Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Life outside the Premiership

The pharmacist in my local chemist is a keen Sunderland fan. We haven't talked about football at length for a while, but we did yesterday.

Of course, we talked a great deal around the time of the Greatest Game. I think that particularly at the time there was little ill feeling between the two clubs, rather the contrary.

He said that when Sunderland were in the Premier League, he hardly paid any attention to other leagues. I asked him if he got fed up with the endless relegation struggles, but he said they were exciting.

Many pundits have written Sunderland off this season. Four Four Two which admittedly does not have a great track record predicted a 14th place finish, but that echoed the views of others. However, they have made a stronger than expected start to the season.

My pharmacy friend said that he had found out that there was a programme about the Football League starting at 9 p.m. on Saturdays which he had never heard of, but was finding really exciting.

He did not realise that Charlton were now in League One and had heard nothing about Roland and the protests against his ownership. League One was terra incognita to him, 'there be dragons'.

Today we celebrate (or not, according to your views) 25 years of the Premier League. I enjoyed Charlton's years there, even if did mean playing matches on odd days at odd times. I doubt whether we will ever return, but getting to the Championship is a reasonable aspiration.

For more of my views on the Premier League: Huddersfield Town and When I dedicated a book to Curbs

Also Hyper inflation and Win, lose, on the booze

Monday, 14 August 2017

League Two ace could be new striker

Barnet's John Akinde could be the answer to Charlton's striker problem. He has been buzzing in League Two and would probably cost around £1m: Barnet target

Not good enough for Charlton: Courtney Baker-Richardson joins Swansea City

Baker-Richardson came on for Swansea City in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night and provided a cross that allowed the winning goal to be scored against Cheltenham Town.

Former Charlton and West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet is on trial with Cardiff City: Welsh chance

Katrien Meire has been re-elected to the FA Council: Victory

Signing new striker is imperative says Pearce

Some Charlton fans think that Jason Pearce has more of the qualities of a Charlton captain than the much respected Chris Solly. Louis Mendez of the SLP is back from his sojourn in the west country eating cream teas and touring Plainmoor.

He has been talking to Pearce who says that it is imperative that Charlton sign a new striker before the transfer window closes: We must land a new striker

As Richard Cawley has tweeted, it's a commonly held view, but there's no harm in repeating it.

Karl Robinson didn't sound too hopeful at the weekend, emphasising all the difficulties. It sounded as if he had been looking his Great Big Book of Excuses again.

Pearce has also leapt to the defence of Ben Amos. This is a captain talking: In defence of the keeper

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Charlton 14th after Devon defeat

Photo: Louis Mendez

Charlton are 14th in an admittedly provisional League One table after losing 2-0 to Plymouth Argyle at Home Park. The score was 0-0 at half time. Jervis scored for the home side in the 53rd and 87th minutes.

It was the Addicks who had the first chance as captain Chris Solly's thumping long-range drive was saved by Pilgrims goalkeeper Luke McCormick. McCormick immediately bettered that stop with a brilliant reaction save to send striker Josh Magennis' close-range follow-up around the frame of the goal and safety. Ben Amos matched his opposite number's efforts, going full stretch to fingertip Gary Sawyer's shot around the post. From Graham Carey's corner Amos also relied on instinct, using his feet to clear Jervis' first-timer off the line.

In his post-match interview Karl Robinson felt Charlton did not take their chances in the first half when they were on top.

Jervis would not be denied in the 54th minute, with the striker finishing at the far post after central defender Ryan Edwards nodded down Carey's corner.

Fans have been expressing concern that we had to play an unfit player up front and about the lack of depth in the squad.

Karl Robinson told the SLP's Richard Cawley that the hunt for a striker continued, but a reliable goal scorer was not easy to find and expensive by League One standards: Striker search

Charlton have even looked at the bottom of the Conference. If they had looked one tier down they could have had ex-Coventry City Courtney Baker-Richardson for £20,000 from Leamington. He was certainly better than tier two of the non-league. Swansea City (and Leicester City) thought he was worth a punt and he has joined the Swans.

He was a player who had suffered from the Sisu induced turmoil at the Sky Blues and had to rebuild his career in the non-league system.

