Monday, 1 August 2022

Charlton Summed Up in 3 Minutes!

Defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory with Stanley's late equaliser coming just 2 minutes after what seemed like a winning goal for us from Miles Leaburn. It summed up being a Charlton fan!

Addicks were still celebrating the first Leaburn goal for many a year when Accrington levelled things and denied us the 3 points. It would be disappointing enough in any game but denied what would have been a fairytale ending for the Addicks.

Nonetheless, gaining a point away to Accrington was something that most of us would have taken before kick off.

Hats off to any supporter that made the long trip to the Wham Stadium on Saturday. There are many tales of long and frustrating journeys home with many not getting home until after the midnight hour.

Good to see that some of the football from us was good especially in the first half. Not so good that we faded in the second and weren't able to maintain the standard set in the first 45 minutes.

Playing out from the back and trying to playing good football is to be applauded but my fears with us trying do so frequently remains a concern. It seemingly caused us problems and will continue to do so as we don't have the players with the requisite skill level to do so effectively.

In respect of the good it was a well worked move that saw us take the lead. It'd be great to see more of that and we will need our midfielders to weigh in with a decent amount of goals given our dearth of strikers. In addition, as it seems that Stockley isn't enjoying or adapting well to the manager's preferred formation we can't rely on him getting many.

I prefer the skipper to be a midfielder of central defender as there are more involved in the game and see a larger part of what is going on. They can effect individual players and the team better. That's not so easy for a striker.

Given that and  Jayden struggling in our current formation it is puzzling that he was made captain without denying his leadership qualities.

I was dancing round the living room when Miles scored whilst unsurprisingly shouting Leabuuuuurn! like many others. Of course my joy was short lived, however, I'm still so pleased for him and his family.

Our attempt to see out the game was poor. Someone needed to stop their attack and to take a yellow for the team. Sadly, their advances when unchallenged as we retreated too deep.

As pleased as we all are for Miles we cannot expect him to play a full season and keep delivering. Sandgaard may well now think he doesn't need to get another striker and he'd be very wrong.

Given that we look likely to concede a few goals we desperately need to address this but then we knew that already. 

It's hard to know what to expect this season. Saturday was the proverbial curate's egg. By the end of August Charlton will have played 6 league games, the transfer window will be closed and we will have a clear vision of what to expect this season.

Finally, a word on England Women's fantastic achievement. How good was that! The whole event was a huge success and showed just how great sport can be. The women have been excellent role models and ought to inspire a generation.

They have been great and I suspect there is even more to come from them. Well done the Lionesses!  



Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Women Lead The Way!

Another fine performance by the England Women's football team has seen them reach the finals of the Euros. Well done to them and let's hope they can get one more win to cap an excellent campaign.

With each passing game (no pun intended) they have increasingly captured the nation's imagination and their profile has been raised.

At the same time, our women's cricket team has continued to perform brilliantly this summer. They have equally displayed high levels of skill and performances. Apart from a washed out test match they have swept South Africa aside in every game.

Both teams have raised more than just the profile of their sports. They have increased the overall awareness of sport and highlighted just what can be achieved by girls and women. 

Aside from the great skill and togetherness that has been displayed, it's wonderful to see how much the players actually enjoy the game. They play with smiles on their faces and mistakes aren't viewed as being the end of the world.

The sport is played with great sportsmanship and there is a real love of the game. I hope it's more than just nostalgia that makes me appreciate this. It's so refreshing!

I recall that when growing up footballers, cricketers and indeed most sports folk, would have a smile and a laugh. What has changed that that is rarely the case? 

I can only put it down to money. Women's sport has typically received less funding and prize money than men's. I believe that the highest paid women's footballer or cricketer is getting no more than £250k (there won't be many) per year. Per year!

These days it's a common salary per week for a Prem player!

If we hope to see the fun and enjoyment return to men's sport then that would need to be addressed. Sadly, it's not going to happen is it. Money is the master and it's has delivered the unlevel playing field that sees the same teams challenging and in respect of football, clubs yo-yoing between the top two tiers.

It's been a long time in the making but finally, we are starting to see the rewards of the investment that has gone into women's sport.

Ian Wright was spot on with his post match comments and if schools and clubs aren't already promoting girls sport, then now they should use this success as the catalyst to do so. Failure to do so is a real missed opportunity.

I've been involved in junior and school sport for some years. Sadly, there have been many examples where the girls teams don't get the same attention and focus as the boys. 

In some instances the main P.E. teacher would attend the boys games but you'd see another, less qualified member of staff at the girls. That's shocking but I'm pleased to say that in my experience, finally, that is improving.

It's ironic that it seems it's the old enemy that stands in the way of our football and cricket teams. I suspect that England will face Germany and Australia respectively in the finals of the Euros and the Commonwealth Games.

Let's hope that both can be successful. If not, no problem because they are already winners as will be the future generations of girls and women who now have people to aspire to and hopefully, develop a lifelong love of sport!




 

 

Monday, 25 July 2022

Strikers Needed!

Less than a week to go before the season kicks off. How is the team shaping up in what for owner Thomas Sandgaard at least is a very critical one?

Not great is my immediate view. The summer has seen quite a turnover in players with more going out than coming in. Ironically, given the current industrial unrest we seem to be the only ones unable to attract any strikers!

Burstow, Washington and Davison have all departed with no one coming in to replace them.

Having known we’d still be in the third tier well before the end of last season, I fail to see why we have not addressed this. After all, we knew Burstow and Washington were going before we kicked off against Ipswich in the final game.

Sandgaard made much of not repeating the recruitment errors of the previous summer but here we are again looking desperate in our need to get at least one attacked through the door.

Surely we had identified several players but we haven’t secured anyone. This may be down to Thomas being reluctant to spend a realistic amount of money to do so. After all, we haven’t spent a penny on any player in this window.

Garner has stated that we may well not get anyone in before the end of the transfer window. What preparation is that!

The best and in fact (due to Aneke’s injury) only striker we have striker we have seems uncomfortable in the gaffer’s preferred formation.

That we have failed to score in the games against Sutton and Swansea (you can’t count an O.G.) is a real cause for concern.

As promising as Miles Leaburn is and we all, particularly those of us who recall his dad’s playing days with great affection, want him to succeed. However, it’s unrealistic to expect him to play week in and week out. He needs to be played sparingly.

