Friday 28 January 2022

Next Season

Losing to Hartlepool on Tuesday effectively ended our season unless we get drawn into a relegation fight. That can’t be ruled out completely of course!

The optimists amongst us will say we’re only so many points off 6th place (I haven’t looked to see exactly how many as it seems rather futile) but the sheer number of teams ahead of us realistically rules that out.

It’s rather depressing that the January transfer window has not yet closed but we’ve already reached this state of football inertia.

The one silver lining is that it means we can start to focus on next season. It’s a tough task given how our stark failure this season has made the next even more crucial.

A failure to challenge for at least a play-off spot will render that a worse campaign than this. It would be one that tests Sandgaard’s resolve even further.

However difficult the job of turning things around might be, it’ll be an awful lot easy without the meddling hands of Roddy and Adkins’ failure to deliver a remotely organised and motivated team.

The additions to the management team and restructure follow Ged’s removal ought to increase the chances of success.

The fact that Gallen and Jackson ought to be left largely unhindered in terms of recruitment should help prevent a recurrence of the disastrous summer window of 2021!

It was obvious we were at least one striker light but even the biggest pessimist would have been pushed to anticipate just how badly that would impact our season.

Without Stockley we lack a solid goalscorer. The emergence of Burstow and the return of Aneke has been too late.

On balance, one ought to appreciate that it will take a long time to turn around the woeful and toxic ownership of the club over many years. To some extent it’s amazing that we’ve retained anywhere near the level of support we currently have.

That will only last so long of course and at the end of the day the offerings on the pitch are what really determines fans loyalty and patience. Not everyone is a die-hard fan who is prepared to suffer what we have in recent years and stay with it.

Your average Charlton fan wants to see good football and the team challenging at the top end of League One.

I’ve always considered us to be a solid championship (tier 2 team) with top flight aspirations. The longer we’re out of the second league that becomes less true and harder to return.

Jackson has till season’s end to decide upon the formation he wants to employ. Of late he’s show a lack of flexibility in sticking rigidly to his preferred 3-5-2.

That’s fair enough if he has the personnel to make it work. If he hasn’t then he needs to be adaptable. Playing Matthews in the back three on Tuesday for example wasn’t a good idea and he’s not suited to that.

A lot of work to be done before we kick off the 22-23 season in July. It’s vital that we hit the ground running. For now, a good run of performances and results would, at least, see us go into that with some momentum.

Hopefully, we can kick that off with a win at Portsmouth on Monday. As it’s on Sky one is always doubtful but hopefully, we can maintain our recent decent record at Fratton Park.

Given that we're playing I guess that we can assume there won't be any late transfer activity on Monday night. I'll not be staying up until midnight then!

Come On You Reds!

Friday 21 January 2022

Fleetwood Back!

Tomorrow sees a welcome return to SE7 for the Addicks having had the luxury of a whole week to prepare for the visit of Fleetwood.

Jackson will no doubt be pleased to be back at home. At a minimum he’ll be looking for a better performance never mind result.

I’m sure that 3 games in 6 days didn’t help matters physically demanding as that was in addition to leaving little time to prepare for games. However, it doesn’t excuse some players inability to pass to teammates less than 10 yards away!

I haven’t seen us live in the flesh since before Christmas but some of the quality, desire and intensity seems to have dropped off with one or two players.

Albie Morgan has probably done enough in the last two games to retain his place in the starting eleven. To keep it he really needs to be more consistent as shows glimpses of his potential but often doesn’t maintain it.

This really ought to have been season to cement his place in the side. The remainder of the season is probably nudging towards last chance saloon for him.

The manager will be delighted to be able to have MacGillivray back between the sticks. One could argue that his absence from the last two league games has cost us at least 3 points.

The continued absence of Stockley is clearly affecting both performances and results. Until the return of Chuks we had little to no goal threat whatsoever.

Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll see Chuks and Washington start. They ought to complement each other in similar fashion to the tried and tested Stockley-Washington duo.

Chuks return to S.E.7 is most welcome and the association 3.5 year deal and transfer fee look good business to me. Aneke is a proven goalscorer at this level. I think he has time and the ability to end up top goal scorer this season.

