Monday 28 November 2016

Happy With A Draw

Sheffield Steel but the Blades lacked a cutting edge.

For pretty much the whole game I’m sure most of us would have settled for a point on Saturday against a strong Blades side that looked fit, quick and inventive.

Clearly we didn’t deserve a share of the spoils but it’s happened to us before so we’ll not concern ourselves too much over that.

Clearly Nugent has the best record of any Charlton interim manager just eclipsing the great Fraeye. That the club didn’t hold on a little longer is a missed opportunity unless Nugent himself really didn’t want the job of course.

I’m pleased to see him remain on the coaching staff although it’s getting a bit crowded there with the imminent arrival of Barker and Roly’s latest stooge CO’L lurking around in the background.

Whilst outplayed for most of the game it is to the team’s credit that they hung on in there to get the draw. One can’t help but feel we would have been a more potent force if Botaka and Chicksen had started or at least one of them.

United’s goal came from a well organised free kick routine that was greatly assisted by our boys deciding to a mannequin challenge on the pitch. Added to this Phillips had one stain on his performance by being beaten so easily at the near post. Better positioning might have prevented the goal but he was cruelly exposed by his team-mates.

That aside Phillips produced a mature and polished performance making several impressive and crucial saves.

It should be noted that the referee was pretty shocking as he let a lot of cynical United fouls go unpunished whereas the slightest infringement from our boys was punished immediately.

Now we have a break from league action as the latest arrival on the Addicks managerial merry-go-round, Karl Robinson climbs aboard.

He has a full week to get his ideas across and decide on his best side. Robinson won’t ever approach a game with more knowledge of the oppo than this one so failure to win won’t be a great start…… pressure !

I can’t see a reason to field anything other than the strongest starting eleven we can with the potential of a prize third round draw in the offing.

Friday 25 November 2016

Tough Test

This Robinson ( Red Robbo ) didn't have a problem with protests !

The dreaded deed has been done and Karl Robinson is now our manager. For me he is everything our club historically isn’t as evidenced not least by his previous ill-advised comments about our club. However, he’s now chosen to take the Belgian shilling and is now making different noises.

I’ll not comment any further on him at present other than I hope he proves me wrong, acts with some decorum and is a success. At least Adam Chicksen will be pleased with his arrival as he would appear to have a better chance of getting a regular game unless there’s some baggage we’re not aware of.

Saturday sees Nugent’s final game in charge. Far be it from me to point out the inconsistencies of his short tenure against the longevity ( relatively speaking ! ) of the previous interim manager !

If ever we needed a “ wait and see “ approach for a caretaker boss then this was it. I hope he stays on the staff but Robinson will probably bring over Barker but was we know the tail wags the dog so he may not get his way on that should he so wish.

The recent rather disturbing, nay sinister appointment, of CO’L to the football management team ought to be a concern for Robinson. One hopes he has had the sense to clarify his role but since his only managerial experience to date is with one club he is still wet behind the ears in that respect. In addition, he may have taken promises for the owner at face value. One would like to think he’s done at least a little research into him and how things operate in S.E. 7.

The last two performances mean that we go into battle with the Blades in better heart than one would have expected a couple of weeks ago. Injuries and long term ones at that to Solly and Holmes restrict our options. Hopefully Rudd isn’t out for too long although Phillips performed well on Tuesday I believe.

The aforementioned Chicksen deserves his first Valley league start. Botaka ought to start although his 30 minutes last Saturday left a bit to be desired possibly due to lack of game time.

The Blades fans have bought out their entire allocation and will be I good voice no doubt. At least some atmosphere is assured as a result.

This will be a tough test for The Addicks but on present form they seem up to it. A win would be fantastic and we could start looking up the table.

Come On You Reds !

Wednesday 23 November 2016

5 Go Mad In Bristol !

Well, I’m not sure what’s more unexpected, last night’s scoreline or the imminent appointment of Karl Robinson. However, I know which one pleases me more !

Clearly Mr Nugent is able to get more out of our squad ( bearing in mind the injuries too ) than Slade was. One always felt that our squad ought to be doing better and that to be more attacking was the best option and under his charge the Addicks have shown that to be the case in these last two games.

