Sunday 26 January 2014


He's better than John

We don't normally managed two F.A. Cup wins in two seasons, yesterday saw us complete two in the space of four days. Not only that we've seen two youngsters make their debuts this week, Poyet and Lennon, let's hope they are given regular opportunities. Further than that let's hope more of them will get their chance.

Even if things still aren't going great off the pitch ( the meet the board video, I've still not seen it as I won't pay for info about the club), it's refreshing to be able to comment positively about matters on it.

Everyone seems to have dug deep yesterday especially Alnwick who had another good game. Ben A is doing so well as he commands the area, is positive, communicates well and holds on to most things. He needs to improve hid distribution when kicking but I'll not worry too much about that.

Another making his debut was Ajdarevic who seems to have acquitted himself reasonably well. Cousins returned in the second half to shore things up.

All in all a real team effort and we appear to be on a cup run. Well I never !  

As I write the 5th round draw is minutes away and I'm hoping for Everton away and a chance to reacquaint myself with Doctor Duncans. Always a good day out to Goodison.

After that all eyes turn towards Tuesday night's crucial game at Donny. It remains to be seen if Yann will play or is indeed on his way to pastures new. If Evina isn't fit then Lennon or Fox should come into the side. 

I hope we hear news of new strikers coming in next week following the disappointing departure of Smith. I did see someone compare him to BWP in saying that he was probably ok at league one / two level but not quite good enough for the championship. Since he never set foot on the pitch for us in a league game we won't know, well, not until he gets the chance with another club......shame.  

Anyway let's look forward to, hopefully a decent cup draw, and then a good performance and result on Tuesday. 

Come On You Reds !

Friday 24 January 2014

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry and Jeff learn that Charlton have drawn Huddersfield again.

The fates have decreed that if it's a cup competition then it must be Huddersfield. I'm sure the Terriers are as bored as we are of these seemingly endless cup meetings. Since we ended their unbeaten run just over two years ago they seem to come back to bite us on the bum time and again.

Given our Tuesday game against Donny it hardly seems worth the lads coming home although I guess they will however wonderful Yorkshire may apparently be. 

Sir Chris has to balance his expressed desire to give it a go in the cup against the needs to keep his main players fresh for Tuesday's critical game as referred to above. At least Donny are playing on Saturday and so won't be fresher than us. However, it's something of a double edged sword as anything other than a defeat for Rovers will see us drop into the bottom three. Given that their opponents are Blackpool then it doesn't exactly fill one with any great hope.

If it were me I'd play a mix of young and old fringe players, there's plenty of choice. However, I'm not the manager and I don't for one moment anticipate Chris doing anything like that. 

I guess he'll take the opportunity to rest a couple of players but not much aside from that. He may yet surprise us, such is his way. As ever we'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, as we await kick off we can spend Friday waiting to see if the long awaited interview ever materialises. Unlike the pitch, there haven't been any leaks, this is one thing that is watertight it seems. 

If that doesn't appear tomorrow we can always scan the internet for news of transfers involving that non-Liege striker and winger that we need.

If that doesn't appear then we can always scan the internet for news of how our major players have all been offered new contracts. 

Failing all of that we can just plan on how we might spend the intervening 6 weeks until we play Huddersfield again. Mind you we might not have to wait that long if a draw ensues and we have to play again for a fourth time this season before that fifth and final game in the league.

I don't know sometimes you can have just too much of a good thing !

Good luck to everyone travelling up to Huddersfield on Saturday. Have a great day. 

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Wham ! Bam ! Thank You Kassam !

" We've got more stands than you ! "

Charlton duly completed what in the end was a fairly routine win over a disappointing Oxford side. The game was played out in front of a very small crowd ( although there was a reasonably healthy turn out of @ 450 Addicks ) which was reflective of both the diminishing appeal of the cup and the U's ridiculous pricing policy. Saturday's prices at Huddersfield are more realistic.

Charlton took to the field last night in driving rain and bizarrely, red shorts ! What was that all about ? I couldn't see any reason why we weren't wearing our normal red and white kit.

The first 25 to 30 minutes was shocking with poor passing and control allied to no cutting edge. Having missed the terrible performance in the home tie ( not out of choice by the way ) I was questioning why I was so keen to see this one at nearly twice the price !

