Monday, 21 November 2022

A Beaten Mess!

How things change eh? A month ago we’d just secured our first away win of the season at Shrewsbury  and one that completed a run of 3 wins on the spin. We started looking up and not down and even the most pessimistic of us began to entertain thoughts of a play-off spot.

Fast forward to now and the play-offs appear to be just a pipe dream with the overall mood at the club much more of a down beat nature.

Anyone who witnessed Saturday’s dire performance will know just how bad it was. One has to feel for all those Addicks who made the journey to Vale Park only to be rewarded with probably the worst display of a very average season.

One shot on target for both sides in the game’s entirety tells its own story, the difference being that Vale scored with theirs.

There’s so much that one could dissect about the game and all serves to confirm the bad news. The defending for Butterworth’s goal was just awful. He had to beat 3 defenders plus AMB (he had a fine debut) but he did so with very little trouble or resistance.

We insisted on playing out from the back and every time that I can recall we got nowhere from it losing possession or the ball going out of play quite quickly.

If you don’t have players to carry out your preferred system you simply don’t do it. Talking of which, I thought Garner had had his road to Damsacus moment and realised that 2 recognised strikers up front works best for our squad.

Of course, Stockley isn’t playing well but we really aren’t playing to his strengths and he’s feeding off scraps.

The decision to remove Jayden when bringing on Aneke made little sense to me. Having our only two fit strikers on the pitch at the same time surely represented our best chance to get anything from the game.

Some very basic moves don’t happen. A good example of this was about 10 minutes into the second half. Sessegnon (who had a good game overall) had a clear opportunity to make an overlapping run but for some reason it didn’t seem to enter his head to do so.

This is pretty basic but either players are encouraged to do so or for some reason it’s not covered in a training session.

The manager’s post match comments received a deal of attention. Unusually, he was critical of the players, something that he’s not prone to do usually. Nothing wrong in that and probably deserved.

Garner also went on to moan about the pitch which seemed fine to most people as I don’t recall anyone else mentioning it.

To make matters worse he went on to moan about Vale’s tactics. Apparently, their manager made them awkward to beat, the devil! Garner made himself look silly by saying this.

He went on further by bemoaning the lack of investment in the squad and the summer transfer window. Garner is correct on that point of course.  However, it’s a bit late in the day to complain and to be honest with the squad we have we really ought to have beaten a newly promoted team lacking their main striker.

Maybe it was a diversionary tactic but it did him no favours and one has concerns about what that does to the mood in the squad aside from the friction it doubtless causes with the owner.

Garner ought to have managed the team better. After Aneke, there were no more subs until the 76th minute which was very late in the day to try and affect the game. Let’s be honest very few players deserved to stay on the pitch and it was crying out for earlier changes.

The one saving grace this season has been our cup runs but you’d have to worry that our interest in two of those could well end within the space of 5 days.

Garner has stated that he’ll put out a young side against Pompey on Tuesday and on Saturday, Stockport will provide a tough test. County are on a pretty good run of form and one could easily see us going out of the Cup.

The only hope for this season remains one of two scenarios. One sees Sandgaard sell to someone who has the finances and interest to move the club forward. The other sees him get his act together and at a minimum invests in the squad.

The latter is a tough one as January is a difficult time to recruit any decent player. In addition, you’d have to wonder why anyone would want to join our club at present.

A mess indeed!

Monday, 14 November 2022

Another Draw!


After the excitement of the cup games The Addicks league return only produced the 6 goals following the 8 against Ipswich. Like the last league there was to be no winner as the goals were shared evenly.

I followed the game via Twitter as I was watching the England rugby league team go out in extra time to Samoa. For the second time in two visits to the Emirates the team I wanted to win didn’t.

In contrast to the Ipswich game post match this felt like an opportunity missed. Having been 2 nil up in the first half to the bottom club it should have been job done. However, our ability to concede soft goals again proved to be our Achilles heel.

It was good to see Kirk score a couple of well taken goals. It’s just as well that those outside the main strikers are doing so as Stockley continues to struggle. To be fair to him he would benefit from having a regular strike partner and one who is actually a forward.

These are the games we really need to win if we are to stay within touching distance of the play-offs. It’s very much the Charlton way to fail to get over the line against teams we ought to beat.

Ideally you want your skipper geeing up the team from the heart of the action. That means it has to be combative type midfielder of central defender. Typically the best skippers have met that criteria.

Sadly, our captain is somewhat remote up the top end of the pitch. In addition, his current form is unlikely to inspire his teammates nor leave him in a good position to criticise the performance of others.

Like many decisions this season, Jayden being made skipper was a big mistake.

We live in the hope that Sandgaard will invest in January although there’s little evidence to give cause for optimism in that respect. There’s much to be done for Garner to be properly supported. Sadly, the January window is rarely a good for most teams and it’s rare than clubs can pick up a player of real quality.

One has to feel for Joe Wollacott whose pre-match injury has ruled him out of the World Cup. It’s such a freak injury and one that leaves us exposed somewhat and we’re left hoping that Macca stays injury free with AMB a long term injury.

The break in the Prem and the Championship provides an opportunity for some clubs to attract those fans who might want a football fix at another club. Sadly. Our expensive tickets and late booking fee will only act as a deterrent to the casual or impromptu.

Another missed opportunity from Tommy. Perhaps there will be one or two folk who feel the urge to visit the Valley on Friday night on 2nd December. Should they do so they can benefit from the £19.92 fee.

There’s a week’s break now before the Addicks are travelling again, this time to Park Vale. Vale got trounced 4-0 away to Oxford on Saturday. With a defence that appears as porous as ours it could be another high scoring game and one well worth including in your both teams to score accy!

Friday, 11 November 2022

Back To League Action

With no Cup action this weekend our attention turns to the monotony of league football with a trip to bottom club Burton Albion.

Former boss, JFH, was allegedly a target for Tommy at some stage but thankfully that didn’t come to pass or at least it hasn’t yet. You never know with our bizarre owner.

