Friday, 10 April 2020

Limited edition of VOTV to go on sale

A special limited lockdown edition of Voice of the Valley will be on sale at the end of next week. It will be posted out to subscribers as usual but it can be ordered as a single copy for you to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your own home at Voice of the Valley .

Satisfied customer Mr A.B. of Selhurst says: 'It always comes under plain cover in a brown envelope and my postman has never suspected I am an Addick.'

As well as full coverage of the ownership shambles at The Valley, it also contains the nostalgic meanderings of the usual suspects.

Missing the football

Photographer and VOTV contributor Kyle Andrews talks about missing the football, but also about what Charlton has meant to him in terms of changing his life. Nice to see Luke Young get star billing. I can see in my mind's eye his opening goal in the 2-0 evening victory against Liverpool at The Valley: Kyle Andrews

Thursday, 9 April 2020

56 day finish to season

The English Football League thinks that games, including play offs, could be played in 56 days with two matches a week once it is safe to resume. Games would be played behind closed doors: League plan

If it started at the beginning of June, the season would then finish in mid-July, followed by a short break before the new season.

Hopefully games could be shown on Valley Pass, free for season ticket holders and at a nominal fee for others.

Loans and contracts would be extended.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Two new directors appointed

A third Romanian - Andrei Mihail - has been appointed to board of Charlton owners East Street Investments, together with sports lawyer Chris Farnell, reports VOTV editor Rick Everitt.

Farnell, who previously acted for deposed Charlton chairman Matt Southall and has recently represented majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer, was Bury's lawyer in the run-up to their expulsion from the EFL last year. Among other deals, he was involved in the 2014 takeover of Leeds United by Massimo Cellino.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Other clubs that I quite like

Whilst in lockdown and deprived of football I have been having various random reflections. I was thinking the other day about teams I quite like. It doesn't mean I don't want Charlton to beat them when we play them, but I am quite well disposed to them.

Top of the list comes Brighton and Hove Albion. Their rivalry with Palace qualifies them, but they also have links with the West Sussex branch of CASC of which I am a member. Indeed, after a Charlton victory at Huddersfield one Christmas I went with Brian Cole to see them play at Rotherham.

Going along the south coast, Southampton have to get a mention. My son-in-law is a season ticket holder as are two other good friends.

Carrying on along the south coast, I always look for the results of Exeter where I once lived. Torquay United have to battle against the indifference of an incoming retired population. I admire the dedication of Plymouth Argyle's Green Army with their long trips to away games.

Elsewhere in London I quite like Brentford who seem to be a similar club to Charlton. A good friend is a season ticket holder.

I find it difficult to identify a club in the Midlands as it is too close to home, but if pressed I would say Leicester City where I went to uni.

Heading further north, Tranmere Rovers are a friendly club embedded in their community. Burnley is a traditional club that punches above its weight. A good friend is a supporter and I went there to watch a game against Hull for his 60th birthday.

Last but not least, there is a special link between Charlton and Sunderland and I am looking forward to watching the Netflix series 'Sunderland till I die.'

What would be your nominations?

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Millwall can't beat us today

We should have playing Millwall today. Apart from disappointment at missing out on their usual win, Millwall have been making big efforts to move their supporter base up market - with some success as the picture shows.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Charlton losses total £70m

Reviewing Charlton's accounts, football finance guru Kieran Maguire notes that the Addicks have clocked up losses of £70 million over the years and are reliant on owner loans for survival.

The club paid out £133 in wages for every £100 of income. This is way above the recommended Uefa recommended maximum of £70, although such figures are not unusual in the Championship. The accounts, of course, relate to League One where it is a high figure.

Maguire thinks that the £21m of loans converted before the transaction with East Street suggests that he is owed about £48m. He comments, 'Still unclear whether ESI has 100% of the shares of Charlton and whether Duchacelet could end up with control if payments are not made.'

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Field returning from injury

A recovering Sam Field could yet play a part in Charlton's campaign if the Championship season is not cancelled all together. The loan player chose to have an injection rather than an operation for his knee injury: Break in fixtures helps midfielder

Lewis Page is running again, but is some way off fitness.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Charlton owes Roland £67m

Charlton's debt to Roland Duchatelet stood at £67m last June, newly published accounts for 2018/19 state, reports VOTV editor Rick Everitt. Usual caveat - this includes what he paid the previous owners for the club in January 2014. RD left that sum on the books as debt and charged the club interest on its own purchase price.

Operating loss for 2018/19 was £11.9m compared to £13.3m in 17/18, mainly the result of additional income from play-offs and reduced operating expenses. Turnover was £7.9m, up from £7.3m. Staff costs were £10.4m from £10.2m, probably reflecting player bonuses.

The club reports it has received £4.2m for player disposals since June 30th last year and paid out £221k. This is up to date as the accounts were not finalised until March 24th. Profit on player disposals was £2.9m in 18/19, down from £4.0m in 17/18.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Update on the cash situation

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'I approached Charlton Athletic for a statement over whether they had funding for the next few months. There was definite fears amongst staff that the money would run out by April. EFL have since pushed forward a payment due to the coronavirus pandemic.'

'The response I've got is that Tahnoon Nimer will be investing funds to keep the club running and that the first of those will be in April. The club have also indicated they will be paying existing creditors but will be reviewing all new creditors from the start of this season on a "case-by-case basis"'.

This doesn't sound too hopeful for them and suggests that cash may be in short supply. Cawley has clarified his statement on this point by adding 'I'm surmising that they don't believe every creditor from the start of this season should be paid or has a valid claim to be paid by the club.'

'EFL's stance - as it has been since early January - is that source and sufficiency of funding needs to be satisfied for them to approve ESI takeover.'

Tahnoon Nimer has issued a statement saying he will not sell the club: No intention to sell

Richard Cawley has commented: 'Of course, even if you were looking to sell a club then you wouldn't necessarily shout it from the rooftops. I'd also say that any serious buyers would surely factor in current situation globally. Plenty of wealthy people seen huge sums wiped off stocks and shares.

Autumn relegation for Addicks?

Lee Bowyer has no idea when football will resume, but reckons it won't be any time soon: It's a guessing game

There is increasing talk of the season resuming in August, followed by a truncated competition once this season's fixtures are finished. Charlton could thus be relegated in October.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Holding company accounts published

The annual accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd, signed off by Roland, have been published by Companies House and can be viewed online here: Holding company

Because they have used the small companies format they disclose relatively little of any interest.

Rick Everitt notes: 'Annual rent of £50k from CAFC Ltd added to amount due; increase of £4m in cash held.'

Friday, 27 March 2020

ESI have five year window

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'My understanding of the "legal obligation" for ESI to purchase The Valley and TG is that the six months mentioned is when the option starts. It then runs until 2025. So a five-year window before Duchatelet is able to force the completion through.'

I can only see this being resolved through long and complex legal proceedings. Meanwhile, the club will suffer.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Cawley's intriguing tweet

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'Jonathan Heller interview won't be in tomorrow's paper. Can't explain more at this point. Hope that we will still be able to publish in the near future.'

Make of that what you will. The plot thickens. Possibly legal obstacles?

Richard Cawley has subsequently stated that there is no injunction. 'Just fact we have to have things legally squared off.'

In the latest legal news, Cawley has tweeted:'Laurence Bassini says he is set to commence legal action tomorrow against CAFC and Matt Southall over consultancy fees he alleges he is due in regard to the takeover of the club.'

Richard Cawley further reports, 'Laurence Bassini says he is ready to buy Charlton Athletic and has submitted proof of funds to Chris Farnell. Says he is ready to spend around £40million to purchase the club and freeholds of land.'

In my view he would not be welcome as our owner. He has a chequered history in football.

The accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd. for 2018/19 have been lodged with Companies House and are now being processed. They should be available to read online in five days time.

Sad death of super fan

Saddened to hear of the death of super fan Seb Lewis who completed 22 years of consecutive Charlton games. He was 38: 1000 in a row

Referring to 'one of our family gone', Big Dave Lockwood reflected the thoughts of many when he tweeted: 'Charlton won’t be Charlton without Seb. Owners players staff come and go but fans are constant, Seb was the ultimate fan. Everywhere Charlton went he went. It just won’t be the same.'

Matt Wright tweeted: 'Horrendous news that Charlton's most loyal supporter has died due to the coronavirus. A huge loss for everyone connected with Charlton, but most of all his family and friends. When life resumes many things just won't be the same.'

Lee Bowyer has led the tributes to Seb: Super fan

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Nimer may sell club

Tahnoon Nimer could sell Charlton before the takeover is ratified by the EFL. Having paid £1 for the club, he is reported to be asking for at least £2m: Club for sale

It is understood there is at least one “substantial” interested party, while another ended negotiations due to the complexity of the deal.

Richard Cawley has commented, 'No-one from club side has indicated that [a sale is taking place]. Lot of wealthy individuals have their fortunes tied up in stocks and shares - coronavirus has seen a lot of value wiped off in current climate.'

