Sunday 28 February 2016

Home And Away

Yesterday's away fans enjoying some pre-protest refreshment.

Addicks were spread far and wide yesterday as protests took place in both S.E. 7 and Belgium. This led to the protests being highlighted to an even greater extent. Clearly Roly had some idea of it and his now apparent paranoia is well demonstrated by the way the lads were dealt with.

Ejected from the stadium, attempts were made to take names etc and plain clothes police arrested them. They were of course released as no lawyer with their salt could successfully prosecute people for displaying a non-offensive banner in the context of a peaceful protest ( even if you are the CEO of a football club ).

If Roly was there yesterday then he missed the opportunity to invite the fans up to his box and have a chat. That would have been one way to deal with it but he doesn't like to meet customers so that was never really going to happen. As we know Roly leaves others like Katrien to face the flack. 

Back in S.E. 7 we witnessed a better attacking performance but we were undone again by our defensive frailties. Yann, of course, had a great game yesterday and rather like our fellow Addicks in Belgium made his point very well. Two goals and an assist in an excellent all round performance. Sadly I doubt we'll see Yann at The Valley as a player again.

This was a fairly decent game for a change overlooking our awful defence. Big Mak was largely disappointing in the first half as he again failed to chase down enough or show any kind of fight to win the ball. As I've remarked before he should be scaring the s**t of defenders as he bears down on them but he's a relative pussy cat most of the time. 

Thankfully Mak had a much better second half and showed greater determination and won more headers and generally got more involved. 

Yaya was great and had a really fine game clearly as the hat-trick shows. I hope he stays fit as it'll be good to see more of him before we down.

Aside from a couple of decent saves I thought Henderson was poor yesterday. He showed little urgency when distributing the ball even when we were behind and I feel he's lost the air of authority he had last season. He wouldn't have been my choice of skipper yesterday aside from the fact that goalies should never been captains.

Prior to kick off and Solly was presented with a trophy to mark his 200 appearances for the club. As ever the club got this wrong, This was done around 2.45pm when there were few people in the ground. Chris wasn't playing so why not do immediately before kick off when The Valley was pretty full.

Talking of poor decisions, how bad was the ref ? He punished us for any push but Reading's holding and pushing and time wasting largely went unpenalised.

Reading's time wasting was ultimately to work in their favour as following our equaliser they decided they might try and get another goal and the winner came in the 93rd minute. Had the ref done his job then they might have been a player or two light or there wouldn't have been all that time to add on had they sped up.

However, all that aside if you defend like we did then you'll not win a game even if you do score 3 !

We were down some time ago of course but this result still feels like a kick in the teeth and we didn't deserve to lose. 

For the umpteenth time this season we lost to a team that aren't that great and I've not seen a really good team at The Valley this season. Another reason why this relegation is so unnecessary. I keep hearing how The Championship is a difficult league to get out of but if you're well organised with some experienced half decent players and a manager to match then it's possible.

If we overlook Hull and Burnley with their Prem money and one or two better quality players then we can see teams like Brighton, Derby, Ipswich and even Preston for evidence of this and how you can give yourself at least half a chance.

What a mess of a season. I'd love to know why our injuries are so bad. How is it that our players are out for so long and frequently the initial diagnosis like most of our shots seems to be wide of the mark ? All teams get them of course but our players are out for so long or fail to return in good condition. We've hardly seen Igor in the last 12 to 14 months for example. 

It's one major part of what's gone wrong and it always seems to be our better players that are injured and not the ones we wouldn't miss.     

I've been resigned to League One for some time but what concerns me more is when this torment will end and we can fully focus once again on our team. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long.

Thursday 25 February 2016

The Fall and Fall of Charlton Athletic

And so it goes on. Our club is still on a downward slope and it shows no signs of abating.

Increasingly the mood of the vast majority of fans is darkening. One can see this in social media in the form of Twitter, Blogs, Forums etc.

Long standing supporters are planning to do, for some,  the unthinkable and not renew season tickets or further still not attend games at all whilst Roly is in charge.

Please check out the Hungry Ted Blog for an excellent post on how he feels. Then read the comments below it to further understand the general mood.

I've had similar comments too recently. FFS these are some of the most die-hard supporters not just of our club but in the land ! Many have lived and supported the club through the exile to Selhurst and beyond ! If they're giving up then there's little hope.

Thankfully, although they may be unwilling to attend games under the current owner it appears they won't give up the fight to save our club. We all need to cling on to that.

