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!