Deadline for takeover reversal has passed

One can usually rely on Richard Cawley of the SLP for an authoritative interpretation of developments at Charlton, but the rapid and bewildering pace of events is making his task much harder than usual.

He has tweeted: 'My understanding is that the ex-directors' deadline for the Charlton takeover to be unpicked back to Roland Duchatelet has passed. The question is what happens next. And no, I don't know the answer to that.'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has now clarified: 'VOTV has learned that the Charlton ex-directors have received no response to their legal letter and that there is a second deadline next week at which point they will seek an injunction to reverse the sale of CAFC Limited. Source is adamant they will proceed.'

Tweeting from his Ramsgate fastness, the Rickster added: 'Can also now confirm that the three CAFC ex-directors set to seek the injunction are Derek Chappell, Bob Whitehand and David Sumners, whose outstanding loans total £2.65m. They are also likely to seek costs. Others not involved at this stage.'

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Bowyer did not know about his anniversary

With training suspended sombre supremo Lee Bowyer did not realise that Sunday saw him complete two years as manager at Charlton: Wasn't aware of his mini milestone

Charlton have not set a date for the squad to return to training, but all players have individual fitness programmes to follow at home.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Nimer to put in cash

Tahnoon Nimer has told Sky that he will immediately inject money into Charlton to see the club through the Coronavirus crisis: Nimer assures club's future

Nimer alleges that Matt Southall took £1.8m out of the club.

Come back, Roland, all is forgiven?

The social media war between Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall is hardly an edifying spectacle to say the least and one can understand why some ex-directors might consider we would be better off with Roland back in charge.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has commented, 'The question people should really ask themselves is, if Southall and Nimer are as dodgy as each implies of the other, why did they ever get involved with each other, and why did Heller get ever involved with either of them?'

Southall is now claiming that Nimer planned to demolish The Valley and build 1,000 flats, using the receipts to pay Duchatelet and moving Charlton to Crystal Palace while building a stadium on the Greenwich peninsula. This sounds like a fantasy made up a mixture of past events and half formulated plans.

Meanwhile, Romanian news website Pro Sport is reporting that Matt Southall is being investigated for 'ordering a murder' on Tahnoon Nimer’s lawyer Chris Farnell. This would imply that being a lawyer is a more hazardous occupation than many of us realised. However, Louis Mendez has 'Just had a quick look through the expenses list leaked by Nimer, but it doesn’t seem to mention “hitman” anywhere.' Whilst I have never had occasion to hire a hitman, I would have thought that they don't come cheap.

The report is in Romanian, but if you know any Romance languages, you can get the gist of it (usefully it includes a link to a service for exchanging confidential documents with lawyers): Hiring a hitman

The rather long and florid headline states: 'Mega-scandal at the club in England taken over by Claudiu Florica. Novel discoveries in Charlton's accounting. Former president is under investigation for ordering a murder.'

Mendez notes that there are 'Plenty of interesting costs listed in there. Modish Decor, a Cheshire based design company being one. No idea if that can be linked to [a] house, currently being refurbished. Also a large payment to 17media is listed - appears to be a company where Southall’s wife Jade is active.'

Some of this borders on the ludicrous and farcical, but it is damaging the reputation of the club at a time when it is already not well regarded by the EFL. It also does nothing to sort out the many challenges we face on and off the pitch.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

New board member talks about the funds issue

New board member Marian Mihail has talked to CAS Trust about his role at the club. The analogy the sports lawyer uses is that of a paramedic who comes in to patch up the patient and enable them to survive: Marian Mihail

He stated that 'there was no problem with the sufficiency of funds, just the source. He said that TN had been to banks in Egypt and Abu Dhabi in recent days and had supplied the EFL with further documents (statements and letters of support).'

'He understood the EFL's caution in the light of Bolton and Bury but the problem was that they might require documentation in a form which are not common in non EU countries. Nevertheless, they await feedback from EFL both on the new documents and on the Owners and Directors’ Test, to which both of them have submitted.

He 'is only too aware that there is considerable scepticism among Charlton fans about ESI. He recognises that satisfactory proof of source and sufficiency of funds is a necessary step to build some trust and confidence. He said that this is one of the reasons that the board won’t communicate very often until this is resolved.'

Elsewhere, the EFL has dropped charges against Katrien Meire, although not against Sheffield Wednesday.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Nimer claims police interest in Southall

In his latest social media statement, Tahnoon Nimer claims that Matt Southall is subject for a police enquiry for actions which clearly amount to gross misconduct.

Nimer also promises a full and independent investigation into Southall's 'extravagant lifestyle at the expense of the club.'

Louis Mendez has tweeted: 'enjoyable as this social media-based bout of handbags is, I imagine there’s an appetite amongst some fans for this nonsense to be taken behind closed doors and only the issue of securing the future of the club being dealt with forthwith between Nimer and the EFL.'

Romanians join board

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports that the two additions made by Tahnoon Nimer to the Charlton Athletic board are Claudiu Florica, of whom we have heard much already, and Marian Mihail, whom I'm told is a Romanian lawyer.

This would seem to imply a closer relationship with Dinamo Bucharest in future.

Without casting any aspersions on these gentlemen, whom I am sure represent the highest standards of integrity and good business practice, I was involved in an EU mission to Romania in the years following the overthrow of the Communist regime. It did seem to me that corrupt practices were widespread, indeed I was invited to engage in corruption myself.

The club have announced that Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller have been removed from the board: Valete

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Baffling statement from Nimer. So a priority is to get the transfer embargo lifted - even though season suspended - and no mention of providing documentation needed for EFL approval?? And you can’t sort that anyway without proving source and sufficiency of funding.'

The two Romanians are to meet with heads of departments this morning.

Charlton staff have been told that a chief executive will be appointed. Former Barnsley CEO Gauthier Ganaye has been linked with a role there. When appointed at Barnsley he was the youngest chief executive in football at the age of 30: Gauthier Ganaye

Meanwhile some of the club's ex-directors are ready to take out an injunction to force control back to Richard Duchatelet: Ready to ramp up legal proceedings

Richard Cawley has further commented, 'The EFL definitely take some heat on this too. How can you have people passing the owners’ and directors’ test but not proving source and sufficiency of funding? All three obstacles should need to be cleared before you can get your hands on a football club.'

Cawley asks, 'I know people will mention that lifting the transfer embargo means getting EFL approval - but there is no mention of where Nimer is at in terms of that process. Has he submitted the necessary documentation or not?'

The SLP journalist makes a pertinent point when he says, 'Nimer has said previously that Matt Southall had not passed on documentation to the EFL. Even if that is so - and I can't prove one way or the other - that paperwork is surely good to go? There shouldn't need to be a delay.'

Rick Everitt has tweeted: 'In the light of recent events, not entirely reassured by idea of EFL making future funding available to Charlton as a loan. Have the latest directors passed the owners’ and directors’ test? Has source and sufficiency of funds been verified to EFL satisfaction?'

Louis Mendez has commented: 'In the space of 10 days, both sides have announced the other’s departure on the club website. That goes some way to explaining the farce of it all.'

Thursday, 19 March 2020

More confusion at The Valley

There has been more confusion after a meeting between Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall with Southall declaring he is remaining as executive chairman: More confusion

Louis Mendez comments: 'Southall refers again to his commitment to secure the long term of the future but makes no reference to the £12.5k pcm flat, Range Rovers and consultancy fees paid to himself and others.'

Rick Everitt tweeted: 'I'm puzzled that Southall says there “shall be no discussion” about him stepping down from his “day to day” role. I think we all saw his “day to day” involvement end a week ago.'

Tahnoon Nimer has offered to have a discussion with the CAS Trust which will have to be by conference call in current circumstances.

Bowyer: I had to make the players believe again

A long interview with Lee Bowyer about how he became involved with Charlton again: The Coaches' Voice

Recalling when he took over as caretaker manager he says: 'When I first took over, they’d won one in their last eight and the players were dented because they thought they were out of the playoffs. My job was to make them believe again. I knew they were good. All I had to do was make them believe that. If they pulled together as one, then that was even better: don’t play as individuals, play as a team.' He talks about how George Lapslie reminded him of Scott Parker.

'From day one, I was honest with them: if anyone wants to play as an individual, they won’t play. I’ll only play people who are going to play for the team. They had to work hard, too. Training became a lot more physical. More intense. I believe that you should train the way you play because you can’t turn it on and off.'

Bowyer also said: 'It’s become the place that I left as a 19-year-old: a family club where the crowd and the players are all as one.'

Bowyer wants clarity from EFL

He may be asking for the impossible, but Lee Bowyer wants clarity from the EFL and guidance on what to do about training. Currently, Charlton have brought forward its resumption from next Monday to tomorrow (Friday): Bowyer wants clear message to clubs

The at sea supremo commented: 'They (EFL) need to step up now and give us some real guidance - at the moment there hasn't been any guidance. There are too many grey areas.'

