Sunday, 10 December 2017

Party Poopers !


Charlton were celebrating 25 years back at The Valley whilst another bit of history and of a more recent nature concerns our ability to let everyone down on the big occasion.

I've entitled this piece party poopers and you can make you own mind up if that's relates to Pompey or our lads as set up by Robinson.

I said before the game that I couldn't understand why the manager had chosen to play KAG, Dijksteel and Aribo against Swansea when the match of greater importance was yesterday. These 3 players were surely going to be critical to any success that we might have. As I feared only one of them started and we lost.

When your team is not scoring many goals and even fewer from open play then surely you start with the one player that has scored 3 in 3. However, Robinson stuck with Magennis and as one suspected it was to be for the full 90 minutes.

Ultimately we ended up with KAG, Best and Magennis on the pitch as a desperate Robinson lost the plot. This is highlighted by KAG playing wide - not an area where he has enjoyed his success from.

Robinson had little time to discuss any supposed tactics with Bowyer and Robinson as he instead spent a lot of time and nearly all the second half moaning at the fourth official.

Added to all of the above Holmes poor run continues. He has really lost his way of late. He carries little threat at set pieces and his delivery from wide has been poor. 

Solly who for me lacks a lot as a captain came straight back into the team when I fail to see what Dijksteel had done to be dropped. Solly had a poor game as it happens and is not playing near his best.

There are so many areas of our performance yesterday that left a lot to be desired. It is a real cause for concern as this isn't a one off. The rest of the month doesn't see the games getting any easier and being turned over by a particularly mediocre but well organised Portsmouth side doesn't bode well.

It was particularly galling to have four thousand Pompey fans rubbing your noses in it. They were celebrating like it was their party and their inflated presence only served to spur on the players in blue.

People think we have a thin squad. Like Jackett I'd disagree as there many managers who love to have our squad. I'd wager they'd do a better job with it too.

Each passing game for me sees Robinson increasingly exposed. All the hallmarks of his tenure at MK are coming to the fore. Unlike some I'm not taken in by Robinson's soundbites and endless interviews.

He says what he thinks fans would like to hear frequently referring to passion, pride in the shirt etc. etc. We've heard it all before. 

He likes the gimmicks such as getting famous names in football to drop in or he'll name drop. I guess he thinks we'll be impressed. I, for one, am not. Neither am I impressed by his apparent desire to be mates with the players. Why else call players " Sols ", " Marshy ", " Reevesy " etc. Constant shades of David Brent except it's just not funny.

There has been some discussion as to the merits or otherwise of the players trip to Newcastle. That they allowed themselves to be videoed and have that put up on social media was a mistake as was the decision to travel in club gear.

One would like to think they might have chosen somewhere more local for one thing and another day for another. It wouldn't have hurt most of them to chat to the many former players that were present. They might have learned a thing or two and I am a bit surprised that there wasn't a 3 line whip on this if only to further support the celebrations.

Robinson has a hell of a job to do now as he needs to address a number of issues. Sadly, he seems devoid of ideas and insistent on doing the same thing however unsuccessful it is.

The more astute managers in this division know what to expect from us and how to combat it and this was no more clearly demonstrated than by Jackett yesterday.

At present December looks like being a long, dark and miserable month and the play offs looking increasingly unlikely. It's going take a lot to turn it around and I don't think our manager is up to the task.

For all our sakes let's hope I'm wrong !







   

Friday, 8 December 2017

Back Home !


Back To The Valley in more ways than one tomorrow and a return to league action.

There’s no escaping how poor we’ve been of late and for me to highlight the number of injuries we have is a poor excuse. The manager simply hasn’t made the most of his squad.

Robinson has been rightly been praising Aribo, KAG and Dijksteel whilst seeking to take credit in that he always gives youngsters a chance. Maybe but in their cases opportunities have either been limited or non-existent until recently when fate forced his hand.

Injury and poor performance by the starting eleven led to all 3 of the above finally getting either a chance or run in the team. Lo and behold how well they’ve done. A shame the manager didn’t do it earlier. Were it not for the injuries it might not have happened at all !

The question is will they stay in the team ? The signs are that in the case of two of them the answer may well be no.

Promotion must remain the priority. Why then, did Robinson play all 3 in the competition of least importance ? Failure to win tomorrow and I hope that someone asks that question.

I'm not sure why he says that a takeover would mean the end of his Charlton career. I'm clearly not his greatest fan but not sure why he'd get the boot automatically. There's no evidence for that especially not knowing who any new owners would be so it's a strange comment to make.

There’s little doubt that Magennis will be starting and no doubt playing the full 90 mins again. This nonsense looks set to continue ad infinitum.

He didn’t play on Tuesday and we scored 3 goals albeit against an Under 21 side. It does prove however, that we can score without him up front. Josh continues to miss chances a plenty so maybe a rest would be good.

I keep reading or hearing about our thin squad. Bradford, Shrewsbury etc. must have fantastic squad size then eh !

Please remember it was Robinson that recruited the injury-prone Reeves. “ Reevesy “ hasn’t been seen for weeks and has only played about 4 games all season.

