Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Will third takeover bid be made?

With the future of the Roland Duchatelet bid uncertain, there is increasing interest in a third, European based party that may make a bid. Rick Everitt provides an informed overview of the obstacles to a takeover: Takeovers

Happy New Year to all readers, here's hoping that we get something at Ipswich tomorrow.

How 2013 was for us

Some interesting data here on the relative performance of clubs in 2013. We finished 40th out of 66 among Football League clubs: Performances

What has characterised 2013 has been rumours of takeovers which have come to nothing. The proposed takeover by Belgium's 18th richest man was the only one to be announced on the official site, but rumours are now circulating that the deal has collapsed. I have no reliable information one way or the other, but I would have thought that if a deal was not announced in the next 24 hours, the chances of it being completed are receding.

This would be serious news as we really need investment in the squad in the transfer window if we are to be sure of staying up. According to Richard Cawley, a number of signings are lined up to come in quickly if it happens.

At the moment, we are effectively top of the Relegation League. My hunch is that Barnsley and Yeovil will go down, but we don't want to be the third team.

According to Richard Cawley of the SLP, Palace were watching Dale Stephens on Sunday, so perhaps just as well that he was played out of position.

At least we have some good news today: congratulations to Jason Morgan for his well deserved MBE reflecting the work he had done in the community for the club.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Leeds in for Stewart

Leeds are interested in acquiring Cameron Stewart who is regarded as having no future at Hull: Stewart

Chris Powell had been interested in a loan extension and perhaps an eventual acquisition. For me, Stewart's performances in the last few games have been disappointing, but perhaps he is anxious to avoid injury while his future is decided.

Contract talks a priority says Sir Chris

Contract talks for him and his players are the priority if the Belgian takeover of Charlton is completed says Chris Powell: Chris Powell

Sir Chris says that he has had a good relationship with the existing owners. What the new owners would do remains to be seen. The 'Powell out' crowd see it as a chance to get rid of Sir Chris. My ideal scenario would be to give Sir Chris some money in the transfer window. If the deal is going to be done, it will be completed by then. If it, or another deal is not done, we are in serious trouble.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

How dull is my Valley

Given Sheffield Wednesday's record as away draw specialists, I expected this match to be a draw and gave a forecast of 1-1 in my preview. Admittedly, I rarely get these forecasts right, but I thought it would be hard for Charlton to beat the Owls at home. When I heard that Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins (his wife was apparently having a baby) were not playing, I thought that 1-2 could be the outcome and we came perilously close to that. But this is our third match unbeaten, Wednesday have been denied two points, and Millwall remain below us.

The first half was as dull a period as I have seen at The Valley this season. I took very few notes because there were so few incidents. I was much more entertained at the non-league game I went to yesterday.

The game livened up immediately after half time when Dale Stephens scored an unexpected but well-taken goal. However, it was going to be difficult for Charlton to hold on to their lead with the visitors threatening down the right and so it proved. In the last ten minutes we were under constant pressure, although Church missed a golden opportunity to score the winning goal in a counter attack.

What was striking was what a bad state the pitch was in and this undoubtedly affected the quality of the play. There were very few highlights in the first half. Yann Kermorgant made a good run down the right. Stephen McPhaIl got a yellow card for a foul. Sheffield Wednesday won a couple of corners, but it was 37 minutes before we won one. Alnwick was called on to make a save towards the end of the half.

Half time: Addicks 0, Owls 0

An early effort by Yann Kermorgant was well wide. Then Lawrie Wilson put in a long throw to Stephens who evaded his marker and made it 1-0 on 46 minutes. A Wednesday corner led to a worrying spell of play, but the ball went over the bar eventually. Wednesday made a double substitution, but whether this made them more of a threat is difficult to say.

On 57 minutes Wednesday foraged down the right and Connor Wickham had a relatively straightforward scoring opportunity to make it 1-1. Liam Palmer got a yellow card for throwing the ball away: why do players do this even if they are frustrated?

Charlton made their double substitution and a Charlton free kick led to an unproductive corner. Morrison rather clumsily conceded a corner and the ball had to be cleared off the line. Church won Charlton a corner. It was rather weakly taken by Green, but Semedo conceded a second which was unproductive. Evina got a justified yellow card. Charlton were under a lot of pressure and had difficulty clearing their lines.

In the four minutes added on Church blasted over when he was one on one, he should have passed the ball. The referee got fed up with Green and gave him a yellow card.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Richard Wood who was stalwart and skilled in defence. Ben Alnwick was not at fault for the goal and he is prepared to come out and claim the ball with more confidence than Hamer. However, his kicking out needs improvement. No particular complaints about Morrison although I didn't see his positioning for the goal. Evina was a disappointment. It shows how much the runs forward of Wiggins contribute. Wilson is better in a more advanced position than as right back. The programme assured us that the stats show that the team does better when Jackson is playing. No discussion of the difference between correlation and cause and effect. The problem is that he lacks pace which was shown more than once day. Cousins was busy and effective and one of the better players on the day. Stewart ran about quite a lot, but generally to no great effect. We saw the best and the worst of Stephens: a good goal and some purposeful play, but also surrendering possession needlessly and trying to regain it through a foul which led to a potentially dangerous free kick. Kermorgant Put in some skilled passes, but never came close to scoring. Church tries hard, but he lacks the qualities needed in a striker at this level. One of the problems is that he plays too close to Kermorgant. Green tried hard, but made no noticeable difference when he came on. I wasn't quite sure why Dervitte was brought on, but in any event he did not contribute much.

Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the rather irascible referee, Frederick Graham, whose decision-making was suspect.

The financial woes of Richard Rufus

The Sunday Times has a feature article this morning on the financial woes of Richard Rufus who was declared bankrupt in October. It claims that he was in line for the 2002 World Cup squad before he was injured.

Rufus is being pursued by a Pentecostalist church for losses of £5m. In 2004 he became a minister and trustee at the Kingsway International Christian Centre. Between 2009 and 2011 Rufus was given funds of £5m to invest by KICC. The gains were initially in line with Rufus's predictions, but in 2011 he was served with a bankruptcy petition by the Financial Services Authority. [It is possible that the difficulties with the investments were the result of the global financial crisis which hit returns from what had looked like promising investments]. The church did recover £1.7m, but took the lead in the recent bankruptcy petition.

At the time of the original petition his assets included a £1.9m property in Surrey, but the mortgages on five properties were greater than their value. [This would reflect the general slump in house prices]. His assets were worth £778,000.

Rufus is still pursuing a libel action against Paul Elliott who he alleges wrongly accused him of leaking information to the press.

The Sunday Times tries to make something of his induction into the Charlton hall of fame this year, but that reflects his services to the club over 288 appearances, including a vital goal at Wembley. My wife was his main shirt sponsor for many years and it is sad to see him face these difficulties. Many footballers find the adjustment to life outside the game difficult.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Away draw specialists head for Valley

Sheffield Wednesday are something of away draw specialists, having drawn six games on the road, the latest being the 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day. However, they have improved somewhat under caretaker manager Stuart Gray, winning two of their last five matches. Before Boxing Day, they were ahead of Charlton in the form table.

Before the draw at Blackburn they lost 1-2 at home to Bournemouth. As Gray admitted in his post match interview they were caught out by sloppy defending for both goals. Keeper Damian Martinez was beaten at the rear post for the second goal but not helped by the defence. One time Addick Miguel Llera was particularly poor, struggling to cope with Grabban's pace and was wasteful in possession.

When the Owls were promoted from League 1 with Charlton they became media darlings and it was predicted that they would go straight through to the Premiership in one season. Instead, they ended up 18th, but continued to attract the crowds, with the second highest average attendance in the division (24,078). This season so far that figure has dropped by 3,000.

This is the 50th meeting between Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday in all competitions. Charlton have won 17, Wednesday have won 20 and there have been 12 draws so far. Sheffield Wednesday completed a League double over Charlton in the Championship last season, winning 2-1 at the Valley after a 2-0 win at Hillsborough. There has never been a 0-0 draw between the teams at The Valley, though there was a 3-3 draw in 1958-59 and a year before that a 4-4 draw in 1956-57.

Johnnie Jackson is available for the Addicks after suspension, but may start on the bench.

Charlton often play at their best against better teams and they may find it hard to secure a back to back home win. I am going for a 1-1 draw.

Charlton to become Belgian owned club?

It is being reported that Charlton are to become (I think) the first Belgian owned club in the Football League. Belgian Television has announced that Standard Liege owner Roland Duchatelet has concluded the acquisition of the club: New owner . A Belgian source can be found here: Quel surprise

The possibility of a deal being done has been greeted with scepticism by most Charlton fans, but this is the first bid to be acknowledged on the club website The statement reads: 'The club are happy to confirm that negotiations are taking place for Roland Duch√Ętelet to take over Charlton Athletic Football Club. Chairman Michel Slater has confirmed that: "Very constructive discussions are ongoing which we hope to conclude soon.”A further announcement will be made in due course.' This will presumably be in English, French and Flemish.

Normally reliable sources are indicating that there is more than one deal on the table, but the fact that it is payday on Tuesday may help to focus minds.

The price is reported to be a bargain basement £14m, given that alleged ultimate owner Kevin Cash is no longer to prepared to fund the club. Duchatelet was estimated to be worth €500m in 2011.

How seriously can we take these reports given that there have been many disappointments before? I don't have any independent verification, but it probably has more substance to it than reports that Acworth was about to conclude a deal with a consortium of Albanian pyramid selling magnates.

Duchatelet has been a controversial figure at Standard Liege, which he acquired for £35m in 2011, provoking street demonstrations by fans after he sold the club's best players. However, they are now top of the Belgian Pro League.

