Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Play off contenders meet

Its sixth versus fifth at the Kassam Stadium tonight as Oxford United play Charlton. In the old days, it used to be said in football that it was a good idea to get your retaliation in first. It's also a good idea to get your excuses in first if you are a manager as an insurance policy. Supremo Karl Robinson has done that by talking up Oxford: Oxford are dark horses

Charlton fans may see again striker Jonathan Chiedozie Obika who was signed from relegated rivals Swindow. Jon Obika had two spells on loan at Charlton from Spurs: 2013 appearances 10 goals 3; in between 2014 at Brighton appearances 5 goals 0; 2014 appearances 12 goals 0. However, he did not feature in the Oxford line up in their 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, so I assume he is injured. The winning goal was scored in the 82nd minute by substitute Alex Mowatt who is on loan from Barnsley.

In 2016/17 the equivalent match ended 1-1. It could do again. At home, Oxford have won three, drawn two and lost one.

Louis Mendez has tweeted that Charlton have not lost an away game to Oxford United since 1987 and have never lost at the Kassam Stadium. I can remember playing them at what had been the Headington United ground with its Mecanno stands. Some of them are now at Leamington.

Four Four Two forecast a 5th place finish for the Bulls, but the loss of manager Michael Appleton to the No.2 role at Leicester City led fan Tony Fallows to think that mid-table was more likely.

New supremo Pep Clotet is a Catalan, so his mind may be elsewhere. He earned his UEFA Pro licence by the age of 26. He managed the B teams of Espanol and Malaga, either side of spells in Scandinavia, before spending the best part of four years as the faithful assistant to Gary Monk at Swansea and Leeds. He is known for his tactical prowess and attention to detail.

Charles Breakspear from Surrey will be the man in the middle, let's hope Josh Magennis doesn't have to use his boxing skills again. Why are so many referees bald?

Odds: Oxford 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Bring on the White Tigers

Waiting for a train at Exeter St. David's yesterday morning I bought a copy of the Western Morning News out of curiosity. There was a big feature on the FA Cup hopes of Truro City (Klub Peldroes Truro in Cornish). Little did I anticipate that Charlton would be drawn at home to the White Tigers in the FA Cup. Keslowena. Bledhen nowydh da? They are currently third in the National League South

Football in Cornwall faces special challenges. Truro's nearest away game is Weston Super Mare which is 150 miles away. The team actually trains in Exeter and departs from there as almost all the players are Devon based.

The club has faced some big challenges and almost disappeared some five years ago because of the actions of a big spending owner: Truro City

Cornwall is egg chasing country and football can struggle. The last Cornish team to reach the first round of the FA Cup was in 1969. Falmouth Town got as far as the first round three times in the 1960s and also won the Western League a number of times in the early 1970s. I used to watch them with my father when I visited my parent's retirement home (my mother's family was from Cornwall), indeed it was the last club we watched together. The Cornish pasties were superb.

Some sceptics have argued that Truro City will not fill the Jimmy Seed, but I remember that they brought a big away contingent to Leamington a few years back. There will be the added incentive of a trip to London, so I expect the sleeper will be filling up as soon as a date is known. One of my friends on the Isles of Scilly also has a house in Truro and makes a return trip to London every other weekend.

Amos may want to stay

Leaving aside the usual clich├ęs about giving 100 per cent etc. (at least he didn't claim to be giving more than 100 per cent) this interview suggests that Ben Amos may be interested in staying at Charlton after his loan spell. He was frozen out at Bolton and has had other ups and downs in his career: Fully focused on Charlton

We will have plenty of time to assess him, although if we do get promoted, signing a proven Championship quality keeper would be a priority. I have my reservations about Amos even at League One level (we have shipped quite a lot of goals), but let's wait and see.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Valley hero joins Bromley FC

Former Charlton defender Roger Johnson has joined Bromley FC. The 34-year old has been out of contract since being let go by Charlton.

Non-league players are generally closer to the crowd and there is often an exchange of views, e.g., spectator to right back 'Run harder!' Player,'I'm running as hard as I can.'

In this case spectators can be expected to told where to go if they don't like what they see.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Charlton up to 5th

Charlton moved up to fifth in League One after a 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers at The Valley. Leading scorer Fosu scored the winning goal in the ninth minute. His strike from the penalty area caught out the Doncaster keeper at his near post.

Josh Magennis has been to see concussed referee Rob Lewis who is ok. The referee was brought down by the striker at the start of the second half. This led to a seven minute delay. He is mobile, but feeling a bit sick.

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'My nerves are shredded even though we defended fairly comfortably.' However, the Addicks survived some last minute pressure. The visitors had 59 per cent of the possession but only three shots on target compared with seven from Charlton. An effort from Clarke came off the bar in the second half and both Kashi and Magennis threatened.

Karl Robinson has played down the significance of the injury picked up by Mark Marshall in training, saying that he does not regard it as too serious.

