Sunday 31 January 2016

Danegeld !

Well it has been a taxing season

Our Great Dane has managed to do a reverse Samson as it would appear that having his hair cut has increased rather than sapped his strength and power. Having in recent times looked lethargic and failing to make the most of his physical attributes yesterday he put them to good use and produced two decent goals in a much improved team performance.

One swallow and all that but let's hope it's a good omen as JBG seemed similarly rejuvenated and of late he's appeared about as interested as an elderly Belgian in watching football in S.E.7.

The defensive frailties remain and the Millers could have made it 2-3 to set nerves jangling had their player not decided to try and pass to Major Tim Peake. The penalty decision was harsh, however, Henderson was still called upon to make a couple of stunning saves. Bauer's return should help and add some much needed competition for places in defence.

All four goals were well constructed and it was as pleasing that JBG had a hand in them as that 3 strikers got on the scoresheet. There was even time for Lookman to give a glimpse of his precocious talent with a finish of some aplomb having only just come on.

Of course failure to win at home next week to fellow strugglers Bristol City will render yesterday's win somewhat redundant. It won't be easy as City have recruited well in the transfer window and are a tougher nut to crack as a result.

That transfer window slams shut tomorrow and it will do so louder than anywhere in S.E. 7 if we don't make at least two quality signings in the next 24 hours. That we've left it so late isn't great but then replacing your manager half way through it isn't the most sensible thing to do. This is no better illustrated than by the fact that none of the 3 players we have recruited to date were not in the starting eleven yesterday. 

Earlier today I started watching the video of the latest fans forum. I have to say it was hard work as the pace was anything other than electric. It also had a very amateurish feel about it as there appeared to be little structure and order to things. 

One of the first items was the circulation of what I believe was a document outlining future communication ( yes it's a good idea why don't our owners try it ! ). This made wonderful viewing as you watch the assembled read it and try to take in its contents. Surely it could have sent to all attendees before hand for proper consideration ? 

There then followed a few questions where Katrien was either unwilling or unable to give an answer to a simple question about how many people were reporting to her ! 

I'll try and summon up the enthusiasm, if that's the word, to watch the rest of it. Fortunately, the viewing on the pitch has been altogether better in the last week and long may that continue. In the meantime, meeting video aside, I'll be checking for those two big signings !


Friday 29 January 2016

Rock Bottom

We may have to cling on to that thought.
With each passing week perhaps each passing day, I think our club can't sink any lower save for our position in the league and that's only perhaps a matter of time.
It appears there are still some depths which we've yet to sink to. The latest in a long running series of " you couldn't make it up " has seen us sign a player on loan that the manager hasn't agreed to with the result that said player may well not play for us at all. That this happened on the same day as former manager, Chris Powell revealed how he had players forced upon him and recruited to the club would be viewed as an embarrassing own goal by most organisations.

However, this isn't a normal organisation at the moment. There seems to be little in the way of apology for the ongoing disaster and Duchatelet is now able to add Richard Murray to his collection of stooges. It's incredible the number of folk prepared to front up on Roly's behalf to try and explain away how misunderstood he is.

I've long given up trying to understand what's in it for Roly save perhaps for some sadistic satisfaction of ruining our club and the enjoyment of being a hate figure even if only at a distance. The man has even been offered a way out but still even at this late stage he refuses to take it.

I was deeply saddened to see top folk from the F.A. and Football League looking round our academy. Normally the would be a source of pride and joy. It isn't though when the owners declared intention is for the academy to produce players for Premier League clubs and not our own. Why these officials graced the academy with their presence when they must know the situation is something only they can explain.

It only served to have the appearance of sanctioning what Roly does and allowing Katrien a photo opportunity. They missed an opportunity to deliver a snub to the owner.

Further disturbing rumours abound that part of the Jimmy Seed will be made into flats. If so, then that start to explain what the owner's real intentions are.

We still await news of Target 20k ( yes, really ! Remember that ! ). More open communication will be heading our way. Video of the Fans Forum is due this afternoon....let's see how revealing that is eh ?

It's an increasing mess. Call me old fashioned but I recall those halcyon days when one wrote and read blogs about matters on the pitch. Perhaps when and soon after we reach rock bottom we can start to do that again. Here's hoping !

Come On You Reds !