Duchatelet made his money in microelectronics. A larger than life character, he founded his own political party, reflecting his progressive liberal views, although this subsequently merged with another party. He is a member of the Belgian Senate: Duchatelet

Charlton have had links with clubs in Belgium before, but generally in the more economically dynamic Flemish-speaking part of the divided country. Liege is in French-speaking Walloon Belgium and was once a centre of heavy industry.

Duchatelet has interests in quite a few clubs. An informative English language article from a Belgian source here: Ownerships

Thursday, 26 December 2013

'We're winning at home'

That's what the Covered End Choir sung as Charlton tore up the form book and beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 at The Valley this afternoon in front of a crowd of 17,704 with the Jimmy Seed almost full. The Addicks are now 19th in the table, ahead of Millwall who lost 4-0 at Watford. Manager Steve Lomas has been sacked.

Brighton went ahead in the game after a build up that included a foul ignored by the referee. Charlton equalised before the break through Lawrie Wilson. Brighton applied sustained pressure after the break, but it was Charlton that went ahead through that man Wilson. A excellently executed free kick by Kermorgant then gave the Addicks a two goal margin. This was lost in time added on through a goal that had more than a suspicion of offside.

Thanks are due to Deutsche Bahn (trading as Chiltern Railways) for putting on a Boxing Day service that allowed me to get to the game: South-Eastern please note. I had a smooth journey, a bus arriving just as I got to the stop at North Greenwich (where announcements implored us to use the Dangleway).

We started the game quite brightly, although we often do. A free kick led to a Charlton corner but it was unproductive. A good spell of possession ended when the ball was surrendered by Stewart. Kermorgant was felled. Morrison deserves credit for having a go, but his shot was blocked.

Then Brighton went ahead on 22 minutes after Ulloa pounced on a loose ball and put in a low drive. We thought that Church had been fouled in the build up by being pulled back. A Charlton attack ended with Stewart putting the ball wide. A Stephens free kick sailed over the bar. Wood put in some good defensive work.

Kermorgant provided the assist that enabled Wilson to equalise. Brighton won a corner, but it was unproductive. Kermorgant had a word with Stewart about his contribution to the game. Sallor got a yellow card for manhandling Solly. Wiggins put in a great run. Alnwick claimed a threatening cross well.

Half time: Addicks 1, Seagulls 1

Brighton took charm merchant Saltor off after the break and replaced him by Calderon. Cousins put in some good work. A Charlton corner was caught by the keeper. El-Abd got a yellow card for halting a threatening Charlton attack with a professional foul. The free kick was played to Solly. Wilson pounced on a loose ball to score.

The ball was headed off by a Brighton player, but the referee failed to award a corner. A Brighton corner led to a shot that went over. Charlton actually got two free kicks off the referee, who was perhaps realising that his efforts to prove that he was not a homer were overstepping the mark. Bolton won two corners in succession and the ball had to be cleared off the line by Wood. Charlton won a free kick in a dangerous position and we agreed that this looked like Kermorgant's range and indeed it was as he put the ball in the top corner of the net to make it 3-1.

The Covered End choir started their chant of 'How **** must this lot be if we're winning at home.' A Brighton corner led to a free kick but the move petered out in a throw in. The Seagulls then saw the ball come off both posts in quick succession. Brighton won a couple more corners and we made our defensive double substitution. This attracted some criticism from those who think that the most effective form of defence is all out attack. The Addicks had a penalty call: either it was that or a yellow card for diving. Once again the referee's decision was baffling.

A Brighton corner was claimed by Alnwick. In the four minutes added on Ulloa scored again from a goalmouth scramble, but we had no real difficulty in hanging over for the three points. An intense and entertaining match which gave the Addickted some festive cheer.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Lawrie Wilson for two well taken goals. Just before he scored the first, a bloke a couple of rows in front of me was screaming 'You're useless Wilson. Take him off!' I wouldn't particularly blame Alnwick for the two goals, as I think that he was unsighted. He did make a couple of good saves, but Brighton did not put him under that much pressure. Morrison showed some really good skill and once again I wouldn't blame him for not scoring. Wood once again showed his skill as a defender. The presence of Solly makes a real difference to our side, for one thing it frees up Wilson for a midfield role to which he is well suited. Wiggins had a good game, apart from one piece of poor ball control and made a surging run down the left. Stephens had a bit of an off day. Cousins displayed some good skill and had a solid game. Stewart attracted a lot of criticism in the first half from those around me, most of it justified. He lost control of the ball and then made a foolish tackle which left him limping. He seems reluctant to get stuck in. However, he did improve as the game went on, becoming more of a threat. Kermorgant got very much involved, as was evident from the state of his kit, and his free kick was first rate. Church showed plenty of effort, including one great run, but never really threatened. Dervitte was brought on later on to shore up the defence, as was Evina but neither made a great impact. Pritchard came on in time added on and did get involved.

Rescue Cat Reg did think of giving the Hiss of the Match to referee Mick Russell, but made allowance for the fact that he had not yet been able to use the Specsavers voucher he was given for Christmas. Instead, the award went to south coast clogger Bruno Saltor. He eventually got a yellow card for his fouls and the Brighton bench had the sense to take him off at the break before he got a deserved red card.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas present for Curbs

It's a specially happy Christmas for Alan Curbishley as he lands a job within the M25. He is joining Fulham as first team technical coach: Curbs

Curbs will be joining former Charlton players Darren Bent and Scott Parker.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Testing time for Addicks

Charlton face a testing time over the festive period with two crucial home games, first against Brighton and Hove Albion on Boxing Day at 12.30 p.m. and then with Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Brighton are currently 8th in the table and 4th in the form table. They have lost just one of their last ten matches in the Championship. They have only lost two games away from home, winning four and drawing four. They have achieved this by scoring just eight goals on their travels, but they have conceded just six, the lowest total in the Championship. If it wasn't for their home form, they would be higher up the table.

The last three meetings between the teams have all ended in draws, including both matches between them last season. A 2-2 draw at The Valley was followed by a goalless draw on the South Coast in April. Brighton have won on two of their last three visits to The Valley, including a 4-0 win there in 2010-11 when both teams were in League One. Charlton's last home victory against Brighton was in a Division Two meeting in October 1991.

In their 0-0 draw with Huddersfield at the weekend, the Seagulls wasted numerous chances. Nevertheless, Huddersfield boss Mark Robins said after the game, 'This is the best side we've played this season, without a doubt. The way they play the ball is brilliant and they are steelier than they were last year.'

Liam Bridcutt was the best player for Brighton, a tireless runner on and off the ball. Threatening up front, he often dropped back in support. David Lopez also caught the defence out with his movement. The defence looked very solid.

Ben Alnwick got a rare score of 9 from the Football League Paper for two superb saves on Saturday. Hamer is still not fit, but Alnwick has made a case for staying on when he is. Fortunately, Chris Solly is back and Yann Kermorgant is fully fit, so I wouldn't write this off as three easy points for the Seagulls.

Odds: Charlton 9/5; Draw 12/5; Brighton 7/5.

Chiltern Railways are running a Boxing Day service from Bicester North (please note South Eastern) so I hope to make the game. In the meantime, a happy Christmas to all my readers.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Charlton linked with McAnuff move

Charlton are one of four Championship clubs being linked with a transfer window move for Reading's Jobi McAnuff whose contract with the Royals expires at the end of the season. Earlier in the career he spent two years at Palace. Millwall are one of the other clubs said to be interested: McAnuff

The Times this morning forecasts that Yann Kermorgant will attract interest in the transfer window because of Charlton's financial woes.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Away point for Addicks

Charlton secured an away point at Bolton today in front of 327 Addicks with a 1-1 draw despite having only 38 per cent of the possession. Kermorgant put the Addicks ahead on 11 minutes, but McNaughton equalised for Bolton on 45 minutes.

The Addicks took the lead when Rhoys Wiggins raided down the wing and lifted a cross into the penalty area for Kermorgant who fired home on his left foot. Charlton should have doubled their lead minutes later when Cameron Stewart fired a ball into the box and it fell kindly at the feet of Lawrie Wilson, but he could only scoop his effort over the bar.

Bolton came back into the game as Chris Eagles for the ball on the edge of the area and beat two men before launching a shot at goal, which was well turned away from goal by Ben Alnwick. The Trotters got their equaliser right on the stroke of half time as McNaughton collected a cross on the right and cut inside and out before firing a right-footed shot into the top corner.

After the break, Joe Mason went close as he headed at goal from a cross from the right but Alnwick made a great save to manage to get the ball clear. Kermorgant almost handed Charlton the lead again as he made contact with a looping volley which looked destined for the top corner but Andy Lonergan managed to tip the ball over the bar. The Addicks threatened again as Stewart raided down the left and lifted a cross into the area where Chris Solly met the ball but he volleyed his effort past the post.

Below us Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil both lost, but Barnsley drew at Leeds.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Signs not good for Reebok

Charlton badly need at least one point and hopefully three from tomorrow's game against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok, but the signs do not look good. Currently 16th, Bolton will be looking to push up the table. After a poor start to the season, Bolton had climbed to 6th in the form table by last weekend while Charlton were third from bottom. Four Four Two had the former Premiership side finishing second in their start of the season forecasts.

Charlton have not won at Bolton since a Premier League victory there in August 2002. They have not won on any of their subsequent five visits. Five of the last six meetings between the clubs have been won by the team playing at home. Bolton won this fixture 2-0 last season, David Ngog scored twice in six minutes to seal the three points.