Page is another who the manager recruited. He could have retained Chicksen but despite the promise of a deal for him he later opted for Page despite his injury worries. I’m not sure I can remember what he looks like.

The stubbornness in adhering to his system and refusal to play at least the 3 aforementioned players sooner has no doubt led to others incurring or prolonging injury.

Yes, we do have injuries and quite a few of them but a more detailed examination as to how and why we have them wouldn’t go amiss.

I fear a bleak mid-winter ahead. Our lack of cutting edge and one dimensional approach to games is going to cost us. Time after time for all our possession we simply don’t score enough goals and fail to put games to bed.

Robinson is reverting to type and he needs to address the issues that surround that.
Tomorrow should be a day for celebration and off the pitch I’ve no doubt it will be but it would really help if a win and good performance could be added to the mix.

Selling the vast number of tickets that the club has to Pompey fans hasn’t aided our cause and with some allegedly in home areas has made it a possible powderkeg.

Let’s hope all my fears are misplaced.


Come On You Reds !



Monday, 4 December 2017

Back To The Valley !

Heartbreaking

Here we are then, celebrating 25 years since we’ve been “ Back To The Valley “ ! I trust I wasn’t alone in endlessly singing that out loud for months before we actually got there !

I challenge anyone to say that they could have predicted how things would look today or even the great success we enjoyed under Curbs in those halcyon days.

Our present owners of course have no background or real understanding of what our ground and club means to us fans. Just to underline that they’re charging silly prices for Saturday and the celebration dinner the next day.

I’ve no wish to waste time and words on them in this piece so that’s the last mention of them. Hopefully they won’t be around in another 25 months let alone years !

It seems incredible that 25 years have passed since that fantastic day. For those that weren’t born it must be so hard to imagine what the day itself was like. In addition, imagine it against a background where you thought your team was never going to play there again or worse still go out of existence.

Watching the team play in Croydon or at West Ham just left you feeling cold and empty. Try and imagine the pleasure you’d have got in getting promotion to the First Division at the Valley or staying up when you were still there ?

We had to wait for Curbs to deliver that feeling. Away from home though with all that going on in the background and you realise what an unbelievable job Lennie Lawrence did. Not just in getting us up there but staying up in the meantime.

This was the best in terms for Charlton on the pitch it had been in my lifetime upto then.

Lennie of course went on to Middlesbrough which was a very unexpected and odd move. He wasn’t treated very well by them in my view and as soon as they sacked they gave his successor, Bryan Robson, funds that weren’t made available to our Lennie.

Every cloud and all that and we had the Gritt / Curbishley combination with them officially labelled as “ joint managers “. This term was a joy to the headline writers when a couple of our boys got caught smoking substances not befitting professional athletes !

Subsequently Richard Murray appointed Curbs as the sole manager. At the time I’m not aware that any supporter who thought this was a wise move with nearly all thinking that the honour should go to Gritt.

It was to prove one of Mr Murray’s better decisions !

Back to 25 years ago and all that effort to return to our spiritual home as it is so often described and you really can’t believe what the atmosphere was like. Nor indeed can you understand how it felt unless you were there. It will probably never be surpassed.

The game that day passed in something of a blur. Of course everyone went mad when Walshie scored and again at the final whistle. Given what we now know of Pardew and also his attempts to nobble Gritty how grateful we all are that that odious character wasn’t on the pitch to be a part of it.

Getting back home literally was a dream come true. May be more than that because over those 7 years you really didn’t think Charlton would survive. I can’t imagine how different my life would be if it hadn’t.

Numerous experiences simply wouldn’t have happened. I wonder if I would have retained any interest in football. If so, who would I be supporting ? It doesn’t bear thinking about but yet it could so easily have happened.

There’s an enormous debt owed to all those who made it possible. The Valley Party including Rick Everitt and many others. Rick of course started The Voice Of The Valley our famous fanzine. The cause was also greatly helped by the Mercury which gave a great deal of time and space covering every aspect of what was happening.

Both publications played a big part in publicising the campaign and keeping people informed about what was happening.

Roger Alwen was a key player in the return and I’ve been re-watching his interview where he announced the return. It’s very significant that as he said, getting back was just the start. There was so much more still to do. How right he was !!

Over the years all the scaffolding would disappear from the East terrace as would those bl**dy portacabins !!

The whole ground would eventually become The Valley as we know it today. What a marvellous tribute to all those who worked so hard to get us back there.

Saturday will be another emotional occasion albeit not celebrated as fully as it might have been given the current ownership. However, it should be celebrated as fully as possible.

In the meantime I hope that everyone attending the event at the museum on Tuesday has a great time. I wish I could be there but it’s not possible.

I will raise a glass tomorrow to all those who played their part in getting us back home, to all the players, staff, fellow fans and also my dad who took me to The Valley in the first place.

I know I won’t be alone in doing so and it’s that pride in supporting such a wonderful club with a rich, unique and diverse history that gives us all a bond and affection for such a great club.


Come On You Reds !

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times


The Addicks managed to salvage a draw from a distinctly average performance last night. They were helped enormously by the award of a penalty even softer than the one MK got against us.

