Monday, 30 November 2015

Elsewhere in the Relegation League

Bolton Wanderers are currently bottom of the Championship and we will be playing them soon. Our sister site looks at their plight: there are some interesting contrasts with Charlton: Bolton Wanderers

The first team playing squad are yet to receive their wages for November: Cash flow

Protests didn't help team says Gudmundsson

Johann Berg Gudmundsson has said that the protests and chanting at Saturday's match did not help the team: Dampener

This does not seem to have gone down too well with fans. After all, Gudmundsson himself tweeted on Saturday that the team's performance was not good enough.

The protests were limited to the second minute. Admittedly, there wasn't much of an atmosphere, but there were big empty spaces in the home stands. This was probably because of a combination of the early start, the fact that the game was on television and discontent with the current regime at Charlton.

Top fan Jonathan Acworth is setting up a meeting in Greenwich next Sunday to discuss the way forward for the club. However, rather than any individual initiatives, my preference would be to channel activity through the CAS Trust which is having some success in establishing a dialogue with the club.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Another 0-3 defeat at home

Charlton went down at home to Ipswich today for the fourth season in a row, but the margin of defeat was bigger and replicated recent 0-3 defeats at The Valley. Johann Berg Gudmundsson tweeted, 'Gutted about today. Not good enough from all of us.'

Charlton have slipped to 21st, on the same number of points as Bristol City and MK Dons, but behind them on goal difference. Rotherham United are just one point behind, as are Huddersfield.

I don't think we played that badly today, but the difference between the two sides was that Ipswich created more chances and took them clinically. When we had a half chance, we tended to dither. Also, the Ipswich keeper made three good saves late in the game.

Simon Makienok is arguably the most useless player in a Charlton shirt since Karim Bagheri. At least Bagheri made only one appearance as a substitute, in the rain at Ipswich, when he managed to make contact with the ball once.

For a tall guy, Makienok has considerable difficulty in dealing with high balls. He seems unable to jump, although quite why I don't know. Vaz Te looked quite useful, at least he put in some shots.

Things started to go wrong for us when the skipper had to be taken off early in the game with an apparent facial injury. Jackson was replaced by Solly with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis adopting a position on the left. Holmes-Dennis had a good game throughout, as did Lookman.

Striker Daryl Murphy scored twice as the Tractors extended their unbeaten run to six Championship games. The Republic of Ireland international headed Mick McCarthy's side ahead from close range after a goalmouth scramble. This followed a corner and once again showed our vulnerability at set pieces and our difficulty in clearing our lines. Having seen the goal on television, it was evident that there was a foul just before it was scored with a Charlton player (Solly?) receiving a hand in the face.

I was concerned that Ipswich would score a second before the break, making it difficult for us to get back into the game. This is what happened as Freddie Sears fired in the second in first-half stoppage time for his first goal in 12 games before Murphy slotted in the visitors' third to put the game beyond reach.

Charlton did not give up and Dean Gerken twice saved from Ricardo Vaz Te late on as Charlton went close. Substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad also headed just wide from Chris Solly's pin-point cross in stoppage time but by then Ipswich's victory was already assured.

Ipswich did display a professional level of cynicism, their players falling to the floor in agony when Charlton broke away on the attack and then making a miraculous recovery. We didn't get any favours from the referee who had not got over breaking his bottle of hair restorer in the dressing room before the game.

The early start gave me a journey down in an over crowded train full of Brummies, a number of whom had already had a few drinks. I normally buy my Voice of the Valley off one of the elves or gnomes, but today I got it from Rick Everitt himself, and on the rare occasions I do that we always get hammered.

I was expecting to encounter a line of jobsworths ready to search my bag when I got in the ground, but there was no sign of the enhanced security.

Jonathan Acworth was active before the game button holing supporters. He is having a meeting at Greenwich tomorrow at which a potential investor will be unveiled, but apparently you need to take £20 along for a meal beforehand. According to one report, he is in touch with Darren Pitcher which is just what we want.

The 'two per cent' protest received solid support from the Covered End and I would say from about a quarter to a third of the fans in my part of the East Stand. This makes the point that concern extends beyond two per cent of supporters.

At least I won £50 on Valley Gold which will cover my travel costs and leave something over for a 'celebration' drink.