Crystal Palace lost 0-3 at home to debutantes Huddersfield Town.

So, farewell then, Tony Watt

After talks with four Belgian clubs including Lierse, Tony Watt is set to seal a deal with Heverlee Oud-Leuven this weekend: Valley exit

The club plays in the second division in Belgium: Leuven. The city of Leuven is known for its breweries, including Stella Artois. The city was brutally sacked by the Germans in the First World War with mediaeval manuscripts being burnt. However, it has a fine restored town square where you can enjoy a Stella or two. It is now a Flemish speaking area.

The mercurial Scot had his fans and his detractors. For my part, I offer the message from the newsreels when Neville Chamberlain stood down in favour of Winston Churchill: 'Thanks for all you tried to do.'

Charlton are left short of strikers. Leamington's ace striker and former Coventry City player Courtney Baker-Richardson has signed for Swansea City for an undisclosed fee after a tussle between them and Leicester City: From non-league to Premiership

Leamington have made it clear that they will reject any offers for their captain and Sam Bartram style keeper Tony Breeden. Bin man Breeden's chant is 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' With a fierce and powerful shot, he has scored from open play after charging down the wing and scored a penalty against Wolves to win the Birmingham Senior Cup.

Here is what each Charlton manager on the managerial merry go round said about Watt: You what?

Quiz

There has been a correspondence in the Financial Times this week about why the King of Belgium is called the King of the Belgians. Is it:

  • (a)To try and reconcile the Flemish and Walloon communities which threaten to tear the country apart
  • (b)Because the King of France had called himself King of the French to signal that absolute monarchy was over
  • (c)Because of Belgium's colonial aspirations which lead to Belgians living overseas

A suitably Belgian prize will be offered (not moules and frites with Roland). No takers yet, so maybe I'll incorporate it in the Christmas quiz.

Another one who got away

When Dale Stephens moved to Brighton a Seagulls fan I knew (sadly no longer with us) asked me what I thought. My response was that he could expect the occasional sensational goal, otherwise although he was a very competent player, he was nothing special.

How wrong I was. In its Premier League season preview The Times says: 'Dale Stephens is very important to Brighton, so their best piece of business was probably to get him to re-sign.'

In the Four Four Two preview fan Scott McCarthy says, 'Our most underrated player is Dale Stephens. He isn't flashy, but you notice when he isn't playing.'

He made 84 appearances for Charlton between 2011 and 2014, scoring 10 goals: Career details

Good luck to the Seagulls, especially against Palace.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Derby want Lookman on loan

Derby County want to take Ademola Lookman on loan from Everton to replace Tom Ince: Lookman

Lookman made eight appearance for the Toffees last season, but has been on bench warming duties pre-season.

Green Army

Plymouth Argyle are forecast by Four Four Two to finish 9th in League One this year, having 'found their natural level', while the fan quoted thinks they will sneak into the play off places.

Fiery Glaswegian manager Derek Adams is known as 'An excellent wind-up merchant ... who leave behind a long string of grudges in the bottom division.' It will be interesting to see how he gets on with voluble Scouser Karl Robinson.

Key player is Graham Carey. He was the subject of intense transfer speculation, but signed a new contract just one day before his existing one was due to expire. In 96 outings, he has scored 26 goals and provided 29 assists.

New recruits include Ryan Edwards, a solid centre back brought in from Morecambe, while Jamie Ness from Scunthorpe is expected to add midfield bite. Ruben Lamerias from Coventry is rated as a gifted playmaker. Gregg Wylde has been brought in from Millwall to add width.

Not surprisingly, Argyle feel that they didn't learn very much from Charlton's midweek outing at rivals Exeter: Grecian blank

Addicks fans are waiting to see who the referee will be (John Brooks from Leicestershire) and whether he has signed up to the referees' conspiracy identified by Karl Robinson. It is thought that this might have got underway at a pre-season gathering of referees when it was suggested that they should try and award a red card to Charlton at each match. Any referee failing to do so would buy a round of drinks at the next get together.

Robinson may well be a 'highly respected' manager as the Plymouth paper calls him, but he should take some lessons from Katrien Meire and the PR consultants on keeping his mouth shut.

