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!

Friday 4 February 2022

AFC Up Next!

The Addicks will be pleased to return to home soil and a 3pm Saturday kick off this weekend following Monday night’s outing on the south coast.

It was a rather splendid performance and result that added to overall feeling that things are on the up. It’s too late to mean that we’ll be involved in the play-offs but the momentum is building towards next season one feels.

A decent transfer window and the arrival of Skiverton as first team coach all points towards next season being a damn sight better than this!

On the pitch there is now more competition for places than of late. One assumes it can’t be long before we see Fraser and the two new loanees (I don’t mean Burstow) in the red shirt.

Wimbledon arrive not having won a league game since 7th December. Since then they have drawn most of their games.

They will prove a hard nut to crack but as with our last home game we really ought to be confident of winning.

Lavelle, JFC and Stockley all remain injured I assume. Unless there are any fresh injuries then I guess it’ll be same eleven taking to the pitch that started against Pompey

Looking forward to another enjoyable Saturday at the Valley. The free drink that Thomas has kindly offered up is a nice bonus. Let’s hope we’re able to toast a good win afterwards!

Come On You Reds!





Tuesday 1 February 2022

Play Up Corey! Corey Play Up!

A much improved display saw Charlton run out winners (again!) at Fratton  Park last night.

This was much more like it with a return to the pressing and more physical and battling approach that went a long way to securing the permanent role for Jackson.

There were so many good performances across the whole team. We were much more solid as a unit.

Albie Morgan continued his recent good run of form. So often, he has promised much and not delivered. There have been several false dawns. One can but hope that he finally realises what’s needed, is more consistent and secures his place in the team.

Inniss was once again magnificent and produced another superb tackle to match the one he made against Norwich in the cup.

It is so good to have Chuks back in the side. He offers a real presence up front, is strong and has good feet. The ball stays there when he gets it.

Corey Blackett-Taylor had a fantastic game and later received the man of the match award on Sky. He was a constant threat and was so close to scoring what would have an outstanding goal.

If one can be critical I feel CBT could be even better if he released the ball a bit quicker on occasion and be a little less selfish in and around the area.

Pompey had the better opening few minutes and ought to have gone ahead a couple of times. However, they didn’t and we gradually took control.

I felt that it stayed that way well into the second half and it was only when Portsmouth scored that we looked a bit shaky. That’s to be expected of course when only one goal up away from home. The onslaught is inevitable but we withstood it.

Luckily for us Michael Jacobs didn’t start! He was the one player who was making things happen for Pompey.

Jacobs hasn’t had the career I thought he would. I recall seeing him years ago playing for Northampton and he really stood out. A move to Derby followed that and since he has been at Wolves and Wigan with a couple of loans thrown in.

It was a good day all round for the Addicks with Scott Fraser joining from Ipswich earlier in the day. He is an excellent signing and will really bolster our midfield.

Like a few of our players he is another ex-Milton Keynes player. We seem to have had a few now over the years. I’m not sure how we missed out on Deli Alli!!!

This has been a much better transfer window and it bodes well for next season especially if we can do similar good work in the summer one.

The one downside is the move of Mason Burstow to Chelsea. Yet another youngster who we’ve seen little of and will leave us before we do or he’s achieved anything with us.

I know we can put the money (I assume it’s a decent amount) to good use but I’d like to have seen him play in the 2022-23 season. We should have pushed for that as part of the deal.

Having Mason loaned back to us for the rest of this season is pointless. Despite our dearth of strikers we don’t really need him if we’re honest. In addition, we’re just further developing a player who won’t be with us next season.

The player himself is being short changed by his agent. At least more one season with us would have been so beneficial to him.

I’ve little doubt that he’ll be loaned out somewhere but I doubt he’ll make the progress I feel certain he would with us in comfortable surroundings.

Good luck to him but I won’t be getting too excited whatever he does between now and season’s end simply because he’s no longer our player. Added to that we’ve got bugger all to play for so he won’t be bagging the winner at Wembley in May or anything!

This is typical Chelsea and in all likelihood Mason won’t ever make a first team league appearance. I hope he does for his sake of course but one has to be realistic and we’ve seen it all before.

Parker went there too but as a much more experienced and promising player. He hardly played at all for them and I’m certain it cost him an England place at the time.

Onto February now and the games don’t get any easier! AFC on Saturday offers our best chance of 3 points this month!

Bizarrely, we seem to raise our game against the better teams so it wouldn’t surprise any of us to see a defeat against the Dons followed by magnificent wins in the other matches!