I hope that he and Kanu aren’t viewed as cheap options when neither is fully ready for full campaign in the League One.

Whilst I think Garner’s desired style of play is admirable and when successfully deployed will be pretty on the eye, it does need to right personnel.

Man City and Liverpool etc. are successful with it but they do have rather good players that are capable of implementing it. What I’ve seen several times frightens the life out of me and we look likely to give the ball away all too easily in and around the box.

There are some big clubs in this division again this season but we probably couldn’t have wished for a tougher start than Accrington away. Without doubt they will press and harry us all over the pitch.

If we are serious about challenging up the top of the table then we need a good start. Devoid of the firepower up front that seems unlikely.

Should things go really Pete Tong then Sandgaard will come under greater scrutiny than he has been afforded to date. He recruited Garner and has a lot to say on the style of play and promised much in return.

Both he and Martin are playing massive parts in the recruitment too. The buck stops with him if it doesn't work. He would need to explain why his much lauded son has not been able to deliver.

I hope my negativity is misplaced as we so need to vastly improve on the pitch and we all need to be cheered up by the distraction that our club is!

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Finally!

To no one’s surprise Ben Garner has finally be unveiled as the new manager.

Naturally, we had to wait until the owner was back in the UK until this was confirmed. Clearly, Sandgaard and her indoors were somewhat miffed that the news was released ahead of today’s announcement.

He does need to understand the nature of reporting and that journalists, especially Cawley, are free and to an extent duty bound, to report on their information.

Hopefully, Thomas will learn at least this lesson and maintain a more dignified approach and response next time. Cawley has maintained a dignified silence and remained professional throughout.

None of knows if Garner will be a success. He comes across well and has resisted or is at least sensible enough not to make outlandish statements in terms of claiming what he will achieve.

Garner seems to have a clear idea of how he wants his teams to play. Given that it is based on an attacking philosophy bodes well.

It would make sense and will maintain continuity from Garner’s side if his two assistants come with him.  One assumes that is the plan and is being worked on.

I’d love to know who the other candidates were that Sandgaard interviewed or applied for the job. I can’t believe that Garner was his first choice. Until a couple of weeks he wasn’t even in the frame.

In that respect I’d also be keen to know where he came from. Did he apply off his own bat? That seems unlikely especially if the assistants are part of the deal.

I was interested to hear Garner mention how impressed he was with what Thomas, Martin and Steve knew of him. It tells us that Junior is also involved with the recruitment of managers not just players.

None of the above is intended to rubbish Garner I’m just interested to know how the whole recruitment process was run and by who.

The most important thing to do now is get on with recruiting the players we need to push us up the table. That, plus we all need to get behind Ben Garner and give him every chance to succeed.

Let’s hope for some entertaining football allied to a more successful season than we have for some while now.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Better Than Roland!

It’s now 10 days since Thomas removed Jackson. The general feeling, not least given credit by Junior’s comment to Washington, is that has been on the cards for some time.

It’s puzzling therefore, as to why we seem no nearer appointing the new manager than on Tuesday 3rd May.

In the meantime, several players have been released with others in negotiation. The big question is who is sanctioning these deals and rubber stamping the decisions?

Presumably not the new manager as they have yet to be appointed. That must mean it is a combination of the Sandgaards, Senior and Junior. Don’t forget Junior’s trusty laptop with its wizzo programme and his recruitment system that has blown everyone (well, daddy), away!

Steve Gallen we’re told is now reduced to the role of contract negotiating so he merely is an interested onlooker.

Given Thomas spends most of his out of the country and with the club devoid of a CEO (as well as a manager) it all comes down to Junior calling the shots.

It’s a nightmare scenario that sees someone who has no relevant football experience and wouldn’t get a job at any other league club making decisions that are so integral to any potential success next season.

It’s never been more important to strike whilst the iron’s hot (the use of that phrase in light of the need for a pressing game is entirely deliberate!). However, we seem to be on the back foot and directionless.

It’s hard to see any player wanting to sign as long as they don’t know who the new manager is. In fact, if Thomas cocks it up they still might not want to when they do!

The Sandgaard apologists are forever referencing his saving of the club. That goodwill can only last so long and the further we get into his ownership then he rightfully comes under increasing scrutiny.

The other popular refrain of those keen to defend Thomas come what may is that he’s better than Roland. Really? Is that how high we’ve set the bar?

For those that chose to shield our owner from any criticism this is the fallback option. That and he’s the owner, he can spend his money and do whatever he likes.

I have deep concerns over Thomas and his intransigent approach to all aspects of managing the club. He clearly feels that what has made him a successful businessman can be applied to the world of football.

I wish there some examples of where other entrepreneurs had got it so badly wrong when attempting to run football clubs in such a manner! 

That stubborn refusal to seek or listen to advice from others is infuriating as it is naïve. 

Sandgaard doesn’t help himself with the silly self-promotion and his propensity to exaggerated and fatuous comments. His lack of self-awareness means that these show no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

I can’t see him or the situation changing as it requires a u-turn of seismic  proportions. One can hear echoes of Thatcher just thinking about it! 

This most crucial of summers and off season activity has started badly with the clock ticking away with little to reassure Addicks’ fans. 

Let’s hope things take a turn for the better soon or maybe we’ll have another addition to the long list of failed owners of our beloved football club.  

 

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

To The Premiership and Beyond!

Yesterday’s news of Jackson’s departure was something of a shock even by recent Charlton standards.

In recent weeks I was feeling that Jackson had lost the spark that he had in the caretaker period. That, allied to his apparent refusal to change systems at any time, made me think that we could expect much of the same if he remained in charge.

The football hasn’t been great since he was made permanent despite the awful transfer windows, I did feel the manager ought to be getting more out of an above average League One squad.

I’m really disappointed that it ended this way and that things didn’t work out for Jackson. Like nearly all CAFC fans I so wanted him to do well and be a real success.

His status as an absolute legend of our club remains of course. Johnnie bore the brunt of the worst of times under Duchatelet’s reign conducting himself in a diplomatic and professional manner at all times.

My feelings in respect of the departure of Skiverton are those of indifference. I really fail to see what he brought to the party. I’d go so far as to say that he only had a negative effect on the club as I could see no improvement or change in any aspect of our play.