I find this a difficult match to call but I am going for a 1-1 draw and no red cards. Our last league game there (2010/11) ended 2-2. Odds: Plymouth 8/5, Draw 11/5, Bristol Rovers 9/5

(Rather late) CAS Trust preview here: Argyle

I'd like to express my appreciation for all that Plymouth Argyle do to help with football training for youngsters on the Isles of Scilly, help that is much needed. Remember that my weekly football slot is on Radio Scilly on Saturday mornings, usually between 9.45 and 10.00: Radio Scilly

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Why Dillon Phillips is not ready for No.1 spot

Karl Robinson has explained why he thinks Dillon Phillips is not ready for the No.1 spot. He still hopes to bring in a back up keeper before the end of the transfer window: Not yet ready

Robinson has praised the board for flying the team to Exeter for Saturday's clash with Plymouth (he uses the word 'jetting' but I would have thought 'turbo prop' was more appropriate): Jet set

It's still a fair way from Exeter to Plymouth on congested roads, but Plymouth Airport has closed.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Red card takes edge off victory

A red card for Andrew Crofts took the edge off Charlton's 2-1 victory over Exeter City in the Carabao Cup. A fuming Karl Robinson implied that the Addicks are being targeted by referees: Cup victors

The supremo was in a defiant mood after the game, giving it large. In a post match interview with Louis Mendez before he headed to Liverpool he said that he did not care if he 'got done by the FA': Tough talk

There were seven Academy graduates in the side and they all played their part. The goals came from Billy Clarke and Regan Charles-Cook.

308 Addicks made the trip to Devon in an attendance of 2,699.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Roland to sell Sint Truiden?

Reports in the Belgian press are suggesting that Roland Duchatelet is considering selling Sint Truiden to Japanese investors. This would be a surprising as if Roland has had an emotional connection with any football club, it is home town side.

If Roland sold the mother ship, would he be more inclined to sell Charlton? In the latest Voice of the Valley Rick Everitt has identified the Australian billionaire behind the Australian consortium interested in buying Charlton. He seems to be a good guy in more ways than one. At one time the Australians thought they were close to securing a deal to buy Charlton, but matters seem to have cooled in the last few weeks.

Charlton consider bid for Godden

With striker worries continuing at The Valley, Charlton are considering a £1.5m bid for Stevenage's Matt Godden who has been linked with the club before. Stevenage have already down two bids from League One clubs: Striker bid

Karl Robinson has now knocked back hopes of an approach for Godden, implying that it was a rumour started to increase his value: Rumour mill

Sint Truiden have sacked their manager after two games, one of which they won. It is thought that Chris O'Loughlin, who recently returned to the mother ship, may be in the frame.

David Martin training at Charlton again

David Martin has been training at Sparrows Lane again: Free agent

Karl Robinson is looking for a back up keeper for first choice Amos with Dillon Phillips likely to go out on loan. Martin has the merit of having played for the Franchisees, but he is interested in regular first team football so he is not a solution.

Watt can shine, says Solly

Tony Watt can shine in the absence of Lee Novak and Josh Magennis, says Charlton captain Chris Solly: Striker shortage

Karl Robinson defended Watt's role in the game by saying he was only following orders. However, I am not sure that he executed those all that well. Instead of chasing the ball or marking players, he seemed to be standing still or wandering around aimlessly quite a bit of the time. The effort wasn't there.

I hope Chris Solly proves me wrong.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Magennis out for two weeks

Josh Magennis will be out for two weeks with a knee injury. Karl Robinson has not ruled out further comings and goings in the squad: Magennis

A completely changed side will be taken to Exeter for Tuesday's Carabo Cup match against the Grecians with Academy players given a chance to show what they can offer.

10 man Charlton battle for the points

10 man Charlton battled for the points in a 1-0 nil win over Bristol Rovers yesterday. They showed considerable resolve after they went down to ten men after five minutes and there was good team work. Bristol Rovers also failed to take advantage of the situation.

Novak had the chance to show what he could offer Charlton today but went in for a completely unnecessary challenge. The referee hesitated but then showed red. It could have been yellow, but the referee has grounds for his decision. There was then a scuffle in which Solly out himself about and for a moment I thought that a yellow card had been shown.

