Friday, 13 May 2022

Better Than Roland!

It’s now 10 days since Thomas removed Jackson. The general feeling, not least given credit by Junior’s comment to Washington, is that has been on the cards for some time.

It’s puzzling therefore, as to why we seem no nearer appointing the new manager than on Tuesday 3rd May.

In the meantime, several players have been released with others in negotiation. The big question is who is sanctioning these deals and rubber stamping the decisions?

Presumably not the new manager as they have yet to be appointed. That must mean it is a combination of the Sandgaards, Senior and Junior. Don’t forget Junior’s trusty laptop with its wizzo programme and his recruitment system that has blown everyone (well, daddy), away!

Steve Gallen we’re told is now reduced to the role of contract negotiating so he merely is an interested onlooker.

Given Thomas spends most of his out of the country and with the club devoid of a CEO (as well as a manager) it all comes down to Junior calling the shots.

It’s a nightmare scenario that sees someone who has no relevant football experience and wouldn’t get a job at any other league club making decisions that are so integral to any potential success next season.

It’s never been more important to strike whilst the iron’s hot (the use of that phrase in light of the need for a pressing game is entirely deliberate!). However, we seem to be on the back foot and directionless.

It’s hard to see any player wanting to sign as long as they don’t know who the new manager is. In fact, if Thomas cocks it up they still might not want to when they do!

The Sandgaard apologists are forever referencing his saving of the club. That goodwill can only last so long and the further we get into his ownership then he rightfully comes under increasing scrutiny.

The other popular refrain of those keen to defend Thomas come what may is that he’s better than Roland. Really? Is that how high we’ve set the bar?

For those that chose to shield our owner from any criticism this is the fallback option. That and he’s the owner, he can spend his money and do whatever he likes.

I have deep concerns over Thomas and his intransigent approach to all aspects of managing the club. He clearly feels that what has made him a successful businessman can be applied to the world of football.

I wish there some examples of where other entrepreneurs had got it so badly wrong when attempting to run football clubs in such a manner! 

That stubborn refusal to seek or listen to advice from others is infuriating as it is na├»ve. 

Sandgaard doesn’t help himself with the silly self-promotion and his propensity to exaggerated and fatuous comments. His lack of self-awareness means that these show no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

I can’t see him or the situation changing as it requires a u-turn of seismic  proportions. One can hear echoes of Thatcher just thinking about it! 

This most crucial of summers and off season activity has started badly with the clock ticking away with little to reassure Addicks’ fans. 

Let’s hope things take a turn for the better soon or maybe we’ll have another addition to the long list of failed owners of our beloved football club.  

 

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

To The Premiership and Beyond!

Yesterday’s news of Jackson’s departure was something of a shock even by recent Charlton standards.

In recent weeks I was feeling that Jackson had lost the spark that he had in the caretaker period. That, allied to his apparent refusal to change systems at any time, made me think that we could expect much of the same if he remained in charge.

The football hasn’t been great since he was made permanent despite the awful transfer windows, I did feel the manager ought to be getting more out of an above average League One squad.

I’m really disappointed that it ended this way and that things didn’t work out for Jackson. Like nearly all CAFC fans I so wanted him to do well and be a real success.

His status as an absolute legend of our club remains of course. Johnnie bore the brunt of the worst of times under Duchatelet’s reign conducting himself in a diplomatic and professional manner at all times.

My feelings in respect of the departure of Skiverton are those of indifference. I really fail to see what he brought to the party. I’d go so far as to say that he only had a negative effect on the club as I could see no improvement or change in any aspect of our play.

Should we now be excited by the prospect of a new manager with a clean slate and fresh approach? Not when one considers who is doing the hiring and firing.

Sandgaard still bangs on about what a wonderful job Martin is doing. Amazingly for someone with no experience or exposure to league football he has revamped the recruitment process. It’s now excellent apparently!

Really? Are we expected to swallow that BS? His CV boasts managing a team of 80 people in a completely different industry yet wonderboy has taken to it like a duck to water!

In about 19 months of ownership Thomas is now seeking his fourth manager. He has dismissed Bowyer, hired and fired both Adkins and Jackson plus Skiverton. He has hired and fired Roddy too.

Mick Everett, Chris Parkes and groundsman Nathan Chapman have all departed too. This may or may not be as a result of Sandgaard but they have happened during his tenure in an indirect manner.

Not great on the recruitment front is he? In any line of business that’s pretty awful. We often wonder who is advising him but I’m starting to think that he just makes these decisions himself, thinking he knows best.

