Friday 31 July 2009

Injury crisis hits Chairboys

A delighted Christian Dailly hears the good news

Wycombe Wanderers, Charlton's first opponents in their League 1 campaign, have been hit by an injury crisis: Chairboys

As expected, Christian Dailly has joined Charlton and Darren Randolph has signed terms as back up goalkeeper. At Harbury Lane, Deano's son Chris Keily is expected to sign a contract very soon.

After tomorrow's needle match against Chasetown, Leamington continue their pre-season preparations when they try to regain the Bard of Avon Challenge Trophy from Stratford Town at the Anne Hathaway Stadium on Tuesday evening. Last year the Bardsmen won the fixture 2-0.

Sir Bobby Robson

No Charlton content, and no Charlton link that I can immediately think of, but I was saddened to hear that Sir Bobby Robson had finally lost his long battle against cancer. I agree that he was a gentleman giant of the game: Robson

Thursday 30 July 2009

Parky goes for veterans

We knew about Phil Parkinson's interest in Christian Dailly, but it looks as if he is going for a duo of veterans with a combined age of 68. He has been talking to the agent of former Birmingham and Bolton defender Radhi Jadhi about a deal. More here: Veterans

Valley of Gloom

We have noticed since the recession started that the quality and value of goods at Tesco has declined. Hence, we have been doing more shopping at Iceland for basic products (a store that offers lower prices than Tesco) whilst buying more quality items at Marks and Spencers.

Supporters can't switch football clubs in the way that shoppers do. It's a matter of identity, often something that you are born with, although there was a time when I lapsed from the faith. Indeed, a Manchester United supporting friend of mine has told me more than once that my Addicktion is hopelessly retro and I should find a proper club to support.

This season I have something of a dilemma. Do I take a ten minute trip to Harbury Lane to watch newly promoted Leamington? This means that I can get some work done on Saturday morning and am less pressured to work on Sunday. Or do I take the two-and-a-half hour trip to The Valley to watch League 1 Charlton? I have already bought my season tickets for both clubs. In the case of Leamington, this includes access to the vice-presidents' lounge at half time, a free cup of tea and the biscuit of my choice.

Actually, having looked at my travel schedule for the next few months (Finland, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, States) I am going to miss quite a few match days at both clubs.

In practice if Leamington are at home and Charlton are away, I will go to Harbury Lane. I used to go to a lot of Charlton away matches, especially in the days when I could get a lift in the West Sussex minibus which stopped en route in the Midlands. It was always fun with Brian Cole as driver, although occasionally they used a guy who was a hearse driver in his day job and did we go slowly!

If Charlton are at home and Leamington are away, the choice is also clear. But supposing both clubs are at home? One factor that could affect my decision is the atnosphere of gloom and negativity among the Addickted.

Now they could reasonably argue they have good reasons to be gloomy. One well-known Addick commented on Facebook yesterday: 'anyone who hasn't had the effects of two relegations in three years, managerial instability, boardroom division, financial meltdown, mass staff redundancies, a total loss of PR judgment, a threadbare squad and the inability or unwillingness of key people at the club to answer simple questions about the future swept aside by the majesty of a meaningless pre-season 2-1 home win over Ipswich must indeed fall into the category of a 'moaner'...'

Fair enough. And then there is the Phil Parkinson question. I am not a great PP enthusiast. To paraphrase a comment once made about American vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle: 'I knew Alan Curbishley. You are no Alan Curbishley.' However, PP inherited a poisoned chalice. In my view there was some improvement in performances after he took charge. And it may well be that he can function as a perfectly competent manager at League 1 level. At least he should be given a chance.

Fans have also been upset about the lack of communication from the board. This reminds me a little of the line in the famous television series The Prisoner. The hapless prisoner was constantly told, 'What we want is information', but the nature of that information was never specified.

Of course, what has frustrated fans, and understandably so, is the long drawn out 'takeover'/restructuring negotiations. Unfortunately, the board is constrained by both legal and commercial confidentiality considerations in terms of what it can say. What would seem to be the case is that the prospective owners don't have that much dosh and restructuring the club's debt without incurring a points deduction has proved difficult. But that debt is certainly well less than £40m.

The Australians like to call us 'whingeing poms' (although given how The Ashes are going it may be their turn to whinge). But they have a point. I have travelled extensively in Australia and I like the 'no worries' attitude of people there, a casualness which covers a helpful efficiency as I found when I missed a plane in Canberra earlier this year.

