Sunday 28 August 2016

Addicks 1 ( Harlem Globe ) Trotters 1

The ironically named Too Tall ( seen here on the left ) wouldn't get into the Bolton team.

Phil Parkinson and Lawrie Wilson rightly received warm welcomes upon their return to The Valley. Sadly, Lawrie didn't get on the pitch but as he's not a strapping 6ft plus player with a tendency for the rough stuff it was always unlikely.

Parky has set up his current team to be very physical whilst adding some niggly fouls into the mix. When that plays out in front of an incompetent referee as per yesterday you'll understand perhaps why Bolton have had a good start to the season. 

The Trotters, rather like the turn out from their fans, were disappointing. Proctor in particular was awful and he was lucky to stay on as long as he did. I'll be surprised if the Lancashire team are still up the top come the end of the season.

I had expected a bigger turn out from Bolton Fans given their good start, size of club and the relatively easy trip to London on a bank holiday weekend.

The Addicks had the better of the first half and certainly did not deserve to lose the game overall. 

Skip was withdrawn midway through the first half and in all honesty probably shouldn't have been risked especially with a two week break from league action coming up. His replacement gave a portent of the later rather baffling substitutions that Mr Slade was to make. 

Don't get me wrong it was good to see Bauer return ( I'm a big fan ) but to so disrupt the team and not to make a positive and attacking sub was a mistake I believe.

Konsa moved to right back and Solly into midfield to accommodate the German. Konsa and Solly both did well in their new positions but round pegs in round holes please ! Ultimately Konsa will probably feel he could've done better in the lead up to their goal and one feels that Solly almost certainly would've done.

Konsa at right back also meant that we had little threat on the right as on several occasions players were unable to release the ball out to where one would expect Solly to have been. No criticism of the young man intended just further proof that it wasn't the best decision to have him there.

The sub also served to highlight our dearth of quality and numbers in midfield. That aside I fail to understand why Lookman didn't come on at that point. Sadly, we weren't to see Charlton's finest until the 65th minute after he seemingly spending 10 minutes getting prepped to come on !

Why aren't players ready to get on the pitch asap ? That needs addressing. If we still have Lookman after the transfer window closes then he must be used from the start. Yesterday was reminiscent of the way Curbs used John Barnes who typically came on when we were behind and chasing the game,

Lookman's arrival immediately resulted in the Addicks carrying a greater threat that until that point was seemingly only coming from the ever impressive Holmes. He worked his socks off. 

One final sub to make then and with Ajose hardly having a touch all game against the giants and with the inevitable balls being banged into the box we took off Magennis. Why ? Even if he was injured and standing one leg ( I'm not aware he was ) then at least he carried a nuisance factor.

Hanlon was lively and effective. Again one wonders why he didn't come on earlier and why we persisted with Ajose. Mr Slade had to work out how to get the best out of him. I suspect a decent midfielder with an eye for a good forward pass is the answer so let's hope that player arrives soon !

We still witnessed a lot of long balls out from the back yesterday but the defenders did at least get feed by Rudd a bit more than previously. However, our players seem slow to react and never get into enough space when we do. 

It's basic stuff.......more space equals more time ! It really is that easy and something we need to address.  

No league game next Saturday means more chance to rest and recover for a number of players, More importantly Mr Slade can focus on new recruits. Getting that right and holding on to Lookman and Bauer are critical to us having any chance of a return to the Championship.

Tuesday sees the totally devalued Johnstones Paint - Checkatrade or somesuch Trophy game. The attendance ought to rival those of the Full Members Cup from our days in exile. It really has become devalued and I'm two Prem U23 teams to contest the final. Should that scenario come to pass then one can probably expect another low in terms of attendance for a Wembley final.

Friday 26 August 2016


Just to give you an insight into the hilarity in our house let me tell of yesterday's pre-dinner conversation. My missus asked if I was cooking a roast.
" Yes " I said.
" With roast potatoes ? ! she enquired.
" Of course ! "
"Well, don't make them too oily ! " she replied.
" Don't worry, I'm not doing it before 7pm ! "

Can we give Bolton a roasting a la Shrewsbury on Saturday ? Highly unlikely I'd have thought. The Trotters are top of the table and aside from a slip up in the League Cup ( I refuse to call the EFL cup - what nonsense ) have won all their games.

Bolton arrive with some familiar faces in the shape of Phil Parkinson, Dorian Dervite and Lawrie Wilson. All were good servants of the club and as such, are due a warm welcome.

Parkinson's efforts in his time with us were perhaps not appreciated as much as they should have been. I know I'm guilty of that. Given the background to his tenure at The Valley what he achieved was to an extent remarkable. His subsequent success at Valley Parade and Bolton to date are testament to his ability.