With every utterance he exposes more and more of his true self. The most recent being that he feels qualified to demand a certain style of play. Hmmm, how about leaving that to the manager who will assess the group of players he has and deploy the formation and tactics that suit them best?

We’ve had a fair old collection of gems from Sandgaard…..blowing the league out of the water, football is easy, 5 years to the Prem and beyond, Addicks to Victory, clean sheet wins and my favourite, Premier League ready! All of those look increasingly silly with each passing day.

Sandgaard has made mistakes which is acceptable if you learn from them. Sadly, he doesn’t and in reality he’s a stubborn fool who refuses to listen to advice in an area where he has little knowledge or experience. The absence of a CEO is shining example of this.

Initially, Thomas was looked upon as our saviour and to a degree he still has some credit in the bank. Many of us were happy to indulge him with the guitar, awful song that we still suffer, parading round the pitch etc.

We should have known then his apparent motives for buying the club. Let’s remember that’s all he does own as the Valley and training ground are still in the hands of the Belgian.

It just seems to be a vanity project that affords him some time in the limelight where he courts popularity and attention.

I believe he has another manager lined up as I don’t think that even he is as stupid to go into the summer without someone in place. Based on unsubstantiated rumour, I understand that allegedly that person has already had a say on recruitment.

If so, that would explain Jackson’s post match comments, his demeanour on Saturday and the overall performance of the team. I suspect he was hinting at the uncertainty of the players futures in that many already knew they wouldn’t be retained.

Opinion on Jackson’s dismissal is divided amongst the fan base and although may be a correct decision, Sandgaard has heaped pressure upon himself by so doing.

He faces a real backlash from fans if he doesn’t get it right in all areas of the club. Thomas has also heaped pressure on Martin as he will come under increasing scrutiny. As someone observed recently, would Martin be employed by any other League One club? As rhetorical questions go that’s a cracker!

I suspect the Charlton Live team were looking forward to a quiet summer break. In view of what lies ahead, the podcast might even merit becoming a daily one!

As Fergie might say……..”Charlton eh? bl**dy hell!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 22 April 2022

The Curtain Comes Down

Finally, tomorrow sees us reach the last home game of the season. A season that didn’t quite see us blow the league out of the water or emulate Hull City as we were told at the end of last season. 

We can look forward to another season of League One football playing against a number of relatively smaller clubs who have mostly achieved more than we have and can rightly consider to have made progress. 

As far as The Addicks are concerned there’s been no progress of course. Despite what we might hope are the best of intentions from Sandgaard, we’ve gone backwards.

I accept that he has to right the wrongs of years of neglect but increasingly he seems to be going about it the wrong way.

We’ve lost some valued members of staff and their replacements or new additions don’t exactly inspire. The latest is Mr De Souza. Time will tell of course but his CV doesn’t fill me with much hope!

The one thing that appears increasingly clear about Thomas is that he refuses to learn from his mistakes. I’m struggling to think of one decent appointment that he’s made.

Employing your family is always a risky thing to do as it opens you up to the obvious nepotism jibe. The jobs for the boys shout so true.

Again, I hope I’m wrong and that Martin is successful but again nothing in his employment history suggests he has the skills or experience to do so.

The club desperately needs a CEO of course but again Sandgaard stubbornly refuses to employ one at present. Maybe, in 3 years time, there’s no rush apparently.

Rumours have started that he is looking to sell the club. If that’s true then it might explain the reluctance to appoint senior folk. I do believe there are folk out there willing to invest.

The clear out of players that is so necessary started this week with the departure of Gunter, Watson and Souare. There are a few more that need shipping out yet. Let’s see what happens.

There’s a lot of time for things to change between now and the kick off for next season. Let’s see what happens. However, at present I’m not overly optimistic.

Sadly, tomorrow will be my last match as a season ticket holder for a while. I’ll still be going but attending those games as and when I can. I couldn’t justify the expense of renewing (£575 and presumably £625 for the season after next).

This is a massive decision for me given my lifelong support of the club and that I’ve had a season ticket since 1998.

All the freebies aside, this is league one football for goodness sake. Many other clubs in tier 3 and above offer the same for so much less.

Sandgaard missed an opportunity to do something radical with the season ticket offering but completely failed to do so.

This season I got a free ticket, a cheap drink and discount in the club shop. It wasn’t much but it was better than next season’s.

