Saturday, 21 October 2017

No worries as Addicks take three points

Jake Forster-Caskey said he had no fear ahead of today's promotion clash at Bradford City and the midfielder scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute to send Charlton up to fourth. However, it took two great late saves by Ben Amos to secure the three points for the Addicks. Karl Robinson rated one of the saves the best he has ever seen. The match was played in swirling wind and heavy rain as Storm Brian did its worse.

For the goal Solly put the ball into the back post, Fosu volleyed across goal and Forster-Caskey forced the ball home from close range. Up to then it had been a fairly even game.

Ricky Holmes almost managed to score an early goal for Charlton, but Doyle just managed to stretch out a hand to tip it over the bar.

A shot by Bradford's Jake Reeves was deflected wide after Ezri Konsa’s clearance dropped to him on the edge of the box, but the Addicks forced a succession of corners at the other end. This culminated with Billy Clarke, returning to the club he joined Charlton from in the summer, cutting in on his left-foot and arrowing a drive just wide of the far-post.

A slick move involving makeshift left-back Naby Sarr and the man-in-form Tariqe Fosu saw the latter have the ball nicked away from him just as he was about to play the ball across the face of goal, as the first-half continued to be an end-to-end affair. Holmes curled a trademark free-kick over the crossbar from 25-yards out before Wyke blazed over after some pinball in the Addicks area as the half ended goalless.

The Addicks nearly had the lead early on in the second half, when Holmes’ hopeful cross with the outside of his right-boot swerved towards goal and crashed back off the bar. Stuart McCall’s men broke immediately, with Ezri Konsa doing superbly to deflect Omari Patrick’s shot over the bar.

Friday, 20 October 2017

No fear ahead of Bradford game

Charlton have no fear ahead of their clash with play off rivals Bradford according to Jake Forster-Caskey, the player on press duty: Competition for places giving a boost

Bradford have lost only two of their last 37 home matches. However, two of those losses have occurred in the current season.

They were play off finalists last season, after finishing 5th, but lost a number of key players over the summer, two to Charlton. Bradford boss Stuart McCall has complained about this to the local paper, saying that the Addicks 'nicked' two of his most influential players.

At least Charlton won't have to face former Addick Adam Chicksen. The defender is out injured for the rest of the season.

It has to be admitted that Charlton's away record at Valley Parade is very poor, as the CAS Trust preview makes clear: Seeking first goal for 30 years. However, the 2016-17 game ended in a 0-0 draw and another 1-1 draw is a possible result.

Odds: Bradford 5/4, Draw 12/5, Charlton 2/1.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Takeover story updated

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has updated his story on the potential takeover of Charlton: Takeover at advanced stage

I have been surprised (or perhaps not) at some of the reaction on social media to the Rickster's story. Admittedly, Rick Everitt does not hide his light under a bushel and he calls a spade a spade. However, I do not think he is attention seeking, nor is he desperate to sell extra copies of Voice of the Valley. Given its size and the quality of the paper, I doubt whether he makes any money out of it.

Some consider that a takeover would undermine a new found stability, but what that stability has largely consisted of is Roland sticking to his moules and frites and Katrien keeping a lower profile. Both are welcome developments in the sense that Karl Robinson has been given more autonomy. He has got us into the play off places, and should be safe under any new owners, but it is as well to remember that the play off places are a lottery with a one in four chance of winning.

Some cynics are saying 'we've been here before' and they won't believe it until they read it on the official site. That will be the last place the news will appear. Of course, this has been bubbling along under the surface for some time. I have been given information from time to time on the understanding that I do not directly use it. However, I think we are near an outcome one way or the other.

Rick Everitt has better sources than I do and the key paragraph in his updated story is the concluding one: 'I can report with certainty that the due diligence is at an advanced stage. While that does not guarantee a deal will be concluded or any timeline, it will necessarily have required extensive co-operation from the football club, which is unlikely to have been forthcoming without significant proof of funds and an indicative agreement on price. In short, the approach has to be a credible one and of interest to Duchatelet simply to have got this far.'

As the writer of the Drinking During the Game blog put it well, '[Rick Everitt] is a good judge of when it's safe to say something and when it isn't.' What I am also sure about is that Rick is Charlton through and through.

Charlton takeover imminent

A takeover of Charlton, most likely by the Australian consortium is imminent reveals VOTV editor Rick Everitt: Deal near

As revealed in the fanzine, this involves businessman Andrew Muir, former owner of the Good Guys retail chain who has considerable funds at his disposal.

The Rickster reveals, 'Voice of The Valley has been told by multiple independent and well-placed sources that due diligence on a potential sale has been taking place – and today that a deal could even go through before the end of the next week.'

VOTV understands that the deal would now include the acquisition of Charlton Athletic Holdings Limited, the entity that owns The Valley and Sparrows Lane, as well the football club itself. Suggestions to the contrary were a source of concern to some fans following the initial report.

Details remain sketchy and the timeline changeable, but the deal has been brokered by the Everton director Keith Harris.

My view is that a Chinese takeover is unlikely at this time as the Communist Party Congress is still in session in Beijing and there will be no green light for new takeovers until its business is completed.

Charlton would become the first Australian owned club in the UK. Tinnies all round!

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'We've been here before. Everyone remain calm.' Well, yes, but it is difficult to remain calm.

Not at his Best

Leon Best is still training with Charlton Athletic, but no offer will be made to him until he is fully fit. This is a welcome change from the usual Charlton practice of signing players who then disappear to the treatment table, but Karl Robinson reckons that he has learnt his lesson from the Ben Reeves experience: Carry on training

It's a steep and often expensive learning curve at Charlton, but that's better than no learning curve at all.

Bradford a 'properly run club' says Robinson

Referring to the warm remarks made by former Bantams Mark Marshall and Billy Clarke about Bradford City, Charlton coach Karl Robinson has commented, 'It shows the club is run properly and the quality they have at the club is there to see.'

Some of us might feel that there is a contrast with Charlton in terms of being properly run, but I am sure that is not what the supremo intended, given the mutual respect that he and Katrien Meire have for each other.

Robinson also revealed that he tried to sign Billy Clarke three times. He is a good signing, but Robinson refused to say why Bradford decided to let him go, hinting at some dark secret known only to him and la belle Katrien: Third time lucky

Why getting back to the Championship is so important

An excellent piece of in depth analysis by Wigan fan Richard Pike shows why it is so important for Charlton to get back into the Championship, but also draws attention to some of the special challenges facing smaller London clubs: New financial realities

He points out that the Championship is increasingly becoming like a Premier League Division Two, fulfilling a prediction made by Richard Murray a long time ago. He argues that a growing gap is emerging between the Championship and Leagues One and Two.

Ten year income projections suggest that by 2027 each Championship club will receive an average of £13m each season from solidarity payments and the television deal, an increase of £6m on the current figure. League One clubs will see their income from these sources go by only £0.25m from £2m.

One general argument he makes is that city clubs have an advantage over town clubs with an increasing presence in the Championship. However, this does not necessarily work in a huge city like London. A club like Brentford has to compete with historically larger neighbouring clubs such as Chelsea, Fulham and QPR.

However, he does admit that it is easier to get sponsorship in London. The competition that Charlton faces is rather different from Brentford and, properly run, it has a large potential fan base in Kent. Millwall appeals to a particular type of clientele, while the less said about the Nigels the better.