UEFA Cup - Europa League – Liverpool 2001, Chelsea 2013 and Man Utd 2017

Not exactly dominating the scene are we when shortly before the EPL English clubs won the European Cup ( then a knock out competition ) 7 times in 8 years.

I can’t be bothered to research in any detail England’s success on the world and European stage but unless my mind is playing tricks save for some relative success at Euro ’96 it’s been pretty dire.

My apathy towards the national team is matched by that of many players. They earn so much why should they be motivated to pull on an England shirt when the real money is in the top league and / or on the European stage.

Pride in playing for your country is something that is seemingly a disappearing trait.


There are increasingly few British managers in the EPL and the opportunities for them decrease every season with the trend towards foreign managers.


Following the move to all-seater stadia leading to a reduced capacity for most grounds has seen an increase in prices. Many clubs have left their old grounds behind and moved to newer arenas.

Some, like myself, would argue that this hasn’t necessarily improved the matchday experience. One could usually get a seat in a stand if you preferred to sit but most fans would want to stand as we mostly did when I were growing up.

Nice toilets ( to an extent ) and getting a beer, coffee or snack are all very well but the over-riding enjoyment comes from an atmosphere made on the terraces that is somewhat missing from sedentary support.

Older grounds have more character and are much more pleasurable to visit even if they aren’t easily accessible and are harder to find !


Those not of an armchair variety are the least important in the overall equation. As discussed elsewhere the price and timing and date of the game will not be in favour of the genuine supporter.

All of this very ironic given that without the live support there is no atmosphere no matter how much that has been diluted by various factors.


Not much to say other than clearly transfer fees prices have escalated beyond belief. The revamped European competitions have added to them too. Today even a bog standard Premier League player will set you back a few million.


There are now vast amounts of money washing around in some clubs as they have been acquired by extremely rich owners who can afford to spend millions on what are often average players.

Season ticket income sits well behind the TV and sponsors money. Despite that clubs like Arsenal charge ridiculously high prices for season tickets. Many require that if not a season ticket holder you pay to a member just to be in with a chance of getting a ticket for the less attractive games.

Some of this would be forgivable if a decent amount of money permeated its way down to league and non-league clubs but so little of it does, only relatively token amounts.

Many Prem teams ought to play in stripey shirts and wear masks as clubs like our frequently get robbed of promising young players for a relative pittance in return. As such there’s little incentive for the top teams to have academies.

Even if they do then like Chelsea they can loan them out to numerous clubs for them to progress before returning either as improved players to play for their club or to be sold on for a decent profit that they haven’t worked too hard on,

Matchday Experience

What can one say of matchday itself. Firstly, you’ll have already shelled out a decent wedge to get your ticket aside from travel costs.

If you’re lucky the game will kick off at 3pm on a Saturday although unlikely. If you’re even more lucky the game won’t have been re-arranged at the last minute after you made all manner of arrangements to ensure that you can be there.

The atmosphere is likely to be quite sterile even though you may have been handed a clapper to help generate a truly lively climate !

It’s possible that you won’t even have to go as the game will be aired somewhere and after all, one can’t overlook the armchair fan !

Are you likely to see a classic ? Maybe but I’d argue that many games don’t live up to the massive hype that Sky and others promote. Most games can be predicted to go one way due the gulf that exists between the top 6 or 7 clubs and the rest who’ll scrap for a draw or maybe an unlikely win.

In addition, law changes such as the back pass one and greater protection to keepers and other players make the game a less enjoyable spectacle to a degree.

The vast number of subs permissible is another fillip to the bigger clubs as if they needed any more help !

Cup Competitions

The domestic cup scene has taken a back seat to virtually all Prem clubs sadly this extends to those for whom survival in the league overrides the desire for a decent cup run or the need to be competitive in them.

Another kick in the teeth to the traditions of our domestic football. One used to await the cup final with baited breath, now it has become just another televised game that could take place at almost any date or time again with scant regard to true fans of the game.


In case you’re wondering………..I’m not a fan of the EPL. Whatever it’s aims only those to make the big clubs bigger and more wealthy have been achieved.

The ordinary fan of what was once the working men’s game has been priced out or totally inconvenienced for the benefit of the TV companies and their customers.

The English game isn’t improved by its existence by virtue of fewer opportunities for our own players and managers. It is a long way behind other nations and have at best been treading water whilst nations like Iceland with no real tradition or pedigree for the game or suitable facilities have overtaken us.

It’s a sad picture and unless the financial plug is pulled I don’t see things changing. That is highly unlikely of course.

