Wednesday 31 December 2008

Phil Parkinson is permanent manager

Phil Parkinson has been confirmed as Charlton's permanent manager. This is not a decision I find surprising, as everything I had heard suggested that this was the likely outcome. It will not be a popular decision with most of the Addickted, but is probably sensible in the circumstances given the financial constraints; the difficulty of avoiding relegation; and the difficulty of recruiting an alternative.

Davies in at Forest

Billy Davies, who turned down the Charlton job leading to the appointment of Iain Dowie, looks favourite to become Forest manager: Davies

Forest have given priority to appointing a new manager ahead of the crucial clash with Charlton on January 10th.

Welcome back, Darren Ambrose

Some Charlton fans have regained their favourite scapegoat player. It hasn't worked out at Ipswich. Let's hope we can use him to good effect at The Valley: Ambrose

A devalued currency

It's not just the pound that has been falling against the euro, to the chagrin of the Blackheath Addick, but the value of Charlton Athletic pounds has been falling fast as the club faces the prospect of third division football. This has been the worst season for the Addickted since the return to The Valley.

I don't think a blame game gets us anywhere. Apart from anything else, many of the problems at The Valley are structural rather than related to particular personalities, although clearly the departure of Peter Varney was a blow. However, until we get the reporting and decision-making structures sorted out, there will be no quick fix. Any new manager needs the right set up to work in.

I suppose one consolation is that it can hardly get any worse in 2009. Meanwhile, Leamington are on track to win the BGB Midlands Division, currently enjoying a nine point lead.

Best wishes to all the Addickted for 2009.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

So, farewell then, Martin Christensen?

So far unconfirmed reports from Sky Sports suggest that the Danish winger has been let go on a free. It's very difficult to evaluate Christensen as we never saw him in a first team shirt. So, if the story is true, that's £250,000 down the drain. Read the Sky report here: Forgotten

The W Formation

I had a recent enquiry about this old style formation and I have now received a more authoritative account of it by someone who played at the time:
'The W formation comprised of two fast, or tricky wingers, a centre forward. The two inside forwards were playmakers, and would see-saw depending on the flow of play behind the front three. The wing halves were also play makers charged with turning defence into attack. The cetre-half ( my playing position) was defence, and the pivot position for the full backs to operate the off-side trap when feasible. Of course this all went out the window when the Hungarians showed another way of playing the game, which I witnessed at Wembley. I often wonder if reverting to the old style ocasionally, would confuse the opposition.'

Hull is the new Charlton says Luke Young

His remarks about the Charlton side he played in are well worth reading in the context of our current difficulties: Warm

Monday 29 December 2008

Interim supremo to bring in new players

Now billed as Charlton's 'interim' supremo, Phil Parkinson intends to bring in up to four new players during the January transfer window, he has told the club's E mail bulletin.

He said: 'We've mapped out how we want the squad to look. Steve Waggott, Richard Murray and the board are all working together and we're talking to players. Ideally, if we are going to bring players in, then we want to bring them in straight away. We have a squad written down with new additions of how we'd like it to look in an ideal world, and we're speaking to players' agents and other managers all the time, although there is no guarantee that any of those players will come.

We need to bring some players in to give everyone a lift; the supporters and the current group of players. Nothing lifts a team more than one, two or even three or four new bodies walking into the building. It lifts the training ground and certainly lifts the dressing room.'

There are some supporters who might be given a lift by Parkinson's departure, but clearly they are not living in the same ideal world as he is. He certainly isn't talking like a dead man walking.

Falkirk boss puts his hat in the ring

Falkirk manager John Hughes has declared his interest in becoming Charlton manager:

One leading fan who is also a sports commentator gave this assessment: #On the plus side, he's very passionate, has a solid track record (at Falkirk), would be a fresh face from the outside with new ideas, might know some players that he could bring in (on the cheap) that could do the job. He is the type of manager not afraid to sort things out.'

'On the minus side, he's very passionate (began the season in the midst of a
6-game touchline ban), has only managed in Scotland (although in the Scottish
Premier League), does anyone at Charlton know him?'

If one goes for the fresh broom argument, then there is a case for looking north of the border, even if one does have to pay for an interpreter. As far as I know, he is also the first manager to declare a public interest in the job (although admittedly in any higher level English job).

Sunday 28 December 2008

The poisoned chalice

The best case scenario for Charlton now would be for someone to buy the club who had reasonable funds at their disposal. They could then not just appoint a new manager, but undertake a fundamental review of the overall structure of the club. One might say that this is an impossible dream. I don't think it's out of the question, but I am not saying it is going to happen.

If this does not happen, then I think the way forward is not as simple as the 'get rid of Parkinson and bring anyone in' school would argue. Supposing the next manager fails as well? Where do you go from there?

The problem is that the position is not likely to be an attractive one to a manager of the right calibre. First, whoever comes in is going to have to achieve a very challenging win ratio to avoid relegation. And that is going to have to be done with a squad that is deficient in a number of respects. In my view the debate about our problems - as is so often the case in football - has focused too much on the manager and not enough on the shortcomings of the players. Some of them are talented enough for the Championship, but the sum of the parts is not good enough.

Moreover, any new manager is going to have little money to play with, particularly after Parkinson is paid off.

I am glad I am not on the board because I am not sure what I would do in these circumstances. I would keep looking for a buyer, but the board have been doing that anyway. I would cut back the size of the squad in January. There are simply too many players to whom we are paying wages who never feature. And I would see if I could find a good playmaker for central midfield at a realistic price and wages - which would probably be too big an ask.

I think my judgement about the managerial position would be influenced by whether there was a good manager with League 1 experience who was available and up for a very difficult challenge. Whether such a person exists I simply don't know.

What I think is clear is that either Parkinson needs to be replaced or he needs to be confirmed as manager for the rest of the season. Which way the board will go I simply don't know. It's not a call I could make myself without more information about the available alternatives.