If I take the two countries I have lived and worked in, the US and Germany, Americans certainly have a more positive outlook. Germany is a different story, of course: 'ordnung' is the word that comes to mind.

Now I must say that I do prefer the British sense of humour to the American (even though I like Jon Stewart). Sense of humour in Germany is a tricky subject. When I was in Berlin in the time that it was a divided city, I treated the provocations I helped an American colleague to stage in East Berlin as the equivalent of a practical joke. This did not go down too well as he was seething with anger against the 'Commies' whereas I thought the East Germans were just ridiculous, althogh no doubt living there was not much fun (as some excellent films have subsequently demonstrated).

My stance did not also go down too well with my German colleagues in Goering's old Air Ministry building, although one Bavarian could see the funny side of things as well (but this led to the 'Apfel Strudel' incident, but I have digressed enough). Incidentally, one curious legacy of all this is that I am told I speak German with the accent of someone from a small town in East Germany.

Surprisingly, the East Germans did turn out to have a sense of humour. One day I went across on the U-bahn on my own to the weekly goosestepping ceremony at the war memorial in the vague hope I might locate some dissidents. Someone carrying the party newspaper Neues Deutschland and pretty evidently a Stasi operative sidled up to me and asked in German, 'Are you with the Party delegation?'

I am now off topic, although the point was to talk about cultural differences and how they affect attitudes to life, not least football. I am always sceptical about arguments that the crowd is the 12th man. Equally, if the first mistake is pounced upon by boo boys, it isn't going to do any good for team morale. Nor is a negative atmosphere going to attract people to The Valley.

Our situation is challenging in many ways. But being gloomy and pessimistic is not going to make it any better, rather the contrary. Now is the time to demonstrate and celebrate one's Addicktion which is why I shall make every effort to be at The Valley as often as I can be.

Are Brakes skidding?

Long-range weather forecasts of a 'barbecue summer' turn out not to apply at the New Windmill Ground

This is the question being posed by one Warwickshire paper after Leamington lost their first three practice matches as they prepare for the challenge of their first season as a reborn club in the Southern Premiership. It would seem to me that it is hardly a disgrace to lose 2-3 at home to Conference outfit Tamworth who are two tiers above the Brakes. They seem to have put out nearly a full strength side and the talented Alex Rodman, who was named Player of the Round by the FA in Leamington's cup run that saw them defeated at Colchester United, returned to torment his former team.

However, the lack of success does enhance the importance of Saturday's home fixture against arch rivals Chavtown, aka Chasetown. Although the snow should have cleared by then, the forecast is for strong winds and heavy rain. Cover at the New Wimdmill Ground is limited to the Sheepside stand (named after the occupants at the adjacent field) and the FA have given the Harbury Lane club until the end of March to provide more covered seating.

Wednesday 29 July 2009


Tim Breaker has been confirmed as Charlton' assistant manager. Mark Kinsella stays on as first team coach, while Chapple of Rest reverts to the role of chief scout. More on Breaker here: Breaker . I think he is a good appointment.

Izale McLeod, having never really made his mark at The Valley, is to return to his native heath with Hearts, which says something about the condition of Scottish football. More from north of the border here: McLeod

Tractors halted

Charlton recorded a 2-1 win against Championship outfit Ipswich Town at The Valley last night in front of a crowd of just over 5,000. At least Deon Burton showed he can score from the spot. Report here: Tractors

The doom and gloom crowd are going to find it difficult to fit this in their relegation narrative. Perhaps we shall hear a revival of the 'penalties don't count' argument.

The Ipswich line is that it was a very young team: Town

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Deals are off

It looks as if the deals to sell Chris Dickson to the Gills and Stuart Fleetwood to the Grecians are off. On Fleetwood see here: No deal

On Dickson see here: Dickson

Retaining them would give Phil Parkinson more options.

Monday 27 July 2009

Gills hope to seal Dickson deal

Gillingham have made a final offer for Chris Dickson, amount unknown, and are confident of sealing the deal. I don't think Dickson has ever found the transition from non-league easy. Of course, he has hadn't that many chances, although an injury just when it looked as if he might break into the first team did not help.

