Thursday 30 April 2009

Matt Wants To Stay

Midfielder Matt Holland wants to stay at Charlton in League 1: Holland

Given his commitment and experience, I think there would be a role for him at what he must recognise will be a reduced salary.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Minimum £3m price tag for Shelvey

With Spurs, Fulham and Newcastle in the hunt, Charlton have put a minimum £3m price tag on Young Player of the Year Jonjo Shelvey. No doubt many of the Addickted would think he is worth more and we should certainly insert a sell on clause. However, it looks like he is on his way over the summer.

The Haringey club have now tasked assistant manager Bond with running the rule over the youngster and are thought likely to firm up a £3m offer. However, there have been rumours that Arsenal are interested.

Monday 27 April 2009

Curse of Dowie, part 94

After drawing 0-0 at home with Pompey tonight, Newcastle remain in the relegation places in the Premiership and are rapidly running out of road - and I am not referring to the A road used for Iain Dowie's notorious training run before Charlton played at St. James's Park.

Television viewers were able to get a glimpse of Newcastle's problems when a grim faced Dowie, resplendent in barcodes, could be seen striding away from the pitch after the match. The magic of Shearer is no compensation for the curse of Dowie which has been seen in operation in South, South-East and West London, Coventry and now Geordieland. It's not rocket science!

Elsewhere, Norwich went down at home 0-2 to Reading which means that Sunday's match at The Valley could see the chirping canaries silenced. However, if Barnsley draw at Plymouth and Norwich win at The Valley, they would still be relegated.

Do you want treatment for relegation?

This was my Manchester City supporting doctor's quip when I went to see him today. He wanted to know why he had been relegated when we still had parachute payments. My shorthand answer on these occasions is always Dowie wasting money on useless players.

This got him started on Danny Mills who had enjoyed a five year contract at City which was now coming to an end during which time he had contributed nothing.

He also gave me a detailed account of Nicky Weaver's medical problems at City, not all of which I understood, but which sounded pretty grim. It made me wonder why we had signed him in the first place, but then I remembered that Charlton like to sign chronically injured players. Indeed, that was one of Curbs's weaknesses.

As for me, apparently I have been walking too much and too vigorously for my age and have a sports injury as a result.

Sunday 26 April 2009

Varney leading takeover bid?

The South London aka Pravda because it is a reliable source of information about Charlton has reported that former chief executive Peter Varney is leading a takeover bid for the club.

The South London Press understands that Varney - who stepped down from his role at The Valley in June - has pulled together a group of wealthy buyers who are ready to acquire the club. And they are prepared to plough serious investment into Charlton.

Varney refused to deny that he is leading a buyout of the club when the South London Press contacted him this week - and it is understood a decision is imminent on whether the bid to take control of the Addicks will be successful.

Charlton chairman Richard Murray said: 'It’s no secret that the club is looking for financial investment - however we have got a strategy which allows us to carry on without any outside investment.'

Rumours about a new takeover bid have been circulating for some weeks but this is the first time they have been given any substance. 'Reg' is a popular figure at The Valley and most of the Addickted would welcome his renewed involvement in the club.

Saints to join Conference?

The Non-League Paper reveals this morning that discussions have taken place about Southampton joining the Football Conference should the club collapse over the summer. Football rules require that a club drops two divisions if it re-forms.

Should that happen, presumably the club that finishes third from bottom in the Championship would escape relegation. No help to Charlton, of course.

Saturday 25 April 2009

Unbeaten run ends

Charlton fielded an unchanged side against Derby County at Pride Park today in front of a crowd of 31,541 (the like of which they will not seen again for a while), writes Philippa Nicholson. Chris Solly was on the bench as was Scott Wagstaffe. Rams' 'danger man' Luke Varney featured in their starting eleven, as did charm merchant Robbie Savage.

We had to put with some ludicrous songs on a black-and-white theme before the start of the match, but we were able to see Chris Powell presenting the end of season awards. Neither side dominated the early exchanges.

After ten minutes Shelvey took a shot leading to a Charlton throw in. Burton then tried an overhead effort which was on target but was collected by Bywater in the Derby goal.

Hudson conceded a corner to the home side. A header from Albrechtsen was collected by Elliot in the Charlton goal. Commons tried a shot from distance which went just over the bar near the post.

Varney showed that he was in the game by fouling Youga leading to a free kick 40 yards out, but Shelvey's effort was collected by Bywater and Derby broke. Parkinson was not happy after another foul, this time on Bailey by Connolly, was ignored and the smartly suited supremo let the referee know his views. Bailey was limping when he got up.

A shot by Zheng Zhi was pushed away by Bywater and cleared by Savage. Derby got a free kick 35 yards out after a foul by Racon. The ball from Commons was intercepted by Darren Ward.

Commons got round Hudson, but his effort was well wide. Teale raced down the left, but Hudson blocked. Youga failed to control a ball from Bailey. Elliot must have been trembling in his boots as Varney bore down on him.

Shelvey put in an optimistic ball but it did not trouble Bywater. Nyatanga dealt with an effort from Zheng Zhi. The home crowd was getting restive. Burton threw himself at a ball from Youga, but the Rams were able to clear the danger. Bailey tried an under powered shot from distance and Bywater was able to deal with it. The Addickted started a chant of 'There's only one Nicky Bailey.'

Elliot punched away the ball after a Derby attack. He required some quite lengthy treatment. Racon and Sam were serenaded by the Addickted.

Charlton won a corner to be taken by Shelvey. The ball was cleared by Hulse as the last ten minutes of the half approached. Lloyd Sam counter attacked. There was a foul on Sam by Teale giving Charlton a free kick. Shelvey's free kick went into the arms of Bywater.

Three minutes of time were added on. Lloyd Sam put a ball in and it went out off Connolly, giving Charlton a late corner but an effort by Ward was off target. Derby got a free kick that was taken quickly. It had been a rather uneventful half, but the boos rang out from the home fans.

Half time: Rams 0, Addicks 0

Clough had evidently had a few words at half time and Derby whipped in a ball across the Charlton goalmouth, Elliot got a touch and Derby won a corner. Commons headed the ball goalwards and Elliot put it out for a second corner which was cleared.