I’m not sure that I’d want to see Charlton back there to be honest. The Championship would be an overall more enjoyable experience I feel.

The face of the game at the top level has greatly altered over the last 25 years. I hope I’m around in another 25 years to witness how it will have developed further. Sadly, I fear that like the last 25 years overall it won’t be for the better.  

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Trouble At Gill !

Ben Drew which is what The Addicks are still lacking.

Tuesday's defeat against a good Wigan side wasn't a cause for panic and alarm. To an extent neither is yesterday's loss to the Gills although that they've been poor to date this season this second successive defeat becomes a bit of a concern.

On Tuesday Wigan closed us down quickly as they pressed well. Like most sides in League One they were bigger and more physical than us and helped by a referee who let a lot of their gamesmanship go. Nevertheless they outplayed us and deserved their win.

Whereas we were mostly in contention in the first half of what was an enjoyable 45 minutes the second half was woeful. We looked lethargic and devoid of ideas. I felt Robinson substitutions weren't good and they they made no impact on matters and in my view made us worse.

There was an argument to keep faith yesterday with the players that have served us pretty well to date. However, it wouldn't have hurt to freshen things up although I accept there isn't much room for manoeuvre. 

We seem to have a good half in virtually all games this season but rarely if ever two good halves. Allied to this the opposition are always in the game as a result of failing to take our chances.

Defensively we lack height and that will always give other teams a chance especially from set pieces. In addition, to that we haven't defended too well at times and look a bit disorganised. Yesterday's goal was a case in point.

The match stats show how much we dominated the game yet as we know the only stat that matters is goals. 

We have a thin squad and injuries and suspensions were always going to impact us at some stage. Marshall and Reeves won't be back just yet. Marshall's injury is a bot of bad luck. However, no matter how good Reeves is Robinson knew he was taking a risk in signing a player with an injury history such as his.

Next week we will be without the influential Holmes as he picked up his fifth booking already this season so at least one change will be made.

That we are short on strikers is of course entirely our own fault and why we let so many go without having lined up any replacements or at least ensuring we'd get them is naive. Doodo clearly wasn't a first choice signing but despite his lack of games in recent seasons will be under pressure to deliver simply because there's no one else. 

It's not all gloom and doom as we sit in 6th place 2 points off second place which isn't totally unacceptable of course. However, if we don't reverse this early slide next week then it looks like another dire season awaits.

I know some will cite a certain lack of funding but Robinson has been backed pretty well in the summer. It's also worth considering that many other clubs would love a squad like ours. I'm pretty sure that ours on paper at least looks better than Shrewsbury's but it's them that sit atop the league having only dropped 2 points to date !

Robinson plays only one way and this was so noticable last season. His defence then was that he didn't have the players he wanted to successfully deploy his preferred system. No such excuse now though.

There's no doubt that the football has been more enjoyable this season and much easier on the eye than a Russell Slade team, that's for sure ! However, if things aren't working then the old Plan B is needed and Robinson still seems devoid of it. This was characteristic of his final days at MK and we don't want a repeat in S.E.7.

The manager has a full week to get the lads back on track for an important game that we really need to win against lowly Bury before difficult away trips to Walsall and Fleetwood.

Finally, I hope that the Legends game is well supported today and I'm sure will be great for anyone who goes. I had a minor op yesterday that prevents me from going and I'm following the best I can via social media etc.

Come On You Reds !

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Good Game ! Good Game !

Nice To Beat You ! To Beat You, Nice ! "

A reasonably comfortable win on Saturday against a poor Cobblers side who are struggling to get their season off the ground.

It’s fair to say that the eventual scoreline didn’t flatter The Addicks and was just reward for their overall performance.

Late on we ought to have had a penalty when Konsa was brought down by the keeper. I’m sure the ref would have given it greater consideration had the score been different.

I’ve not seen Amos play before but have noted many fans say that was his most assured display to date. Oh dear ! He was very hesitant in the first half with little communication with the defence.

In one instance in the first half he was called upon to make a good save that would not have been necessary had he come and claimed the ball in the first place. Hopefully he will improve but he didn’t fill me with confidence and I don’t recall Phillips being any worse at the very least.

That a below par Northampton side were still in the game with a few minutes to go is a worry. They should have been put to bed. A better side will punish our profligacy in front of goal. In addition, our last two goals arose as the Cobblers were chasing the game albeit that the fourth was a wonderful strike.

However, a win’s a win and the football was certainly easier on the eye than the fayre we saw from Mr Slade’s teams.