It all seemed to change when Sir Chris inverted the wingers which he seems to love doing. I don't hold with it myself and believe that wingers should play in their natural positions. Anyway, it worked last night.

To be fair to Church ( I'm not his biggest fan ) he played his part in two of the goals. Equally Jackson kept going all night and worked really hard and was full of running. Evina was very rusty which is a polite way of saying not great. Keep your fingers crossed that he plays an awful lot better in the forthcoming games in Wiggins' absence.    

Kermogant had a good game which was nicely rounded off by a typically delicious and accurate free kick. 

Oxford posed little threat throughout and it was a shame that Chris didn't choose to give a debut to Poyet earlier than he did. Bringing on Pritchard was baffling, coming on as he did on the left side of midfield, even more so. That was the time that young Poyet should have come on.

Lennon should have come on too as there was no risk at all in doing so. What was to lose ? Cousins made his debut in the league cup remember and we've not looked back since. The youngsters need to be encouraged.

At the end it was rather sad that Skip had to call most of the team over to clap the fans. 

On to the fourth round then for yet another cup tie against Huddersfield. For me, this is a game where we should rest key players ahead of Tuesday's game which is of overriding significance. We really do need to firing on all cylinders against Donny. Dropping into the bottom three would be a serious psychological blow. 

Whatever the result on Saturday, Tuesday's is the one that should concern us most.

In the meantime we can look forward to tomorrow's interview with Roland, Katrien and Richard. Of course those of us who don't believe that we should have to pay for information about the club via CAFC Player will have to hope that it is put on Youtube or that someone has posted a transcript somewhere. 

It'll be interesting to hear what's said, I hope there's some positive news but I'm not convinced that we'll like a lot of what we hear. Let's wait and see.  

Monday 20 January 2014

Emergency Keeper Signed On Loan

Rob Elliott may have put on a few pounds but goes straight into the cup team.

Tomorrow sees a break from league action as the Addicks attempt to reach the fourth round of the world's most prestigious cup competition where the romance of it has dictated that Huddersfield Town await. Not only that but a win will ensure another away trip on Saturday........I bet the lads can't wait !

As alluded to above the keeper situation is an interesting one given the events of the weekend. Thuram is not eligible as understand it and Ben Hamer is unlikely to be fit. That leaves Alnwick as our only experienced keeper and one has to hope that he is ok to play. I'm taking my gloves just in case. 

It's always difficult, nigh on impossible to guess Sir Chris's starting eleven at the best of times, for this cup tie I'd say one hasn't a hope in hell ! He won't want to risk certain players but injuries and suspensions mean his options are quite limited. 

I don't think Solly will have any involvement even if he is fit. He surely wouldn't be risked. Wiggins is suspended. Cort is injured. The Liege contingent are not eligible. Smith is cup tied. Good innit ?

However, upto a point it makes sense to field a reasonably strong team. The following Tuesday we face Doncaster Rovers in a six-pointer. It would seem sensible to play pretty much the side that you'd want to see play in that one. It's not as though the lads have had a lot games lately anyway. In fact, it'd make more sense to rest players in Saturday's cup tie should we be successful. 

If we did go through then on Saturday Chris could play the likes of Gower, Hughes, Hollands and some youngsters if he so wished.

I'm making the relatively short trip to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow. Despite all the current gloom and lack of communication and non-Standard Liege transfer activity I'm quite looking forward to it. A new ground for me and I've not seen the lads play much of late given the recent  postponements.

Come On You Reds !


Sunday 19 January 2014

Not Looking Good

The future, like one of our former managers, just doesn't look good.

Another 1-0 defeat yesterday and I fear for Chris's future especially as rumours circulate suggesting that even before kick off it may be his last game. I sincerely hope not as I believe Chris can, and will improve, as he gains experience and learns. Sadly, time is not on his side and the new owner has done little to reassure us as to his or indeed the players future.

Yesterday, the absence of Solly and the two Bens was at best unsettling and Thuram's failure to deal with Ledesma's long range effort did little help matters. It should be pointed out that it seems the keeper did go on to make some good saves.