Charlton spent most of the evening being second best to 50-50 balls, carelessly giving the ball away, being caught in possession and generally lacking a cutting edge.

Leon Best having signed for the club on Monday was kept under wraps until just before kick off with his signing not announced until @ 5.30pm. Bizarrely this secrecy extended to holding back the programmes too!

Such is the manager's desire to see Magennis spent every possible moment on the pitch that he decided to accommodate him by playing him wide left with Holmes in behind Best. Neither decision appeared to be a masterstroke but we can't really tell because that formation was abandoned as soon as Peterborough went ahead.

Surely if you believed in it and you worked at it you'd give it longer than that ? However, it wasn't to be and Holmes moved to wide left. 

Following that nearly everything came down the left side for us as Marshall might as well have gone and sat in the West stand as an interested observer!

A couple of top drawer saves and a goal line clearance prevented Charlton from going ahead. Posh had a couple of chances themselves before they scored from a free kick that arose from a needless and clumsy tackle from Kashi who went on to have a poor evening.

Holmes too hasn't been at his best of late and a lot of his decision making and delivery left a lot to be desired. He often held on to the ball too long or tried to beat one man too many.

Peterborough always carried a threat to score on the break as they possessed all over the pitch and over the course of the evening that you don't always need to have a big man up front in this division.

They missed a great chance to go 3-0 and kill the game with a one on one but they messed it up and must have been kicking themselves at the full time whistle.

At the start of the second half it was clear that Bauer was injured and it seemed to take a long time before he finally got replaced. Dijksteel came on at right back and soon showed the potential he had and why many have spoken so highly of him.

One wonders why you would select centre halves ahead of this talented and confident young man. It's plain daft.

On 58 minutes Posh doubled their lead as following a neat move on the right the resultant cross was neatly turned in by Marriott.

Just over 10 minutes later a double substitution saw the introduction of KAG and one Joe Aribo who you may recall was an emerging player last season........in fact the new Dele Alli. That aside Magennis again stayed on and Dodoo, again, stayed off. 

As time passed the ball was knocked about to no great effect and the crowd's frustration was directed towards Peterborough's understandable time wasting. All teams do it of course but it doesn't stop fans shouting and moaning about it however much you'd happily accept it if the table were turned.

I guess we should be pleased to rescue a point at the end of the day but the overall performance gives rise to much concern especially ahead of a very testing December.

We need to find an alternative way of playing. The tippy tappy stuff across the pitch with crosses from wide didn’t prove successful for the most part. Can we be more direct and play players in behind defences or do 1-2’s just in front of them ?

We simply have to respond and we need to find some answers somewhere.

Perhaps we’re flattering to deceive ? Those one-nil victories hiding a multitude of sins. The pretty possession football alone is not enough to win games. There has to be more from one of the best squads in the league. December will go a long way to deciding our fate this season make no mistake. 

We go into it in poor shape and I’m not confident we will emerge still in a play off place even. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

No Substitute

The Forgotten Man

The Addicks long unbeaten run came to an end yesterday. It had to at some time of course and Scunny away was always going to be a tough test.

We seem to have played ok but our failure to score cost us dear. For all the attractive football of late that we don't score enough goals in proportion to the chances created has been and continues to be our achilles heel.

I note some fans were saying that we were mugged. However, those stunning strikes were harldy lucky and are reminiscent of what Ricky Holmes has done for us this season and enabled us to win games in similar circumstances. How many times of late has that been the case and / or the post match view has been " we didn't play well but the result is all that matters " ?

Holmes hasn't been at his best of late and last Saturday in particular his efforts at a couple of free kicks were poor. If they had matched those of Morris yesterday then we would have secured 3 points against MK I'm sure.

The game was won by a player who came off the bench at half time and his impact was felt on 15 and 18 minutes into the second half. That begs the question as to who might have had a similar impact for us. It's worth considering.

One feels that our options are very limited if we're honest about it. Phillips has to be there of course. Typically KAG is there but in view rarely has an impact and I know don't know whether he's a striker or wide man and I guess neither does he - that can't help.

Academy players with limited experience get swapped around and rarely get on.

Skip is an ever present but under what circumstances would he come on and with little match time of late, how effective would he be ?

Then there's Dodoo, who like the dodo might well be extinct ! God knows what it would take for him to set foot on the pitch. Why did we get him in ? If he's never going to play then put a youngster on the bench instead. It would make more sense.

Finally, there's the player who earlier this year was described as " the new Dele Alli " by Robinson. Clearly, the manager doesn't think that highly of him now. I wonder why ? I'd love someone to ask him why Joe doesn't get on. In fact, surely there was a good case for him to start yesterday ?

Aribo broke through about the same time as Konsa but is very much the forgotten man. You've got to feel for him. How many injuries in our midfield do we need for him to get a chance ? I think we might be about to find out !

If we assume that Phillips, Jackson, Dodoo and Aribo are not leaving the bench then we are picking our subs from the remaining three. Far from an ideal scenario. 

Players typically want to play and I'd like to think that Dodoo was in Robinson's ear yesterday demanding to get on. If he wasn't it was probably because he felt it was a waste of time.