The Brewers are now managed by Dino Maamria. He is someone I know little of and had to turn to Wikipedia to provide some info.

As the old saying goes, as a player he had more clubs than Tony Jacklin and his managerial career appears to be heading in the same direction. Dino has been sacked from his previous two clubs.

As I understand it he remains in temporary charge despite having been in situ for a couple of months now. Unlike our own recent protracted managerial audition Maamria can’t claim the right to the job unlike Jacko.

To add to Burton’s woes there is an injury list that makes ours look reasonably rosie!

Despite all the recent cup action and excitement, tomorrow ought to see us victorious at the Pirelli Stadium. We just need to tread carefully, maintain good balance, steer away from danger and if we can handle the pressure, then all ought to be ok.

Apologies for the poor puns, regular readers will appreciate it’s not been a good year for that!

Garner has a job in balancing the needs for fielding another strongish team against those who’ve played a lot and may need a bit of a rest because they feel a bit "tyred".

However, the recent positive results if not performances ought to put a spring in the step of the players. One would hope that they’d be champing at the bit to get out there again.

I’d like to see JFC get an opportunity to play some part and Payne really should be starting.

As ever, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we don’t collect any more injuries especially to our two remaining strikers.

A tougher trip away to Port Vale awaits on the following Saturday and a win tomorrow allied to at least a point at Vale Park would represent a good return.

Off the pitch our illustrious owner remains tight lipped and in terms of social media, very distant. It must be very frustrating for him as he appears to need the limelight and attention in very much the same way as Matt Hancock.

Let’s hope it’s because he’s negotiating to sell up, Tommy I mean not the odious MP.

Garner has to ignore all that and keep the team focused on maintaining some sort of challenge in the remote hope we might get a play-off spot and that, in January, Tommy or a new owner might actually invest in the team.

Yours truly is off to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow for only the second time. I’ll be watching England take on Samoa in the rugby league World Cup semi.

Hopefully, it’ll be more rewarding than my previous visit when The Addicks took on “ Thierry Henry’s Arsenal “ where we lost, had Osei Sankofa sent off (his appeal against that poor decision was deemed to be frivolous and he received a further one match ban) and we eventually got relegated.

Let’s hope we can prevail at The Pirelli!

Come On You Reds!

Monday, 7 November 2022

Cup Fever

It's cup matches all the way at the moment and let's hope we can complete a hat-trick of trophy wins tomorrow against Stevenage.

Given our paucity of success in any kind of cup competition one would hope our boys can overcome the team from Hertfordshire. That they are the latest team to employ the services of the odious Steve Evans enhances that desire for victory.

Maybe we can get Lee Bowyer back on the Addicks bench to add a bit of spice to the proceedings!

Should we be triumphant then it's another cup draw that will retain our interest past the first or second round. That is a rare event in one competition let along two or three if your interest extends to the pizza trophy!

Saturday's win over Coalville helped to set up scorelines from the Muskateers League, i.e. all 4-1 and one 4-4! I'll get me coat!

The cup games do of course, give chances to those who don't for various reasons get a chance for league games or their opportunities are restricted for some reason. That includes the like of JFC and Payne.

One day we may discover why JFC doesn't get anywhere near playing in the league. Why Payne's appearances have been rather dew and far between is another mystery. He is a cut above most of our midfield contingent. Hopefully, Saturday will have done his cause the world of good.

Campbell had another good showing and confirmed his undoubted promise. 

The injury to Thomas has added to our defensive problems allied to the loss of Egbo earlier in the week. This has led to the recall from loan of Deji Elerewe. Some of us were puzzled as to why he went out on loan in the first place seeing as he did well last season.

Our progression in the cups is a double-edge sword of course considering the aforementioned injury situation for our small squad.

In the meantime, we have our eyes on tonight's cup draw and tomorrow's trip to Stevenage. I guess we all have our dream of a tie against teams that we might have some connection with. Looking ahead to the third round (dangerous I know!) but a home tie against non-league oppo wouldn't be the worst for us.








Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Quelle Surprise!

Seasoned Addicks had half expected defeat last night, we’re Charlton, it’s what we do!

Our history is littered with matches such as last night where, for once, we find ourselves favourites but only succeed in losing.

The game exposed the fragility of our squad and again, the awful summer transfer window. The lack of the additional striker alone was shown up. Having coped without Miles Leaburn in the previous two games this was a game too far using stand-ins.

Further to that our defence was unsettled in Sessegnon being moved to the bench. His replacement, Clare, really struggled at left back. Whilst he was played out of position he had an awful night that can’t just be brushed away purely by that.

We do have a competent and natural replacement in Clayden but in one of enlightened moments we’ve decided to loan him out of course.

Clare’s failure to shepherd the ball out of play in the first half led to a cross that should have been slotted home by Grigg, who thankfully opted for power over accuracy resulting in his shot hitting the bar.

It was to prove a stay of execution of course as a well drilled MK side stuck to the game plan that delivered their win.

There’s no doubt that it wasn’t a penalty for the first goal and considerable doubt that it was even a foul that led to a second yellow and then red for Inniss. However, it’s difficult to argue that we deserved anything from last night’s efforts.

We were slow and over fussy in and around the box. When players should’ve shot they passed and vice versa. It was a frustrating watch.

Garner delayed far too long to get Aneke on and he should have partnered Stockley. The skipper wasn’t having a great time but a greater threat would have come from those two in tandem.

Chuks needed to come on no more than 10 minutes into the second half. Despite the small squad and lack of striking options, that one is down to Garner.

How we can go from a display such as the one against Pompey the previous week to that of last night is baffling. Gone was the intensity and quicker pace of the previous Monday.

We will need to a much improved show by all concerned and probably a return to the starting eleven for Sessegnon and CBT. We will, of course, now be without Inniss as the defence is again disrupted.

Ipswich will pitch up at The Valley in second place. A couple of defeats in recent games show they are not unbeatable. However, they will start as strong favourites and carry a real threat up front.