It was great to see Chicksen start, have a couple of assists and to score a good goal. One wonders why on earth Slade couldn’t have found room for him. After all, he recruited him.

5 different goal scorers is good news and they were all good quality too. Ajose’s strike was superb along with Lookman’s and Josh showed that he can poach goals inside the box. All really good to see.

I’m delighted for all those hardy fans who made the trip to Bristol last night. Well done you ! It’s good to see that loyalty ( and optimism ) rewarded !

After winning two games in four days, scoring 7 goals and conceding one, and that from the spot, you’d hope that our SMT would sit on their hands until after Saturday at least. The Blades will provide a real acid test and not to hold on a little longer would seem foolish. Oh well……….

It seems that we are about to witness Robinson’s appointment as manager then. He was seen at the game last night and apparently spoke to a few supporters. As I would expect ( and the rest will need to get used to – they weren’t words of wisdom if they were reported accurately ).

Living in MK I am well aware of Robinson. If you want an insight into him then speak to some MK Dons fans. Those I’ve spoken to weren’t sad to see him go. Bear in mind he’d taken them to the Champ too.

They’ll tell you he is a whinger of the highest order. Officials come in for the blame following any defeat and he’s far from popular with them – a younger Warnock if you like.

I understand that he wasn’t happy that little money was forthcoming to boost his team following the sale of Deli Ali. That he couldn’t negotiate a better outcome with Pete Winkleman doesn’t bode well for someone who will have to deal with worse than the Dons chairman.

Does he have a good eye for a player ? Well, he signed Simon Church last season as part of the plan to stay in the Champ. He expected him to bring goals and anyone who watch Church play for us will testify that prolific is one thing Church is not.

About two months into last season and Robinson still maintained he just needed a goal and more will follow. They didn’t of course and before the season was up Church was sent out on loan.

Can he motivate players and get the best from them ? Well, he got Poyet on loan from West Ham early last season and failed to get anything from him and Poyet ended up on the bench and then returning to the East End as we all know.

The prospect of him managing our club fills me with dread. I fear he won’t have any appreciation for our history and culture.

If he is manager, I hope he proves me entirely wrong of course. Sadly, I feel he is ill-equipped in nearly every aspect for the challenge that managing our club is under this owner.

Monday 21 November 2016

Lack Of Atmosphere and Please God No !

Spot the customer !

The Valley was a deserted place on Saturday and had an eerie feel about it and not in a Palace way. As I walked up to the turnstiles there was a distinct lack of both customers and atmosphere. It was like to going to a non-league game.

It didn’t improve once inside the ground where the absence of many fans was even more noticeable. The Red, Red Robin was far from bobbing along too. I’ve been to funerals with a better, more positive vibe.

A reasonable first half saw The Addicks show more attacking intent than usual and a couple of good goals were enough to see us secure the 3 points. The second half was a drab affair and a poor Port Vale side threatened little with their cow’s backside and banjo attempts attempts on goal.

Injuries weren’t sufficient to offer a starting place for Botaka although he did get a full 30 minutes as sub. Obviously he was suffering shock as he put in a rather insipid performance that was a great disappointment to those of us who have been championing his cause.

I understand that if his loan is to be renewed in January it requires the agreement of all 3 parties, i.e. the 2 clubs and himself. It seems unlikely that we’ll see him in 2017 then because I can’t see him wanting to sign up for more bench warming duty. In any case I think he’ll be away on African Nations Cup duty for a while so we might turn our attentions elsewhere.

All that aside it does seem strange to select an ageing Jackson whose best left midfield days are a thing of the past over a younger man whose position is just that.

Fox did well and showed that perhaps he wouldn’t be a bad shout for that left side position although of course that would mean giving Chicksen a start in the league and that would never do !

Post match and the win was greeted with the now customary indifference that anyone who arrived having missed the preceding 90 minutes wouldn’t know if we’d won, lost or drawn !

To think that Roly wants us to enjoy the whole match-day experience. No wonder he’s given up on the live feed ( if he ever did watch it of course ). Franckie et Bennie’s must seem an awful lot more appealing.