There's no question that the football this season has been better. However, one does have to question the lack of goals especially those created from open play. The very way we play suggest there ought to more.  

We've now dropped to 6th and need to win on Tuesday against the Posh if we're not to drop further behind. Worringly with a tough December ahead injuries are having a bigger impact. 

Maybe the forgotten man will get to play a part..........let's hope so.

Come On You Reds ! 






Thursday, 23 November 2017

Speeding Fine !

No one wants these !

Whilst the Addicks were busy securing 3 points on Tuesday night I was actively losing the 3 points generously given to me via a mobile speed camera.

Previous speeding offences had never given me the opportunity of a speed awareness course. My latest indiscretion  presented a chance to do so. Unfortunately there were few dates to choose from that weren't inconvenient and Tuesday was the best of a bad bunch.

My offence was doing 35mph in a 30 limit. Hardly me being Lewis Hamilton and not in an area that is populated with many pedestrians or dangerous road. I reckon you could trap 80% of drivers " speeding "in that area if you so desired.

As in transpired most of us were " done " in similar fashion and the stats back that up with the majority of us caught speeding in urban areas and very little on motorways. 

In similar fashion most fatalities occur on rural roads not motorways with a number of head on collisions the cause. Makes sense in a way a you're typically not going fast enough for real damage in towns and cities and on motorways if you hit someone you're going in the same direction to a degree. Of course that's not always the case but you get my point. 

Leaving aside the manner of my being at the course I did find it very useful and educational.

There were 24 of us in an hotel room in Milton Keynes. The course's presenters were not immediately warmed to by the delegates. No fault of theirs just that they were the " face " behind the penalty so to speak.

They were quick to point out that it wasn't their fault that we were all there. A few minutes in and the mood had lightened a bit. The presenters went on to prove that they really knew their stuff and delivered each section of the course in an informative and entertaining fashion.

As someone who has not looked at the highway code since 1978 it's fair to say I learned an awful lot as things has moved on a bit !

Most of us failed when being asked the speed limits on various roads. There was an assortment of incorrect answers - some frankly ridiculous, however, we're all out there driving around!

It's good that today's driving test is a tad more demanding than it was back in the day. A theory test and hazard perception is a good thing in my view. More in depth than a few random questions that largely revolved around stopping distances that in reality one couldn't relate to and I've never considered in nearly 40 years of driving ! What does 175 feet look like at 50 mph ?

A video demonstrating the effect of 2 or 3 mph on the overall stopping distance was far more effective in making the point.

Over the course of nearly 4 hours I learned a great deal and it did make me think that a refresher course of some sort every 5 years or so ought to be mandatory.

A number of issues relating to our roads should be considered. Think about the fact that anyone without the slightest awareness of our roads can get on a bike and go riding on them. No need for a test, licence or insurance !

In respect of motor vehicles drivers perhaps ought to be limited in terms of speed until they've completed a certain mileage or undertake a harder test or at least a course that involves some explicit videos ( no, not that sort ! ).

Anyway, following Tuesday The Addicks have 3 more coveted points and I don't have the ones I certainly didn't covet! 

Hopefully I'm a wiser and better driver as a result.

CAFC travel to Scunthorpe on Saturday where they will hope to get a win with a more convincing overall display than of the last two games. The missed opportunities that have typified this season are still happening and the captain's declaration that " someone's going to get a spanking " looks a bit hollow.

If you're driving up on Saturday, take care and remember that speed limits are just that and not a target!!

Come On You Reds ! 






Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Missed Opportunity


A day worth celebrating as fully as possible with as many as possible - well, so you'd have thought !

Charlton going well in the league, goodwill towards " the club " better than it has been probably since Roly took over, the CEO thankfully about as verbose as Harpo Marx ( save for a nonsense interview in the Belgian press recently ) and the 25th anniversary of Back To The Valley looming large on the horizon.

As the day draws closer interest increases and many will want to be at the Portsmouth game on Saturday 9th December given that it’s so close to the sacred date of 5th December and against our opponents on that memorable day.

A good time to reminisce about the fulfilment of a dream that was all about the fans taking on the local authorities and battling successfully to make a dream come true.

I shed tears that day recalling my parents plus past matches whilst ruing the fact that we’d ever had to leave in the first place. Like many other Addicks a whole range of emotions ran through me that day.

I appreciate that will mean diddly squat to Roly or his CEO whatever she may say. They have no feeling for the club. One wants a return on his investment and the other is just desperate to cling on to a job that has only served to highlight her incompetence in the role.

However, a good opportunity presented itself to garner more goodwill by converting an easy chance with the goal at their mercy! Make the tickets cheap as possible ( dare I say make it football for a fiver day ) to get loads of fans back plus the Pompey ones in attendance to make it great atmosphere and thus occasion.

Not only that it’s a chance to give something back to Pompey fans as 25 years ago we, quite rightly, we didn’t offer them any tickets.

However, the regime has decided in football terms to square the ball to Ronnie Rosenthal who has blasted it over the bar!

Prices have been put up to the maximum. Clearly the handsomely staffed and  rewarded PR team are either being ignored or not earning their corn on this one ( assuming that it's even crossed their minds ).