Chris chose to go 4-5-1 and one wonders whether this was largely driven by a desire to accommodate Skip as so often seems to be the case. Later in the game, perhaps too late, the switch to 4-4-2 appears to have led to us carrying more threat. 

Sadly, we were unable to score and the disallowed goal seemed harsh although typical in these days of over-protected keepers. Equally harsh was Wiggins sending off although he may have been slightly studs up, there didn't appear to be any malice judging from the TV footage.

Talking of which, can we ban Clem what'shisface from attending our games. He was at the Valley last week, the Riverside this and each time it's bad news !

Chris doesn't help himself sometimes and with our few strikers in the main lacking confidence I fail to understand why Smith didn't even make the bench. Surely with few striking options he's got to be worth a go. Our decision not to have him cup-tied seems increasingly short-sighted as he won't even get a run out on Tuesday. 

If Chris is still at the helm this time next week then I'm guessing he'll be there until the end of the season. I fear he may well not be though.

The next two weeks will give us a clearer indication of how Roland is approaching his ownership of our fine club. To date all the indications are not statement telling us what we already know about our history and loan players from his main club. 

I'm sure he's his own man and will want to do things his way as is his right but it's a plain as the nose on your face as to what needs sorting. He has the power, he has authority, he has the resources to make it happen. The one thing he doesn't have is time and he needs to act fast or he'll just oversee taking us back to League One and it won't even come down to that last game away to Blackpool either.

This next fortnight is so crucial to the future of our club. I pray that things will look better by then but I have little cause for optimism which is a great shame as pretty much all of our current problems were avoidable.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Let's Be Careful Out There.....

Charlton fans on their way to the Riverside Stadium having swapped swimsuits for these protective ones.

Our boys can look forward to a rare outing in the league on Saturday as they play the first of a possible 5 consecutive away games. The only ones breathing a collective sigh of relief are the Valley groundstaff.

Of course we travel in hope because as we know " Middlesbrough really should be beating teams like Charlton ". Whisper it quietly though because those Boro fans are very protective of the great Tony Mowbray and went out of their way to tell me so back in August.

Apparently the great Tony had worked miracles, in fact so great were his achievements that they sacked him back in October as reward and in recognition of what a great job he was doing.

Boro have new man at the helm now, Mr Karanka. Under the Spaniard they've been on a good run of late having won 4 out of the last 5 league games and haven't not lost in the league since 14th December only dropping points in a draw at Bolton.

Already boasting a decent squad they have today added Nathaniel Chalobah on loan from Chelsea. Having previously enjoyed successful loan spells at Watford and Forest, he is a quality player who will strengthen Boro.

As for ourselves our activity in the transfer window has also involved loans. Sadly, Cameron Stewart has moved onto Leeds and is a big loss further weakening the little we have in creativity. Coming in we have a midfielder / winger and a goalkeeper that we totally no need of.

As far as I'm aware Sordell remains on the injury list although even when fit we see about as much of him as we do Saturday football at The Valley !

It's beginning to look at though anything we do, if at all in January, will be last minute and even then it may not be who or even what we really want. We all know where we need to strengthen but with our options, like time itself, reducing every day it seems an increasingly desperate scenario. I really hope I'm wrong of course but it's not hard to envisage the transformation that sees us go from having the worst pitch in the Championship to the best pitch in League One !

We've just over two weeks of this transfer window to go and as worrying as the lack of transfers and loans is the lack of signatures on new contracts. All the right noises are seemingly being made by the new onwer and Sir Chris appears to be following the script, however, as always actions speak louder and the sooner, the better !

One assumes that Roland knew what he was buying and what needed doing some while before the purchase was officially announced. Even a novice football club owner can see what's required let alone one that has 4 or 5 clubs on the go. Therefore, I'm at a loss to understand the delay or even a further statement to say this will be addressed by a certain time whilst acknowledging how important this issue is. That would reassure both players and fans alike.

I really hope that Smith gets a chance in these upcoming games. He's full confidence and deserves a chance.

I think we'll do well to get anything from Saturday's game and realistically can't see it and not just because of the smog. I hope I'm wrong and that a certain Spaniard will be following other great Boro managers in saying that " we really ought to be beating teams like Charlton ".

Come On You Reds !


