Monday 31 October 2016

Getting A Bad Press

Dull ? That's a bit harsh.

Ditchwater move over there's a new kid in town. Exhibit A, Saturday's first half in S.E. 7.

Events on the pitch are a long way removed to being a distraction of those off it. Prior to kick off Mr Slade promised us a fast start that I took to mean that we'd be at Chesterfield from the off start. Like a lot of things that seems to have been lost in translation at the training ground.

Perhaps I expect too much in wanting to be entertained and see my team playing some decent football. As a result I get frustrated when the ball is constantly banged up to Magennis. That wouldn't be so bad if he won most of those long balls resulting in us retaining possession. I haven't kept any stats but we usually lose it and are defending straight away.

Does Slade have any idea what he's doing ? Why is Lookman still taking corners and some set pieces ? The previous home game aside after 15 minutes you'd know that he shouldn't be taking them and would have passed the duty over to Holmes. Worse still was that he was asked to do so on both sides !

The players are to blame to an extent as unless Slade has specifically told them not to but why couldn't they think " well this isn't working why don't I go over and we'll try a short corner " ? 

The football under Slade is so defensive and horrible to watch. Botaka still didn't start as Lookman was asked to play on the left again. Not his best position I feel and at the same time, Holmes, an excellent winger who is most effective on the left isn't allowed to play there. Occasionally Mr Slade allows him to swap over for a while but not start there.

We all hope Ajose does well but you've got to earn that place but on Saturday he missed at least two golden chances. Play Lookman in behind Magennis has got to be an option or as part of an attacking three behind Josh and Novak.

Some will point to the subs made that resulted in our last minute winner. I'd say why didn't he make those changes or earlier or even better pick the right starting eleven in the first place ? If he had surely we wouldn't have struggled to beat a poor Chesterfield side.

The one good thing is that we've stopped losing and perhaps have a modicum of momentum. However, this has been achieved against some of the division's poorer teams. Greater tests await in November and at the end of that we'll have better idea of what we can expect of this squad.

To be honest, I don't hold out much hope unless Slade has a road to Damascus moment. We can but dream !

Thursday 27 October 2016


...and all we get is NightMeires !

The Talksport interview with our CEO as expected gave us no answers and as she repeated the same old narrative.

Still no acceptance of her part in this mess. In response to the allegation that's she's out of her depth. " I wouldn't still be here if I was ".

No ! It's only because Roly, for some obscure reason, refuses to sack her !

I'd have pressed her further and asked her at what point would she feel she ought to go ? How bad does it have to get before you feel you need to resign.

Things at Standard Liege were different apparently. Really ? Why ? How ? Jim should have asked her to elaborate on that. I can't see anything other than fans were fed up with the owner and wanted him out which sounds familiar to me !

No offers to buy the club ? Really ?

The massive drop off in season ticket sales is purely down to relegation. It wasn't the same last time we were relegated so it's got to be more than that.

Sadly that interview got diluted with input mostly from Danny Murphy. Whose input really didn't help and only served to get her out of a hole.

Clearly Murphy did no research and hasn't a clue. All he could pick up on was the visit to her parents place. Murphy feels all fans want is improved results.......arghhh !!!

Similarly Dean hasn't a clue either. Both bought into the open dialogue and were in awe of the training ground investment.

Why not ask her about the comments about seeing our players in Premiership playing for other clubs.

Those two helped her have an easy ride as they made it more of a generic football discussion.

She needed to be asked many more pertinent and difficult questions but sadly
A lot of talk about the investment in the club but not explanation that it is all in the terms of loans.........he'll want his money back in the end you numpties !!they didn't get asked. Had there been a fan in the studio with her it would have been better. They would not have let her off the hook.

Sadly it was all to predictable and at the end of this interview we're no nearer knowing Roly's intentions or to having any hope that he'll go any time soon. Clearly Katrien will cling on as long as she can no matter how bad it gets.

In the end, to quote Denis Healey...." it was like being savaged by a dead sheep ".

The battle continues..........

Friday 21 October 2016

Hamming It Up !

After Pork Vale the Addicks next port of call on the porcine places list is GillingHAM ! Sadly, try as I might I can't tie in our next home opponents, Chesterfield on a similar theme. Never mind as Pork Vale follow in the next league game at home after that so all is not lost !

Tuesday's draw was almost inevitable as it followed the oft repeated pattern of leading late into the game only to go on to lose or in this case draw. It is criminal the number of points that we've thrown  away this season from a winning position.

It is against that background that a number of travelling Addicks voiced and directed their anger and frustration at Mr Slade. Had it been a one off then I'm sure nothing would have said.