However, Bolton have lost three of their last four Championship matches including a 3-2 defeat at Wigan last Sunday. Bolton have won only two of their 10 home matches played in the Championship so far - both wins coming in the last three home matches. Bolton have lost all three home matches in which they have failed to score.

Charlton have not won any of their last four matches and won just one of the last seven. Only Watford are on a longer current winless run in the Championship. The Addicks have won only two of the 11 matches played away from the Valley in all competitions, winning at Blackburn and Birmingham, both by a 1-0 scoreline. This contrasts with the good away form which bolstered their finishing position last season.

Odds are: Bolton Evens, Draw 23/10, Charlton 14/5.

Blast from the past

One time Addick Jamie Stuart has joined Margate as player-coach: Jamie Stuart

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sordell cannot play at Bolton

On loan striker Marvin Sordell cannot play at Bolton on Saturday. What is more it appears that Bolton are unlikely to recall the off the bench and lack of impact player in January as they are allowed to do under the terms of the loan deal: Sordell

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

'Unforseen circumstances'

It's a bit much the FA Youth Cup game at Nottingham Forest being postponed at a late stage for 'unforeseen circumstances', a phrase which leaves everything unexplained but often means 'we've screwed up and don't want to say why.' If there was a late outbreak of illness among the Forest squad, why not say so? As it was, not only had the squad prepared, but I understand that they had also travelled.

Keeping upbeat

To me the highlight of the dismal day on Saturday was the enthusiastic and joyous appearance of the Charlton Upbeats on the pitch at half time. Here is a well illustrated article about their day: Upbeats

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Valley of Despair

I didn't feel like posting last night after another home defeat. I thought we actually played quite well, but at the end of the day what is essentially a League 1 squad with what the Football League Paper described as the 'Championship's tamest attack' was overcome by promotion chasing Derby who do play some neat football. The first goal was the result of a dubious free kick and took a deflection. The second came when we were trying to get an equaliser and had taken our right back off.

Chris Powell makes some mistakes (I wouldn't have started Pritchard and I wouldn't have taken Wilson off) but the 'Powell out' crowd need their head examined. What would you say to a new manager? 'This is largely the squad that got us out of League 1 and we haven't got the money to reinforce it. Oh, and by the way, we are trying to sell the club, but don't expect anything to happen on that front because we aren't charging a realistic price.'

Approaching The Valley I was greeted by the sight of elves selling Voice of the Valley. This issue focuses on the peninsula stadium issue and one thing I learnt was that transport links at the proposed stadium site are nowhere as good as I supposed (it is three-quarters of a mile to the tube). 'Morden Wharf Road' doesn't have the ring of 'Valley Floyd Road', even if we would be nearer the Thames for mist creeping in. Chief Elf Rick Everitt was also there selling copies, although he was distracted by trying to extract his cut out and keep Christmas Chris Powell decoration from the programme. If you missed this or earlier issues you can get them from Rick's workshop at: Voice of the Valley

I thought that we made a positive start to the game in what were very windy conditions. Pritchard won a free kick for the Addicks on the right which led to a Charlton corner. It was cleared, but Morrison protested vociferously to the referee about a hand ball which received a stony faced response from the charm merchant in black. Morrison forced a save from Lee Grant in the Derby goal with a shot from 25 yards out.

The Rams were given a free kick which was fortunate to say the least but the move ended in a goal kick. Stewart put in a good cross but Stephens put the ball over. A Rams shot went just wide and then another attempt went over after dithering by Morrison had let them through. Alnwick had to make a save on the line. Derby charm merchant Keogh got a free kick for a cynical foul on Kermorgant which he protested vigorously. Green's free kick nearly dipped into the goal by the angle of the bar and the upright and Grant had to push the ball out for a Charlton corner which was unproductive.

The Rams were given a free kick in front of the 'D' for an alleged foul by Dervitte. Ward's shot took a deflection and Derby were ahead against the run of play on 32 minutes. Alnwick had to dive to his left to keep out Bryson's angled drive just before the break, Charlton having meanwhile suffered from a harsh offside decision when they had broken through the Derby defence.

Half time: Addicks 0, Rams 1

The exuberance of the Downs Syndrome team on the pitch at half time was a joy to watch. Charlton started the half vigorously and Stephens was just wide with an attempt after good work by Wilson. Stephens got a yellow card and Derby were awarded a dubious free kick which led to a corner, the move eventually ending in a Charlton free kick. Kermorgant won Charlton a corner but it was unproductive.

On 60 minutes Martin got to the byline and cut the ball back to Ward, but his effort came off the crossbar. Chris Powell made a double substitution, taking off the hapless Pritchard and Green (a decision which some booed because of his work rate), bringing on Church and Harriott. On 72 minutes Kermorgant put in a cross into the box, but Morrison put it just wide. As Steve from Petts Wood commented, 'At least he was there.' Kermorgant got a yellow card for dissent. Cousins put in a poor effort. Wilson was taken off and replaced by Sordell. With three minutes left Derby combined well to put Bryson one on one with Alnwick and it was 0-2 and effectively game over, despite four minutes added on.

Match analysis

The Silver Bone has been awarded by Ivy the Terrible to Lawrie Wilson who made some good runs forward and put in some good crosses.

Alnwick made a crucial save just before half time, but perhaps could have done better with the second goal. Wiggins dealt well with Ward and got forward well. Morrison didn't take his scoring opportunities, but then he is not a striker. Dervitte gave away too many free kicks, but some of these were harsh decisions by the referee. Green provided some good set pieces and he was better than his usual standard, but that is still not good enough to compete with teams like Derby. Stewart had a below par performance and he looked dejected at the end of the match as well he might. Cousins had a great dribble early on and plays the simple ball which is often the best one. Stephens was another player who was not up to his highest standards. Pritchard had a poor game. Not only does he lack technical skills, but he was muscled off the ball too often. Steve from Petts Wood remarked that Kermorgant has looked less sharp since his return from injury and I think that is right. He was often isolated up front, but did win a lot of aerial challenges. Harriott showed some nice touches when he came on, but nothing that was game changing. Church is simply not an impact player you can bring on from the bench. Sordell managed to make contact with the ball once which says it all.

It might seem that the referee is a clear candidate for the Hiss of the Match. Certainly there were shouts of 'cheat' from the rows behind me. He did make some wrong decisions, they all do, but I don't think he was biased. It might go to the person in the north-west who started trouble with the Upper North, but that is a Facebook report and I didn't see it myself. Instead Rescue Cat Reg has given it to Virgin Trains for bafflingly run diesel Voyagers to and from Coventry, one of them just five coaches, rather than Pendolinos, hence Reg's evening meal was delayed.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Ram raid

Charlton face an on form Derby County at The Valley tomorrow. The Rams currently top the Championship form table, having won their last five matches. They have the best away record in the league, having won six matches and lost just two. Away from home, they have scored twice as many goals as they have conceded (twenty against ten). In contrast, the Addicks have scored just seven goals at home and conceded nine.

Last Saturday, the Rams demolished Blackpool 5-1, albeit that once again the temperamental Tangerines had a player sent off and had a make shift defence with two central defenders suspended for earlier offences. Chris Martin scored a hat trick for the home side. John Eustace was judged to be a 'midfield dynamo' who kept the Rams ticking over in the middle. Craig Bryson was also strong in an impressive midfield display.

Charlton will be without suspended skipper Johnnie Jackson.

Somewhat surprisingly, Derby haven’t won at Charlton since a Premier League victory in September 1998 with the last two encounters ending in draws:

  • Charlton Athletic 1-1 Derby County (December 29, 2012) – Jamie Ward’s 72nd minute penalty cancelled out a first half strike from Danny Haynes as the teams shared the points.
  • Charlton Athletic 2-2 Derby County (December 15, 2008) – Derby escaped with a point as Nathan Ellington scored in the last minute to level the scores. Ellington also scored Derby’s first goal, converting a penalty.
  • Charlton Athletic 1-0 Derby County (January 29, 2002) – Chris Bart-Williams scored the decisive goal for Charlton in this Premier League clash on a Tuesday evening. The Addicks side contained current manager, and former Ram, Chris Powell. Malcolm Christie and Fabrizio Ravenelli failed to score for Derby. John Gregory was appointed as the new Derby manager the next day.
  • Charlton Athletic 2-1 Derby County (January 30, 2001) – Youl Mawene scored an own-goal and Scott Parker got on the scoresheet as Derby fell to defeat at this Tuesday evening game. Craig Burley scored the Rams’ goal. Caig had to come on as substitute goalkeeper after Kiely picked up an injury and did a good job.
  • Charlton Athletic 1-2 Derby County (September 12, 1998) – Paulo Wanchope and Francesco Baiano scored a goal each to help Derby to all three points at the Valley. The Rams did pick up five yellow cards during the match, with Igor Stimac and Stefanio Eranio amongst the names in referee Mike Reid’s book. Sir Clive Mendonca scored a penalty for Charlton in the 89th minute.

Odds: Charlton 11/5, Draw 13/5, Derby 6/5.

One might think that it was not worth making the journey from Warwickshire with the cards stacked against the Addicks. However, Charlton are sometimes at their best when their backs are up against the wall. Having said that, I fear an away win.

Rick Everitt's elves will be out and about selling Voice of the Valley around the ground before the game. The theme of this issue is the Greenwich Peninsula stadium.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

American takeover bid withdrawn

The South London Press has reported that the American takeover bid for Charlton has been withdrawn, apparently over a failure to agree over price: Takeover .