One or two fans seemed to have a problem with Chuks returning but I don’t get that. The possibility of playing under Adkins wouldn’t have been a great pull and the chance to play in the Champ under Lee Bowyer clearly was.

In similar vein I see that rumours of Jermaine Defoe returning to S.E.7 is causing some angst amongst supporters.

Defoe is something of a bĂȘte noire with a number of the Valley faithful. I kind of get that given the West Ham academy graduate’s departure. However, given his age when he left and that he would have little to no say in the move then he can hardly be blamed.

Might he be useful as a backup striker if needed? Yes. Would he be using to have to coach our current and academy strikers? A big fat yes!

We desperately need to start rebuilding job across a number of areas on the playing side. That can’t happen too soon. Perhaps one of the blessings of knowing that we won’t be going up to the Champ at season’s end is that we can plan for 2022-23 now.

In the meantime we do need to ensure that we don’t slide any further down the league and a loan singing or two plus a long term addition of the right order would help.

The Cod Army’s new manager Steven Crainey has improved results but we should be confident of a win tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to seeing my first CAFC game of the year. I’m hoping for a great atmosphere, display and result.

Come On You Reds!

Thursday 13 January 2022

Wednesday Woes!

Another frustrating evening, this time at Gresty Road, saw the Addicks put in a really poor performance against an equally poor Crewe side.

In the space of three days, we’ve gone from dominating against a Prem team to losing to one of the weaker teams in League One!

We gifted them the two goals and that aside Henderson had little to do which was just as well given his part in the goals and general display.

Washington returned to the starting line up to add some energy up front although as so often with him his finishing again let him down. Akin also started but this was not one of his better days either.

Famewo goes from playing really well to occasionally looking like he can’t pass the ball over 10 metres and/or gets in the wrong position. A few times last night he was the wrong side of the attacker. He needs to address this as he is undoubtedly a talent and capable of better things.

We started brightly enough and could easily have been two or three up after about 25 minutes. Yet again our lack of composure allied to poor decision making and finishing really cost us.

It was pleasing to see us battle back into the game but in all honesty I’m not sure we deserved anything from it.

The disallowed goal summed up an awful evening from an incompetent set of officials. Whether you feel Leko was impeding the keeping or not is largely immaterial.

The referee had clear sight of where Leko and their keeper were. He immediately gave the goal. The lino had his flag up but how on earth can he have any opinion on whether the keeper was impeded from where he was.

The ref had a clear and better view. How he allowed himself to be dissuaded I’ll never know.

I’ve mentioned before that since being made permanent Jackson hasn’t had any luck and yesterday was no different. Henderson wouldn’t have been playing if Macca’s missus wasn’t in labour and you can be sure he would have dealt better with the two goals.

If we’re not careful we will find ourselves looking over our shoulders towards teams below us. Thomas and co have just over two weeks to sort some transfers and secure our status for next season. If not, we could be looking at the unthinkable.

Monday 10 January 2022

Good Effort!

A great effort from The Addicks yesterday saw them come close to progressing th the 4th round of the cup but ultimately the loss of both Stockley and Washington did for them.

Sadly, the vagaries of the Covid rules did for yours truly and I was limited to following the game via Twitter and Radio London commentary.

Clearly we had our chances whilst restricting the Premier league oppo to very few but our failure to take them meant we went out of the cup whilst they took their one and that was the difference.

The summer transfer window was haphazard with the most obvious error being our failure to recruit a striker to replace Chuks. That has cost us dear in the league as well as the cup.

Burstow is a good prospect but isn’t quite the finished article just yet even given his undoubted promise.

Our squad is now quite heavily laden with bit part players who are on the periphery of the action but realistically can’t be relied upon to make the size of contribution needed to get us to where we need to be.

Since Jackson took over as caretaker and then permanent manger he has completely turned around the team. A previously tired team lacking focus and subject to constant change now battles in the majority of games thanks to a more settled side allied to a greater intent.

One had to feel for the gaffer as since he was made permanent events have somewhat conspired against him. Covid seems to have target the best players and even the luck of the draw quite literally robbed him of Akin!

