Friday, 30 September 2022

Apathy!

I haven’t posted anything for a little while. Mostly this is due to work and other commitments but to be honest my life isn’t that busy that I can’t spare a few minutes to write a bit of nonsense about our club.

Remember, “nothing else matters” right? Hmm, well maybe not at the moment. The word apathy popped up a few times on Charlton Live last Sunday and I guess it sums up the mood for most Addicks at present. 

I’ve yet to attend a league game at home on a Saturday this season. A combination of rails strikes and my holiday have put paid to that. I could drive as I’ve done many times in the past but with roads busier than usual I don’t fancy it.

There’s also the social aspect of the matchday experience and sans a beer or two it wouldn’t quite be the same.

Again though, rather like my not put fingers to keyboard, I’m not sure I’m too moved to make that extra effort.

It’s not a good place to be but then neither is the club.

Tomorrow’s game sees Robinson return with his Oxford team. I really don’t miss seeing him in our dugout and I haven’t forgotten his smug expression when he walked away in his last game with us. We’d just witnessed a dreadful game in the freezing cold as I recall.

Then I’m sure he’d already sorted his move to Oxford and you sensed he wasn’t fussed about what had just gone before.

The U’s aren’t matching their achievements of last season and this campaign has got off to a bad start, rather like ours.  

Last time out they lost to MK in what was by all accounts a poor game. Gobbo might come under a bit of pressure as the fans are getting a bit restless and the club has new owners. A couple of Indonesian investors who been involved for some time but have now taken a controlling 51% stake in the club.

It’s unlikely they will want to see an upturn in fortunes. Of course, it’d no surprise it that started tomorrow in S.E.7!

One player who is always a threat is Cameron Brannagan and I recall he secured me a win as I’d bet he’d score against us last time out. He left it late and it made little difference to the outcome but not my bank balance. Cameron is always worth a punt given he’s usually on free kick duty and is pretty good.

This presents a good opportunity to break that winless run in the league that stretches back to the 5-1 win over Plymouth that seems a lifetime ago now! It was also the only time that Stockley has scored this season albeit that it was from the spot of course!

Should we put on a poor display and draw or even worse, lose, then the atmosphere really will be bad aside from the impending basement battle to become more of a reality.

To get a win then we need to seriously up our defending from last week. In fact, improve on the last few weeks. I assume when Garner is so gushing about how well we’ve trained we haven’t actually done any focusing on defending!!!

The lack of a settled back 5 really doesn’t help and it’s changing every week. I can’t recall if we’ve actually had two successive games with the same defensive unit.

I’m not sure if the banjo man will be present but it would probably be wise for him to stay away at the moment. He doesn’t follow common logic or listen to anyone so he’ll probably put himself on show if he’s in the UK.

Given his recent low profile on social media and actions, I wonder if he’s also getting a feeling of apathy too? We’ll see!

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 16 September 2022

Desperate Times

Tomorrow is last opportunity for the Addicks to salvage something from an awful week. We’ve had a lot of those in recent times and this one is right up there. 

Everywhere you look the club stinks. Things show no sign of improving and our only hope is that Sandgaard is looking to sell and that someone out there has the dosh, willingness to buy and comes with good intentions. 

As I’ve said before the writing’s been on the wall for some time in respect of attention seeking owner. When he brought his son to the club, got his missus deeply involved (although she seems to be sans portfolio) and started to dictate the style of play he became pretty much the same as Duchatelet. 

Picking the team, ordering a playing style…….what’s the difference? Should Garner want to change from his preferred system, I wonder if he’d be able or feel confident enough to? 

I won’t go into the stupid comments from Rifkind. They don’t warrant wasting one’s time over. They were just another layer of s**t in an already dispiriting few days. 

One hopes that the banjo man will depart soon. If he doesn’t then we are seriously in trouble. Maybe even worse than how we were under Roland. That speaks volumes! 

I struggle to see us winning any game at present having failed to overcome a poor side in FGR and one that could so easily have beaten us! 

On the pitch there’s an enforced change to the back four. As if it hasn’t been messed around enough already and as pointed out on Charlton Live yesterday, poor Wollacott can’t be helped by it changing from game to game. 