I read with interest that some money from ticket sales is being given to charity. I’m sure our wealthy owner could make such a gesture without the need to raise the funds in this manner. Alternatively do this on another occasion or have some collecting buckets on the day.


Added to the above of course is the vastly overpriced 25th anniversary dinner. Who on earth thought that the majority of fans would be prepared to pay £95 for that no matter who attends. 

As I said before imagine a family of four wanting to go. £360 before you've even had a drink ! A couple going will pay £180 again before they've a drink.

All this aside from struggling to get home late on a Sunday night with little to no public transport.

I note that as of today there still 10 tables available. 100 places and that must be quite a high percentage of the overall number. Incredible this close to the event but not surprising.

What a shame that this marvellous anniversary that is special and unique to our club is being overseen by this ownership. Just another addition to the catalogue of disasters delivered by our Belgian brethren.

It will be left to us to make the most of the day as best we can. Sadly living where I do I can't get down to the museum on the actual day but hope those that do go enjoy it.

We'll have to defer a little bit of celebration until the time the owner sells. That particular celebration will be quite something but the cost is unlikely to approach £95. 


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Home Sweet Home !


Saturday sees AFC Wimbledon visit The Valley. This is the first of 4 successive home games with unusually, this being the only league game. The other 3 are comprised of 2 Checkatrade Trophy matches and an F A Cup tie.

Of all 4 games potentially only the one against Fulham U21s ought to realistically present any real difficulty. However, Charlton being Charlton I'm sure matters won't be that straight forward !

AFC have had a mixed set of results this season. Back to back wins in mid-October appeared to have got them on the right road before they suffered a reverse against Plymouth last weekend.

However, they lost to the only goal of the game and all the stats suggest that they were unfortunate not to come away with something from it. I don't envisage that they will sit back and get 11 men behind the ball. That promises for a good game.

Sadly, I'll not be there as I'll be celebrating a 90th anniversary on the Kent Coast. One that is in keeping with the stereotypical view of a Charlton fan !

Speaking of anniversaries I note that our esteemed CEO broke her long silence this week. At least in as much as a statement was attributed to her concerning the Back To The Valley dinner. Ah 1992 I remember it well ! A time long before Roly and Miss Meire started the downward spiral.

As a2c will no doubt observe there I go again with my xenophobia towards Queen Kat who's doing such a great job dahn our gaff. Please keep your silly comments to yourself although I'm sure you won't.

In respect of the BTTV dinner I'm disappointed that this is on a Sunday. Why could this not have been on the Saturday after the game when fans would already be there.

That aside it is of lesser importance than the proposed cost of £95 per head. Ah the people's game, the working man's game except it isn't these days is it.

I suspect that this is an attempt by Meire and Co to keep out the riff raff. After all we don't want those that this really means something to actually be involved. 

Imagine a family having to find the money for this. No kids rate tickets of course and this £95 doesn't include drinks either.........was this really organised by the boys team from The Apprentice !

It's a shame as I'd loved to have gone much like many others. I'll be surprised if they manage to sell all the tickets at that price.

On a brighter note we ought to win on Saturday and I shall be following from a distance as I hope our good run doesn't hit the buffers.

Come On You Reds !   

Monday, 23 October 2017

Out Of The Blue

Solly seems to be the hardest word.

Saturday's win oop north meant that The Addcicks came away from the two away games with 4 points. Appropriately as I've recently been listening again to Elton's 1976 album this all came a bit out of the blue.

A number of good performances amongst a solid sounding team performance. I'm not sure that we created a lot of clear cut chances but the result was everything and others will be too if we're to have any hope of catching the top two.

I'm not sure that Wigan will be caught by anyone but certainly one would expect Shrewsbury to slip up at some stage or have a bit of a wobble at least.

Sarr has impressed again and I don't think it has hurt our cause to add some height into the back four. It's all well and good saying how good Dasilva is going forward but we need some strength and physical presence in the back four and playing two full backs with Dasilva and Solly's stature is something of a risk.

Amos made two or three great saves and on another day Bradford might have got something from the game. However, they didn't and it makes a change to report on the oppo not taking chances rather than us.

Not many teams in recent seasons have come away from Bradford with all 3 points and that serves to underline how good the result was.

A week's break before we face a real slog of games most of them at home. A chance for the management team to consider an alternative to playing Magennis up front. In fact given the need to make the best use of the whole squad there are many options to consider.

No further news on the rumoured takeover has come to light with Miss Meire remaining tight-lipped. Mind you she's made any utterance for some time. Maybe she's waiting on her application to join The Cistercian Order. Since she's seemingly not said anything since early April she must be a shoe-in.

Whilst the last few games haven't produced exactly blinding performances we are now unbeaten since mid-September. That must be good for confidence and provides a good platform. Had we won a couple more of those our position would be really healthy but we're hanging in there. 

The real test is to see if we can still be up there by the end of the upcoming run of games. 

Come On You Reds !

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Cock and Ball Story


My attempts to combine the latest takeover rumour with our next opponents gave me a heart attack when I sought to find an accompanying image. Damn near took my eye out ! If curiosity gets the better of you then make sure you don't Google the image in the office ! 

