Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Better New Year in 2020?

Richard Cawley has tweeted, 'Indications from ESI side is that Charlton takeover has moved closer but that not a done deal yet.' I am still cautiously optimistic that a deal will be done and approved in time for the January transfer window. In any event, we will survive.

Let's hope for a new era in a new decade. Happy New Year to all Charlton supporters.

Richard Cawley issued a further tweet on New Year's Day: 'Way it has been told to me is that ESI are driving getting the deals done. Which again suggests that takeover is close to completion.'

The cupboard is bare

Macaulay Bonne will be out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury and stunned supremo Lee Bowyer faces a selection crisis for the trip to Dinas Abertawe (Swansea City): No injured players back for Swansea

Bowyer said: 'It’s good for the football club because the young lads get unbelievable experience. But it makes it more difficult for us to win games – that’s a fact.' ('Anodd i ni ennill gemau').

Moaners have been coming out from under the stones, with Ben Purrington, a new target. It was a poor display last night, but I wonder what they would do if they were managers.

Jonathan Acworth-Waldegrave has suggested 'get them in at 5am start doing a 10 mile run and sack Johnnie Jackson we need a experienced number 2 at this current time Jackson is clearly not doing it at this level we need an older head someone like a Lennie would do nicely or big Sam.' Kevin Crout points out that a 10 mile run would do knackered players at all. Any idea how I can stop Acworth sending me messages?

Thanks to our benefactor Roland we have a thin squad, much of it of League One standard or worse. Clearly there need to be signings in January, but it is often difficult to get value in that window. Even if the takeover is approved in time, I would expect the new owners to be prudent in their spending. The priority is in defence because we cannot get a clean sheet.

Unfortunately, it is not a truth universally acknowledged that to avoid relegation you need to have three teams worse than you. There are limits to what you can learn by Quest EFL but Stoke City fans fear they are another Sunderland. Wigan look poor to me, as do Luton, and Barnsley's recovery is faltering.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Defeat at Derby

The stats quoted before the game by Richard Cawley suggested that defeat at Derby was more or less inevitable, but it is still unpleasant when it happens. A Lyle Taylor penalty made for a respectable 2-1 home win by the 10 men of Derby County.

Former Addick Krystian Bielik was sent off for a reckless studs up and high tackle on Conor Gallagher, but the home fans then relentlessly booed the youngster because he had failed to break his ankle or leg. He finally got a yellow card, meaning that another two will lead to a two game suspension. The same goes for Darren Pratley.

Richard Cawley said that this was a 'desperately poor Charlton performance'. By the end of the game there were five Academy graduates on the pitch which could be seen as a badge of pride or a mark of inadequacy.

Derby went ahead after 10 minutes. Phillips made the initial save, but the ball was nodded in at the far post.

Bonne had problems with his hamstring after 35 minutes and was replaced by Taylor at half time. Louis Mendez summed up the first half performance as 'very lethargic from the Addicks'. Social media critics focused on Sarr as the scapegoat player of the moment.

In the second half Charlton struggled to fashion chances and Knight had plenty of room to score the second goal for Derby.

The penalty came after Curtis Davies felled Gallagher in the area. Charlton came alive in the last 10 minutes. Derby were then indebted to a great double save by goalkeeper Ben Hamer from Ben Dempsey and Taylor.

Charlton are now 19th, seven points above the drop zone, but it should be remembered that the objective this year is to survive.

However, none of the injured players will be back for Swansea/Abertawe with Bonne now ruled out as well with his hamstring.

Richard Cawley of the SLP tweeted, 'This takeover needs to happen soon. Or actually get the likes of Williams and Oztumer back. Charlton running on fumes tonight.'

More than usually shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer told BBC London: 'W were poor, from start to finish. We got out-battled, outfought. We were second to all the second balls. We got what we deserved - nothing.' I's a low point, but there will be higher ones.'

As for the takeover, the EFL will ratify if and when they are ready. They are a trade association running a competition for their member clubs with just 75 staff. They are also under political pressure to be more stringent, not that I think they had any grounds under their test to rule out Roland's takeover.

Boost for Bromley

I know this is not a Bromley page, but there are many links between Charlton and the team now third in the National League. Tireless SLP reporter Louis Mendez, now in the middle of moving house (don't forget the dog) proclaims on his Twitter feed that he is both a Bromley and Charlton supporter. He is not alone, as for many Addicks Bromley is their second team.

We mustn't forget the active Bromley Addicks group which my friend Steve from Petts Wood enjoys. In days gone by when I was representing the UK at tiresome meetings in windowless rooms in the Square de Meuse in Brussels, I was always relieved when Eurostar flashed through Bromley as I thought 'I am in Charlton territory now'.

Developing Charlton players have benefitted from a loan spell at Bromley, most recently Alfie Doughty. Our connections with Bromley are now closer than those with National League South Welling.

The Times today has a feature article on Bromley. It is behind a pay wall, but as a subscriber I can send a few copies out electronically. If it is of real interest to you, contact me via Twitter @wyngrant or via Facebook, but not if your surname is Acworth-Waldegrave.

The tone of the article is somewhat patronising as it refers to Bromley as 'the spirited little south-east London club'. This reminds me of the evening after the Greatest Game when ITV described us as 'the tiny London club.' An ignorant Premier League director objected to playing a 'village team', evidently having thought that Charlton Village was a stand alone village in deepest Kent.

I did quickly forgive the guy who thought we were the third Manchester team playing in Chorlton as he did become a lifelong fan.

Returning to Bromley, much is made of the ramshackle state of the ground 'a glorious patchwork of corrugated iron and cracked concrete terracing'. However, the new stand with its commercial units does get a mention.

The club who won the FA Amateur Cup in 1949 (then a big deal) have had their ups and downs, but one lifelong fan is quoted as saying he thinks they now have the best team ever. Of course, if they do get into the Football League they have plans to relocate their artificial pitch.

Which non-league teams do Charlton fans support?

Not Leamington I know, as I am referred to there as 'the Charlton fan'. After Leamington beat Gloucester City 3-0 on Boxing Day the Gloucester board apologised publicly for the humiliation. On New Year's Day I will be boarding a minibus for Evesham (which is where Gloucester play until their new stadium is ready). The chairman has issued a three line whip on attendance.

I may at some point do a poll on non-league clubs that Charlton fans follow. For me, the most obvious ones are listed below (in no particular order), but I would be interested in other suggestions:

  • Bromley
  • Dulwich Hamlet
  • Ebbsfleet United
  • Dartford
  • Welling United
  • Erith & Belvedere
  • Maidstone United

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Charlton slip one place in table

Charlton slipped one place in the table to 18th after today's results. They were overtaken by Middlesbrough who beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at The Hawthorns. At first glance a surprising result, but Boro are on something of a roll, having now won three matches in succession. Leeds went top after beating Birmingham City 5-4 in what was described as a 'nine goal thriller', but sounds like a case study in poor defending.

Charlton play faltering Derby County away tomorrow night. Before today's results, the Rams were bottom of the form table, Charlton having climbed to sixth from bottom.

Professional moaners have been quick to seize on the fall in Charlton's position in the table. Admittedly, I am yet to hear from Jonathan Acworth-Waldegrave who has sent me 14 messages today on a range of irrelevant topics.

However, one of Lee Bowyer's most persistent critics, Desmond from Deal, has quickly piled in. Dismal Desmond has been calling for some time for his Kingsdown neighbour to return to his fishing lake. He isn't impressed by Charlton's relatively good goal difference or the fact that they are seven points off a relegation place. 'Mark my words, defeat stares us in the face at Derby,' said the professional pessimist.

Admittedly, Derby's main problem has been a poor away record with just one win in twelve, while at home they have won five, drawn five and lost just two.

The usual response of Rams fans to a visit from Charlton is that is a chance to collect three points without much sweat, but after a winless run, their mood appears to be more nervous: Relegation worries

Charlton have the incentive of a possible Derby double while the Rams are pinning their hopes on Wayne Rooney becoming available after January 1st: CAS Trust preview

'You can't win anything with kids' as Bowyer talks about Morgan

The misplaced comment by so-called pundit Alan Hansen has gone down in football history: Getting it wrong

However, shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer has made it clear he is not happy being forced to play youngsters like Albie Morgan who are not ready for Championship football.

The grim faced gaffer is quoted in this morning's Football League Paper about Morgan's limitations: 'That second goal shouldn't have happened - that's why Albie went on loan [to Ebbsfleet]. He's a long way away, he's 20 and he's learning the game. We can't afford to just keep playing him and we will concede goals.'

If we had senior midfielders back, he would not be playing. Is he doing well? Yes. But he needs to learn the other side of the game. It's not just him. He's being thrown in at the deep end.'

'They are doing everything they can, but they are just kids. We are running out of players.'

Keeping the family together at Charlton

One of the ideas dreamt up by Roland's Daft Ideas Department was to make Charlton more of a 'family experience'. However, this had already been tried in 1969 as this short Pathé newsreel shows: Charlton Zoo

Animals from Chessington Zoo were paraded around the pitch including an elephant that later that year kicked off on Blue Peter, but he seemed happy enough at The Valley. The elephant clip is hilarious: The elephant finds he is not at The Valley and makes his views known There was also a camel, but any donkeys were already on the pitch.