I had tried to excuse Inniss his reckless challenge on the basis that his first yellow wasn’t merited. However, on reflection he proved how vulnerable he is to doing that and it was plain daft. After that tackle last season I didn’t want him at the club. He is a liability. 

Fleetwood may be only a point and I believe, one place above us ( I can’t be bothered to check!) but they will prove tough opposition tomorrow. They’ve drawn many games but in amongst that they’ve been against good sides and with a couple of decent wins. 

At least a seaside town will provide some light relief for those fans brave and loyal enough to make the trip. Good luck to them. 

Fraser should return tomorrow along with Lavelle. As for the rest of the team then, who apart from Dobson, really deserves to start? You could argue cases for many to either be dropped or to come in as there’s nothing much better. 

Unless things change I really see us having to fight relegation this season. Even then, should Thomas decide to invest in January (assuming he’s still here) then he’ll struggle to do good business in the notoriously difficult transfer window. 

Fingers crossed that we can get something tomorrow (yes, it’s that desperate to say that when we’re playing Fleetwood) and best wishes to the travelling support. 

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

The Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost!

Following the poor display against Bolton, Garner certainly rang the changes in making 6 alterations to the starting line up with full debuts for Leaburn and Chin.

Initially, it looked like it had the desired effect with the Addicks starting on the front foot and taking an early lead. Foolishly, some of us started to wonder if we might see another hatful of goals on a Tuesday night.

That notion became more fanciful as the half wore on and we squandered a number of opportunities. A lack of composure and poor decision making in the final third are the main reasons.

After his excellent goal, CBT seemed to lose his way where his decision to shoot proved the wrong one as time and again as his shots increasingly threatened the corner flag rather than Rovers’ goal!

JRS flattered to deceive and he reminded somewhat of Callum Harriott determined to beat at least 5 or 6 players before trying to shot if he wasn’t already dispossessed!

As we know, when you’re on top you must score and our failure that add at least a second in the first half proved costly. Wollacott unnecessarily came for a cross and chose the wrong option. He needed to punch the ball, went for the catch and Connor Wickham said thanks very much. A player of his ability and experience isn’t going to turn that down. 

Not everyone had a wasted evening though as the lad who did the crossbar challenge pocketed £11.5k. Well done to him. He was coolness personified and had clearly prepped properly for it. He was possessed of an accuracy sadly lacking in most of our team!

Since putting 5 past Plymouth we have failed to score more than one goal in drawing 3 games and losing one. In those games, we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet. In fact, we’ve only kept a clean sheet against Derby and we were lucky to do so then!

The last few games have seen the chickens coming home to roost. The writing’s been on the wall for some time. Ridding ourselves of 3 strikers and not recruiting at least one decent one in return was always going to bite us on the backside.

It is a shocking way to the run the club and is an awful way to treat the manager and fans.

Sandgaard had the luxury of witnessing a few games in the knowledge the Aneke was injured again! Yet, still he chose not to invest in a striker. The man’s a fool and is so na├»ve in respect of running a football club.

One only has to look at the stupid statements he’s made since he joined us to see that. On and off the pitch the man is a disaster.

Tickets are overpriced and the crowds are dwindling not least because of the expense but the football and perhaps, more importantly, results are awful.

I think even he will acknowledge that privately. He’s gone very quiet on social media.

I fear that we’re heading into a relegation fight. Our failure to beat poor and mediocre teams won’t do and we’re only heading one way. A point from these matches is simply not good enough.

I really feel for Garner as he’s left to try and get something out of a squad that is now reliant on young, inexperienced academy players. A few more suspensions and injuries and then some of us can expect a call!

As Peter Finch tweeted last night, “The owner promised a dream, and is delivering a nightmare”!

Too true!

Monday, 5 September 2022

Night Follows Day

I guess the only surprise greater than our loss on Saturday was that we took an early lead. A lead so early, that few of us can recall the last time we went ahead so quickly.

It was a false dawn and Bolton were back on level terms within a few minutes. Just before half time and the Trotters had established lead that they went on to extend in the second period.

