Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Mark Marshall speaks out

Karl Robinson's resignation offer was news to Mark Marshall, but the winger has a lot of sympathy with the Charlton coach saying that no one likes to be deceived: Boss has my blessing

Marshall said that Charlton's poor form could not be blamed on the takeover uncertainty. However, the absence of a chief executive and a chief financial officer leads to a general sense of drift at the club which cannot help. Some suspect that Karl Robinson is manoeuvring to get the best exit deal.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Crawley boss to be new Valley supremo?

The Australian consortium bidding to acquire Charlton want to put Harry Kewell, currently at Crawley Town, to be the new Charlton supremo: Latest speculation

The Australian has played for Leeds United and Liverpool as well as a number of clubs down under: Harry Kewell

'Exciting announcement' pending at Oxford

Oxford United's owner has said the club will make an 'exciting announcement' today. Karl Robinson is on very short odds to become the next manager. Oxford have recently tweeted that this is 'International Happiness Day'.

The more I read about Oxford's new owner 'Tiger', the more I think he belongs to the class of bonkers owners. But Karl knows all about that.

Disappointed by the lack of investment in the transfer window, the shell shocked supremo may see Oxford United as an escape route: Way Out

Richard Cawley has just reported that Karl Robinson has offered to resign, more than once: I will go

Roland Duchatelet has rejected his resignation: Non!

One question is who would be available to accept any resignation, but presumably we still have a kit man?

Latest reports suggest that the streets in SE7 are calm and no fans have arrived to rend their shirts.

If he does go, I would put Jason Euell in temporary charge.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Ahearne-Grant finds his shooting boots

On loan at Crawley Town, Karlan Aheare-Grant has scored six goals in seven games. On Saturday he scored two goals away at Carlisle to secure Crawley a draw, delighting the 75 Crawley faithful who had made the trip north.

His first goal involved jinking past two defenders before drilling a low shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

This has all been against League Two defences, but it does give some hope that he is developing as a player.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sven preferred to Karl!

New Oxford United owner 'Tiger' 'My-name-is-too-long-for-my-door-plate' has decided that he wants a manager with a 'wow' factor and has plumped for Sven Goran Eriksson. The former England manager is said to be interested in coming, let's hope he doesn't think he was being offered an honorary fellowship at an Oxford college.

The bookies are still offering short odds on Karl Robinson. Oxford would be nearer to his Milton Keynes home.

One wonders what wheeze the new Thai owner of Oxford will come up with next. There is talk of a cable car system in Oxford to relieve congestion (really dreamt up as a riposte to Cambridge's recently unveiled plans for an underground) so perhaps it could run out to the ground.

He should perhaps be reminded that Sven had an unhappy spell at Notts County and there is a lot to be said for a man motivator with League One experience. Sven recalls his experience at Notts County: How I was conned at Notts County

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Bore draw at The Valley

In freezing conditions Charlton drew 0-0 with Fleetwood Town at The Valley this afternoon, leaving them five points away from the play off places. The official attendance was 9.865, but it was a few thousand below that, bearing in mind that EFL rules require that season ticket holders are counted as in attendance.

The visitors sat back in the first half and Charlton were incapable of breaking them down. Around the half hour mark, the Covered End started a chant of '4-4-2'. One fan tweeted that Robinson's tactics and formation were ****. Charlton were slow and predictable The referee was so bored he added no minutes on.

Robinson played his master stroke on 60 minutes with a double substitution. Magennis went off to ironic cheers, accompanied by Reeves. Ajose and Zyro came on.

Amos did well to keep out a one on one on 62 minutes and the rebound was just wide. The visitors were in more attacking mode in the second half.

Richard Cawley tweeted that Fosu and Forster-Caskey were the only players trying to make something happen.

Fans scanned the Charlton heights for sight of a kangaroo, but not even a wallaby could be seen.

I have to say that I am glad I am too unwell to come to matches.

