Charlton author Paul Breen reflects on the death of Charlton season ticket holder PC Keith Palmer: The family tree is stronger than a broken bone
Thursday, 23 March 2017
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Despite denials by the club, VOTV editor Rick Everitt is convinced that Charlton Athletic is being sold. It is a complicated process which will take some time, for example because of outstanding loans to six former directors. But it is now the end of days for the Duchatelet regime: Exit Duchatelet
The question now is, to whom is the club being sold? If the Rickster has any idea, he isn't letting on. I certainly don't know. Whilst we all be glad to see the back of Roland, a note of caution is necessary about any new owners, even though they can hardly be any worse.
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Saturday, 18 March 2017
Charlton lost 2-1 to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane today. Ricky Holmes put the Addicks ahead on three minutes, but O'Connell equalised for the Blades on 14 minutes. It was 1-1 at half time, but the home side took the lead on 48 minutes. At least it's a better scoreline than the 6-0 or 7-0 the pessimists in the row behind me were predicting.
Holmes’ perfectly executed set-piece from just on the edge of the 18-yard box, after Paul Coutts had brought down Forster-Caskey, put Charlton ahead. He lifted his free kick up and over the wall and beyond the reach of the keeper. Watt then hit the woodwork before the home side equalised. On the half hour mark he drew a good save from the keeper.
Forster-Caskey was the catalyst behind Charlton’s best moments. Pressing, probing and perfectly willing to take on his marker himself, the 22-year-old caused United all sorts of problems throughout a difficult first-half for the home side. As the interval approached, United finally began to establish a foothold in the game.
After the break Rudd pulled off a superb save to keep out a header from Lafferty but he could stop him tapping home from on the line.
Charlton are 15th, six points above the drop zone.
Football League Paper player ratings
Rudd, 6; Byrne, 5; Bauer, 6; Teixeira, 6; Chicksen, 5 (DaSilva, 84, 5); Ulvestad, 5 (Bokata, 80, 5); Konsa, 6; Forster-Caskey, 6 (Crofts, 74, 5); Holmes, 8; Watt, 8; Novak 6.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has urged his fans to get behind the team today, warning them that Charlton have had good results against teams at the top of the table. It will be the last Saturday game of the season at Bramall Lane: Get behind the boys
The CAS trust preview is here: Sharpening shooting boots
Odds are: Sheff Utd 4/9, Draw 7/2, Charlton 13/2.
Konsa has signed a new deal at Charlton, but he is being tracked by Premier League clubs and Charlton may not be able to hold on to him in the summer with the prospect of another player farm profit for Roland: Konsa
Friday, 17 March 2017
Karl Robinson has been assured that the club is not for sale: No sale
Ronnie Rosenthal was apparently shown round The Valley because Katrien Meire knows his Belgian wife.
So it looks as if hopes were raised only to be dashed once again, although there are still one or two things left unexplained.
Karl Robinson would like to keep on loan goalkeeper Declan Rudd on a permanent contract next season: Permanent deal
Some fans have been critical of recent errors by Rudd and would like to see Dillon Phillips given another chance. Phillips is unlikely to stay as No.2 if Rudd is given a permanent contract.
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt has revealed that a secure data room was created at The Valley two weeks ago and has been occupied by an unknown female lawyer.
They could be going through Thomas Driesen's statistical assessments, but it is more likely that they are going through the accounts and player contracts.
Patrick Bauer intends to stay at Charlton after the summer despite a disappointing season. He says that the half time talk by Karl Robinson last night led to an improved second half performance: Pep talk
He is confident that Charlton can beat Sheffield United on Saturday. Sometimes Charlton can be at their best against a top side.
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
The two teams in the Football League with the most draws to their name, Charlton Athletic and Bradford City, recorded a 1-1 draw at The Valley tonight. However, after a pulsating second half, Charlton could justifiably claim that they deserved all three points.
The Bantams dominated the opening phase of the first half. On three minutes Vincelot was narrowly wide from distance. Charlton's diamond formation was not working well and Chicksen was uncomfortable on the wrong side.