I'm not sure that I won't renew my season ticket, I probably will. However, I feel like I'm in an increasing minority. In addition, I'm not sure I'd be making the same level of effort to attend games. Looking at some remaining games this season and I'm not sure I'll be there for some of those.

MK Dons at home is one such. I recall the pathetic performance away to them. At least living round the corner I didn't have to travel far for that. Not sure I want to make the effort to witness a repeat on another potentially cold and miserable night.

The only thing that will save our club is if Roly gets out of it completely. He shows no signs of doing and again I question the man's motives. The same must be said of Katrien. She must be getting well paid. Why would someone who's qualified as a lawyer leave their homeland and endure the dislike and genuine anger of a group of strangers ? Weird !

I'll be there Saturday again supporting the team but it gets increasingly harder. I can take bad performances, in my 50 years or so I've seen enough of them. I can take the relegation, again I've seen enough of those. It's just the unacceptable manner of it all and the feeling that it isn't going to end anytime soon.

I genuinely worry that the collective anger will intensify in the coming weeks and that it will spill over into something unpleasant. I really hope that doesn't happen of course but one senses real anger out there. Anything over the top is counter-productive and protests need to remain sensible and legal.

We must keep plugging away. It's our only hope.

I'm looking forward to seeing Yann on Saturday for what will probably be his last appearance at The Valley.

Come On You Reds !

Monday 22 February 2016

Deja Vu

Jonjo, remember him ?

There's little point in previewing games these days. It doesn't appear to matter who dons the red shirt as we're seemingly heading for another 3-0 defeat.

I was reminded earlier that when we last played Preston we lost 3-0 and went on to lose the following 2 games by the same score. In fact, it seems to be our most favourite scoreline this season. Perhaps Saturday's 3-0 reverse was a pre-cursor to the same set of results.

I'm tempted to put a beer in the fridge in the hope that we might score. I'll have worked up a thirst after doing a lap of honour round the living room !

Can we look to matters off the pitch to cheer us up ? No, of course not. Rumours abound that our jewel in the crown, Lookman is about to sign a contract extension. Normally this would be cause for joy and celebration. 

However, nothing is normal at the moment. All this news does is remind me of Jonjo Shelvey. He did a similar thing just prior to being sold soon after. There's little doubt that young Lookman will follow suit sooner or later with later being no later than the January 2017 transfer window I've no doubt.

Like Jonjo who could blame him for moving on ? No one with a modicum of promise would want to stick around any longer than is necessary. Come to that there are some considerably lesser lights who are unlikely to stick around either. No one could really blame them either.

The dressing room is likely to empty as quickly as the stadium !

Come On You Reds !

Saturday 20 February 2016

Roly Only Showers..........

because he couldn't run one of these.

The game's well and truly up and the fat lady's singing. It was already looking like a bridge too far but today against a team that got thumped 3-0 in midweek and hadn't kept a clean sheet for ages we lost 3-0.

I understand we played the better but you've got to score when you're on top and we couldn't do that. We probably didn't help ourselves by keeping one of the most wanted players outside the Prem on the bench for the second game running.

One of my regrets is that I didn't put a small fortune on us getting relegated after we'd beaten Hull.

In truth, we've been done for for some time but these last three games have shown that salvation is even beyond Jose.

Roly said he isn't preparing for League One perhaps that's because the forward thinking Belgian is already planning for life in League Two. Why not ? It's where we're heading at the moment.

What a joke ! The richest owner we've ever had and probably one of the richest in the league and he's conspired to take us down. It's not just that we're getting relegated but we're doing so in possibly the worst possibly circumstances.

Falling attendances, very few season ticket holders, lifelong fans totally turning their back on the club, the best and most qualified staff leaving, decent players going too and our club a laughing stock.

Someone's got to try and entice the fan base to renew their season tickets. I probably will but there's increasingly fewer like me..........good luck !

Monday 15 February 2016

Pies, Damned Lies and Heuristics

" Huh ? Where have all the customers gone ? " Roly surveys the crowd at the opening game of the 2016/17 season.

Strangely our dear owner's visit and interviews made diddly squat difference as Charlton ground out a nil all draw. Astonishingly his explanation of where it's all gone wrong, his clear vision and actions for the future and rousing words failed to push the players on or lift spirits in S.E.7.

You really wonder how on earth this man has amassed a fortune. He surely can't have adopted the same approach to business as he does to running his football clubs.

Saturday was an awful game for 75 minutes until injuries brought about the changes that were desperately needed and there was something to make you look up from reading the latest copy of the Trust news.