The boss pretty much lost it in the post-match interview and I have a little sympathy but he's old enough and hopefully, experienced enough to know better than to respond in the way he did.

The old trick of sending out your deputy in such circumstances usually works well and Slade would have been wise to do so.

Mr Slade yesterday said the lessons would be learned and there is an immediate opportunity to put things right as another challenge was ahead etc. etc. All well and good but it's getting like a stuck record and starting to resemble the sound bites we get before we play Millwall before going on to lose again.

You know the stuff " I'm well aware of what this fixtures means to the fans ", " the lads are really up for it " and my all time favourite " the lads have worked really hard in training this week " ! Huh ? So normally they pretty much can't be ar**d then ?

No matter how you dress it up Slade has a pretty decent squad at his disposal and as I've observed before other managers, many less experienced are getting  an awful lot more from their squads.

I've no idea what the is issue is with Tex but surely you get him into the squad even if only for the sake of expediency. To continue our topic, why be so pig-headed ?

Hopefully we can get something from tomorrow's game as we're only a couple of defeats away from slipping back into real danger.

Good luck to anyone going tomorrow, I hope it proves worthwhile.

Come On You Reds !

Monday 17 October 2016

Trotters ? But We've Already Played Bolton.

Porkies ! Thousands of them ! Seems very apt in every way under this regime.

The pre-match meeting between some fans and the SMT witnessed a few more I understand. It appears that Kevin Foley has settled in so well that he is now a member of the SMT as he was also present. Someone had to fill Johnnie’s place I guess.

Katrien again failed to answers questions and Tony appeared keen to change the subject whilst still managing to put his foot in it.

If these meetings are genuinely intended to be an attempt to understand fans anger and suggest what the future plans are, then they’re simply not working.

I’d love to be at one. I’d ask Katrien what objectives Roland set her last year. I’d also ask about this year and I’d want to know what the consequences of her not meeting them are.

Either she’s not set any, they are so vague as to be meaningless or there’s no consequence of failure.

None of these meetings is filmed and no genuine account or record is forthcoming from the club. So much for an open approach and a willingness to put things right.

Details of the march and flying pigs are covered in great detail by others and all will now be aware of that. In addition, the rather worrying alleged assault of a young man who had the audacity to wave a flag.

Awareness raised in all forms of media and both sets of fans will be pleased that for a short while at least their plights have been highlighted. Whether it helps achieve the ultimate goal of ridding ourselves of Roland and co is open to debate of course.

However, it’s got to be better than doing nothing. Sitting on your hands accepting it all really oughtn’t to be an option. One can’t simply allow them to carry on unimpeded.

I still don’t understand Roland’s raison d’etre. Surely he is now simply holding on just hoping to at least get his money back. Unlikely I’d say but it won’t stop him trying it seems.

On the pitch the scoreline flatters an average performance against a poor team devoid of confidence but that still could have taken a share of the spoils at least.

Novak was a big disappointment for me. Little effort and too quick to moan at others seemingly in an attempt to cover his own shortcomings.

Our subs were odd and I was dismayed to see Hanlan come on to play on the right side of midfield.

A win’s a win I guess and I’d like to think we’ll kick on from here but I can’t really see it. Hopefully I’m wrong.

The omens at least are good as tomorrow night we play Pork Vale.

Friday 14 October 2016

Lipstick On A Pig

Appropriately, as protests return to S.E.7 we play Coventry, a place most Addicks would happily send the owner and his crew. Sadly, that doesn’t seem likely and in any case, Coventry would already appear to quorate in respect of bad owners.

A number of Coventry fans, as repulsed as the majority of Addicks by poor ownership, will be joining in the pre-match protests. This will probably extend to the same during the game. Protests from all four corners of the ground. Sadly, nothing new in that in recent times.

When Duchatelet recently announced that CAFC represents only 1.5% of his investments / time, you have to wonder why he steadfastly refuses to engage in any way regarding a potential sale. This is especially weird when the club must be haemorrhaging money at an ever increasing rate.

One could also ponder on why Katrien stays whilst overseeing our disastrous decline never once accepting any personal responsibility. However, let’s face it she’ll never  have another job that offer such good pay and high public profile as she does now.

This is as good as it gets for Miss Meire and whatever she does after this, unless still in Roly’s pay, she most certainly won’t be working in football.

Despite all the nonsense that has gone on for nearly three years now they still try and have you believe they mean well and that lessons have been learned.

This week has seen another application of lipstick on the pig. Wallpaper featuring great moments and stats from Charlton’s history has gone up in the tunnel area. All well and good but you really are literally papering over the cracks however you want to spin it.

What am I meant to feel about that ? Does the regime seriously expect me to touch a forelock and bow and scrape as I self-consciously slip away in awe of the magnitude of such a gesture ?