Amazing to see someone wearing a tie to a match (all right, I have seen it at Fulham) and another person wearing a rosette.

Friday, 27 December 2019

£21.5m of new shares issued

A filing at Companies House shows that Charlton Athletic have issued £21.5m of new shares to investors. Kieran Maguire of the PriceofFootball says it is not clear whether this is to pay off loans or is new money invested in the club.

It's probably Roland converting his existing loans into shares to tidy up the balance sheet before the sale rather than an injection of new money before the transfer window.

Brilliant Bonne

VOTV editor Rick Everitt is a happy man again after Charlton's Boxing Day performance. Lyle Taylor may have given a valedictory wave, but he was upstaged by Macauley Bonne. He may well have benefitted from the return of Taylor, but no one could question his work rate and his instinct for goal, suggests Everitt. Read the Rickster's views on the game here: Brilliant Bonne Leaves Robins Rocking Again

One would not wish to suggest that as experienced an observer of Charlton as Rick Everitt has a mild case of goldfish syndrome (basing everything on the last game). When there is success after a long barren spell, it is time to celebrate.

A more intriguing issue is whether the Ramsgate-based fan is finding his inner Napoleon again. We're not suggesting for a moment that he is spending time on the West Cliffe hoping the weather will clear so that he can see the cliffs of France. Nor is there any suggestion that when he entered the Royal Victoria Wetherspoons for his celebration pint, he was holding his left arm in an unusual position. It's all more subtle than that.

BTW, the flag of Abu Dhabi is quite appropriate for Charlton as it is mostly Addicks red but with a white rectangle in the top left-hand corner.

Alfie's special moment

Quite understandably, 20-year old Alfie Doughty, until recently playing at Bromley, says that his first goal for Charlton was an experience that will stay with him for a long time: Special moment

The Addickted always like to see Academy players come through the ranks and succeed and Doughty is clearly hard working and talented. More importantly, he is not letting success turn his head.

He knows that Charlton have to try and stage a Ram raid on Monday. Doughty told the SLP's Richard Cawley, 'Today [Boxing Day] is not forgotten but we’ve got to move on to another game in four days time. We’ve got to focus and be ready for another tough game. If we show the same mentality as today then I think we’ll come away with three points.'

Derby are currently one point and one place behind Charlton so it will be a big test of whether the Addicks are on the road to revival.

Meanwhile, over in the non-league the shell suited supremo of Leamington is fed up with blocked toilets and ageing referees: Not a happy bunny

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Charlton fight back to win three points

Charlton ended their dire run with a 3-2 victory over Bristol City at The Valley this afternoon including a brace from Macaulay Bonne. However, it was the 12th match without a clean sheet and the defence will need some attention in the transfer window.

Charlton went up to 17th, one point behind Birmingham City or third out of ten in the relegation league.

Bonne showed his intent on five minutes when a shot from him was deflected for a corner. City skipper Brownhill displayed his west country charm by cynically tripping Morgan and received a yellow card.

From a Charlton corner, Doughty put an excellent ball in but Sarr headed wide. Lockyer, just behind Sarr, might have been in a better position to score. Bonne got a yellow card for a foul. Matthews won the ball well off Diedhiou.

With the atmosphere in the ground nervy, Bonne then took advantage of a long ball with a really cool lob over the keeper to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead. A late Charlton corner was cleared.

Charlton went behind after 45 seconds in the first half, suggesting a lack of concentration. The Austrian player Weimann scored with a header. Meanwhile, Rowe had been replaced by former Addick Jay DaSilva.

Gallagher went down hurt and was replaced by Purrington. On 56 minutes Charlton hit the crossbar, but it is not clear who was engaging in crossbar challenge practice.

On 60 minutes City went ahead through Elliason. The Swede nutmegged Phillips from five yards out. Phillips then had to save from an Elliason volley. Purrington was brought down in the box, but well-regarded referee Keith Stroud said there was no penalty. Then a minute later Bonne made it 2-2. Doughty then made it 3-2 at the far post.

The hard working Morgan was replaced by Jason Pearce on 86 minutes. On 90 minutes City won a free kick wide on the right which was potentially dangerous, but was dealt with.

Referees now apparently get a bonus for every minute added on at the end of the second half, so the customary five minutes became eight after Oshilaja received treatment. Weimann was way off target. A late City free kick saw the keeper come up, but Charlton held on.

Despite limitations on public transport the stated attendance (including absent season ticket holders) was 18,058 with 1,260 Bristolians.

Shaken and stirred supremo Lee Bowyer said: 'Fair play to the players. They kept going and going. Their togetherness is unreal. It was great to see Alfie get his goal. I'm pleased for him because sometimes he switches off when balls are coming across the box. He got there today and he got his reward. A draw may have been a fair result, but we’ve had a lot happen to us in recent weeks so you can say we were due it.'

Lee Bowyer told Bonne to add physicality to his game: Go out there and be horrible

Jonathan Leko is out for the rest of the season.

'We will keep Gallagher' says Bowyer

Smiling supremo Lee Bowyer is confident that Conor Gallagher will stay at Charlton for the rest of the season right than being sent to Burnley: Bowyer reacts to Burnley link

Apparently Chelsea are really pleased with the way in which he is being developed at Charlton. Let's celebrate the fact that we do get some things right.

Bristol buoyant as Rickster is gloomy

After losing three matches in a row, including one to the Spanners, Bristol City are looking forward to collecting three points in what is seen as a winnable match this afternoon: Bristol City line up

Charlton have never lost consecutive home league matches against Bristol City, having lost 1-0 against them the last time they met back in February 2016. Bristol City are looking to complete a league double over Charlton for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.

Charlton are without a win in their past 11 league games (D4 L7), drawing each of the past two games. The Addicks last drew three in a row in league competition in September 2016. Bristol City have lost their past four away league matches on Boxing Day since a 4-2 win at Watford in 2008. Away from home this season they have won five, drawn four and d lost two, a better record than they have had at home.

Since the start of last season, Lyle Taylor has been directly involved in 40 league goals (28 goals, 12 assists) - 12 more than any other Charlton player.

The city of Bristol and football

The city of Bristol has generally punched below its weight in football, having two teams in a rugby playing area. I have two friends who are Gasheads. One offered me a lift to a game when Charlton were playing there, but I am glad I didn't take it. We beat them 5-1 and he said he would have left me in Bristol. Knowing him, I can believe it. He had an interesting footballing style of standing still and shouting 'far post'.

Bristol City have been given a big boost by the involvement of Guernsey based billionaire Steve Lansdown. He is not just investing in football, but a whole range of sports. I have to declare an interest: I am client of his funds and share supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown. They have done very well for me (and for the taxman), and I have been able to open my own branch of the Bank of Grandad, giving one of my granddaughters a Christmas present of a substantial deposit on her own home. I wish someone had done that for me at age 18, but then I didn't have to work in a challenging caring role as she did yesterday on Christmas Day.

That said, there has been a bit of tension between Robins fans and Addicks in the past. In his first book, Garry Nelson recalls an awkward encounter with a group of their fans on Charlton Station after a match. However, no doubt a festive spirit will prevail today.

Cloud of gloom over the Isle of Thanet

Voice of the Valley will be on the sale at The Valley this afternoon or if you prefer not to be seen with a copy it can be bought online. I don't think it is too much of a spoiler to say that editor Rick Everitt seems to be in a relatively pessimistic mood, although no doubt he would prefer the terms 'balanced' and 'realistic.'

In a review of recent games under the heading 'Addicks slide into trouble', the one time Mercury sports editor does not pull his punches. He says that the injury problems 'cannot disguise the fact that the team has been on a wretched run of results. If not arrested in short order, it is likely to pitch it into a relegation battle that the budget on which it was constructed always made likely.'

Drawing on 50 often painful years of watching Charlton, the Ramsgate-based fan says: 'When a team hits a losing streak it's always tempting to unpick the team selection tactics, substitutions or focus on individual mistakes. But the bigger picture is obvious.'

'Mistakes get made as confidence drains away ... This group and the manager need help. But can we rely on January to bring it?' I don't feel much more hopeful than when I prayed yesterday for Her Majesty's Government and social justice.

It has to be said that the Rickster has a bit of a track record in being pessimistic. I haven't been able to fact check this yet, but towards the end of one Championship season he forecast relegation. He anticipated defeat by the Super Hoops but we beat them 1-0, surviving by the skin of our teeth.

Acworth is of royal descent

Leading Charlton fan Jonathan Acworth-Waldegrave (as he is now styled) has asked me to inform Charlton fans that it has been confirmed that he is a direct descendant of Henry the Eighth who is his 15th grandfather. Apparently one of his key ancestors was John St. John. Wasn't he a striker somewhere?