Charlton fail to hold on to lead

The Addicks failed to hold on to a 1-0 half time lead at Bramall Lane today, eventually losing 3-1 to Sheffield United. Bouazza put the Addicks ahead with a 20-yard low drive on 33 minutes. The Addicks maintained their lead until 65 minutes when Quinn equalised and this was the first of three goals the Blades scored in a 15 minute spell.

Waghorn and Gray were relegated to the bench, although both came on late in the game. Burton started up front. Holland also started with Semedo not even on the bench. Elliott was preferred to Weaver in goal and Shelvey was an unused substitute.

Five Charlton players were booked: Bailey, Burton, Cranie, Hudson and McEveley.

Charlton are now firmly bottom of the table, four points behind Southampton. Doncaster and Forest both won, putting them five points clear of the Addicks.

Saturday 27 December 2008

Parkinson to stay?

The board has given a strong hint that caretaker manager Phil Parkinson will be staying on a more permanent basis and given funds to spend in the January transfer window: Phil P

'Sailor' Brown leaves us

We are sorry to announce the passing earlier today of Charlton legend 'Sailor' Brown at the age of 93. More here: Brown

Bumper crowd sees hard fought match

A bumper crowd of 876, the second largest of the season, saw a hard fought and competitive match at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon. Leamington ended 2-0 winners, but Bromsgrove Rovers, urged on by their vociferous support, were effective opponents and threatened to score more than once.

Brakes had a number of chances to score in the first half. Bello put the ball over the bar, then the lively James Husband created an opportunity right by the far post, only to see the ball put out for a corner. Then, after a great run, Bello just missed. Finally, Marcus Jackson put in a fierce shot, the keeper parried it, but Jai Stanley was on hand to make it 1-0.

Meanwhile, Rovers had lost former Birmingham City player Sam Alsop to injury, but he was replaced by another Blew, Devion Hamilton. Adam Cooper picked up a yellow card.

Rovers threatened after the break and Mozza had to be lively in the Leamington goal. Subsequently, Rovers hit the woodwork and they looked dangerous on the break. But the always involved James Husband tore in from the wing to make it 2-0 on 90 minutes.

The Silver Biscuit goes to play maker Marcus Jackson who even managed to get an effective kick at the ball while he was on the ground.

The manager question

While it's always difficult to assess the varied views of the Addickted, I would guess that the majority view is that Phil Parkinson has failed to turn things around and should be replaced sooner than later.

Why, then, might this not happen? First, there is the cost: Parkinson would have to be bought out of the rest of his contract. Of course, the cost of relegation would be greater but the board may be reluctant to admit that their 'Plan B' failed. Second, the board may think that the real problem is with the players and no manager that Charlton could afford could turn them into a winning outfit. Third, it may be that there is a takeover in the offing and the new board might want understandably enough to choose their own manager.

When it comes to replacement, there are two schools of thought. One favours an internal replacement with Mark Robson a name being increasingly mentioned. Apparently he left because he did not like the way Pardew was doing things. Other names mentioned are Mark Kinsella and Steve Brown. Mark Bowen would bring Charlton connections and relevant experience.

The other school of thought is that the club needs a complete clean out of anyone associated with the failed regime. Various names then come into the frame, although none of them seem too likely.

The rumour mill is suggesting that Curbs may come back until the end of the season to steady the ship and I think that most of the Addickted would welcome that.

Blades without keeper

Sheffield United may be without keeper Paddy Kenny for tomorrow's clash against Charlton. He has been dropped for disciplinary reasons. They have also lost defender Ugo Ehiogou who picked up an Achilles injury at Molineux: Blades

JJ joins Hibs

Former Charlton striker Jonatan Johansson has joined Hibernian. The 33-year old is hoping to feature in the derby against Hearts next weekend: JJ

Friday 26 December 2008

Bailey 'scores' twice to earn draw

Nicky Bailey had two goals attributed to him as Charlton battled for a 2-2 draw at home to Queen's Park Rangers at The Valley, while supremo Phil Parkinson was sent off.

McEveley was back in the line up for today's clash between Charlton and Queen's Park Rangers at The Valley with Grant Basey slipping back to the subs' bench, reports Petts Wood Addick Janice Styler. Shelvey was on the bench, but Elliott was preferred in goal to Weaver. There were six changes to the Super Hoops side that beat Preston at Loftus Road as some players were rested. Helguson was on the Rangers bench that was studded with quality.

An early shot by Semedo was wide. Bouazza put in a ball in, the keeper played the ball out and Waghorn was not able to control it on the edge of the area. Rangers launched a counter attack. Charlton won the first corner of the game after McEveley foraged down the left.

Rangers won a corner off Fortune, Lee Cook going across to take it. Rangers threatened through Hall, but Elliott was able to take the ball as it bounced in front of him.

Rangers were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the 'D'. The ball went over the wall of four, which did not look well lined up, and Lee Cook scored against his former loan club. Once again Charlton had gone behind to a set piece.

Charlton won a corner which was well taken by Bailey, Bouazza took the second corner but Rangers were able to break. Cranie blocked the attack. Alberti got a yellow card for a challenge on Semedo.

Charlton won another corner taken by Bouazza, but Rangers eventually managed to clear. Charlton won another corner but Rangers were eventually able to clear and looked dangerous on the break.

Waghorn threatened after some work by Gray and Sam, but Cerny in the Rangers goal was able to reach it first. A volleyed shot by Bailey was blocked by the Rangers defence. Bouazza had the ball on the left in a promising position but then played it back to the halfway line. McEveley picked up a yellow card.

Sam put a good ball in, Waghorn back heeled it well to Gray in a crowded penalty area, but Gorkss was able to defend for Rangers. A Rangers break was dealt with by Hudson, but Rangers won a corner. Hall put in a shot which was punched out by Elliott who made an excellent reaction save despite the problems caused by the low winter sun.

Cook was booked for some afters with Semedo. Alberti tried to go for a shot, but was blocked by Bailey and then Cook fed Blackstock and Elliott had to save from an on target header. The ball should have been cut out by two Charlton defenders.