It was perhaps an entirely predictable result given the manner of the closing of the transfer window on Thursday. Certainly Garner will have been deflated by events and it must be hard to hide that from the team who themselves one would think, will have been as disappointed as the fans.

Post match and Garner was refreshingly honest in his assessment of the game and the Addicks prospects for the season.

One has to feel for Garner, the latest Charlton manager not to be supported by Sandgaard. He must feel acutely let down and in luring him to the Valley, the owner must have given him certain assurances regarding the squad that he sought to assemble.

Early on it did seem as though the gaffer was getting that but on reflection, especially when considering no fee was paid for any new recruit, it wasn't unequivocal. 

I can't believe that Garner wouldn't have wanted to add another striker for some time. Surely, it would have been one that was more suited to his system than the unfortunate Stockley.

The skipper's run of failing to score from open play continues and whilst being captain and with no other realistic alternative, his place team in the team looks secure. Under any other circumstances he would probably be dropped but that remains unlikely. How long that goes on for is anyone's guess but I can't see things changing anytime soon.

As we've seen off the pitch, no one's job is secure at the Valley and Garner's comments won't have helped his own position. Add to that Steve Gallen, who I'd not be surprised to see carry the can for the lacklustre end to the window.

One wonders what has happened to our recruitment process that so recently gave us some absolute gems and has us all wondering how Gallen repeatedly managed to pull rabbits from the hat. 

Perhaps it's simply that previously he was very much entrusted to get on with the job with minimal interference. Gallen was unencumbered by someone who had little to no experience of football although had overseen a team of 80 people and was superb at analysing data albeit in a totally different sector.

Who knows if Garner and Gallen will see out the season. Sadly, it's not hard to imagine them both gone before season's end. They would be two more names to add to Sandgaard's list of casualties.

Such is the owner's drive to reduce costs via the shedding of players whilst trimming the squad that Garner has somehow to motivate players like JFC, DJ and Macca as all three seemingly were set to go even if just on loan. DJ's was a very last minute collapse we believe.

What of our owner now? The man who loves the limelight and the adulation has gone very quiet. He's almost invisible on Twitter to the point where we no longer even see the " Boom " every time we score. 

The last few months have seen an increase in prices in many areas of the club as part of the closing the gap measures between profit and loss. A number of fans were happy to tolerate that, presumably in the hope that money would be invested in the team. That clearly hasn't been the case.

This, allied to the usual crass comments about learning from the mistakes of previous transfer windows and the off field removal of loyal and long standing staff, have further destroyed the remaining loyalty and credibility that Sandgaard had.

It has become clear to even the most ardent of Sandgaard loyalists that his words won't be backed up by actions. It really would seem that he is preparing to sell. To be honest, I wouldn't be disappointed if he  did. He'd be the latest in a long line of football club owners who've misjudged how expensive and difficult it is to run one.

In the meantime, Garner has a week to try and rejuvenate the troops ahead of Saturday's game at home to an Exeter City team that has made a pretty good start to the season and sit in 7th place. 

At least until January, the Addicks will pray for fewer injuries and that somehow, Aneke can at least get a few minutes on the pitch whilst the youngsters can produce some magic. I don't envy him the task and he needs all the support that we can give him because apparently, he won't get it from above!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Friday, 2 September 2022

No Doubting Thomas!

There you have it! To no one’s great surprise, we didn’t sign anyone before the transfer window closed.

We shipped 3 players out on loan but no one came in. An apparent last minute attempt to get Bonne in on loan failed, mainly we understand, because having left it so late we ended up being played.

You can forget any thoughts of us getting into the play-offs now. We will do well to achieve a mid-table finish.

There will be those who will say we’re in 8th place having played some of the better teams. True but we’re only 6 games into the season and injuries having already taken effect for some players are only just beginning to bite.

Crucially, that includes one of the few strikers we have. Even Prince Andrew has made more public appearances than Chuks recently.

Given that it was months ago that we lost 3 forwards and no attempt was made to recruit even one replacement, it was increasingly obvious that Sandgaard wasn’t bothered.

Don’t be fooled by the eleventh hour token gesture to get Bonne. I suspect that Sandgaard was relieved when QPR made it difficult. You can’t blame them and no doubt our very own “Springsteen” would have done the same.