Suggestions that the acquisition of Asset of Community Value status for The Valley by the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust have no basis. A well informed Addick has stated, 'I can confidently say "no" to that because directors have a direct line to Trust people including me, and none of them have ever raised ACV as an issue with any of us, at any time during the lengthy process of getting it. Indeed I was told that the whole Peninsula issue is a red herring regarding any takeover.' Once again the issue would appear to be one of realistic pricing.

Nothing more has been heard of the British property company, so that was also supposedly interested, but this always looked a less attractive offer in terms of the sums of money likely to be available and the suspicion that it was a property play.

The squad badly needs strengthening in the transfer window to avoid a relegation battle, but we continue to lose money (as do most Championship clubs).

Monday, 9 December 2013

Match fixing raid in Abbey Wood

Former Addick Sam Sodje and his brother Stephen were arrested at their home in Abbey Wood yesterday in relation to match fixing allegations: Police raid. Their home is also the headquarters of the Sodje Sports Foundation which displays a Charlton badge on its web page: Sodje Foundation .

Television news programmes last night gave prominence to tapes which purported to show Sodje having deliberately got himself red carded when a Portsmouth player and also allegedly offering to fix a match with an Oldham Athletic player.

Sodje, who was born in Greenwich, played for Charlton on loan in the 2007-8 season and returned on a free transfer in 2009-10 when he scored four goals. He won one Silver Bone for his performances.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Morro pleads for help for strikers

Michael Morrison has pleaded in the Football League Paper this morning for help for Charlton's struggling strikers. He calls for reinforcements up top if the Addicks are to avoid a relegation scrap this season.

Morrison said, 'Church has had to play up front on his own quite a bit this season but Yann is back now and we are going with two up top which has and will make us stronger going forward. There have been glimpses of that but hopefully it will be something that gets solved sooner rather than later.'

'Having a permanent partner for Simon - him being able to link up with somebody and moving the two centre halves and running in behind rather than being the man who does the day's work - will help him. I think they will click soon enough and they will be a great partnership, though. [This implies that they haven't been up to now and often they do seem to play some way apart].'

Morro concluded, 'Simon has got goals in him when he has that partner up front. We maybe could have had a bit more quality in the final third.'

The FLP concludes that 'the answer to Charlton's prayers' may be American billionaire Josh Harris. Nothing more has been heard on that front recently, but that doesn't mean that there is no possibility of a takeover.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Agony at Huish Park

Jackson started in place of Evina at Huish Park. Charlton won the first corner of the game against Yeovil. The ball was headed clear, but the Addicks tried to keep up the pressure. Church got caught offside as Stephens tried to pick him out.

Kermorgant went down holding his ankle after quite a nasty challenge from behind, but he recovered. Wiggins failed to connect with Kermorgant after a free kick following a foul on Church. Nevertheless, Charlton were taking the game to Yeovil and were looking inventive and positive. Yeovil were defending well, but losing possession going forward.

Kermorgant lost out to an offside decision. Yeovil threatened for the first time, but Wilson defended well. The Glovers put in a shot from a tight angle by Lundstrum from distance which went not too far over the crossbar. Miller fired in a shot but Alnwick made the save.

Wilson got a yellow card for a professional foul, giving Yeovil a free kick in a dangerous position. Yeovil kept up the pressure, but Alnwick claimed the ball confidently. The referee failed to play advantage when the Addicks might have had a goal scoring opportunity through Stewart and gave Charlton a free kick instead.

Wiggins put in a good ball over the top, but the defenders and keeper did well. Yeovil won a corner off a rather poor cross. Charlton defended the corner well and Wiggins dealt with the return ball. A decent shot came in from Ayling but Alnwick held on to the bouncing ball well.

Yeovil were getting into the game more and were getting shots in. Stewart put in a great drive on 28 minutesbut it was saved well by Dunn. Kermorgant went down on his ankle again. He got up, but was limping heavily. A Jackson corner was headed clear and Yeovil counter attacked with a hopeful shot from 40 yards out which Alnwick controlled with his chest.

The cider drinkers (the match was sponsored by Thatchers Cider) screamed for a free kick on the edge of the box, but the referee was not impressed. Stewart fired in the shot from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead on 37 minutes. The move started from a quick throw out by Alnwick and Stewart made a great run.

Stewart advanced well after receiving the ball from Dervitte and Jackson scored with a header. Yeovil won a late corner. Alnwick came out well to claim the ball.

HT: Glovers 0, Addicks 2

Yeovil made two substitutions after the break with Hayer who is a striker coming on The Addicks won an early corner through good work by Church. Yeovil managed to scramble the ball up field. A soft free kick for Yeovil was defended well.

Edwards put in a shot for Yeovil that was over the top of the crossbar. Hayter went down in the box, but the referee waved it away. Cousins put in a shot from 25 yards that went just wide of the target. Yeovil advanced again, but Morrison and Dervitte stood up well. Yeovil made their third substitution.

A nasty tackle from behind was put in on Church who could have been through on goal and the yellow card was produced. Charlton continued to look defensively strong, but Hayter did manage to get in a shot which was well wide.

Church put in an overhead kick but it was claimed by the keeper. Every time Stewart got the ball there were now two Yeovil players on him. Jordan Cousins, who may have taken a knock, went off and Andy Hughes came on with 20 minutes to go. Kermorgant got a yellow card for a 50-50 challenge as the Yeovil fans shouted for a red. From the fortunate free kick the ball deflected into the net off Morrison to make it 1-2.

Yeovil won a corner, but Alnwick was commanding. The referee gave a penalty after Miller was brought down in the box and Alnwick got a yellow card for dissent. Miller found the target to make it 2-2 with 15 minutes to go. The two goal lead had gone in a couple of minutes.

Jackson was sent off for a two footed tackle. How a match can change. Miller tried to get his shot away, but Morrison blocked the ball and Miller went down again. Solly came on for the first time since mid-August in place of Church. Yeovil won a free kick for handball. A shot came in, but it was comfortable for Alnwick. Another shot came in from Miller but it was just wide of the target as Alnwick froze.

Charlton were trying to slow the game down. They won a corner from a free kick. Yeovil cleared the corner and counter attacked, but Wiggins put in a great tackle as the last man and he came away with the ball.

In excellent work Alnwick plucked a cross out of the air. Charlton defended well through Dervitte, but Yeovil won a corner. Alnwick claimed the ball brilliantly. Wiggins managed to play the ball off Dawson to relieve the pressure. Alnwick punched the ball clear. He then won a free kick as he went down under pressure. Charlton won another free kick as the game petered out.

In the end we had to be satisfied with an away point to keep us out of the bottom three and two points ahead of Yeovil. Next we face a rampant Derby at The Valley.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Sir Chris's new role in fighting cancer

Today's Times has a one page feature article on Chris Powell's new role as an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK. Sir Chris's message is aimed specifically at black men, who are particularly susceptible to the disease. One in four black men will develop the disease.

He says, 'I recognise how the football club is the focal point of people's lives. They listen to the players, they listen to the manager and I need to represent them. People do take notice of what the manager says and what he writes about.'

Sir Chris believes it is important to educate the teenagers he works with at Charlton: 'I have a duty of care for all my players in the squad, and the youth team squad. It doesn't matter what colour they are, but if we are talking about young black men, they need to know.'

Six pointer at Yeovil

The Addicks face a real six pointer at Yeovil tomorrow with the Glovers only two points behind Charlton in the table. The Somerset side have hit something of a run of form. Even before the midweek win against Blackpool they had moved one place above the Addicks in the form table.

First they demolished Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road last Saturday, albeit it was the fourth successive defeat for the Hornets. Yeovil played a new look side with three new signings featuring. Ishamel Miller scored a second half goal that was the highlight of an impressive debut. The Notts Forest player has been an instant hit at Huish Park and it is hoped to extend his one month loan. Liverpool youngster Adam Morgan had a more difficult debut and he was outmuscled at times. John Lundstram also performed well, although he tired in the second half. In goal Chris Dunn provided a steady display as he continued to cover for the injured Marek Stech.

Then in midweek they beat fourth placed Blackpool 1-0 at home through a Lundstrum goal, albeit by the end of the match the Tangerines were left with just eight players, former Addick Ricardo Fuller collecting a straight red. Before that win the Glovers had only won once at home, scoring just four goals and suffering six defeats. Nevertheless, they have now scored fourteen goals in total, the same number as Charlton. They have, however, conceded 24 against our 20, suggesting that we need to press them hard.

Odds: Yeovil 8/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/8

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Late fightback does not save Addicks from defeat

Cedric Evina was brought in for the game at Reading in place of Johnnie Jackson to provide a more natural left-sided player. The 836 Addickted made plenty of noise as the game started with chants of ‘Red Army’. Pogrebynyak posed an early danger, but Dale Stephens was able to cover for Charlton.

A Reading counter attack led to their first corner. The header from Gorkss came off a Charlton defender for a second corner which led to a goal kick. The Addickted started a vigorous chorus of ‘Valley Floyd Road’. Stephens set up Church well but the cross from Evina went out of play. Church went down in the area and the referee took a long look before deciding against a penalty. There was little protest from the Charlton players at the decision.

Evina and Wiggins were combining well on the left. The ball broke to the edge of the penalty area after Stephens lost possession in midfield and Reading went ahead after 14 minutes through a low effort drilled past Alnwick by the green booted Sharp scoring his first goal for the Royals.

Cousins advanced well, but suffered from a marginal offside decision. Pogrebynyak had an effort from 35 yards, but Alnwick dealt with it. The Reading forwards were getting too much space. For the Addicks, Stewart was not getting much of the ball at this stage of the game.

Kelly got a yellow card for a foul on Evina. Charlton had a good build up with an excellent ball from Cousins, but Stewart’s cross was claimed by the keeper. Stewart then picked up the ball from deep and ran at the Reading players.