Should we now be excited by the prospect of a new manager with a clean slate and fresh approach? Not when one considers who is doing the hiring and firing.

Sandgaard still bangs on about what a wonderful job Martin is doing. Amazingly for someone with no experience or exposure to league football he has revamped the recruitment process. It’s now excellent apparently!

Really? Are we expected to swallow that BS? His CV boasts managing a team of 80 people in a completely different industry yet wonderboy has taken to it like a duck to water!

In about 19 months of ownership Thomas is now seeking his fourth manager. He has dismissed Bowyer, hired and fired both Adkins and Jackson plus Skiverton. He has hired and fired Roddy too.

Mick Everett, Chris Parkes and groundsman Nathan Chapman have all departed too. This may or may not be as a result of Sandgaard but they have happened during his tenure in an indirect manner.

Not great on the recruitment front is he? In any line of business that’s pretty awful. We often wonder who is advising him but I’m starting to think that he just makes these decisions himself, thinking he knows best.

With every utterance he exposes more and more of his true self. The most recent being that he feels qualified to demand a certain style of play. Hmmm, how about leaving that to the manager who will assess the group of players he has and deploy the formation and tactics that suit them best?

We’ve had a fair old collection of gems from Sandgaard…..blowing the league out of the water, football is easy, 5 years to the Prem and beyond, Addicks to Victory, clean sheet wins and my favourite, Premier League ready! All of those look increasingly silly with each passing day.

Sandgaard has made mistakes which is acceptable if you learn from them. Sadly, he doesn’t and in reality he’s a stubborn fool who refuses to listen to advice in an area where he has little knowledge or experience. The absence of a CEO is shining example of this.

Initially, Thomas was looked upon as our saviour and to a degree he still has some credit in the bank. Many of us were happy to indulge him with the guitar, awful song that we still suffer, parading round the pitch etc.

We should have known then his apparent motives for buying the club. Let’s remember that’s all he does own as the Valley and training ground are still in the hands of the Belgian.

It just seems to be a vanity project that affords him some time in the limelight where he courts popularity and attention.

I believe he has another manager lined up as I don’t think that even he is as stupid to go into the summer without someone in place. Based on unsubstantiated rumour, I understand that allegedly that person has already had a say on recruitment.

If so, that would explain Jackson’s post match comments, his demeanour on Saturday and the overall performance of the team. I suspect he was hinting at the uncertainty of the players futures in that many already knew they wouldn’t be retained.

Opinion on Jackson’s dismissal is divided amongst the fan base and although may be a correct decision, Sandgaard has heaped pressure upon himself by so doing.

He faces a real backlash from fans if he doesn’t get it right in all areas of the club. Thomas has also heaped pressure on Martin as he will come under increasing scrutiny. As someone observed recently, would Martin be employed by any other League One club? As rhetorical questions go that’s a cracker!

I suspect the Charlton Live team were looking forward to a quiet summer break. In view of what lies ahead, the podcast might even merit becoming a daily one!

As Fergie might say……..”Charlton eh? bl**dy hell!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 22 April 2022

The Curtain Comes Down

Finally, tomorrow sees us reach the last home game of the season. A season that didn’t quite see us blow the league out of the water or emulate Hull City as we were told at the end of last season. 

We can look forward to another season of League One football playing against a number of relatively smaller clubs who have mostly achieved more than we have and can rightly consider to have made progress. 

As far as The Addicks are concerned there’s been no progress of course. Despite what we might hope are the best of intentions from Sandgaard, we’ve gone backwards.

I accept that he has to right the wrongs of years of neglect but increasingly he seems to be going about it the wrong way.

We’ve lost some valued members of staff and their replacements or new additions don’t exactly inspire. The latest is Mr De Souza. Time will tell of course but his CV doesn’t fill me with much hope!

The one thing that appears increasingly clear about Thomas is that he refuses to learn from his mistakes. I’m struggling to think of one decent appointment that he’s made.

Employing your family is always a risky thing to do as it opens you up to the obvious nepotism jibe. The jobs for the boys shout so true.

Again, I hope I’m wrong and that Martin is successful but again nothing in his employment history suggests he has the skills or experience to do so.

The club desperately needs a CEO of course but again Sandgaard stubbornly refuses to employ one at present. Maybe, in 3 years time, there’s no rush apparently.

Rumours have started that he is looking to sell the club. If that’s true then it might explain the reluctance to appoint senior folk. I do believe there are folk out there willing to invest.

The clear out of players that is so necessary started this week with the departure of Gunter, Watson and Souare. There are a few more that need shipping out yet. Let’s see what happens.

There’s a lot of time for things to change between now and the kick off for next season. Let’s see what happens. However, at present I’m not overly optimistic.

Sadly, tomorrow will be my last match as a season ticket holder for a while. I’ll still be going but attending those games as and when I can. I couldn’t justify the expense of renewing (£575 and presumably £625 for the season after next).

This is a massive decision for me given my lifelong support of the club and that I’ve had a season ticket since 1998.

All the freebies aside, this is league one football for goodness sake. Many other clubs in tier 3 and above offer the same for so much less.

Sandgaard missed an opportunity to do something radical with the season ticket offering but completely failed to do so.

This season I got a free ticket, a cheap drink and discount in the club shop. It wasn’t much but it was better than next season’s.

No thought was given to a variety of initiatives that could have been employed.

Come 5pm I’ll depart The Valley for a couple of months until August comes along. Then I guess I’ll start all over again hoping that we can finally have a decent season.

I’ve no sense of self-entitlement but I do expect to see entertaining football with an organised and well drilled team that challenges at the top of this table.

Personally, I’d be more than happy with Champ football. The Prem with its silly kick off times, grossly overpaid players and ticket prices to match, holds little appeal to me as much as I enjoyed our time previously.

Just give me an honest, hard working team that is proud to wear the shirt!

Come On You Reds!

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Morecambe At Home

Saturday’s win over Rotherham was probably as unexpected as the one in Jackson’s first game when we played Sunderland away.

Whilst acknowledging that the Millers have been and are on a dreadful run we have been pretty hopeless away this season.

The game was won by a superb strike from Dobson who has more than likely added goal of the season to his Player of the Year accolade. Let’s be honest there’s not much competition for either!

It was a welcome return to the starting eleven for Famewo. I really hope we are able to sign him up in the summer.