Charlton stood firm after the early blow while Gashead's bearded wonder Sinclair was advised that he lived 200 miles from Shoreditch. On 38 minutes Bauer scored for Charlton. I did not think that it had completely crossed the line, and Karl Robinson later admitted that it hadn't, but the linesman gave it.

Congratulations to Stuart McRae on winning the crossbar challenge at half time and £10,500. He had been practising and Jason Euell's advice to stay calm paid off.

Rovers still failed to offer any sustained pressure after the break, although Amos had to save from new boy Liam Sercombe. Tom Lockyer's 35-yard lob nearly caught the keeper out, but he tipped it over the bar. Tony Watt was brought on after 70 minutes in the hope that he might score a second goal, but he was a complete waste of space, failing to chase the ball. The sooner he goes out on loan the better.

In the last 15 minutes or so Rovers started to dominate the game more, possibly because Charlton were tiring after playing so long with 10 men. We were vulnerable down the left with No.3 for Rovers, Lee Brown, looking threatening. However, we held on, to the relief of the recorded attendance of just under 13,000 (there seems to have been a late surge in season ticket sales).

Amos only had one save to make, given the wayward nature of the shots from the visitors. However, he seemed to have trouble holding on to the ball, punching it out riskily at one point. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'He's a typical Charlton goalkeeper.'

Fosu had been billed by one commentator as likely to be a 'livener' from the bench, but he started and made a considerable contribution. Clarke got a standing ovation when he went off. However, my man of the match was Jay DaSilva who showed real skill.

Football League Paper player ratings

Amos, 7; Solly, 6; Bauer, 8 (star man); Pearce 7; DaSilva, 8; Forster-Caskey, 7; Kashi, 8; Fosu, 8; Clarke, 7; Holmes 7; Novak, 2; Watt, 4; Ahearne-Grant 5. It is unusual to get so many scores of 8.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Bring on the Gasheads/Pirates

Charlton secured their biggest aggregate score against the Gasheads aka Pirates last season, but we should not expect a repetition this season (although in any case they finished above us in 10th place): CAS Trust Preview

The only Jordanian owned team in the Football League have seen owner Waed-al-Qadi increase the budget and they are forecast to finish 3rd by Four Four Two. Manager Darrell Clarke is regarded as 'One of the hottest properties outside the Premier League.' The 39-year old is said to be an ace at reading body language and identifying tactical problems. 'He is also said to excel in pre-game team talks, gauging the mood in the side's dressing room and always saying the right thing before the game starts.'

Liam Seccombe is regarded as a key player. The classy 27-year old midfielder fell out with Oxford boss Michael Appleton. They still need a replacement for top scorer who crossed over to Bristol City in January.

Defender Tom Broadbent has an interesting back story. He is technically still in the Army until September and was shot at in Afghanistan: Tom Broadbent

Odds are: Charlton 13/10, Draw 11/5, Bristol Rovers 15/8. We have won two and drawn one of our last home encounters with the Gasheads and I am going for a 2-1 win tomorrow.

Man in the middle is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire.

Tomorrow is the first time the Alan Pardew Award for Half Baked Managerial Excuses will be available (although not necessarily awarded).

Why Stephy Mavididi move broke down

Karl Robinson has explained why the move to bring Stephy Mavididi broke down. Charlton did not even get a chance to sit down and talk to the youngster for whom Arsenal clearly have other plans: Why move broke down

'That's football,' shrugged the phlegmatic supremo.

Should we sign Matt Godden?

Charlton should sign prolific Stevenage and former Ebbsfleet United striker Matt Godden this website urges: Splash the cash

No doubt we will see a lot of 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 this season. What the post overlooks is the importance of Ricky Holmes when it comes to scoring goals.

I am actually quite happy with the squad, other than a lack of strength in depth. Injuries and suspensions could reveal a vulnerability.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

One good thing to come out of Ramsgate

The economist and Aston Villa supporter John Maynard Keynes insisted that nothing good ever came out of Ramsgate. Everything there was second or third rate.