The Rams won a third corner but Hulse headed the ball wide. A shot by Bailey was blocked by Connolly. Racon blocked the counter attack, but went down under a challenge from Savage, leading to a Charlton free kick.

Connolly tried a shot from distance and it led to the award of a dubious corner. Derby's effort from the corner was wide. Charlton won a corner which led to a second. A Sam ball in was headed away by Bywater. Shelvey put in a shot which was deflected off a Derby defender, leading to another corner but Hudson's effort went over the crossbar.

Derby counter attacked and appealed for a penalty after Commons went down under a challenge, but Charlton got a free kick instead.

Zheng Zhi tried to find the target, but his ball sailed over the crossbar. Elliot had to turn the ball on the roof of his net, conceding a corner. Elliot punched the ball out and Savage failed to control it.

The home fans were getting a little frustrated at the failure of the three easy points to be secured. Derby made another penalty appeal as they sought to find some way of scoring, but it was waved away. The flag had already gone up for offside.

Bannon ran forward, Commons tried to short, but Ward blocked. The far from sparkling Luke Varney was taken off to derisive cheers from the small band of Addickted to be replaced by Pearson.

Derby won a corner. Youga headed the ball away, but Bannon played it back in and player of the year Hulse bundled the ball in at the near post on 70 minutes. Zheng Zhi was taken off and replaced by Kandol, Shelvey dropping back into midfield.

Youga fed Shelvey but his effort went over the crossbar. Teale tried a shot from distance. Shelvey tried another shot, but again it went over the crossbar. Charlton won a corner, but it was unproductive, Commons broke away using a ball from Bywater but his effort went just wide.

Savage was taken off to be replaced by Eustace on loan from Watford. An effort from Sam went into the side netting. Hudson needed some treatment. Wagstaffe came on for his first league appearance, replacing Darren Ward.

Commons tried to score Derby's second but his effort went just wide. Commons made another attempt from distance. The Australian Sterjovski came on for the Rams. Wagstaffe made an attempt, but it was blocked and the counter attack was stopped by Butterfield.

Three minutes of time were added on as the Rams prepared for their post-match celebrations. Charlton had failed to spoil the party and their unbeaten run had come to an end.

Elsewhere, Leamington ended the season with 101 points after a 5-2 win at Leighton Town.

What happened to Gavin Peacock?

What happened to Gavin Peacock, son of Keith, and one time Charlton loan player? He's in Canada now and you can find out what he's doing here: Peacock

Who knows, he might team up with Richard Rufus.

Philippa Nicholson has now arrived at Pride Park and is ready to provide full coverage of this afternoon's match.

Friday 24 April 2009

Solly to be blooded against Rams?

Phil Parkinson has included Chris Solly in his squad for the trip to Derby County tomorrow, insisting he would have 'no qualms' about throwing the youngster in for his Addicks debut. Right-back Solly, who signed a professional deal until 2010 last summer, has shone for the reserves this term and Parkinson admitted recently that the starlet had been unlucky not to be involved in his first XI.

After Matt Holland was ruled out for the last two games of the season with a knee injury, Solly could now earn a place on the substitutes' bench for the clash at Pride Park. Perhaps he even might get some time on the pitch.

The shell shocked supremo also revealed that he had been talking to the players about concentrating and keeping possession when they were tired and not giving away unnecessary free kicks which have created dangerous situations in recent matches.

Derby may have to 'win ugly' against Addicks

Gary Teale says that Derby may have to 'win ugly' against a relaxed Charlton side tomorrow: Rams

The match is expected to be close to a sell out and captain Paul Connolly thinks that it will not be an easy match for the Rams. The Addicks in his view have some very good players, although Phil Parkinson may try out some younger players:

The Sub-Standard says: 'NO BOOTY FOR RAM RAIDERS' and we are forecasting that Charlton will continue as draw specialists with a 1-1 outcome, Charlton having gone ahead.

Thursday 23 April 2009

Charlton no longer bottom?

It would appear that Charlton are no longer bottom of the Championship following the deduction of 10 points from Southampton. However, the points deduction may carry over to next season if they finish in the bottom three anyway: Saints

Clough calls for last stand against Addicks

With faltering Derby County still not safe from relegation, Nigel Clough has called for one last stand to take three easy points off bottom club Charlton on Saturday:

Given their dubious defence, Derby may not find their ram raid against the Addicks as easy as they think. Charlton are now unbeaten since they went down 2-1 to promoted Wolves. It seems to me that this is a case for an attacking 4-4-2 formation to add some excitement to the game and unsettle Derby.

Morale at the Rams has been boosted by the return of their 'secret weapon' Luke Varney from a loan spell at the Owls. Varney is reported to be fighting fit, but whether he knows where the goal is remains uncertain. But, of course, like all former players, he could score against us.

Brakes hope to do the ton on Saturday when they face Leighton Town away in their last game of the season. A win would give them 101 points, a good total, although there have been five worrying defeats during the season.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Charlton throw away 2-0 lead away again

Charlton's nemesis Jay Bothroyd was prominent in early exchanges at The Valley tonight, writes Philippa Nicholson. Some fifteen minutes in Bailey whipped in the ball from the left, Burton connected and the Cardiff City goalkeeper had to come off his line, possibly incurring an injury. This was really the first serious effort by Charlton who had not looked as if they were at the races. The nominal home attendance was just over 19,300, the lowest of the season, on a mild evening.

The ball was whipped across the front of the Charlton goal, but went wide and out of play for a throw in. Cardiff won another corner to be taken by Parry. Burton tracked back and got the tackle in near the halfway line.

Charlton won a free kick 25 yards out on the left-hand side of the 'D'. Bailey's effort went over the crossbar and into the Jimmy Seed Stand. Lloyd Sam was not very evident in the game, as is so often the case.

Racon tried to combine with Burton, but a Cardiff defender put it over for a corner.
Charlton kept possession, but were forced up the field.

Youga lost possession, Chopra was given all the space in the world but Rob Elliott made a great save at the expense of a corner. Chopra tried another shot which caught Hudson in the face. He went down and the referee blew up immediately. While the game was halted, Parkinson told Sam to get his act together.