On Saturday, we won’t mind another surprise but one that this time will be in our favour.


Monday, 24 October 2022

Winning Away!

Finally! As if to underline the turn round in our season the Addicks secured an away on Saturday.

It’s all down to perseverance especially in the case of Rak-Sakyi. After missing several gilt-edged chances in the first half he finally slotted home following a lovely assist from Payne.

Whilst it may not have been at the same level as Monday’s win over Pompey we created enough chances and getting the win was, as ever, more important than the performance.

The result means that now find ourselves up to 7th. A quite remarkable turn round. It does further indicate what might have possible with greater support in the transfer window and an earlier switch to playing 2 up front.

At least until January we are left trusting to luck with suspensions and injuries. Our squad simply isn’t big or experienced enough to sustain a challenge without it. 

The return of our full backs in addition to a settled back 5 and side overall has really made a difference.

It has certainly lifted the mood across the fan base and a season that most of us had virtually put to bed is alive and well.

Sadly, the attendances are unlikely to increase proportionally which represents another opportunity missed by our present owner.

We now turn our attentions to Tuesday and a game against a team that has lost their last 4 games and now finds itself at the bottom of the league.

Conversely, we are unbeaten in 5 having won 3 on the spin. Of course, there’s no chance that we could mess this up is there! 

As you’d expect MK manager Liam Manning is under pressure. He’s bought himself some time following a good campaign last season that saw them miss out in the play-off semis.

Like Garner, Manning hasn’t been backed by his owner. Players such as Twining and Darling have gone and are greatly missed as you’d imagine. 

That's not to say that Manning is entirely blameless. On numerous occasions goals have been scored whilst trying to play out from the back. There have been some howlers and we need to close down and press quickly in the final third in the hope of benefiting from that ourselves.

A win tomorrow would set us up nicely for the encounter with Ipswich on Saturday. The Suffolk will certainly bring a big support and despite those ridiculous ticket prices we can but hope that we may see a few more bums on seats in the home areas. 

First, we need to win again tomorrow. Here’s hoping! 

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 21 October 2022

Shrews Away

Two wins from the last two games have given us a lift on the pitch at least. Perhaps not as impressive but we are unbeaten in 4 matches which represents an improvement.

This is in part no doubt to the playing of 2 upfront. It took a long time for Garner to appreciate the need to do so but his Road to Damascus moment has finally arrived and we look the better for it.

Whilst this hasn’t led to Stockley banging in goals left, right and centre he has been more effective. Jayden is now more in the thick of the action and his presence and movement has created chances for others.

Ironically, one of the beneficiaries of this has been Miles Leaburn. His dad was very effective in holding the ball up and creating chances for his team-mates in similar fashion to Stockley. Carl might not have got a stack of goals but the other things he did, he did well whilst others prospered.

In turn, we have looked more settled in defence and midfield. The returning Sessegnon and Egbo has added solidity to the back line.

CBT looked good on Monday night and we have to hope that he maintains that level of performance. He is a real threat when he’s on form.

At the risk of getting ahead of myself with an eye on Tuesday night there is a game where we should have a good chance of a win. MK aren’t good at the moment and were on a similar run to us. Whereas, we’ve picked they’ve not and have now lost 4 on the spin.

Another defeat for them tomorrow at home to Wycombe could spell the end for manager Liam Manning. That would be a bit harsh as he did a great job for them last season.

In similar fashion to Garner he hasn’t been too well supported in the summer transfer window. We have to hope we’re playing them at the right time.

Shrewsbury are 2 places above us with 2 points more having played one game less. They aren’t heavy scorers and if we can put in another solid defensive effort then there is real hope for a win.

I’m going to back us to get the 3 points tomorrow (that’s probably put the mockers on it!). A 2-0 win would be in order.

If we can avoid too many injuries (always a big ask for us) then we can perhaps start to look up a bit whilst allowing it as a pleasant distraction to matters off the field of play.

Good luck to all travelling fans.

Come On You Reds!

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Up Pompey!

I know we have a decent record against Pompey and seem to play well when there’s a wiff of a protest in the air but I don’t think many of us saw that coming.

It was a really good performance from the boys in red. It was committed and lasted for the full 90 minutes and more!

At last, there was an intensity, intent and endeavour throughout. I liked that we were more physical than we have been. We didn’t allow ourselves to be bullied, something that would have dismayed one member of staff!

We imposed ourselves on the game and played with a good tempo. So often we’ve started slowly and let the oppo take the initiative.

Great too to see us score from a well worked set piece. Inniss showing great determination to get on the end of that corner. More of that please!

This has to be the best performance, certainly at home, all season. It just goes to show how this team can play and how criminal it is that Garner hasn’t been properly backed.

A minimal amount of investment would have secured those extra two or three players of real quality that could do a job at this level.

We oughtn’t to write off the season just yet I guess but it would take a monumental effort to get into even the play-offs. I don’t think we can sustain this level for the rest of the season or until January at least.

There were so many good shifts across the whole team. Dobson was as ever at the heart of things. He is so often breaking up attacks and setting us on our way. Why he wasn’t made captain I don’t know.

Speaking of which, praise is due to our skipper. Stockley really put in a shift last night, he never stopped running and chased everything. He may not have scored but that had a lot to do with him not getting the right ball into him and also his unselfish running creating opportunities for others.

CBT was excellent and one hopes that he can become more consistent over the coming games. He really can give us an edge when he’s on the money as he carries a real threat.

JRS is another who can do that although his inexperience and naivety lets him down. I guess it’s to be expected and he wouldn’t be with us if he were the finished article.

I’m sure in time he will know when to try a bit of skill and when to play it simple or release the ball earlier. A coach has to tread a fine line with players like him as you don’t want them not to be afraid to use their skill or try something different. It’s a question of being judicious about it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game more so than the win over Plymouth as I thought we worked harder for it and were more solid throughout.