Friday 22 January 2016

Now Is The Time..........

for all good men ( and women ) to come to the aid of their football club !

There are differing views as to what action to take on Saturday. We’re all aware that there are some planned and publicly announced protests. Then, there are some yet to be announced but nonetheless pre-planned actions. In addition, some are boycotting the game. 

You pays your money and you takes your choice as they say. However, I have seen some rather silly comments from some suggesting that you’re the devil’s sperm or a scab if you go to the game. Eh ? I didn't realise there was a strike on ! No one will dictate to me what I do and should I choose to protest I’ll do so in the way I want to. 

I believe we need to get behind the team aside from having paid for my season ticket so any boycott on my part is rather fruitless other than the potential embarrassment of an empty seat. In that respect I don’t think Roly gives a hoot anyway. I believe we should be backing the team whilst there’s a chance we can survive in this league in spite of what the owner has done or said or even not said !

If you choose not to go then fair play that’s your choice as I said.

I do hope there aren’t any folk who are hell bent on intimidating anyone. I can’t see it happening but it will be a bleak day if it does.

To rid the club of Roly it needs everyone pulling together in a planned, controlled and peaceful fashion. Sadly, there have been a few unsavoury comments between fans. It’s all unnecessary and indeed counter-productive.

As far as matters on the pitch are concerned Riga faces a hell of a job and last Saturday only served to underline how massive the task ahead of him is. It wasn’t just what went on in Hull. Victories for MK Dons and Bristol City hardly helped and let’s not even mention our goal difference !

As if the threat of Jordan Rhodes isn’t enough, Rovers have just signed Danny Graham on loan and it’s not hard to envisage him re-discovering some form courtesy of ourselves.

The frustrating thing is that we do possess decent enough players to get us out of the mire. The same players that secured victories over QPR and Hull although it seems almost a lifetime away now !

The difference aside from the disastrous interim appointment and run of results is confidence. If we can get that back and some discipline and a more stable starting eleven then we have a hope. A couple more proven Champ players would help too mind.

I’m a fan of Tony Watt the player but not a fan of Tony Watt the person in as much as I think he’s had enough chances and I can’t think we sent him out on loan for any reason other than he wasn’t settled. If he is to stay then clearly we need to play him and get best out of him. Give him a reason to play well in the red shirt even if only to showcase his talents to prospective buyers.

Whatever we do we need to back the players and hopefully lift them to a victory !

Come On You Reds !

Sunday 17 January 2016

Fanning The Flames

Feeling hot, hot, hot !

Somewhat tongue in cheek I wrote prior to yesterday's latest debacle that anything less than a 5-0 defeat would be seen as improvement......never in my wildest nightmares did I envisage that we could go one worse !

Just when you think the club has hit rock bottom it finds new depths to take us to. I had already accepted it was going to get worse before ( and if ) it gets better. However, that I took to be the return to League 1 not that we would get our worse spanking in 32 years with a team playing without any passion. Coincidently that day 32 years ago was the day I got engaged and that particular love affair didn't end well, it seems that the one with my club is being sorely tested too !

I'm trying to imagine at what point I'd feel I'd no feelings towards CAFC. Given all the emotions, the memories, the connections, family history etc. throughout my life I can't envisage a time when I wouldn't be making the pilgrimage to S.E.7. I'm sure we all feel that but we're being greatly tested as I say.

Aside from yesterday's performance, news that Katrien and Richard Murray were absent yesterday only serves to further fan the flames ahead of next Saturday. I bet there's a few Addicks who wished they hadn't bothered going yesterday. They chose to do so and that's not because they're getting paid to do so although.......... !

What drew them to travel up to Hull yesterday will never be understood by our owners. They wouldn't grasp why I get a lump in my throat when Red, Red Robin is played at the start of games, why I cried when the players ran out when we returned to The Valley against Portsmouth, the pride I felt when my boys were mascots and certainly not when I felt a soppy sod the other day when getting emotional as Mull of Kintyre was playing in the background as I walked through the local shopping centre.

There's little left to be said on our current regime and the whole scenario. It's all been said by so many and continues to be said with each new low.