This does not leave much of a strike force at The Valley. Burton I regard as a Lisbie without the talent. What I mean by this is that Lisbie did sometimes score memorable goals, but kept missing sitters. You won't get the memorable goals with Burton, but you will get misses in front of an open goal.

I have never been that convinced by McLeod, but perhaps he has found his level at last. Otherwise we are left with the unknown quantity, Stuart Fleetwood.

Cash boost for Addicks

Charlton may receive a substantial sum if Michael Turner leaves Hull for Spurs, reports Pravda: Turner

Many Addicks regretted his initial departure, but at least there is some consolation in getting a share of the spoils. We should make sure that we have good sell on clauses for Bailey and Shelvey.

There are some indications that there may be white smoke from The Valley this week about the future of the club.

No Premiership berth for Mr Sulky

Hull City have decided that they do not have a place in their side for Jerome Thomas:

The sulky 'bigger than the club' winger remains a 'free agent', i.e., he doesn't have a job.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Global domination

Toronto: This was the sign hoisted aloft after Columbus Crew beat Toronto FC 3-2 with an injury time goal in the Major Soccer League last night. This seemed a bit excessive evn though it gave Crew an unbeaten home record and hoisted them to the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference.

There was a fair amount of skill on display but not a lot of pace, perhaps not surprising given that some 39-year old veterans whom I dimly remembered from the UK were on display. Toronto were 2-1 ahead when I switched on and then hit the post with a shot from a difficult angle. Crew then went down the other end and equalised and later scored their winner was a beautifully worked goal.

Once Crew drew level the atmosphere was good, although I didn't like the stage behind one goal which was occupied some of the time by cheerleaders.

I then switched to the Canadian Soccer League. The match between Italian Shooters and North York Astros appeared to be being played in a park with no spectators, indeed it was called Parc Downside/Downside Park. This time a 43-year old veteran was on displahy.

Apparently the CSL incorporates an international league with Croat, Portuguese and Serbian teams as well ns the Italian Shooters who scored four times in a 4-1 win. The match was followed by in depth anaysis by two guys sheltering under an umbrella (the weather here is awful).

Back home the imminent departure of Jon Fortune to Sheffield United and the 2-0 defeat of a youthful side at Barnet has provoked more wallowing in gloom. I still think we will have enough to secure a mid-table position with a possible challenge for the fringes of the play offs and that is all we can reasonably expect and hope for.

Friday 24 July 2009

Nicky Bailey's future on hold

According to Pravda Nicky Bailey's future and a possible move to Middlesbrough is on hold while the long-running Charlton takeover saga drags on:

Phil Parkinson has praised Izale McLeod's attiude since he has returned to training, saying that bhe is fighting for his Charlton career. Perhaps he has now found his level.

The Addicks supremo struck a slightlhy exasperated tone when he said that he needed five more players to make a credible push for promotion. In particular he pointed out that he had only centre back signed up with the future of Jon Fortune still unresolved.

Thursday 23 July 2009

A village to the south-east of London

Toronto: I was reading a book on the plane from London today called Shakespeare's London on Five Groats a Day. It's a rather clever and entertaining attempt to imagine what a contemporary guide book might have been like.

I didn't expect to find an entry for Charlton, but there it was in the 'celebrations' chapter. 'Charlton is a village to thed south-east of London beyond Greenwich.' The villagers are known for their Addicktion to the game of football which is played on the festival day of St. Luke amid much revelry, boisterousness and ribaldry, the game starting in Upper Charlton and finishing towards the Thames. Vile louts from Bermondsey sometimes join in and cause mayhem.

Actually, the only truthful bit is about St.Luke. Seems that King John cuckolled a local miller and in reparation allowed a Charlton Horn Fair on St. Luke's Day each year (October 18th). Apparently people went dressed as kings or queens or as millers with horns on their head. Could be a new fashion at The Valley.

Coming next: How to Run a Football Club on Five Groats a Day

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Last gasp winner at Crawley

It was the unlikely figure of Izale McLeod who pulled off a last gasp winner for Charlton as they defeated Crawley 2-1 last night. The official site must know something I don't as they commented, 'The Reds had looked set for a point in West Sussex.' I didn't think we were playing in the Conference yet.