Reading won a corner from one of their speedy counter attacks, but it was unproductive. Evina was fouled and required treatment. A free kick was awarded against Church when he was fouled first. Stephens had a try from the edge of the area but the ball went well over.

Church had an opportunity in the three minutes added on after an excellent flick from Dale Stephens, and a through ball by Cousins, but the ball was put out for a corner by McCarthy in the Reading goal. The corner was a good one and the keeper had to stretch to claim it.

Half time: Royals 1, Addicks 0

Reading hit the post just after the break after McCleary got the better of Wiggins.

Stephens shot from distance, but it went wide. Reading applied some pressure and looked threatening. The home fans livened up a bit after being quiet despite being listed as 13 on the team sheet.

Stewart won a corner for Charlton, but a free kick was awarded for a foul on the keeper. Wiggins made a rash challenge on Sharp, but did not receive a card. The free kick went straight to Alnwick.

Wiggins put in a hit and hope ball when he should have put it out to Evina on the left who could have put in a cross.

The tempo was increasing, but both sides were making more mistakes. Akpan came on for Reading in place of Williams. Then Robson-Kanu came on in place of Sharp. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box to the Addicks. The ball was headed away for a corner. Charlton made a triple substitution with Sordell replacing Church, Green replacing Stephens and Jackson replacing Evina. Stewart moved to the left.

Green and Sordell linked up and Gorkss received a card for a foul on Green. The ball drifted out wide from Green’s delivery. Gorkss committed a cynical foul, but didn’t even get a word. Reading counter attacked, but Alnwick gathered the ball.

Charlton applied some pressure, but the final quality was lacking. A shot by Wiggins went off the offside Sordell. Charlton were asking some questions of Reading. The ball was cleared after a Charlton corner.

Charlton won a corner through Green which led to a second. In the ensuing play there was panic defending by Reading, but the throw in was given to Reading when it was clearly a Charlton throw. Jackson dragged a shot wide.

Wilson and Green combined well on the right. Wilson defended well against the counter attack. An effort by Wiggins was blocked for a corner.

Reading had a chance, but dragged the shot across the goal. The home side made their third substitution. An effort from Danny Green from 25 yards out went over when he should have passed the ball.

Charlton’s late fight back had been fruitless. The quality up front was not there.

Tough test for Addicks

Charlton face a tough test this evening against a Reading side that are currently fifth in the table and have not been beaten at home all season. What was particularly worrying on Saturday was our lack of creativity in breaking down the Ipswich defence and setting up scoring chances. We also need to get out of the blocks quicker: 71 per cent of our goals have been scored in the second half, a league high.

Reading's confidence will have been boosted by their 3-2 win at Notts Forest on Friday, the winner being scored by Reading academy product Jonathan Obita.

Charlton have won only one of their last fifteen away games against the Royals, although we did manage to draw six of them and that is probably the best we can hope for tonight.

Over 800 tickets have now been sold in the away end and tickets are available on the night. Remember it is a 20.00 kick off.

Reading are without full-backs Chris Gunter and Chris Baird through suspension and injury respectively. Royston Drenthe and Mikele Leigertwood could feature after returning to fitness.

Odds: Reading 5/6, Draw 5/2, Charlton 10/3.

It is being reported that Charlton skipper Johnnie Jackson is being chased by Leeds and Bolton.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Blackburn chase Kermorgant

Blackburn Rovers are reported to be interested in Yann Kermorgant: Kermorgant. The Breton would prefer to stay at The Valley and sign a new long-term contract. However, he recognises that no negotiations can begin until the takeover of the club is completed which may be a few weeks yet.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Valley of frustration

There was hardly cause for celebration on the 21st anniversary of the return to The Valley when Charlton went down 0-1 to Ipswich Town through a goal scored from a corner in the fourth minute of the game. Although Charlton's performance improved in the second half of the game, they never really looked like scoring an equaliser, let alone a winner. Admittedly, there was a late incident when Cameron Stewart was bearing down on goal and the referee did not play the advantage but called for a free kick near the halfway line, but whether Stewart would have scored is an open question, although it would have been nice to have the chance.

A QPR fan who was giving it large to me during the week said that we were a hard working team, but lacked a cutting edge and you can see his point. It also has to be said that we lacked ideas compared to Ipswich who played a fluent, passing game. Moreover, they were hard to break down at the back.

I always feel uneasy when the teams change ends at the beginning of the match. Ipswich stepped up the pressure from the beginning of the match and won a succession of corners. Indeed, Mick McCarthy said later that we brought the pressure on ourselves by playing back to Morrison from the kick off who was the unable to clear. Alnwick made two excellent stops, but was unable to stop them from scoring through Smith.

We kept up the pressure after a Charlton corner and a shot went in that was just wide. A later Charlton corner was unproductive. The keeper spilled a Charlton corner. Lawrie Wilson, who was not having a good game, did put in a good block. The Ipswich fans were singing 'The greatest team the world has ever seen' which is fine if you are Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but not otherwise.

After the break Charlton did try to get in the game more. Following a Charlton corner, the ball was saved on the line. Stephens had a go, but to no effect. On 67 minutes we made our double substitution. Stewart tested the Ipswich keeper. Tabb got a yellow card for a foul on Kermorgant. As normal time came to an end, Kermorgant put in a good ball to Morrison, but he put it wide. The four minutes add on saw a scuffle by the Ipswich goal which saw Morrison and big lump Nouble get yellow cards.

Match Analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded his first ever Silver Bone to Ben Alnwick. Before the goal went in, which came through a crowded area, he made two super saves and also made some other good saves during the game. Looks like Hamer may have some competition. Morrison was solid, even if his headers are often directionless. Dervitte was lively and involved, although some of his clearances went straight to the opposition. Wiggins made some good runs down the left and even managed to hit the post with a cross, but was unable to break down the massed ranks of Tractors. Wilson had a bit of a mare. Although he did put in one or two good crosses, most of them were well below his usual standard and he ballooned a shot over. He was eventually substituted. Stephens put in a spectacular bicycle kick pass to Wiggins, but generally did not shine. Cousins persevered, usually with safe balls, but nothing wrong with that. Stewart attracted the derision of the row behind me. He is not perfect, but he came close to being decisive. One of the benefits of Green coming on was that he was freed up to play on the left. Jackson had a generally poor game and was eventually substituted. Church was energetic, but often put himself in an offside position, although one time when he was in a potential scoring position, the decision against him was marginal. Kermorgant tried to get involved. One question is whether his presence encourages us to play long balls. However, I did think that he was more or less back to fitness. Green made no great difference when he came on, which was no surprise to me. Pigott tried his best, but was unable to make the breakthrough. Sordell made no perceptible difference when he came on.

Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to Ipswich charm merchant Jay Tabb for his dirty play.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Ipswich seek traction

Ipswich Town come to The Valley tomorrow seeking traction for their youthful squad tomorrow: Tractors

A mixed season currently sees them placed 12th in the Championship, although they would rather look up than down. Four Four Two saw them finishing sixth at the beginning of the season. Last year their problem was scoring goals on their travels. They scored just 14, the lowest total in the league.

However, they have already scored 11 goals away this season. They have emerged as something of away draw specialists, drawing four, winning one and losing three.

Mick McCarthy will be looking for an improved return from his Tractor Boys, who have won one of their last seven, although they are unbeaten in four away. The dramatic 3-2 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on 9 November was Ipswich's first away win of the season, and sets up the possibility of their first back-to-back on the road victories in this calendar year. They are one of four sides without an away clean sheet this term in the second tier.

Charlton and Ipswich first met in 1957 and since then each side has won 15 of the 38 fixtures.

Ben Alnwick will be in goal for the Addicks with Ben Hamer out for at least two weeks with ligament damage. Alnwick did everything he was required to do against Doncaster, but was not tested that much. Chris Solly is now training, but some way off playing.

Odds: Charlton 6/4, Draw 23/10, Ipswich 7/4. I am going for a 2-1 win for Charlton.

American billionaire to take over Charlton?

The Daily Mail is reporting that an American billionaire is poised to take over Charlton with negotiations at an advanced stage after he and his associates came over for the Leeds game: Josh Harris

Josh Harris already owns sports franchises in terms of ice hockey team New Jersey Devils and a basketball team, the Philadelphia 76ers. He spent £500m on their acquisition so the Charlton asking price should be affordable.

I have no independent evidence of the veracity of this report. What I do understand is that the original stories in the South London Press were a plant from a relatively reliable source. They, of course, referred to a property company, but the intention may have been to put pressure on another bidder.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Rovers return empty handed

Charlton are now 17th in the table, ahead of Millwall on goal difference, after last night's 2-0 victory against Doncaster Rovers. The attendance was depleted after a signal box fire at London Bridge disrupted travel by train. There was also chaos at North Greenwich with 7,000 waiting for buses.

Yann Kermorgant’s cross was only half-cleared by Khumalo and Dale Stephens opened the scoring this time with a spectacular volley before Simon Church slid home to seal the victory. The Addicks also hit the woodwork twice while Doncaster failed to test home keeper Ben Alnwick.

The win was only Charlton's second at home this season but they dominated throughout despite being forced into a late change. Goalkeeper Ben Hamer was injured in the warm-up, so Alnwick came in for what turned out to be a quiet debut.