Charlton were awarded a free kick, but Bailey's effort went over the wall and then over the crossbar. Two minutes of time were added on. Bouazza put in a shot and the Charlton players appealed for handball by Ramage, but without success. Fortune was felled by Blackstock.

Charm merchant Connolly was the third Rangers player to go in the book and the referee then blew the whistle for half time as boos rang round The Valley. Charlton had failed to make a shot on target.

Half time: Addicks 0, Super Hoops 1

Charlton won an early corner after a foray by Bouazza. The corner from Sam was collected by Cerny. Sam went down the wing, cut inside, put a superb cross in, Bailey anticipated well and scored with a header from a few yards out.

Hall got a vital block as McEveley and Bouazza combined. Gorkss failed to prevent the corner. Bouazza played the corner short and it was unproductive. Alberti made way for Ephraim, formerly a Hampsters trainee.

Blackstock found himself in a good position, although being pulled wide by Fortune, but Elliott coped well and the ball went out for a goal kick. Fortune seemed to have a slight limp after he defended a ball. Lee Cook was taken off to boos and Ledesma, an Argentinian on loan from Genoa, came on.

Bailey made a good challenge on Ephraim. From practically nothing, Blackstock (who got both the goals at Loftus Road) turned in the 18 yard box and put the ball past Elliott to make it 1-2. The Charlton defence was not in evidence, although Fortune did seem to be in some discomfort.

Burton was brought on in place of Waghorn in the hope that experience might tell. Cranie was booked. Semedo made a challenge on Ledesma, Hudson chatted to the referee and the card was just a yellow.

Burton fell over Leigertwood and got Charlton a free kick which led to a corner. Bailey's effort was blocked by Gorkss on the near post.

The ball came in, Cerny punched it and it looked as if Hogan Ephraim obligingly put the ball in the back of the net for Charlton, although the goal was attributed to Bailey. Basey came on and Bouazza went off, a bit of a puzzle given that Bouazza had been putting in some decent crosses. Shelvey had been prepared to come on, but returned to the bench. Shortly afterwards Di Carmine was replaced by Helguson, once rumoured to be a Charlton target on.

Basey whipped the ball in from the left, Sam leapt and made contact but it just went wide of the left hand upright. Rangers won a free kick and Charlton's marking looked suspect. Burton broke away, but Connolly was able to clear. Rangers threatened and the ball went on to the roof of the net.

Semedo found Sam with a good ball, Burton went for a chipped shot and it was over the bar. There were suspicions of a handball by a Rangers player. Charlton won a corner and Semedo made way for Matt Holland. Basey's corner was very poor and Hudson turned it past the post.

Four minutes of time were added on. There were appeals again for a handball by Connolly. Rangers broke, Helguson put in a shot from the right, the ball hit the woodwork, it looked as if they had scored, but it was ruled out. The refree marched across to the Charlton bench and sent off Phil Parkinson.

Sam put in a grass cutter and Cerny collected. Cranie blocked a Rangers attack at the expense of a throw in. Bailey blocked a ball in by Gorkss. Every Charlton player was back for the corner, Elliott punched the ball away. Elliott had to turn the ball past his near post for another corner, the four minutes having been played. Elliott punched it out and the whistle went.

Charlton fought hard for the draw, but they are only one match away from the 1955 league record of sixteen matches without a win and could well achieve it at Sheffield United.

Super Hoops

Quite a thoughtful and sensible match preview from a QPR blog which identifies some of our weaknesses: Hoops

This could be Phil Parkinson's last match in charge at The Valley, but it is far from clear who might replace him. If I was to guess at the most likely replacement, it would be Aidan Boothroyd - available and fairly cheap.

As for the match, it looks like a 1-1 draw to me.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Gillespie to return

The Boxing Day match against Queen's Park Rangers will be the last game in a Charlton shirt for Keith Gillespie, reports the club's E mail bulletin. He has been recalled to Sheffield. He will thus be in a position to play for the Blades against Charlton two days later and will be able to spill the beans on Charlton's secret formula of a leaky defence, an absent midfield and forwards who can't find the target.

The Addicks have been informed by the parent clubs of Hameur Bouazza, Jay McEveley and Martyn Waghorn that they will not be given permission to play for Charlton in the FA Cup third round fixture against Norwich. This could make for an interesting line up and a chance for some of Charlton's younger players.

One piece of good news is that Jay McEveley has returned to training after dislocating his shoulder. Phil Parkinson is considering recalling him for the Boxing Day match against the Super Hoops. McEveley has been one of the more impressive loan signings, bringing attitude and an ability to cross the ball.

Trollope rules himself out

Paul Trollope (and by implication Sir Lennie Lawrence) has ruled himself out of the 'race' for the post of Charlton manager: Trollope

Paul Ince does seem to be prepared to accept the poisoned chalice, but like the New York Addick, I have little enthusiasm for him as a candidate.

Brakes do a Charlton

Brakes did a Charlton at Sutton Coldfield Town last night when they succumbed to a last minute equaliser in what was effectively the last kick of the game to record a 2-2 draw. Five minutes earlier Michael Batchelor, known for his hate-hate relationship with Leamington, has scored a spectacular own goal, but having scored the equaliser, he ran the length of the pitch taunting and gesticulating at Brakes fans (and picking up a booking).

The result felt like a defeat, although there is no doubt that Brakes missed ex Reading ace Guy Sanders, in many ways the fulcrum of the side. Hopefully, he will have recovered for Saturday's big home match against Bromsgrove Rovers (given the expected size of the crowd buses will provide a park and ride service).

To have reached fifty points by Christmas is a substantial achievement and Brakes have established a clear lead over the chasing pack, of which Nuneaton Town (formerly Borough) pose the greatest threat. This was the only second time they have dropped points this season, once again through an away draw.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

'We're doomed' says Killer

Derek Hales fears that Charlton are doomed to be relegated and is particularly critical of the over use of loan players: Killer

Ince for Charlton?

Sacked Blackburn manager Paul Ince is apparently being lined up to take over at The Valley, according to this story, although it was the Currant Bun that raised it first: Ince

What with the Millwall manager and Lennie Lawrence, not to mention various local favourites, there is no shortage of candidates, but as yet there is no vacancy.