Jason Pearce and George Lapslie both staying away from Charlton training. Both their partners are expecting. Government have put pregnant women in the high-risk group as a precautionary measure.

Premier League football has been postponed until at least April 30th.

Full sp on takeover reversal

Former chairman Derek Chappell is behind a move that could yet unwind the takeover of Charlton Athletic by ESI, reveals VOTV editor Rick Everitt: Ex-chairman's bid

Writing from his Ramsgate fastness, Everitt gives some hope to fans when he states: 'Duchatelet may not want the club back, but he is unlikely to allow it to slide into administration because that could result in tens of millions of loans from his Staprix NV being wiped out, as well as a likely ten-point deduction which could lead to relegation.'

However, the Rickster also warns: 'Until and unless Nimer satisfies the EFL, the club’s ability to pay its bills – including player and staff wages – is in question, due in part to a spending spree on consultants and lifestyle benefits for Southall and a string of associates since the turn of the year. Voice of The Valley has been told that Southall had already been warned the club was fast running out of cash, despite him telling the playing staff last week that they could be paid until the end of the year.'

Everitt notes that ultimately 'the most stable course may be a reset that invites Duchatelet to engage in serious negotiations with a number of other interested parties. But that will depend on the courts being willing to intervene.'

Charlton to get £800,000 payout

The EFL has set out a package of financial help to clubs: Update on coronavirus

The EFL stated that 'measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50 million short-term relief package. This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to Clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to Clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.'

Under the terms of the relief fund, Championship clubs will receive their remaining £800,000 award payment from the Premier League on Thursday. In addition, they will be able to apply for a £584,000 interest-free loan. For League One clubs the figures are £250,000 and £183,000, and for League Two sides they are £164,000 and £120,000.

'The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being.' This could involve matches being played behind closed doors.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Legal challenge to takeover imminent

A legal challenge to ESI's takeover of Charlton by former directors is imminent. The South London Press has been told that at least some of the ex-directors are requesting that ESI’s takeover be voided as they did not consent to the sale and that the terms of their charges have been breached.

If they are successful then it could see the takeover deal unpicked and Duchatelet being back responsible for the running of the Championship outfit.

Read Richard Cawley's full story here: Fresh twist in takeover saga

Doubts are growing about the ability of the club to survive this complicated crisis.

Chanpionship clubs want to finish season

The Championship’s clubs are unanimous in the view that a means to finish the season must be found. Representatives from each of the division’s 24 clubs met via conference call on Tuesday to discuss the next steps following the suspension of the competition until 3 April.

That date – as with everything at present – is subject to change given the inherent uncertainty of the pandemic. Indeed, it is unlikely to be fulfilled, although there has been talk of late April or early May. Even that may be optimistic.

Clubs might have to play behind closed doors which would dent revenue streams.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Third party challenge to takeover?

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Understand that could be a challenge by a third party over the transaction between ESI and Roland Duchatelet in terms of the deal agreed. Only people mooted before as potentially being in a position to do that are the ex-directors.'

According to Rick Everitt, three former directors have first call on the assets and can prevent new charges being added.

Rick Everitt has recently tweeted: 'Ex-directors’ move to void sale to ESI is good news for Charlyon - they are the only people involved who we know have the best interests of the club at heart. No confidence in anyone associated with ESI and no certainty Nimer can put in required funds anyway.

Charlton running out of money?

With no matches until at least April 4th, and probably not after then, there are concerns that Charlton may not be able to pay salaries for much longer: Coronavirus puts extra strain on funding

Although Tahnoon Nimer has won his battle with Matt Southall (although he says that removing him has taken 'longer than imagined') his takeover of the club has still not been approved by the EFL as they await proof of funds.

Nimer's lawyer says that he is currently 'flying', although where to and by what means of transportation is unclear.

Nimer has recently posted on Instagram thanking staff for their efforts last week and their 'admirable behaviour and display of character'. He states that he and his team are focused on Charlton's future. The reaction of supporters made him forget about backing out of the deal. Once a new board of directors is appointed, an announcement will be made (I know of one fan who has been sounded out).

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'For those in doubt about what has prevented the EFL from approving the deal - it's been the same sticking point from January. Source and sufficiency of funding. What isn't in doubt is this situation can't continue without it having serious consequences for CAFC. My understanding is that no money has been put into the running of the club since the back end of November.'

Monday, 16 March 2020

Training starts again on Thursday

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports: 'Charlton back at it on Thursday. Five-day break at the moment while the training ground is deep cleaned. First-team, U23s and U18s will all train at different times.'

Presumably training will take place without the motivational presence of Matt Southall.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Cullen's future is not with Charlton

Josh Cullen's future is away from The Valley even if Charlton avoid the drop. David Moyes wants to take another look at him and a number of clubs are interested: West Ham set to give Cullen a chance

Out of the frying pan and into the crossfire

That is the headline in the Football League Paper this morning and this is the accompanying cartoon.

Chris Dunlavy writes: 'Charlton are rarely far from a crisis. Never, though, has optimism dissolved into despair so rapidly. Hailed as savours when they deposed the reviled Roland Duchatelet in November, owners Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall are already making Addicks fans feel nostalgic for the Belgian miser.'

'Duchatelet, while reluctant to put his hand in his pocket, was demonstrably loaded. As Nimer and Southall's spectacular public spat demonstrates, it is increasingly unclear whether the new owners have any cash at all.'

Saturday, 14 March 2020

What happens if the season isn't finished?

FA Chairman Greg Clarke thinks it can't be. Given the sums at stake in relation to Premier League broadcasting contracts are eye watering, I would have thought that some way would be found to complete those matches, even if it means playing behind closed doors. In addition, what would one do about Liverpool? If they weren't given the title, their fans would be furious, but if they were, many would regard it as a fake title.

But what about the EFL? One could simply declare the season null and void and have no promotion and relegation. However, that would result in law suits from a number of clubs, not least Leeds United who see the Premier League in sight.

Another solution would be to accept the tables as they stand in which case Charlton would be relegated. Harsh, as they have not been in the relegation places until recently, but that would be typical Charlton bad luck.

Another idea that is being touted is that promotion/relegation play offs would be brought back. As third from bottom team Charlton would play the team in third place in League One, no less than Gobby's Oxford United! Any such games would be very tense affairs as some fans can remember.

Cancelling matches will deprive Charlton of much needed revenue. The central payment from the EFL is also at risk because of an inability to meet television contracts.

As far as player contracts are concerned, it should be possible in principle to make short-term extensions if matches were played in July.

As for the club, I understand that arrangements are being made to appoint a new CEO and management team, but this may take some days. There is contact with individuals in the UK prepared to provide assistance.

As for the expensive flat, I like the idea of stays there being offered as a Valley Gold prize!

Nick De Marco QC of Blackstone Chambers discusses some of the complicated legal issues such as force majeure here: Sport law, frustration and force majeure

He comments: 'The only certainty in these most uncertain times is that Covid-19 is likely to generate a plethora of future legal disputes which will shape our legal landscape, especially in the world of sport.' One might add that lawyers are likely do well out of these disputes and indeed our own dispute at The Valley.

Friday, 13 March 2020

CAST ask for meeting with His Excellency

CAST have asked for an early meeting with Tahnoon Nimer. I can't imagine he would travel to the UK in current circumstances.

However, discussions I have had this morning lead me to believe that we will know in a few days whether the readies are going to be made available. Meanwhile, other developments are taking place.

Probably the best course of action is to relax and go and enjoy some non-league football. That's what I will be doing.

Lockyer may not get a chance to make his point

Tom Lockyer reckons that the current boardroom crisis at Charlton could be turned to the team's advantage: Other sides will say we are done for in survival battle

Lockyer is back in the side after serving a two game ban. His dad told him that he was letting decisions by referees affect him too much.

Lockyer admits that players with families and children have been more affected by the prospect of the money drying up, but he commented: 'There are no more reinforcements coming in but the team all believe in each other and believe we’re capable of staying in the league. We’ll pull together, stick together and ignore everything off the field. Like I said before, it’s easier for some to do than others.'

He added: 'If anything it makes you want it a bit more – you look at everything going to pot, so why not say: “Eff them all, let’s do it for us’."'

He may not get the chance to make his point as the EFL are meeting this morning and Richard Cawley thinks that all games this weekend may be called off. It is being suggested that games will be suspended for three weeks.

All matches have now been suspended until 3rd April, meaning that our first home game would be against Millwall if there are no further postponements.

You can read my assessment of the postponements here: Football and coronavirus

A crazy week at Charlton

A long review of the week's events by the highly respected SLP journalist Richard Cawley: Crazy week at Charlton

Cawley points out that the last time Charlton were relegated to League One they had assets to sell which helped to offset the £8m financial hit. That is not the case this time.

All the indications are that the EFL is exasperated by events at Charlton and is considering a points deduction. The EFL view is that the competition is being brought into disrepute.

As Cawley points out, the long-term viability of Charlton must now be in question.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Mr Robin has left the building

It is being reported that a senior Charlton employee received an instruction to remove Matt Southall. The latter responded by calling the police. Southall has since left The Valley.