Karl Robinson put the display down to the poor decision-making in the final third, so that's all right then. Admittedly, sixty per cent possession and two shots on goal does tell a story.

Chris Solly could be ruled out until the summer (at least Acworth will be pleased): Knee problem

Deal or no deal?

The postman rang the doorbell this morning. He nervously handed over a package: 'I think this is for you.' The only identifying mark was that it had come from the Medway sorting centre. It could have been a fanzine for Gillingham or Maidstone United. But it was, of course, Voice of the Valley posted the day before from Ramsgate.

'Deal or no deal'? is the headline. As it is two hours before the fanzine will go on sale around the ground, I do not want to publish too many spoilers. However, there is an excellent editorial by Rick Everitt which makes the point that, while there are many reasons why we go to The Valley, there has to be a level of focus on football success and this has been missing for some time.

On the takeover, the Rickster confirms that there is substantive interest in buying the club, but it all comes down to Roland's financial ambitions. At least five groups have been interested. The Scots headed back across the border before I had time to identify my Scottish forbears. In addition to the Australians and a British consortium, Rick Everitt refers to Arabs and one fronted by Dutch speakers, based in Belgium or Holland or both.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Cod Army ready to give Charlton their chips

Fleetwood Town players are confident of taking all three points at The Valley tomorrow, building on their unbeaten run under new coach John Sheridan: We travel with confidence

Last year's fixture ended in a 1-1 draw. Fleetwood are 10/11 for relegation. Odds: Charlton 11/10, Draw 11/5, Fleetwood 27/10

Forecast: Fleetwood secure a draw with an equaliser in time added on.

Retiring will be hard admits Jacko

Stopping playing football at the end of the season will be the hardest thing he has ever done, admits skipper Johnnie Jackson. However, he is looking forward to taking up a full-time coaching role at the club: Retirement

The Football League Paper runs 'where are they now?' features on players from lower league clubs and it is amazing (or perhaps not) how many are postmen or taxi drivers.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

It's crunch time for everybody

It's crunch time for everybody at The Valley says embattled supremo Karl Robinson with Charlton 19th in the form table and at risk of falling out of the top ten if they cannot beat the Cod Army on Saturday. Talking to Richard Cawley of the SLP, Robinson insisted 'This is not about me anymore': Growing pressure

Robinson commented: 'It’s now got to a stage where something has to be said. [I didn't think he'd been slow in saying things before now]. Because I can’t just keep saying we’ll be alright, we’ll be alright.'

Just as Charlton's play off hopes disappear down the Mersey, a new issue of Voice of the Valley will be out on Saturday. It can be purchased around the ground before the game or you can order it by post before 3 pm on Friday to be delivered under plain cover to enjoy in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

I have an article which I drafted in my head to while away the time in hospital. Fortunately, I didn't draft it from the time in intensive care when I discovered a facility in Norwegian, but there is a tale from beyond the grave.

I can't change my formation says Robinson

Addicks have been pleading with Karl Robinson to change his 4-3-2-1 formation and play with two strikers up front but the shell shocked supremo says he can't because he doesn't have two fit strikers. Zyro is more of a winger than a striker, he says: Formation can't change

He does then go on to say that Charlton have played four different formations in the last four games. Robinson does admit that he made mistakes with his substitutions against Oxford.

Defenders of Karl Robinson say that he has been given insufficient materials to work with, and that is the case, but he could have made more of what he has.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Fleetwood a massive game says Solly

Charlton's home match against Fleetwood Town on Saturday is now a massive game says Chris Solly: 'Words don't mean a thing, we have to do our talking on the pitch now': Rallying cry

In 2006, when we were still in the Premier League, if we had been told we would have a massive game against Fleetwood Town twelve years later, it would seem impossible.