For me, he is more than capable and very much what we need if we are to have any success next season. Unlike most of the rest of our defenders he is injury prone.

Tomorrow in our penultimate home game we entertain relegation threatened Morecambe. Despite a mini-revival in recent weeks the outlook isn’t great for Rotherham.

Their final 3 games sees them play Portsmouth, MK and Sunderland. Getting any points from those will be a tough ask.

One to watch tomorrow is Cole Stockton who is enjoying a great season for Rotherham. He’s scored a lot of goals in a poor team and season. There have been some rather spectacular ones in amongst those too.

Whether this season for him is a one off is difficult to know but he’d be worth a punt as a proven goalscorer at this level. He has one year left on the two year contract he signed last summer.

One suspects there will be several clubs chasing his signature and so competition will be intense.

This is another game that ought to see The Addicks victorious but The Millers are fighting for League One survival and so it won’t be easy.

I shall be taking an alternative train journey as trains to Euston aren’t running for the next 4 days due to engineering works. Marvellous!

Come On You Reds!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Crunch Time For Sandgaard

A defeat on Saturday and a draw on Tuesday night has seen us drop more points in this most wretched of seasons. 

In so doing, we have brought up the ton in terms of yellow cards and added 2 more reds. Maybe there is something of a disciplinary issue that we hadn’t particularly noticed until last week! 

If you thought Gilbey’s second yellow on Saturday was crazy it was as nothing compared to Inniss’s straight red. Anywhere on the pitch it was a moment of madness but 5 yards or so in to the oppo’s half was totally idiotic. 

I hope the Dons player is ok because that could have been a career ending tackle.  

This apparent ill-discipline doesn’t reflect the persona of the manager. Jackson was not like that as a player nor is he as a manager. Is this the manifestation of the frustration of the players borne out of such an awful season? 

Now we are safe from relegation I thought we might expect to be clear on how will stay and who will go. I notice that the elusive Nile John and fellow loanee, Castillo weren’t in the squad. 

Given Saturday’s defeat and 3 games in 8 days if we were going to use them then it would have been last night. Clearly, they aren’t going to play so why are we wasting their time and ours and just send them back to their parent clubs? 

We need to use these remaining games to plan for next season and look at those players who will potentially feature. Already, we’re making a mess of things! 

Sandgaard is still in credit with the fans but doesn’t do himself any favours with overblown comments ( we’ll blow this league of the water, football is simple etc. ) in which he proves the opposite! 

In addition, the recent “consultation with the fans” seems nothing more than paying lip service as he clearly didn’t listen or just plainly ignored any feedback. He never discussed anything with Rick as he said he would. 

All that aside, the timing of the season ticket announcement clearly indicates that he had no time to amend anything and it was all cut and dried. 

Sandgaard can’t carry on the way he his, You can only bull***t the fans for so long. The latest “Premier League ready” soundbite is yet another example of the hyperbole. 

What does it even mean? Clearly it doesn’t have any relevance on the pitch as we’re a million miles away. Off the pitch, this looks like a fatuous comment too because, whilst I appreciate it’s an aim, there’s little to indicate that that’s likely to happen. 

This is especially true following the departures of 3 key members of staff alongside the lack of a suitable CEO. 

Increasingly, I feel that Charlton is a vanity project for Sandgaard ( the silly photo accompanying the season ticket letter did little to persuade me otherwise ). 

The upcoming season is make or break for Thomas. We will all watch with interest!

Friday, 1 April 2022

Lincoln At Home

Another win for The Addicks last Saturday to make it 3 in a row now and three without conceding. It was also the first away win for a while.

It was a better performance too and one that saw us create more chances and a penalty miss. Thankfully, none of them cost us the game.

Hard to believe that just 3 years ago both sides were contesting a play-off semi-final. It shows how far both teams have fallen that this was a bottom half of the table clash with relegation looking likely for Donny.

As for ourselves, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief as we will not now be featuring in League Two next season.

It’s no coincidence that this upturn has been whilst we’ve had a settled side and CBT has been excellent and carries a real attacking threat. He is exactly what we all like to see and hopefully he’ll be with us for some time yet.

Having had an improvement in results more than perhaps how we’ve played, it is important that it is maintained through to season’s end. It’s vital to get some momentum going into next season.

Jackson will be feeling more secure but he’s no fool and I’m sure acknowledges that the team needs to finish as high as it can with assured performances.

Away to Rotherham and Ipswich are the stand out games that will act as a barometer as to how things are shaping up ahead of the 22/23 campaign. An opportunity to assess how badly some of our present players want to be in S.E.7 next time out.

With safety assured the squads selected will offer some insight as to who Jackson wants to keep. Clearly, those that don’t feature will not have a future with us. 

The culling and recruitment can’t start soon enough and Sandgaard can’t hide behind a lack of time to prepare for August. If we’re not ready, then the buck stops with him especially given the involvement of his own flesh and blood too!

In the meantime, we wait to see what the season ticket prices and details will be. Judging from his most recent comments it doesn’t sound like we can expect a price cut with a freeze on last season is the best we may hope for.

I’d like to think that in terms of overall ticket prices he’ll remove the gold and silver of whatever it is levels of pricing. They should all be the same. This is unfair on away fans as much as anything.

Imagine that scenario for us should we be doing well next season and other teams determine that the Addicks should be a gold game. Our fans would have to shell out top whack just because we were doing well and viewed as better or bigger opposition.

Tomorrow we entertain a Lincoln side that are not as good as they have been in the recent past. They themselves probably need another win or two to ensure safety. However, we ought to be confident of another win.

It’d be good to do so with some decent football allied to more clinical finishing.

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 25 March 2022

Donny Away

Typical of Charlton to win in my absence last week. Whilst I may have missed what has been a rarity in recent weeks, it seems the performance was disappointing and that has been rare.

However, another win was all important as we seek to remove any lingering worries about relegation.

Speaking of the dreaded drop, tomorrow’s oppo, Donny, are deep in it and are one of 6 teams that are most likely. However, aside from Crewe who appear marooned (geddit?) it is still possible for any of the others to escape if they can put a good run together.

The relegation battle looks like going to the wire.

The upturn in our results has a lot to do with the return of Stockley and Washington. We are so much a better side with those two in it.

In addition to that, one must say that a settled side has no doubt played a part.