It's all going to end badly that is clear............let's just hope it all ends sooner rather than later and we can get on with restoring our club.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Back To The Future

Not sure if it isn't Back To The Future Part 2 really as another former member of the management team returns. Hopefully our club won't suffer the same fate as the De Lorean Motor Company that manufactured car from the movie and go down the tubes.

I bet a number of people wish they could use the vehicle's time travelling qualities and make a number of very different decisions. If only ! That would have saved us all an awful lot of heartache !

Events of the last few days have been quite remarkable even by recent Charlton standards. I hope someone is writing it all down because not only will it make a good read but someone needs to document all the events as our descendants probably won't believe us when we tell them of the Duchatelet era.

I mean, imagine a millionaire Belgian businessman taking over an English football club with a long and proud history and then proceeding to turn it a basket case in 2 years. Even more that it has done at some potential cost to himself and not merely a financial one at that.

The succession of managerial appointments has been a total mess and apparently it's only now that the current regime has realised that it has got them wrong. Yet still the obvious need to appoint a British manager with a proven Championship pedigree has again eluded them.

That's not to say that I have a problem with Jose Riga. He does at least have experience at this level and I think to a degree when he was here he got our club. It's a real shame that he wasn't kept on as clearly he had the respect of the players.

Remarkably he rejoins the club under even more trying circumstances than first time around. The unrest and general disaffection towards Duchatelet and his CEO is at boiling point. Last time the results alone were good enough to quell the discontent following the dismissal of Chris Powell and the arrival of several players who quite clearly weren't up to the task.

I sincerely hope that he is successful in keeping us up but that and a few victories are unlikely to put the brakes on the runaway train of fan revolt that is more angry and more united than ever.

It's likely that like last time Riga will maintain a dignified silence and keep his focus on matters on the pitch and he'll want his players to do the same. He has secured an 18 month contract and no doubt sought some guarantees over player selection and recruitment. At least there are a few days remaining in the transfer window and it is to be hoped that he given reign to get the players he wants.

The rumoured two million pound sale of Tony Watt will deliver some much needed funds assuming that a decent percentage is put towards the transfer kitty. We're going to need at least two more decent players for the long battle ahead. We also need some injured players back and less injuries going forward.

Bristol City have today sacked Steve Cotterill. No doubt they've been keeping tabs on events in S.E.7 and going to unveil Karel at a hastily arranged press conference tomorrow morning ! Of course that's not going to happen but given the most bizarre events of late you really can't rule anything out !

The new manager at Ashton Gate will in all probability bring about the upturn in the club's fortunes that Karel was spectacularly unable to deliver. That will put additional pressure of on ourselves as whilst we are still 3 points off safety recent results mean that we are one of only a handful of clubs that are set for the drop. We simply have to rely on others doing worse than us !

In the meantime Wim De Corte and Jason Euell will take charge for Saturday's trip to Hull. Goodness knows how that will pan out but anything less than a 5-0 drubbing will be an improvement. That's what the mismanagement of the last two years has brought us !

Good luck and well done to anyone travelling to Hull on Saturday.

Come On You Reds !


Tuesday 12 January 2016

The Circle Of Life

Tonight’s chosen mode of transport ( above ) to Huddersfield should be enough to accommodate all the customers plus Katrien and Karel who like people fleeing the Old Bailey in Black Marias will be hidden under blankets.
Should things continue the way they are, then reminiscent of the days when I followed the Deres as a kid, we can all travel to away games in one coach with the team and management.
In fact, despite their advancing years and if they’re still around I’m sure the likes of Keith Gurr, Brendon Greatorex, Dennis Crawford, Gary Cooper, Roger Dent etc. etc. could probably do a decent turn. In a further parallel with The Addicks we wouldn’t be able to call upon Tommy Ord of course as the young starlet has been sold to Chelsea !
Perhaps we’ll end up playing in Belevedere as my football life turns full circle. Hey Ho ! As long as I don’t have to clean the boots and carry round the winning raffle numbers board at half time again I can perhaps live with that !
Come On You Deres er Reds !

Sunday 10 January 2016

Nothing Is Certain In Life But.........

Busy Belgian Bees On The Managerial Merry Go Round !

death and taxes and Belgian managers !

Quelle surprise mes amis ! My little grey cells had been working hard to fathom who the next Charlton Manager could be in the event that the Interim One ever failed to clear a bar set so low that even the best limbo dancer in Brussels couldn't get under it.