One missing ingredient on Saturday is THD. Having been part of the squad for all league games to date he has moved onto to Huddersfield for a reported £400k. If we thought so little of him why was he involved each matchday squad ? Why didn't we put up a fight to keep him ?

I understand Mr Slade saying he doesn't want to keep a player who doesn't want to be at the club but he is a very promising player. THD's chances were very limited although he impressed greatly when I saw him play. He was a very probable solution to our left sided problems. Why he wasn't given a chance to play in front of Fox in left midfield I don't know.

There you have it, another young player is allowed to depart and we can now watch from afar as we no doubt see him flourish elsewhere. In all probability fulfilling Katrien's wish to see our players moving to appear in the Premier League as that is the raison d'etre of our academy eh ?

Huddersfield are nicely set up for promotion this season so it won't surprise me if they are in top flight next season. In the meantime we leave ourselves with a further depleted squad and no real cover at left back.

Saturday's game should be a good one with in form teams. My wish is that Mr Slade would have them play out from the back more. I'm a bit bored of seeing everything from Rudd banged up to Magennis.

Brighton showed that it possible to do this when they won the league a few years ago under Gus Poyet. It was no better illustrated than when they beat us 4-0 at The Valley when Kishishev ran the show. It would be nice if we tried to play in a similar style.

I appreciate you need a certain type of player to do so and that we are lacking in midfield but we really ought to try and be able to do so. I can but hope.

As I said it should be a good game on Saturday with Bolton no doubt bringing a few thousand to the game and will be in good voice. Sadly we may struggle to match them due to our current low turnouts. No doubt, like the team, we'll give it a good go though.

Come On You Reds !


Wednesday 17 August 2016

Ricky Butchers The Shrews !

Ricky !

They say football is a simple game and so it is when you do the basics right and last night, Holmes made it look elementary. 

Ricky used his pace, skill and determination to take the game to the oppo. Whenever he had the ball he took upon himself to make teasing positive runs at  their defence and usually resulting in a teasing cross.

He thoroughly deserved his two goals. However fortuitous the second was as the result of a superb run and sublime finish from the edge of the area. The second from the corner saw the Addicks 3-0 up after 31 minutes and left me wondering when we last 3-0 ahead going into the break.

Skip's goal the second in successive games had me wondering when he last did that it probably goes back to our last time in League 1 when he scored against both Sheffield teams.

Mr Slade had opted to go with exactly the same starting eleven and bench and his faith was duly rewarded. Konsa was impressive and with Lennon, Bauer and possibly Tex in reserve it's clear in which area we have strength in depth.

Sadly, the second half didn't see any goals for The Addicks and in fact, in the early stages the Shrews had the better of the exchanges but for Mellon's side it was to prove a fruitless evening.

Lookman came on to show what he can do and he was somewhat reminiscent of Ricardo Fuller in the way the ball stuck to his foot. It was a shame that Mr Slade didn't take the opportunity to give a couple of other players a run out. I'm sure that Bauer in particular would have benefited from a few minutes on The Valley turf.

I guess we have to accept a lower level of refereeing in this league but last night's official was overly lenient and inconsistent. An increasingly tetchy Toney was lucky to stay on the pitch and could benefit from some anger management. 

If we can keep our better players and add a couple more then we are capable of mounting a real challenge. As I've observed before we need a good dose of luck with injuries for that to happen. 

The boys can now travel to Walsall in good spirit and with some confidence.

Monday 15 August 2016

Gribbling Not Dribbling !

The Gribble, Oving nr Chichester

I missed Saturday's game as I was at my mate's wedding in Chichester on Friday and had decided to stay down in West Sussex on the Friday and Saturday night to make a weekend of it.

The wedding itself was a splendid occasion helped in no small measure by the happy couple having chosen the splendid Gribble pub in which to hold the reception. They have a wonderful selection of their own ales plus a good selection of spirits etc.

The pub also provides good quality food and we were treated to a bbq and the food was excellent and plentiful. Add in some wonderful weather and it was an absolutely wonderful day !

If you find yourself anywhere near Chichester and have the time make sure you head direct to this fine watering hole !

The Saturday saw me trying to keep abreast of events from West Wittering beach. This is a place I'd not been to before and again I'd highly recommend it should you have the time. Miles of golden sands with sand dunes just back from the shore, it is a beautiful place.

It does cost £8 to park for the day but it is well worth it and I understand that the money is used by an estate management company comprised of local residents to maintain and preserve the area. If you go prepared ( we didn't !! ) you can save money by taking your own food and drink or a picnic. The refreshment outlets have something of a monopoly and are a tad expensive.

We were just heading out of the car park when I learned that Skip had scored and secured a draw. I could have used the term " salvaged " but what I've read of the second half it sounds as though we deserved to win and their keeper was forced to make some fine saves.