Leamington are away at Sutton Coldfield Town tonight in another crucial match in the BGB Midlands Division title race.

Monday 22 December 2008

Wry indeed

The club's E mail bulletin has revealed that there may be no Rickshaw service from Rye on Boxing Day because of lack of demand. Why have the Addickted of the East Sussex town withdrawn their support? Can they no longer stomach what is served up on the pitch? We would be pleased to hear from any Addicks in Rye.

Linvoy Primus has left The Valley to return to Portsmouth. Many Addicks have fond memories of him as a young player, but he did not really make a major difference to Charlton's defence in his spell as a loan player (when he was selected). Indeed, Fortune, now that he is back, seems up to the task.

Charlton memories

Someone who was involved in training with the club in the late 1940s has sent us these memories:

'I had been picked up by the Southend Club, and after playing a few games they had arranged for training sessions at the Valley, as they did with other players that lived in the area it wasn't much as far as I was concerned, mainly stamina work, and kicking around in the car park, apart from the track, we weren't alowed on the pitch, I guess that would have been the Groundsman's decision depending on the few days previous weather conditions. However it didn't last long, as I was at night school at Woolwich Poly doing the Higher National Certificate at that point, my father found out I was skipping classes, and came down hard as he thought that education was more important than playing football. This all happened after I had come out of the army, I was in pretty good condition as I had been playing for the Regiment,where we were treated like professionals, by the RSM. who was a football fanatic, no duties just training, and playing. We had several players in the team who were playing for League Clubs on week-ends, services games were played mid-week, I can remember one game against the Air Force at Boscombe Down who had Mortensen, and McCormak as their two inside forwards, I played another game against the Woolwich garrison which was full of International players, they were all PT instructors, and I suspect kept there just to play football. Those were the days of the leather ball, which on a wet day could feel like a medicine ball, the W formation, and boots had leather studs, and a hard toe cap,I can remember as a kid lusting after a pair of "Mansfield Hotspurs" which were the top of the line boot, used to lace them up and sit in a bucket of water to mould them to your feet, when the had dried out, lather them with tallow, and dubbin to make the leather supple. That all changed when Bert Williams brought our a new design, which was more like a running shoe, forerunners of to-days boot. A top line player got fourteen pounds a week, a tradesman, for instance a Fitter, and Turner, made three pounds fifteen. What happened to it all?'

Interesting times at The Valley

Steve Waggott reflects on his first eight months as chief executive: Waggott

Sunday 21 December 2008

Prepare for third division football

It's time to be thinking about the template for a third division diary because that's where the arithmetic suggests that Charlton is heading. The strategic review will probably decide that Phil Parkinson cannot get us out of our current mess, although I am not sure whether anyone can.

Big Sam has made a quick turn around at Blackburn, but he had far better quality players to work with there. I'm really not sure that we can put out a team of eleven players good enough for the Championship. A fundamental problem for a long time has been the fulcrum of the team, central midfield. Holland is tiring; Racon and Zheng Zhi are injured, although the news on Racon is encouraging; Bailey and Semedo are error prone.

To those who would say bring in Shelvey and Wright, I have not been too impressed when I have seen them play. If playing 16-18 year olds is the answer, why isn't the Wolves team made up in this way? The fact is that young players, through lack of experience, are prone to making catastrophic, match changing errors as we saw with Basey on Monday night.

Getting rid of Phil Parkinson is going to cost us more money we can ill afford. At least Parkinson talks more sense than his predecssors. Any new manager is going to have been a low cost solution who has experience at the lower levels of the Football League. That is why the reports emanating from Bristol about Sir Lennie Lawrence are interesting.

The blame game is on with indvidual members of the board being targeted. I don't think this gets us anywhere. It's a combination of factors that has led to our present position. For example, if both Zhneg Zhi and Racon had been available for most matches, would we be in our present plight? I don't think so.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Lita's goal finishes off Charlton

Charlton were unchanged from the team that drew against Derby reports Len Bentham from Carrow Road. Norwich won the first corner and this led to a second, Elliott punched it out. The Canaries continued the pressure with a free kick in a promising position. It was headed away by Hudson and eventually led to a free kick by the corner flag, but the ball went out of play for a goal kick.

Good pressure from Waghorn led to the first Charlton corner, followed by a second, again from Bailey. Marshall punched it clear. Semedo played an awful ball which went out of play. Bouazza did not make good use of a ball from Waghorn. A move started by Hudson led to a super cross that came in from the left from Basey, Bailey was about three yards away from it.

Cranie conceded a corner as Lita advanced. Lita scuffed his shot from the corner and it went over the bar. Fortune cleared from the next corner, Semedo broke away, but then conceded a free kick. Bell fed Lita, but his effort was not on target and he was offside anyway.

Following a free kick, Hudson put in a super dipping volley with his right foot and Marshall diving to his right had to tip the ball over. Marshall was able to gather from the corner and release Norwich. As the half hour approached, Bailey put in a poor pass to Gray. Semedo tried a shot which was not too far wide with the keeper beaten.

The home fans started to get a little restive. Roeder came down from the stands to the dugout to weave his magic. Sam was brought down by Drury who received a talking to from the referee. An effort by Norwich was blocked by Sam. Croft was challenged well by Basey. An offside decision against Norwich angered the home fans.

As the minutes ticked down, Norwich won a corner. Charlton had to do some defending, but Elliott was eventually able to claim the ball. Semedo went down injured. Two minutes of time was added on. The referee gave a free kick to Norwich for handball right of centre from the Charlton goal. The free kick went over the wall and not too far wide, the closest the Canaries had come since the opening stages. Charlton had matched Norwich, in particular the defence had kept Lita quiet, and it was time for one of Delia's pies.

Half time: Canaries 0, Addicks 0

Lita broke through, the flag stayed down, but he put it wide when one on one with the keeper. Lita and Bell combined well, but Hoolahan's shot deflected and went out of play for a corner. Charlton were awarded a free kick following the corner. Elliott was given a yellow card for time wasting.