Southall made no comment as he left. His present status is unclear.

An eye witness account reveals: 'Legal papers were served suspending Southall, Heller and McHugh. Of course they didn't go quietly and MS told Olly Groome, Tracy Leaburn and Mick Everett they were fired.

They are NOT fired. They were acting on the express wishes of Tahnoon and as MS et al are all now suspended the "sackings" are meaningless.

McHugh called the police saying there were trespassers. [Another account says that the police that arrived knew Everett from match days]. After trying to dodge the bullet for 2+ hours police finally got the now suspended directors to leave. Doors locked, passwords changed. Legal process to remove them completely now commences.'

Nimer slams Southall

Tahnoon Nimer, speaking on Talksport, has said: 'Mr Matt Southall is not right to be chairman, his priority is his lifestyle. He misuses the club for his lifestyle. It’s impossible to have any trust in Mr Southall. He’s cost us a lot of money.'

It's difficult to see how Southall can stay in post.

It has been estimated that the total amount he has received from the club is £98,676 (including parking fines).

Southall is at the training ground today watching the first team train which will no doubt be a morale boost for them.

Club issues new statement

Charlton Athletic has issued a new statement reaffirming their support for Matt Southall as chairman: Statement

As far as one can judge from social media polls, this confidence is not shared by the majority of fans. Moreover, Louis Mendez has tweeted:' Who “the board” even refers to now is up for debate but I know that Southall doesn’t have the backing of the majority of staff within the club.'

Perhaps the one interesting point in the statement is that the club is seeking legal advice on further sanctions that may be applied to Charlton by the EFL. These could include a points deduction.

It should be noted that 65 per cent of the shares in Charlton Athletic Holdings belong to a company controlled by Tahnoon Nimer. These are A shares and the remaining 35 per cent of shares are B shares, although at first glance the rights of the two classes of shareholder do not appear to differ significantly.

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'To be clear, Lee Bowyer isn't going anywhere. Made it clear that had approaches this season and opted to stay. He won't be walking away.'

Lee Bowyer is concerned about staff not getting paid in the future and thinks that EFL regulations have to change: How can it be right?

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

CAS Trust meet Southall

CAS Trust have provided a detailed and informative report on their meeting with Matt Southall: Meeting report

Some fans on social media have expressed the view that nothing new was learnt, but it is useful to have certain points confirmed. They also felt that Southall could have been pressed harder, particularly on the so-called 'corporate' flat. Outspoken Ramsgate-based fan Rick Everitt is now referring to the 'Charlton lie machine' in his tweets.

I agree that the situation at the club is alarming and may only be resolved through the courts. There is, however, enough money to keep going until December.

CAST is calling on Southall to resign. 'After a lengthy meeting yesterday, we have no confidence in the future of CAFC under his leadership and lack of funding.'

Southall made it clear that he has no intention of resigning.

I do not agree that there are no prospective investors. One such person talked to me by phone and had been in contact with persons in Abu Dhabi. Duchatelet did not reach out to prospective investors. Other fans are aware of others in the frame.

Owner's lawyer gives assurances

Lawyer Chris Farnell has given an update on Talksport on behalf of his client majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer. He said that investment will take place as required and not at the whim of Matt Southall. Proof of funds has been given to the EFL. 'It's been quickly found out that there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.'

A fuller report on the Talksport interview here: Talksport

According to VOTV editor Rick Everitt Farnell was Southall's lawyer until he defaulted on his fees, as reported in the Boxing Day edition of Voice of the Valley.

Companies House have informed me that the required annual accounts for Charlton Athletic Holdings Ltd. have been filed. It normally takes about three working days for them to appear online at which point I will analyse them. I remind fans that all documentation relating to the various Charlton companies is available to be viewed online free of charge.

Richard Cawley has tweeted: 'Not been a public statement on this by either party but have been told that Tahnoon Nimer's claim of "disadvantageous contracts" was not in relation to Charlton manager Lee Bowyer's new deal.'

The club has announced that an investigation has revealed no wrongdoing by Chris Parkes and he has been reinstated.

Bowyer tried formation change

Excuse me for leaving the bling aside for a while, and talking about football, but spinning supremo Lee Bowyer has been doing just that. After two bad results, Bowyer tried a formation change against Boro and it clearly didn't work: Thinking on formation change

Asked about Purrington's costly mistake, Bowyer said: 'Maybe it was nervousness. He has been out for a bit, so maybe it was lack of game time. It could be a combination of things. But you can’t be giving a goal like that away – it’s hard enough as it is to win games without giving teams the lead.'

At least the turmoil of the club has given the 'Bowyer out now' crowd something else to think about.

Matt's flat

Matt Southall's flat doesn't seem to have been a bargain. According to VOTV editor Rick Everitt, 'Matt Southall’s Cafc flat in numbers - £300k commitment for club over the two year lease; £400 a night; equals wages of five staff costing £30k a year; at least £1 in every £15 received in season ticket revenue; about ten times a basic rent in SE London.

The consultancy fees were very tasty as well. I was phoned by a wealthy individual yesterday to ask about Charlton, and I gave my advice for free (which is probably all it was worth).

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

EFL issues statement

The EFL has issued a statement on Charlton making it clear that the owners' and directors' test has not been met and that a transfer embargo is in place. The League is clearly unhappy with events at Charlton and is consulting its lawyers on further actions open to it: EFL statement

Charlton players have expressed concern that their wages may not be paid, but it is thought that there may be enough money to pay them until December.

Parkes is latest victim of turmoil

Long serving Charlton club secretary Chris Parkes suspended by Matt Southall over contact with EFL on behalf of Nimer.

I assume he was simply doing what he saw as his job. Parkes is widely respected by fans and is almost 'Mr Charlton'.

One fan commented on social media, 'Everyone at Charlton loves Chris and they know he’s Charlton through and through and would only ever act in the clubs best interests!'

ESI has undergone a spectacular implosion

ESI has undergone a spectacular implosion says VOTV editor Rick Everitt in a special online article on recent events: Takeover implodes

The Rickster says that substantial day-to-day funding may not be required in the short term, but there may be doubts about whether the club can trade over the summer, particularly if Southall remains in charge.

Looking to the future, he states: 'The question, ultimately, could be whether Duchatelet will finally hand over the freeholds for a more realistic £25m-£30 [unlikely in my view], whether he is willing to see the club go out of business as a consequence of his intransigence and try to redevelop The Valley, or if someone will pick the club up and potentially call his bluff by moving matches and training elsewhere.'

Everitt concludes: 'The EFL must take its share of the blame for having failed, once again, to intervene effectively, even though it has now confirmed the deal was never ratified. Regardless, it has presided over yet another sorry mess.'

For its part the EFL points out that it is a trade association running a competition and cannot control what happens in individual clubs which are individual privately controlled businesses rather than American style franchises. Sources close to the EFL are indicating an increasing sense of exasperation with Charlton.

Unsurprisingly, Simon Jordan has put his oar in on Talk Sport. Surprisingly, what he has to say is quite sensible: 'The dynamics of what's going on here concerns me. There's a lot of inconsistencies. Nimer has got a significant background. This is not a fool.'

Confusion reigns with club under transfer embargo

Tahnoon Nimer has published a long statement on his Instagram account saying he has not resigned from the Charlton board as stated by the club.

He has retained his own legal counsel so the matter may have to be resolved in the courts which may take some time, time we do not really have if we are to survive.

Nimer, whose company is the majority shareholder, wants to remove Southall and says that the club is under a transfer embargo: Wants Southall out

The EFL have made it clear privately that they cannot prevent a club changing hands, but they can impose sanctions, including a transfer embargo.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has stated, 'I've seen a letter from before all this properly blew up where he states he wants Claudiu Floricato (Florica?) be the new chief executive officer responsible for running the football club.' He is a somewhat controversial Romanian businessman who has been associated with Dinamo Bucharest which many have thought is the new mother ship.

Southall statement

Executive chairman Matt Southall has issued a full statement in response to overnight developments: Southall statement

In particular he says that not a penny of the money promised by Nimer arrived and this constrained activity in the transfer window.

There should be enough money to pay bills for now, but playing behind closed doors would hit the club hard. It is also a big distraction from the relegation battle.

Monday, 9 March 2020

ESI ownership in peril

Now confirmed reports are saying that ESI's ownership of Charlton has collapsed. It is a dangerous situation for the club which is now in real jeopardy. Richard Cawley has said there is no reason to believe that the Instagram posts are not by Tahnoon Nimer.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted: 'Have heard that Southall promised and failed to raise other funds. Also points to another gross failure of due diligence by Duchatelet. Which shouldn’t be a surprise.'

Everitt added: 'Concern would be that the club goes into administration and Roland will still be demanding £50m for the freeholds, which no one in their right mind will pay. Puts Valley at risk.'

'Have been questions on recent days about whether EFL ever approved takeover. Big questions for them here regardless if this is as bad as it looks.'