However, there is one first rate thing that comes out of Ramsgate and that is Charlton fanzine Voice of the Valley. The murky seas and chalky cliffs that made such an indelible impression on Keynes do not seem to have deterred editor Rick Everitt and the first issue of the new season will be on sale around The Valley on Saturday.

Following the 6-1 demolition of Ipswich in the final pre-season friendly, the fanzine asks if things are finally looking up for the Addicks on the pitch, with Kyle Andrews taking an in-depth look at the transfer window. There's a special focus on player of the year Ricky Holmes, while Rick Everitt has been to see what's been going on at Sparrows Lane over the summer. The usual crew of vinegar pissers has been rounded up to contribute articles. In my case, the Rickster tracked me down in the Orkney Islands to provide copy.

This issue will come with a free sachet of vinegar to enhance the reading experience. If you can't or won't come to The Valley, it is possible to take out a postal subscription. The fanzine will be delivered in a plain wrapper for you to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your own home. More details at Voice of the Valley

Robinson has injury worries

Karl Robinson has a couple of injury worries ahead of Saturday's opening game against Bristol Rovers, but he won't say who they are: Injury doubts

The manager says that he knows seven of the players who will start the game.

Robinson has denied that Josh Magennis has turned down a contract extension: Comfortable conversation

Unfortunately, the deal to bring Neymar to Charlton fell through, the player deciding he preferred Paris to London.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Robinson happy to wait for Reeves

Karl Robinson is happy to wait for Ben Reeves to decide whether he wants to come to Charlton. Championship clubs are still chasing the midfielder: Why the deal is taking so long

Which will be the longer wait? Reeves or a 161 bus?

One thing you can say about Karl Robinson is that he finds the time to keep the press up to date with what is going on.

According to a CAFC Facts and Stats tweet, Reeves is joining today (Thursday). Mavididi is going elsewhere and Watt is leaving sooner rather than later.

Apparently there has been Championship interest in both Watt and Harry Lennon. Karl Robinson has hinted that Watt may go, but Lennon is going to stay and get himself fit: Duo attract interest

Reeves spent the night in Greenwich and has emerged unscathed. Karl Robinson reckons he will be a star player and will get fans off their seats: Set to sign

The long awaited signing was finally completed on Thursday evening with a two year contract: Done deal

Fans proved wrong

Katrien Meire and Roland Duchatelet have proved Charlton fans wrong over the summer, claims this blog post: Fans get it wrong

It's 'Bravo!' for Katrien Meire according to this article, the key being the recruitment policies. Of course, a lot of that is down to Karl Robinson, but at least Meire and Duchatelet gave him a free hand.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But I am certainly am prepared to get behind the team and hope they exceed my expectations. The starting eleven looks competitive for this division, but I still have some concerns about a lack of strength in depth.

According to one online poll, Charlton fans are pretty divided between those who think we will finish in the promotion or play off places, and those who predict an upper mid table finish.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Robinson doesn't fear the axe

Charlton manager Karl Robinson does not fear Roland Duchatelet's propensity to use the axe on his manager. Indeed, he is closing in on Guy Luzon's ten month record as a Charlton manager under the current regime: Unfazed supremo

Robinson said that the transfers had been done differently and more economically this summer. He also discussed Chris Powell's time as manager.

Robinson hopes to get Stephy Mavididi back from Arsenal on loan. His spell at Charlton was cut short by a serious hamstring injury: Arsenal striker

Robinson wants to get Charlton back where they belong

Karl Robinson has said that he wants to get Charlton back where they belong, saying there was an honesty to the club in the successful period under Alan Curbishley: Summer of change

Robinson said that he had only spoken to Roland Duchatelet once or twice over the summer and had been given a free hand.

There is no doubt that Robinson has been working hard to turn things round and his heart is in the right place. But it's a results business.

Former Charlton interim manager Kevin Nugent has joined Millwall in charge of first team development.

Phillips to be sent out on loan

Dillon Phillips is to be sent out on loan. Karl Robinson admits he does know anything about goalkeeping, but reckons Phillips will be No.1 at The Valley in the future: Highly rated

The club is intending to sign a No.2 keeper to back up 'monster' Ben Amos, but it looks as if no one with a MK Dons pedigree will be available.