Takeover could be next season

Supremo Karl Robinson has further dashed the hopes of Charlton fans by saying that the takeover of the club might not happen until next season. It is clear that he has no idea what is going on and is getting increasingly exasperated. But other reliable sources seem to know nothing either:

Robinson says there needs to be a complete change of mentality at the club. Less generous supporters might think this should include a one way ticket to Liverpool. There is no chief executive and just one English board member who has done a lot for the club in the past but is now past his sell by date.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tide comes in for Blackpool

After five months without a home win, Blackpool beat Charlton 1-0 this evening with a goal in time added on. It was a grim night for the 264 Addicks who have made the journey in a crowd of 3,216. After the game social media had many demands for Karl Robinson to go.

Although they had some chances, Charlton never looked like scoring. It was 71 minutes before they won a corner by which time the Tangerines had had fourteen.

It was a dreary first half with a twelve minute delay after Blackpool's Delfouneso was stretchered off. Page had to be withdrawn after the clash of heads. Brian Cole commented, 'So far the game that was called off was better than the first half.'

In the time added on Forster-Caskey was just over the bar with a half volley from 25 yards. Solly supplied a pinpoint cross to the head of Zyro, but the ball went over the bar.

After the break Magennis nodded wide from a Zyro cross. Sarr had to clear off the line on 80 minutes.

One minute into stoppage time Amos, who had made a couple of good saves, came off his line and only half cleared, allowing the home side to put the ball in the net. Fosu was narrowly wide with a last chance.

Karl Robinson has admitted that it was no use blaming the referee for Charlton's poor performance. Instead he has turned to the last page in his book of excuses: blame yourself. He has admitted that the buck stops with him and he has to take responsibility. He also apologised for failing to acknowledge the travelling Addicks after the game: Buck stops with me

Meanwhile former Charlton coach and interim manager Les Reed is being blamed for the problems encountered by Southampton: Saints

Riga talks about his time at Charlton

Of all the managers foisted upon by this the Duchatelet regime, the one I have most time for is Jose Riga. He wanted to stay on after his successful start at The Valley and when he came back two years later he found a completely different club. He was fascinated by how much football is in the DNA of English people.

Read an interesting interview with him here: People were just waiting for relegation when I returned

Robinson throws down the gauntlet

Tough talking supremo Karl Robinson has said that players can stay away from the club for the rest of the season if they have given up on the play offs: Players can stay away

Presumably this is meant to be motivational as the team heads for a blustery night out by the Irish Sea.

Admittedly, Robinson hasn't been given all the materials he needs, but he could have made more of what he has.

Blackpool lost 3-0 at title chasing Blackburn on Saturday, Blackpool boss Bowyer admitting that there was a gulf in quality between the two teams. Blackpool are, however, ahead of Charlton in the form tables with the Addicks seventh from bottom. At home the Tangerines have won five, drawn six, lost five. They have scored 23 and conceded 24. Charlton away have won six, drawn four and lost six. The result tonight is anyone's guess.

We can expect some odd refereeing decisions tonight as the man in charge is Trevor Kettle.

Odds: Blackpool 31/20, Draw 21/10, Charlton 15/8.

Monday, 12 March 2018

I got my Oystons mixed up, admits Karl

Karl Robinson has admitted that he got his Oystons mixed up when he got into a spat after the postponed fixture at Blackpool: Robinson on Blackpool owner

The supremo has taken the precaution of looking at his big book of excuses in advance and has lighted on the difficult pitch at Bloomfield Road. Add in a swirling wind off the sea and you have the perfect alibi.

Has anyone noticed that Karl looks remarkably like the actor in the current confused dot com advert?: Ripped off and confused about tactics

Kaikai toe injury blow

On loan Glazier Kaikai has injured his toe and will not be available at Blackpool tomorrow night. One cheeky fan tweeted 'That's good': Injury doubt

More significantly, Kashi, DaSilva and Mavididi are not available.

An overseas private equity firm has expressed an interest in buying the troubled club. Leaving aside what their motives might be, and recalling how Coventry City have suffered, they are apparently proposing to lease the stadium off the Oystons. Tangerine fans want them completely out of the club.