Bothroyd had a free kick awarded against him for handball and then said something to the referee which earned him a yellow card for dissent.

An effort by Youga earned Charlton a corner. Heaton punched the ball into the air. Charlton continued to attack and with first class positioning Shelvey put the ball in the net with an assist from Lloyd Sam.

Ledley put in a volleyed shot from 30 yards out and drew a super save from Elliot. A chorus of Valley Floyd Road started up.

A shove on Burton gave Charlton a free kick square to the 'D' some 35 yards out. Charlton won a corner off the free kick, but it was unproductive.

Two minutes of time was added on. Zheng Zhi took the ball off Bothroyd. McCormack dived for a free kick, but was not booked. Some Cardiff players surrounded the referee after the whistle blew to explain that he was not getting the result right and the yellow card was shown to Ledley.

Half time: Addicks 1, Bluebirds 0

Charlton won an early corner, but it was easily collected by Heaton. Butterfield was booked for a challenge. Cardiff received a free kick on the touchline, but Bailey headed it away and then a second time. Charlton broke, but Zheng Zhi's right footed effort hit the post to deny the Chinese captain.

Youga advanced well, but ran out of space. Chopra was taken off by Cardiff and replaced by Burke who is essentially a left midfield player. Bothroyd was allocated more of a striking role.

Zheng Zhi was booked for a tug on Scottish charm merchant McCormack who made the most of it. Burton was taken off and was replaced by Kandol whom Parkinson hopes to keep next season. Kandol is a Charlton fan who used to live the other side of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Charlton were possibly starting to defend too deep. Butterfield blocked twice. Burke was making himself troublesome. Kandol got away as lone ranger, but Comminges was with him and he ran into the advertising holdings.

Cardiff maintained pressure and they got a free kick near the corner flag in front of their own fans in the Jimmy Seed. A Gyepes header went over to the disappointment of the visiting Taffs.

Cardiff won a corner as Spring prepared to come on. McCormack's corner went out of play for a goal kick and the lacklustre Lloyd Sam was pulled off. Shelvey went out on the right with Zheng Zhi in the hole behind Kandol.

Bothroyd felt that he had scored from a long ball but the flag had gone up. The Addickted started a chant of 'England'. Bailey put in a challenge on Burke and received a yellow card from Mr Williamson. Rae went down under a challenge from Spring and Cardiff got a free kick for Bothroyd to display his talents from the right-hand side of the 'D'. McCormack was given the opportunity and it was rubbish.

Cardiff were awarded a free kick against Racon. The ball went through the wall, Elliot pushed it away and Charlton broke and won a corner. Bailey scored the second from Shelvey's corner which the Bluebirds failed to clear.

Cardiff then got a goal back on 81 minutes after Burke ran on to a ball down the middle, having faced no challenge. Shelvey came off to be replaced by Matt Holland. American international Eddie Johnson, on loan from Fulham, came on for the visitors in place of Paul Parry.

Cardiff won a free kick on the touchline. Bailey fouled Roger Johnson on the edge of the 'D', giving the visitors a free kick. The ball from Bothroyd was blocked by the wall and it was cleared. Another free kick was given away to the right hand side of the 'D' by a needless foul. City won a corner taken by Burke and they got an equaliser on 89 minutes through Gyepes. Once again Charlton had blown a 2-0 lead for the second time in four days and large numbers of the Addickted start to leave. Parkinson looked disconsolate.

Three minutes of time were added on. Roger Johnson was taken off and Darren Purse came on. Butterfield conceded a corner which was taken quickly. A shot from McCormack brought down Matt Holland. Kandol tried a shot and Charlton won a last gasp corner.

No sympathy from Jay Bothroyd

Former Charlton 'striker' Jay Bothroyd shows no sympathy for his former club as Cardiff City head to The Valley to pick up three points to mathematically confirm their play off place from a 'condemned' club (at least that makes a change from 'rock bottom'). No doubt Bothroyd thinks that he didn't get much of a chance at The Valley.

Cardiff are reeling after their 6-0 defeat at Preston and, not surprisingly, think that they have to 'tighten up defensively'. Mind you, our strikers should not pose any threat, but our midfield might. Read more here: Bluebirds

I shall be in London today, but at Another Place so Philippa Nicholson will provide a match report.

I see that takeover rumours have started up again, but as far as I know it's all paper talk.

Monday 20 April 2009

Addicks will not roll over for Bluebirds

As his future at Charlton looks increasingly in doubt, supremo Phil Parkinson has promised that the Addicks will not roll over for the Bluebirds and give them three easy points at The Valley tomorrow: Cardiff

I share Killer's view that this match will end in a draw.

Premiership 2 plan is back

Club chairmen are to discuss a plan to have a two tier Premiership of 18 clubs in each division, including Celtic and Rangers, on Thursday: Two Tier

Personally I think this particular proposal put forward by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is a non starter, particularly the Scottish part. Uefa would never allow it and would threaten the Scottish national side.

Nevertheless, it will revive discussion of the idea. Richard Murray has always seen it as a long-term possibility, hinting that Charlton would fit nicely into the second tier.

If it happened any time in the near future, it would be very bad news for us and we might find ourselves more or less permanently outside the new set up. Fortunately, I think that it is an unlikely prospect.

Sunday 19 April 2009

What future for Chris Dickson?

Chris Dickson was not even on the bench for Charlton yesterday and Tuna was tried out, possibly at the wrong time. Meanwhile, Chris Dickson has told the Greenwich Mercury that he is the man to fire Charlton back into the Championship.

The former Dulwich Hamlet ace said that he is determined to force his way back into the starting line up. But he admitted that he was learning very quickly that 'it's a cut-throat business. I had one bad performance against Doncaster and all of a sudden I'm out of the team.'

'I was disappointed with my display in that game. I wasn't feeling myself in that match. I wasn't as upbeat as I normally am and I just wasn't good enough. That's why I lost my place.'

'It was incredibly frustrating because that was probably our most important fixture of the season. If we'd won we might have been able to go on a little run and give ourselves a chance.'