It is ironic though, how amidst all the chopping and changing that went before it didn’t see the poorly performing players drop out. Nor did it allow for the untried and untested players like Nile John, to get a chance.

However, Nile shouldn’t abandon all hope. No, indeed it seems that he may get a few minutes at Portman Road assuming we’re totally safe from a spell in League Two!

Whilst being an advocate of keeping a settled side, I would push for Famewo to be restored to the starting eleven. Prone to the odd mistake as he is, he is a proper centre half who is more than capable at this level.

I would love to see him make a permanent move to The Valley in the summer.

As we approach April, it must be about time that the club will be sending out details of the 22-23 season tickets. A picture of Oliver Twist on the mail shot would seem to be in order.

“ Please sir, I want some more! “ ( of your hard earned, I know you’re taking a tremendous punt on any kind of return on investment and you’ve been dealt a poor hand this season whilst paying top whack for the most expensive seat in League One as free tickets fly around more freely than confetti at a wedding and we’ve overseen two poor transfer windows, one of which kippered us before a ball was kicked but we’ve listened and we’re really going for it and after all, football’s a simple business and my son Martin watches Sky Sports and owns a laptop with a computer programme that’s second to none and junior once managed a team of 80 people in a completely different industry and I’m thinking of laying down a new track to getting the Valley rocking after another clean sheet win.

I can’t wait for the envelope to drop through my door!

The Addicks ought to win tomorrow despite our poor away form as they should play with a degree of freedom against a team under pressure.

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 18 March 2022

Burton Albion Await

Hot on the heels of Tuesday’s home game we are back again for a game versus Burton.

The Brewers sit in 14th place and have 4 points more having played one more game.

Their manager is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink previously of this parish. Those of us who were around to witness his time at the club recall his tireless running and total commitment to the cause.

Jimmy was signed on a free from Chelsea in the summer of 2006 and despite a season’s return of 4 goals, ( two from a league cup game v Chesterfield ) we were robbed. One of Jim’s league goals was scored against his old club and I don’t think I’ve seen a goal less celebrated. I didn’t think Dennis Law’s against United could have been more low key, how wrong I was!

Burton didn’t have a game in midweek. Last Saturday they staged a fine fightback against Fleetwood in coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

CBT had a good game on Tuesday in carry the attack to the Gills. Given that it was his first game in a while I’m not sure we’ll see him start tomorrow.

It’s to be hoped that Jackson will start with more than one recognised centre half tomorrow. I’d like to see Famewo return to the starting eleven. I know he’s prone to the odd mistake but he’s more than capable at this level.

Stockley and Washington ought to be up front again and they offer us the best chance of a win.

Gilbey seems to have done enough to keep his place and Fraser ought to start again as should the ever dependable Dobson.

I’d like to see Jackson keep the side as settled as possible. The chopping and changing in recent matches has been reminiscent of Adkins and that’s not a good thing of course!

The need to win remains as important as it was prior to Tuesday’s game. We need to get to a point of safety asap. This affords time to fully focus and plan for next season.

It also allows us to play the likes of Nile John should we be thinking of having him again next season. Whether the player will want to come is another matter of course!

Yours truly won’t be there sadly as another engagement (twice postponed due to Covid has taken priority). My absence is probably a good thing Since I’ve not brought much luck this season!

Come On You Reds!

 

 

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

A Win At Last!

The Addicks finally recorded a win for the first time since Saturday 5th February. It was hardly emphatic and achieved against lowly Gillingham but it was a win nonetheless.

As a result, the table looks a lot healthier although we’re not totally out of the woods of course.

I wasn’t there and didn’t watch the game from home. I believe that CBT had a great impact and that Gilbey played more like the Gilbey of old and put in a decent shift.

The defence took on an even unusual look than of late with Lavelle the only recognised CB. I’ve no idea why Famewo was missing again. Fortunately, it didn’t cost us but might do against better opposition should we opt to repeat the exercise.

As expected there was no place for Nile John in the squad. Neither was there a place for Juan Castillo. In fact, none of our 6 loan players featured in the starting eleven.

Given how bad we’ve been in the last seven games this tells us quite a lot about our transfer windows this season.

The crowd last night was just over 9k with a decent amount of Gills fans there. The size of the home support ought to tell Sandgaard that there’s plenty to be done if he wants to retain anywhere near the level of current season ticket holders.

There’s plenty of work to be done between now and next season’s kick off with the management team still not assured of being in situ. All that impacts on many issues.

Saturday’s Football For A Fiver game should put a few more bums on seats. Hopefully, they’ll be cheering the Addicks on to another victory. Beating Burton would hopefully help to ensure that JFH doesn’t end up managing us at some stage.

Those of us old enough to remember recall how he was as a player. I have no wish to see him involved with our club in any capacity.

 

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Jilted John

Possibly the only surprising thing about Saturday’s defeat was that we took the lead. Even when we did we celebrated with less than full blown enthusiasm.

We had something to hold on to at last but sadly not many really carded that much nor felt like trying to do so.

The Stanley equaliser was a complete embarrassment and our No.1 obviously felt it rude to interrupt the ongoing head tennis by having the temerity to punch or catch the ball.

Apparently he totally forgot the advantage he had over everyone else in the box. Clearly, he believed he could only use his hands when fishing the ball out of the back of the net!

The second goal was almost as embarrassing as Lavelle allowed Leigh to come on the inside instead of showing him outside. They had a whole week working on the blee**ng obvious but all to no avail it seems!

There were more changes to the team with Clare coming straight back into the starting eleven. Apparently there was no room for Famewo nor Nile John in the squad even.

Jilted John as we can now call him hasn’t set foot on the pitch in a first team game. He’s made the squad but the bench is as far as he’s progressed.

Post-match and Jackson told us that John had been unlucky ( you can say that again ) as he’s been close to getting on. Jacko has seen more than us and says he not quite there for selection.

We may not have been at training but we’ve all witnessed the awful displays in the last 7 winless games. We have now garnered 1 point from a possible 21 points.

In those games we have scored only 3 times and been goalless in 4 of those matches. In all that time it appears that we can’t afford to risk John playing. How bad must he be? What is he doing so wrong in training? We need to be told.

It all points towards one of the worst loan signings in recent history and my God, there’ve been a few!