The team will no doubt give it their all still and if us fans continue to see that plus some decent football then well be happy enough and see where we end up. Hopefully, at the very least we’ll have something of a platform upon which to build for next season.

We face quite an intense period of fixtures as we play catch in respect of games missed over Christmas plus the cup game we were due to play on Saturday. In addition, there the Pizza Trophy trip up to Hartlepool.

The squad will be fully tested that’s for sure.

Friday 7 January 2022

Cup Fever!

Part 2 of Cup week at The Valley sees the Addicks up against Prem opposition in the form of Norwich City.

There’s nothing to dislike about the Canaries as they’re a pretty decent club and after all, they have kindly loaned Akin to us.

My most memorable trip to Carrow Road was the midweek game when Super Clive bagged a hat-trick in a 5-0 or 5-1 win as I vaguely recall.

I’d be more optimistic if Stockley was available but sadly his hip injury would seem to rule him out. Add to that the aforementioned Akin won’t be available and it further weakens our chances.

However, no Jackson side is going to the pitch without giving it everything.

Of course we don’t know how strong a team Norwich will put out. They will no doubt prioritise the league as sadly all Prem seem to do these days but they might want to get some minutes for one or two players as their last match was on 28th December.

It should be a great atmosphere and it’s been too long since we played a top flight team.

Sadly, for me as things stand I won’t be there as my Covid passport doesn’t permit me to attend such an event until 11th January. A nonsense as far as I can see as my isolation completes today and I’ve tested negative for the past two days aside from it being an outdoor event!

I will check the club’s regulations again. I am considering changing my name to Novak Djokovic to see if I can get round it that way!

It’d be great to get a win and further progress in the cup. Our progression further than the 3rd round has been few and far between over the years. It’s always been great when we have of course.

Bristol City away and at home in the replay, Man Utd away of course and what a day that was!

Sheffield Wednesday away, Coventry away, Newcastle home and away plus a few more that I’ve overlooked……….fantastic memories despite the result in some cases.

Please can the football gods smile upon us and bring some luck and get us through to round 4!

Come On You Reds!

Monday 3 January 2022

Looking Ahead

Saturday’s defeat to Wycombe served to underline what a disastrous summer transfer window we had and just how great the damage done by Adkins woeful spell was as manager.

Even if Ronnie Schwartz had come good, we always looked light on strikers. It was always a big gamble on Ronnie and one that soon backfired.

His signing has proved to be one of the few minuses for Sandgaard given that it was so left field and one can’t believe that Gallen or Bowyer has identified him as a prime target.

Aneke was never replaced and it was a major mistake. It was clear during his recent suspension as to how big a loss it is when Stockley doesn’t play.

I believe that Roddy’s involvement in the recruitment process muddied the waters and we ended up recruiting too many midfielders whilst failing to address the left back position.

Up against a well organised Wanderers defence it was going to be a very tough ask to score and going behind made it an even bigger task.

I think given the number of teams in between us and the play-off places we are now effectively out of the running for one of those. It’s simply too big an ask not that Jackson will give up trying as that’s not in his nature nor would we expect him or want him to.

This transfer window is more difficult than ever as a result of where we find ourselves. We need to look long term and indeed, that’s how we’d need to sell the club to any potential transfer target.

Just as important with an eye on next season is sorting the squad for that. We need to try and tie down some players and rid ourselves of some of the deadwood that includes Gunter and Watson whose wages are an important factor too in that decision.

In the short space of time as owner Sandgaard will have learned a lot. As much as he has done a lot of good in doing the right thing and making good decisions there have been some glaring mistakes across the board.

No one gets it all right of course and mistakes are acceptable as long as he learns from them. As slow as he was to do so, at least he did get rid of Adkins and Roddy.  In the case of Roddy that is in some part an acknowledgement that Ged was culpable in it being a mess.

Covid permitting the Addicks now face a long slog of 2 games per week and that will only extend should we progress in the FA Cup and/or pizza trophy.  That will present a real headache for Jackson as he needs to decide what his priority should be.