However, Charlton then started to the get in the game more. A Holmes free kick was flicked on by Bauer and Teixeira headed into the top corner to make it 1-0.
Following a Bradford corner on 43 minutes, Marshall put in a powerful strike and Dieng headed home from the rebound to equalise.
In time added on Watt broke into the area and turned well, but his effort was saved.
HT: Addicks 1, Bantams 1
After the break the Addicks won two corners in succession. A dipping Crofts half volley from 35 yards was just over.
Just after 60 minutes, Charlton pressure created three chances to score which were not taken. First, Novak missed; then Watt missed; and Ulvestad was a couple of yards wide.
On 68 minutes Johnnie Jackson had to head clear from a threatening corner.
On 70 minutes Page's hamstring gave way. Dasilva came on and did well, while Crofts was replaced by Konsa.
A good Charlton break saw a shot from Holmes blocked. From a free kick, Teixeira headed straight at the keeper. A Johnnie Jackson free kick skimmed over the bar.
In time added on a tiring Holmes received a standing ovation for his efforts as he was replaced by Forster-Caskey.
Official attendance 9,326 with 932 from Bradford. Katrien Meire was there.
One confident prediction that can be made about tonight's game against Bradford City is that the attendance will be low. Leaving aside how fans feel about the regime, the season is effectively over for Charlton. There has also been a succession of home games.
The Bantams come into the game fourth in the table and fifth in the form table. They are on an unbeaten run of ten games. At home they are even more of draw specialists than Charlton, but they have a good away record: won eight, drawn five and lost just five.
Bradford manager Stuart McCall has a grievance about the fact that the only time he was sent off in his career was at The Valley (seventeen years ago). However, he thinks that the good pitch will suit their style of play: Hoping for a happier outcome
Chris Solly and Jordan Botaka will both miss the game with calf injuries. Jason Pearce will also not be involved even though he managed 60 minutes in an Under-23 game on Sunday. Josh Magennis is still very doubtful as he nurses a hamstring injury and Jake Forster-Caskey will play no part due to an ankle injury. Kevin Nolan argues that Karl Robinson needs to be cut some slack given the injury problems he faces: Crippling injury list
The bookies are expecting a Bradford win: Charlton 21/10, Draw 9/4, Bradford 13/10.
Monday, 13 March 2017
A statement from Charlton Athletic has said that 'at the present time the club is not for sale'. 'At the present time' is an important qualification, as the club could be for sale tomorrow or next week: Not for sale
In an interview with BBC Radio London, Richard Cawley of the SLP said that he had thought there had been a softening of stance by Roland Duchatelet. Previously the sale price had been £50m. Although he was not ready to drop to a specific figure, he was prepared to listen and those interested needed to make an offer. It did not mean that something was going to happen imminently.
Cawley thought that a combination of factors had affected Roland's thinking. He had hoped that appointing a British manager and players would allow the club to challenge this season, but that had not happened. Falling attendances at The Valley were having an impact, as had the demonstrations on his doorstep in Belgium.
Apparently Katrien Meire is attending a hen party in Portugal.
Sunday, 12 March 2017
Former Liverpool striker Ronnie Rosenthal is involved in the projected takeover of Charlton Athletic, according to the SLP's Richard Cawley. Rosenthal is now a football consultant, so could advise any prospective purchasers. He has been shown round The Valley by Katrien Meire.
Rosenthal is Israeli by origin, but that probably has no relevance to the identity of the buyers. Some sources are claiming that Chinese money is involved, which is quite possible.
His wife is Belgian and he is linked to a Belgian sports management firm.
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Rumours that Roland Duchatelet may sell Charlton have been circulating from multiple sources including Richard Cawley of the SLP and VOTV editor Rick Everitt. The Rickster printed a picture of white smoke yesterday.
He emphasised that the rumours had nothing to do with Katrien Meire's absence from The Valley yesterday. Richard Cawley noted that the price asked for by Roland had always been a problem.
Nothing is known about the identity of the prospective owners, but I thought it would be opportune to reproduce below an article I wrote for Voice of the Valley recently.