Week by week we are looking increasingly like a total disaster. That’s both on and off the pitch!

Our recruitment policy for the last two windows has been a shambles save for a couple of signings. I’m aware that there are no guarantees when any player is signed by we can ill afford to make even one mistake never mind the several we have committed!

Our newly acquired assistant manager has made an impact but again it would appear to be a negative one.

Pressuring is growing on Jackson as fans are starting to lose faith with him which awful to see however understandable.

The gloss is coming off Sandgaard following his recent interview and Q&A. He has done nothing to reassure fans over a number of issues and show little sign of doing so or changing his ways.

Obdurate indeed he is! Surely, even he can see how bad things are. If we don’t start getting wins soon then League Two beckons for sure! The implications of that don’t bear thinking about.

The worse matters get then the more foolish his recent comments appear. Remember, football is simple and only needs common sense, I’ll get a CEO in up to two years time, Martin knows loads about football.

I paraphrase of course but that is the reality of what he’s said and the consequence of his refusal to change, take a different approach or listen to others.

Thomas can colour it any way he wants but come August the reality of the almost inevitable poor season ticket sales will hit home. He then would have to at least admit he’s got it wrong in some areas and can’t just put it down to a poor season.

Some of us simply renew no matter what. There’s never been a guarantee of good football, being up the top of the league or indeed getting value for money.

I’ve not had any of that for years. Most of us renew almost out of blind loyalty but this year is different and I’m struggling to find reasons to do so again.

I accepted that Roland was a fool with no interest in our club. However, we have someone claiming to care about the fans and the club. A seemingly intelligent man who is acting like a bigger fool than Duchatelet.

Is Sandgaard trying to hoodwink us and makes fools of us in turn? I’d like to think not but I don’t like what I’m seeing now.

If he’s lost interest then I’d rather he told us and be done with it and pass the club onto someone else. I do wonder if that is the case and that the hamfisted attempts to fill The Valley are aimed at attracting an investor or increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Mind you, as expressed before, how you go about selling a club when a third party owns both the training ground and the ground itself I don’t know!

Of more immediate concern is tonight’s game against a resurgent Gillingham. Might we see the aforementioned Nile John I wonder? 

A few weeks ago we’d have been confident of a result against almost any team. However, we’ve not won at home since 5th February.

We can but pray for a win to ease the pressure. If we go behind at any stage I think we’ll struggle to win.

Let’s hope we get the three points.

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 11 March 2022

Home And Away

Tomorrow sees the The Addicks make the long trip up North to face Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium.

It’s chalk and cheese in terms of Stanley’s results of late. At home they haven’t lost in the league since 7th December whilst away they can’t buy a win (they lost 4-0 to Pompey last time out after Pompey had gone down to 10 men after just 21 minutes) !

You may recall though that they beat us 3-2 at The Valley helped in no small measure by a brace for former Addick Harry Pell.

Accrington have come a long way since returning to the football league. Current owner Andy Holt has done a magnificent job in progressing the club and its facilities.

He is rightly recognised as one of the best owners in league football. I’d very much like to make a trip to Stanley where the aforementioned owner ensures a warm welcome for away fans.

Whilst the welcome may be warm off the pitch it’s a very different story on it. Stanley will make life very difficult for us and they approach won’t be pretty. It is effective though as the sit comfortably mid-table.

I recall the away fixture last year. It was dreadful game and only a late goal from Chuks got a point for us. It was an awful watch.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better performance and result. Those fans that are travelling all that way deserve that.

It was good to see the return of Stockley and Fraser to the starting eleven last week. Hopefully we can add Washington to that tomorrow. He is another who has been sorely missed.

Sean Clare is available again following his 3 match ban. One assumes he may return to the back three but there’s be some much chopping and changing to the defence that it’s incredibly hard to predict.

Amongst all our defensive woes, the lack of a settled defence has been one of the biggest contributing factors. It really must have played a part. The reasons behind that are not just down to injury and suspension as the recent match where we had 3 recognised centre halves on the bench will testify!

When we had a settled side was when we achieved our best results and Jackson. He needs to get back to that and to make his preferred formation work.

I’m struggling to see a better result than a draw for us tomorrow. A loss would be awful given our position and even taking a point probably won’t help much.

The simple fact remains that we need to start winning. We may now start facing teams lower down the league but like us they have something to fight for. It won’t be easy!

Hopefully the winning ways will start tomorrow.

Come On You Reds!

 

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Tough Times Ahead of 22/23

The Addicks drew a blank again on Saturday but at least managed to shut out a Sunderland side the put 3 past Wigan the week before.

Whilst it was far from the best performance of the season we did at least battle hard right to the end.

It was good to have Stockley back in the starting eleven. Worth noting that since his return in the second half against Wednesday last week, we haven’t conceded. That indicates how much it helps to have the ball stick up front a bit and his contribution to the defence at set pieces.

The stats especially in terms of possession and more importantly, shots on target don’t make good reading. They’d be awful if we were playing away but at home it’s really not good.

However, the main thing was to stop the rot.

We need more to return from injury, not least Washington. Burstow clearly needs a rest if only from the pressure of the last few weeks.

We now approach the tail end of the season with the need to avoid relegation the only thing we have to play for. There are one or two players who ought to be giving it their all in respects of their own careers if nothing else.

We need to start getting some wins fast. The ongoing poor performances never mind results won’t help Jackson nor the club overall as it only adds to the uncertainty.

The sooner we can secure League One status (how depressing is that!) the sooner we can plan for next season. I would say the future but in reality we can’t look beyond next season.

We simply have to be challenging up the top of the table in 22/23. We also need to be producing better stuff on the pitch.

To that extent Jackson and Gallen need as much backing as Sandgaard can give them. Thomas would do well to trust the manager and Gallen over his son’s analytical data. I fear he may not!

There’s so much to be done before we kick off the next campaign. There’s no time for a rest.

Retaining season tickets holders and keeping the majority of fans on side will be a tough enough ask of its own! Thomas needs to come up with a very good offering if he’s to get anywhere near the number of season ticket holders achieved this season.

This year’s total was achieved on the back of a lot of goodwill, new hope and the relief of emerging post-pandemic.

Things have changed massively since July 2021 and on a global scale too. If the football industry is no more than common sense it’ll be a piece of cake.

