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!