Bouazza put in a shot on target from a tight angle that was gathered by Marshall in the Norwich goal. Clingan fed Lita, he chested the ball down in the area and beat Hudson to put the ball in the corner of the net, scoring against his former loan club just after 60 minutes.

Waghorn was taken off and Burton was brought on. Former Blackpool player Hoolihan was taken off and former Wimbledon and Newcastle ace Cort was brought on. Elliott made a poor clearance under pressure. The momentum was with the Canaries while the lack of confidence in the Charlton team showed. Bouazza made a poor pass which was typical of an indifferent game by the winger. Bouazza put in a ball that was neither a cross nor a shot.

Lita beat Hudson, but his shot took a deflection for a corner, leading to a second. Semedo was taken off and Todorov came on for the last quarter of an hour. Hudson had to be alert to clear at the expense of a Norwich corner. An error by Bailey led to a second. Bouazza tried a shot, but Marshall saved well, leading to a Charlton corner which was cleared by Norwich.

Sam was taken off in favour of Gillespie. Croft dispossessed Burton but caught him in the eye. Pattison was taken off by Norwich. Burton got in between two defenders, but there was a handball and he got a yellow card.

Four minutes of time were added on. But it was to no avail, although they tried a little harder in the last few minutes. Charlton had not had a shot on target in the second half, although once again the midfield was deficient, especially Bouazza and Bailey. This was not an impressive performance.

Elsewhere, Brakes won 3-0 at Malvern Town, all the goals coming in the first half.

Clamp down on blogs?

The motivation for this is political, but football blogs could be affected, certainly in terms of what they said about managers and players: Blogs

Friday 19 December 2008

'Creaking defence' at Norwich

Local sources claim that Norwich has a 'creaking defence' and there is concern in the camp that Charlton are going to take all three points off them at Carrow Road tomorrow: Fears

But, of course, Charlton's defence is more than capable of making schoolboy errors and may well be unlocked tomorrow by Leroy Lita who is apparently available in the January transfer window for just £300,000.

This is the sort of match we need to win to escape from our current predicament. Whether we can do it, I simply don't know. I would certainly go for an attacking formation and retain Gray and Waghorn up front. 600 tickets have been sold to the Addickted.

Leamington are taking the waters tomorrow away to bottom club Malvern Town. They need to give the Waterboys the kind of 6-0 drubbing they handed out to the Bones in their last away game.

Elsewhere news comes that former manager Les Reed has been drafted in as assistant manager at Bishops Stortford. On this basis, where will Pardew end up?

Thursday 18 December 2008

Paintballing session to boost morale

Charlton are hoping that a paintballing session will boost morale and bond the team after Tuesday's last minute disappointment against Derby: Bonding

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Dickson on transfer list

Chris Dickson has gone on the transfer list at his own request, frustrated at the lack of playing opportunities at Charlton: Dickson

I can understand his frustration, but I have always been sceptical about the strategy of swooping up non-league aces who then get loaned out or play in the reserves, even if it did get us plaudits in the Non-League Paper. There's a big gap between the Championship and non-league and it can't be bridged that easily or quickly - and we haven't got the luxury of time.

I anticipate a very modest fee and an opportunity at a lower level which may give Dickson a deserved opportunity for career development.

Monday 15 December 2008

Last minute equaliser denies Addicks three points

The shock news that Nicky Weaver had been dropped in favour of Rob Elliott in goal greeted Charlton fans arriving at The Valley tonight, writes Petts Wood Addick Janice Styler. Having fallen foul of the five player rule in previous games, Waghorn joined Gray up front. Basey slotted in at left back and Semedo started in central midfield. Sam was brought in on the wing. The kick off was delayed after the Blackwall Tunnel was closed and the Rams held up, eventually having to resort to the Woolwich Free Ferry. 20,989 seats had been sold.

Fortune had to head over his own bar as Varney bore down on goal, leading to the first corner. The corner was taken short and the offside flag went up against the Rams. Waghorn almost capitalised on an Albrichtson stumble, but the Derby full back made an important challenge. A Varney cross was headed away. Fortune had to deal with a further threat from the lively Varney.

Waghorn went down injured off the ball after being caught by a trip by Darren Powell.
Long ball play was prevalent from both sides. Fortune went into the advertising hoardings rather awkwardly under pressure from Luke Varney. A Basey free kick took a deflection leading to the first Charlton corner on 17 minutes.

Bouazza broke well down the left, Sam hit the inside of the post and Bailey scuffed the follow up shot. Waghorn burst through and hit it against Bywater's chest in the Derby goal. Derby threatened but the shot went wide. Charlton won a free kick in a decent position after charm merchant Darren Powell fouled Waghorn.

The ball went from Sam to Semedo who fed Gray, Powell was the wrong side of Gray and the striker was able to take control and make it 1-0. Waghorn was struggling with his dead leg. Hudson was dealing with Ellington well while Varney had faded.

Half time: Addicks 1, Rams 0

Derby took off Kamierczak and brought on Kris Commons. Charm merchant Darren Powell brought down Bouazza as he advanced on goal and received a yellow. Bouazza's effort went over the top of the bar. Derby made another substitution, Zadkovich being replaced by Giles Barnes.

Bouazza and Waghorn interchanged well but Bouazza put the ball over the bar, missing a golden chance. Teale put in a shot and Elliott made a super save, then Basey made a good challenge on Varney at the expense of a corner. Charlton faced some pressure, before winning a throw in. Bywater had to made a double save, firstly off Bouazza and then from Sam. Derby threatened and put the ball in the net, but the offside flag went up, a decision that went Charlton's way.

A handball decision was given against Semedo and referee d'Urso pointed to the penalty spot. Ellington rolled the ball slowly home to make it 1-1. Sam bore down on goal, he fed it back to Waghorn and with great composure he made it 2-1 on 63 minutes.

Darren Powell, in constant danger of a red, was replaced by the youngster Tomkins. Waghorn put in a decent cross to Bouazza but he did not take advantage of it. Connolly put in a dangerous challenge on Basey but got away with the yellow. Cranie dealt with a threat from Ellington at the expense of a corner kick.