So expect a low attendance. Home fans are still boycotting. A few hardy Charlton fans might turn up, including those who live 'oop north. I would expect a strong wind off the Irish Sea, so wrap up warm.

Pardew is defiant

A defiant Alan Pardew has said that he will not resign at The Hawthorns and at the time of writing there is no sign of him being sacked. In part this is because none of the usual suspects, the middle-aged men on the managerial merry go round, is available. Tony Pulis is achieving success at Boro.

In his press conference, Pardoo accused his players of lacking effort and hurting his pride. The Times commented, 'Yet if his pride is dented it should be because of his own failure than suboptimal players underperforming. He has won seven of his last 54 Premier League games, dating back to the final days of his reign at Crystal Palace, has lost the Albion dressing room and indisputably deserves to be sacked.'

Will the Pardew myth finally be debunked? Not so long ago he was talked of as a potential England manager, mind you some hopeless cases have ended up there. Accounts of his career usually fail to mention his time at Charlton when his tinkerman tendencies were on display.

My message to the West Brom board: Alan Curbishley is available and willing to go beyond the M25.

Events at West Ham

The protests against the regime at Charlton have been peaceful, making allowance for the destruction of the hated fans' sofa. Pent up anger spilled over at the London Stadium on Saturday. I have expressed my views in two posts on a sister site:

Why West Ham fans are upset

'We were promised a dream, we were given a nightmare'

I know that some Charlton fans have campaigned against the generous terms that West Ham were given at the London Stadium, but that is a separate if related issue. I was quite amused to learn that one of the complaints being made was that a steward was wearing a Charlton jersey under his hi-vis vest.

This is another example of a board misleading and being unresponsive to fans which is why changes in the governance of football are needed.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Alice through the looking glass

Charlton's humiliation was emphasised by the wild gyrations of a giant rabbit. Photo: Kyle Andrews.

It was an Alice Through the Looking Glass day for Charlton as they were crushed 4-1 by a rampant Peterborough. Magennis missed a penalty and was jeered off by his own fans. Karl Robinson was first down the tunnel to access his big book of excuses, but as there is no board to sack him, his job should be safe. The only consolation was to see the grim visage of relegation specialist Alan Pardew after West Brom's 4-1 defeat at home by Leicester City. But then the pundits are now talking about Millwall as possible Premier League hopefuls.

Before the game Richard Cawley tweeted that it was like Alice in Wonderland at London Road with a bizarre giant rabbit, two builder mascots and a man and a woman walking around in top hats and smart clothes. Matt Wright later tweeted that Charlton losing brought things back to normality.

Charlton are now 8th in the table and are fortunate not to have fallen further: results at one point would have dragged them down to 10th.

The Addicks did look a bit better when Zyro came on (he scored their goal), but why not start with him rather than the out of form Magennis?

It was a very open game in the first half, although some fans who were there thought that Johnnie Jackson lacked the legs. On 15 minutes a Fosu shot was blocked on the edge of the box. A Forster-Caskey volley was saved. The home side showed their intent when they hit the post on 25 minutes. Aribo put in a decent shot from a tight angle, but it was saved.

With a minute of normal time remaining, a free kick caused havoc in the Charlton box. A cross to the back post was turned home by Hughes to make it 1-0.

The Addicks started the second half brightly, winning a series of corners, one nearly leading to an own goal. On 54 minutes a push on Magennis led to a penalty, giving Charlton the chance to equalise. Magennis put the ball just wide of the post, having wrong footed the keeper. Four minutes later Sarr conceded a penalty, allowing the Posh to go 2-0 ahead.

Kaikai and Magennis came off, to be replaced by Reeves and Zyro. A few minutes later Jackson was replaced by Ajose. On 73 minutes a Reeves ball from the right allowed Zyro to score with a header. This gave Charlton hope again, but on 81 minutes Marriott shot under Amos from a tight angle. It was Marriott who made it 4-1 on 85 minutes.