Last night really gave me a lift. It doesn’t change mine or anyone else’s views of our owner of course. He still needs to go because as last night showed, we could be doing so much better. We will have to battle on and continue to hope that our strikers remain fit and available.

The cup draw also took place last night and it threw up an intriguing tie against Coalville. I don’t normally bother with the Cup but given my dearth of live games this season I’m going to make every effort to attend.

That depends on trains running and sensible ticket pricing from our now shy and retiring owner who was last seen hiding under a desk with the P.M. I believe! BOOM!

Friday, 14 October 2022

Highway To Hell!

AC/DC’s famous track would be an apt new release for the banjo man. He really ought to cover it as it’ll have more bearing in reality than “Addicks To Victory!” 

The lyrics are so much more apt. Let’s compare……. 

We fightin', you will see (oh, oh, oh-oh), Addicks to victory (oh, oh, oh-oh) 

Living easy, lovin’ free, Season ticket on a one way ride (down the football pyramid) 

Eyes among you, all the adrenaline, And determined for a clean sheet win 

Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme, Ain’t nothing I’d rather so, Going down, party time

All together now……… 

I’m on the highway to hell, on the highway to hell (repeat to fade or when you reach National League South!) 

Sandgaard has really been shown up for what he is in the last few months with even the most ardent of apologists now admitting defeat. His fall from grace is nearly as fast as the current PM (you could argue she never had far to fall but you get my drift!). 

The limelight loving Dane come American businessman has gone very shy of late not so much as a “Boom!” on Twitter of late although there’s not been much call for that to be honest! 

I said some while ago that he is the latest in a very long line of football club owners who thought that running a football club is easy. Then shortly after fall flat on their a**e! 

It was clear from the start that the man has an ego and fair play most successful people whatever their line of work have and perhaps to an extent need that. Given what had gone before most fans were prepared to swallow that, suffer his awful tune and his pre-match strutting round the pitch. 

Over time it became clear that he wanted to do things his own way, unfortunately, that was a euphemism for badly! In fact, as it turns out disastrous! 

His recruitment strategy in all areas of the club has proven to be awful. He’s got rid of some of the finest staff we’ve ever had whilst retaining the worst. 

I’m sure he considers himself a great communicator but over time he’s shown himself to be totally crass with little control over the output from a number of sources not just his own kith and kin!

Perhaps one of the worst aspects of his stewardship is on the financial side. Over the passage of time he has shown a degree of ignorance that even Kwasi would be proud of! 

It would appear that his companies (the one area has done well in) are failing also. Hardly the Midas touch for Tommy at present. 

At the heart of it all is his refusal to seek or listen to advice always thinking that he, the good doctor or young Martin (supported by his laptop and whizzy programme) knew best. 

It might be funny if it weren’t so serious or the latest in many years of suffering for the beleaguered Charlton supporter. It seems incredible that we had the wonderful years of stability and success under Curbs/Murray. Sadly, younger fans won’t ever have known that. 

In an ironic twist of fate, Sky decided a few weeks ago that our game v Portsmouth would be ideal viewing for the Monday night audience. It’s a match that will serve to highlight to all and sundry just how bad things are on and off the pitch. 

Even a cursory glance will show how little Sandgaard has invested in the team especially if Leaburn is injured. We can play with two up front and with no suitable replacement on the bench or start with one up front with only the luckless Aneke to bring on. 

The latest alledged under funding / cost cutting in the academy will take a bit longer to impact and become obvious but it’s all part of the current malaise. 

The natives are restless and there will no doubt be some anti-Sandgaard chants. They will only get worse if we are playing badly or/losing, especially if heavily so. 

Tommy deserves all he gets and he now cuts a rather pathetic figure. Our only hope is that he sells up soon and to someone with just smidgen more of common sense and humility!

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Devon Knows We're Not (Quite) So Miserable Now!

Finally, the Addicks got back to winning ways on Tuesday evening. Playing Devonian clubs midweek seems to suit us. We’ve recorded 2 wins, scored 9 and conceded only 3 in securing the 6 points from those games.

The result is a massive relief to the manager, player and fans. That possibly extends to the owner too but I really don’t think he’s that fussed beyond it buying him a bit of respite from the recent unrest.

That unrest arises from more than just a poor run of results and performances of course. The win poses a bit of an issue for those seeking to voice their discontent at the Pompey game on Monday. Had we lost last night I feel that fans would be organising something I’m sure.

Fans would want to get behind the team but the opportunity to display displeasure at Sandgaard’s ownership live on Sky is one that many won’t want to pass up. Mind you, a poor performance and heavy defeat will lead to spontaneous disapproval anyway.

I didn’t see the game as I can’t make midweek games save for the odd exception and I was out last night. I’m not sure that I’d have parted with £10 even if I had been able to do so all things considered.

I understand that this was an altogether better showing and one that lead to a deserved win. Pre-match I thought that Exeter would prove a tough nut to crack as they’ve been playing well of late with a consistent starting eleven.

Great to see Leaburn score again. Aside from the obvious reasons to love him anyway, the lad is a real talent and one that needs to be nurtured in the right way. I hope the knock he suffered yesterday isn’t too serious. 

Another goalscorer was the returning Aneke. Great to see him back and straight into it. We all know that on his day he capable of playing at a higher level but injuries prevent that. Having to wait until mid October to see him play following a seemingly innocuous injury isn’t good.

Naturally, we hope that this will be a springboard for an upturn in fortune and results. However, our paucity of striking options means we’re on something of a knife edge in that respect.

Last night aside, we’ve played all season with barely two strikers. If two of them are out or even worse, all three then we really are in trouble.

It’s good to get the win but the issues on and off the pitch remain. I think we’re going to stay battling relegation particularly is we don’t get a new owner as I can’t Tommy investing in January. The current backdrop of cost cutting alone suggests that.

Currently, all games are tough for us but the remainder of October will prove particularly testing. We need to keep all our strikers (not just Chuks) wrapped in cotton wool and keep our fingers firmly crossed!