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted: 'Worth remembering that Nimer was the financial backer on the ESI bid. So not clear where this leaves the club financially if he has withdrawn his support.' The judicious journalist added, 'Lot of accusations flying around - legally have to be very careful! One thing that isn't in dispute - what an absolute mess.'

A club statement was anticipated by 11pm, but the website is now undergoing 'essential maintenance'.

Nimer has said that he discovered that the club's resources had been exploited in a wrong and immoral manner and therefore he has withdrawn the purchase. 'I wish you all the best.' Jolly decent of him.

Tahnoon Nimer has now resigned as a director. The club has stated, 'Following the events of March 9, his position is now untenable and the board has no option but to accept his resignation.'

Pratley lays it on the line

Fans' favourite Darren Pratley has told Charlton players to get off social media and focus on the job in hand: Focus on survival push

Was he hinting at disagreements within the camp when he told the SLP's Richard Cawley, 'I’ve been in this situation before – when you don’t stick together and you start pointing fingers, get in your groups and start slagging each other off is when things go wrong. The boys need to stay focused for the next nine games and if they are on social media, maybe stay off of it. That would be my advice.'

'If you go home and are going on the internet, you’re not going to find nice things when you’re down the bottom.'

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Valley of Gloom

Charlton slipped into the relegation places in the Championship this afternoon after they lost 0-1 at home to Middlesbrough. It was another poor performance with defensive weaknesses gifting Boro their goal. The midfield was unimpressive and Boro's debutante goalkeeper had only one good save to make.

The Addicks started off with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Williams and Green out wide. It was a nervy start for Charlton with Boro winning corners. McNair put the visitors ahead on 17 minutes after Purrrington surrendered possession, allowing the cross to go in.

Charlton continued to find themselves under pressure. Shortly after the half hour mark jittery journo Richard Cawley tweeted, 'This has been really poor. Boro hungrier and sharper to the ball. Charlton all over the shop. Not sure this shape is doing them any favours either.'

Shortly afterwards Charlton did switch to 4-4-2. I was at home battling a heavy cold and Steve from Petts Wood messaged me at half time to say, 'A dreadful first half so far, worst I have seen this season.'

Bonne replaced Lapslie at half time. Taylor was booked for simulation after he was hauled down, upsetting the player and the Covered End. Williams put in a cross, but the Oshilaja header was saved. Steve messaged, 'Just started to improve, but not sure it's enough.' Pratley fired wide.

Doughty replaced Williams on 66 minutes. Taylor fed Bonne, but his attempt was weak. Purrington was replaced on 83 minutes by Hemed. Phillips made a key save two minutes later to keep Charlton in the game.

In five minutes added on, a cross from Oshilaja was headed just over by Bonne.

Attendance was 18,080 with 1,750 away fans.

Barnsley and Huddersfield both lost, Wigan and Luton drew 0-0 and Hull went down 5-1 to Stoke. Even a draw would have kept Charlton in the mix.

Match report from Louis Mendez here: Into the drop zone

Meanwhile, it looks like network time again. Louis Mendez tweeted: 'ESI majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer has Instagrammed his arrival at Romanian club Dinamo Bucharest. He’d been linked with a takeover of that club for a while.' Abu Dhabi Business Development first signalled their interest in an acquisition January as part of their development strategy. It is not yet known how Charlton's relationship with Dinamo will develop.

Shattered supremo Lee Bowyer said: 'I'm frustrated and disappointed again. We can't keep gifting teams goals. We are not good enough to give teams one-goal leads. We had three clear-cut chances. We have got to take at least one of them. The message to supporters is this - just stick together. We have got nine games to go and we have to keep fighting together.'

As some fans flood social media calling for Bowyer to go,Jonathan Woodgate says he hasn't been backed properly at The Valley: My pal hasn't been backed

Friday, 6 March 2020

National press homes in on Bowyer v Woodgate clash

It's a crunch game against Middlesbrough tomorrow (well, they all are now) and Lee Bowyer is looking to Charlton fans to play their part: Fans role in Championship safety puh

The Guardian has produced a special feature article on the game, noting that 'this campaign was always going to be a struggle for a Charlton side with the second tier’s lowest budget.' They say that contrary to widespread expectations, Boywer has matured into an impressive coach. But it is his relationship with Jonathan Woodgate that particularly interests them: Bowyer and Woodgate set friendship aside for relegation showdown

George Lapslie has obtained his sports science and coaching degree and aims to go into management with his older brother who plays for Colchester United. However, his greatest test for now is to keep the Addicks in the Championship: Lapslie's agenda

Up on Teesside, they are seeing it as a David v. Goliath class with Charlton having been 'in a state of civil war' for years: The financial gap

Boro have a tendency to be draw specialists away from home: won two, drawn six, lost nine.

When we beat Boro 8-1

There are some Charlton matches you wish for ever that you had not missed. First and foremost for me was the 7-6 victory over Huddersfield Town. We were Christmas shopping in Woolwich! A close second from that period was the 8-1 victory over Middlesbrough on 12 September 1953 in my first season supporting Charlton.

We weren't alone in not going as 23,790 attended the match, while I was among the crowd of 31,258 that saw Charlton beat Liverpool 6-0 a fortnight later, in the interim having beaten Tom Finney's Preston North End 2-1 away and West Brom 3-2 at The Hawthorns.

Attendances at Charlton were attracting some attention. Writing in the Yorkshire Post Richard Ulyatt commented, 'Charlton Athletic officials may ruefully comment that quality of football does not count for much in public opinion: popularity depends upon a whim, a name, or the colour of the players' shirts.

They have every reason to grouse. On a fine night last night only 18,000 watched the home match in which by beating Preston North End 2-1, they became the highest placed London club in the First Division of the Football League, just above Tottenham on goal average, and handsomely situated compared with Chelsea and Arsenal, whose desperate meeting at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday was watched by 80,000 people.

In the provinces First Division clubs need at least 25,000 spectators to pay their way: in London the figure will be higher. The other three clubs are wealthy, but for Charlton every season is a struggle, though none as seemed as quite as bad as this. Even the visit of Tom Finney, one of the two most brilliant wingers in the game, Baxter and the other clever Preston players could not attract a paying attendance.'

Using the British Library online newspaper archive I was unable to track down many accounts of the win over Boro, other than of the 'Elsewhere, Charlton won 8-1' variety. However, I did find an account in a Birmingham paper of the first half which gave no indication of what was to come.

'Middlesbrough went ahead after five minutes when from a fine through pass by Fitzsimons centre forward Spuhler set in a shot which Bartram touched but could not hold. Charlton gradually gained more of the play. Midway through the half O'Linn equalised with a header from Hurst's corner.

Near half time O'Linn with a fine run on the right and a fierce shot, put Charlton ahead. Half-time: Charlton 2, Middlesbrough 1.'

It was 64 minutes before Firmani scored the third goal, but Boro then collapsed. Hurst scored three minutes and later and then again on 80 minutes to make it 5-1. There were then three goals in as many minutes: Firmani, 82; Leary 84; Firmani, 85.

Jimmy Seed said afterwards: 'The forward were rampant and towards the end they were unstoppable.'

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Good news on Pratley

Up in Middlesbrough, they're try to boost morale through a discussion of Charlton's defensive problems: Injury crisis

The good news is that Darren Pratley has been training all week and will be in the squad. Whether he starts is another matter. If he picks up another booking he will miss two matches.

Naby Sarr will not be available. He is still 'struggling' according to Lee Bowyer.

The shell shocked supremo put Pratley's back spasm down to an inability to rotate him during the season, but he made clear how much he values Pratley describing him as a 'leader' on the pitch: Key reason for Pratley's absence

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Number of bookings could get Charlton relegated?

Given how tight the relegation battle could be, the Stoke paper reckons the fact that Charlton players have received more bookings could be the decisive factor: Relegation rules

I certainly wasn't aware of some of these rules, but it doesn't suggest much confidence in what Stoke can achieve on the pitch. Final positions will almost certainly be determined by points and quite possibly by goal difference.

Bowyer calls for realism

Supremo Lee Bowyer has called for a degree of realism about Charlton's relegation battle. Bowyer thinks that 50 points rather than 47 will now be needed for survival. 'The teams that are winning have all got to start playing each other – so both can’t win,' he told the SLP's Richard Cawley. 'People can say our run-in looks easier on paper but all the teams are fighting for something. There are no bad teams in this division.'

Bowyer is in doubt that the team missed Naby Sarr and Tom Lockyer. Lockyer is still suspended for Saturday's game against Boro and Sarr is still having problems with a calf injury. Read more of the interview here: If we're not completely at it we get found out

Polls on Twitter organised by fans suggest that more blame Roland than Bowyer or the players for the relegation battle, although the 'Bowyer must go' crowd are vociferous. Roland still has a financial stranglehold on the club.