Richard Cawley of the SLP is running a poll on Twitter on whether Charlton will make the play offs. He has got over 400 replies in just 50 minutes and 89 per cent say no.

Friday, 9 March 2018

New Posh boss 'proudest man alive'

New Peterborough boss Steve Evans is set to be 'the proudest man alive' as he looks forward to beating Charlton on Saturday: New supremo

The 55-year-old Scot, who resigned from Mansfield Town earlier this week, has lived near Peterborough for many years. He told local radio: 'It's probably the second club that's closest to my heart, the first being Glasgow Celtic. I've been in and around the city for the best part of 30 years - and probably for the best part of 20 years I've wanted to be the gaffer here.'

Now 50 per cent Canadian owned, Posh want to turn over a new leaf and stop being the 'nearly men' of League One. Last season they finished 11th, fading after Christmas.

This is an important match for the Addicks as they try to get into the play off places. Odds: Peterborough 13/5; draw, 12/5; Charlton 2/1.

Brett Huxtable is making the trek up from Devon to referee the match. Not everyone is keen on him: Yeovil fans cross

Thursday, 8 March 2018

My first Charlton game was a reserve fixture

I wrote a piece for a sister site on the under 23s and this got me thinking about the world of reserve football as it used to be, before the nonsenses of the Carabao Cup and development squads: The world of the under 23s

If we go back to the 1950s, reserve games as The Valley attracted around 1,500 spectators, if that. Some fans went to see Millwall if they were at home, others Arsenal. Most only went to the ground when there was a first team game, and they were selective about those, as the fluctuations in attendance figures show.

I can remember my father taking me just once to a reserve game and that was a Combination Cup fixture against Aldershot. I remember it because we encountered some Aldershot fans. But why did we go to this game? It was on September 5th 1953 and I now think this was my first game at The Valley (I was six years old). I think my father decided to take me to a reserve game to get me used to The Valley before we went to a first team fixture.

Over the years I have been to a few reserve fixtures when it fitted in with commitments in London, at The Valley, at the training ground and at Park View Road. I remember one game against Norwich City when I went with a friend. It was an afternoon game with a sparse attendance. The referee looked as if he should be drawing his pension and when my friend bellowed 'Get a grip, ref!' he seemed to be very startled.

Games could be held in unpredictable places. Once when Rick Everitt was away in Australia I was writing the match reports for the club site and I had to cover a reserve game between Oxford United and Charlton. I went to their then ground at Headington, only to find they were playing at Witney. It was a freezing night, but at least I saw the unique sight of referee Wendy Toms booking legend John Barnes.

In those days reserve games had a few fringe players or players coming back from injury, but mostly young hopefuls with Keith Peacock saying after a failed corner: 'We went through all that at the training ground.'

Four Four Two published an article in 2007 on reserve football which had quite a lot of Charlton content. Charlton had won the Premiership League South title twice and were hoping for a third success, but reserve team boss Glyn Snodin went to Southampton as assistant manager and Charlton finished fourth.

Reserve team captain Barry Fuller was interviewed and said 'For us it's like the first team playing in the Premier League. All the boys take it seriously. We want to win every game.'

Fuller was released by the Addicks and signed by Stevenage. He is now with AFC Wimbledon. Michael Turner was the reserve captain before him and signed for Brentford in 2004, realising that there were two or three players in front of him. He was one that got away as Hull then snapped him up for £350,000. He then went to Sunderland for what was thought to be £6m. Now 34, he plays for Chris Powell's Southend United.

It is actually quite difficult to tell who is going to make the grade in first team football.

Dreaming spires are not for me says Robinson

Karl Robinson has played down reports of a move to Oxford United after the odds were slashed on him being the next manager. The U's have been without a manager since January and are under new ownership: Oxford job link

The odds on the Charlton supremo were slashed to evens last night, but Sky Bet have taken bets on 37 different names which they admit is unusual for a League One club. It is not known if Alan Curbishley is among them.