Waghorn was taken off in the final game of his loan spell to a standing ovation and was replaced by Burton. The tiring Sam was replaced by Gillespie. A curious offside decision was made against Burton. As normal time came to an end, Charlton applied some pressure.

In time added on, Gillespie showed his experience by winning a clever free kick. Then on the stroke of full time Ellington fired it home with a half volley that gave Elliott no chance after an awful header from Grant Basey. After a battling performance, luck deserted Charlton again. The three points would have pushed them up the table.

Two teams in trouble

Two teams in trouble meet tonight for the televised clash between Charlton Athletic and Derby County at The Valley. One might think that Charlton were in the deeper trouble, but Derby manager Paul Jewell is under pressure and could be the victim of the 'curse of Charlton' tonight.

Derby fans are insisting that nothing less than a win will do if he is to save his skin. Some are reading the result off the table, but others seem less confident. None of them mention Luke Varney as their secret weapon.

If Charlton can score the first goal and then hold on without conceding for ten minutes, I think that they might have a chance of taking all three points tonight. It would also be a help if we had a referee who did not try to demonstrate that he was not a 'homer' by giving every marginal decision to the away team. (Turns out the referee is going to the banker from Billericay, Andy D'Urso. Trust a glamour referee to turn out when the cameras are there).

To get a view from Derby that focuses on Phil Parkinson go here: Derby

Petts Wood Addick Janice Styler will be providing tonight's match report. Enjoy the game!

Saturday 13 December 2008

Yuletide vote of confidence for Phil

Phil Parkinson will remain as Charlton's caretaker manager until at least the start of 2009, the Charlton board has announced. In a detailed statement explaining the current position of the club, and outlining both the immediate priorities and Charlton's strategic direction, the club's directors have given Parkinson their full backing over the hectic festive period.

'As there can be no further changes to the playing squad until the transfer window opens on January 1st, and as Phil and his coaching and backroom staff know the players, it is our view to give Phil a run up until the end of the year, when there will be a strategic review of the position,' said football club board chairman Richard Murray.

'We have been very busy behind the scenes, and there has been plenty of interest in the position. But Phil knows the demands of the Championship and is stamping his own managerial style on the team during this interim period.'

It was also revealed that there had been a number of tentative enquiries about buying the club since the Zabeel deal failed, but no firm offer.

Friday 12 December 2008

Team gutted by poor performance admits supremo

Leamington boss Jason Cadden admits that 'The lads were gutted with their performance' on Tuesday night when they won a faltering 2-1 victory against Bury Town and 'said they want to put it right on Saturday' when they face fourth placed Leighton Town at the New Windmill Ground.

Brakes won 6-0 away at Rothwell Town last Saturday, but Cadzy described the home performance against Bury as 'not the standard we're used to and we're not impressed.' Brakes have only dropped two points all season in an away draw, but there are growing concerns that at some point in the season the team may lose a game. On Tuesday a number of passes went astray and the team lost possession at times. 'Before you know it we'll be a laughing stock like Charlton,' grumbled one supporter.

We will be the only Charlton blog covering tomorrow's match.

PP gets vote of confidence

Richard Murray has given Phil Parkinson more time to turn things round at The Valley after Tuesday's defeat by Coventry. I can't access the SLP site at the moment to link to the full story, but it's consistent with what I believe to be the case: that if there is going to be a change of manager, it won't be until the new year.

Should Parkinson be removed it will be necessary to find funds to pay up the rest of his contract.

Burton will sign a permanent contract from 1 January.

Thursday 11 December 2008

The loaned players question

A widely held view among the Addickted at the moment is that we have too many loaned players. If the argument is put in the form that the proportion of loaned players in the team is too high, I can see something in that. I can also see the argument that players who come for a year (like Scott Carson) are to be preferred to shorter term loans as they are more likely to gell with the team as a whole. However, a lot of the instability in the team is to do with switches of 'permanent' players.

It is argued that loan players are less committed to the team. All football players are hired hands and many of them are fans of other teams. There was a particular generation of Charlton players - Johnnie Robinson, Steve Brown, Mark Kinsella among others - who had a special kind of commitment to the club. But those golden days are over, perhaps never to return.

There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence that the play of loaned players is worse (except when they are returning from injury which was a problem last season). As far as incentives are concerned, they are usually trying to rebuild their careers and hence should want to outperform.

There is a view among Charlton fans - which I don't accept - that we are already relegated and therefore we should starting 'blooding' young players for next year. This appeals to the 'Roy of the Rovers' streak among Charlton fans who would like to see a team made of ex-Academy players overcoming impossible odds.

Look at any non-league team and you will find it full of ex-Academy players from good clubs. Most of them are not good enough to make the grade. And for the few thart are, if you start playing them too early or too often, it can damage their career as their confidence is undermined by the inevitable bad performance which happens to all players from time to time.

Let's look at one much criticised player, Martin Cranie, who is featured in the latest Four Four Two. Cranie recalls, 'When I heard Charlton were interested, I couldn't wait to sign. The stadium, support, facilities, they're better than Portsmouth's.'

Asked 'Why is the team struggling?', Cranie says: 'In my early games, we took the lead a couple of times, but would then concede an equaliser and our heads would drop. We need to go on the front foot and take the game to our opponents more. There's no need to panic. The table doesn 't take shape until Christmas.' Cranie says that 'I'd be more than happy' to stay at Charlton after his loan runs out at the end of December.

Charlton Pathetic

According to the Currant Bun Richard Murray stormed into the dressing room after Tuesday's defeat and lost his rag with the team:

One interesting point in the story is the suggestion that Mark Kinsella might replace Phil Parkinson.

Apparently also in today's issue, Charlton fan Kelvin MacKenzie mocks the slogan 'More than a football club' by commenting 'Not even a football club.'

