Friday 25 March 2022

Donny Away

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

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

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

The relegation battle looks like going to the wire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come On You Reds!

Friday 18 March 2022

Burton Albion Await

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come On You Reds!



Wednesday 16 March 2022

A Win At Last!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday 15 March 2022

Jilted John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s hope we get the three points.

Come On You Reds!

Friday 11 March 2022

Home And Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopefully the winning ways will start tomorrow.

Come On You Reds!


Wednesday 9 March 2022

Tough Times Ahead of 22/23

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

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

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

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

However, the main thing was to stop the rot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll see!

Friday 4 March 2022

Addicks To Obscurity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope I’m wrong!