Some big names have been in the frame as the U's new Thai owner moves towards a decision: 37 candidates

Robinson pins his hopes on Zyro

Josh Magennis has a hamstring problem and is unlikely to be available for the crucial 8th v 7th clash at Peterborough on Saturday. Also worrying is that Fosu and Forster-Caskey have been unable to train.

Supremo Karl Robinson is pinning his hopes on Michal Zyro who looks likely to be favoured over Ajose up front. He has been doing well in training: Injury worries

All sides have injuries, but Charlton have often had a makeshift look about them this season. In large part this is down to the funds available, but I think that Robinson is rather one dimensional when it comes to tactics.

If the Australian takeover went ahead, it would be the clash of two former dominions at Peterborough with the Posh now 50 per cent Canadian owned. I have no news on the takeover front. However, my personal view is that the Australian bid looks more solid than the alternative.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Maybe it's because I am a Londoner

Lucy May, 1875-1956

One of my children bought me one of these DNA match kits for Christmas and I was surprised to find how heavy the concentration of matches in London was. I knew, of course, that my family had lived in Plumstead Common since the First World War, but I also knew that there was Cornish and Scottish ancestry. However, when I started to trace my family tree, the preponderance of Londoners born and bred was clear. Some were within the sound of Bow Bells. My great-great grandmother Mary Heaven was born at Tower Hill in 1801 and married at St. Martins in the Fields in 1819.

The women on the maternal side of my family tended to live long lives, even before the advent of modern medicine. My maternal grandmother, Lucy Adelaide Florence May, was born in 1875 and died at Plumstead Common in 1956.

She was in her twenties when Queen Victoria died and was in many ways a Victorian. But she also had a very strong interest in football. Admittedly, this was partly for gambling purposes, doing 'the pools' as everyone did in those days. But her interest was far broader. Although she had had very limited education, she was evidently an intelligent woman.

Because her son-in-law was a newsagent she was able to get such football publications as there were free of charge. She was particularly interested in questions of promotion and relegation, issues which she discussed with me at some length. Her view was that in the short run these might be explained by managers and players. However, there were also longer run forces at work. She obviously didn't use this language, but she meant structural and demographic. For example, did the demotion of Liverpool from the top flight say something about the city?

I am completing negotiations with Manchester University Press for a book on football to follow up the one I co-edited for them in 2010. The book will be dedicated to my grandmother who stimulated my interest in the broader context of the game. In my study I have a simple ornament which used to be on her bedside table.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Wimbledon game off

As expected, tomorrow's game at AFC Wimbledon is off because of a frozen pitch: Postponed

This will leave the Addicks with a pile up of mid-week fixtures.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Robinson talks the talk

Leamington manager Paul Holleran hails from the Black Country and has a formidable vocabulary from which referees benefit

Karl Robinson certainly knows how to talk the talk and his latest rallying cry is to be found here: Promotion run in looming

I know that we have had injuries and uncertainties about the ownership of the club. But tactics have sometimes been at fault as well. The Plan A does not allow for much flexibility and it is far from clear if there is much of a Plan B.

We could well make the play offs, but that is not the same as getting promoted. Remember that game against Swindon?

New owners are likely to want to make a fresh start with a new manager. I would be interested to hear suggestions about suitable British managers (although the coach may well turn out to be Australian). Anyone who suggests a non-league manager will be sentenced to sit behind Paul Holleran at a Leamington game as he shows his command of swear words.

The pitch at Kingsmeadow is not at its best

There will be a pitch inspection at AFC Wimbledon's Kingsmeadow ground (aka the Cherry Red Records Stadium) tomorrow and I expect the game to be called off given 'snowmageddon'. Supremo Karl Robinson is not happy about the prospect of more midweek matches, not least there, as he launches his promotion push: Pitch inspection

The lady referee at North Ferriby did not appreciate Paul Holleran's efforts to widen her vocabulary. He was sent from the dugout.