Today saw the re-emergence of the takeover rumours. I can't add to anything that has been said elsewhere on Twitter or other social media. Clearly it's what we all want with the hope the any new owner will have only the best interests for our club at heart and that it can recapture its place as a decent and well run club with the fans at its heart. 

It would be nice if that were to happen to once again be truly proud of our club and all it has traditionally stand for.

We face a tough away game on Saturday following another disappointing draw on Tuesday. More disappointing than the result perhaps is our failure to yet again take more than one of the chances on offer.

Clearly this repeated failure will and is costing us dear. Robinson's response to this is apparently to get Big Sam in to work with our defence ! We've conceded 6 goals in the last 6 league games, hardly a crisis at the back. The aim to get Allardyce in is therefore a bit bizarre rather like the playing of Holmes in centre mid. Put your best players in their best positions, it really is that simple.

There's no denying that the football for the most part this season has been better than we've seen from Charlton in recent seasons. However, Robinson doesn't like to do the basics right it seems allied to his refusal to try anything other than his preferred system.

I think we all like seeing a more expansive style of play but I get frustrated when we can't play the ball out from the keeper properly. We seems to make a hash of it too often. It should be simple even if the oppo presses you a bit.

Magennis must be knackered and it seems is in line for a rest at some stage if he isn't injured before then. Sadly, not trying playing without him even for the last few minutes of a game leaves us nothing to go on and no experience for any other player. 

Some will cite the lack of another striker as an issue and to some extent it is but our side ought to have goals from a number of areas. That potential isn't being realised. We ought to be pushing for a top two place with what we've got. 

I can't believe that the likes of Shrewsbury, Bradford and Rotherham have better squads than us and they're not getting better backing from the fans I'm sure. However, They find themselves ahead or just behind us.

We need to turn draws into wins and that probably won't happen on Saturday but it needs to start happening soon otherwise a play-off will be beyond us.

Come On You Reds !



Monday, 16 October 2017

The Graduate

" Are you trying to seduce me Mr Robinson ? "

The Addicks face two tough away tests starting with Oxford where they hope to pass the first test with first class honours.

Travelling fans will be hoping to see a performance a lot more inspiring than Saturday's against a poor Doncaster side. Whilst never in any real danger of losing our failure to add to the early goal nearly came back to bite us on the backside.

Having had two weeks break and with increased competition for places it's not unreasonable to have expected more. However, a win's a win and if it contributes to the ultimate prize of promotion then I guess it's a small price to pay.

One assumes that Robinson will make some changes with the upcoming schedule. However, he's not been one for change of late so who knows.

Oxford find themselves on a decent run following a couple of setbacks towards then end of September. It won't be easy to get anything from the game.

If we can garner 4 points from this game and Saturday's trip to Bradford then that will be a pretty good return ahead of  a faltering Wimbledon side at the end of October.

There is some respite from all the league action after all that when Truro City make their way up from the West Country for the first round of the FA Cup. A home tie is desirable and in opposition that we ought to beat will allow more fringe players to get a game.

Come On You Reds !

Friday, 13 October 2017

Donny Ahoy !

Oh look he's chartered a boat especially !

Charlton return to action on Saturday with the oppo at The Valley being Doncaster Rovers.

Donny have enjoyed mixed results to date this season. They finally recorded a home win last Saturday with a 4-1 win over Southend. On the road they have beaten Blackburn and Plymouth whilst drawing 3 games overall.

The main goal threat will come from former Millwall man John Marquis who netted 26 league goals last season and has scored 5 to date this season.

Rovers are managed by Darren Ferguson and whilst it's exactly a case of like father, like son in managerial terms Darren enjoyed a fair amount of success at Peterborough.

Last season he achieved promotion with Rovers and is a manager who knows the league well and is used to managing successfully on a small budget. He will know only too well what to expect from a side managed by Robinson.

Charlton will be keen not to have lost any impetus gained from the fine performance and result from the Fleetwood game.

Magennis could be excused for being totally knackered from his international exploits and given our totally reliance on him with seemingly no sign of a rest it's only a matter of time before he's injured or becomes pretty ineffective as he runs out of steam.

Robinson now faces a bit of a selection dilemma. As Solly didn't play last time out we had more height ( it's not hard ! ) with Konsa having a fine game. In addition, Sarr performed well too.

Normally you would expect your skipper to come straight back into the side but it's not that simple although I expect Robinson will bring him back in.

Midfield is where even greater selection issues occur. In that respect the manager can have few complaints with a number of options available. Given the trouble that the manager went to organise friendlies and internal practice games if Reeves and Marshall don't feature to some extent it'll look rather futile.

Whilst the rest of the squad will be well rested the 3 international players that we can't do without have returned. Quite how prepared they'll be for tomorrow's game is anyone's guess. Certainly Magennis ought to be physically and mentally tired after some tough games. To some extent the other two as well.

A real long slog of fixture looms large on the horizon and it's fair to say the squad will be used to its fullest extent as injuries and suspensions will no doubt play a part. Let's hope we can start off with a win tomorrow.

Come On You Reds !




Monday, 2 October 2017

A Win At Last !