I am still tolerating Robinson and avoiding listening to his many interviews. I’ve decided that’s for the best ! However, I was unable to avoid his post-match celebrations which for me are over the top.

He can celebrate like that once we’ve achieved something so please save it for then.

Tonight we are away ( at least I think we are ) to Norwich in the League Cup travelling with a much changed team and I’m behind Robinson’s approach to this. It’s unlikely we’ll progress to the next round but if by some chance we should you won’t find me up at 4.30am or whatever trying to catch the draw.

A good performance and an honourable defeat would be acceptable. We have bigger fish to fry on Saturday for the second of our upcoming four consecutive away games.

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Tony, Watt A Waste

Farewell Tony.

There you have it – the enigmatic Scot has finally left the building and this time he’s not coming back. A most frustrating player who clearly needs to sort his attitude and approach almost to the extent that he ought to be asking himself if he really wants to be a professional footballer.

Tony was lucky enough to find one more saloon of the last chance variety in which to imbibe. How long he has in there remains to be seen. For a man who has reportedly suffered a lot of homesickness a move to Belgium would seem far from ideal.

However, I guess he had little choice as football league clubs are seemingly not prepared to take a chance on him.

Clearly there’s a good player in there somewhere as he showed the Valley faithful on occasions. It’s a shame and I sincerely hope that he can sort himself out make a success of his latest move.

Like a lot of what he says Robinson’s insistence that the club were aware of his impending departure and that a replacement is already lined up sounds and looks rather hollow. A bit like how he was going to sort Tony Watt.

Regular readers will know that I’m not exactly chairman of the Karl Robinson fan club. He has continued to make the silly comments and rash statements that have typified his tenure to date.

He promised 5 new signings before he went on holiday and of course they never materialised. 2 players for each position hasn’t happened either and some cases one player for a position would be a blessing !

I’m trying to avoid listening to his numerous interviews and will try to tolerate him.

Despite my aversion towards him I hope he succeeds. As a fan of the club I want him to be a success I just doubt he’s the man to take us there.

Ben Reeves is a risky signing. There’s no doubting his quality and if he stays fit then he can provide the bullets. However, clearly no Championship side wanted to take a risk on him. Keep those fingers crossed folks.

The goalkeeping position is a strange one. I do wish he’d give Phillips a chance. He doesn’t need to go out on loan when there’s nothing better in S.E.7 and he’s a good prospect.

I’m wondering why it’s taking so long with Martin assuming both parties want him at Charlton. Amos looks very much a last moment signing and hasn’t filled the Valley faithful with confidence. He was very much at fault for Plymouth’s second at the weekend.

Elsewhere Robinson seems to have recruited quite well. Clearly he needs to add a striker and a goalkeeper assuming his desire not to play the aforementioned Phillips remains.

The team has had a good pre-season and played some good football. Sadly, it doesn’t count for much when the league kicks in as Ipswich will happily testify.

A battling win over Bristol Rovers and the cup win over Exeter were followed by the defeat at Plymouth. Unfortunately, we failed to take our chances in the first half and followed it up with a disappointing second half.

The Pilgrims knew how to play us and we offered little in return. We do need to have another way of playing if Robinson’s preferred system isn’t working. It was his inflexibility that marred most the games last season.

Passing the ball around with little end result was typical of the Dons under Robinson in his last two seasons. Let’s hope it doesn’t become the hallmark of this.

When he got them promoted he had Afobe, Grigg and Dele Alli who between them they scored 47 of their 101 goals. Clearly having those 3 in any team has to help and makes it easier to implement Robinson’s way of playing.

He hasn’t got that calibre of player available at present and will do well do anything near to emulating that success. If he is to do that then the oft mentioned 20 goal a season striker will be very much needed.

Obviously it’s too early to judge how this season will pan out and it will need at least 10 games before a more informed assessment can be made.

In the meantime on Saturday we face a Northampton side that has lost all three games this season 1-0. Strangely this is their third away league game as I assume some work is being done on Sixfields.

Let’s hope the team can return to winning ways.

Come On You Reds !

You're Welcome !

I missed the start of the season as I’ve been away on my hols. We were in Orlando for 2 weeks as at the ripe old age of 57 I finally made it across the pond ! Such is my limited experience of travelling abroad that this was in fact my first venture outside Europe.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed our “ vacation “ ! The service and general friendliness of people was great. It’s easy to dismiss the “ have a nice day “ culture as a bit cheesy but I found it all very refreshing. A stark contrast to a lot of surly attitudes that one encounters on occasion here in Blighty.

It may be the land of tipping but folk do earn those tips and you don’t mind when you receive good, friendly and efficient service. 