Anyone who doubts this should read the documentation online at Companies House. It is quite complex as is the company structure (including Baton 2010 Ltd), but in very simple terms ESI own the club, but not the real estate. A statement for Charlton Athletic Holdings is actually due today, but even if it is filed it may be a few days before it appears.

Some people are reviving property play rumours about Duchatelet. It was the group of businessmen who were the previous owners who had that in mind with a new ground on the peninsula. The designation of Sparrows Lane as a sports ground means that planning permission would never be given for it. There would be major planning issues with The Valley, not least access for those living in any development. One could not realise the sort of return that was possible at Highbury because it is a much less fashionable location.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

You can read Boro result how you like

A last minute goal by Nottingham Forest secured a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough last night. This left Charlton one point above the drop zone, although on the same number of points as Stoke.

Unfortunately, the 4-0 defeat at Huddersfield eroded a favourable goal difference compared to other relegation league clubs. We remain above Stoke in 20th because our goal difference is -9 against -10.

Pessimists interpreted the result as another condemnation of our January transfer strategy (for which there may not have been any money). Always looking on the bright side of life, some of the many Charlton doomers pointed out the last time we beat Sunderland in a play off final, we came down the following season.

I think this is just superstition, like so many things in football where rationality seems to go out of the window (which is perhaps one of the things people like about it). There are so many variables that it is difficult to forecast the outcome. For example, will Hull keep dropping like the Titanic?

Unlike some times in the Curbishley era when we seemed often to do better away, our home form is marginally better in the sense that we have won more games than we have lost, or to put it another way, we have been defeated in a third of all games. Away from home, we have lost in 61 per cent of all league games played. Although the role of the crowd as 12th man can be overstated, it can make a difference in tight matches.

Unfortunately for Saturday's game against Middlesbrough there are no trains to or from Charlton. One wonders what thinking, if any, goes on at the operator. They have also dropped the post game football special to London Bridge which means there can be a long wait to get on a London bound train.

Whether corona virus concerns will affect attendance on Saturday remains to be seen. There are plans in place for matches to be played behind closed doors in which case one would presumably be able to watch on Valley Pass (or any other means you can find). Match day revenues would be lost. In that eventuality season ticket holders should be allow to watch free on Valley Pass.

CAS Trust has issued a clarion call against negative thinking: Now is the time for unity

Monday, 2 March 2020

Football finance guru runs rule over Charlton

Kieran Maguire of the University of Liverpool is probably the country's leading football finance expert and in his latest podcast he answers a question from a Charlton fan: The price of football

The Charlton segment is about 8 mins, 50 seconds in and I could only get it to play on Chrome. The interlocutor is a Crystal Palace fan, surprisingly called Kevin rather than Nigel, and he has to get some weak jokes in about the Addicks. They thought that ESI was named in that way because of Bruce Springsteen!

The biggest revelation was that Maguire was asked to value Charlton by a prospective purchaser in the summer and he provided a figure of £25m. That seems to realistic to me, but Roland wanted his money back.

Asked whether it was a case of 'be careful what you wish for' with ESI, Maguire said that only time will tell. However, one should be careful of jumping to the conclusion that because someone came from the Gulf they were wealthy. They clearly owed Roland a lot of money in loans, but at least they had a business plan.

Maguire is the author of the recently published book The Price of £ootball which I will be reviewing in the next Voice of the Valley.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Ratings by the FLP from Huddersfield

I am puzzled that some fans are asserting we are already relegated given that 20th is not a relegation position, nor are Charlton in a relegation position in the form table. Middlesbrough are claiming they will 'do a Charlton' at Forest on Monday, but I am sceptical. Even if they win, the Addicks would still not be in a relegation place.

Against that, yesterday's performance was woeful but with Charlton it is always difficult to read off the next result from the preceding game. Clearly, the game against Middlesbrough next Saturday is another crucial one. Well, they all are from now on. With the smallest budget in the Championship, Charlton were always at risk.

Desmond from Deal has challenged me to publish the ratings and comments from the Football League Paper this morning, so here are the 'best' and the worst:

  • Jason Pearce 6 'Made several telling interventions, before crumbling under late assault.' [It was ever thus].
  • Alfie Doughty 6 'Did a decent job of keeping Willock away from the box. Passed well too.' [Dismissed as National League standard on social media].
  • Dillon Phillips 5 'Exposed for the opener and kept his side in it with great save from Willock'.
  • George Lapslie 4 'Careless passes gifted Terriers the opener. Never recovered confidence.'
  • Erhun Otzumer 4 'Offered little either side of the diamond and got the hook at half time.' [We should give the diamond the hook and revert to 4-4-2].

As for Lyle Taylor he was 'forced to scrap and forage for lack of forward support. No sight of goal.' Andre Green 'committed several needless fouls and final ball was poor.'

EFL told to get on with points deductions

At a meeting at St. George's Park on Thursday Championship clubs urged the EFL to get on with sorting out points deductions, given the approach of the end of the season. One reason is that the EFL are being cautious is that they have to ensure that they have followed proper processes as Derby County have threatened action in the courts.

Birmingham City are expected to get just a three point deduction for further breaches of FFP, but Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday could each get a 21 point deduction for selling and leasing back their stadiums to avoid FFP rules. Aston Villa are also in the frame, but are currently beyond the jurisdiction of the EFL.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Devastating defeat

Charlton went down 4-0 at Huddersfield this afternoon with two of the goals scored by former Addick Karlan Grant who gave it large to the away support. It was a very poor performance from which one can take no positives.

It left Charlton 20th in the table. Wigan continued their run with a 1-0 win at an out of sorts West Brom. Barnsley lost at Reading. Luton and Stoke drew. Middlesbrough have a game in hand (they are at home to Forest on Monday).

Demands for Bowyer to go have increased in intensity and volume. It is difficult to see a quality replacement coming to a relegation threatened club at this time of the season. Even if they did, they would find it a hard task with these players, very few of whom are of real Championship quality.

The home side started strongly and it was all Huddersfield in the opening stages. Even when Charlton did have a spell of possession they couldn't get into the final third.

Grant pounced on a mistake from Adedeji Oshilaja before burying the ball past Dillon Phillips to open the scoring for the Terriers mid-way through the first half. Huddersfield had another chance to a score just before the break.

Williams came on at half time for Otzumer, but was unable to make a decisive difference. Charlton did improve in the opening phase of the second half, but as is so often the case, the corners they won were unproductive. The disappointing McGeady was withdrawn in favour of Bonne, but Huddersfield substitute Steve Mounie put the hosts in control two minutes after coming on, deflecting home Harry Toffolo's cross with 15 minutes remaining to double the lead.

Hemed came on in place of Lapslie on 81 minutes, but all he did was get a yellow card.

And Grant netted his second and the Terriers' third in stoppage time after being played through by Juninho Bacuna, who then scored himself from long-range.

Louis Mendez tweeted: 'Capitulations like that are always a massive warning sign. Missed a few chances in what was actually a decent first 25 mins of the second-half but then lost it big time. Really worrying end to that game and poor first-half of course.'

Lee Bowyer asid today was 'Not good enough. First-half was bad, poor. I take full responsibility for it. I picked the team. I picked players that I thought would do better playing the diamond and it didn't work.' He apologised to supporters: Bowyer takes full responsibility

Charm merchant keeper gets eight game ban

Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilia has been banned for eight matches for using racist language towards Charlton loan player Jonathan Leko during the September 28th game at The Valley. A FA panel found that Casilia used the n-word.

Casilia denied abusing Leko but was found guilty on the balance of probabilities after a five month investigation and a two day hearing last week. He was also fined £60,000 and ordered to take a course educating him about racial sensitivities.

Leeds United have issued a statement saying that they do not believe that Casilia should have been banned unless the offence had been decided on a higher level of proof, i.e, guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The FA's sanctions for incidents of this kind are still more lenient than those used by Fifa and Uefa who issue minimum ten game bans for those who racially abuse other players on the pitch.

Casilia will be available for the last game of the season when Charlton play Leeds away which could be a key game for both clubs.

Friday, 28 February 2020

It's tough up north

It's tough up north and CAS Trust reckons that a scrappy point in difficult conditions might be enough at Huddersfield tomorrow: Battle in the wind and the rain

It wouldn't satisfy the Addickted who make the long journey to Yorkshire (although these northern fixtures always attract Addicks who are exiled in northern parts like one I know who lives in Doncaster and had a difficult time last summer). Setting up for a draw doesn't really work given the propensity of Charlton to concede in time added on.

On the other hand, all out attack is risky with a weak defence and a midfield whose performance is unpredictable. Who would be under siege supremo Lee Bowyer? Well quite a few fans appear to think they know better than him to judge by comments on social media.

Desmond from Deal has no doubts: 'A decisive defeat will be the final nail in Bowyer's coffin who might then find a place at his level in Blackpool.'

Huddersfield have won their past three league games against Charlton, scoring eight goals and conceding just once. Charlton have won one of their past seven away league games against Huddersfield (D2 L4), a 1-0 win in March 2013. Huddersfield have won four of their past seven home league games (D1 L2), as many as in their previous 32 home games combined.