Wednesday 10 December 2008

A personal note

Travelling down on the train from Coventry yesterday to go to the House of Commons, a passenger across the aisle asked if I was Wyn. It turned out that he was a Charlton supporter, but he was also not going to the game. He had first come to Britain as an exchange student from Germany in 1983 and had been sent to Dartford. He was invited to The Valley and from then on he was an Addick.

He was confident that we would win against Coventry and felt that such a win would give the side the confidence they needed. I was less confident than he was and, of course, the Addicks lost again. I think that I had a better time in Committee Room 9 of the Commons.

7.500 people who had tickets (albeit some of these were comps) did not turn up and there were only 13,000 or so in the ground. The amount of the jackpot prize says it all: £706. The team were booed off at the end of the game by those who had bothered to stay.

Those who were there said that it was an inept performance. One lister said, 'The problem feels systemic, not one player out there looked even comfortable let alone confident. A run like ours hardly breeds confidence but Coventry were no better than the side we beat 4-1 at the back end of the year.' Losing McEveley was a blow. (It now appears that he has dislocated or perhaps even fractured his shoulder so one of our best loan signings will be out for some time).

The usual calls have gone out for yet another change of manager by the weekend, but I can tell you it isn't going to happen. Arithmetically avoiding relegation is getting an increasingly challenging task and it would be an exceptional manager - which I doubt Charlton can afford - who can turn this team around.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Injury hit Coventry looking for three points

Coventry City are ravaged by injuries, but are hoping to avenge their 4-1 defeat at The Valley at the end of last season tonight: Sky Blues

Charlton are going to win a match sooner or later and I am going for a 2-1 win.

I won't be there, but enjoy the game!

Barmy Bardsmen

Stratford Town found that they were three players short for a recent away game when they went in their car to Market Rasen in Lincolnshire rather than Market Drayton in Shropshire. It is understood that there is going to be a whip round to buy them a sat nav for Christmas.

With a home game against Alvechurch the following Tuesday, the manager was confident that all the players would find their way to the Anne Hathaway Stadium. Unfortunately, four of them were involved in a car crash on the way to the ground. No one was seriously injured but some of them will be out of action for a fortnight.

Monday 8 December 2008

The brutal truth

I'm off to give evidence to a European Parliament Committee in Brussels today and it's a House of Commons reception tomorrow evening so I will be up the river from Charlton. Can't say I'm that disappointed to be missing the game against Coventry which I normally look forward to. Charlton must get a win eventually, but this one looks like another draw.

In all the calls for a new manager to be brought in, one uncomfortable fact is often overlooked: perhaps the players are not good enough. Our defence may have stabilised a little, but often gets caught out at set pieces. The midfield would be stronger if Racon and Zheng Zhi were available, but, as it is, it often goes awol and provides poor service to the forwards.

And we can't score goals because we lack a proven goal scorer. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't recall Fleetwood and give him a chance to see what he can do.

The one ray of hope is that I wouldn't rule out a takeover. The club's position may lower the price somewhat, but that only increases its attractiveness given the quality of the assets and the potential of the catchment area.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Devils cast out

Coventry Blaze continued their winning ways in the Elite Ice Hockey League at the Skydome Arena Coventry in front of the Sky cameras tonight when they beat Cardiff Devils 4-2.

Things looked good for Blaze when they went ahead just after one minute through Barrie Moore. However, the Devils equalised just two minutes later. It looked as if a descent into Hades might be on the card when Devils then went 2-1 ahead during a five on four. The drum beat of the Welsh contingent speeded up. With the net tender out of his goal, Blaze managed to equalise on 12:45, Moore scoring again. It all went off on 14 minutes when the referee had to pull fighting players apart.

Devils have a strong defensive reputation and it was 17:38 in the second period before Weaver put Blaze ahead. Devils continued to look dangerous and it was nearly nine minutes into the third period when Kelman effectively put the match beyond doubt. There was still time for giant Devils player Brad Voth [sic] to be sent to the sin bin yet again amid the jeers of the home crowd.

I learnt some new sin bin offences tonight: checking from behind and abusing an official.

Now for Charlton versus Coventry ...

Saturday 6 December 2008

End of the pier show

The weather was cold but sunny as Charlton faced Blackpool at Bloomfield Road today in front of a crowd of 6,648, including 321 Addickted among them away correspondent Janice Styler. An early Tangerines corner was cleared. Blackpool then won another corner out of nothing. The corner was taken short and Gillespie volleyed clear. Bouazza put in a good cross but it was a few yards ahead of Andy Gray. Hudson had to deal with a Blackpool attack.

A fierce shot from Bouazza was blocked in a crowded penalty area. Charlton were playing some good passing football in a low key start. After McEveley put in a good ball to the far post and Burton headed back Gray hit a shot from five yards out on the turn and the keeper (ex-Addick Rachubka) made a good diving save. The Charlton corner was poor.

Bouazza gave the ball away and McEveley had to intervene. Blackpool won a corner which the Addicks had to defend into the low sun, but Weaver caught the ball well. The Tangerines won another corner. Charlton were able to clear. The home crowd was very quiet.

Bouazza forced a corner kick, but it was disappointing again, but Charlton played the ball back in, and Rachubka had to put the ball over the crossbar. The corner was defended well as Burton threatened. Bouazza put in a shot from outside the area that was not too far wide as Charlton continued to dominate.

A crunching tackle from behind came in on Burton and the yellow card was shown to Evert. McEveley continued to be very lively. Bailey had to scramble the ball away as danger threatened. Cranie blocked a cross well. A header from Burgess 3 yards out went up in the air and over the goal. Blackpool were getting more involved.

A Blackpool effort came off the crossbar, a chip having beaten Weaver, and bounced out for a dubious corner. Weaver pushed the ball out for another corner and the Tangerines headed wide. Semedo did well with a good ball forward which nearly caught Blackpool out.

Blackpool won a free kick and two blocked shots led to a corner. Blackpool had a chance, but Cranie and Fortune converged on Dickinson to deny him the opportunity. Hudson required treatment before the corner could be taken and limped off in some difficulty. The ball from the corner was cleared off the line by Bailey.