The Portsmouth game is pivotal for so many reasons. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out but I think we may be watching from behind the sofa and I don’t mean the infamous red one!

Friday, 30 September 2022

Apathy!

I haven’t posted anything for a little while. Mostly this is due to work and other commitments but to be honest my life isn’t that busy that I can’t spare a few minutes to write a bit of nonsense about our club.

Remember, “nothing else matters” right? Hmm, well maybe not at the moment. The word apathy popped up a few times on Charlton Live last Sunday and I guess it sums up the mood for most Addicks at present. 

I’ve yet to attend a league game at home on a Saturday this season. A combination of rails strikes and my holiday have put paid to that. I could drive as I’ve done many times in the past but with roads busier than usual I don’t fancy it.

There’s also the social aspect of the matchday experience and sans a beer or two it wouldn’t quite be the same.

Again though, rather like my not put fingers to keyboard, I’m not sure I’m too moved to make that extra effort.

It’s not a good place to be but then neither is the club.

Tomorrow’s game sees Robinson return with his Oxford team. I really don’t miss seeing him in our dugout and I haven’t forgotten his smug expression when he walked away in his last game with us. We’d just witnessed a dreadful game in the freezing cold as I recall.

Then I’m sure he’d already sorted his move to Oxford and you sensed he wasn’t fussed about what had just gone before.

The U’s aren’t matching their achievements of last season and this campaign has got off to a bad start, rather like ours.  

Last time out they lost to MK in what was by all accounts a poor game. Gobbo might come under a bit of pressure as the fans are getting a bit restless and the club has new owners. A couple of Indonesian investors who been involved for some time but have now taken a controlling 51% stake in the club.

It’s unlikely they will want to see an upturn in fortunes. Of course, it’d no surprise it that started tomorrow in S.E.7!

One player who is always a threat is Cameron Brannagan and I recall he secured me a win as I’d bet he’d score against us last time out. He left it late and it made little difference to the outcome but not my bank balance. Cameron is always worth a punt given he’s usually on free kick duty and is pretty good.

This presents a good opportunity to break that winless run in the league that stretches back to the 5-1 win over Plymouth that seems a lifetime ago now! It was also the only time that Stockley has scored this season albeit that it was from the spot of course!

Should we put on a poor display and draw or even worse, lose, then the atmosphere really will be bad aside from the impending basement battle to become more of a reality.

To get a win then we need to seriously up our defending from last week. In fact, improve on the last few weeks. I assume when Garner is so gushing about how well we’ve trained we haven’t actually done any focusing on defending!!!

The lack of a settled back 5 really doesn’t help and it’s changing every week. I can’t recall if we’ve actually had two successive games with the same defensive unit.

I’m not sure if the banjo man will be present but it would probably be wise for him to stay away at the moment. He doesn’t follow common logic or listen to anyone so he’ll probably put himself on show if he’s in the UK.

Given his recent low profile on social media and actions, I wonder if he’s also getting a feeling of apathy too? We’ll see!

Come On You Reds!

Friday, 16 September 2022

Desperate Times

Tomorrow is last opportunity for the Addicks to salvage something from an awful week. We’ve had a lot of those in recent times and this one is right up there. 

Everywhere you look the club stinks. Things show no sign of improving and our only hope is that Sandgaard is looking to sell and that someone out there has the dosh, willingness to buy and comes with good intentions. 

As I’ve said before the writing’s been on the wall for some time in respect of attention seeking owner. When he brought his son to the club, got his missus deeply involved (although she seems to be sans portfolio) and started to dictate the style of play he became pretty much the same as Duchatelet. 

Picking the team, ordering a playing style…….what’s the difference? Should Garner want to change from his preferred system, I wonder if he’d be able or feel confident enough to? 

I won’t go into the stupid comments from Rifkind. They don’t warrant wasting one’s time over. They were just another layer of s**t in an already dispiriting few days. 

One hopes that the banjo man will depart soon. If he doesn’t then we are seriously in trouble. Maybe even worse than how we were under Roland. That speaks volumes! 

I struggle to see us winning any game at present having failed to overcome a poor side in FGR and one that could so easily have beaten us! 

On the pitch there’s an enforced change to the back four. As if it hasn’t been messed around enough already and as pointed out on Charlton Live yesterday, poor Wollacott can’t be helped by it changing from game to game. 

I had tried to excuse Inniss his reckless challenge on the basis that his first yellow wasn’t merited. However, on reflection he proved how vulnerable he is to doing that and it was plain daft. After that tackle last season I didn’t want him at the club. He is a liability. 

Fleetwood may be only a point and I believe, one place above us ( I can’t be bothered to check!) but they will prove tough opposition tomorrow. They’ve drawn many games but in amongst that they’ve been against good sides and with a couple of decent wins. 

At least a seaside town will provide some light relief for those fans brave and loyal enough to make the trip. Good luck to them. 

Fraser should return tomorrow along with Lavelle. As for the rest of the team then, who apart from Dobson, really deserves to start? You could argue cases for many to either be dropped or to come in as there’s nothing much better. 

Unless things change I really see us having to fight relegation this season. Even then, should Thomas decide to invest in January (assuming he’s still here) then he’ll struggle to do good business in the notoriously difficult transfer window. 

Fingers crossed that we can get something tomorrow (yes, it’s that desperate to say that when we’re playing Fleetwood) and best wishes to the travelling support. 

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

The Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost!

Following the poor display against Bolton, Garner certainly rang the changes in making 6 alterations to the starting line up with full debuts for Leaburn and Chin.

Initially, it looked like it had the desired effect with the Addicks starting on the front foot and taking an early lead. Foolishly, some of us started to wonder if we might see another hatful of goals on a Tuesday night.

That notion became more fanciful as the half wore on and we squandered a number of opportunities. A lack of composure and poor decision making in the final third are the main reasons.

After his excellent goal, CBT seemed to lose his way where his decision to shoot proved the wrong one as time and again as his shots increasingly threatened the corner flag rather than Rovers’ goal!