Of course they do and so I should as the least I can do after all this is what connecting with the fans customers is all about isn’t it ?

Never mind that I hear the Duchatelet apologists cry, what about the investment in Sparrows Lane and the latest phase of development announced yesterday ?

Under proper stewardship and with club heading in the right direction it would be great news. However, what is the point of a wonderful academy with great facilities if you’re slipping down the leagues.

Status is everything and any decent player is going to join a club at a higher level, no matter how much poorer the facilities. In any case, at some point, basic economics dictates that it becomes unsustainable

Over the years via various owners there has been investment in the ground and we now have magnificent stadium. However, it means diddly squat if what is served up for 90 minutes on the pitch is such utter dross that it only serves to depress you failing to inspire and excite you in any way. That’s where it’s going now as we find that we apparently are unable to compete at the lowest level we have found ourselves in living memory.

Back in the day you had an atmosphere, players you could relate to like Killer, Flash, Powell etc.  In more recent times it was Kinsella, Kiely, Mendonca etc.

It was what happened on the pitch that most mattered most and it was a real experience.  On a good day Charlton played well, maybe even won and the tea hut would avoid being razed to the ground !

In terms of refreshments you might see the occasional peanut seller. In order to get your half time scores you needed to borrow an Enigma machine to work them out !

It’s simple really, half decent football from players who care and a club to be proud of maybe watching with family and / or friends. That’s pretty much my ideal match day experience in a nutshell.

Even at its most dilapidated best just prior to the sojourn in Croydon The Valley had an appeal, a sense of belonging and a raw atmosphere that’s hard to match. You can’t buy that and it’s sadly missing at present.

Coming back home in 1992 and the appeal remained as the phoenix rose from the flames. Was it the same ? No, not exactly but regeneration and success on the pitch brought a new and exciting atmosphere albeit lacking the rawness of days of old.

League-wise we’ve been up, down, up, down, down, up and down again. No problem with that as it’s the roller coaster we’ve come to expect and associate with The Addicks. However, in the words of Status Quo “ we’re down, down, deeper and down “. Like a newly graduated limbo dancer, we’ve never been so low !

Are these the ramblings of a soppy old sod looking through rose-tinted glasses ? Too bl**dy right they are ! I make no apologies for that.

This soppy old sod just wants to feel proud of his club again. To be able to look forward to enjoying the unique atmosphere of The Valley again. To feel a sense of belonging again. To actually enjoy watching a game and see us play well !

Come On You Reds !

Friday 7 October 2016

Four-gone Conclusion

Maybe he'll be at the Coventry game with Eric Hitchmough !

I wrote last Friday that “  tomorrow sees the second of 4 consecutive home games and it’s not inconceivable that we won’t win one of them “.

Well, three have now been and gone and having lost two and drawn one there’s a real chance that my worst fears are being realised. In fact more than that as we’ve managed two miss two penalties in doing so !

One would like to be able to write off the Checkatrade debacle and in better circumstances it could be viewed in isolation and brushed off. However, we live in “ interesting times “ to say the least and it’s simply not possible to do so.

A win, allied to a good performance, was the minimum that was required and Mr Slade failed to deliver again. He put out a fairly strong team, one that ought to do well enough to compete in League One never mind against a League Two team.

Post match and we were treated to the usual bluster from Slade about things that the team needs to work on and how the break would be used to address them. Sadly, we’ve been here before and nothing changes other than things seem to get worse.

There appeared to be much in Slade’s favour when he arrived. Alright, he wasn’t Chris Wilder, the main managerial target, who’s produced at least two good teams at the level below with both now at ours and whose Sheff Utd side have steadily risen up the table this season.

Slade appeared to have the right amount of experience and knowledge to turn things around to turn. Further to this he made much of the contacts he has in the game to add to his credibility leading us customers to believe that we had a good chance of achieving the top six finish he all but promised. However, as time marches on it seems that Slade only talks a good game.

The select meeting of fans with the manager a few weeks ago saw a number of people impressed by Slade’s reference to statistics and attention to detail such as the table cloths in the canteen at the training ground and players staying for a meal after training to ensure they eat well and to aid team bonding.

Of course, he was right to address these issues. However, the reality is that it is  shocking that the club had sunk so far that things were allowed to descend to that level. These are basic issues and I suspect that nearly all clubs are run in this way. Thus, they are bog standard rather than a mark of genius.

Some will say it’s easy to criticise ( and indeed it is ! ) and maybe me as an ordinary customer is unaware of extenuating circumstances making Mr Slade’s job difficult, if not impossible. Perhaps there are and if so, then he needs to voice concerns and resign if they’re not addressed.