Charlton's first chance came after just two minutes when Church should have given them the lead, before Yann Kermorgant scuffed a shot against the post. Johnnie Jackson then forced Ross Turnbull into a stunning save before the Doncaster keeper was finally beaten by Stephens. The visitors' only real chance fell to on-loan Manchester United striker Federico Macheda, who blazed a shot over the crossbar. Turnbull saved well from Lawrie Wilson but could do nothing when Church was sent clean through by Jackson and slid the ball home. Cameron Stewart went close to adding a third, striking the crossbar with a 25-yard shot.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Three points required

Charlton have won only one home game all season, but three points are badly needed in tomorrow night's replay against Doncaster Rovers. Three points could move the Addicks into a more comfortable 16th place ahead of Millwall (whose goal difference is inferior).

Doncaster will be without suspended midfielder Dean Furman. Paul Dickov's side are still without captain Rob Jones, as well as fellow defenders James Husband and Yun Suk-Young, plus forward Harry Forrester. Doncaster have won only one game on the road, but have drawn three.

Yann Kermorgant and Richard Wood could both return for Charlton, although on previous returns from the bench Kermorgant has seemed to be less than fully fit.

Odds are Charlton, 10/11; draw, 11/5; Doncaster 3/1.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Premiership clubs watch Cousins

Scouts from Premiership clubs have been watching Jordan Cousins in the past few weeks. Hull City and West Bromwich Albion are clubs considering making a move for him in the January transfer window.

Charlton keeper Nick Pope made his debut for York City yesterday in their 1-1 draw against Southend. The Football League Paper gave him a score of 7, noting 'Looked very solid between the sticks and confidently claimed a number of crosses.'

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Addicks lose to Super Hoops

A solitary goal from Charlie Austin gave Queens Park Rangers a 1-0 win over the Addicks this afternoon. Austin struck five minutes before half-time, finding the corner of the net with a 30-yard shot. Defeat leaves Charlton just one place above the relegation zone.

Hoops boss 'arry Redknapp, celebrating 30 years in management - the club produced a special-edition matchday programme to mark the occasion - saw his team struggle to create clear-cut chances before Austin emphatically broke the deadlock. They had plenty of possession early on, with Niko Kranjcar firing over the Charlton bar before Ben Hamer saved low shots from Austin and Gary O'Neil. Hamer also dived to his right to keep out Matt Phillips' 20-yard effort just after the half-hour mark.

The Addicks rarely threatened, although award winning midfielder Jordan Cousins tested Hoops keeper Rob Green with a long-range effort shortly before Austin's goal sent the home side in ahead at the break. With his team looking unlikely to find an equaliser, Charlton boss Chris Powell made a double substitution 13 minutes into the second half, sending Yann Kermorgant and Callum Harriott on in place of Simon Church and Bradley Pritchard. But Rangers continued to dominate and the impressive Hamer tipped away a free-kick from Joey Barton before seeing O'Neil's deflected shot bounce harmlessly wide.

Hamer was also down quickly to stop Wright-Phillips' attempt from just outside the penalty area as Powell's men were forced to defend in numbers. Austin fluffed a late chance to score a second, miscuing from 15 yards out following good work by substitute Andy Johnson. Johnnie Jackson's wayward free-kick two minutes from time summed up a frustrating afternoon for Charlton. QPR would have doubled their lead in injury time had O'Neil not missed a decent opportunity before Wright-Phillips came within inches of scoring.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Jordan Cousins wins award

Congratulations to Jordan Cousins on being named Football League young Player of the Month for October. There is an interview with him and Chris Powell here: Cousins

£18m price tag for club

A price of £18 million has been agreed between Charlton's current board and the property company which is set to buy the club, reveals the South London Press. The prospective new owners, whose identity has not yet been revealed, are also thought to be ready to take on the club's £4million bank debts, plus £7m owed to former directors when the Addicks return to the Premier League. This is a much more realistic figure than the £40m+ that has been talked about before.

The SLP states, 'There has also been little opposition to a move the Greenwich Peninsula in the long run - as long as other aspects of the club's identity are not changed. [My view is that there has not been time for such opposition to develop]. Some fans have, though expressed anger that a move could be suggested after the Return to The Valley campaign brought, the club back to its original home in 1992.' [Which in my view is fit for purpose].

The Valley board has in the past produced an appraisal that it could deliver a "40,000-seat stadium on the Morden Wharf site on the Greenwich peninsula at no cost. That would mean making housing a part of the development on the 19 acre site. But crucially The Valley plot could satisfy the council's requirement that a portion of any new development be composed of social housing. [Not a cheap or easy site to develop in my view, but perhaps the West Stand offices and hospitality suites could be converted into apartments].

The wharf site, next to the O2 Arena and with 500m of river frontage, is currently owned by Morden College, a Blackheath-based company which runs homes for the elderly - but the lease is held by developers Cathedral.The Council's Peninsula West Master plan envisages turning the area into London's premier entertainment zone by "focusing regeneration around multi-purpose sports, entertainment and education facilities".

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Addicks interested in loan deal for United defender

Charlton are interested in a loan deal for Manchester United defender and Under 21 international Michael Keane, but they also have other targets in mind: Loan deals

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Charlton takeover close

Charlton Athletic are close to takeover by a British property company, reports the South London Press. The sum involved will not be disclosed. Apparently they were attracted by the low level of debt associated with the club which was a surprise to me: Takeover

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sunderland renew interest in Poyet

Sunderland have renewed their interest in Diego Poyet and there is talk of a £500,000 bid in the January transfer window. However, Chris Powell is more sceptical about the strength of this interest. According to Richard Cawley of the SLP, Powell has said, 'I know Gus and if he wanted something he would give me a call.' In any case Sir Chris would like to keep the holding midfielder at The Valley as a first team prospect. The player is, however, getting frustrated at a lack of action and may be loaned out: Poyet

Dowie's son in Twitter row

Iain Dowie's son Oliver has been in a row on Twitter with comedian James Buckley after the latter had called Dowie Snr. 'a tried and tested failure': Dowie

It looks as if Dowie might be back in the frame as Palace have been unable to meet Dan Petrescu's wage demands of £30,000 a week: Petrescu

Monday, 18 November 2013

Movement in and out expected

Movement in and out of the Addicks squad is expected before next Thursday's emergency loan deadline. Danny Green is one player who may go out on loan while Jordan Cook is another candidate. Chris Powell also has to consider his striking options with Yann Kermorgant troubled by a persistent injury. Will this mean a revival of Obika speculation? More here: Loans

On the staff side, the Head of Communications post has now been advertised: Comms

An appraisal of Alan Curbishley

The failure of Alan Curbishley to return to football as a manager is appraised in an interesting article here: Curbs

Mind you, I do think we had some better results against top sides than this article allows.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Powell wants to sign new contract.

Chris Powell wants to sign a new contract at Charlton. His contract expires at the end of the season and he feels that the uncertainty is unsettling players and staff: Powell

Super Hoops in financial morass

Next Saturday's opponents Queens Park Rangers are in a financial morass that make our problems look trivial. With many players, some of them quite useless, on contracts of up to £100,000 a week, they could make losses of £80m in 2012-13. That would then lead to a fine of over £60m under financial fair play arrangements which could wipe out their additional Premier League income: Super Hoops

The CASC Trust's efforts to get The Valley declared an Asset of Community Value appear to have run into some difficulty in the sense that Greenwich Council are taking much longer than the stipulated time to reach a decision. This could just be inefficiency on the part of the Royal Borough, which would not be unknown, but one could speculate that there is opposition in some quarters. Read more here: CAS Trust

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dowie in Palace talks

Iain Dowie has been interviewed for the vacant managerial job at Crystal Palace. He is understood to be keen on a return to Selhurst: Dowie

It might be said that Palace and Dowie deserve each other.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The question of the pitch

Charlton Live calculated last night that it would take fans holding up 4,212 umbrellas to protect the pitch. It is, of course, rather embarrassing to have one match abandoned and another delayed, albeit it we are at the foot of a steep hill.

The Dome cover we had in the Premiership days has gone as has The Whale/ Blotter. All The Valley has for protection is frost covers. It is being claimed that the pitch budget has been reduced over the last four seasons with particularly heavy cuts over the last two years.

The pitch has the top taken off it and re -seeded every season but it is thought that with the reduced budget they can only afford to take off the bare minimum whereas Premiership days they would dig deep and take all the silt etc. out. Hence, the pitch does not drain as well as it used to.

Apparently there has also been some concrete filling done outside the stadium on the north side, which seems to have impacted on the drainage of the playing surface, particularly on the East Stand side.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

We were hard done by

I wasn't anticipating a win against Leeds United yesterday, but I was left with a sense of grievance about the way in which were defeated. We played some good football, but decisions by the referee and two grievous errors by Hamer left us defeated 2-4. Kenny also made two excellent saves.

When I saw water being swept from the underpass at London Bridge, I realised that there had been a lot of rain and fans on the platform were talking about a pitch inspection. The start of the game was postponed by half an hour and the pitch certainly looked very wet and splashed up water. The match at Park View Road seems to have started without difficulty. Admittedly, we are at the bottom of a steep hill, but it does seem that the drainage needs attention.

An early effort by Harriott was not far wide. Harriott then burst through and put in another effort which was not far wide. Charlton then won a corner which was unproductive. Then Lees thumped a pass from the halfway line, Blackstock outwitted Morrison and McCormack brought Charlton's run of clean sheets to an end.

We had a penalty call which was at least as justified as the one given at the start of the second half. Wootton for Leeds kept falling over and breaking up the momentum of the game. Stewart won Charlton a promising free kick. Stephens over hit the free kick, possibly because he was going for glory. Morrison's momentum carried him forward and he was given a yellow card for a foul on Michael Brown. Greeted by shouts of 'cheat', the charm merchant laughed at the East Stand crowd.