Just as well that Roland didn't to ahead with his plan to rename the East Stand as the Anne Boleyn Stand, even though the renaming ceremony would have given Acworth a starring role: Anne Boleyn

With potential new owners from the Gulf, it might help if we were able to identify all fans of royal descent who could then be given a special seating area. However, we would have to exclude those descended from illegitimate royal children as there are simply too many of them, although it is thought that there may be even more at Millwall.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Bowyer offers glimmer of Yuletide joy

Lee Bowyer has said that Charlton will be allowed to bring in a striker in the January transfer window, regardless of whether the purchase of the club is approved by the EFL. Fans have suggested on social media that we need an additional midfielder and defender as well: Go ahead for striker

Bowyer explained: 'Loans is a bit easier sometimes [to get in earlier] and we’re in contact already with clubs about strikers. Matt is saying to us we have the go ahead to bring in another striker, but he ain’t paying a bill yet – we’ll have to go through Roland [Duchatelet, current owner] as well. Obviously Roland has to okay it but Matt is okay for the long term.'

Beram Kayal has spent most of his loan spell at Charlton in the well patronised Sparrows Lane treatment room and looks set to return to the seaside. Jonathan Leko may also be returned to the Baggies if his injury is serious, which looks to be the case: Goodbye to loan players

Charlton fans have not seen enough of Kayal to make even an ill considered judgment. Leko is evidently a mercurial player with talent that is displayed in bursts. When he is good, he is very good; and when he is bad, he is very bad.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Football at Christmas

At one time teams played on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A hundred years ago in 1919 Christmas Day was on a Thursday. Professional football teams had to play on three consecutive days, starting on Christmas Day. Given that grounds were heavy and treacherous, this meant that they were ‘leg weary’ by Saturday, adversely affecting the standard of play.

Usually the same two teams played each other on the 25th and 26th. These were not always local derbies, but there was a rail service on Christmas Day. On one notorious occasion, Charlton players returning from a match in the north of England had a drinking contest with the restaurant car staff which the footballers easily won.

I'm not sure when trains were withdrawn even on Boxing Day, but I know that in the mid 1970s I decided to spend Christmas Day with my then girl friend and future wife and travel to my parents in Cornwall on Boxing Day. Normally when I was going to Cornwall I would catch The Cornishman which left Birmingham around 10.15. On Boxing Day there was a train at that time, albeit not titled, with more stops and carriages that looked as if they had been retrieved from the scrapyard. But it got me to Penzance.

We didn't go to Christmas Day matches at The Valley. If one had gone, one would have been struck by the smell of Will's Whiffs, cheap cigars sold as packets of five for Christmas presents. Our Christmas Day involved my uncle closing his newsagents in Lakedale Road as soon as he could and coming up the hill with my aunt. Chicken, then a luxury dish, would be cooked. There was always a hamper from the Coop which would include a bottle of wine which for some reason was always Sauterne. This was proclaimed to be 'a nice drop of wine' by my father. My uncle and aunt would then leave fairly early to catch the skeleton bus service back to Belvedere.

We often didn't go to Boxing Day matches as this was reserved for visiting family across the river, but sometimes this would be postponed if the next day was a Saturday or Sunday. Imagine my disappointment when one year we were going to The Valley and I woke to a covering of snow.

The last full programme of Christmas Day fixtures took place in 1957. With the arrival of floodlights it was no longer necessary to squeeze matches into public holidays and fans increasingly preferred to spend the day at home. For an excellent history of Christmas Day football go here: Victorian tradition

Happy Christmas to all Charlton fans. There should be a preview of the Bristol City game tomorrow evening.

'Waiting for the EFL is worse than VAR'

The Charlton supporters in the photo were lucky enough to have a phone installed in their lounge by the GPO, but they are on a party line with Mr Pooter next door who supports Palace. He is singing 'ultra' songs down the phone so they cannot get news of any EFL decision on the Charlton takeover.

A single plain white envelope came with the post this morning. The franked 'The Isle of Thanet could by your Dreamland' slogan was a bit of a giveaway. I used to have a photo taken at Dreamland in Margate with a monkey called Roland sitting on my shoulder.

The latest Voice of the Valley has a photo of the Sam Bartram statue with a speech bubble with the words used in my headline. I doubt whether we will get a decision until 2020 now. In the meantime, VOTV has ten pages on the potential takeover and will be on sale around The Valley on Boxing Day.

Fake news on Christmas Eve

In my capacity as chair of the Friends of our parish church in Leamington, I was pleased when the Vicar agreed that we could show Life of Brian in the church. We got a lot of national publicity, delighting the diocese and the Vicar was thrilled to be interviewed on Talksport. The point is, of course, that it is a film about fake Messiahs and therefore acceptable.

My idea for Halloween crypt tours was turned down, probably rightly as it is an All Saints Church. Meanwhile, it's happy days for the Vicar as he is about to go on paternity leave, having married a member of the choir.

This morning I woke up to fake news on social media about Lyle Taylor going to Brentford for £1m. It has rightly been denounced by the authoritative Richard Cawley of the SLP.

Cawley said on Twitter: 'These accounts are an absolute ball ache. Pump stuff out there with zero foundation and then it becomes accepted. This is absolutely wrong. Sounds as if East Street Investments saying Lyle isn't for sale in January.'

I am going to Warwick Hospital for a scan this morning. One place you don't get fake news is our excellent NHS for which our youngest works.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

A late goal for Charlton for once

A 95th minute goal by the 'Nabster' Naby Sarr secured a 2-2 draw for Charlton at Queens Park Rangers: Derby draw

Nevertheless many fans have been critical of Sarr on social media, saying that he cost Charlton the first goal.

Louis Mendez has noted that the result has given a boost to the morale of players and fans. Only a point, but it 'feels massive'. However, the winless run continued to eleven games and Charlton slipped to 18th in the table.

On his 20th birthday Alfie Doughty played well and blogger Hungry Ted commented, 'When this injury crisis is finally over, this lad needs to stay involved. Taken his chance and looks a great prospect.'

Lee Bowyer has said that goal scorer Lyle Taylor insisted on staying on for the full 90 minutes which was not the plan. He also clarified the position on the new contract offer which had nothing to do with the potential new owners, East Street Investments: Ninety minute stint

Reading won 3-0 at home to a faltering Derby and went above Charlton. Huddersfield are on the same number of points as the Addicks, but have a worse goal difference.

More injury worries with the mercurial Jonathan Leko seen hobbling around in a knee brace, it looks like a bad knee injury.

Lee Bowyer said that he hoped the result was a sign that Charlton's luck was changing. However, defensively they had to improve and he was critical of Naby Sarr over the first goal. He praised Alfie Doughty. 'I thought he was outstanding,' said the supportive supremo: Hopes late leveller is a sign

Will Klopp let Kane go?

With Conor Gallagher possibly heading for Burnley, Charlton are looking for a replacement box-to-box midfielder and are interested in Herbie Kane from Liverpool. At this stage of the season, Liverpool would probably agree to a loan deal rather than a transfer (NB: this link is full of clutter): Move to sign Liverpool talent

As is inevitably the case a number of other clubs are interested, including Hull City.

Not the best view in town

I didn't get a ticket for QPR. As the CAS Trust point out, £33 for one of the worst views anywhere is a bit steep: Someone has to pay their fine. Nevertheless, such is the loyalty of the Addickted that it's a sell out today.

I went along with an admittedly bonkers plan to meet fellow Addicks at a pub in London, have lunch, possibly a shandy or two and then follow the game by whatever means we could. However, my good friend pointed out to me that trains crowded with last minute shoppers would probably suffer weather related delays. She concluded, 'This is a ridiculous idea. You will tire yourself out. You are not going.' However, I may have got a pass out for Boxing Day.

As the CAS Trust review points out, QPR are nothing if not unpredictable and inconsistent. Hammered by Barnsley last weekend, they will be looking to restore their morale by beating an injury ravaged Charlton side that is low on confidence.

Four Four Two's chosen fan said at the beginning of the season 'This season will be different because it will be even tougher. With parachute payments gone, budgets are being cut even further. We'll finish 16th or so as we normally do, but even that looks optimistic.'

FFT said: 'Which QPR will we get in 2019-20? The woeful QPR who started last season by losing 7-1 at West Brom, the brilliant QPR who flew up the league mid-season or the dismal QPR that ended up the campaign?' Nearly halfway through the season, we don't really have an answer.

The time that the EFL is taking to approve the takeover is causing some concern as yesterday's statement by Roland shows. The EFL replied that they were committed to applying their rules, but hoped for a good outcome: Roland gives it large.

One just has to hope that the EFL doesn't choose to make an example of Charlton to show they have toughened up their test. However, I think that the real issue here is that 75 staff are not really enough for the EFL to do their job quickly, given that dealing with arrangements in a Gulf State is not a straightforward matter.

The Super Hoops have won four, drawn three and lost four at home, scoring 19 and conceding 22. They are mid-table in the form table while Charlton are bottom.

In a game of two halves last night, Boro came from behind to beat Stoke 2-1. Boro are now on the same number of points as Charlton but have a worse goal difference so the Addicks remain clinging on to 17th place ahead of a likely defeat today at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

This is the first league meeting between QPR and Charlton Athletic since April 2016, a 2-1 victory for the Hoops. Charlton have lost each of their last four league visits to QPR, a run stretching back to April 2008. Queens Park Rangers have won just two of their past 10 Championship games (W2 D3 L5), although those two victories have come in their last three matches.