We have one solitary, experienced striker and he has only one goal to his name and that was from a penalty. Had he not been made captain and the last man standing then he would have been dropped by now. He’d also be playing better too no doubt, motivated by the pressure of someone potentially taking his place.

The desperation was clear when we played Wednesday away and even though he felt unwell, he was required to play for an hour.

These latest shenanigans are the very latest in a series of developments both on and off the pitch that progressively reveal more about our owner.

With every day he looks like a poor man’s Del Boy. Everything is being done on the cheap as the reality of running a football club, not least in financial terms, becomes apparent. 

I doubt Thomas will parade himself in front of the fans at Bolton tomorrow. Even he isn’t so silly as to not anticipate the reception he would get.

All the bluster that Sandgaard has treated us to since he arrived is now exposed as just that. The soundbites and promises, and there are many, are merely words.

Premier league ready, blow the league out of the water, close to appointing a Champs League winning manager, Premier League and Europe in 5 years, football is easy……..etc. etc.

Managers, players and loyal, long standing staff, have gone as have a few short term ones. Those are mostly the failed appointments of our illustrious owner.

The replacements are cheap or related or even both in some cases. Advice is ignored as common sense gives way to a massive ego that believes it knows best.

Not to be outdone by Papa, Junior has further shown his unsuitably for his job by the latest recruitment failure and his naivety in declaring a done deal when it patently wasn’t!

As I said in my last piece, it’s probably best if Sandgaard packs his bags and leaves. It would seem he’s making plans to do so. Hopefully, we may finally get a decent owner that our club so needs and deserves.

In the meantime, all the best to those Addicks travelling up to Bolton tomorrow. Let’s hope you are rewarded with a win. We all need cheering up!

Come On You Reds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A Window On The (Charlton) World

The transfer window will close on Thursday and we will all then know exactly how sincere Sandgaard is about his intentions for our club.

Truth be told, we don't really need to wait until then as his reluctance to part with any money in respect of a transfer fee and the failure to sign a striker after 3 left last season. tells us all we need to know.

However, we must give him the benefit of what little doubt remains. Maybe he had a road to Damascus moment on Saturday when he paraded himself in front of the away support on Saturday when it told him to sign a striker.

Hearts must have sank as our owner made his way round the pitch at Adams Park. Thankfully, the one saving grace was that he didn't have his guitar with him.

Garner speaks with refreshing honesty and he doesn't sugar coat things in his interviews. Therefore, we can expect that if we do get any new faces it'll only happen if existing players are shipped out. According to the gaffer, that could be anyone. 

One appreciates that a sizeable offer could tempt the club into selling any player but you suspect that Sandgaard would be open to selling any one of ours for a modest fee no matter how integral they are to any potential success this season.

I do fear that come Friday morning we'll be looking at another season of mediocrity with Thomas spouting increasing costs, heavy losses and the need to stabilise expenditure and to break even.

Maybe some money is being set aside to pay compensation or non disclosure costs to former members of staff!

I'm still not sure if Sandgaard has a plan or strategy of any kind. He's increased tickets prices and other matchday costs to fans whilst reducing his investment in the club. We all appreciate the need to be prudent but a series flawed appointments have hardly helped matters.

If he fails to get some decent business done at the eleventh hour then he really is trusting to luck. We simply can't continue with Stockley as the only experienced and reliable striker. No one can see Aneke making more than a handful of cameo appearances. 

Stockley has missed a hatful of chances to date with his only goal coming from the spot. His position is fairly safe though, given that he is skipper and the only option we have up front. He is under no pressure playing wise other than his own professional pride.

The promise of goals coming from all areas of the team isn't bearing fruit so far. In our 6 league games to date we have scored one goal 3 times and failed to score in another. Accrington and notably, Plymouth are the exceptions. 

It's clear to see what needs addressing although even those of us without Sandgaard Junior's algorithm and footballing insight appreciated that back in early May!

This may be latest in a series of wasted seasons and perhaps it might be for the best if Thomas were to sell up and ship out. I'm not sure how emotionally he is invested in the club anymore. We've seen a decline in the amount of tweets he sends with his missus more active on social media these days. 