Then I get a call from Captain Hastings who tells me that Jose is likely to be next up. Sacre Bleu ! He's only just left Chelsea ! He must have patched up his differences with the lady doctor and be on his way over with her riding in the sidecar !

Au Contraire ! Oh la la ! It appears that it is Jose Riga.........bien sur, he is Belgian and hasn't had the job for a while.

No doubt Bob Peeters is online tonight searching for a pied a terre for the start of the 2016-17 season.

Ok leaving aside what Poirot would make of what isn't the greatest mystery he's ever had to tackle it can be of little surprise to anyone that Riga would be next up although it did appear that Karel wasn't ever going to be removed. Indeed there's no guarantee that he won't stay on if Jose returns.

If we're not going to get an experienced British Championship manager then Riga is the best we could have hoped for, I've nothing against him and he did a superb job before. I fear that this time he faces an even bigger task. If pulls this off then it really will be something.

He'll face less of a task in winning over the fans but the atmosphere is more poisonous than last time and that's saying something. Following Saturday's debacle he'll be able to focus on the league at least. Unlike last time he will be able to spend some time on the training ground.

It speaks volumes about recent events in S.E.7 that this news does little to shock us and indeed was pretty much expected. No one would have believed you if you'd predicted all this but there you go that's what it has come to. Where this will end is anyone's guess !

C'est la vie !

Monday 4 January 2016

Friends Reunited !

A couple of " old " faces look set to return.

Happy New Year and it’s worth noting that the Addicks are unbeaten in 2016 !

All bodes well for 2016 then ? Well, er, no of course not !

Imminent surgery to our squad means some reshaping but who’s staying and who’s going is a bit of a mystery.

Williams has arrived from Boro on a short term loan. He would appear to be providing some much needed leadership. Roger Johnson is pretty much signed up it seems and Diego looks likely to follow.

There’s been a lot of criticism of young Poyet and he received some abuse when we played the MK Dons. Those dishing that out believe he left us purely to earn more money in the Prem. Diego will tell you that the club wanted to send him off to Liege and in addition that the failure to retain Riga was a major factor. I’ve no reason to disbelieve him and those abusers can’t know for sure so I’ll be happy to see him return and I hope it works out well for both parties.

There are vacancies in all areas but the need for a goal scoring forward is paramount. I really hope that we have at least one lined up !

Those leaving is not at all clear cut but names in the frame include Watt, Lookman, Vetokele and JBG. Apart from Watt, who in my opinion has been in more saloons of the last chance variety than he ought, it’d be damaging to see any of the others go.

The most notable and telling departure of any player would be Lookman as we are repeatedly reassured that we’ve put an end to having to sell or release our promising youngsters. Of course this usually manifests itself with the departure of at least one…….Exhibits A and B m’lud…….Poyet and Gomez !

The recruitment of a decent manager would go a long way to helping our bid for survival but that is increasingly unlikely with each passing day. Karel is now fast becoming as “ interim “ as Dario Gradi was at Crewe !

Can’t believe I’ve manage to mention those two in the same sentence !

Saturday saw us witness another poor game of Championship football with another failure to beat a poor side. I accept what that makes us but it’s so frustrating and to a degree avoidable. Even if we’re low on confidence and devoid of some of our better players we could at least set up to give ourselves half a chance of winning.

What on earth is the point of playing Vaz Te out wide ? Why is Big Mak allowed to stroll around the pitch and make little impact ( I know he scored but his overall contribution was poor ). The Dane should be frightening the you know what out of defenders but he possesses no real physical aggression.

God knows what the thinking was to move Solly to midfield and then put our best left back in at right back. Probably the same thinking that meant that said best left back didn’t start the game.

It was great to see Harriott return with a solid performance and but for two really good saves he could have scored the winner ! Young Callum now needs to repeat that effort on a more consistent basis as there have been many false dawns in his career.

Following the intense festive schedule we now have a break until the Cup game on Saturday. I’d not be too concerned about that and am happy to write the Cup off especially this year. The focus has to be on the league and survival if we can.

I’d be looking at the next league and the majority of my thoughts and energy would concern that. We have to pray that we can get the right folk in and that the “ interim “ doesn’t balls it all up and we may yet survive.

It’s not going to be dull on or off the pitch !