Overlooking the continuing mess off the pitch it does seem as if the team is starting to take shape. If as reported a couple more players ( hopefully decent midfielders ) are coming in then we may have a squad capable of mounting a challenge. The return of Diarra and Kashi can can't soon enough but it will be a real boost when they do.

Of course, for this to happen we need to get lucky with injuries not only our own by those of clubs from whom we've loaned players not least Norwich City ! Added to that if we can keep Tex and Lookman and Mr Slade can get them to gel and the front line scoring then it has a chance of becoming reality.

Onto tomorrow and we face Shrewsbury managed by the alliteratively named Micky Mellon. Like us they have struggled in front of goal in the league failing to score to date. Of course it would be totally out of character for us to allow them get off the mark !

The effects of Roland and Katrien disastrous management were reflected in the stands on Saturday where the crowd was reported to be just over 11k. That includes all the freebies and absent season ticket holders like me of course. Tuesday night will give a truer indication of things especially as The Shrews are unlikely to bring many on a Tuesday night.

Hopefully we can go one better and record a win. Here's hoping.

Come On You Reds ! 

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Not Good

This is the view Addicks fans had on Saturday. As you can see the team didn't turn up.

A day that started brightly turned to mush not long after the referee sounded the first whistle.

A sunny day, cheap rail travel and having not visited Gigg Lane before meant I was anticipating a good day. That the Swan and Cemetery pub ( well it seemed appropriate given our opponents ) the place of pre-match imbibing lived up to expectation only served to enhance the mood.

Upon arrival at the ground we entered at the same time as the piper who was heartily playing " Valley Floyd Road ". Charlton fans were in good voice and gave the team great vocal support from the off.

Sadly the players gave the impression that they'd only just met and playing like strangers did little to threaten the Bury keeper. The result was that The Shakers had a comfortable afternoon and Cameron for them was particularly impressive.

Despite that they carried little threat really and the needless penalty turned the game which otherwise would probably have petered out into a draw. However, we shot ourselves in the foot in defending set pieces to carry on from where we left off last season.

I've never been a great fan of Fox but he didn't have bad game but still got some undeserved stick from some quarters. Subsequently I've read that some have written off Ajose and Novak. What ? Based on 90 minutes off a terrible game where our midfield was a mess.

Ajose is never going to get much change out of your average centre half if balls are banged up in the air to him. I'm certain he needs better service than that !

Novak didn't look great but I'm not going to write him off on the basis of just 90 minutes.

Whatever your view of Roger I didn't think he did that badly. I know he he's not been good since his return to S.E. 7 but like Fox he got abuse as some won't allow him any benefit. That of course seems unlikely following that it seems he had a go at some fans after the final whistle.

It was an awful display and it only served to highlight how desperate we are to improve the quality of this team by adding decent players with experience of this level. Should they already be in place ? Perhaps but a number of factors hamper Mr Slade not least the ownership of course. 

I agree with his view that there's little point in getting players in just to boost numbers. He's right that he should be getting the players he wants and those that really want to come.

That the transfer windows closes after the season starts continues to be a nonsense but there it is. As ever the trickle down effect of the Prem clubs sorting their squads and subsequently deciding who to sell and send out on loan also plays a part.

The good support that the team got form the start somewhat fell apart as the second half progressed. There was an unnecessary flare was thrown on the pitch after 5 minutes. Why ? What was the point of that ?

Then we were treated to several renditions of The Addams Family song. I know we have a dearth of songs but is that the best we can do ? I thought we'd left that nonsense behind.

" Your ground's too big for you ! " also rang out. Hmm.........I think we might hear that at The Valley a few times this season. Perhaps we were being ironic.........

Anger at both the referee and scoreline led some to make their way to the edge of the pitch in a menacing manner. One of our finest did get on the pitch and ran over to the Bury fans. He was soon on his way out.

Post match and it kicked off outside too. All totally unnecessary and all brought about by our fans. As my lad observed " it's not Bury's fault that we're s**t ! ". Very true.

I fear that some " fans " feel that the dispute with Roland is an excuse to behave how they like. It isn't and CARD has always stated that protests etc should be legal and peaceful. 

If the trend towards this behaviour continues then there will no doubt be sanctions. One of these may well be a restriction on away fans so it's somewhat counter-productive in a season in which a number of fans will only be attending away games.

Aside from that I don't want to be associated with that and it damages our reputation. It makes one feel even more removed from our club at a time when connection to it is severely tested already.

All in all it made a bad day even more depressing. To make matters worse I couldn't get a post-match beer near the ground as a direct result of the actions of some of our boys ! 

Let's hope things are better on and off the pitch at Cheltenham tonight. Mr Slade got a few things wrong on Saturday. Hopefully he can put that right this evening. I'd go with the strongest team he can play. We need a good performance never mind result. 

I'm hoping to be in a better mood come 10pm tonight.

Come On You Reds !