No thought was given to a variety of initiatives that could have been employed.

Come 5pm I’ll depart The Valley for a couple of months until August comes along. Then I guess I’ll start all over again hoping that we can finally have a decent season.

I’ve no sense of self-entitlement but I do expect to see entertaining football with an organised and well drilled team that challenges at the top of this table.

Personally, I’d be more than happy with Champ football. The Prem with its silly kick off times, grossly overpaid players and ticket prices to match, holds little appeal to me as much as I enjoyed our time previously.

Just give me an honest, hard working team that is proud to wear the shirt!

Come On You Reds!

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Morecambe At Home

Saturday’s win over Rotherham was probably as unexpected as the one in Jackson’s first game when we played Sunderland away.

Whilst acknowledging that the Millers have been and are on a dreadful run we have been pretty hopeless away this season.

The game was won by a superb strike from Dobson who has more than likely added goal of the season to his Player of the Year accolade. Let’s be honest there’s not much competition for either!

It was a welcome return to the starting eleven for Famewo. I really hope we are able to sign him up in the summer.

For me, he is more than capable and very much what we need if we are to have any success next season. Unlike most of the rest of our defenders he is injury prone.

Tomorrow in our penultimate home game we entertain relegation threatened Morecambe. Despite a mini-revival in recent weeks the outlook isn’t great for Rotherham.

Their final 3 games sees them play Portsmouth, MK and Sunderland. Getting any points from those will be a tough ask.

One to watch tomorrow is Cole Stockton who is enjoying a great season for Rotherham. He’s scored a lot of goals in a poor team and season. There have been some rather spectacular ones in amongst those too.

Whether this season for him is a one off is difficult to know but he’d be worth a punt as a proven goalscorer at this level. He has one year left on the two year contract he signed last summer.

One suspects there will be several clubs chasing his signature and so competition will be intense.

This is another game that ought to see The Addicks victorious but The Millers are fighting for League One survival and so it won’t be easy.

I shall be taking an alternative train journey as trains to Euston aren’t running for the next 4 days due to engineering works. Marvellous!

Come On You Reds!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Crunch Time For Sandgaard

A defeat on Saturday and a draw on Tuesday night has seen us drop more points in this most wretched of seasons. 

In so doing, we have brought up the ton in terms of yellow cards and added 2 more reds. Maybe there is something of a disciplinary issue that we hadn’t particularly noticed until last week! 

If you thought Gilbey’s second yellow on Saturday was crazy it was as nothing compared to Inniss’s straight red. Anywhere on the pitch it was a moment of madness but 5 yards or so in to the oppo’s half was totally idiotic. 

I hope the Dons player is ok because that could have been a career ending tackle.  

This apparent ill-discipline doesn’t reflect the persona of the manager. Jackson was not like that as a player nor is he as a manager. Is this the manifestation of the frustration of the players borne out of such an awful season? 

Now we are safe from relegation I thought we might expect to be clear on how will stay and who will go. I notice that the elusive Nile John and fellow loanee, Castillo weren’t in the squad. 

Given Saturday’s defeat and 3 games in 8 days if we were going to use them then it would have been last night. Clearly, they aren’t going to play so why are we wasting their time and ours and just send them back to their parent clubs? 

We need to use these remaining games to plan for next season and look at those players who will potentially feature. Already, we’re making a mess of things! 

Sandgaard is still in credit with the fans but doesn’t do himself any favours with overblown comments ( we’ll blow this league of the water, football is simple etc. ) in which he proves the opposite! 

In addition, the recent “consultation with the fans” seems nothing more than paying lip service as he clearly didn’t listen or just plainly ignored any feedback. He never discussed anything with Rick as he said he would. 

All that aside, the timing of the season ticket announcement clearly indicates that he had no time to amend anything and it was all cut and dried. 

Sandgaard can’t carry on the way he his, You can only bull***t the fans for so long. The latest “Premier League ready” soundbite is yet another example of the hyperbole. 

What does it even mean? Clearly it doesn’t have any relevance on the pitch as we’re a million miles away. Off the pitch, this looks like a fatuous comment too because, whilst I appreciate it’s an aim, there’s little to indicate that that’s likely to happen. 

This is especially true following the departures of 3 key members of staff alongside the lack of a suitable CEO. 

Increasingly, I feel that Charlton is a vanity project for Sandgaard ( the silly photo accompanying the season ticket letter did little to persuade me otherwise ). 

The upcoming season is make or break for Thomas. We will all watch with interest!