JRS flattered to deceive and he reminded somewhat of Callum Harriott determined to beat at least 5 or 6 players before trying to shot if he wasn’t already dispossessed!

As we know, when you’re on top you must score and our failure that add at least a second in the first half proved costly. Wollacott unnecessarily came for a cross and chose the wrong option. He needed to punch the ball, went for the catch and Connor Wickham said thanks very much. A player of his ability and experience isn’t going to turn that down. 

Not everyone had a wasted evening though as the lad who did the crossbar challenge pocketed £11.5k. Well done to him. He was coolness personified and had clearly prepped properly for it. He was possessed of an accuracy sadly lacking in most of our team!

Since putting 5 past Plymouth we have failed to score more than one goal in drawing 3 games and losing one. In those games, we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet. In fact, we’ve only kept a clean sheet against Derby and we were lucky to do so then!

The last few games have seen the chickens coming home to roost. The writing’s been on the wall for some time. Ridding ourselves of 3 strikers and not recruiting at least one decent one in return was always going to bite us on the backside.

It is a shocking way to the run the club and is an awful way to treat the manager and fans.

Sandgaard had the luxury of witnessing a few games in the knowledge the Aneke was injured again! Yet, still he chose not to invest in a striker. The man’s a fool and is so naïve in respect of running a football club.

One only has to look at the stupid statements he’s made since he joined us to see that. On and off the pitch the man is a disaster.

Tickets are overpriced and the crowds are dwindling not least because of the expense but the football and perhaps, more importantly, results are awful.

I think even he will acknowledge that privately. He’s gone very quiet on social media.

I fear that we’re heading into a relegation fight. Our failure to beat poor and mediocre teams won’t do and we’re only heading one way. A point from these matches is simply not good enough.

I really feel for Garner as he’s left to try and get something out of a squad that is now reliant on young, inexperienced academy players. A few more suspensions and injuries and then some of us can expect a call!

As Peter Finch tweeted last night, “The owner promised a dream, and is delivering a nightmare”!

Too true!

Monday, 5 September 2022

Night Follows Day

I guess the only surprise greater than our loss on Saturday was that we took an early lead. A lead so early, that few of us can recall the last time we went ahead so quickly.

It was a false dawn and Bolton were back on level terms within a few minutes. Just before half time and the Trotters had established lead that they went on to extend in the second period.

It was perhaps an entirely predictable result given the manner of the closing of the transfer window on Thursday. Certainly Garner will have been deflated by events and it must be hard to hide that from the team who themselves one would think, will have been as disappointed as the fans.

Post match and Garner was refreshingly honest in his assessment of the game and the Addicks prospects for the season.

One has to feel for Garner, the latest Charlton manager not to be supported by Sandgaard. He must feel acutely let down and in luring him to the Valley, the owner must have given him certain assurances regarding the squad that he sought to assemble.

Early on it did seem as though the gaffer was getting that but on reflection, especially when considering no fee was paid for any new recruit, it wasn't unequivocal. 

I can't believe that Garner wouldn't have wanted to add another striker for some time. Surely, it would have been one that was more suited to his system than the unfortunate Stockley.

The skipper's run of failing to score from open play continues and whilst being captain and with no other realistic alternative, his place team in the team looks secure. Under any other circumstances he would probably be dropped but that remains unlikely. How long that goes on for is anyone's guess but I can't see things changing anytime soon.

As we've seen off the pitch, no one's job is secure at the Valley and Garner's comments won't have helped his own position. Add to that Steve Gallen, who I'd not be surprised to see carry the can for the lacklustre end to the window.

One wonders what has happened to our recruitment process that so recently gave us some absolute gems and has us all wondering how Gallen repeatedly managed to pull rabbits from the hat. 

Perhaps it's simply that previously he was very much entrusted to get on with the job with minimal interference. Gallen was unencumbered by someone who had little to no experience of football although had overseen a team of 80 people and was superb at analysing data albeit in a totally different sector.

Who knows if Garner and Gallen will see out the season. Sadly, it's not hard to imagine them both gone before season's end. They would be two more names to add to Sandgaard's list of casualties.

Such is the owner's drive to reduce costs via the shedding of players whilst trimming the squad that Garner has somehow to motivate players like JFC, DJ and Macca as all three seemingly were set to go even if just on loan. DJ's was a very last minute collapse we believe.

What of our owner now? The man who loves the limelight and the adulation has gone very quiet. He's almost invisible on Twitter to the point where we no longer even see the " Boom " every time we score. 

The last few months have seen an increase in prices in many areas of the club as part of the closing the gap measures between profit and loss. A number of fans were happy to tolerate that, presumably in the hope that money would be invested in the team. That clearly hasn't been the case.

This, allied to the usual crass comments about learning from the mistakes of previous transfer windows and the off field removal of loyal and long standing staff, have further destroyed the remaining loyalty and credibility that Sandgaard had.

It has become clear to even the most ardent of Sandgaard loyalists that his words won't be backed up by actions. It really would seem that he is preparing to sell. To be honest, I wouldn't be disappointed if he  did. He'd be the latest in a long line of football club owners who've misjudged how expensive and difficult it is to run one.

In the meantime, Garner has a week to try and rejuvenate the troops ahead of Saturday's game at home to an Exeter City team that has made a pretty good start to the season and sit in 7th place. 

At least until January, the Addicks will pray for fewer injuries and that somehow, Aneke can at least get a few minutes on the pitch whilst the youngsters can produce some magic. I don't envy him the task and he needs all the support that we can give him because apparently, he won't get it from above!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Friday, 2 September 2022

No Doubting Thomas!

There you have it! To no one’s great surprise, we didn’t sign anyone before the transfer window closed.

We shipped 3 players out on loan but no one came in. An apparent last minute attempt to get Bonne in on loan failed, mainly we understand, because having left it so late we ended up being played.

You can forget any thoughts of us getting into the play-offs now. We will do well to achieve a mid-table finish.