I had no trouble adjusting to that nor the larger portions that you get in the various restaurants and diners. Probably just as well for my waistline that I had to come home.

On our return we had an internal flight from Orlando to Philadelphia. Not a particularly notable flight save for an odorous ending !

Upon starting our descent it became clear that a rather unpleasant had appeared on board. My partner immediately made me prime suspect as the frequently asked “ who cut the cheese “ was on passengers minds.

However, I was not guilty m’lud not least because one doesn’t guff on planes, trains and automobiles – one has to have standards ! Upon leaving the aircraft it became evident that there was a cat amongst the passengers and it had pooped ! Lovely ! Thank God that didn’t happen a lot earlier.

I’ve no idea why the malodorous moggy was allowed on the flight but it’s not an experience I’d like to relive anytime soon.

We did Disney and Universal parks plus Seaworld and also some waterparks. All of it was very well done and there were some superb rides and attractions.

I enjoyed them all from the rollercoasters to small rides like “ It’s a small world “ although I didn’t meet anyone I knew on that so clearly they've got that wrong !

I had envisaged long queues for a number of rides but I’m pleased to report that this wasn’t the case. Disney allow you 3 Fastpasses each day included in the price of your ticket. In addition, for other rides you can get time stamped Fastpasses to save you the queuing time.

The more exciting rides are at Universal although they to me have a more of an approach to screw you for as much money as possible. I didn’t feel that so much with Disney.

If you could marry Universal’s rides with Disney’s guest experience then you almost have the perfect park.

Anyway that’s all done now and I am looking forward to a return to the Valley once more but will I be treated to as many thrills as I have experienced recently ?

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Katrien - Q & A

not many answers though

A much needed win for the Addicks yesterday. Just about deserved with the players clearly showing more urgency and determination than on Tuesday.

Having slunk off following recent defeats Robinson was keen to lap it up and to high-five anyone in the same postcode. Remember the manager tells us that he's the same win or lose!

After this game Robinson couldn't praise the players enough. No doubt there'll all be useless again should we lose to Coventry.

All that aside earlier in the day I was part of the audience for the Q&A with Katrien that the trust organised.

It was always going to be a pretty futile exercise as you knew she wouldn't put her hand up to most of the mistakes and her general incompetence. That she was quite so brazen and dismissive in her responses was a bit surprising.

Apologies for a long post but you ought to know this. Some you may have heard or read this elsewhere but some you may not.

Meire was flanked by Dave Joyes and Tom Rubashow - chief financial officer and head of comms or PR guru if you like.

There were about 25 people in attendance. Most details have been posted on Charlton Life and I'm sure that the Trust will post a summary.

One questioner John ( coyote John ) has posted his question and the subsequent response on Charlton Life. John's question was very well worded and thought out and he followed up with points as he obviously felt she wasn't going to give the desired answer. 

It was a question I guess we'd all ask and her refusal to acknowledge the extent of failure is staggering. Meire's response was to just say " that is your opinion ".

I have the accompanying video for a couple of questions which I'm unable to post sadly. I'd welcome suggestions as to how to do so as folk really ought to see it.

Here's the text for John's question :-

Preamble: CJ:



Question: CJ
Response: KM

Follow up: CJ




Response: KM


Incredible that she didn't bother to defend herself or her record. Simply that's your opinion. However, it's not though is it, it's fact !

I said when she finally rides off into the sunset she'd be remembered amongst other things :-

  • The sofa
  • Silly mascots
  • Falling attendances
  • Lowest league position in living memory
  • £1,000's wasted in transfers and manager payoffs
  • The Dublin Conference
  • Numerous managers
Generally abject failure.

How do you think you'll be remembered ?

KM then started waffling about the academy and telling me that it didn't matter as she doesn't have an ego! Really ?

I pointed out that the academy has been here for years but I never got anything else that she felt she'd be remembered for.

A further question was made about non-renewal of season tickets and people not coming to games. It was pointed out none were ex-staff or been involved in CARD activities. They are just discontented fans.

A point was made that on a similar Tuesday night to that just gone when we were in our second season in League One following a spell of 3 draws and 3 defeats the attendance was just over 17,000. So obviously something is going wrong it's not just the football.

This was summarised to :-

a. why have the attendances fallen so low in comparison to our last time in League One
b. If Roland Duchatelet is aware why does he continue to say that the discontent is really just the result of some unhappy previous employees.

KM : obviously we dropped some attendances because of the situation what happened last year it wasn't a pretty sight and the fans turned their back on the club.

Why was that ?