Saturday 11 January 2014

Many Miles Have I Travelled....

f**k all games have I seen !

The late Brian Rix ( one for the teenagers eh ! ) would have had to go some way to top this one.
All week and especially in the last couple of days we've had " assurances " that this game was on. Clearly it was never going to be or at least was in considerable doubt and I, and many others, have every right in being mightily pi**ed off with our club.

As every detail surrounding this episode of shame start to unravel it looks increasingly pathetic. Even the aftermath is being poorly managed. The only real information seems to be emanating from Barnsley F.C., a club and whose fans deserve our every sympathy. 

It's now 4.55pm and I've just checked the club's website and it's all very matter of fact on how the referee decided to call it off. Not even the merest hint of an apology for our fans let alone the majority of Tykes' fans who will have travelled a considerable distance and at some expense.

Many of our own fans will have travelled some way and at great expense. For myself I have wasted at least £40 on petrol, I could add the additional £10 spent on breakfast for myself and my lad at the excellent York Cafe. It was good as it always is but 75 miles is a long way to travel for it. This is not to mention a wasted day.

Further ridicule and embarrassment is assured as delicious irony has dictated that Clem and Co from the Football League Show were on hand to witness events. Should make great viewing later on, please excuse me if I don't stay up for that !

I did write a couple of weeks ago that I and many others will, like watching the team itself, be travelling more in hope than expectation in respect of actually seeing a game.

Certainly one can blame the previous regime for the lack of expenditure that has led to us having such a poor pitch. However, it can't be blamed for the appalling manner in which this game was approached.

A few questions..................

Why did no one at the club as a matter of course get a local ref to inspect the pitch yesterday ?
Why was the offer of today's ref to come and inspect yesterday and / or this morning not accepted by the club ?
Why wasn't it seemingly clear to anyone that there might be some doubt as to whether the game would go ahead ?
Why wasn't news of the pitch inspection released earlier ? I'm led to believe Danny Wilson was informed at 11.35am ?
Why was it that twitter was the first source of information with details not going on the club website until much later ? 
Why did the club via the official site all but guarantee that the game would go ahead save for further rain ?
Why is all the information coming from Barnsley F.C. ?
Why is the club not being upfront about its shortcomings and is attempting to lay all the blame on the referee ? This is far from a repeat of the Andy D'Urso scenario.
Will the club be reimbursing the expenses of the fans from both teams or offering some kind of compensation ( I'm not holding my breath ) ?

If this were any other industry or walk of life we'd expect or perhaps even be entitled to a full apology and financial recompense. We can all be pretty sure that won't be happening unless Roland is more of a philanthropist than some would have us believe.

This game will now move to midweek. Personally that makes it difficult for me to attend. It means further financial loss to me if I do go and at the same time I'll be letting down some kids at my school as I run two after school clubs on Tuesdays.

Every season I increasingly question the value of buying a season ticket. Days like today make one question one's financial sanity !

As you may have gathered I'm not totally HP at the moment. However you look at it this is a shameful day for our club and I can find nothing to defend it from the flack that will undoubtedly come its way.

No doubt the F.A. and the League will be investigating matters as 3 games on the trot have now been called off aside from the Doncaster one. Let's hope it's Hercule doing the investigating and that he's sympathetic to his fellow countryman.

Just to underline what a bad day it is the announcer on Sky has, instead of saying that Charlton v Barnsley was postponed, just said " Charlton nil ".............perhaps it's a default setting but in every way " Charlton Nil " sums it all up !

Thursday 9 January 2014


Milton Keynes resident and Barnsley fan - Darren Gough

There seems to have been more to talk about over the last few days when we haven't played than when we's a funny old game !

Finally it seems our boys may get to play a home game in 2014 for the third time of asking. Ironically with our new regime the only thing to be under cover has been the pitch.......and a good thing too ! Crafty folk these Belgians, it must be " ze little grey cells " but they seem to have been able to secure a cover for the pitch. So much for the waffle, the only hot air has been put to good effect to help dry out our quagmire of a pitch....giggity, giggity, giggity.

Our opponents on Saturday are Barnsley and one famous Tyke is Darren Gough, who like me, resides in Milton Keynes. Darren if you want a lift down on Saturday let me know. I'm sure Darren would be good company and have plenty to say on England's wretched performance down under.