Fleetwood looking a little shocked by the result !

A much welcome win then for The Addicks on Saturday following a pretty miserable winless run. Good performances from all concerned especially Konsa, Sarr and of course hat-trick hero Fosu.

Robinson ought to be wondering like the rest of us how we could play so well for nearly the entire duration of the game after such insipid and inconsistent performances in the previous four.

Missing Pearce and Solly and able to bring on Marshall and Reeves whilst Aribo is still in reserve many will wonder what as to the validity of Robinson's claim that he is overseeing a thin squad.

Agreed, he doesn't quite have the 2 players competing for each position that he stated he wanted but Robinson's cupboard isn't quite as bare as he would have us believe. In addition, it looks an awful lot more rosy than compared to many of the other squad in League One.

The absence of alternative strikers to Magennis is surely down to the manager himself unless his claims that he is in control of all the transfer dealing is pure fabrication. Selling or loaning out all those players before getting any suitable replacement in is naive for any manager but quite startling for one of Robinson's experience.

I understand the reasons for the Peterborough postponement of course. However, I felt it was a bit short sighted before Saturday's win. I think we can cope without the 3 called up and also the missing Pearce.

We have now added another midweek fixture that will surely test our resources even further especially given that it may well be preceded or followed by another midweek game either side of it.

It looks worse given Peterborough's last couple of results and given that they have an EFL fixture tomorrow against fairly local rivals Northampton. It seems that Saturday was an almost ideal time to play them.

Too late now of course and only time will tell if it was the right one. In the meantime we have a break until Saturday week before we face Doncaster Rovers. Let's hope we don't lose the momentum gained from the win at Fleetwood.

Come On You Reds !

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Copy & Paste

Saturday sees another difficult away game at ( insert club name here ). Following the latest disappointing result against ( enter name of League One side here ) the Addicks will be keen to return to winning ways.

On Tuesday / Saturday ( delete as appropriate ) we started brightly but squandered a number of good opportunities only to be undone by poor defending.

Robinson was rightly frustrated post match citing " poor refereeing decisions / bad luck / all officials having a bias against a big club like Charlton / hyper-inflated transfer fees / the ball was too round " barely raising his eyes from the semi biographical work " 1001 excuses for the one trick manager " subtitled " the big bad book of bo**ocks ".

The manager went onto say that he was disappointed that all hard work on the training pitch working on our new formation and pattern of play didn't pay off. " I'm not about to abandon it after one game and have no intention of returning to a 4-2-3-1 formation................ " who I am kidding of course he didn't!

Robinson believes that when Messi and Ronaldo aka Marshall and Reeves are fit and available then The Addicks will be rising to the top of the league as he stroked a barely recognisable rabbit's foot that was almost devoid of fur.

Perhaps the silver lining of the groundhog day manner of our ongoing failure to win games is that it makes writing any preview very easy and come to that post match review much the same.

Unless Robinson can turn things around then he may well be gone before he gets a chance to face his old club in November. That might be for the best as the comparisons between the fortunes of the two clubs since his departure might not reflect too kindly on him.

Robinson might be glad of a bit of respite given that the Peterborough game is now postponed. The cancellation of these games always seems a little shortsighted to me. There's every chance that we'll have more injuries and the game must be played as soon as possible and Pearce for one won't be back by then. In any case, we've added a midweek game possibly a week after the away game at Oxford.

In the meantime if Charlton are to have any chance of resurrecting their season then they need to get some kind of a result against Fleetwood. Given that we have managed to garner only 2 points from a possible 12 that seems highly unlikely. We can only hope.

Come On You Reds !


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Promising Start and Goodwill Evaporating

" and Smith must score... "

As poor as our start was yesterday ours was awful. For the first half hour you'd have been forgiven for thinking that we were the away side languishing at the foot of the table.

Even before Beckford scored his exquisite goal following a delicious pass from the excellent Josh Laurent former Addick Michael Smith should have put the Shakers ahead.

In a repeat of a rather famous " and Smith must score " moment Bury's version fluffed a fairly easy chance to give them the lead when faced with a virtually open goal.

It's true to say that Smith that doesn't possess too much finesse and grace but he worked bloody hard for his team yesterday and was a thorn in our side throughout. Later into the game and he sprinted way back to the half line to block one of our attacks. That sort of effort and desire was largely missing from our boys.

In the aforementioned Laurent, Bury have a very good player who broke up numerous attacks and played some really good passes. He was roundly booed by a number of our fans following several clear fouls. However, they were committed to break up our attacks and only up to the point that he got booked. It's not his fault the ref didn't book him earlier and we'd applaud any player doing that for us. 

Beckford was quality all afternoon making the most of little quality support from his team mates. As mentioned before his goal was superb. 

Despite having lost the previous two games Robinson decided that he would make only the one change to the starting eleven and that was of course forced on him with Holmes suspended.

Solly and Da Silva struggle with the height of most opposition players but the sight of Da Silva trying to mark Smith most notably from throw ins was laughable.

KAG came straight into the team although I fail to see what he has done over anyone to deserve that. given the need for more height in the back four and with Holmes missing it might have been better to play Da Silva out side and bring Konsa into the defence.