Charlton fans have understandably given little thought to what might follow the current Belgian regime at The Valley. They just want to get rid of Roland Duchâtelet and his failed experiment, along with his unpopular chief executive Katrien Meire. They want someone with a better understanding of the demands of English football who is prepared to engage in a constructive dialogue with fans.
Whoever eventually takes over is going to face a big reconstruction task. Not all the fans who have given up their season tickets are going to come back. They have broken the habits of a lifetime and have found other things to do with their Saturday afternoons. For example, the husband of an old playmate from my cul-de-sac in Plumstead Common has exchanged his Charlton season ticket for one at Maidstone United where they now live.
There is no indication that Roland Duchâtelet is going to sell up any time soon. The reputational damage that has been inflicted on him has not deterred him from his chosen course. Indeed, it may have made him more obdurate. That is not to criticise the efforts of CARD who have run a sophisticated and energetic campaign.
There are also indications that any asking price may be unrealistic, given that the amount of debt that has been accumulated by a company under the owner’s control. Nevertheless, a bid may arrive that is too good to refuse. It is very likely to come from abroad and most likely from China. Wealthy British individuals are well aware of the adage that if you want to make a small fortune, start with a large one and invest in a football club. Overseas owners may consider that any financial losses will be offset by the profile and prestige associated with owning a football club.
The most active investors in football clubs at the present time are from China. In the Premier League, China Media Capital owns a 13 per cent stake in Manchester City, acquired for $400m. It is hoped that they will help City to raise their profile in the key Chinese market. On his visit to Britain, China’s President Xi Jinping visited Manchester City and had a selfie with Sergio Aguerio.
Lai Guochan bought West Bromwich Albion for £150m-£200m. Fosun International bought a majority stake in Wolverhampton Wanderers for £45m. Tony Xia bought a majority stake in Aston Villa for £75m. Midlands football has been in a bad way and has been eclipsed by the London and Manchester clubs. It will be interesting to see whether Chinese investment can revive their fortunes.
In Spain Dalian Wanda bought a 20 per cent stake in Athletico Madrid for $52m. Rastar Group spent $56m on a 56 per cent stake in the No.2 Barcelona club, Espanyol. The two leading Milan clubs are now under Chinese control. Suning Holdings bought a 70 per cent stake in Internazionale for $307m. Haxia Capital bought AC Milan for $835m from the Berlusconi family. [This deal subsequently ran into problems and is yet to be completed]. The controversial former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi used his ownership of AC Milan as one of the stepping stones to political power.
In France IDG Capital Partners bought 20 per cent of Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnais for $112m and OGN Nice is majority owned by Zheng Nanyan and Chien Lee. ORG Packaging thought it was worth paying an admittedly small $7m for a 60 per cent stake in Ligue 2’s AJ Auxerre.
Much of this activity is politically driven. The 21st century has been earmarked as the Chinese century. China is building its military power, not least through contested actions in the South China Sea. Its economic power is evident, even if its growth rate has slowed and there are concerns that domestic financial arrangements have elements of a house of cards.
Under the Cameron Government, George Osborne as Chancellor seemed willing to go a long way to please China. Brexit would seem to make Britain more reliant on Chinese goodwill. However, Theresa May is more sceptical about the value of a dependant relationship and called in the Hinkley Power nuclear plant plan for review, to Beijing’s evident displeasure. The real prize here is China’s ability to construct a nuclear plant on the site of the decommissioned Magnox plant at Bradwell in Essex.
One constant that is unlikely to change in China is the existence of a party state regime. There is a plurality of ownership structures and ambiguity in the status of business. This is not accidental. A successful economy is a key requirement for continuing effective party rule, but business also needs to be kept in check in case it develops as an alternative power centre to the ruling party.
Business is profit seeking as it would be in a market economy, but it is also taking political orders or at least seeing the way in which the political wind is blowing, as with football. To some extent there is competition to extract favours from the state. This may involve seeing the mapping of bureaucratic rivalry on to business competition which may create risks of corrupt behaviour.