Given our respective positions this is the classic 6 pointer. Chris O'Grady poses a real threat and I bet Sheffield Wednesday wish he was still their player.

As far as we're concerned our striking and goalscoring options are even more limited than the last time we kicked a ball in anger. Sordell is out for a few weeks not that he played much before the injury of course. Cameron Stewart has moved on to Leeds on loan with the view to a permanent deal that will almost certainly complete one would have thought.

Stewart is a quality player who will no doubt be a big success for Leeds and a big miss for us. I don't hold with the inverted winger idea and would have preferred to see him play on the right all the time. I'd like to see Harriott come back into the side but if he does and on the left as a natural left winger, then it'll confuse the hell out of me !

Obika has gone to Brighton so that particular door has slammed shut. One would hope that Smith might get a chance soon although it won't be in the cup sadly given his outing for the Dons earlier in the competition.

Rumours abound of offers for a few of our most significant players and I hope we are able to resist although the current lack of contracts gives little confidence in that scenario. I know the January window doesn't close for a while yet but if there isn't some transfer activity of an inward direction soon then I fear the worst. That statement needs qualifying in that if we're buying or loaning players then they need to be of decent championship quality. I'm not impressed with the Liege personnel who've come in although I'm happy to have those fears allayed. However, I fail to see the need for a third keeper unless one of the current incumbents is off somewhere.

It's probably too early to judge Roland although I'm getting twitchy and would like to see or hear something positive from him to give me cause for optimism. I guess that by 1st February we'll have clear idea on whether we're heading for survival or a return to League 1 and if it'll be under Sir Chris.  

Another big effort is needed on Saturday as is a positive approach, we really need those 3 points. Never mind hitting Dazzler's boys for six again, a one nil win will do for me.

Come On You Reds !

Friday 3 January 2014

Off And On ?

It would seem that Roland has, appropriately for a Phlegmish speaker, now coughed up.

Happy new year to everyone !

It would appear and come as no surprise to even the poorest poor man's Mystic Meg that tomorrow's cup game against Oxford will be called off. Perhaps that's a blessing in disguise if it allows for the pitch to be in proper nick for the upcoming league game against Barnsley.

It looked very poor for the Wednesday game and the subsequent rain with more to come today won't have helped at all. Unless things change by way of investment in pitch protection and / or improvement the trepidation that accompanies most of my trips to the Valley will intensify. 

I am in two minds about going to the game knowing that we haven't performed in the cup for years and will no doubt field a weaker side. However, that is balanced against a sighting of those on the fringes whilst I recall the excellent performance by the " B team " in the league cup earlier this season. An early decision will help.

Whilst the match may be off, everything would suggest that the takeover is very much on, if not complete. Views on our new owner vary, however, the proof of the pudding etc. At age 67 one would assume that Roland is not in it for the long haul. It can only be hoped that he leaves us in a better state than he find us. If he is to do so then he'll need to dip into his pockets because without investment in the team and the aforementioned pitch that is unlikely to happen.

Stability is a priority along with the need to secure Championship status. The first things on the agenda for Roland are renewed contracts for Sir Chris and the most significant players. A need to get fresh players in, on loan will suffice for now. Chris Powell has a good record with loanees, his use of Sordell aside. Finally and by no means least, pitch improvement.

We may have seen the last of Sordell and Stewart. If so, that is a shame. For me both players were not utilised to best effect. Stewart is a player with lots of ability and promise. In addition, he always looked better on the right. Our persistent use of him on the left was a waste.

Sordell was never given enough opportunity and has been harshly treated by a small minority of fans. That he didn't get an opportunity during our poorest run of games whilst others were firing blanks is a criminal waste. If he had a bad attitude, and there's no evidence for that, then why was he on the bench ? He lacked confidence, sure but only by playing games can you get that back. I'm sure we'll see him flourish away from the Valley should he depart.

All eyes for now are on the weather and even it the game survives today's 11am inspection, I feel it'll remain in doubt right upto kick off tomorrow if there's any amount of rain.

Should the game proceed then let's hope we can get through and draw someone decent at home ( Everton remain my choice ) in the 4th round.

Come On You reds !