Dickson admits that he may have 'got too comfortable or complacent that I would be in the team. I've never been in this position before and I have to admit that it is hard. I've always been a first choice at other clubs I've been at so it is a new situation I have to deal with.'

These other clubs were at a lower level and it's a big ask for someone to step up from Dulwich Hamlet's level of the non-league to the Championship. Many of Leamington's players are proven goal scorers, but I wouldn't expect them to perform in the Championship or League 1.

Unlike Stuart Fleetwood, whom we have never seen in the first team, Dickson has been given the chance to show what he can do. One of our biggest problems this season has been strikers who cannot score. Their task may be somewhat easier in League 1, but the standard is not that much lower.

Whether Chris Dickson is part of the problem or part of the solution is a matter for debate.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Brakes promoted, Addicks relegated


It was a bitter sweet day for me today as Leamington secured promotion to the Southern Premiership with a convincing 8-0 win over Malvern Town. Charlton could only manage a 2-2 draw against Blackpool and, as long anticipated, were relegated to League 1.

Joma's colour advert in the Brakes programme notes that they supply Sevilla and Racing Santander. They are also 'delighted to bring the most demanding quality of European team apparel and footwear to Leamington Football Club.' No mention of another club they supply, Charlton.

Nerves were jangling before Leamington's encounter with Malvern Town despite the fact that the opposition had already conceded 110 goals this season and scored only 26. The home fans, making up almost all the crowd of 1,080, were quickly calmed by a second minute goal from Mark Bellingham converted from a corner.

Malvern won a couple of corners in quick succession, but Brakes made it 2-0 on 10 minutes with a conversion by captain Guy Sanders from a free kick. Leamington had some more chances with Luke Corbett putting the ball just wide with the goal at his mercy.

A good build up led to Jai Stanley stroking in the ball from the left on 24 minutes. Two minutes later Bello made it 4-0. A free kick put in from the wing by Jimmy Husband was slotted into the net on 36 minutes to make it 5-0.

Half time: Brakes 5, Watermen 0

The mascot has a go in goal at half time

The popular and impressive Marcus Jackson was withdrawn on 46 minutes, probably because he had picked up an injury and Chris Murphy came on in his place. Subsequent substitutions saw Luke Corbett and Martin Heir taken off to warm applause and Josh Blake and Ryan Parisi brought on.

Brakes decelerated in the second half, although still playing some neat exhibition football. It was not until 77 minutes that the popular Josh Blake, who has been with the club since its revival, made it 6-0. James Husband was rewarded for his considerable efforts for the 7th goal on 81 minutes and then Bello got his hat trick on 85 minutes.

Chris Kiely had had little to do throughout the match, but had to make one great save to deny Malvern a consolation.

Then it was cue the celebrations and the presentation of the trophy. I was able to shake manager Jason Cadden by the hand. Which club will face the greater challenge? Leamington in the Southern Premiership or Charlton in League 1?

Friday 17 April 2009

Thigh strains, migraine and late buses

Darren Ambrose will not be available for tomorrow's clash with the Seasiders as he picked up a thigh strain in the reserves' win against Reading mid-week. Although there are a few Ambrose devotees left, I doubt whether most of the Addickted will greet this news with regret, rather the opposite. Hopefully, he can rebuild what at one time looked like a promising career elsewhere next season.

Matt Spring will be available after he was ruled out of the Reading match by a migraine. I know migraines are not a joke, but I think this is the first time I have heard of a footballer being affected by one. Perhaps the thought of returning to lower level football triggered the attack. I do not expect him to be used tomorrow, but he could well be a regular next season if Bailey and Shelvey leave (and they are the assets likely to generate the most cash).

Leamington have announced that in connection with tomorrow's park 'n' ride service a special service will leave the New Windmill Ground at 7.30 p.m. to cater for celebrations should the club win the championship title tomorrow. By that time a few of the potential bus service users might themselves be suffering from migraines.

Blackpool splash out on loan signings

Blackpool have bust their budget this year on loan signings and in their case it appears to have secured Championship survival even if they fail to pick up the anticipated three easy points at The Valley tomorrow: Loans

Loan signings have not worked as well at The Valley, but supremo Phil Parkinson has sought to defend them, insisiting that moves of this kind were the only viable options available as he attempted to move Charlton away from the lower echelons of the Championship.

Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Valley meeting with Blackpool, who themselves have taken 21 players on loan this season, Parkinson said: 'I can understand why some supporters might have a bee in their bonnet about the loans.'

To judge from a very informative posting by King's Hill Addick, Parkinson's future is in the balance. Kinsella and Chappell would also go in any clear out.

I expect Charlton to beat the Seasiders tomorrow and I am going for a 3-1 win as part of a storming finish to the season, with Bailey and Shelvey both putting themselves in the shop window.

Charlton could be relegated and Leamington promoted tomorrow. Although Brakes were worn down by Chasetown on Easter Monday, they are expected to win at Harbury Lane tomorrow against bottom club Malvern who have conceded 126 goals this season. Brakes have suffered from a mixture of nerves and complacency recently, but should give another bumper crowd cause for celebration.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Murray's pledge on Academy

Richard Murray has pledged that the Addicks will retain their Academy, even though they will be the only club outside the top two divisions to have one. He sees it as vital to the club's future, pointing to Jonjo Shelvey as an example of what it can produce.

After the Scott Parker days, there did seem to be quite a fallow period, but I am encouraged by this decision. I will keep my Valley Gold subscripton going.

Murray's remarks came after shareholders had approved the sale of the training ground and other asssets to directors. As he stressed, this was a 'friendly' sale and the club could buy the training ground back at any time. The houses in Lansdown Mews will hopefully be sold to keen fans. (That's my hope, not a statement from RM).

Murray emphasised that the sale was not asset stripping, but I do not think that anyone has ever made that charge.

Monday 13 April 2009

Charlton escape relegation

The Addicks avoided the humiliation of relegation at the Ricoh in front of a crowd of 16,121 today by obtaining their third goalless draw in four matches. However, they are hanging on to their Championship status by their fingernails with Norwich and Southampton winning (the latter against Crystal Palace) and Forest drawing with the Blades.