Rumour has it that Karl Robinson is now emerging as the favourite to be next on the chopping block. Please God, No ! Whatever the question is he sure ain’t the answer.

The cardigan wearing Robinson is like a well fed Phil Parkinson sans the managerial ability. He’s earned himself a reputation as a whinging b*****d and as a result is about as popular as Colin with referees.
He’s had one job to date under a chairman who failed to dismiss when he should have done last season. Robinson himself should have realised his time was up in the summer and moved on.

We don’t need him and there are many other, better options available. I think Paul Scholes has done most of his badges and if you want a slightly left field appointment then he wouldn’t be a bad shout….if he’d come

Nathan Jones would be ideal but he’s unlikely to want to leave Luton under normal circumstances let alone potentially tarnish his growing reputation at this stage of his career.

In the meantime we’re off to Bristol Rovers tomorrow night where anything other than defeat would be good. A balancing act is needed as we’ll need to field our strongest eleven if we’re to get anything from Saturday against the high-flying Blades.

Friday 18 November 2016

All The World's A Stage........

Shakespeare walks into a pub and the landlord says " you're Bard ! ".

And all the men and women merely customers;
They have their exits ( save for one Lady MacMeire ) and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts
( businessman, politician, slayer of football clubs ).

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Katrien is in the Sun,
( Forsooth ! In the sports pages announcing the latest long term appointment, many hours after the news was broken on a piece of parchment nailed to a tree in Floyd Road – twitter ye not ! ).


We want Roland out !
We want Roland out ! 

First Witch.

“ Methinks thou dost protest too much ! “.

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Addicks seek him everywhere.
Is he in Leuven ? Is he in Halle ?
That damned, elusive septuagenarian.

Darlings ! I expect to see my fellow thespians in S.E.7 tomorrow !

Come On Thou Reds !

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The Buck Stops..........

The extent to which Mr Slade was hampered and impeded by the regime is unclear and will probably not be known for some time. I’m sure it can’t have helped in recent weeks to have a network manager sat in the stands.

However, whilst acknowledging all that and the reality of working for these buffoons Slade’s decision making and tactics did result in some of the worst football I’ve seen at The Valley in over 50 years of support.

Lookman on corners, the refusal to ever start league games with Chicksen, Tex, Botaka etc. The ever changing frontline. Playing the wrong players out wide. The list goes on.

Therefore, to a large extent Slade must take some responsibility for his downfall. I acknowledged that he improved a number of things off the pitch and in the general set up. However, as I remarked before these seem to me to be the fairly bog standard way of running things and a minimum expectation.

Mr Slade appears a decent man who early doors struggled to cope with the pressure as evidenced by a couple of testy responses in interviews following poor displays. One recalls his “ it’s not me on the pitch “ response in particular.

Under normal circumstances I can’t believe there’d be too much outcry at his departure. I wish him well and hope that he finds another job soon. One thing’s for sure, he’s likely to find better employers than in his previous two managerial posts.

A wise man ( and fellow blogger ) recently said to me “ be careful what you wish for “ following a bit of a rant about Mr Slade. How right he may prove to be. We’ll have to wait and see as to whether we get a decent replacement or yet another network failure. The early signs don’t look good.

A network manager would only fan the flames further and really cause merry hell.

This latest episode is further evidence as to how bullet-proof our CEO is. Her inability to hire and support the people she appoints is staggering. Anyone with an ounce of personal integrity would have walked long ago. Instead we get the usual spin and she goes into hiding.

Duchatelet clearly won’t fire her despite her overseeing the worst period in the club’s history as she alienates the fans and haemorrhages vast amounts of money.

Given the response to yesterday’s news it would appear that a majority of the media and football experts are finally turning against her and Roly. No amount PR help is going to get you out a mess this big.

One can only hope that the biggest and best result that most of us seek will come to pass sooner as a result. That is, of course, that Roly and Kat sell up and go !

Monday 14 November 2016

Dire !

The loss was inevitable the gutless performance perhaps less so !

It’s ok for Slade to come out and apologise but pity the poor sods that had to shell out to be there as well as make the effort to do so. If you want to start building bridges forget your 34 fruitless meetings with the customers………how about you at least refund them the ticket money !