Simon Church put in a stunning run down the wing, but ultimately it was unproductive. The referee finally got fed up with Kenny's time wasting tactics and gave him a yellow card. This was greeted with sarcastic applause by the keeper.

Church put in a great volley, but Kenny made an excellent save. Blackstock received a yellow card after he kicked the ball away. Charlton won a corner. Stewart scored with a volley on the stroke of half time after Leeds half cleared to the edge of the box.

Half time: 1-1

I felt that just before half time we were developing momentum and really putting some pressure on Leeds, but the break gave them the chance to regroup. The hapless Wootton was replaced by Zaliukas. In the first minute of the second half the decisive blow came. Callum Harriott felled Danny Pugh and McCormack drove the ball into the roof of the net.

Kenny had to tip the ball over from Harriott. From a subsequent corner, Dervitte put the ball over when he had a chance to score. Hamer managed to put a free kick out of play. Harriott was taken off and replaced by Kermorgant. Excellent work from Church set up Jackson who made no mistake in equalising. Three minutes later McCormack scored his third after Hamer failed to act decisively. Blackstock was replaced by the giant Smith. Chris Powell made a double substitution, taking off Stewart and Wilson and bringing on Sordell and Pritchard. In injury time McCormack got his fourth, swinging a free kick inside the far post.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Lawrie Wilson who was involved all the time and made some excellent runs. Hamer trudged off the pitch on his own at the end of the game and well he might. Especially in wet conditions, you have to command your area and go for the ball. His kicking out was also poor. Morrison was always active, and although his distribution is not always great, I would not fault his performance. Dervitte was less involved and missed one chance to score, but generally he was competent. Wiggins showed some real skill in advancing the ball. Stephens did not maintain his recent improvement and his free kicks disappointed. Cousins was solid without really sparkling. Harriott did an excellent job on the wing had a number of attempts on goal. Stewart did not start well, over hitting the ball, but his equalising goal was excellent. Jackson played his part, although he was tiring towards the end. His goal was a relatively easy one to score, but it is still possible to mess them up and he didn't. Church did excellent work for the assist for Jackson's goal. He may not score many goals, but he plays his part. Kermorgant still looked far from fit when he came on and did not really contribute. Pritchard tried to be busy as always, but did not add much. Sordell added less.

Rescue Cat Reg had no hesitation in awarding the Hiss of the Match to vertically challenged referee Kevin Stroud.

Friday, 8 November 2013

'Going to places like Charlton'

The need at Leeds United is for consistency of performance and, in particular, an ability to 'go to places like Charlton and pick up points': Leeds United

Charlton have certainly been consistent in recent matches: consistent in keeping a clean sheet, and consistent in failing to score goals in the absence of Yann Kermorgant who is 32 today. In the form table, Leeds are one place above Charlton in 7th. In the real table, they are 8th and Charlton are 17th with a gap of six points. Away from home, Leeds have won two, lost one and drawn four.

Four Four Two had Leeds finishing 3rd this season, but there is really no sign of that form yet. Having suffered the depredations of Ken Bates, the Bahrain-based International Investment Bank have not really come up with the goods. A city with the football history, size and dynamism of Leeds really ought to be in the top flight, but it is now ten years since they came down.

In their 2-0 home win against Yeovil last week, Ross McCormack, now with eight goals to his credit, was the key difference between the two sides. He provided two clinical finishes with Rodolph Austin, the driving force in midfield, setting up both goals. However, the Football League Paper gave Matt Smith a score of 4 and reckoned that the 'Big striker looked totally one dimensional and missed a great first half chance.' He was replaced by Blackstock on 57 minutes.

At right wing-back Lee Peliter did well as he replaced 19-year old starlet Sam Byram. Scott Wootton 'marshalled the defence well and kept the side organised at the back.' Paddy Kenny in goal 'looked shaky when dealing with high balls but otherwise sound.' Although performances have been inconsistent, this is not a team with any weak links.

It's undoubtedly going to be a competitive game tomorrow and when the odds appear I would expect Leeds to be favourites. In fact, they indicate a game that could go one of three ways: (Coral) Charlton 6/4, Draw 23/10, Leeds 7/4. Leeds fans seem to be expecting a 2-1 win, which is what I expect myself, but it does imply that the Charlton defence will crack: Predictions

Chris Powell has missed out on being manager of the month which is probably just as well, given the curse associated with that award. However, it was nice to see him nominated.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Jackson confident about Leeds game

Charlton skipper Johnnie Jackson is confident about Saturday's game against Leeds. He appreciates that there have been a lack of goals, but thinks those are coming: Jackson

This piece recalls a Charlton victory against Spurs when their manager evaded the curse of Charlton by resigning before the game: Spurs

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Richard Rufus declared bankrupt

Former Charlton Athletic footballer Richard Rufus, who later began a career as a 'financial consultant', has been declared bankrupt. Rufus, who played almost 300 games for Charlton in ten years with the club, was officially declared bankrupt at Croydon County Court on 22 October under his full name, Richard Raymond Rufus.

He is listed as inactive in the financial services register, having had a CF30 customer controlled function at Surrey-based stockbroker SI Capital between June 2009 and February 2011.

Rufus had previously entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement in November 2011, after a bankruptcy petition was served by the FSA. He had reportedly incorporated Monopoly Trading and Investments in January 2005 and became a director in the firm. The firm, which dissolved in September 2013, undertook 'activities auxiliary to financial services, except insurance and pension funding.' In his bankruptcy report, Rufus is listed as a 'financial consultant'.

This is a very sad day for one of our greatest players of recent times. My wife was his kit sponsor for several years and we have a number of signed shirts.

It is not easy for footballers to build careers after they leave the game. Only so many can be absorbed into football, even as non-league managers or academy coaches. Each week the Football League Paper runs are 'where are they now' feature about a particular team that did well in one year and invariably every week at least one player is now a postman. But at least it gives you a steady income.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Auction of Colin Cameron memorabilia

Collections of Charlton memorabilia from the estate of the late Colin Cameron are being auctioned at Sotheby's today by sports specialist Graham Budd. The catalogue is online with good quality illustrations of the programmes on offer. The Cameron lots can be found on pp.189-94: Colin Cameron.

Twelve Charlton Athletic programmes from the 1929-30 season have a guide price of £1,400-£1,800. The programme was then black print on a dark red background. Later programmes had a stylised sketch on the cover and there are a number of examples from the 1930s, as well as one from a friendly versus Partick Thistle in 1939, accompanied by one for a Subsidiary Competition fixture against Chelsea in February 1940.

An official photograph of the team in 1907-0 with the Lewisham league and Woolwich League trophies is billed as one of the earliest original photographs of the club and is expected to fetch £400 to £600. It is believed that the total raised was around £16,000.

It is unfortunate that some of these items could not be obtained from the new Charlton museum, but the funding is not really available yet. However, it is understood that a wealthy Charlton fan purchased some of the items to secure them for the club.

Hong Kong billionaire completes Peninsula buy out

Hong Kong billionaire Henry Cheng Kar-Shun has completed his acquisition of the Greenwich Peninsula scheme. He bought a 60 per cent stake from Quintain last year through his Knight Dragon group and has now bought the remaining 40 per cent. A Charlton fan argues in his blog that Knight Dragon have taken a more aggressive stance towards development on the peninsula since they arrived on the scene: Knight Dragon

Mr Kar-Shun has no known interest in football and none of the news reports make any reference to a stadium project envisaged for the industrial western side of the peninsula. However, with the site now in the ownership of one person, one wonders if interest in a possible stadium project will revive.

An interesting review of the stadium proposal and its possible implications for Charlton is to be found here: Stadium

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Three points for Charlton

Charlton beat Birmingham 1-0 for the first time since 2005/6 in a determined performance this afternoon. 7 hours 27 minutes without conceding. Charlton are 17th, one place above Millwall.

As the Charlton team came on to the pitch, the 855 Addickted in a crowd of 14.070 burst into a chorus of Valley Floyd Road at St. Andrews this afternoon. It was a cold and windy day. Johnnie Jackson was in the starting line up and Dorian Dervitte replaced the injured Richard Wood. It was a 4-5-1 line up with Church on his own up front. Lennon was on the bench.

Stewart floated an early ball in, but Jackson’s header was saved by former Addick Randolph in the Birmingham goal. Wilson defended well as Gray threatened at the expense of a corner. Hamer collected from the corner. Dervitte cut out a cross from Novak.

Jackson took a corner for Charlton, but Randolph was able to claim the ball. A rather dubious corner was given to Birmingham. Burn put the ball in the net, but there was a push on Hamer and it was disallowed.

Charlton won a free kick right on the edge of the area after Pritchard was brought down. Unfortunately, Jackson’s free kick went over the top.

Jackson put in a good ball, but Church needed to hit it first time and he was dispossessed. Cousins put in a great tackle on Burke. Church gave the ball to Jackson who hit with his left foot but it went wide. Chris Powell was urging his players up the pitch as they were defending too deep. However, they were creating more than Birmingham.

Hamer had to make a great save diving to his right from Novak. Two minutes were added on. Michael Morrison made a good stop.

Neither side had been able to keep possession for any length of time, but Dale Stephens had been creative.

Half time: Blues 0, Addicks 0

Jordan Cousins headed a Birmingham free kick clear. Novak went down far too easily for a free kick. Church tried to break away, but didn’t have the pace to get away from the defender. Simon Church was clattered and had problems with his right ankle. After great work by Stewart, Randolph parried his shot, the ball was bouncing around in the box and Dale Stephens scored from close range to make it 0-1.

Adeyemi shot but it was blocked on the line by Morrison. The Blues made a double substitution with the youthful Gray replaced by Ferguson and Novak replaced by Levenkrands. Simon Church seemed to have recovered.