There will be those who will say we’re in 8th place having played some of the better teams. True but we’re only 6 games into the season and injuries having already taken effect for some players are only just beginning to bite.

Crucially, that includes one of the few strikers we have. Even Prince Andrew has made more public appearances than Chuks recently.

Given that it was months ago that we lost 3 forwards and no attempt was made to recruit even one replacement, it was increasingly obvious that Sandgaard wasn’t bothered.

Don’t be fooled by the eleventh hour token gesture to get Bonne. I suspect that Sandgaard was relieved when QPR made it difficult. You can’t blame them and no doubt our very own “Springsteen” would have done the same.

We have one solitary, experienced striker and he has only one goal to his name and that was from a penalty. Had he not been made captain and the last man standing then he would have been dropped by now. He’d also be playing better too no doubt, motivated by the pressure of someone potentially taking his place.

The desperation was clear when we played Wednesday away and even though he felt unwell, he was required to play for an hour.

These latest shenanigans are the very latest in a series of developments both on and off the pitch that progressively reveal more about our owner.

With every day he looks like a poor man’s Del Boy. Everything is being done on the cheap as the reality of running a football club, not least in financial terms, becomes apparent. 

I doubt Thomas will parade himself in front of the fans at Bolton tomorrow. Even he isn’t so silly as to not anticipate the reception he would get.

All the bluster that Sandgaard has treated us to since he arrived is now exposed as just that. The soundbites and promises, and there are many, are merely words.

Premier league ready, blow the league out of the water, close to appointing a Champs League winning manager, Premier League and Europe in 5 years, football is easy……..etc. etc.

Managers, players and loyal, long standing staff, have gone as have a few short term ones. Those are mostly the failed appointments of our illustrious owner.

The replacements are cheap or related or even both in some cases. Advice is ignored as common sense gives way to a massive ego that believes it knows best.

Not to be outdone by Papa, Junior has further shown his unsuitably for his job by the latest recruitment failure and his naivety in declaring a done deal when it patently wasn’t!

As I said in my last piece, it’s probably best if Sandgaard packs his bags and leaves. It would seem he’s making plans to do so. Hopefully, we may finally get a decent owner that our club so needs and deserves.

In the meantime, all the best to those Addicks travelling up to Bolton tomorrow. Let’s hope you are rewarded with a win. We all need cheering up!

Come On You Reds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A Window On The (Charlton) World

The transfer window will close on Thursday and we will all then know exactly how sincere Sandgaard is about his intentions for our club.

Truth be told, we don't really need to wait until then as his reluctance to part with any money in respect of a transfer fee and the failure to sign a striker after 3 left last season. tells us all we need to know.

However, we must give him the benefit of what little doubt remains. Maybe he had a road to Damascus moment on Saturday when he paraded himself in front of the away support on Saturday when it told him to sign a striker.

Hearts must have sank as our owner made his way round the pitch at Adams Park. Thankfully, the one saving grace was that he didn't have his guitar with him.

Garner speaks with refreshing honesty and he doesn't sugar coat things in his interviews. Therefore, we can expect that if we do get any new faces it'll only happen if existing players are shipped out. According to the gaffer, that could be anyone. 

One appreciates that a sizeable offer could tempt the club into selling any player but you suspect that Sandgaard would be open to selling any one of ours for a modest fee no matter how integral they are to any potential success this season.

I do fear that come Friday morning we'll be looking at another season of mediocrity with Thomas spouting increasing costs, heavy losses and the need to stabilise expenditure and to break even.

Maybe some money is being set aside to pay compensation or non disclosure costs to former members of staff!

I'm still not sure if Sandgaard has a plan or strategy of any kind. He's increased tickets prices and other matchday costs to fans whilst reducing his investment in the club. We all appreciate the need to be prudent but a series flawed appointments have hardly helped matters.

If he fails to get some decent business done at the eleventh hour then he really is trusting to luck. We simply can't continue with Stockley as the only experienced and reliable striker. No one can see Aneke making more than a handful of cameo appearances. 

Stockley has missed a hatful of chances to date with his only goal coming from the spot. His position is fairly safe though, given that he is skipper and the only option we have up front. He is under no pressure playing wise other than his own professional pride.

The promise of goals coming from all areas of the team isn't bearing fruit so far. In our 6 league games to date we have scored one goal 3 times and failed to score in another. Accrington and notably, Plymouth are the exceptions. 

It's clear to see what needs addressing although even those of us without Sandgaard Junior's algorithm and footballing insight appreciated that back in early May!

This may be latest in a series of wasted seasons and perhaps it might be for the best if Thomas were to sell up and ship out. I'm not sure how emotionally he is invested in the club anymore. We've seen a decline in the amount of tweets he sends with his missus more active on social media these days. 

Not even the odd "BOOM" this season. For a man who loves the limelight and to "engage with the fans" there's been little to be seen of the guitar man.

Should matter turn sour then Sandgaard's appetite for the Addicks will be severely tested as the natives will let him know in no uncertain terms if they've grown tired of eccentric owner act.

We live in the hope that this transfer window and thus, the season itself, can be saved in the next few days. The signs aren't good but for me. they very rarely have been in over 60 years of supporting the club!




Friday, 26 August 2022

Last Minute Dot Com

Tomorrow sees the Addicks face a tough test away to Wycombe where manager, Gareth Ainsworth, has massively over achieved in the last few seasons. 

Success on the pitch has led to success off it where the car park now regularly sells out! A cheap shot but last season's infamous reference to that by the Bucks club was a bit odd.

Ainsworth's teams may not be pretty on the eye and the term gamesmanship can justifiably be levelled at them but the end results cannot be ignored. They remain many people's favourites to return to the Championship.

Like last Saturday's opponents, Cambridge, they will be well organised and will press us throughout. Their physical approach means that we won't get a moment's rest.

The 1-1 draw with the U's clearly showed a need to have another plan in place when teams approach the game the way did. The were well organised right down to having us attack the Covered End in the first half. 