Although China is in part a market economy, no one should underestimate the power of the Communist Party. This was demonstrated to me by an environmental conference I attended in Kunming in the south-west of China. A bitter dispute broke out between the pro-bamboo and anti-bamboo factions, not helped by the projection system breaking down and depicting rolling pictures of pandas who are big consumers of bamboo. It seemed as if the factions were going to come to blows. Suddenly the provincial governor arrived and everyone fell silent.
President Xi Jinping is a football fan and is determined to make China a leading soccer nation which will stage the World Cup and eventually win it. Considerable investment is being made in football training in primary schools. Chinese companies know that investment in football clubs abroad will be viewed favourably by the party.
As clubs looking for buyers and investors welcome the new wave of Chinese investors, it is as well to remember that not all of them may be of high quality. The tale of Birmingham City is a cautionary one. Acquired in 2009 by Carson Yeung, a former hair salon proprietor, the team was relegated to the Championship and remains there for now. Yeung was jailed in Hong Kong in 2014 for money laundering and the club remains barely known in China.
The fact of the matter is that there are A list Chinese investors like Wanda and Fosun which have plenty of funds at their disposal and a strategic plan to develop their sports and media businesses and B or even C list investors. The latter group have less money to spend and the source and extent of their money is difficult to trace.
They often offer fewer synergies than the A list conglomerates. For example, Lai Guochuan, the new owner of West Bromwich Albion, previously built a company he described as 'the IBM of landscape gardening.' In the case of the Baggies, as many as a dozen Chinese investors looked at the club, but only four had the financial capability and a good rationale to proceed with the deal.
Many smaller Chinese companies have no experience of football and appear to be acting on a whim. They may think that they will win favour with Communist Party bosses by signing up to President Xi's ambitious plan to make China a leading football nation. Guanxi or connections are everything in China, not least connections with the ruling party that can grant entrepreneurs the space to operate or decide to make life difficult for them.
Feng Tao, chief executive of Chinese sports marketing company Shankai, a Chinese sports marketing company, told the Financial Timesthat some entrepreneurs believe they can make quick profits by buying underperforming European clubs with a large fan base and turning them round, eventually capitalising on a higher valuation by injecting them into Chinese listed companies.
Blogger Mark Dreyer from China Sports Insider says 'the idea that clubs will be big in China just because they have a Chinese owner is nonsense. Some of these purchases are going to end in tears.'
However, it should be noted that Chinese owners do tend to favour a consensual approach and like to build bridges with fans. Any prospective Chinese owner is going to note that the team already plays in red. Whether a Chinese company makes a bid, and whether the current owner engages seriously with them, remains to be seen.
Charlton drew 1-1 with Walsall at The Valley this afternoon to retain 14th place in League One. A 4-4-2 formation having succeeded against Scunthorpe, Karl Robinson decided to revert to 4-5-1. When events forced Charlton into a 4-4-2 in the second half, their performance improved.
Walsall took the game to Charlton in the first half with the Addicks defence looking vulnerable to balls over the top. Having missed chances to score, the Saddlers went ahead in the 44th minute.
Charlton improved in the second half and Tony Watt equalised, having pounced on a loose ball. The Addicks applied their strongest pressure in the last ten minutes of the game, but in the seven minutes added on it was the visitors who looked more like scoring.
On two minutes, a shot from Watt went just over the bar from 20 yards. On five minutes, Jackson had an open goal but the ball over. Aribo had to clear off the line.
Ricky Holmes was looking one of the better Charlton players. He put in a great run and a good cross, but Walsall were able to clear.
On 44 minutes Jackson broke the offside trap, found himself one on one with Rudd and scored. The referee then blew up during a Walsall attack.
HT: Addicks 0, Saddlers 1
Could Walsall secure their first away win of the year? Konsa went down in a lot of pain and Johnnie Jackson came on, Ulvestad moving to centre back.
Page was replaced by Novak. Watt put the ball in the left-hand corner of the net to make it 1-1. Charlton defended well at the expense of a corner, leading to a second. Osbourne at last got a yellow card for a foul on Holmes.
On 75 minutes a Watt shot was tipped over by the keeper. From the corner, an Aribo shot was tipped over. Byrne was unfairly booked. Bakayoko was not far off target, but there was offside in the build up.