Charlton are without a win in 10 league games (D3 L7), conceding at least once in each match. They last went 11 in a row without a league win back in January 2016 when they were relegated from the Championship. The Addicks have won just two of their last 17 away London derby matches in league competition (W2 D5 L10), beating AFC Wimbledon in February 2019 and Brentford in March 2016. Sometimes form is overturned.

Friday, 20 December 2019

No Sheikh up

ESI have reassured the EFL that there is no familial relationship between the potential owner of Charlton and Sheikh Mansour, the ultimate owner of Manchester City: Questions fully answered

I am not very familiar with the Gulf States and I always find working out the extended families very difficult. Transparency is not necessarily the strongest suit in the UAE.

A former Crystal Palace finance director associated with the Orange One is to be brought into unscramble Charlton's finances.

Rick Everitt has announced that there will be a new Voice of the Valley on sale on Boxing Day and this may shed new light on what is happening. As usual, it is possible to put in an order for VOTV to be sent by post. I am still planning my route for Boxing Day given limited public transport.

Current odds on the Rickster's Yuletide costume are: Flashing antlers, 2/1; Municipal robes, 4/1; Arab Sheikh, 10/1.

Going through the Hoops

I manage to get on well with people with different political and religious views from myself, for example last night I had a convivial drink with two GBD ladies (no, it's not a few form of sexual practice, although doubtless Bozza could give us a few tips). I even tolerate republicans although I read the Court Circular every day.

People supporting football clubs that are rivals can be more challenging. For nearly forty years, I have known a Palace fan, indeed I have written books and articles with him. As one might expect, he doesn't know much about football. He is really an egg chaser but tries to wind me up with old jokes about Charlton like the 'Charlton nil' one.

Perhaps surprisingly, I do have a bit of an issue with the Super Hoops. I did have one friend who was a genuine supporter, but fortunately he moved to Brighton and became a Seagull. They are one of my favourite other teams, given their rivalry with Palace and links with Charlton. I think I have more of an issue with Palace than Millwall for a number of reasons.

But today we are talking about QPR. First, I can't stand their ground at Loft**** Road (I know it has been renamed for reasons that we should all support). It looks like a ground that a youngster would have built before Lego with shoe boxes placed on their side. The stewards are unfriendly. I know they want a new stadium, but Brentford have beaten them to it.

Most fans have an exaggerated sense of the standing of their own club. For example, Sheffield Wednesday fans think they are massive and should be permanent members of the top flight. QPR always seem like a third division south side to me. Indeed, we played them 20 times in that benighted competition before Jimmy Seed rescued us.

Yet they clearly think they are big time Charlies. When they were taken over, one QPR fan said in a vox pop: 'The issue in Europe in five years' time will be whether Real Madrid or QPR will be the biggest club.'

My real problem dates from a Division One clash on 4th October 1997. I was there to see the Addicks win 4-2. QPR fans then started saying that what they needed was a good young manager like Alan Curbishley. He would surely prefer to manage a big club like QPR rather than a small one like Charlton.

I haven't been able to fact check this, but I am pretty sure that the QPR board made an approach. Whether or not Murray Mints offered Curbs an extra £10 a week to stay, I don't know. But stay he did to lead us up to the top flight.

Clarets to swoop for Gallagher?

Burnley are interested in making a bid for Conor Gallagher in the January transfer window: Want Chelsea starlet

Of course, many of these reports, especially in the Daily Mail, are just clickbait. Nevertheless, this one does have some plausibility. Burnley could do with a box-to-box midfielder after Drinkwater disappointed.

We are already missing losing Cullen and the departure of Gallagher would be an even bigger setback. Chelsea can recall him.

Incidentally, one national newspaper who went to Burnley to investigate the crumbling 'Red Wall' was puzzled by two blokes wearing 'Clarets for Food Banks' tops. Wouldn't a house red do, he asked?

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Injury blow for Super Hoops clash

It's another injury blow for shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer as Jonny Williams and Sam Field suffer a setback in their recovery from injury. They will not be available for the match against QPR on Saturday: Another setback

Any new owners may wish to review medical provision at Charlton.

Lyle Taylor turns down contract offer

Lyle Taylor has turned down what shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer has described as a good contract offer, reports Richard Cawley of the SLP: Contract offer

I have reached the point where I have had enough of Taylor's antics, good player though he his. Judging by social media, I am not the only Charlton fan that feels that way.

In Bowyer we trust.

However, an alternative view is that he does not have to accept the first offer. My sense is that he wants out and there is not much that even potential new owners could do about it.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Takeover is on track

The Charlton takeover is on track after concerns were raised by the EFL about the Abu Dhabi consortium's links to Manchester City. Assurances have been given that the readies are coming from private funds and it is not a backdoor takeover by global football business City Football Group: Takeover latest

The collapse of Bury has put increasing pressure on the EFL to ensure that its tests are stringent. The EFL's conduct was criticised by a House of Commons committee.

The role of the Gulf States in football is a very interesting topic as we enter the 3rd decade of the century. It is in large part an exercise of 'soft' power. China has also seen its potential and has taken a stake in City Football Group which is the first really global football business.

Charlton will be thus moving in with the movers and shakers of global football, something that not every fan will like but probably unavoidable if the club is to succeed. At least it beats being owned by a tinpot Belgian.

Agenda Publishing will be bringing out Kieran Maguire's book on these topics next month and my own book is due for submission to the Newcastle and Stratford upon Avon based publishers in July.

Roland ready to rant claims Ramsgate fan

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted, 'Hearing we might get a Roland rant, directed at the EFL over the Charlton takeover delay, unless things move forward soon. Not sure ESI would want that intervention though.' Well, indeed.

I know that some fans are concerned about the delay. The EFL test is more limited than it should be, but at least it needs to be done thoroughly. 75 staff to cover all the EFL's work is not a lot.

Some people have doubted the veracity of the Rickster's statement. He did at one time claim that a takeover was imminent and it didn't happen. I have found out the source of that report and if I had had access that source, I would have run with the story.

For the avoidance of doubt, I no longer have any sources inside the club as I did in the Curbishley era.

Scilly sacking

My first live television appearance in 1962

After nearly 60 years of media work, I have got the sack for the first time. Actually, that is not strictly accurate. When commercial radio started in this country, I did work occasionally for BRMB in Birmingham.

When it first opened it was at least part Canadian owned and I sometimes worked with a Canadian who regarded himself as something of a shock jock in an attempt to stimulate calls. What we usually got was someone in a phone box in Kidderminster asking why Enoch Powell wasn't prime minister.

I got the heave ho after I commented in what I thought was an objective fashion on the then civil war in the Labour Party, but I was obviously too objective because complaints came in from both the left and the right.

At least I didn't make the same gaffe as the advice columnist on the air (who was a priest):

  • Yes, my son?
  • I am on New Street station and I've lost my job and my wife has left me and I am going to end it all.
  • We will we be right with you after the commercial break.
  • 'British Rail makes the going easy.' (I should say that someone on the station intervened).

Radio Scilly

Anyway, I have now been sacked by Radio Scilly as mainland football correspondent. For the avoidance of doubt, I wasn't actually sacked as I didn't have a contract of employment as I worked for free.

When the station was first set up, I used to contribute to the live sports show on a Friday evening which was presented by someone I knew who managed the airport. He has now moved to the mainland.

The loneliness of the island goalkeeper. The sports show presenter waits for some action.

However, the line kept going down so I switched to a pre-recorded Saturday morning slot. Earlier this year the fourth set of managers, largely from the mainland, took over. I was then asked to stop talking about up country teams, particularly from South London.

The Garrison Field stadium, home to the Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers

This was fair enough. The local two team league was covered by the permanent employee (who played for one of the teams). But as was pointed out this wasn't the competition that people were talking about in the pubs. They were discussing the Premier League and the Champions League.

In the last few months I have been focusing on Plymouth Argyle and Truro City and I now know more about these clubs than I would wish to know. Then in November the breakfast show presenter, whom I count as a friend, was made redundant. I was removed from the presenters' forum. Some of the other presenters have encouraged me to continue sending material, but it has not been downloaded for broadcasting.

In such a small community I know how easy it is to upset people. If you are seen talking to A, you may offend B. I would like to emphasise that I am not criticising the islander who has remained on the board of the radio station and will continue contributing to the magazine edited by his wife, also someone I regard as a friend.

Pastures new

I have told a new station that has just got its Ofcom licence that I would be happy to be their football correspondent. I have also decided to record occasional podcasts which will combine broader football news with a Charlton angle. I am working on one on China at the moment.

Mad as Hatters, but Charlton should cry foul

Luton Town are finding it a financial struggle to compete in the Championship, not a surprise: Gary Sweet talks about Luton's financial constraints

Kieran Maguire of the PriceofFootball is now the leading academic analyst of football finance living in the UK. The estimable Swiss Ramble lives, of course, in Switzerland. I am greatly looking forward to Kieran's book on the subject which is coming out in January and which will be reviewed here. Subject to the consent of VOTV editor His Worship Rick Everitt I will also review it there from a Charlton angle.