Grinding out results can be an important part of a successful season.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Steep learning curve for Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers have found the transition from League Two to League One to be a steep learning curve. Defences are harder to crack and chances come less readily. They have scored in only half of their league games, although last weekend's 4-1 win over Southend has boosted morale: Quick learners

Rovers are currently 17th in the table while Charlton are 6th. The gap in the form table is narrower: 14th and 18th.

The CAS Trust preview points out that Doncaster have played six of the eight teams in the table, whereas Charlton have played six of the bottom eight: Stronger than they seem?

Odds: Charlton 7/5, Draw 23/10, Doncaster 19/10.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Which non-league clubs do Charlton fans support?

Many Charlton fans also support a non-league club. Indeed, some purists have only going to non-league football since the Belgians took over at The Valley. For example, someone from my old home cul-de-sac in Plumstead Common has given up his season ticket and is now following Maidstone United which is where he now lives as part of the Kent diaspora from the home boroughs.

I am the only Charlton supporter to follow Leamington, but I know that among the more local clubs that Addicks follow are Welling United, Bromley FC and Ebbsfleet United.

A slightly more exotic choice is Dulwich Hamlet. This blog's sister site at www.footballeconomy.com has had a catastrophic crash for unexplained reasons, but a new site looks at the current crisis facing the Hamlet: The fate of Dulwich Hamlet

An Addick has written in about Dulwich Hamlet: 'I well remember The Hamlet from the earliest of childhood days. I believe that the legendary Edgar Kail and Bert Coleman were respectively the last amateur outfield player and goalkeeper to be selected for the full England team. Sir Stanley Rous gained his initial experience as a referee at Champion Hill in the 1930's and even though he was subsequently elevated to President of FIFA freely contributed to Club handbooks etc.'

'Charlton may possess a superstore but for those wishing to buy Hamlet regalia a visit to the Mega Container is the ultimate retail experience!' Common links with the Addicks would include John Ryan ( who I recall playing for Dulwich prior to Charlton ) Peter Reeves and the Smith twins ( Peter played over 400 games for The Hamlet and Paul featured in the Addicks youth and reserve teams circa late 1960's.) As with the Addicks I always wish The Hamlet to survive and flourish.'

For those going to the Doncaster Rovers game, a new Voice of the Valley will be available. I am going to Exeter for the weekend for yet another reunion, so I have ordered my copy to be sent by post from the Isle of Thanet. More information at: Old and new theme

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Best we can get

Striker Leon Best is training with Charlton this year so that Karl Robinson can take a look at him. He is a free agent, having been let go by Ipswich Town at the end of last season: Taking a look

Mick McCarthy had had enough of the journeyman by January: He won't play for me again

I make it twelve clubs he has played for in his career, including his start as a youth player at Notts County. He has been on loan at various clubs, including three spells at the Massives. On one occasion he scored against Charlton: Doing the rounds

Given that lack of choice up front is our biggest problem, it is worth at least taking a look at anyone who is available, but I can't say I am that excited.

Powell: I could come back

Chris Powell has said that he could return to The Valley under different ownership: Won't rule out return

One should never say never, but I don't think we should go back to the future. I have a lot of time for both Alan Curbishley and Chris Powell, and they should always be welcome as honoured guests. However, when it comes to choosing the next manager (which I don't think will be anytime soon), we should look elsewhere. I would consider Jason Euell.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Luzon speaks out - again

Once the PR consultants found Guy Luzon's number they made sure that the former manager would be available to giving a running commentary on all things Charlton. His latest contribution is to argue that Naby Sarr needed time to adjust to English football: Sarr needed time

Is it really that different? Next: Karel Fraeye on how he had to adjust to different gravity on this side of the Channel.

Monday, 9 October 2017

New contract for Europe's top keeper Pope

Nick Pope has impressed on his debut at Burnley and has signed a new contract until 2020: Former keeper

Pope is now officially the best keeper in Europe's top five leagues: Europe's best

A statistician would point out that you can't base anything on such a small N, but although a target of some complaints while at The Valley, he was much better than his successor.

Another former Charlton player at Burnley, Johann Gudmundsson scored in Iceland's 2-0 victory last night which saw them win their group and qualify for the World Cup, the smallest country ever to do so.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Charlton content in fanzine documentary

A 40 minute documentary on YouTube tells the story of the fanzine movement in English football. It sets the context of the 1980s well, pointing to links with similar magazines on the music scene and the bad treatment of fans at that time who were all stereotyped as hooligans: Watch it here

Fanzines are now a dying means of communication. The West Ham fanzine, featured in this documentary, came to end with the move to the London Stadium which is surrounded by private land.

We still have Voice of the Valley and Rick Everitt features in this documentary with scenes shot at The Valley with an anti-Roland emphasis. We also get a peep inside the VOTV offices in Ramsgate.