You will find quite a full report here: Crawley

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Charlton miss out again

In discussions about alternative Charlton managers over the last year, I can't recall the name of Sven Goran Eriksson being mentioned. Well at looks as if we have missed out again as he is set to go to mighty Notts County as Director of Football, having beaten off competition from Glenn Hoddle: Amazing

Monday 20 July 2009

Gray on his way

It looks as if Andy Gray has been granted his wish to return 'oop north with a £600,000 deal being agreed with Barnsley. This represents a considerable loss on what we paid for him and he has not delivered much value while he was with us. However, the imperative was to get his substantial wages off the books. It has been suggested that we are helping the Tykes with his wages, but I have no confirmation of this. In any event, they are likely to be smaller than what he was getting at The Valley.

Sunday 19 July 2009

An idea for Sparrows Lane?

Colo Colo from Santiago is arguably one of Chile's biggest clubs, but they haven't been doing too well this season. Fans are allowed to attend training sessions in a stand and they started barracking the coach. He walked over to them and gave as good as he got.

A guy in a shop in Santiago Airport asked me which team I supported. When I replied Charlton and said it was in London, he replied, 'You mean Chelsea?'

Elsewhere, keeper Richard Morris has walked out on Leamington and joined Brackley Town after nine seasons with the Brakes. The club had announced their attention to sign Dean Kiely's son Chris on a permanent basis when his contract with Gillingham expires. Kiely came in on loan when Morris was injured last season and looked like a chip off the old block.

Friday 17 July 2009

A constructive step

Santiago, Chile: At a time when fans have many evident concerns about the direction of the club, the move by former supporters´ director Ben Hayes to convene a supporters´ trust is clearly a constructive one. The protracted takeover saga has been a strain for fans, although there are some indications that there may be an announcement next week. Indeed, the official site has confirmed that a takeover is in progress. It's a bland statement, but considerations of confidentiality limit what can be said.

However, I do think that the unique atmosphere of the fight to return to The Valley and to re-build the club can never be re-created. As a League 1 club, the same level of communication resources are not available as in the past. I do not think that there will be a special relationship between the board and Charlton fans in the future.

Tomorrow Charlton face the challenge of an away match at Forest Green Rovers who recently secured a 5-0 defeat of Malmesbury Victoria. Stuart Fleetwood and Jose Semedo are expected to feature in a youthful Charlton side. Hopefully over the next few weeks we can start to focus on what happens on the pitch.

Pardew in at Saints

Santiago, Chille: There was dancing around St. Mary's Stadium as Southampton fans learnt that Alan Pardew is to be their new manager. Whether his appointment on the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen will be auspicious remains to be seen.

Initially Charlton did reasonably well under Pardew, particularly given the wreckage left by Dowie. But then he decided that a play off place was not good enough and went into Tinkerman mode.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Braying rights

Santiago, Chile: I was talking to someone at dinner here last night who used to be a primary school teacher in Bray and she told me it was a 'rough old place'. I went to the game there in 1997, I believe this was the last time Curbs played.

Being many thousands of miles away perhaps insulates me from the mood of doom and gloom which seems to have enveloped most Charlton fans. Of course, it is irritating that the takeover talks have dragged on interminably, placing severe restrictions on what the board can say in public. And it's difficult to adjust to being a League 1 club. But we might actually win some home games this year.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Some good news

Santiago, Chile: Tamer Tuna is raring to go in the new season according to Pravda: Tuna

It also seems that we have sold Stuart Fleetwood to Exeter for UK 100,000 which means we have not made a loss on a player who has never been seen in a first team shirt.

And the club has not gone into administration.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Don't believe everything you read in the papers

Santiago, Chile: especially if it's in the Mail. This story has upset some Charlton fans this morning: Administration

I do not see any set of calculations that could produce a debt of £40m. Those Charlton supporters who see this as a negotiating tactic are probably nearer the truth.

Clearly it's important to get all this settled before the season starts but don't expect any scenario in which we have lots of money. It's going to be a long, hard slog.

Saturday 11 July 2009

It all kicks off

Santiago, Chile: After Universidad de Chile won the championship earlier this week (no luck then for Everton this year) it all kicked off in the Plaza de Italia area of the city. Residents there are used to barricading themselves in their homes to escape the tear gas soaked streets, but this year's 'celebrations' led to what the Santiago Times has described as 'an unprecedented night of unrest and vandalism.' Damage is estimated at over $200,000.

I don't remember anything like that happening when we won in the play offs.