I felt that Jackson and Cousins achieved little against Bristol City, on Saturday they appeared to be running on empty. At least one of Poyet and Ba had to start against Cardiff. I appreciate being loyal to players but sometimes you can be too loyal for too long. Just ask Curbs in respect of Sasa Ilic.

Reza was totally ineffective and that Lookman didn't come on in his place at half time is a mystery. It's too early to judge Sanogo but at least things started to happen when appeared. I'm far from Big Mak's greatest fan but fair play I thought he did well on Saturday with little support.

Other results went against us and the fat lady is warming up with increasing certainty that she'll be called upon. It now needs everything to go in our favour in order to get out of this mess and it looks ever more unlikely. Should things not change then it call all be over by late February / early March.

Of all the questions put to Roly last week one wasn't asked but I'd love to know the answer to it. For the life of me I don't understand what he gets as a 69 year old living abroad running a football club that is costing him money and apparently is about to cost him even more.

He professes to be a fan of a club that he had no previous connection to and has only ever watched once I believe. How very bizarre ! Against a background of increasing failure and unrest what possible joy or satisfaction is to be gained from it ? What possible motivation is there ?

Roly stills clings to a stubborn belief that his was of running the club will work possibly in the same way that the infinite monkey theorem will deliver the works of Shakespeare. in all probability the monkeys will deliver first !

He has cleared away all the competent staff and those with a sense of belonging to the club and increasingly only the incompetent remain. I was far from impressed with the new employees I saw at the Fans Forum.

It really makes no sense and from a purely financial perspective it only will if he sells all the real estate and players and makes of with a profit. I really can't see any other reason. Otherwise he's a bigger crackpot than I think. 

Last week Roly could have come over, taken decisive action, acknowledge the mistakes and outline a sensible approach for the future. Sadly he didn't and it seems that is never going to happen and we're all doomed.

I'm still wondering how far we have yet to fall before this decline is arrested. Falling gates and income allied to his ridiculous strategy could see Roly take us into League Two and beyond. That's how bad it could get.

The man is a blinkered idiot of the highest order.

Friday 12 February 2016

You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All

Hogwash ! That’s the most polite way I can put my thoughts on the latest from our owner who also professes to be a fan. Yes, really ! Who knew ?

He travelled all the way from Belgium to deliver that load of nonsense ! More money wasted. Roly no doubt sees it as the gallant leader riding in to support M & M.

Just as Katrien told the fans forum, Roly informs us that her words in Dublin ( on video no less ! ) were taken out of context…….we misunderstood and she never meant to hurt anybody !

It’s hard to take words out of context when they are on video and I wasn’t hurt……insulted, yes but not hurt. Going back to that Fans Forum I felt she had a contemptuous attitude towards the genuine concerns of the majority of committee members present, waving a dismissive hand towards the irritants.

Perhaps we got the end of the stick when she said the aim was to produce players via the academy to sell on the Prem clubs and what joy there is to be had in that ! Again I’ve probably got that wrong and misunderstood.
“She is a fantastic woman, extremely dedicated. She has done extremely good work so far in all sorts of things. I’m very happy with it.”

Really ? A shame he didn’t elucidate on that because I must have missed something. The vast majority of the present unrest arises from her words and actions. Time has shown them to be both lies and wrong.

Given what Roly has said it’s hard to believe he hasn’t rebuked her or pointed out the error of her ways. Nothing changes as she moves from one mess to another. The latest in a long line ing the Player of the Year Event and perhaps best of all the “ spoof resignation “. Both badly mishandled.


Enough already, none of us really expected Roly to be honest about KM and openly admit she’s not doing terribly well.

What of the other M, Richard Murray. Again he is defended by Roly.

“We are all involved. Richard is the president of the board and he is very influential in the club. And the reason why that is the case seems logical to me - this is very historical club with a long, long history and Richard is, in my view, the ultimate fan - because he also put money where his mouth and his heart was. 

“I asked him to be the president of the club and he has done that. It’s painful to say so, because he supported also Katrien, that some fans are starting to see him as an enemy - which is crazy.

“Because he is also a great fan of the club. And he deserves every respect.”

If Murray is that influential then why after acknowledging the error of not recruiting experienced championship players did we not recruit accordingly in the transfer window ? Surely we would have moved heaven and earth to get Yann and Lee Tomlin for example ?

I’ve no idea why he supports Katrien perhaps in private he is as scathing as the rest of us. I only see him as misguided these days, I don’t hate him. That’s impossible given what he delivered in his early years as Chairman.