On 83 minutes a Holmes cross nearly sneaked in but was tipped over. An Aribo shot hit a defender's arm, but the referee waved play on. On 88 minutes Watt was replaced by Ahearne-Grant. In time added on, there was great defensive work from Chicksen.
Notional attendance was 9,900 with 316 from Walsall, although the ground did look fuller than on Tuesday. One absentee was Katrien Meire who cancelled meetings arranged with fans, but it was rumoured that she is on holiday in North Korea.
Friday, 10 March 2017
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Merton police have posted a picture of former Addick Shaun Newton in their gallery of 'most wanted' suspects after he failed to turn up in court to answer burglary charges. A warrant has been issued for his arrest: Police hunt
'Newts' made a considerable contribution in his time at Charlton, not least in the play off final against Ipswich and it is sad to see his current circumstances.
The last Voice of the Valley hade a feature on Charlton 'bad boys' and it was quite a long (and far from exhaustive) list.
The Currant Bun makes the point that the most impressive comeback of all time was not Barcelona defeating Paris Saint Germain, but Charlton's 7-6 win over Huddersfield: Greatest comeback
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
A Tony Watt penalty at the end of full time secured three points for Charlton as they beat Scunthorpe United 2-1 at The Valley tonight.
The start of the game was delayed for fifteen minutes. At first it was thought that this was because of overflowing urinals caused by vinegar pissers, but then it was stated to be because of traffic problems. In fact staff were searching the streets for passers by they could get into the ground. The official attendance was 9,088 with 301 from Scunthorpe, but there were probably about 5,000 Addicks in the ground.
Charlton dominated the first half and Johnnie Jackson put them ahead on 32 minutes.
Charlton started brightly and on three minutes, after a free kick from Holmes, Teixeira hit the crossbar. On six minutes Rudd had to palm the ball away. A spell of Charlton pressure ended with a Holmes cross being cleared. Teixeira was clipped in the box, but the referee waved played on. On 31 minutes Magennis put a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal.
A Charlton corner from Holmes found Jackson in the vicinity of the penalty spot, and with Scunthorpe focusing their attention on Magennis, he scored with a volley.
On 43 minutes Holmes put the ball across the six yard box for Aribo, but he was blocked off.
HT: Addicks 1, Iron 0
There was a scrappy start to the second half. Then Magennis went down injured and was replaced by Crofts. This forced Charlton into a change of formation and allowed Scunny to apply more pressure. Konsa dealt well with Hopper, but the visitors hit the inside of the post. Teixeira defended well at the expense of a corner.
Then on 75 minutes with Rudd out of his goal trying to palm the ball away, Van Veen was able to score into an empty net making it 1-1.
Watt replaced Novak. Byrne got a yellow card for a foul. Ahearne-Grant replaced Holmes on 86 minutes. Then Teixeira was pulled back in the box and Watt scored a good penalty, jumping into the Covered End to celebrate. Chicksen got a yellow card but Scunny were unable to take advantage of their free kick.
Charlton are now 14th in the table and nine points above the first relegation position.
Even before Saturday's defeat at home by Fleetwood, Scunthorpe United chairman Peter Swann was urging the club's fans not to panic. The team has suffered from injury problems and a virus, but he denied reports of unrest in the camp: Don't panic
Can Charlton take advantage in this postponed fixture? Probably not, given their recent poor run of form, although a win or even a draw would be a morale boost as a relegation battle threatens.
Charlton are now bottom of the League One form table and Scunthorpe third from bottom. Indeed, they are ranked 92nd in England.
Odds: Charlton 31/20, Draw 9/4, Scunthorpe 7/4.
Saturday, 4 March 2017
One time Addick Paul Konchesky has signed for Ryman Premier League club Billericay Town. They have been splashing the cash since a new owner took over in December.
The 35-year old had played for Gillingham 29 times this season, but found himself out of favour with the new manager.
Konchesky owns a pie and mash shop called Konch's Kafe in nearby Brentwood and will start taking his coaching badges.
Charlton are 16th in League One, although still six points off the relegation places, after losing 2-1 at Northampton today. At half time it was 1-1.