To have any real chance we need Sandgaard to have a Road To Damscus moment and see the wisdom in seeking and taking the advice of other more football savvy and experienced poeple.

We’ll see!

Friday, 4 March 2022

Addicks To Obscurity!

No midweek games since the latest defeat away to Wednesday but off the pitch, our owner has been very much to the fore. 

Firstly, he had his interview on Radio London in what was to have been an hour long special on Charlton. That got curtailed as the Chelsea owner announced he was aiming to sell up before he loses his assets. 

Hardly breaking news and had been on the cards for some time now and at least since Russia invaded the Ukraine. Hey, it’s Chelsea though so we couldn’t expect our little club to prevail.

Nevertheless, we did get to hear from Sandgaard. It was a wide ranging interview that pre-empted a lot of the questions that were to follow on Thursday evening’s CAST organised Q&A session. 

On the wireless, we learned that Thomas thinks football is a pretty easy business. In addition, he told us that Roland managed the financial side of the club quite well!

Thomas explained that he expected to break even in the League One and that it was even more possible in the Championship. 

Wonderful stuff if he can pull that off. Sadly, he seemed reliant on a very generous sponsor and the free ticket fans buying gallons of ale and consuming vast amounts of pies and pasties! 

Problem is, even if they did, it still wouldn’t go far in achieving the break even dream. 

In both this and the Q&A, Sandgaard referenced outdated methods that prevail in some football clubs. He is aiming for a more modern approach. Seemingly, this is one that doesn’t involve consulting with those who have a great understanding for the club and/or were integral to the club’s success in the times that preceded and coincided with our time in the Prem. 

Thomas gave the politician’s answer when asked about involving Alan Curbishley. He’d spoken to Curbs but hadn’t had any conversation about that. Maybe true but the inference in the question was whether he would ask Curbs to get involved. 

Clearly, he hadn’t and doesn’t intend to. Sandgaard did also say that what Curbs achieved was two decades ago as that in some way invalidated any contribution he could make now! 

Clearly the owner wants to do things his way. Fair enough to a degree, he pays the bills. However, as we know normal business practices don’t apply in football and he’ll struggle in an industry that he really knows little about. 

When questioned about his son Martin working at the club he informed us that he’d known him for many years! No s**t Sherlock! 

In justifying his appointment, Thomas told us that he’d analysed some data in relation to his electronics company. By implication that qualified Sandgaard Jnr to do so when looking at footballers. 

He cited Scott Fraser as someone who emerged as an ideal player for us after Martin had processed the data. That’ll be the same Scott Fraser who was a summer target and that the club has been after for some time! Right ho then! 

There’s not time nor do I have the inclination to dissect every bit of the interview or Q&A. However, there are quite worrying aspects to what has emerged from them. 

Sandgaard appears to be someone who will do things his way even if it proves to be wrong and won’t listen to the advice of others however more qualified they may be. 

The plan to break even and the approach to it looks flawed to me as do other aspects of his grand scheme. We simply can’t afford for him to learn on the job. 

He did say he is looking into appointing a CEO but he’s in no rush and that might take a further 2 years. Even then, it won’t be a CEO in the normal sense of the word in football. 

Thomas is coming across as vain, obdurate and arrogant when it comes to running Charlton. He needs to acknowledge the shortfalls in his knowledge and skills and get folk in that can do the things he can’t and that possess more experience.

Sadly, I can’t see that happening and envisage the whole project failing. Ultimately, we may see Thomas going down with his ship, like the band playing on the Titanic, strumming his guitar whilst still singing " Addicks to Obscurity "! 

I hope I’m wrong!

Monday, 28 February 2022

And Defeat Goes On!

Another game, another defeat and another clean sheet one for the oppo! That’s 3 in a row now!

I travelled to Sheffield in expectation. The expectation being that, football aside, I’d have a good day out with a few beers and a few laughs.

It was a fair old trek to the Steel City even from Milton Keynes. Stops at Tamworth and Derby before finally arriving.

An hour’s break between trains at Tamworth allowed time for a decent brekkie nearby.

The next train, which was en route to Edinburgh, was rammed completed with a hen party that seemed pretty wasted at 11am. I dread to think what some of them were like later!

A swift beer in a pub near the station was followed by settling into one of the Wetherspoons. We got to the 2pm mark and it was time to decide whether to get another beer in or board the tram then.

You’ll not be surprised to learn that the decision was to have another beer as we were in no desperate hurry to get to the ground.

We only just missed kick off but not goal so you can see we weren’t that late!

Twas a dreadful game as Wednesday like Oxford and MK before them cantered to an easy win. Again it was pretty much game over as soon as the Sheffield side scored their first.

I’m still backing Johnnie to come good but he’s not making it easy for me nor anyone else for that matter.

If you don’t have the personnel for a system then you need to change it. It seems nothing was learned from the previous defeats. We set up the same with largely the same players that have been letting us down time and again.

How on earth is Gilbey skipper? He shouldn’t be in the side let alone taking the captain’s armband.

Confidence is at an all time low with most unable to pass a ball over 10 or so yards. Communication and fight are virtually non-existent.

I missed the second goal as I took the option to nip down for a beer.

The second half pretty much passed me by much like the eleven men in red on the pitch in front of me. The only thing that concerned me was why we weren’t wearing white shorts and had opted to match the home team’s back ones.

Post match we managed to sneak into Weds’ equivalent of the Fans Bar. You’ll be pleased to know that it wasn’t as good as ours and that’s what really matters eh?

Back on the tram and time enough to get supplies for the journey home and a lovely pint of porter in the station. It was the best beer I had all day!

I can’t remember the last time I saw us play 4 consecutive games but Saturday’s game against Sunderland will see me do just that. Unluckily for me of course that this coincides with our worst run in living memory outside of the top flight!!

I pray that we get some strikers back and that one or two of our finest might be able to stir themselves to give a damn and put in a shift.

Why is our injury record so poor? Even when we sign fit players they’re soon out for months!

I’ve had a dodgy knee for the last 3 years and was thinking I might approach the club to enquire as to whether I could secure a 2 or 3 year contract. Hopefully, they can accommodate me in the treatment room and have a space on the bench when I’m feeling a bit more mobile!

After that I would be able to retire happy in the knowledge that I’ve fulfilled a dream!