Kieran is publishing with Agenda and my own book on football with them is due for submission in July. One of Kieran's strong (and justified) views is about Championship finance.

I think that the linked article is wrong in saying that Luton have the smallest budget in the Championship. That honour belongs to Charlton Athletic, currently owned by barmy Belgian Roland Duchatelet.

If the new owners from Abu Dhabi are approved by the EFL, and I don't see why there should be any objection, that is likely to change. Shell shocked Charlton supremo Lee Bowyer may then look less grim faced.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Bowyer hopes Taylor will stay

Shocked supremo Lee Bowyer hopes to keep Lyle Taylor at Charlton at least until the summer: Lyle Taylor plea

Bowyer hopes that the takeover will be sorted soon as reporting lines are now confused. Steve Gallen still talks to Roland, while other people are appearing and giving instructions.

However, the EFL is not well staffed for its range of tasks.

Juventus forward: I loved playing for Charlton

32-year old Eni Aluko was the top scorer for Juventus in her first season there. The former England player has a first class degree in Law from Brunel University But she loved her time at Charlton she told Four Four Two.

She was asked, 'You signed for Charlton in 2004 and actually received a fee to play. How did that feel?' She replied, 'At Birmingham I was paying to play, but then suddenly I was at Charlton and getting paid £100 a game. I could go out and buy myself some new trainers. It was a massive shift, not just professionally but personally too. I was travelling to London at least twice a week at the age of 16 and sometimes getting the last train back. I had to grow up pretty quickly.'

'After I had been at Charlton for three years, the women's team folded because the men's side got relegated from the Premier League. [I think there was a bit more to it than that]. Chelsea wanted to sign me and Casey Stoney. We both loved playing for Charlton and probably would have stayed if the team hadn't folded.'

I remember going to see the women's league cup final at Wycombe Wanderers. The Gooners thought it would be easy, but Charlton won. Eluko scored a superb goal. When it was shown at The Valley, even the Bloke Behind Me praised it.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Teams below us do us a favour

Charlton are bottom of the form table but remain 17th in the real table. Only one team below us won yesterday: Barnsley secured a 5-3 win over next week's opponents, the Super Hoops.

Shell shocked QPR manager Mark Warburton said: 'We've let ourselves down, it's as simple as that. We've had a few heated words in the dressing room. It could have been seven-all. We can't give away soft goals and expect to win.' Of course, this will fire them up to redeem themselves next Saturday.

Reading, now managed by former Addick Mark Bowen, ground out a 0-0 draw at Stoke. Karlan Grant scored an equaliser for Huddersfield at Wigan, admittedly a very good goal. Boro lost 3-1 at Abertawe. Luton lost 2-1 at Preston.

Of course, if we had preserved our lead on Friday we would have overtaken Derby who were ram raided 0-1 at home by a team from New Cross.

We can't rely on the results of other teams, but it's helpful when they go our way. The Football League Paper said today that Charlton are 'low on confidence'. There is a spread on Darren Pratley on the back page, but it seems to be recycled from the SLP.

Many are pinning their homes on the January transfer window, but it can be difficult to get value there. However, to stay up we just need three teams to perform less well than us.

BTW, someone was asking the other day how many staff the EFL have. Not easy to find, but Kieran Maguire of the PriceofFootball tells me it is a total of 75. Not a lot given their responsibilities.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Bowyer clarifies 'strange things' comment

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer has clarified his 'strange things' comment after his meeting with potential new chairman Matt Southall which aroused concern among some fans. He simply meant that some things would be done differently (no bad thing): Meeting with Southall was positive

It seems to me that, although last night was very disappointing, some fans are getting into panic mode. Applying the Owners' and Directors' test to the new owners is bound to take some time and it needs to be done properly. However, it is quite limited in its scope as it is essentially concerned with matters such as unspent convictions and insolvency which are hardly likely to be issues.

Some fans are forecasting relegation unless there is a big spending spree. It is difficult to get value in the January window. As Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'The winless run is frustrating but we saw enough tonight to remember that we can tough our way out of it. Still players to come back. We need 5 wins and 6 more draws now to hit 45 points which should be enough to stay up,'

After sixty-six years of supporting Charlton, I am used to some ups and downs.

Jonny Williams should be on the bench at QPR. He could not be risked last night.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Another blow at the death

For the second time in a week, Charlton conceded a 96th minute goal to draw 2-2 with Hull at The Valley tonight. What is with Charlton? Is there a lack of resilience with the players, a tendency to panic in time added on (which always seems longer than for other teams)? It should be pointed out that Dillon Phillips kept Hull at bay with some good saves.

The game got off to a rather slow start, although the Addicks probably had the better of the opening exchanges. The main excitement was a fan in a Mr Blobby outfit.

Then on 36 minutes Gallagher put in a corner to the back post and the 36-year old Pratley scored with a header. On 42 minutes Morgan put the ball past the post from distance.

Louis Mendez commented on the first half: 'Not the free flowing stuff we may have seen earlier in the season but solid and a clear improvement on recent weeks.'

Inevitably Hull equalised just after half time. A low ball came in from the left and a tap in was all that was required of danger man Bowen. But three minutes later Naby Sarr made it 2-1. The move started from the back, Leko put in a cross and Sarr slammed the ball home.

On 67 minutes Morgan was replaced by Oshilaja. On 69 minutes there was great defending from Pratley. On 71 minutes Bonne headed a good Hull corner clear. Three minutes later Phillips made a superb save from Bowen. Taylor came on at the 81 minute mark.

With five minutes added on, Gallagher and Leko used their pace to try and keep the ball in the Hull half. On 93 minutes Phillips made a fine save to keep out a header.

Then the final blow came from Keane Lewis-Potter, the Hull substitute. His header was forced towards goal from a last-ditch free-kick and a gamble to nothing. Dillon Phillips couldn't quite get across to stop this effort and bounces off him and the inside of the post for the equaliser.

Lee Bowywr was 'devastated' in his post match interview with Louis Mendez and resorted to a number of 'flippings'. The equaliser came in time added on to time added on. The interview with Louis Mendez can be read here: Devastated

Attendance was 14,447 (524 away). The match marked 50 years of supporting Charlton for VOTV editor Rick Everitt.

Charlton need some light at the end of the tunnel

Richard Cawley of the SLP reviews Charlton's situation ahead of tonight's game with Hull City: Need some light at the end of the tunnel

Let's hope it's not the train coming the other way on Friday 13th.

Cawley notes, 'Tuesday night’s shift to a 3-4-3 formation – Chris Solly and Ben Purrington playing in the wing roles – was a move borne out of necessity. The Addicks boss has long been at the point of hammering square pegs into round holes.'

He adds, 'Lyle Taylor – such a potent force – is easing his way back from three months out with knee ligament damage. No Jonny Williams, such a vibrant attacking presence in the opening weeks of the season. He opened up opponents with his pace and quick changes of direction.'

The CAS Trust preview, noting that the bookies have us ending up one place off relegation, is here: Get behind the team

The excerpts I saw of this week's Leeds versus Hull fixture suggested that Hull can be effective at counter attacks which may be an issue given our defensive frailties.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Driesen blocked Bowyer target

Tom Eaves was a summer target for Lee Bowyer, but his signing was blocked by statistical genius Thomas Drisen: Bowyer blocked

ESI interviewed by EFL

Charlton's prospective new owners, East Street Investments, have been interviewed by the EFL in the last 48 hours and are relaxed about the process: Bowyer in Limbo

It is unclear when approval will be given.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

May be difficult to hold on to Taylor

There are bound to be approaches for Lyle Taylor in the January transfer window and if a Premier League club comes in for him, it will be difficult to hold on to him says besieged boss Lee Bowyer: Interest in Taylor is one million per cent certain

The personal interviews between the EFL and the proposed new board of directors as part of the owners' and directors' test are yet to take place, but it is hoped they will be held before Christmas.

ESI takeover cost over £50m

The Guardian looks at the mood among Charlton fans as the Roland era comes to an end: New owners at Charlton

This is the first time I have seen a valuation put on the takeover at 'over £50m'. If accurate, it is about £10m short of Roland's target figure.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Charlton lose Relegation League game

Charlton were defeated 0-1 by Huddersfield Town in tonight's Relegation League battle at The Valley. In time added on, a pass out by Solly was intercepted and a Huddersfield substitute scored.

Up to then the game had been heading for a dire draw. Charlton were not impressive and gave away possession far too easily. They posed little threat up front.

The start of the game was held up after the Huddersfield Town coach was delayed. They had asked Roland for the best route into the ground.

The main feature of the first half was the weather. Torrential rain drove fans in the lower portion of the Covered End back from the front rows.

Neither side showed much in the way of a cutting edge. Charm merchant Karlan Grant was booed by the Covered End every time he got a touch of the ball.

Huddersfield applied more pressure after the break and Dillon Phillips had to make some good saves. Lockyer put in a crucial block, as did Solly.