Wilson was brought down on the edge of the box but nothing was given. An effort by Stephens went over the bar. Church was fouled right in front of the referee’s assistant, but nothing was given.

Wiggins, back to his best, defended well. Church won Charlton a corner which was headed clear. In the final minute of normal time, Birmingham had a chance but Levenkrands put the ball over.

Jackson was taken off to warm applause from the Addickted and replaced by Cook. Three minutes were added on. Jordan Cousins cleared the ball. Morrison headed the ball clear. Hamer was brave and dealt well with the threat.

Friday, 1 November 2013

'Must win' match for Blues

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark has declared that tomorrow's match against Charlton is a 'must win' game for his side. He concedes that Charlton are 'very solid' and very strong defensively: Blues

Blues have been hampered by financial problems. Their majority shareholder and one time celebrity hairdresser, Carson Yeung, has just been standing trial in Hong Kong for money laundering. There will not be a verdict until next year and in the meantime the club is in limbo. Rumours of takeovers have come to nothing and it may be that prospective purchasers hope that the club will go into administration, ensuring a reduced price.

Scottish winger Chris Burke returns to contention for Birmingham. Striker Jesse Lingard and left-back David Murphy (both knee injuries) are not yet ready to return, while new signing Dariusz Dudka needs to build up his match fitness. Yann Kermorgant and Richard Wood are injury doubts for Charlton. Kermorgant landed on his ankle against Wigan, while defender Wood is struggling to overcome a dead leg.

It's certainly a six pointer for both clubs, but the outcome may well be one point each. Last season the game ended in a 1-1 draw and another stalemate is certainly a possibility. Odds are: Birmingham 11/8; draw 9/4; Charlton 2/1.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Jimenez v. Wise: the transcript

I have now received the full transcript of the case between Tony Jimenez and Dennis Wise which was heard before Miss Penelope Reid sitting as a Deputy Judge in the Chancery Division. The outcome was that Jimenez had to pay Wise the £500,000 he claimed plus interest.

The transcript runs to 28 pages and some of this is concerned with reviewing relevant precedents. As the judge notes, 'The history of this process has been somewhat tortuous, with each side changing the way in which their case has been put on a number of occasions.'

As far as Wise is concerned, the judge states, 'He was subjected to a long and sometimes aggressive cross examination but nevertheless came across as a truthful witness and in the main I accept his evidence. Of course much of his case is supported by the documents.'

The judge notes that as far as the investment in the Les Bordes golf course development which was at the heart of the case, 'the manner in which [Mr Jimenez]has explained the investment has varied from time to time.' In paragraph 28, the judge states, 'His explanations for these conflicting positions during the course of his oral evidence were unconvincing and at times impossible to follow ... it was only when incontrovertible evidence from the HFIX disclosure was produced that Mr Jimenez appears to have considered that he should change tack and provide some evidence that the money received from CDI had been invested.' In paragraph 50, she states 'Mr Jiminez has been guilty of considerable obfuscation in this litigation concerning the monies paid to him.' She concludes her review of his evidence by stating, 'Accordingly I have treated the evidence of Mr Jimenez with extreme caution.'

The transcript notes that Mr Jimenez is 'co-owner of Charlton Athletic Football club and therefore involved in the football world.' Interestingly, Michael Slater is also referred to twice in the transcript when Dennis Wise envisages him drafting a more formal agreement between the parties. Gus Poyet was also evidently one of the original investors in the development.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Curbs considers Palace option

Alan Curbishley has said that he would not rule himself out of managing Crystal Palace: Palace

Whether Palace would be interested is another matter. Richard Cawley of the SLP reckons that Curbs would be a high cost option for Palace given his television work.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Third clean sheet in a row

Charlton secured their third clean sheet in a row at The Valley today in a 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic in front of a 'football for a fiver' crowd of 23,600. The Addicks move up to 19th, overtaking Birmingham City on goal difference.

The Lactics probably had the better chances, but were unable to take advantage of them with their inaccurate shooting. They had sixteen shots, but only three were on target. We managed only three, but at least they were all on target. Overall, a competitive game was evenly balanced (possession was marginally in Wigan's favour at 47-53) and a draw was not an unfair result.

We were told at the start of the game that Scott Carson had injured his ankle in the warm up and had been replaced by Nicholls whom the Bloke Beside Me thought was Wigan's fourth choice keeper. However, if we thought this might be a bonus, it proved not to be as he was more than capable.

We started the game well and won an early corner. We did concede a corner to Wigan that was avoidable. Bradley Pritchard failed to make use of a good cross when he blasted the ball over. After the thirty minute mark, Wigan started to get into the game more. After injuring his ankle early in the game, Kermorgant had to be withdrawn and replaced by Sordell. There was a scramble in front of the Wigan goal at the end of the half. However, neither side had really created many chances.

Half time: 0-0

Dale Stephens put in a good shot which was just wide of the post. Following a Wigan corner, the upright came to our rescue. James Perch fouled Sordell, but nothing was given. Hamer had to make a good save from a curving ball.

At the end of the game I found that I had made fewer notes than usual as it was lacking goal mouth incidents. However, I thought that we played well as a team and I was more relieved not to lose than disappointed at not winning.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Dale Stephens. Although he faded towards the end of the match, he seems to have recovered the form that attracted the attention of Aston Villa and made many skilled contributions throughout the game. Hamer did make a couple of good saves, but showed some hesitancy in coming for the ball in the first half. Wood had a good game until he had to be taken off. Morrison was solid and reliable. Wiggins had a good game and was involved in some excellent attacking moves. Although he did make one or two errors, Wilson surged forward well with one run practically the length of the pitch. Pritchard displayed plenty of effort, but his contribution was limited and he missed one chance to score. Stewart showed some nice touches, but was not a game changer. Cousins got involved when he could. Whether Kermorgant was still not fully fit, or whether it was the knock he picked up early in the match which left him limping, he was below par and had to be substituted. Church tried his hardest and got frustrated with the East Stand linesman for awarding fouls against him. Dervitte slotted in competently when he had to come on. Sordell was inevitably a disappointment. If Jackson was supposed to act as a talisman with his late appearance, he failed to do so and seemed off the pace.

Rescue Cat Reg has given the Hiss of the Match to the referee Stephen Martin who gave a whole series of free kicks to the visitors in the second half. Some of them were justified, but not all of them. He also seemed to have left his cards in the dressing room, ignoring a series of yellow card offences by the visitors and then giving a card to Bradley Pritchard for an alleged series of fouls.

Wigan aim to start away run at The Valley

Wigan manager Owen Coyle admits Charlton is a tough place to go, but is hoping to re-fire their promotion challenge by starting an unbeaten away run with a victory at The Valley today: Coyle. Wigan have experienced four consecutive away defeats and have only won once on their travels this season.

Speaking to The Football League Paper Simon Church insists that Charlton have learnt from their mistakes: 'We started the season quite slowly and the last couple of games we've really gone back to basics and defended well. The manager has been brilliant. He's instilled confidence into us and it's a really positive place to be.'

The paper has a feature interview with Richard Wood who says of the club, 'There are no factions in the group and from when I walked in I could see they ere all together - that's what you want to see as a new player.'

Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant are like to start. Chris Solly is still sidelined with a knee injury and likely to be out for three weeks.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Better than Scott Parker?

This is the question that the Daily Boris poses about Jordan Cousins today. Anyway, it's an interesting feature and maybe the Sub-Standard is improving a bit: Cousins

Scott Carson returns to The Valley

Scott Carson returns to The Valley as Wigan's goalkeeper on Sunday. Carson was a bright light in a dreadful 2006-7 season and received the player of the year award. I hope that he gets a good reception.

In their last league outing Wigan lost 1-0 at Blackpool, but managed to hit the crossbar twice. James McClean was sent off in injury time, but the red card has since been rescinded which is unfortunate for us as he is a good player. Also at their disposal is 'human battering ram' Grant Holt, although he came off the bench against Blackpool.

I never though that the Lactics were going to bounce straight back up again, particularly without Roberto Martinez at the helm, so the Four Four Two forecast of a 9th place finish seems about right.

Wigan secured a battling 1-1 draw against Russian outfit Rubin Kazan on Thursday which is impressive given that the visitors had won all eight of their previous Europa League matches. Coyle made five changes from the side that had played at Blackpool and they displayed fluency and considerable fighting spirit. The equaliser was scored by Manchester United loanee Nick Powell who is forecast to have a bright future. The England Under-21 international took his chance well, rifling home a shot that nestled in the corner of the net.

The last time we played Wigan at the Valley was in the Premiership on Saturday 31 March 2007. It was a one nil victory to Charlton with Darren Bent scoring from the penalty spot. The attendance was 26,500.

We can expect a competitive and hopefully entertaining game for 'football for a fiver' day, but I am forecasting a 2-1 victory for the Addicks.

Odds (Coral): Charlton 8/5, Draw 9/4, Wigan 17/10.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Holloway leaves Palace

Ian Holloway has stepped down as Crystal Palace manager by 'mutual consent': Holloway. Apparently, he felt that he had lost the respect of the squad.

There is no indication at this stage as to who might be persuaded to accept the poisoned chalice, although the name of Tony Pulis has been mentioned as a likely candidate. Less likely is a return of Neil Warnock, although some papers think that he is the favourite. He has also been linked with a return to management at Birmingham City. Roberto di Matteo has also been mentioned on the basis that he is out of work, but it would be a bit of a come down. No one has yet mentioned Alan Curbishley.

Perhaps the time has come for Iain Dowie to make a return to management?