Shelvey found the back of the net, but had his effort disallowed. Bailey had a chance to secure all three points towards the end of the match, but hit the post. Once again Charlton's lack of effective strikers showed.

Before the game Sky Sports News featured a reporter who must have got his Media Studies degree last year who gleefully informed us that Charlton could go down to the third tier for the first time since the 1930s. So much for contemporary sports journalism.

Luton are the first team to be relegated in the Football League this season, but they laboured under the burden of a massive points deduction and ex-Addick Kevin Nicholls had the honour of lifting the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley. One for us next season?

Ten Man Brakes Slump to Defeat

Leamington slumped a to 1-3 defeat at home to Chasetown in front of a crowd of 1,151 at the New Windmill Ground today. With Nuneaton reportedly winning at Atherstone, last minute brakes failure looms. For their part Chasetown completed the double over Leamington.

I lost count of how many cards the juvenile referee had wielded by the end of the game, but it was around seven or eight. This including sending off Morton Titterton, Leamington's assistant manager, although it was rumoured that this was really because he wanted Titterton to go to his dressing room and help solve a maths problem that was causing the referee trouble with his homework.

However, it is no use blaming the referee for the result. Chasetown wanted it more and were better on the day. Of course, it's the old glass half full, glass half empty story. Leamington were not at their best, but this was because they were outmanoeuvred by the opposition, particularly in midfield. Moaners started to complain about manager Jason Cadden.

Chasetown started brightly and went ahead and six minutes through Dean Perrow. This followed casual defending which left Chris Kiely exposed in the Leamington goal, although arguably he should have stayed on his line.

Brakes had a chance to equalise when they were presented with an open goal, but they could not find the back of the net. Leamington's chances of getting back in the game received a blow when the referee gave Stuart Herlihy a straight red for use of the elbow, Vaughan Thomas having to go off injured and being replaced by Joe Williams.

Cadzy decided to change it around on 35 minutes by replacing Steve Palmer with Liam Reynolds.

Half time: Brakes 0, Scholars 1

Brakes started the second half brigthly enough, but Ben Steane, who had showed great pace throughout the game, pretty much decided the game on 64 minutes by making it 2-0 through a ball slotted along the ground which left Kiely with little chance.

Cadzy then brought on Jai Stanley, followed by Josh Blake, but this meant that Brakes were left with only two defenders as they sought to press forward. The inevitable happened when Chasetown made it 3-0 through a header. Leamington were able to pull back a consolation through Stanley in the 89th minute.

Park 'n' ride in operation for massive game

With a four figure crowd expected at Leamington's New Windmill Ground this afternoon for one of the biggest games in the revived club's history, a park 'n' ride system involving double decker buses is in operation from the Railway Station and Plastic Engineering in Juno Drive. One fan is making a day trip over from France to attend the match.

If Brakes win this afternoon, given that they are now ten points ahead of their rivals in the BGB Midlands Division, they could clinch the title and promotion to the Southern Premiership. However, it's a big 'if'.

Their opponents are Chasetown aka Chavtown who are in the play off positions. Ever since they had a well publicised cup run, Chasetown have been the Johnny Big Boots of this level of Midlands non-league football. Leamington have never managed to beat them at home.

I will be at the game rather than nine miles north to see Charlton play Coventry as there is more at stake. If Brakes do win the title today, one can expect delerious celebrations. It was a thirteen year struggle to get the club re-formed, but they had made great progress from tier eight to potentially tier three of the non-league.

For Leamington-based kit suppliers Joma, who supply both Charlton and Leamington, it will mean that a relegation will be offset by a promotion.

Sky Blues look for the usual three easy points

Welsh windbag Chris Coleman has set mid-table Coventry City an ambitious points total for the rest of the season as a launch pad for an assault on the Premiership in 2009-10. The plan went a bit wrong with Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Plymouth (apparently Sky Blues were guilty of 'sluggish defending'), but three easy points are thought to be available against 'doomed' Charlton: Sky Blues

Of course, Charlton have enjoyed a 'run' of three games without defeat and it is by no means certain that they will roll over at the Ricoh this afternoon. Coventry must madden their few remaining fans who rattle around in the excellent but cavernous Ricoh with their inconsistency. They can turn it on, but equally they can fall apart.

I know quite a few Sky Blues who have got fed up and turned to the ice hockey with Coventry Blaze (who also conveniently have sky blue colours). Unfortunately, Blaze had a faltering end to their season with the Elite League championship and play offs taken by the Sheffield Steelers. The Elite League is having difficulty in getting ten teams to play next season because of financial problems. At one time there was a team playing at the London Arena which was promoted at The Valley, but the only team in vaguely Charlton territory now are wooden spooners Basingstoke Bisons.

Lazy journalists read all results involving Charlton off the table, but I am going for a 2-1 victory over Coventry City, thus evading the humiliation of being relegated at the Ricoh.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Deano at Brakes, Chris for Charlton?

Dean Kiely is to be the guest of honour and will present the awards at Leamington's annual presentation evening on May 8th.

One rumour I heard yesterday at The Valley - and it is no more than that - is Chris Kiely may be drafted in as a back up keeper at Charlton when his loan spell at the Brakes ends, rather than returning to the Gills. It is a pretty unlikely story as:

1. His dad may not want him to go to Charlton given that he left feeling frozen out.
2. We have a well thought of No.2 in Randolph (although there have been questions raised about his attitude and he may want to go somewhere he can be No.1).
3. Callum Christie has already played in the reserves, although since then he has had a niggling injury.

What I did hear from a reliable source is the substantial size of Andy Gray's salary. Anyone who read the Greenwich Mercury this week will feel sympathetic about Andy's family health problems (personally I think it would have been better to put this out in the public domain before now, but one has to respect the player's wishes). This must have been a burden on Andy and since then he has picked up a footballing injury.

It's another example of our bad luck as I think that he does have real quality. However, if he doesn't leave in the summer, we are probably going to have to loan him out as he is contracted to us until 2011 (see Deepest Darkest who has done an in depth study of when contracts expire).