Yes, he is a great fan of the club but that respect is dwindling all the time he fails to come clean and have the balls to tell it like it is.

Yet there’s more…………..“We have sometimes made the same mistakes again. But in my businesses we have a culture of learning from mistakes. This is very common in industry. If you don’t do that you are stupid.

“Here we also try to learn from our mistakes. Does it all work all the time? I think it works better than in some football clubs - but definitely not good enough.

“The main point here is that we don’t have enough leeway to cope with our mistakes. Other clubs have much bigger squads and even if they make the same mistakes as we do, they still can cope because of that.

I’m struggling to make any sense of this. I think he’s saying I’ve made mistakes but it takes me a long time to learn from them….a very long time. However, mistakes are good because we learn children and if you don’t……you’re stupid……….Q.E.D.

Larger squads, loads of injuries, loan players blah ! blah ! blah ! My God ! One could name loads of teams with less money and smaller squads than ours yet they’re all doing better than us. Huddesfield are just one example.

They’re not immune from injuries or the same problems that beset all clubs but they’re in better shape than us. At the same time they manage to play their youngsters and recruit well.

Roly goes on about how long it takes to integrate players. That’s true of the ones we get but those with championship pedigree settle in almost immediately.

It all continues to be a mess but what irks most is that it was all so avoidable with a series of missed opportunities and so it goes on. It seems that this weekend we will be missing our two latest loanees who after last week ought to walk into the side.

Something’s awry here. Either they’re not fit or Riga doesn’t want them. Whatever it is it is an example of how dire things are.

I really didn’t expect anything better from Roly but in fact it was worse than I dared think. Words are cheap, action is needed but since that is not forthcoming then he has only served to fan the flames !

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Bob's Your Uncle And............

here he is the wonderful Bob Wellings !

The much missed Bob Wellings ( Nationwide’s finest ! ) was once left to wrap up the programme after Fanny Craddock had been making ringed doughnuts. Bob closed with the immortal words “ And may all your doughnuts look like Fanny’s ! “. 

Technology has advanced so much and so quickly that it’s easy to forget a time before the interweb, mobile phones, ipads, twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. 

Back in formative years half time scores in other matches were gleaned from matching letters by the corner of pitch to games listed in the programme. Full time scores weren’t given out. Marconi had just produced the goods and you needed your transistor or the Evening News which printed all the scores quite quickly considering.

During the week typically any info concerning Charlton would be revealed from the local paper. Much as now we received little national coverage. To an extent the programme would be a good source of information containing information that you pretty much weren’t aware of. 

In the present day programmes are pretty much redundant with so much news and info available elsewhere. I have about 15 years worth of programmes at home but long stop buying them for the aforementioned reason. They are really only worth purchasing now for special occasions of big matches or perhaps at the beginning or end of the season. 

In terms of T.V. exposure whilst we’d regularly appeared on The Big Match ( LWT version usually with commentary from the excellent Brian Moore ) us on MOTD was as rare as rocking horse s**t ! These days of course we’re more than happy not to be on the magic lantern as it’s a bad omen given our few successes achieved in front of the cameras. 

Over the years there followed Clubcall which was expensive and hardly contained any startling revelations or breaking news. It also went on for some time and at the end you’d wonder why you bothered but it never stopped me calling regularly or listening right to the end in case I missed some nugget of news ! 

After I moved away, Charlton Live came into being and when I was in town on a Sunday I try and catch a bit of it whilst being jealous of those that got reception that sadly never extended to Milton Keynes ! Nowadays of course one can listen to the podcast and thus nothing of the show is missed. 

Other information is gleaned from Facebook, Twitter and blogs. All of these give you instant information and so too the views of others fans as well feedback on games etc. Some accounts will even let you know of any upcoming flash protest………….you don’t get that on the club’s website !

My routine for checking on news is done several times a day usually in a set order :- Doctor Kish, other blogs not linked to that, Twitter and then Facebook. It’s very rare that I refer to the Club’s website.  

These other sources have usually been carrying rumours or news for some time and when the club announces anything it is usually the internet equivalent of chip paper. 

Thus on transfer deadline day I pretty much knew Fanni was upon us before it became official. It’s the name that launched a thousand quips with most of them written and published before his signature had dried on his contract. 

We’ve all had a little chuckle at most of them but somewhere Bob Wellings is laughing loudest safe in the knowledge that his own “ bon mot “ is unlikely to be bettered.