Apparently, we without some “ regulars “ on Saturday. I think you can exclude Botaka from that group. Viewed as a squad player by Slade it seems. He’s played more international football than that of the club variety !

We have a slow and ponderous midfield and yet the poor guy can’t get a start !

Slade seemingly has no ability to motivate the players. Ahead of the game you’d have set them up for the battle. You’d have laid down the challenge. You’d have pointed out what an opportunity it was to stake a claim in a club who will always give youngsters a chance ( unless you’re a midfielder of course ! ).

“ They’re making us play without our full squad available. We’ll show ‘em ! “

Do we have no young midfielder that we could have given a start to ? Not even a place on the bench for one ! What was there to lose ?

Checkatrade Chicksen again overlooked but yet looked quite lively when he got a few minutes on the pitch. Even then it wasn’t in his preferred position. Can Slade not link Fox’s poor performances to him being under no pressure ?

Hanlon played out wide ! Ulvestad pushed out wide ! Tex doesn’t start or come on to shore up a poor defence.

What on earth is Slade thinking ? I despair !

Apparently the lads had spent all week working on that formation ! Didn’t look like it did it ? Never mind, Slade is going to make amends next week.

A club or owner with some real ambition would have dismissed Slade by now. Not just for results but because of the truly awful performances and style of play. He has a decent squad but is not getting the most from it.

Our wonderful CEO really messed up by not agreeing to Chris Wilder’s demands. I can’t believe they were outrageous.

The problem is now who is going to want to come to us even if Slade did get the sack ? There are some decent managers out there and one only need look at those linked with the MK Dons job to see that.

There are some tough games coming up and I can only see things getting worse, the mood will darken and Slade comes under pressure even if only from the fans.

It would be remiss of me not to wish our glorious owner a happy 70th birthday and as you’ll all know there is taxi out there waiting to give him a lift. It’s seems only fair given that he’s taken us all for a ride.

Friday 11 November 2016

Footie On The Telly !

The Addicks go into Saturday’s televisual feast having not tasted defeat in 6 games ( cups and league over 90 minutes ) and not since 1st October in league games. It can been said there is a modicum of momentum albeit that this has been gained against some lesser teams, Scunthorpe aside.

Any Addick who’s been around the block a few times will tell you that you can never be optimistic ahead of any game and there are 2 good reasons why this is especially so for Swindon away.

Firstly. we’re on live TV. Secondly, we’re without three automatic first choice players maybe even four if Ricky’s foot injury hasn’t healed in time.

Therefore, the omens are not good. However, in the face of adversity and all that and The Robins haven’t been pulling up any trees ( no surprise really as they’d be homeless if they did eh ! ).

Let’s hope we can get something and then build on that with home wins. It’s a big ask as Slade’s negative and dull football doesn’t give one any real cause for optimism. Over 50 years of supporting the club hasn’t quite extinguished my hopefulness so I shall watch with the attitude of a glass half full.

Meanwhile tonight we witness an international fixture that was a massive game when I were a lad ! England v Scotland was one of the few live televised games back in the day. There was a real sense of anticipation as it was the climax of the Home Internationals. That’s a traditional tournament that is sadly missed but these days players play so many games that it simply can’t be fitted into the calendar.

This is the calendar that is overloaded by more important ( some might say lucrative ) pre-season and mid-season games in the Far East etc. Of course, one is sympathetic to the financial needs of both players and clubs as they scrape an existence hand to mouth such is the dearth of money at the top end of the game.

Realistically tonight’s game carries less significance than days of old despite being a World Cup qualifier. Neither team is likely to do well even if they get to the finals. England play some awful football as they labour to overcome the apparent minnows of the football world ( a group that we’re surely a prominent member of ).

These games used to be good as there was real passion and meaning to them. In addition, loads of Scottish players played in the top flight in England. Goalkeepers aside, they were by and large quality players ( exhibit A – Denis Law ).

That’s not to say I expect England to win tonight, far from it, I’ll not be at all surprised to see Scotland win. If they do perhaps some fans will celebrate in Chris Powell’s Hillsborough style !

Come On You Reds !