The arrival of Lyle Taylor from the bench lifted morale. He did get the ball in the net but was played offside by Naby Sarr. Bowyer thought he was onside. Louis Mendez has checked photographs and was onside. Sarr then managed to allow the visitors to mount a counter attack after a sloppy pass, leading Lockyer to get a yellow card for a hand ball. Lockyer was not happy.

Charlton failed to register an attempt on target all game. They remain 17th, but Reading one place below have two games in hand.

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer said: 'Trust me, no one's hurting any more than what I am and what the players are. It's a good test for us mentally to come through this and once we start getting players back we'll be picking up more points. We'll get through it.'

Report from Louis Mendez here: Added time strike sinks Addicks

Lyle Taylor has tweeted, 'I think the key problem at the moment is that the majority of our first team players are having to play every game. I feel like this is why we are not seeing the same bodies on the line performances as earlier in the season. They're shattered.'

Will Karlan Grant score tonight?

Charlton fans have a chance to renew their acquaintance with Karlan Grant when Huddersfield visit The Valley tonight. Former players have a habit of scoring against us.

Grant has been directly involved in 59% of Huddersfield's 22 league goals this season (11 goals, 2 assists), the highest ratio of any player in the Championship.

Huddersfield are currently 21st in the Championship, but two places above second from bottom Charlton in the form table. They have won two, drawn two and lost five away from home.

The Addicks are without a win in eight matches, while the Terriers have gone five games without a victory. This is the first league meeting between Charlton and Huddersfield since January 2016, a 5-0 win for the Terriers at the John Smith's Stadium.

Huddersfield have lost just one of their past five visits to Charlton in all competitions (W2 D2 L1), winning their most recent game there in September 2015. Charlton are winless in eight league games (D2 L6), losing the past three in a row. They last lost four consecutive league games back in March 2017.

Huddersfield are winless in their past five league games (D2 L3), having been unbeaten in the seven before that (W4 D3) as they benefited from a new manager effect.

Charlton have used more different players (28), and made more changes to their starting XI (57) than any other Championship side this season, reflecting our injury problems. In a further blow, Lee Bowyer has admitted that Lyle Taylor's minutes tonight will be 'limited': Can't chuck him in

CAFC Facts and Stats have pointed out that 'anything less than three points this evening will see the Addicks go nine games without a league win and be on a par with the club's worst league run since 28th November 2015 - 12th January 2016 when they also went 9 without a win under the stewardship of Karel Fraeye.'

Six clubs 'looking at' Taylor

Various media reports are claiming that six clubs including three Premiership sides are 'looking at' Lyle Taylor with a view to making an offer in the January transfer window: Lyle Taylor

They can look as much as they like, but hopefully the new owners will resist any bids and offer him a new contract. As for fans who say they would be happy to see him go because he is a prima donna, it is his performance on the pitch, not social media, that interests me.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Jason Pearce apologises

Jason Pearce has apologised to the Charlton fans who made the long trip to Middlesbrough, saying that the performance wasn't good enough and they hope to do better against Huddersfield on Tuesday: Captain's apology

The moaners are starting to crawl out from under their stones, a few even calling for Lee Bowyer to go. We had a thin squad to start with and it has been ravaged by injuries to key players. Better times are ahead.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

First minute goal defeats Charlton

Charlton are 18th in the Championship after losing 1-0 at Middlesbrough today. Boro needed just 52 seconds to score as George Saville pounced after Britt Assombalonga's shot had taken a deflection and Ashley Fletcher kept the ball alive. The Addicks, who have won just twice in 14 games since mid-September, created no chances of note in a performance that will worry stunned supremo Lee Bowyer.

Bowyer later said that the display was 'not good enough': Accepts display wasn't good enough

The only positive for Charlton was that Lyle Taylor returned after more than three months out with injury as a half-time substitute.

Saville almost doubled the lead after eight minutes, and Hayden Coulson came close to scoring after a defensive blunder. It was more of the same after the break as Tavernier volleyed over from four yards after an hour and Dillon Phillips saved well as Fletcher went close late on for Boro.

Conor Gallagher had Charlton's best effort with 20 minutes to go, but having turned his man well and run into the penalty area, he curled an effort wide.

Further cause for concern is that Oztumer has done his ankle ligaments and will be out for a few weeks. Aneke broke down as he returned to training on Thursday with a new injury.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Lacklustre Addicks beaten again

Friday, 6 December 2019

Never mind the record, just feel the hope

Our record against Middlesbrough away is poor, but CAS Trust are calling for a positive outlook on Saturday's game: Be positive

It's not all sunshine and light at Boro. Striker Ashley Fletcher has tried to raise spirits by saying the vibe is nowhere near as bad as when he was relegated with Sunderland.

That hardly inspires confidence, nor does his statement 'We go into the Charlton game thinking we can beat them.'

We last won at 'Boro in the Premier League in 2005 (3-0).

Popular new chairman Matt Southall will be at the game. David White has tweeted, 'Met the new owner this morning: My first impressions are that he is intelligent, articulate, humorous, very down to earth and gets Charlton.'

Those fans who made the long and disrupted trek north will have a special reward as Louis Mendez has reported that Iain Dowie is in the stadium, giving a chance to thank him personally for all he did for the club.

New owners want Cullen deal

The new owners at Charlton want to make Josh Cullen's deal with the club permanent: ESI keen on deal

New chairman Matt Southall was part of a different consortium that tried to buy the club off Richard Murray in 2010, but instead it was sold to the 'spivs'.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ex Palace midfielder training with Addicks

Former Palace midfielder Joe Ledley is training with Charlton.

He was released by Palace in the summer: Career details

Aneke and Taylor back in training

Chuks Aneke and Lyle Taylor are back in full training today and should be available for the bench for Saturday's six pointer at Middlesbrough: Big boost for Bowyer

Bowyer admitted that there have been problems with Aneke who 'keeps breaking down', but the sagacious supremo said 'We haven't seen the best of him yet.' Let's hope he's right.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

No threat to bid

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted, 'There have been rumours that ESI takeover bid has been rejected by the EFL. I've been told that is absolutely NOT the case and that EFL have been very accommodating in changing their diaries so interview process is this week.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Who is bankrolling Charlton?

The following statement by Richard Cawley in the SLP confused some fans: 'Nimer is majority shareholder in ESI, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Business Development - Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, although he is not investing any of his money in the venture.'

What Cawley meant was that the Sheikh was not investing. Cawley clarified recently: 'I asked the question if the Al Nahyan family were investing and was told that Nimer is the man bankrolling it. I was also told that he has huge sums of personal wealth.'

In a further clarification, Cawley tweeted: 'I don't know if he is hugely wealthy. It's what I've been told. I didn't put that in the paper, as how do I verify that?'

The SLP also revealed that Richard Murray will continue to sit in the directors' box at Charlton, although no longer a director.

Richard Cawley has also reported, 'Some of the sponsors previously associated with the club – but driven away during Duchatelet’s reign – have made contact since news broke of an impending buyout of the unpopular Belgian indicating they could be ready to come back.'

Abu Dhabi's strategy

The Financial Times has a major article on Abu Dhabi this morning. It is centred around the City Football Group, owners of Manchester City, but there a few insights that might be relevant to Charlton under its new owners.

The Pink 'Un notes that Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the wealthiest of the emirates. One of the drivers for Abu Dhabi is to maintain its image in contrast to brasher Dubai.

It also notes that the emirate has particularly close links with China and Singapore.

There is a mandate to channel oil wealth into international investments, not least in sport and taking a long-term view.

Meire could be banned from football

Katrien Meire has been charged with misconduct by the EFL and could be banned from football: Misconduct charge

The charges do not relate to her depredations at Charlton, but her time at Sheffield Wednesday and the sale of Hillsborough to the club's owner to deal with financial fair play issues.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Baggies in cup

Charlton have been drawn at home to West Bromwich Albion in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Louis Mendez thinks it could be a Sunday game as we are playing Swansea City on Thursday, Also Millwall and Palace have been drawn at home.

This is a repeat of the 2008 draw which saw the Addicks exit after a replay.

Fans are understandably not very excited by the draw. At least it's not Gillingham.

Injury update

Lee Bowyer has provided an injury update: Injured players return

Aneke and Taylor should be on the bench at Boro and Jonny Williams should be available against Hull on Friday 13th.

Kayal's injury is more complicated than originally thought and he has returned to Brighton for treatment and the benefits of sea breezes.

Early completion of owners' and directors' test

East Street Investments is hoping that the interviews for the EFL owners' and directors' test can be completed by the end of the week, reports Richard Cawley of the SLP.

There should not be any difficulty about criminal convictions or insolvency. As far as I know, no other clubs are going through the process at the moment: the EFL can only handle one club at a time.

Some fans have expressed concern at the relatively small boost to the home crowd on Saturday. However, the takeover was only announced on Friday and supporters might already have made plans for Saturday with the early kick off making things more difficult.

However, we should not expect all old fans to return. We always lose some in any one year because they move some distance away or start families. A number of people I know have developed new interests which occupy them on Saturdays.