Marshall glad to return to his roots

In a very interesting exclusive interview with the SLP's Richard Cawley, Mark Marshall talks about returning to his roots in South London. He was raised in Deptford which, as he points out, was five minutes from the Toolbox, but just 25 minutes from Sparrows Lane.

He talks about the challenges he has faced as a footballer, including his recent injury, and how he has been given a boost by being around family again. His return to first team action seems to be being well managed.

Read the full interview here: Return to roots felt right

Saturday, 7 October 2017

PR consultants hard at work

Charlton's PR consultants have been clearly been hard at work, placing a piece in Kent Live giving seven reasons why 'sleeping giant' Charlton could win automatic promotion: Seven reasons

Much of the article is a hymn of praise for Karl Robinson who emerges as possibly the best manager in English football since Sir Alex Ferguson. The OTT tone of the piece is illustrated by the claim that Charlton have 'strength in depth'. Clearly evident up front.

I could come up with seven reasons while Roland Duchatelet remains a ****.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Luzon sure that fans will warm to Roland

Former Charlton manager Guy Luzon is convinced that Charlton fans will warm to Roland Duchatelet if the club is promoted to the Championship this season which he thinks is sure to happen: Roland will win over fans

Let's hope he is right about the promotion, but it won't change my mind about Roland. I can't forget the bad decisions that were made, the pile of debt has been accumulated or the way that fans have been treated, not least by Katrien Meire. However, for many it is simply a results business.

Award for Ricky Holmes

Ricky Holmes has been made PFA Player of the Month award for League One for August/September: Ricky Holmes

The downside is that this only underlines his appeal to prospective bidders in the January transfer window, notably Sheffield United.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Charlton player scores against Germany

Germany have not lost an away qualifying game for 83 years so it was no surprise when Northern Ireland lost to them 1-3 at Windsor Park tonight. However, a Josh Magennis header gave them a consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game.

I'm not sure if a Charlton player has scored against Germany before.

Chris Powell interview

FC Business have undertaken an interview with Chris Powell, in which he talks of being brought up as a latch key kid in South London and his pride at being capped for England. Part 1 of the interview is here: Chris Powell

Konsa sale will be used for team building not buildings

Charlton chief Karl Robinson has admitted that Ademola Lookman was sold in January to pay for building work at Sparrows Lane. However, should Konsa be sold in January, Robinson wants the money to go into building up the team: Right kind of building work

A number of Premiership clubs are watching Konsa and it is very likely that he will be sold in the transfer window.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Attendance figures have never been accurate

An interesting article in The Guardian looks at the question of attendance figures. It points out that these are never just a dry statto matter, but that football fans get quite emotional about them: Attendances

The article argues that attendances have long been inflated in the United States because they help to attract commercial sponsors or avoid the loss of a franchise. This practice has spread to the UK, in part because of American investors in football.

In the past attendances often understated the crowd. First, some clubs creamed off some of the gate money so they would not have pay 'entertainment' tax on it. In the days when the away team got a share of the proceeds, this would mean less money for them. (The newspapers used to publish gate receipts as well as attendances, but the figures were not reliable). Second, gatemen had various fiddles such as letting pals in at half price and pocketing the money. Third, at most grounds, certainly at Charlton, there were ways for youngsters to get in without paying. Some of the really big Valley attendance figures may understate the size of the crowd.

One complaint against the current regime is that they have inflated attendance figures. Clubs do have to count season ticket holders whether they are there or not because of the levy they pay on attendance to the Football League.

However, it does seem that the current regime has been generous in giving away complimentary tickets. Some have to be provided: for example, the referee is entitled to some for his mum or those who like to follow their favourite man in black. Of course, giving away tickets to schools etc. can be a perfectly sensible marketing strategy. But it does mean that the attendance figures do not offer a reliable basis for comparison across seasons or matches.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Fosu expected to be bench warmer

Charlton's top scorer Tariqe Fosu expected to start the season warming the bench rather than being a first team regular. He admits that the team has conceded too many easy goals, but says that confidence is high: Fosu interview

Apparently he is concerned that he could lose his place to Mark Marshall or Ben Reeves.

I notice that press reports give his full surname of Fosu-Henry. Indeed, he has a rather long name: Tariqe Kumahl Malachi Akwesi Fosu-Henry.

He does look like one of the really good signings made in the summer.

According to CAFC Facts and Stats, Karl Robinson now has the best win ratio under Duchatelet at 37 per cent, just beating Chris Powell at 36 per cent. (I have not counted Kevin Nugent who has the highest score as so few games were played under him). Karel Fraeye comes out at a dismal 14 per cent.

Robinson has backing for January signings

Karl Robinson has said that Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet will back him with further signings in the January transfer window if the Addicks are in with a chance of promotion: Transfer guarantee

It's a shame this money could not have been made available at the beginning of the season, although Robinson says that it would have been a risk to make more signings then. However, it is difficult to get value in the January window when poor quality players are often on offer at inflated prices.