Friday, 25 February 2022

Learning From The Mistakes

Tuesday’s 2-0 reverse to Milton Keynes followed hot on the heels of Saturday’s 4-0 hiding to Oxford.

At least we started a bit better in midweek and had a pretty decent first half all things considered. Once MK scored it was effectively game over.

The second half saw us mostly chasing shadows. The second goal was inevitable.

As I was off work and in London too, I opted to attend a rare Tuesday night game. Finally getting home at 12.30am after watching another pretty gutless performance I did wonder why I’d bothered?

However, supporting most teams isn’t done in the expectation of winning or even seeing any decent football in our case quite frequently! We go in hope and because it goes with the territory of being a fan.

I do find myself wondering at Jackson’s tactics and team selection. After Saturday, Matthews and Gilbey shouldn’t have been anywhere near the team. I’d have been miffed if they’d been on the bench.

In Gilbey’s case not only did he start but he retained the captain’s armband!

I still want Johnnie as our manager but he has to start learning and appreciating that in order to play any formation or system you do need to personnel to deliver it.

Devoid of any experienced striker at least then this isn’t going to work. I hope he adjusts things for tomorrow’s trip to Sheffield.

I don’t do many away games (this is my second in this campaign the other being MK away but that’s on my doorstep so hardly a huge effort on my part).

After Saturday and Tuesday my decision to follow the boys to Hillsborough seems somewhat off the mark. Especially as there’s no real prospect seeing a return of any of the vital components that give us even half a chance of getting any kind of a result.

I expect nothing less than a defeat by at least 2 goals. One of these will definitely be scored by Barry Bannan. As much as he’s far from our favourite player, he is quality and Wednesday were lucky that he’s stayed loyal to them. A good game form him is assured.

To add to all of the above, Wednesday didn’t play in midweek and have had a full week ahead of the game.

I note that another Football For A Fiver game is set to take place on Saturday 19th March when we entertain Burton. These initiatives are good if they’re used wisely.

However, they’ve been so frequent along with the free tickets for season ticket holders and the other freebies that have been handed out that even die-hard fans who blindly renew every year will start to question the sense in doing so again.

That I pay £575 (the top price in League One I believe) for my ticket is bad enough. However, I need to see some indication that my team will be challenging at the top of the division.

A radical rethink is needed in terms of the pricing and treatment of season ticket holders. I need a better reason to renew that just the tug on the heart strings!

On Tuesday I was able to use my 20% off a drink voucher that was specifically assigned to that game. It was marketed as something else, however, that aside, I sure need more.

As mentioned above I typically don’t do midweek games and having had a couple of games moved from more convenient days means I miss out further.

I accept that I won’t make all home games but it is a further consideration. At season’s end I reckon that I could have bought or got tickets on a game by game basis and saved myself a fair amount of dosh.

I need to see sensible pricing, early planning and investment in the team, Jackson told he’s manager next season and the appointment of a proven CEO at a minimum.

We can’t afford for Thomas to be learning on the job as it appears. If he’d sought counsel of those experienced folk with strong connections and experience of the club he’d be in a better place.

His position in respect of the naming of the Charlton Women’s team is a case in point in showing how stubborn he can be.

As I’ve observed before, it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.  Both he and Jackson need to do so and fast!

All that aside, we have an increasing fight on our hands to stay in this league. I’d like to be confident that we will but after the next two games we could well find ourselves right in amongst it.

I pray we can get something from tomorrow but will be amazed if we do. We live in hope!

Come On You Reds!

 

Monday, 21 February 2022

Testing Times

Fearing travel disruption following Friday’s storm I set off earlier than usual on Saturday. After all, I didn’t want to miss a cracking game!

Ironically, the journey down was to prove the best part of the day as I got to Charlton at 10.40am! This afforded me plenty of time to get breakfast at the Valley Café breakfast. That was excellent.

A few pre-match drinks followed and that was pretty much the end of the fun!

The writing was on the wall when the team was announced and whilst I appreciate we’re light on strikers (a huge understatement) the way we set up was always doomed to failure.

I did feel we shouldn’t have got Burstow loaned back when he signed for Chelsea. I didn’t think we’d need him. How wrong I was!

Whilst I accept our problems up surely we should start with the aforementioned Burstow? In addition, why we left 3 central defenders on the bench is a mystery.

The main thing Jackson should have been looking at was to make the defence solid and us as difficult to beat as possible.

We started brightly but after Oxford scored from the only chance they had upto that point. After that we just got outplayed with Cameron Brannagan leading the way.

A second goal soon followed and that was pretty much it as no way could you see us scoring two let alone three.

The second half saw Baldock score a well taken third followed by the sending off of Clare. Brannagan then capped a great performance by scoring a goal that even eclipsed Baldock’s.

We have seen some below par displays in recent weeks but this was the worst especially given that we were at home.

Games against MK and Wednesday are coming up and it’s hard to see us getting a point from either.

A season that was seemingly over in terms of play off aspirations is slowly coming back to life for all the wrong reasons. We now find ourselves looking over our shoulder again and it’ll get serious if we don’t improve soon.

Where a few weeks ago we appeared to be making plans for next season and importantly getting some momentum going into it we’ve now stalled.

Added to all this there are concerns over Sandgaard’s company with the shares dropping and the alleged loss of a major customer.

It was rumoured that he was seeking some investment but it’s hard to envisage anyone doing so whilst The Valley and training ground remain in Duchatelet’s ownership.

The ongoing uncertainty over Jackson being manager next season doesn’t help of course.

At the very least in the short term Jackson needs to know that he’s in charge next season and has to be backed in his plans for who he and Gallen want to recruit.

Given that a massive rebuild is required that can’t start soon enough.

I’m not sure that we can afford another season not challenging up the top of this league assuming we remain in it.

With a number of fans questioning whether they’ll renew season tickets for reasons outside of this poor campaign it’s a pretty bleak picture given that many unlike me won’t blindly renew.

The lack of an experienced CEO is not helping either. Clearly, so many issues need addressing and fast.

Thomas has from now and the summer to show he has nous, determination and wherewithal to sort it all. He has done a good job with many aspects of the club but now he really needs to back the rhetoric.

I’ll be there tomorrow for what is a rare midweek game for me. I’m not expecting much but can only hope that I witness a more spirited and better organised effort than Saturday.

Come On You Reds!