The Wembley attendance is not relevant as that included friends and families who would not normally attend and also fans who came from a long way away. I know of quite a few fans who now live in Spain and can only attend matches occasionally.

Taylor return could boost bottom of form table team

Charlton are now bottom of the form table, but Desi Oshilaja reckons that if Lyle Taylor returns at Boro it will give the team a boost: Taylor return hopes

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Author shares his Valley memories

Published Charlton author Paul Breen celebrates the change of ownership at the club and shares some of his personal memories of The Valley: Date with destiny

On another topic, who do I not want to see back at The Valley: Richard Murray as life president as has been suggested. We already have a life president. Murray is welcome as a paying customer.

But I would be happy to see mascots Floyd and Harvey back.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Illness on top of injury hits Charlton

The celebration party for the departure of Roland from The Valley did not go well with Sheffield Wednesday winning 3-1, although Charlton stay 17th in the table.

With only five players to choose from on the bench after Ben Purrington was forced to pull out, some Charlton players were also struck down by vomiting and diarrhoea. And the Addicks' injury crisis worsened further when they had to keep Oztumer on the pitch after he suffered what looked like a hamstring strain.

Following a neat exchange of passes with Morgan Fox, Bannan curled over a superbly weighted in-swinging left-foot cross from close to the left flank and Fletcher nipped in just ahead of his marker Naby Sarr to steer home a deft header just inside Dillon Phillips' left upright.

But, just nine minutes later, the Addicks levelled out of the blue. Recalled teenager Alfie Doughty surged down the left flank to find Bonne with a low cross and the striker's half-hit left-foot shot took a deflection off Tom Lees to wrong-foot Owls keeper Cameron Dawson for his sixth goal in 11 games.

It took until 10 minutes from time for the Owls to go back in front from the spot. Murphy went down as he knocked the ball past the labouring Oztumer, the penalty was awarded and Fletcher stroked his eighth goal of the season into the bottom left-hand corner.

Bannan then proved the architect again when he picked out Nuhiu to wrap up the scoring with the simplest of headers deep into added time.

Lee Bowyer said: 'It was a tough day. We've got enough injuries, but then to chuck in a few illnesses as well doesn't help. It was a bit of everything. Sickness, diarrhoea, not good.'

'Ben Purrington was down to start, but he was ill just before we got on the coach, so we had to send him home. Then once we got here and put the team sheet in, Albie Morgan was being sick just before the game. We couldn't do anything about that. We just had to see how he went. Then again at half-time he was sick. That's why we took him off. He couldn't move in the end.'

Bowyer said he had spoken to the new owners and 'They have said that there is money to spend in January and that me and the staff are going to get proper contracts.'

Friday, 29 November 2019

Ramsgate fan: early answers from new owners 'reassuring'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt gives his reaction to the new owners of Charlton: Thank Bowyer that the Belgian is gone

The Ramsgate fan comments, 'There are still plenty of questions to be asked of the buyers and formal EFL approval to be granted, but early answers are reassuring - Lee Bowyer to be backed as manager, no plans to leave The Valley, a commitment to talk to fans.'

'All we can do as fans is give whoever is in charge the best shot, by working constructively with them when we can. In reality, Duchatelet and his stooges were so inept at running the club and so hopeless at engaging with fans that the bar has been reset exceptionally low.'

Bowyer welcomes takeover

Lee Bowyer has welcomed the takeover of Charlton by East Street Investments and in particular the prospect of proper contracts: Bowyer's reaction

Wednesday on Saturday

Many Addicks will be heading to The Valley tomorrow to celebrate the departure of Roland and to hope for victory against Sheffield Wednesday in the Katrien Meire Memorial Trophy.

Charlton will be looking to win consecutive home league games against Sheffield Wednesday for the first time since October 1988 at Selhurst Park. Sheffield Wednesday's 3-0 victory in their last meeting with Charlton in March 2016 ended a six-match winless run against the Addicks in all competitions.

Charlton are winless in their last six league games (D2 L4), last going longer without a victory in the EFL between November 2017 and January 2018 (a run of eight), in League One.

Sheffield Wednesday have won just one point from their last seven league visits to London (W0 D1 L6), failing to score in each of their last four visits to the capital.

Charlton have lost more points from winning positions (15) than any other Championship side in 2019-20, failing to win each of their last two in the competition despite scoring the opening goal in both games (vs Cardiff and Luton).

Each of Sheffield Wednesday's last six away league defeats have been by a one-goal margin, losing 2-1 in each of their last two away games against Blackburn and West Brom. During the week they drew 1-1 at home with Birmingham City.

The CAS Trust preview emphasises the important role to be played by the crowd: Threadbare Charlton

Extended contracts for Bowyer and Taylor

Once East Street Investments are in control they plan to offer extended contracts to Lee Bowyer and Lyle Taylor: First targets

New owners for club

Charlton Athletic has been sold to Abu Dhabi consortium East Street Investments: Roland has gone

East Street Investments (recalling where the club was founded) is fronted by Matt Southall, a former football agent and fitness entrepreneur. East Street Investments’ majority shareholder is wealthy businessman Tahnoon Nimer.

You can see a video interview discussing his business interests here: Tahnoon Nimer

In a statement the new club chairman Matt Southall said: 'We are privileged to take ownership of such an historic club and it is incredibly exciting to be part of the process of building a fresh future for the fans, loyal club staff and players of Charlton Athletic.'

'While we may be the club owners, truly we are only the custodians. The true spirit of this football club rests with the fans, it is nothing without them. Their support throughout some difficult times both recently and in the past has been inspirational and we intend to build on that loyalty. Our priority will be immediate contact with fan groups in order that their views play a major role in the club going forward.'

'We believe the football side of the club is in excellent hands with Lee Bowyer and what he and the players have achieved following promotion has been outstanding. We will do everything possible to support Lee’s vision and ambitions.'

'We would like to thank Roland Duchatelet, his team and the directors for helping to facilitate a quick and smooth sale. They leave the club with solid foundations on which we can invest and build. Any deal of this kind is subject to the approval of the EFL and we are now working closely with them on the final details to satisfy their Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Until that has been received, we will be making no further comment.'

But please be assured we intend to do everything within our power to bring back a true sense of pride to Charlton Athletic Football Club which is the least the fans, future generations of supporters and the community deserve.'

Given some expressions of concern, it should be emphasised that The Valley is included in the deal. It is no longer in Roland's ownership. They will also own the training ground.

Richard Murray, the so-called fans' friend, will not be on the board.

The sale price is unknown, but some wags have suggested that Roland made a special Black Friday offer.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Cullen could be out for three months

Josh Cullen could be out for three months with ankle ligaments damage and it will be at least two months, reports Richard Cawley of the SLP.

This is a huge blow as he has made a crucial contribution to our success. Even when he is back, it will a time because his sharpness returns.

Lockyer's blast at referees

Tom Lockyer thinks that referees are over protected and should face up to the media to justify their decisions after games: Should be made to front up to media after making errors

Reflecting on the loss at Luton he said, 'How the first goal is not offside is quite frightening to be honest.'

Charlton down to 17th

Charlton are down to 17th after last night's results. They are just seven points above Wigan in the first relegation place. It's always a concern when you start looking at the results of other teams and console yourself that there are three teams worse than you.

One plus from last night is that key Sheffield Wednesday defender Julian Borner picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Birmingham City and will not be available for the Massives at The Valley on Saturday: Key defender ruled out

Leko divides Charlton fans

Jonathan Leko divides Charlton fans. Some think he is lazy, does not do enough off the ball and is greedy, not passing it enough. However, he is just 20 years old and clearly has potential. Some more favourable views here: Charlton fans heap praise on 20 year old

I think he can be very good, but at other times he disappoints, but that reflects a player who is still developing.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Bowyer worried about leaky defence

Lee Bowyer says that Charlton need to tighten up the back after failing to keep a clean sheet in nine games: Defensive concerns

Charlton’s defence is by no means the leakiest in the Championship – 10 sides have conceded more – but Bowyer wants to see an improvement.

Bowyer commented, 'In League One you can get away with it, you can make a mistake. You can maybe let your runner run or let your forward pull off the back of you. You can’t do that in the Championship. You’re playing against much better players.'

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Six without a win for Charlton

It was six games without a win for an injury ravaged Charlton as they were defeated 2-1 at Luton Town tonight in front of 1,032 Addicks. There were doubts about Luton's first goal, but there is no denying that they edged it. Indeed, the scoreline could have been even worse if they had taken all their opportunities.

In another blow Conor Gallagher picked up a fifth yellow card and will not be available against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Luton hit the crossbar in the opening minute. Then on seven minutes Leko burst past the Luton defence and found himself one on one to score. It was three in three for the often criticised player and his first without a deflection.

Then on 19 minutes a Luton free kick led to a Luton corner. It was cleared but came back in and Luton equalised through Roddick-Mpanzu. The referee did consult the linesman. At first it was thought that there might have been a hint of handball, but it seems that there was a Luton player in an offside position obstructing Phillips.