Huddersfield striker Karlan Grant has scored 14 league goals for the Terriers this season, the best return by a Huddersfield player since Nahki Wells scored 17 in 2015-16.

If the form book and the weather forecast is anything to go by, it looks like a home win for Huddersfield and another chorus of demands for Bowyer to go. But Charlton are capable of winning when they are least expected to.

Pardew might soon be available

Critics of Lee Bowyer looking for a replacement might wish to note that Alan Pardew could soon be available. Things have not being going too well for him (or Chris Powell) at relegation threatened Den Haag in the Netherlands and Pardew was 'approached' by a group of supporters at a recent training session: Exchange of views

The Daily Mail described the angry fans as 'hooligans' who, 'armed with a flipboard, hijacked his training session in front of stunned players to show why his tactics are wrong as the club hurtles towards relegation.'

The obvious solution is to replace Pardew by Powell.

Bowyer complains about fixture scheduling

This week Lee Bowyer has seemed to be complaining as much as some Charlton fans and Championship fixture scheduling is his latest target: Fresh swipe at fixture schedule

Much as I like Lee Bowyer, it's not a good sign when managers buy a copy of the Great Big Book of Excuses. I always liked the line that Curbs used, 'It's a long old season.' Of course, it's not that much longer.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Bowyer gets his excuses in early

Lee Bowyer saying that Huddersfield Town should not be among the Championship strugglers sounds a bit like getting you excuses in early, although I can accept that Karlan Grant is talented and will want to score against us: Bowyer passes judgment on Huddersfield Town

I think the tactics against Sheffield Wednesday were a mistake, but every manager makes mistakes, even Sir Alex Ferguson did. Curbs made systematic mistakes, in particular his reluctance to make substitutions early enough, but he still did a very good job for us overall.

Bowyer is still on a learning curve, but there is no available replacement. If he went, presumably Johnnie Jackson would be in temporary charge, but arguably he is as much part of any problem as any solution.

I think it is best to stick with a manager rather have frequent changes, although it is rather ironic that Blackpool have been after the services of 'Gobby'.

Super Hoops rack up big losses for what?

We will be playing the Super Hoops shortly and it is instructive to look at their latest accounts. QPR's owners have 'invested' £287m over the years and the return this season is likely to be a mid-table position in the Championship: Super Hoops

Financial fair play penalties have cost them little more than £1m a season as they were able to suggest to the EFL that if matters got into the courts they would very likely find FFP to be a breach of both domestic and European competition law. In a market economy you can't stop the owner of the company investing as much as they like in it provided there is no risk of insolvency.

It has been suggested that ESI limited spending in the January transfer window because they didn't want to be paying big wages in League One. The lack of availability of quality players at a reasonable price may have been a bigger factor. However, it does strike me that ESI are prudent businessmen which, of course, may not be what fans want.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Bleak night for Charlton

Charlton once again succumbed to a last minute goal as they went down 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Charlton have now conceded six goals after 90 minutes this season.

With the bottom three all winning (Wigan 3-0 at Reading, Barnsley 1-0 at Hull, Luton last night), Charlton remained in 18th place but just two points above the drop zone.

It was a far from inspiring performance from the Addicks, who started with a 3-5-2 formation. There were about 500 fans there in an attendance of 21,370. There was considerable criticism on social media, although the poor standard of refereeing was also criticised. Lockyer received his 10th yellow card of the season, a harsh booking which means that he will miss the next two games.

Once again Charlton had difficulty holding on to the ball, while the Wednesday midfield were given too much time and space. Phillips made a number of good saves from Forestierei and also from Fletcher. Charm merchant Forestieri got booked for a nasty challenge on substitute George Lapslie.

Charlton's best effort was a 25 yard volley from Lyle Taylor in the second half which hit the crossbar. Shortly afterwards a goalbound effort from Taylor at close range was blocked.

Fletcher nodded the ball home from close range in the fifth minute of stoppage time to end Charlton's resistance and earn the Owls a first win in eight Championship attempts.

Naby Sarr was not available due to a tight calf. It is unclear how serious his injury is, but he was missed tonight.

Lee Bowyer thinks that Charlton were robbed of a point by a late soft free kick: Shell shocked supremo

Fans have been piling in on Bowyer on social media, but it is not clear what replacing him at this stage would achieve or who they would replace him with. He started the season with a thin squad and it wasn't enhanced much in the transfer window, although perhaps McGeady should have been given a chance to show what he can contribute tonight.

The team are staying in Yorkshire for Saturday's six pointer at Huddersfield.

Relying on our own results

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'Impressive how the majority of teams in the Championship relegation battle seemed to have morphed into a reincarnation of the 1970 Brazil side at the moment.'

Of course, fans have pointed out that we can't rely on the results of other teams, but I find it hard not to pay attention to them. It has, of course, given a new opening for pessimists.

One thing that seems to have escaped them is that our goal difference is far better than the other clubs in the relegation league, because when we have lost it has often been by one goal. I am also puzzled why no one ever factors likely points deductions into the discussions. I suppose it's the equivalent of 'I won't believe until I see it on the official site'. These things take time, but it doesn't mean that the EFL will not act.

When it comes to relying on our own results, we face a tough challenge at Hillsborough tonight where Sheffield Wednesday will be eyeing an opportunity to end their run of bad form which has seen them fall from promotion challengers to mid-table.

They managed a 3-3 draw at Birmingham on Saturday, although from what I could see from the highlights their defence looked suspect. Even so, we have conceded 48 goals against their 41.

Manager Garry Monk reckoned that the Owls were unlucky not to win at St. Andrews and said 'In terms of the performance it was more like ourselves. There was fight, passion and desire.'

Charlton will assess midfielder Darren Pratley, who had an injection in a back injury and missed Saturday's win against Luton. Jonny Williams (ankle) continues to be out.

The Addicks are five points above the relegation zone, having won three of their past five games.

Sheffield Wednesday are looking to win three consecutive league games against Charlton for the first time since September 1990 (four in a row). This will be Charlton's first away league match against Sheffield Wednesday since March 2016, when they lost 3-0 under Jose Riga.

Sheffield Wednesday haven't won any of their past seven games in the Championship (D3 L4), last going on a longer winless run between September and November 2014 (10). Charlton have alternated between a victory and a defeat in each of their last five league games (W3 D2). The previous three wins for the Addicks came across a run of 23 matches (W3 D7 L13).

When Lyle Taylor starts for Charlton in the Championship this season, the Addicks have won 54% of their matches (7/13) compared to just 14.

One thing is certain, it will be a massive game.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Wednesday on Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday are looking less massive these days with Sheffield United flourishing in the Premier League. The Owls are second from bottom of the form table while Charlton are seventh.

They are also the subject of an investigation over the sale of the ground with rumours of a possible 21 point deduction. The conduct of former chief executive Katrien Meire is being investigated.

However, the word from Yorkshire is that the club's players are worried about their form not an impending points deduction: Possible points penalty

This article looks at some weaknesses of Wednesday, although there is no reason for complacency: Three Wednesday weaknesses for Charlton to exploit

Monday, 24 February 2020

Midfield diamond failed to sparkle

I wouldn't claim to have any real expertise on football, but both I and Steve from Petts Wood felt that the midfield wasn't working as it should against Luton Town on Saturday, so it is good to have that view confirmed by a real expert in the form of sanguine supremo Lee Bowyer: I take part of the blame for diamond not sparkling

Centre-back Deji Oshilaja, playing at the base of the midfield, was taken off after a shaky opening 55 minutes and Bowyer blames himself for not getting it right in the first half.

Desmond from Deal commented: 'I have been saying for a long time that Bowyer is not up to the job of managing in the Championship and at least we have got a partial admission of fault from him.'

He hasn't been chukked out

Richard Cawley of the SLP asked Lee Bowyer to explain the absence of Chuks Aneke from the squad. The sagacious supremo replied that Aneke is fit, but all his attacking players are fit apart from Jonny Williams: Keeping fit with the under 23s

I didn't think he was really up to Championships standard, but I don't see him in training.

Lapslie: how my hamstring hell ended

Some good news on the medical front: George Lapslie has revealed how new physio Danny Murphy dealt with his hamstring problem, enabling him to return to first team action (please note that Murphy is not the Onanist sometimes seen commenting on football on television): Thanks new physio for ending hamstring hell

Lapslie also revealed that his partner Ruth is pregnant. He is happy to pay the fine for putting the ball under his shirt. Footballers are able to have children at an age that was once regarded as the norm and is much easier to cope with, both then and when you have teenagers in your thirties.

Lapslie's enthusiasm and energy are a joy to behold on the pitch. In some ways he is a junior version of Darren Pratley, he gives the opposition so much trouble.

Lapslie is a grounded player and does not underestimate the size of the task ahead: 'We’ll keep grafting to try and get even higher. It’s going to be a slog and we’ve got to come together and try and get us safe.'