I'm sure Aribo must be wondering what he has to do or how poorly we have to play to get a chance. All Robinson's talk of rotating remains just that.

Robinson looked rather lost yesterday and he spent a fair amount of time sat down which is unusual for him. In the past he has had people like John Gorman to advise him. At present he has Skip and Bowyer. Added to which Solly really isn't ideal as a skipper no matter how good a player he is. I'm not sure it's enough.

Jackson's association and legendary status in the club make him well respected by both players and fans alike. I'm sure he's a wise head to have on the management team. Skip is taking his first steps in the management and one can't expect too much from him at this stage. He will probably make a good manager one day and hopefully with us if so.

Bowyer too has little coaching experience and has not been anywhere near the club ( nor any club as far as I can tell ) until Robinson brought him in. Bowyer had his attention on his fish farm in France.

Bowyer never played in the third tier of English football is hardly your archetypal role model. Quite what he is bringing to the party I don't know.

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't really take to Robinson. His endless interviews with much hyperbole do nothing for me. Neither does the manner in which he celebrates a victory as though we've just won the league. His one dimensional style of play allied to his apparent lack of tactical nous doesn't endear him to me either.

Roly has been blamed for not backing Robinson but whilst Robinson hasn't exactly been able to dip into a vast share of the Lookman money he has been able to recruit well. Most clubs would be more than happy to have a squad like ours.

The manager is putting a lot of faith in Marshall and Reeves turning things around to the extent that you'd be forgiven for thinking that Messi and Ronaldo were about to enter the team.  

Roland and Katrien seem to like him but since they know bugger all about football probably explains his relative longevity in the hot spot. Many more performances and results like those of the last three games and even Roly might feel the need to pull the trigger that he hasn't for a while now.

It may be that Robinson won't be situ to face his old club in November. However, that's still a  way off and in the meantime we've two away games in the space of 5 days that are taking on great significance.

Walsall secured an excellent win away to Oxford and whilst Fleetwood suffered a reverse yesterday at home it won't be easy up there.

Holmes will return on Tuesday but Pearce left on crutches yesterday and Clarke may have picked up a knock too. Perhaps one or two others will finally get a chance to impress. Let's hope it brings an upturn in fortunes.

Come On You Reds !

   


Thursday, 21 September 2017

No Ricky, No Nicky


Yes, missing both players and chances !

Bury currently sit in 22nd place in League One having made an inauspicious start to the season. Even without our help the started with a home win since when they've garnered only two more points courtesy of a couple of goalless draws.

One of those points came in an away game against Rochdale. Don't be fooled into thinking that the Shakers shut up shop on the road as their last two away league games have been 5 goal thrillers in which they lost by the odd goal.

Despite losing to Fleetwood they had more shots and more possession. Imagine having more shots and more possession and losing by one goal !

I'm sure that boss Lee Clark wants to put an end to the losses. In fact, he'd probably loved to go on a long unbeaten streak no doubt featuring numerous meaningless draws whilst finishing just outside the play-offs places. Should such a thing occur perhaps we could end the run at Gigg Lane later in the season.

Despite not getting the ideal results Bury have some good players in their ranks and won't be a pushover. Given our propensity to miss many gilt edged chances even if we're winning like most of the games this season Bury will be in with a chance making for a nervy game as we need to win to get back on track.

As it is we're going to be under pressure to get a result following two disappointing performances. The task is not made any easier without the hot-headed Ricky Holmes. The name Holmes is of course synonymous with a superior intellect but there's been little clever about the way Ricky has amassed 5 yellow cards already this season. In fact had he connected with a Wigan player in a rash sliding tackle he might have been missing more games.

There's not much competition to replace Holmes with both Marshall and Reeves missing. Robinson now admits it was a mistake to play the china doll that is Reeves so soon. With a nod to our missing winger.......no sh*t Sherlock !

You'd not believe that Robinson was Ben's manager for so long previously. Indeed as I've said previously the manager took a gamble in signing him and his dodgy injury history is the reason he wasn't snapped up by a Championship side at least at there's little doubting his ability.

Robinson remains welded to his formation and apparently is unable or unwilling or both to change it come hell or high water. Even when things aren't working with his system ( I'm loathe to say Plan A as this is to suggest there's is an alternative and there really isn't ! ) he hasn't made the best use of his subs.

Dodoo unsurprisingly for a last minute.com signing really isn't pulling up any trees. We're told he's better on the wing and I wonder if he wouldn't prosper as an out and out striker. Sadly, I fear we may never find out or at least under Robinson we won't.

Effectively two of our own are missing Saturday's encounter as Nicky Ajose is ineligible for Bury and probably just as well.

Two away games follow the Bury encounter before we enter Round One of the cup. One used to fear a regular exit in Round 3 nowadays we need to achieve two cups wins just to get there.........God help us !

Let's hope that we can find some fluency and greater consistency that would see us play more than just one good half, More importantly we need to take more of those chances and greatly improve our defensive display.

Come On You Reds !


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.

Managers

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

Stadia

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 !

Fans

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.


Transfers

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.

Finances.

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.

Summary

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 !