A goal from Jordan Botaka was not enough for the Addicks as they lost to the Cobblers. Charlton made three changes to the team as boss Karl Robinson looked to find a winning formula. Lewis Page, Patrick Bauer and Frederik Ulvestad were all drafted back in to the side and they take the place of Jorge Teixeira, Johnnie Jackson and Joe Aribo.
Charlton came under pressure early on but, backed by 1,424 vociferous fans they got a foothold and Jordan Botaka's run down the left, skipping past three challenges, was the promise of things to come.
A header from Michael Smith from a superb Aaron Phillips centre on 32 minutes gave the Cobblers the lead. But Charlton were level just three minutes later when a Holmes corner from the left saw Patrick Bauer force a save from Adam Smith, only for Botaka to volley in from close range. Holmes and Botaka both let fly from distance, their efforts missing the target.
It was a frenetic start to the second half, Northampton attacking with urgency after Botaka had smashed narrowly over after working some space. Then Lee Novak fired over as the Charlton fans rallied their team with some tremendous backing.
But in the 62nd minute Northampton took the lead for a second time. A cross from the right from Phillips on 62 minutes was only half headed out by Nathan Byrne at the back post and John-Joe O'Toole thumped in for 2-1. Charlton simply had no answer and couldn't come back with an equaliser, although they didn't do enough to deserve one.
The Addicks in Northampton showed their solidarity with those marching in Belgium with a chant of 'We want Roland out.'
Shell shocked supremo Karl Robinson took the blame for the results, saying 'we are in a fragile place.' He added, 'It's been a long season.' Yes, it has been for every club, but particularly for Charlton's long suffering fans: Taking the blame
With the number of travelling Addicks depleted by the reunion of former club employees in Belgium, this is Charlton’s first league visit to Northampton since January, 1967, when they drew 1-1 at the County Ground in the old division two. The Addicks haven’t played at Sixfields, their most recent visit to the Cobblers being in the League Cup in September, 1988, when the teams drew 1-1 in a first-leg encounter. Charlton won the second leg at home 2-1.
Charlton are 15th in the table and Northampton 17th. However, the Addicks have slumped to 22nd in the form table, while the Cobblers are a more respectable 15th.
The Cobblers have won seven, drawn two and lost seven at home. Charlton will, however, need more than 'kinky boots' to get something out of today's encounter as they head towards the relegation zone.
Odds: Northampton 8/5, Draw 9/4, Charlton 17/10.
Friday, 3 March 2017
According to Twitter, Roland has called the protesters 'vinegar pissers' which I must admit is a new one on me, but perhaps it means something in Belgium.
Wednesday's post mortem on Tuesday's result as Shrewsbury should have been held a fortnight ago according to Ricky Holmes. Players were divided into two groups (it's not clear whether these were 'sheep' and 'goats') and analysed each half of the game: Post mortem
Karl Robinson does need to look at himself as well as the players. After all, he makes the player selection and chooses the formation. Playing Johnnie Jackson at left back on Tuesday was not the best idea.
However, I am against any change of manager. As Rick Everitt has said, it would be rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. There is no guarantee, rather the contrary, that Chris O'Loughlin would be any better.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
At least 250 Addicks will be taking part in the Unity protest in Belgium in Saturday and it may be more as some fans are travelling independently. Recent results have boosted the numbers: Protest numbers increase
With such a large number of disgruntled ex-employees heading for Belgium, accompanied by their hot heated mates looking for a ruck, Belgian security forces have been put on high alert. There are concerns that Belgian millionaires hoping for a cheap and cheerful lunch of moules et frites will be not be able to go out for fear of being confronted by critical banners.
It is being reported from Belgium that Sint Truiden is one of four Belgian clubs attracting the interest of Chinese investors.
VOTV editor Rick Everitt assesses the situation of Charlton manager Karl Robinson who, according to the Rickster, looks increasingly out of his depth: Robinson flounders
Chris O'Loughlin is a ready made successor waiting in the wings, but S.E. London pizza parlours are placing their hopes on Thomas Dreisen.