Luton then dominated possession until after the half hour mark when there was some Charlton possession. On 34 minutes a free kick enabled Solly to put in a good cross but Bonne's header was just wide. Leko put in a cross across the six yard box, but there was no one there to connect. Lockyer intervened to stop Luton scoring from a counter.

On 52 minutes Pratley, who had made some good interceptions, lost out in midfield. Cornick turned provider for Brown who scored. Luton then went on to hit the post.

Sarr was replaced by Doughty. Charlton then switched to a 4-4-2 and their play improved. A Luton corner was headed away by Pratley. Gallagher hit the post. Purrington was replaced by Josh Davison on 85 minutes. Charlton had some late corners but, as happened earlier in game, they came to nothing.

Charlton have gone down to 14th on the same number of points as Hull and Birmingham.

Full report from Louis Mendez here: Luton come from behind

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer thinks that two refereeing decisions led to defeat at Luton: Refereeing decisions cost us

Having watched the highlights, Louis Mendez commented, 'Can see how the ref missed the handball but the offside decision is risible.'

Josh Cullen will be out until after Christmas with ankle ligament damage, Otzumer might be fit for Saturday.

Vennings on the bench

Teenage midfielder James Vennings will be on the bench for Charlton at Luton Town tonight as Lee Bowyer struggles with injuries: Bench role for 19 year old

Chris Solly comes back in at right back in place of Adam Matthews.

Bowyer is hoping that Lyle Taylor, Jonny Williams and Chuks Aneke could be back for the Middlesbrough game on December 7.

Luton are currently 21st in the table, nine points behind Charlton. They are second from bottom in the form table, the Addicks are sixth from bottom.

Luton have won two, drawn two and lost four at home. Charlton have won two, drawn three and lost three away.

Luton Town have won one of their past 11 games against Charlton in all competitions (W1 D4 L6). Charlton have not lost a league match against Luton since November 1993 and are unbeaten in seven since (W5 D2).

Luton have lost their past five Championship matches - only Huddersfield Town have had a longer losing run in the division this season, losing six in a row. Charlton are winless in five league games (D2 L3), their longest run under manager Lee Bowyer.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Rickster's golden jubilee

In the latest issue of Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt recalls his first visit to The Valley on December 13th 1969 to watch Charlton defeat Norwich City in front of a crowd of 8,069.

It was not the best time to start supporting Charlton. 'It happened that my first five years following Charlton were dismal ones, in which Eddie Firmani briefly, and then Theo Foley oversaw sides which fought off relegation from the Second Division, then succumbed and spent two more years showing little sign of getting back … I would soon learn that most Charlton triumphs involved the team extricating themselves from crises of their own creation.'

Everitt's experience at primary school in Welling seems to be somewhat different from mine a few miles away in Plumstead Common, admittedly fifteen years earlier. The only Charlton fan the Rickster knew at school was a teacher. As I recall, Charlton fans were thick on the ground at St. Margaret's, not least Tom Morris, later to be the club's official photographer.

I also do not recall the game being 'more marginal to everyday life.' Late every Sunday morning Charlton fans would call in at my uncle's newsagents in Lakedale Road to buy their smokes and Sunday papers and discuss Saturday's game.

Nevertheless, an excellent read. You can buy VOTV online to be sent by post for you to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your own home: Place your order.

Cullen out, Otzumer doubtful fior Luton

Josh Cullen will have a scan on his ankle today and will not be available at Luton on Tuesday evening: Key man ruled out

Ehrun Otzumer is 'touch and go' according to Lee Bowyer.

Once again, Lee Bowyer will not be able to name a full bench.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Roland hikes price for club

The Currant Bun is claiming that the sale price for the club has been increased by Roland to £60m: Price goes up

Apparently an American consortium is seriously interested as well as another consortium.

The latest Voice of the Valley suggests that Australian Andrew Muir's recent visit to Charlton may indicate a willingness to link up with another consortium.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive is involved in trying to broker a deal.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

More injury worries after score draw

Today's 2-2 score draw against Cardiff City at The Valley was arguably a fair result, but it left Charlton with more injury worries. Cullen was stretchered off with an ankle injury and my man of the match Ehrun Otzumer picked up a knock and there were other injuries as well.

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer said that he would not be able to put out a full side against Luton on Tuesday: Bowyer will struggle to name a senior eleven. Lyle Taylor was a week or two off returning.

At one time there were four players who had played in non-league in the past year on the pitch and three 19-year olds. Albie Morgan came on as a substitute for Cullen and impressed after his spell at Ebbsfleet. Debutante Doughty also played well.

Charlton started the first half very cautiously and defensively, but then broke away down the right to score the first goal. The second half was full of end-to-end incident with a penalty save by Dillon Phillips. However, finishing needed to be more clinical and defensive weaknesses were apparent. Charlton have gone down to 13th in the table.

The Bluebirds had the first clear chance of the afternoon when Mendez-Laing beat two defenders before crossing low to whingeing charm merchant Paterson, who could only hit the side netting from six yards out.

And the visitors were made to pay when Bonne ran freely down the right before beating Bennett and Curtis Nelson to cross into the six-yard box and Gallagher reacted quickest. He is now Charlton's top scorer.

Things went from bad to worse for Harris' Cardiff as Oztumer found himself in acres of space with all the time in the world to put Leko through on goal and the West Bromwich Albion loanee made no mistake.

Cardiff pressed forward after the break and were awarded a penalty when Madine was pulled down in the centre of the box when challenging for a cross. Hoilett stepped up, but his strike was tame and Phillips got down to his right to save.

But Charlton's two-goal lead did not last much longer as Mendez-Laing got a shot away following Leandro Bacuna's blocked attempt, leaving Phillips with no chance.

And it was Harris' substitution that made the telling contribution as Bennett's cross found Tomlin, who dropped the shoulder and rifled a shot into the bottom corner, sparking celebrations from the travelling fans behind the goal. This move started with two Cardiff players on one Charlton player on the Cardiff left. It is the first time Charlton have surrendered a two goal lead since the 3-2 defeat by Brighton in 2015.

It could have been even better for Harris and Cardiff when his other substitute Omar Bogle raced clear, but the striker was denied by Phillips. Both sides sensed a winner as the game opened up late on with seven minutes of time added on and Bonne almost snatched it at the death for Charlton, but Lee Peltier got his body in the way to seal the draw for Cardiff.

Cardiff manager Neil Harris saw it as a point gained rather than two lost and said: 'Roedd fel gêm pêl-fasged yn yr ail hanner-ac mae Charlton yn gallu chwarae fel hynny.'

Lee Bowyer ignored Harris's Harlem Globetrotters analogy and focused on the positives, although obviously disappointed by the result: Bowyer looks for the positives

Friday, 22 November 2019

No retirement date for Pratley

At 34 retirement is far from Darren Pratley's mind. He reckons he is one of the fittest players in the club and spends his own money to keep himself in the best condition: Spends extra money to aid his longevity

Cardiff fans hope for new manager bounce

I have been receiving messages from Cardiff fans hoping for a 'new manager bounce' tomorrow. We shall see. Harris is seeking to take inspiration from the Welsh victory against Hungary which, of course, included a Charlton player: Manager's hopes

Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic have not met since a goalless Championship draw in February 2016. Charlton have lost just one of their last 11 home league games against Cardiff - a 4-1 defeat in March 1985. Cardiff have won just two of their last 26 away league visits to London.

Charlton have not lost three consecutive league matches since March 2018.

Charlton's Chuks Aneke, who has made 11 appearances as a substitute this season, has played more times in the Championship this season without starting a match than any other player.

The CAS Trust preview recalls the 5-4 win over Cardiff: Bluebirds

Cardiff's turnover is almost six times that of Charlton: Financial comparison

Blackpool ace to replace Taylor?

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports, 'Charlton could be set to re-explore a move for Armand Gnanduillet in the January transfer window – after a deal for the Blackpool striker fell through at the end of the last deadline. The 27-year-old forward is out of contract at the end of this season and has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season.

Gnanduillet bagged a brace last weekend in a 2-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon to take his League One haul for the campaign to 10. He is two goals behind Peterborough’s Ivan Toney and Mohamed Eisa, who have both previously been targets for Addicks manager Lee Bowyer.

Charlton were at an advanced stage with Gnanduillet but the deal collapsed late on. The Addicks will definitely move for a striker if they lose Lyle Taylor at the start of 2020 – with Brentford expected to renew their attempts to sign him.'

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Bench will have gaps on Saturday

Lee Bowyer saying that he will not be able to fill the bench for the game versus Cardiff on Saturday, reports Richard Cawley of the SLP. This is after the return of Albie Morgan from his loan spell at Ebbsfleet. He doesn't think it is fair to put loads of untested kids on there.

Bowyer said, 'We've got a 23 or 22-man squad and 10 are out.' Defence is about the only area where the Addicks do have adequate options. Defensive midfield role is an issue because Darren Pratley is suspended and Sam Field (knee) is injured.

A new issue of Voice of the Valley will be on sale on Saturday. Earlier it had been feared that Rick Everitt's enhanced municipal duties might have delayed publication.

Bowyer says that he will have to try a new way of playing on Saturday: Trying out a new shape