KM : because of us. I recognise that and we have a huge task ahead of us to bring them back in.

You're never going to do it.

KM : Well that's your opinion.

You'll never do it.

So you do accept responsibility, you said because of us.

KM : Yes, because of the ownership, I'm not a fool.

You do accept responsibility now ?

KM : Yes.

But you're still here ?

KM : Excuse me ?

Still here. Still don't feel any professional responsibility that you ought to resign or anything, no ?

You've sacked countless managers. Has Roland ever questioned your position as the person who's appointing those unsuccessful managers repeatedly?

KM : You obviously have to ask him that question.

General laughter in the audience to that response given that Roland is never around to ask anything !

Ask yourself, Katrien ask yourself that question. Three and a half years !

KM : I think I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could handle the situation.

You know you're in a sinecure post. You know Duchatelet won't remove you. When you go home at night after three and a half years you don't recognise that anything's wrong ?

KM : Roland has businesses everywhere across the world and if he's not happy with a senior manager he will take action, believe me.

Well I'd like to know what you're objectives are, I think we'd all like to know what your objectives are. If you're objectives are to reduce the fan base, take us to the lowest position ever then you're achieving all that.

Would you publish your objectives so that we can all see them.

KM : Our objectives are...

Not our objectives, your objectives !

KM : My objectives are aligned with the club's objectives, what's best for the club and best for the club is to get back in to the Championship and try to and re-engage with the fans. The why I'm here  here sitting today. As long as Roland has the club this is the way forward.

Amongst other things it seems Robinson is here to stay and Katrien told us she has been reviewing players with Robinson. They are looking at 5 attributes like pride and wait for it.....playing for the shirt ! Yes, she really said that !

It may take longer to secure some players especially if they're involved in play-offs. Presumably from the conference......she didn't specify !

Much was made of the new website. This was talked about at length. Great ! We'll have the best website in League One or Two then.

Overall one left with the feeling that neither Meire or Robinson are going anywhere. In her case Meire will cling on as long as she can. She'll never admit her time as CEO has been a failure despite almost admitting it.

She again insisted that she and Roland are fans of the club and passionate about it. This akin of course to a parent saying they love their kids and getting Shannon Matthews to babysit !

Nothing will improve whilst Roland owns the club and Meire is our CEO. We've known that for some time of course. Let's hope they go soon before the damage they do is terminal. As it is it will take a long time to recover from the harm done to date.



Thursday, 6 April 2017

Desperate Times

Tuesday's tribute to Keith Palmer was everything that one hoped it would be and was impeccably observed by all those present.

Sadly the performance on the pitch was nowhere near that.

It seems that the players lacked not only organisation but also motivation on a night when the memory of Keith Palmer should have been the only motivation needed.

Having now lost both Saturday's and Tuesday's games the decision to postpone the original MK game  looks as ill-judged as I thought it might be. I understand the thinking behind it of course but feared the two week break would prove as pointless as those matches.

Robinson had a full two weeks to prepare the team and one wonders what he had them doing in that time. Again he made a number of changes on Tuesday and again to no avail.

Post match and the manage was back to publicly criticising the players again, a ploy that didn't work well last time.

Today Robinson was again spouting drivel, little of it making any sense. He keeps telling us of his honesty saying he is too honest sometimes. What ? If he wants some honesty then why not tell us what it is he keeps saying is wrong at the club.

Today he was saying that the slide has been going on for years. Maybe but it ought not to be beyond any half-decent manager to arrest that at this level with this squad.

He really does talk some garbage one of the best was attempting to take credit for MK's performance on Tuesday ! Only in the sense that you set up so badly Mr Robinson.

I see that Ritchie Barker is expected to leave to take up the Rotherham manager's job. I can't say he'll be missed. After his time as MK's interim manager following Robinson's departure I'm surprised he wants to dip his toes in that particular water again.

Aside from Barker one wonders what the rest of the coaching staff are doing. Bowyer doesn't seem to have made one iota of difference. Hardly surprising though given his lack of experience and I'm not sure given his fishing interests well away from SE7 just how committed he is. I could be wrong of course but I don't see much evidence to the contrary.

Robinson now has the worst managerial record in Charlton history and that's some going. No wonder he looked a forlorn and desperate figure today. He is now down to gimmicks such a training at The Valley.

No doubt he'll ring the changes again on Saturday. Unfortunately, it seems whatever he does makes little difference and I'm not sure even he believes the nonsense he's producing.

Sad and worrying times as League Two looks a greater reality by the day. Let's hope that the players can somehow get the points we need to survive.

Come On You Reds!