Friday 10 July 2009

Right back gap filled

Santiago, Chile: Charlton have filled the gap at right back (given that Moutaoukil is permanently out of favour) by bringing in Frazer Richardson from Leeds. Richardson

I woujld advise anyone against trying to bring a banana into Chile as a colleague attempted to do so this morning and was led away for questioning

Thursday 9 July 2009

New kit deal

Charlton have signed an exciting three-year sponsorship agreement with what is described as the most innovative building society in the country (quite why they are I am not sure). The Addicks have agreed a six-figure deal with Kent Reliance Building Society that further cements its close relationship with the county.

In current circumstances getting any deal is a result with some of the smaller Premiership clubs finding it difficult to close deals.

The Crown Berger Cup at Welling ws a 1-1 draw, but I wouldn't read too much into that. It is effectively a practice match with quite a few young players taking part. But I expect there will be some moaning on the lines of 'if we can't beat Welling.'

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Tykes head race for Gray's signature

Although Bristol City are also interested, Charlton striker Andy Gray would like to return up north and it looks as if Barnsley are leading the race for his signature:

Takeover should be complete in two weeks

The takeover of Charlton by the consortium led by Peter Varney should be complete in two weeks: Varney

Should the takeover occur, it is uncertain whether Phil Parkinson will continue as manager.

Richard Murray has told the South London Press: that Charlton’s major shareholders are ready to lose £30million of their own money to push through a takeover of the club. The Addicks chairman has ploughed £7.5million into the club during his 20 years at The Valley but is prepared to not get a penny back providing the right buyers can be found.

Matt Holland has told the Colchester Evening Gazette that he is training with Colchester as his deal with Charlton cannot be settled until the takeover is complete.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Zheng Zhi has left the club as he did not want to play in the third flight.

I am off to Chile tomorrow so I may miss all the excitement. I have decided to keep the Addick's Championship Diary format for the next season on the basis that we are aiming to be Champions of League 1. I know this is a faint hope, but the real reason is I am so busy this summer with work related travel, so much so that I can't take a holiday, that I really can't spare the time for a re-design.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

No bid for Puncheon

Plymouth Argyle have denied that Charlton have made a £150,000 bid for Jason Puncheon or that Millwall are in a battle to gain his signature. The 23-year old attacking midfielder can play on the left or right. He was loaned out to his former club MK Dons for part of last season (Llera connection?)

Saturday 4 July 2009

Gray for Palace?

According to Pravda Palace boss Neil Warnock is keeping an eye on Andy Gray with a view to adding him to his squad. You know it makes sense: Charlton get relegated, Palace want to return to their 'rightful' place in the Premiership, so sign up as many Charlton players as you can.

We really do need to offload Gray. I was shocked last season when I was told by a reliable source last season what his salary is. We can't afford him and he has never contributed much anyway.

Friday 3 July 2009

Warnock's Master Plan, Part 94

Having completed the signing of secret weapon Darren Ambrose, Neil Warnock has signalled that he continues to be interested in Charlton rejects with Jerome Thomas his latest target. The Sulky One has been released by Pompey, having convincingly failed to demonstrate his Premiership qualities. Given that he always thought he was too good for Charlton, Palace are welcome to him.

As other blogs have commented, we managed to do a good deal with Cardiff on Mark Hudson. No doubt they are doing the Ayotollah in the streets of South Wales. Read an extensive interview in which he reflects on his time at Charlton here: Hudson. He expresses the view that the Bluebirds are a Premiership club in the making and let's hope he;s right because we have £250,000 riding on it.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Magazine features Charlton rejects

The latest edition of 4-4-2 has a feature on Academy players that don't make the cut with a substantial emphasis on Charlton.

Taylor Sinfield, described as a 'versatile defender', is presented as 'a victim of Charlton's perilous financial situation. "They signed me as a kid, I got four years, signed on the pitch [a fairly regular ceremony], things were looking good. But I didn't grow. And with their finances, they couldn't take a risk.'"

Goalkeeper Callum Christie's problem was his size. '"I'm a small goalie", he sighs. They said that if I was 6'2 they would have offered me a pro contract. But I'm only 5'10."'

Sinfield was asked 'Did other Charlton apprentices find rejection more difficult? "Yeah, one of them goes out with my sister [a judo star]. He took it hard, because he's been there all his life, and he loves the club so much he keeps going back, because he thinks it's gonna change. But it's not."'

At least we have kept our Academy. And when times were better, a lot of players were still let go.