Player ratings

Some people are now saying that Henderson is no better than Pope, but the first and third goals were the fault of the defence in front of him. He was caught unawares by the second goal, but in some ways it was a lucky goal. One of the problems yesterday was in central defence. Sarr is a liability, but Bauer was below his usual standard. Fox is not good enough and got withdrawn after receiving a yellow card. Holmes-Dennis was required to play in three different positions, but the talented youngster adapted well.

Diarra was another player below his usual standard. Losing Jackson early on was a blow and I think that it affected the confidence of the side for a while. Cousins wasn't that prominent. Gudmundsson criticised himself, but he put himself about and delivered one precision free kick we were unlucky not to score from.

Not only can Makienok not overcome Earth gravity, he doesn't position himself properly when there is an attack. Lookman offered pace and penetration and deservedly got Man of the Match in the lounges. It's not so long ago that the youngster was playing park football. Hopefully, someone gave him a lift home or he had enough money for a minicab as it would be awkward taking the trophy home on the bus.

Vaz Te was written off as a useless signing by many fans, but I thought that our game improved when he came on. Solly played well most of the time. Reza made a real effort, but couldn't turn things around.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Worth an early start?

King Philippe of the Belgians (left) looks a little bemused as he is handed a black and white leaflet and told that Roland Duchatelet is not very popular in SE7.

Yesterday evening I was on a panel with staff members from Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion giving presentations to an audience of football fans. The presentations from Villa and West Brom were insightful, and the Baggies representative reminded me that the head of marketing there is a keen Charlton fan as well as running his own non-league club. Inevitably, even in the Midlands, there was a Charlton fan in the audience seeking solace about the fate of the club. I wasn't able to give him much hope of a real change in direction.

There has been some speculation that there will be additional disruptive protests beyond that planned for two minutes. It has been suggested that we might risk a fine or even a points deduction or even that the match could be abandoned. I think that it is a bit far fetched, but I don't like the idea of fans blowing whistles during the game. Once the 'proportionate' protest has been made, the need is to focus on the game in the hope that we might come away with one point or even three.

Katrien Meire has urged fans to 'stand up to negativity', which could be interpreted as clocking the bloke behind me, but I think not.

Given that it will be an especially early start for me tomorrow, I did contemplate not coming at all, but I will make the journey.

Remember that the latest issue of Voice of the Valley will be on sale tomorrow before the game. Just look for the gnomes and elves decked out in smart black and white outfits.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Who let the dogs out?

Photo from Four Four Two

As the club is always looking for ways to enhance the 'matchday experience' (other than on the pitch), they might wish to emulate a Brazilian club that got its players to bring out dogs lacking a home in the hope of finding one. At least it gives a new meaning to crap on the pitch, although apparently this was an accident free event. The stadium appears about as full as Charlton these days.

Continuing on the canine theme, my non-league club has a collie called Jack who turns up to every match wearing his scarf and follows the game intently. Indeed, so keen is he on football, that he comes to youth games to get his fix.

Jack recently did a programme interview and here are a few of his insights:

Do you know that I cannot understand that man running up and down, blowing a whistle, waving his arms about, and arguing with the players? Plus his two sidekicks who don't go on the pitch and wave a flag a lot.

If I could create any law, I would ban half time. It makes me barking mad.

My favourite biscuit is ANY! If I could be someone for a day, it would be Lassie. If I'm feeling down, I chew a bone.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

All quiet at The Valley

No action is expected by Charlton before the window for loan deals closes this evening: Loan window

It may be that the Jason Euell - Karel Fraeye combo will pull us out of the mire and we can then focus on what is needed in the January transfer window. However, I would expect Roland to be parsimonious.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Charlton track Wrexham ace

Charlton are tracking Wrexham ace Dominic Vose, but the goal scoring winger is attracting interest from a number of other Championship clubs including Birmingham City and Wolves: Dominic Vose

However, the Lambeth-born player may be willing to hand in his Welsh phrase book and return to South London.

Elsewhere, it looks as if Brighton might land Dagenham & Redbridge winger Jodi Jones, once the subject of interest from Charlton.

Bromley 16 goals in 22 striker Moses Emmanuel is also 'attracting interest' from Charlton, along with Brentford and Leeds United. I presume this means that we are scouting him. There are only so many young non-league hopefuls we can take on board. Championship defences are more sophisticated than those in the National League.

Chris Powell has been interviewed for the managerial vacancy at QPR, but Super Hoop insiders are thought to favour Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.