Three minutes of time were added on. Blackpool won a corner which was cleared by Cranie and was followed by a second which ended in an Addicks goal kick. The referee had a word with Semedo.

Half time: Tangerines 0, Addicks 0

Blackpool threatened, Weaver made a good save with his feet, but the flag was already up. Then from a corner Dickinson headed past Weaver at close range to put the home side ahead. Charlton showed themselves vulnerable to a set piece once again. The home crowd came to life.

A shot from Semedo took a deflection and the keeper had to dive to his right. Blackpool won another dubious corner. The defence did not look too secure, but Charlton cleared. Then Dickinson burst through the centre to make it 2-0 for the home side on the rebound after Weaver had saved his first effort well.

The Addicks won a corner but were not able to make anything of it. Bailey put in a good shot which was tipped on to the crossbar by the keeper who then saved it. Bouazza ran forward well, but was tackled. A cross from Gillespie went into the arms of the keeper after a good interchange of passes.

Bailey felt he was fouled inside the penalty area. An effort by Burton making use of a low cross in from the right went just past the post. Chris Dickson and Lloyd Sam came on for Andy Gray and Keith Gillespie.

Dickson used a ball from Cranie to put in a stinging effort but it was straight at the keeper. Hudson defended well. Sam lost out, but Semedo was able to put in a powerful challenge. Weaver had to concede a corner after Fortune unwisely played the ball back. Cranie required treatment. Weaver collected from the corner but fell awkwardly and required treatment while Cranie was led away with a shoulder injury. Weaver was hobbling and in some degree of discomfort. A defender had to take the goal kick.

Holland came on to replace Cranie and Semedo moved to right back. Blackpool had a free kick 35 yards out. Dickinson's effort was straight at Weaver. Blackpool had a chance to make it three but the unmarked Southern headed past the far post. The Addicks didn't really like look getting back in the game. Dickinson was taken off so that he could receive his standing ovation.

There were four minutes of stoppage time but Charlton went a second 90 minutes without a goal and eleven games without a win. Sadly, relegation form and the Seasiders chanted 'Going down' at the end. The Addicks went to the bottom of the table.

After a good start in the first 30 minutes the Addicks were rocked by two Blackpool goals early in the second half, fulfilling the New York Addick's prediction of a 2-0 defeat.

Elsewhere it was Bones 0, Brakes 6 as Leamington maintained their run for the BGB Midlands Division title.

Shelvey to stay says PP

Charlton supremo Phil Parkinson has insisted that Jonjo Shelvey will stay at The Valley despite interest from a number of Premiership clubs:

Notwithstanding what has been said to Sporting Pravda could a sufficiently attractive offer be refused in current circumstances?

Friday 5 December 2008

Allardyce in for Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, a favourite among many Charlton fans to take over at The Valley,is tipped to take over at Sunderland: Allardyce

The second favourite is former Addicks supremo Alan Curbishley, but doubts have been expressed about whether he has the charisma to fill Roy Keane's boots, given that Keano had apparently lost the dressing room.

The notion of Allardyce coming to The Valley was always an unlikely one in the club's present financial situation given how much he would cost and the number of backroom staff he would bring with him.

Should the Parkinson/Kinsella combo look unlikely to keep Charlton in the Championship, then I would forecast that Boothroyd would be the most likely (which is not the same thing as the most favoured) candidate. The alternative would be to look lower down the leagues at talented managers like Darren Ferguson.

Blackpool hope to overcome poor home form

Blackpool have hit a patch of poor home form, but hope to put things to rights against Charlton:

Thursday 4 December 2008

Welsh international back for Blackpool

Blackpool should have Welsh international David Vaughan back for the clash against Charlton on Saturday: Tangerines

I went to this fixture last year when we lost 5-2. For those who think that Basey is under utilised, this was an appalling performance on his part. However, the real problem with playing at this exposed ground with only two sides enclosed is the wind that comes off the Irish Sea. It swirls and gusts in unpredictable ways and I felt that one of the goals should have been attributed to W. Wind. It gives the home side a considerable advantage as they are used to playing in such conditions.

It would be too much to hope for a calm day by the Irish Sea in December.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

A win at last

Charlton beat Blackburn 2-1 last night in the FA Youth Cup in extra time after the two teams were 1-1 at full time. I have lifted these comments from a member of the Glynne Jones list who was there:

'The second goal was scored by Jonjo Shelvey. It was miles offside - but it makes a change to get a decision go our way for a change.

There were some excellent performances tonight - Chris Solly and Yado Mambo and Carl Jenkinson in defence looked very solid; Sam Long, playing in midfield rather than his usual defensive role, made some excellent surging runs and his goal was a result of one of them; Steve Lozano-Calderon put in a terrific performance on the wing - he's small but very nippy, with good control; in goal Callum Christie made some brave saves and his distribution was very good and fast; the forwards, Ben Godfrey and Tamar Tuna (then Lewis Perkins) worked very hard but were up against a very strong Blackburn back four.

All in all a good performance and a deserved victory. Good also to see some of the players out on loan like Rashid Yussuf and Scott Wagstaff had come back for the evening to support their mates - it shows the togetherness among the young players.'

Monday 1 December 2008

40 applicants in for Charlton job

Forty applicants have expressed interest in the manager's job at Charlton. Apart from the usual suspects, these include Sam Allardyce. However, as we have noted before, the board will give Phil Parkinson a chance to show what he can do before hiring in an outsider:

The battle of the strugglers

How the FA Cup draw against Charlton is seen in Norfolk:

I suppose my optimal draw would have been away to someone like Manchester United, a respectable quick exit and some cash to help us with our problems. My nightmare would have been someone like Histon away: very little cash and the prospect of humiliation.

A home tie against Norwich City isn't going to do much for the coffers (I am sure the club will price tickets sensibly) but defeat by them would not be a major headline. We could use one or two players we see less of and that might increase the attraction of the fixture to the Addickted.

Some might argue that we need to concentrate on our relegation struggle, but a win in the cup could be a morale booster and produce a more lucrative fourth round tie. Knowing our luck, we will draw, lose the replay and have a key player injured.