Pulsating goalless draw gives hope

Blues fans were reported to be 'disgruntled' after their team failed to pick up the expected three easy points at The Valley yesterday at what was described as 'rock bottom' Charlton. Rock bottom we may be, but we also showed that we can be rock hard. The media was quick to point out that we could be relegated on Monday, but this performance gave more hope for next season, although many of the key players that contributed to it could disappear. But at least there was commitment, passion and quite a lot of skill.

We could have come away with all three points as video evidence showed that Darren Ward's second half goal, disallowed for offside by the preposterous East Stand linesman, was in fact onside.

The first half was not very inspiring as a spectacle. Both sides seemed tentative in their approach and if the Blues are going to be a Premiership side, they are going to need a lot of strengthening. Elliot came out dangerously early in the game and the ball had to be cleared off the line. There were a few defensive howlers and at times the midfield seemed to dissolve into thin air. It was not really clear what our game plan was, although the formation was 4-5-1 with Shelvey given a roving role which he undertook with great enthusiasm.

Shelvey put a speculative spot over the bar, but our best moment came around the half hour mark when we had two players in the box and only one defender, but neither of them was willing to take responsibility and score.

Nicky Bailey picked up a yellow card for a soft challenge and Lee Probert's decision-making sometimes led one to wonder if his house is painted blue. Much of the entertainment in the first half was provided by opportunities to boo the returning Bouazza, enhanced by the fact that the Blues won a number of corners in front of the Covered End.

Half time: Addicks 0, Small Heath 0

The Blues came out early for a special warm up, but it does not seem to have done them much good and Charlton began to show more confidence. In particular, Lloyd Sam, who had had a disappointing first half, started to threaten down the right. Blues owed a debt to their goalkeeper Mark Taylor who pushed one effort from the rampaging Sam on to the post.

Blues brought on Kevin Phillips on 49 minutes and he invariably manages to score against us, but not on this occasion. When Marcus Bent joined the Blues, he was treated as a saviour, but the reception from tbe visiting fans when he came on on 59 minutes was less than enthusiastic, while the Addickted were given the opportunity to express their opinions about his half hearted efforts for them.

Dickson was brought on on 79 minutes, switching us to 4-4-2 and there was a view that we should have done that earlier. However, he was not really able to outfox the Blues defence.

Zheng Zhi had a chance to score a winner in the dying minutes of the game, but scuffed his shot. Phil Parkinson commented afterwards, 'If we had that team out there earlier in the season we'd be nowhere near the bottom.' Maybe, but they also seemed to play as a more of a team yesterday. Let's hope we can keep enough of them together to make a go of it in League 1. I left the ground today feeling more optimistic than I have for a long time.

Elsewhere, Leamington won 1-0 at Marlow to keep the BGB Midlands Division title in their sights.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible decided to award the Silver Bone to Rob Elliot for two great saves which kept Charlton in the game. Butterfield was generally very effective today. Ward did the business and was unfortunate to see his goal disallowed. Hudson was authoritative and made some great defensive headers. Youga had some moments of real skill, setting up some of the attacks, but at other times he made some howlers. Sam can show real skill when he wants to, but at other times he lacks pace. Whether Bailey was playing in his best position is a matter for debate, but no one can doubt his commitment. Zhi showed real energy and became a greater influence in the game as it went on. Racon was rather disappointing compared to earlier performances and was withdrawn on 79 minutes.
Shelvey was a candidate for the Silver Bone. He showed real energy and skill. Let's hope we can keep him next season. Kandol can hold the ball up quite well, but he never looked like scoring. Dickson tried hard when he came on and could have scored but for some heroics by Taylor. Perhaps his best will be good enough in League 1. Our secret weapon Ambrose arrived in time added on and nearly gave the game away. Seconds after arriving on the pitch he gave away an unnecessary free kick and then he surrended possession.

Hiss of the Match Our feline analyst Juneau the Soccer Cat thought that Alex McLeish made a complete exhibition of himself on the touchline, but gave the Hiss to the overweight and balding East Stand linesman who we have seen before and managed to deny us a goal.

Crowd rating The attendance was probably more around 16,000 than the recorded 20,022, but the Addickted were in good heart and warmly applauded the team at the end. 7/10.

Friday 10 April 2009

Ivy is in town

Ivy meets Emu

After a long absence, match analyst Ivy the Terrible will be at tomorrow's match between Charlton and Birmingham City tomorrow.

This quote from Sky Sports News is typical of the build up to the match: 'Tony Cottee is at Charlton where title chasing Birmingham will be aiming to follow up on their impressive win over Wolves with victory against the troubled Addicks.'

Regardless of how many references people make to 'bottom-club Charlton', we are not daunted or treating the match as a foregone conclusion. However, our prediction is a 1-1 draw which will do nothing for the Addicks' very slim hopes of survival.

We are now playing for pride. Cardiff have been crowing about the fact that we will already have been relegated when we play them. Even if that is the case, it does not mean that we will roll over.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Parkinson charged with improper conduct

Phil Parkinson gets in an argument with Southampton's Mark Wotte

Phil Parkinson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after being sent to the stands at St.Mary's last week following a row with the Southampton manager.

The Charlton supremo has added young Tamer Tuna to the squad for Saturday's match against Birmingham City. He scored two goals for the reserves on Wednesday.

Parkinson commented: 'He's in the squad on merit. Last week against Millwall's reserves I thought he was excellent, and on Wednesday he put in a superb performance. He's a clever player, he's got a good touch and he's a good finisher.' One for League 1?

Birmingham are still preening themselves after their 2-0 victory over Wolves earlier in the week and are confident that the next stage in their title hunt will be picking up three easy points against 'bottom club Charlton'.

However, Killer is forecasting a 2-1 win for the Addicks and I do not think this match is a foregone conclusion.

Wednesday 8 April 2009


Manchester: To our friends (Keri, Steve and Dave Pender) at being nominated for Sony radio station of the year. Listen to them through the link on the right.

Congratulations also to Brakes on staying in the title race with a tough 2-2 draw away at Bury Town.

I see Charlton are now trying to raise a few bob by recycling mobile phones. Any suggestions of anything else that could be recycled?

Monday 6 April 2009

Will he come back to haunt us?