Friday, 1 April 2022

Lincoln At Home

Another win for The Addicks last Saturday to make it 3 in a row now and three without conceding. It was also the first away win for a while.

It was a better performance too and one that saw us create more chances and a penalty miss. Thankfully, none of them cost us the game.

Hard to believe that just 3 years ago both sides were contesting a play-off semi-final. It shows how far both teams have fallen that this was a bottom half of the table clash with relegation looking likely for Donny.

As for ourselves, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief as we will not now be featuring in League Two next season.

It’s no coincidence that this upturn has been whilst we’ve had a settled side and CBT has been excellent and carries a real attacking threat. He is exactly what we all like to see and hopefully he’ll be with us for some time yet.

Having had an improvement in results more than perhaps how we’ve played, it is important that it is maintained through to season’s end. It’s vital to get some momentum going into next season.

Jackson will be feeling more secure but he’s no fool and I’m sure acknowledges that the team needs to finish as high as it can with assured performances.

Away to Rotherham and Ipswich are the stand out games that will act as a barometer as to how things are shaping up ahead of the 22/23 campaign. An opportunity to assess how badly some of our present players want to be in S.E.7 next time out.

With safety assured the squads selected will offer some insight as to who Jackson wants to keep. Clearly, those that don’t feature will not have a future with us. 

The culling and recruitment can’t start soon enough and Sandgaard can’t hide behind a lack of time to prepare for August. If we’re not ready, then the buck stops with him especially given the involvement of his own flesh and blood too!

In the meantime, we wait to see what the season ticket prices and details will be. Judging from his most recent comments it doesn’t sound like we can expect a price cut with a freeze on last season is the best we may hope for.

I’d like to think that in terms of overall ticket prices he’ll remove the gold and silver of whatever it is levels of pricing. They should all be the same. This is unfair on away fans as much as anything.

Imagine that scenario for us should we be doing well next season and other teams determine that the Addicks should be a gold game. Our fans would have to shell out top whack just because we were doing well and viewed as better or bigger opposition.

Tomorrow we entertain a Lincoln side that are not as good as they have been in the recent past. They themselves probably need another win or two to ensure safety. However, we ought to be confident of another win.

It’d be good to do so with some decent football allied to more clinical finishing.

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 25 March 2022

Donny Away

Typical of Charlton to win in my absence last week. Whilst I may have missed what has been a rarity in recent weeks, it seems the performance was disappointing and that has been rare.

However, another win was all important as we seek to remove any lingering worries about relegation.

Speaking of the dreaded drop, tomorrow’s oppo, Donny, are deep in it and are one of 6 teams that are most likely. However, aside from Crewe who appear marooned (geddit?) it is still possible for any of the others to escape if they can put a good run together.

The relegation battle looks like going to the wire.

The upturn in our results has a lot to do with the return of Stockley and Washington. We are so much a better side with those two in it.

In addition to that, one must say that a settled side has no doubt played a part.

It is ironic though, how amidst all the chopping and changing that went before it didn’t see the poorly performing players drop out. Nor did it allow for the untried and untested players like Nile John, to get a chance.

However, Nile shouldn’t abandon all hope. No, indeed it seems that he may get a few minutes at Portman Road assuming we’re totally safe from a spell in League Two!

Whilst being an advocate of keeping a settled side, I would push for Famewo to be restored to the starting eleven. Prone to the odd mistake as he is, he is a proper centre half who is more than capable at this level.

I would love to see him make a permanent move to The Valley in the summer.

As we approach April, it must be about time that the club will be sending out details of the 22-23 season tickets. A picture of Oliver Twist on the mail shot would seem to be in order.

“ Please sir, I want some more! “ ( of your hard earned, I know you’re taking a tremendous punt on any kind of return on investment and you’ve been dealt a poor hand this season whilst paying top whack for the most expensive seat in League One as free tickets fly around more freely than confetti at a wedding and we’ve overseen two poor transfer windows, one of which kippered us before a ball was kicked but we’ve listened and we’re really going for it and after all, football’s a simple business and my son Martin watches Sky Sports and owns a laptop with a computer programme that’s second to none and junior once managed a team of 80 people in a completely different industry and I’m thinking of laying down a new track to getting the Valley rocking after another clean sheet win.

I can’t wait for the envelope to drop through my door!

The Addicks ought to win tomorrow despite our poor away form as they should play with a degree of freedom against a team under pressure.

Come On You Reds!