Not even the odd "BOOM" this season. For a man who loves the limelight and to "engage with the fans" there's been little to be seen of the guitar man.

Should matter turn sour then Sandgaard's appetite for the Addicks will be severely tested as the natives will let him know in no uncertain terms if they've grown tired of eccentric owner act.

We live in the hope that this transfer window and thus, the season itself, can be saved in the next few days. The signs aren't good but for me. they very rarely have been in over 60 years of supporting the club!




Friday, 26 August 2022

Last Minute Dot Com

Tomorrow sees the Addicks face a tough test away to Wycombe where manager, Gareth Ainsworth, has massively over achieved in the last few seasons. 

Success on the pitch has led to success off it where the car park now regularly sells out! A cheap shot but last season's infamous reference to that by the Bucks club was a bit odd.

Ainsworth's teams may not be pretty on the eye and the term gamesmanship can justifiably be levelled at them but the end results cannot be ignored. They remain many people's favourites to return to the Championship.

Like last Saturday's opponents, Cambridge, they will be well organised and will press us throughout. Their physical approach means that we won't get a moment's rest.

The 1-1 draw with the U's clearly showed a need to have another plan in place when teams approach the game the way did. The were well organised right down to having us attack the Covered End in the first half. 

We need to be solid at the back and I really hope that Lavelle comes in for Inniss who worries me and not just in respect of a dodgy pass in our own third. He was lucky to stay on the pitch last week as a wandering arm caught a Cambridge player in the face.

After his scintillating display against Plymouth, Rak-Sakyi looked a bit jaded last weekend. Hopefully, he will be fully recovered for tomorrow. We need his attacking intent.

Garner may decide to stick with Morgan and I guess overall he's earned some loyalty but he didn't have a great game last week and his set  pieces were mostly awful and a waste. A similar display tomorrow and Payne really ought to replace him at half time.

I'm still struggling to understand the approach to this transfer window. Most notable has been the apparent lack of effort to sign a striker. A clear need given 3 left last season and to no one's surprise Chuks is injured again and then again!

Despite having not spent any money on transfer fees it seems we need to off load some players before we can consider getting another player in. When one considers the money for Burstow and Pope, this doesn't bode well.

Gilbey, JFC, DJ and Mac may all need to go. The case with Mac is bizarre and the decision to let AMB go out on loan looks naive especially, if Wollacott misses games for the world cup.

Sandgaard made promises at season's end about having a good transfer window and being better prepared. We have recruited reasonably well but here we are looking desperate to recruit and to off load.

All this against a back drop of cost cutting and increased prices in many areas. At a time of the worst financial situation we've faced for many a year Sandgaard has inflated costs.

It's not just tickets prices which were already too high. The cost to fans of catering is obscene too. £6.10 for pint of Heineken! Really? This is the East Stand terrace, not a night club or high end West End bar!

It all leads me to wonder if Sandgaard has any kind of plan or strategy in respect of almost any area of the club. Phrases like "Premier League ready" get bandied about but there's little evidence of it day to day. In any case, what does that actually mean? 

The only relevance of "Premier League ready" will be on the pitch having got promoted out of the Championship!

Sandgaard must have known he was going to lose money when buying Charlton. Since then he's shown himself to be pretty ignorant as to how much much it would cost him and that he oughtn't to expect to simply break even never mind make a profit!

If he fails to invest properly in the team or doesn't strike it lucky in the next few days, the team's early season promise will evaporate. Then he really will have a problem because a low to mid table Charlton team won't be attracting the level of support he needs.

It's especially true with the current ticket prices and arrangements. The catering most can take or leave but the cost of access to games is key.

The other influencing factor will of course be that for midweek games fans can simply pay their £10 and watch from home. The could be a family or 3 to 4 fans together. A massive hit on matchday revenue.

There you have it. Sandgaard has some big decisions to make and he needs to listens to fans and others with relevant experience. History has shown he tends not to do that. 

He has under a week to effectively save this season. At a minimum, I hope he gives Garner the support he needs. I doubt he will but I can hope.

Come On You Reds!