The latest edition of Four Four Two has a feature on fifty top Football League footballers, chosen through website voting by fans. The only Charlton player to feature is Nicky Bailey in the 'best of the rest'. He is described as 'a rare ray of light at The Valley this season'. If we can keep him, Racon and Shelvey next season, we might be serious contenders in League 1.

Number 48 is Charlie MacDonald, now hitting them in at Brentford. His four years at Charlton are described as 'frustrating'. He then went to score 28 for Fleet and had a fruitless season at Southend. Given that Brentford are likely to be promoted to League 1, will he come back to haunt us?

Was he one that got away? Not really. He scored a good equaliser against Newcastle, but he wasn't Premiership or even Championship quality. But that is not a consideration for us these days.

Having spent much of the day in the august surroundings of the Royal Society I hoped I could get away from Charlton matters, but then I saw a Derby County fan bearing down on me. He reminded me that we play them at the end of the season. As usual, he wanted to know what had gone wrong.

What we both agreed on is that in no other walk of life would you fail to deliver at three organisations and then be rewarded with a higher level job (Dowie at Newcastle).

'Bottom club Charlton' is a label I will be glad to see the back of. Hopefully, 'Charlton Nil' will not occur too many times next season. But then we went down to the Championship, I was expecting more home wins.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Spanner in the works

Spanner Rod Liddle makes a living as a controversial columnist - that is, he says things that are outrageous and provocative to gain attention and get a reaction.

His suggestion in this morning's Sunday Times that Portsmouth and Southampton should merge to form Solent United playing at St.Mary's is clearly a wind up. Joe the Saint contacted me to say that he had fallen about laughing.

The charming Liddle can not, however, resist getting in a dig at Charlton, a familiar theme in his columns. He claims that we are 'strapped for cash almost to the point of annihilation.' Given that we (or our holding company) have not gone into administration and that we have put together some working capital, this seems a bit rich.

Of course, it may be that Millwall will go up as we go down. If that does happen, it will be interesting to see if crowds at the New Den compare with crowds at Charlton during our Championship period.

Last match of the season

Today it will be the last match of the season in the Isles of Scilly Football League at the Garrison Field stadium, a ground that has been graced by David Beckham and Steven Gerrard when they came to train local players. The Isles of Scilly representative team recently had a successful Cornish tour.

We are not sure which of the two teams in the league - Garrison Gunners or Woolpack Wanderers - is ahead, but Steve Watt in the Radio Scilly studio has said that he will try and find out and send the result. One thing is certain, players, their partners and friends will be having a slap up lunch afterwards. Then most of them will be preparing for the tourist season on the islands which traditionally gets into full swing at Easter.

Sunday evening: I still haven't got the result, the station having gone on automatic while Steve potters on his allotment, goes wind surfing or prepares his boat for the summer (the life of Riley indeed).

However, Steve has E mailed me to recall inter-island football (now only cricket is played): 'I well remember playing against St.Martin's [the third most 'populated' island] on their Pool Green pitch that had a hump in the middle and when they ran at you as a team all you could see was their heads looking like an invading army. They had a clogger called Frankie [deleted] whose wife would scream from the touchline "Kick him in the slats Frankie!" Frightening stuff.'

Saturday 4 April 2009

Second away win of season for Addicks

Charlton secured their second away win of the season with a 3-2 victory at troubled Southampton today. Jonjo Shelvey opened the scoring on 7 minutes when he ran on to a long ball. Saints equalised 10 minutes later and then on 26 minutes Kandol saw a Charlton penalty saved. The score remained at 1-1 at half time.

Racon put the Addicks ahead from the edge of the area on 60 minutes. His right footed shot flew into the top corner of the net from 20 yards out, reminding us why we would like to retain his services next season if at all possible.

Nicky Bailey then made it 3-1 on 69 minutes from six yards out. Wright-Phillips pulled one back for Saints on 84 minutes making for a tense finish which saw Elliot in the Charlton goal booked in time added on.

Saints led in terms of goal attempts, shots on target and corners, but it is the result that counts and it will give a boost to the morale of the Addicks.

Last minute goal keeps title hopes alive

A 89th minute goal by Mark Bellingham secured Leamington a 1-0 victory over Rothwell Town and three vital points at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon. The Brakes had been rattled by the Bones who had come to play for the draw. The visitors kept ten men behind the ball at all times and were also aided by some good saves by their new keeper Alex Malong.

Brakes resorted too much to the long ball to try and break down Rothwell. In the second half Rothwell rarely ventured out of their half and Leamington laid siege to their goal while the Bones increasingly withdrew their team into the box. Their keeper resorted to time wasting and received a yellow card. Brakes could not break through, despite three substitutions, to the growing frustration of the crowd of 650.

A scramble in the crowded goalmouth saw Brakes score, but the goal was ruled out for pushing. However, relegation threatened Rothwell could not hold out for ever and Leamington scored the vital winner.

A Bee Writes

I have a good friend who is a lifelong supporter of Brentford. Fair enough: he is now in his forties and has lived in the same house in Acton all his life.

He writes to note that we will be playing the Bees next season and asks what went wrong at Charlton, given that we were long viewed as a model club. I gave him a polite reply, but I must say that I am getting rather tired of answering this sort of question or reading analyses of our slide. No doubt when I am in Manchester next week one friend will be reminding me how down market a club Charlton is and how my support for them is hopelessly retro.

It's all water under the bridge now and we have to plan for recovery. In that context, I think that the board have made an unimaginative and uninspiring season ticket offer. A few bells and whistles would have not cost that much - some free cup games, an early bird discount, a lower premium for the East etc.

On the other hand, some of the forecasts of sales being put forward by fans are ridiculously gloomy. Some of us will renew even if we won't go to many games. There is almost a sense in which some fans want the club to fail. What we should be concerned about is that it could enter a vicious cycle of decline that could end with its effective extinction - at least as a club playing at The Valley.

One may dislike the manager, one may think that the board have made mistakes (as they have), but the club is more than one individual or group of people. Of course, times are difficult for many and the football this season has been completely disheartening. But there is a need to rally round if Charlton is to survive and recover.