We need to be solid at the back and I really hope that Lavelle comes in for Inniss who worries me and not just in respect of a dodgy pass in our own third. He was lucky to stay on the pitch last week as a wandering arm caught a Cambridge player in the face.

After his scintillating display against Plymouth, Rak-Sakyi looked a bit jaded last weekend. Hopefully, he will be fully recovered for tomorrow. We need his attacking intent.

Garner may decide to stick with Morgan and I guess overall he's earned some loyalty but he didn't have a great game last week and his set  pieces were mostly awful and a waste. A similar display tomorrow and Payne really ought to replace him at half time.

I'm still struggling to understand the approach to this transfer window. Most notable has been the apparent lack of effort to sign a striker. A clear need given 3 left last season and to no one's surprise Chuks is injured again and then again!

Despite having not spent any money on transfer fees it seems we need to off load some players before we can consider getting another player in. When one considers the money for Burstow and Pope, this doesn't bode well.

Gilbey, JFC, DJ and Mac may all need to go. The case with Mac is bizarre and the decision to let AMB go out on loan looks naive especially, if Wollacott misses games for the world cup.

Sandgaard made promises at season's end about having a good transfer window and being better prepared. We have recruited reasonably well but here we are looking desperate to recruit and to off load.

All this against a back drop of cost cutting and increased prices in many areas. At a time of the worst financial situation we've faced for many a year Sandgaard has inflated costs.

It's not just tickets prices which were already too high. The cost to fans of catering is obscene too. £6.10 for pint of Heineken! Really? This is the East Stand terrace, not a night club or high end West End bar!

It all leads me to wonder if Sandgaard has any kind of plan or strategy in respect of almost any area of the club. Phrases like "Premier League ready" get bandied about but there's little evidence of it day to day. In any case, what does that actually mean? 

The only relevance of "Premier League ready" will be on the pitch having got promoted out of the Championship!

Sandgaard must have known he was going to lose money when buying Charlton. Since then he's shown himself to be pretty ignorant as to how much much it would cost him and that he oughtn't to expect to simply break even never mind make a profit!

If he fails to invest properly in the team or doesn't strike it lucky in the next few days, the team's early season promise will evaporate. Then he really will have a problem because a low to mid table Charlton team won't be attracting the level of support he needs.

It's especially true with the current ticket prices and arrangements. The catering most can take or leave but the cost of access to games is key.

The other influencing factor will of course be that for midweek games fans can simply pay their £10 and watch from home. The could be a family or 3 to 4 fans together. A massive hit on matchday revenue.

There you have it. Sandgaard has some big decisions to make and he needs to listens to fans and others with relevant experience. History has shown he tends not to do that. 

He has under a week to effectively save this season. At a minimum, I hope he gives Garner the support he needs. I doubt he will but I can hope.

Come On You Reds!  

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Contrasting Matters

Tuesday's fine win over Argyle highlighted the initial progress on the pitch and it provides stark contrast to matters of it.

This was the first game that I've been able to attend due to my holiday. I knew when I booked it that I'd be missing a couple of games but sadly that proved to be Derby at home and Weds away which is a rare away for me that I always go to.

It was great to see a good performance where the attacking intent was maintained throughout the 90 mins. That was good to see as was the 5 different scorers.

Miles Leaburn scoring really was the icing on the cake. How wonderful it was to be chanting the Leaburn name again and an emotional moment for those of us old enough to have done so in the past.

Miles looks a good prospect and I was very impressed with his cameo appearance. One hopes there'll be many more reasons to sing out his name in the future!

Equally impressive were a number of players and in defence and midfield at least we have some strength in depth. The area for concern of course remains our dearth of strikers.

Whilst Miles and Henry are options for Garner they cannot be expected to feature as a main striker as they learn about life in league football.

Chuks is crocked again for at least another week and in any case, a fit Aneke will only ever be a bit part player. Not only that, one we have for another 3 years! That is unless another club comes in with a bid to sign him!

In respect of signing a striker, this transfer window has proved the most frustrating one. We knew we were losing 3 since May but yet we have seemingly not got anywhere close to doing so.

Sandgaard appears not to want to spend a penny on new recruits. However, if he's serious about backing Garner then he needs to do so. For our owner though cost cutting seems to be his greatest priority. The latest act of which was the make Olly Groome "redundant".

A nonsensical act in itself and executed in the most cowardly and distasteful fashion. Many defended Sandgaard in the manner of Jackson's departure but even Thomas's greatest apologists can't excuse this one.

It's one of many issues where off the field matters contrast those on it as decent, hardworking and loyal staff are discarded but the one that really ought to be tidying his desk remains.

In addition, we have the fiasco of the approach to ticketing as a whole. I've long moaned about the cost of season tickets and match to match tickets. The price is simply too high for third tier football especially if your alleged aim is to fill the stadium.

Allied to all that we now find the season ticket holders are being mailed less then 3 days prior to Saturday's game offering a free ticket. I'm pretty disorganised but even I make plans further ahead than that!

The 4 free tickets to season ticket holders was announced after the early bird deadline and as such, too late to incite those most likely to buy. It's also rather deceitful as the club will decide which matches you'll be offered them. As I understand it you don't get the option.

Naturally, these are likely to be for less attractive opposition and one suspects, a cold, wet night in February!

Sandgaard's other half is playing an increasingly prominent role in the club whilst no one seems quite sure of what her job role or title is. 

The owner is man who refuses to listen to those with the relevant experience and knowledge of our club. Instead, he'd rather pay "consultants" to help. That's going well isn't it!

Sandgaard's stock is probably at its lowest ebb but as long as we do okay on the pitch he'll escape the intense criticism of previous owners. Should that not be the case and/or we get much more of these bizarre off field decisions then we will probably witness a repeat of the scenes of the Duchatalet era.

On the pitch we need to and ought to beat a Cambridge team that performs better at home than away. The train strike puts my attendance in doubt which following Tuesday's marvellous display, is very frustrating! 

Come On You Reds!





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.