It’ll be no good if years down the line he reveals something in his defence that he fails to mention now. His reputation and credibility are seriously damaged if so.

Some fans are keen to give him more time than he perhaps deserves although I do feel this is partly driven by a fear of who might replace him if he gets the tin tack. Certainly that is a worry given the regime’s track record on managerial appointments let alone other ones ! However, unless Slade produces a tactical and motivational rabbit out of a hat another season of struggle is on the cards.

The ongoing failure to win allied to some of the worst football some of us have witnessed in 50 odd years of supporting the team only serves to fan the flames of discontent at Duchatelet’s continued ownership.

Given that Roly is showing no signs of wanting to sell or to remove Teflon Katrien the tensions arising from an already fractured owner-customer relationship can only increase and the Coventry game won’t be played out to a happy-clappy atmosphere.

I keep thinking and hoping that we’ve reached the bottom of the abyss but not yet it seems and things will get worse before they get better. An incredible thing to say but it’s true although there’s little room left for this to happen as we either descend into League 2 and perhaps non-league football or the club folds.

On that note, have a good weekend ! ( at least we’re not playing ! ) 

Monday 3 October 2016

How's Your Luck !

Pretty, pretty good !

Sunday saw me at Wembley for a bit of football American style as welcome break from watching The Addicks. This was Jacksonville Jaquars v Indianapolis Colts.

Of course one’s mind is taken back to the great day in May 1998 and several times images of super Clive’s goals and celebrations and Gray’s not so hot penalty replayed.

The reward for Charlton that day was promotion to the Premier League and untold riches. Fast forward 18 years and the contrast could hardly be more stark.

Another sportsman to grace the Wembley turf yesterday was Colts Quaterback, the aptly named Andrew Luck. Mr Luck was rewarded back in June with a contract worth $140m over 6 years ! Hmmm and we think Premiership footballers are overpaid !

Whilst far from being an expert or familiar with the nuances of the game I enjoyed what turned out to be a close game. A far cry from what was served up by our boys on Saturday.

For the second time in 5 days Charlton managed to serve up another insipid performance as we were again treated to some of the most mindless football I’ve ever witnessed……..even at this level !

Mr Slade had the lads banging the ball up to Josh ad infinitum and I can’t ever recall us getting any joy from it but it didn’t stop us trying.

I think Slade is watching a different game to us. If something isn’t working then you change it don’t you ? As an example why would you continue to let Lookman take corners after the previous 3 or 4 brought no joy whatsoever ? Most failed to clear the first defender and if they did they sailed out of play and into touch !

We don’t have the best midfield of course but the squad overall is blessed with some decent players most of whom could reasonably expect to start in most teams in this league. Yet we still get outplayed by lesser squads who are seemingly being organised and motivated.

With every passing game I’m convinced that we won’t see the talented Lookman in a Charlton shirt past December. To be honest I wouldn’t blame him for going. What a waste.

Despite an awful display on Tuesday there was still no room for Botaka and Chicksen in the starting eleven. When those players knock on Slade’s door and demand to know why they’re not playing I wonder what the boss’s response is ?

“ Sorry lads but we’re playing so well at the moment and I can’t find a place for you in the team ! “. As I said much more of this and Leeds will be recalling their man. Especially if, as Mr Slade alluded to, we boo him when he comes on as a sub.

Really Mr Slade ? Come on, if you want to create a diversion from another poor game please don’t insult our intelligence. You know as well as anyone else that the boos were for removing one of our two most creative players.

We have a ponderous midfield and yet Slade can’t fashion a team that sees both our wingers start. In addition, he fails to get the best out of Lookman. All the time he continues to play Skip.

We all hold him in high regard but he is struggling this season and he is probably best used as a sub and a motivator or guide to other players.

Please can we start a game without Josh ? He does well but his presence means we’re just constantly hoofing in his direction but there’s never anyone to feed off him so what’s the point ?

You can bet your bottom dollar that most of the footie for a fiver people won’t be back for some time if ever. Many were heard saying that after the game so that promotion was a resounding success eh ?

Thankfully we’ve a break after tomorrow’s meaningless trophy game. Just as well as it would have been a trouncing at Millwall no doubt and never mind the players, we need a break ourselves !

Mr Slade has said he’ll use the break to work on things and improve play but he said that of the last one and we seem to have gone backwards ! I’m sensing that the players are losing faith with him as much as the fans.

It’s a shame as I hoped he’d be good for us and at least get the best out of our squad but we’re a long way from that. I’m not sure how many more games Mr Slade has left but things need to improve or he’ll be latest in the long line of managerial casualties under the present regime.