Saturday, 22 February 2020

'The reds are staying up'

This was the chant from the Covered End as Charlton beat Luton Town 3-1 at The Valley this afternoon. It was a rather frenetic first half with Charlton making lots of mistakes as Luton pressed for a win. A very strong cross wind made it difficult to play quality football.

The midfield was far from its best, unusually including Cullen. Three at the back didn't seem to be working very well either. Lyle Taylor, a target for chanting from the Hatters, maddened them by putting the Addicks 1-0 ahead, Naby Sarr having earlier hit the crossbar. Alfie Doughty also forced a save from charm merchant keeper Sluga (who in the second half tussled with Lyle Taylor and got the captain for the day a yellow card).

Charlton are always vulnerable when they have scored and not much more than a minute later Luton equalised after some woeful defending making the half time score 1-1.

Green missed a chance to put the Addicks ahead after the break and Luton had a goal chalked off for offside on 51 minutes, their manager putting it down to discrimination against 'little Luton'. After a blatant handball, Lyle Taylor calmly put the Addicks ahead from the penalty spot. Phillips had to make a good save from Moncur.

Bringing Lapslie on as a substitute helped to change the game, as did the subsequent addition of Bonne. Lapslie put the game beyond doubt by scoring the third goal in the 87th minute after a one two with Bonne. He's truly one of our own. Alfie Doughty also showed some moments of sublime skill, outwitting the Luton defence.

Charlton moved up to 18th with Barnsley, Stoke and Wigan all winning.

Attendance was just under 19,000 despite a packed away end but the Addickted made a lot of noise to back the team.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Super sub George Lapslie

In his comment serene supremo Lee Bowyer said that Lyle Taylor would have enjoyed silencing the Luton fans: Silencing abusive Luton fans

Friday, 21 February 2020

Six pointer

I met the local Hatter for coffee this morning and we agreed that the most likely result tomorrow was a 1-1 draw. CAS Trust have the game down as a six pointer: Six pointer

Charlton are unbeaten in their last 10 home games against Luton Town in all competitions (W6 D4) since losing 1-0 back in May 1987 in a top-flight meeting. Luton are looking to complete a league double over Charlton for the first time since the 1986-87 season.

Charlton have alternated between victory and defeat in their past four league games, winning more across these four games than they had in their previous 17 in the Championship (W1 D6 L10).

Luton Town have lost their last five away league matches in London, conceding at least three goals in each defeat (19 goals in total). The last Football League team to concede 3+ goals in six consecutive away games in London was Chester City in March 2009. Overall, Luton have won three games away from home and lost fourteen.

Lyle Taylor has scored five goals in his past four appearances against Luton Town in all competitions, scoring twice for the Addicks last season at the Valley in League One.

Doughty contract extended

Alfie Doughty's contract has been extended by one year as Lee Bowyer starts the process of securing existing players. Fulham showed an interest in him in the January transfer window: Deal trigger

Charlton have also been talking to the agent of Adam Matthews.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Bowyer scopes out relegation league

Lee Bowyer reckons that the Championship relegation league goes as high as Hull in 17th place. At one time he thought that QPR might get dragged in, but thinks that the Super Hoops are now safe: Survival fight

Bowyer recognises the importance of the match against a reviving Luton Town, but thinks that a victory doesn't mean we are safe and a defeat doesn't mean we are relegated.

Bowyer starting work on summer transfer plans

Lee Bowyer is starting work on his summer transfer plans and hopes that he will have more freedom to spend that under Roland. Charlton have the lowest budget in the Championship: Bowyer reveals summer hopes

The latest edition of FC Business has a feature article on Charlton's new owners. Once it has loaded you need to click right for a few pages: Fresh start for Charlton

More injuries

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports that Sam Field set to miss the rest of the campaign due to a knee injury. Jonny Williams, a key player in inspiring the team, is out for two weeks after damaging his ankle in training (apparently another player fell on him).

Darren Pratley is a doubt for Luton due to back spasms. This is bad news. He may be getting on a bit, but his work rate and tactical guile are first rate.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Lee Bowyer thinks Blackburn game was closer

Lee Bowyer has now watched the video of the Blackburn game and thinks that it was far closer than he originally thought and could have gone differently if Charlton had got an early second half goal: Bowyer tweaks his verdict

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Ng rumours unconfirmed

Rumours linking Charlton with Crewe defender Perry Tian Hee Ng as a summer transfer target do not come from particularly reliable sources, but there may be something in them. Even with Crewe pressing for promotion to League One, he would probably be affordable for Charlton. It is generally accepted that the defence needs strengthening.

Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City are also said to be interested.

Ng is a potential Singapore international: Career details

Devising a chant would be not be easy, although perhaps one could use his middle names as in 'Tian Hee, you fill us with glee.' Or perhaps not.

Monday, 17 February 2020

McGeady's potential

Charlton defender Adam Matthews suggests that Aiden McGeady is a work in progress at The Valley. He is a bit low on game time, but his quality and experience will show through, especially with a young squad: Glimpses of what he can do

Clearly the media point man for the day, Matthews also says we should not get down about the Blackburn reverse: Won't do us any good to be down

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Defender Lucas Ness signs

Lucas Ness has signed a professional contract with Charlton after leaving the Metropolitan Police (the team that is, not the force; the team no longer has any coppers in it). Lucas is currently studying for his A levels: Ness departs

At one time with Fulham and described as a 'potential wonderkid', the defender had a trial with Leicester City last year amidst interest from a number of top clubs: In demand starlet

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Charlton outplayed

One can talk about the curse of the football for a fiver game, but Charlton were simply outplayed as they went down 0-2 to promotion chasing Blackburn Rovers at The Valley this afternoon. Some of the defending was woeful.

The other relegation league clubs had a mixed day, with the stand out result being bottom club Barnsley's 3-0 defeat of Fulham at Craven Cottage. Luton Town won 1-0 at Boro and Huddersfield equalised at Derby. Stoke went down 4-2 at QPR after being 2-0 ahead and Wigan drew at Cardiff after also being ahead.

Sheffield Wednesday could soon be joining the relegation league. Not only did they lose again today, 0-3 at home to Reading, but there is talk of a 21 point deduction.

Without Jonny Williams who picked up a slight knock in training, Charlton started well in the first 15 minutes. A Hemed shot was deflected and Walton in the Rovers goal pushed it away.

On 26 minutes Pearce made a great intervention to stop a Rovers chance. However, the BBC thought he should have been red carded and Blackburn awarded a penalty. Three minutes later poor defending saw the visitors go ahead with a deflected shot from Buckley.

Charlton fans were blasé about the weather before the game, but Rovers may have been helped by the strong wind blowing towards the Covered End. On 37 minutes they were awarded a free kick for no apparent reason. Fair or not, you still have to defend it and the defence was awful with Adarabioyo making it 0-2.

On 39 minutes Taylor forced Walton into a good save. Richard Cawley commented, 'Charlton had early momentum, but Blackburn grew into the game. Charlton didn't seem to be playing with their usual intensity which could be due to the big shift they put in against Forest on Tuesday.'

Charlton were better, or at least not as bad, in the second half, but Walton coped well with anything thrown at him. Pearce was replaced by Smith at half time and the Addicks switched to 4-4-2. A Taylor free kick was punched away. Hemed was replaced by Green on 60 minutes and Bonne replaced McGeady on 69 minutes. Charlton came closest to scoring on 84 minutes when Cullen forced a super save from Walton.

Attendance was 25,363 with 2,063 from Blackburn. Charlton remain 19th, ahead of Huddersfield on goal difference and five points above Wigan in the first relegation place.

The report from Louis Mendez is here: Beaten at home

Rovers return

It looks as if the worst of Storm Dennis will hit after this afternoon's match against Blackburn Rovers, but the expected bumper crowd may be depleted because of threatened transport disruption. Clearing the crowd from The alley will be a challenge now that there is no longer a 'football special' fast to London Bridge.

Charlton have not scored a goal in their last four 'football for a fiver' games: Is football for a fiver cursed?

Blackburn come into the game after a convincing 3-0 home win against Hull during the week. Charlton are looking to win three consecutive league games against Blackburn for the first time since September 2004. Away from home, Blackburn have won five, drawn two and lost eight.

Blackburn have conceded exactly one goal in each of their last six away league games against Charlton (W2 D2 L2). Charlton are looking to win consecutive home Championship games for the first time since April 2016 under manager Jose Riga.

Blackburn have lost their two away league games in London this season, losing 2-0 at Fulham and 4-2 at QPR. Since the start of last season, Lyle Taylor has scored 34 goals in all competitions - 20 more than any other Charlton player.

If Charlton can do the double over Blackburn, it will be a big step towards safety. The teams below us have tough away games today: Derby v Huddersfield; QPR v Stoke (mind you anything is possible with the Super Hoops); Cardiff v Wigan; Boro v Luton; Fulham v Barnsley.

One piece of good news is that Johnnie Jackson has signed a contract to remain as assistant manager at Charlton until 2023. A true legend.