Friday 3 April 2009

Brakes Need To Break Bones


Jason Cadden was appointed as manager when Leamington was re-formed as a club and the former hairdresser has taken then from Tier 8 of the non-league pyramid to the verge of Tier 3. Cadzy reckons Brakes need to win four of their six remaining games to be sure of the BGB Midlands Division title and earn them Southern Premiership football.

Tomorrow its Brakes versus Bones when Leamington take on Rothwell Town, the home of the biggest collection of sacred bones in England. Once again we will be the only Charlton blog covering this match.

Charlton match designated 'ultra crucial'

The Southampton Daily Echo has designated tomorrow's match against Charlton as 'ultra crucial' as Saints struggle to avoid being the first major club to go out of business altogether. Some 21,000 home fans are expected to attend, while the West Sussx branch are organising a special coach for the Addickted. For more on the financial situation at Southampton go to Saints

On the pitch it's business as usual as the home side look to pick up three easy points from the bottom club: Business as usual

Rickshaw service is saved

New style Rickshaw

One further announcement made by the club is that the popular network of Valley Express services across South-East England will be maintained next season. What was not revealed is that a new style of vehicle will be used.

The charge will go up to £7 for those who do not have season tickets and £6 for those who do. The club stated that the existence of the service (and the popular hostesses known as Rickettes) was an important incentive for season ticket holders to renew.

I do think, however, that the season ticket offer has been pitched a little too high and has been insufficiently imaginative in having add ons like some free cup tickets. An impressive analysis by the New York Addick suggests, however, that the real hit may be on match day sales.

He makes the interesting point that a one off purchase represents a bigger psychological hit than a season long one that goes on a credit card. In a recession when people tend to scale back their discretionary expenditure, they may be less willing to turn up on the day and buy what is a relatively expensive ticket.

Having said that, when I used to go sometimes to watch Rushden and Diamonds in League 1 (a club that was essentially a wealthy man's plaything), it was not cheap.

May I also renew my appeal for a Warwickshire Rickshaw? The vehicles are there in the form of Racing Club Warwick's 'Racing to get you there' fleet of minibuses.

They have never attracted much matchday traffic and they have never fulfilled their supposed purpose of promoting social inclusion. There is only one thing more laughable than an empty Racing Club vehicle trundling through a wealthy Warwicksbire village in search of the socially excluded and that is Dowie giving a press conference at Newcastle saying he is a 'hands on' coach.

With Racing Club reported to be on the verge of a big money takeover, now is the moment to strike. It might also offer a future coaching role for Dowie when he has helped Newcastle to get relegated.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Is season ticket price cut enough?

Most adult and all U18 season-ticket prices at The Valley are to be reduced by £50, the club has announced. The Charlton board today revealed a pricing package aimed at encouraging season-ticket holders to stick with the club 'despite the bitter disappointment of the 2008/09 campaign.'

Adults in the upper north stand and NW quadrant will find the cost of their seat slashed by nearly 15 per cent, from £340 to just £290, with £50 reductions also on offer in the east and west stands. There are cuts of up to £30 for most seniors, while junior tickets come down throughout the stadium. The cost of bringing a child under the age of 11 to every game will now be only £49, or just £2.13 a time.

Football chairman Richard Murray said: 'These prices reflect the importance that the board places on keeping the Charlton family intact during what we acknowledge are dark times, both in terms of the team’s results and the wider economy. We need to retain as many season-ticket holders as possible to enable the club to regroup and rebuild, and we are doing our bit to make renewing more affordable.'

This announcement by the board is welcome. Whether the cuts will be enough to satisfy many fans remains to be seen, but competitive League 1 football has never been cheap.

Many fans may wait to see what the early results are like before making the commitment to buy a season ticket. There will be no problem in obtaining a seat on the day of a match, but many fans like their existing seat and do not want the hassle of making a purchase even if they do not come to every game.

Anger and blame

I've only started to read the April edition of 4-4-2 just as the May one arrived (at the beginning of April). However, it did contain the now inevitable article on 'Charlton's slide' which seemed to be a re-hash of everything that has already been said, albeit it with extensive quotations from an interview with Steve Bailey who appearently is secretary of the Supporters' Club. It's the first time I'd heard of him, even though I am a member, but perhaps it's my fault for not keeping up.

There's also a letter from a frustrated Charlton fan who refers to releasing 'his pent-up anger' at bad home defeats. He says that this has built up over a couple of seasons leading to a 'torrent of infuriated abuse'.

I can see where he's coming from and I'm well aware of the argument that those who have paid their money to see a game are entitled to express their frustration, although it's something seen quite rarely in a theatre when a play disappoints. We do live in a blame society where the expression of anger is encouraged.

I'm not sure that it's actually very constructive in terms of deciding what the solutions might be. The fact of the matter is that the club is in dire straits in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The sale and leaseback of the training ground to raise a relatively small sum of working capital is indicative of this (see the New York Addick for a longer treatment of this issue). In the circumstances, it allows us to keep going.

It's going to be plain fare next season. But if fans can accept that and lower their expectations, The Valley might be a more enjoyable place to go to on a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Saints face administration

Joe the Saint texted me today to say that Charlton's opponents on Saturday, Southampton, may going into administration tomorrow. However, at the moment it is only the holding company that has had trading in its shares suspended: Saints

As that is the case, at the moment Saints do not face a ten point deduction by the Football League. I don't like to see any club penalised in that way: I would rather beat them on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Charlton are reported to have announced that 25 staff will be made redundant to cope with the financial consequences of the end of parachute payments and relegation. Often it is not particularly well paid non-playing staff who bear the brunt of relegation, as happened when we failed to remain in the Premiership.

Big blow for Toon

Relegation threatened Newcastle United have received a heavy blow with the news that when Alan 'the elbow' Shearer take over at St.James's Park, he will recruit Iain Dowie as his first team coach.

This is not an April fool's joke, although it could be. Perhaps the innovative road run Dowie organised before Charlton's defeat at Newcastle attracted Shearer's admiration?

With Dowie having failed as a manager at Charlton, Coventry and QPR, it's not rocket science to bring him in to help out the Barcodes.