Tuesday 13 December 2011

Brakes face Puritans in cup clash

Leamington face local rivals Banbury United at the New Windmill Ground in a Birmingham Senior Cup clash tonight. The winners get a home tie against Birmingham City.

Last time we entertained the Blues in this competition we won 3-2 even though they included one or two Premiership players. The look on the faces of the quite substantial number of Blews supporters was a joy to behold.

First we have to beat the Purtans. It's a cold night with a strong wind blowing. The New Windmill Ground is in an exposed country location. This does not promise quality football and I shall certainly have to wrap up warm. The Vice-Presidents' lounge will be an especially welcome venue before the match and at half time.

Brakes won 3-0, playing some fluent football in front of a crowd of 176. And it was very cold!

Saturday 10 December 2011

Gold and Black Goal Machine

That was the chant from the Harbury Lane End as Leamington defeated Stourbridge 4-2 at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon.

The Glassboys were well organised at the back and the opening exchanges focused on midfield tussles. But then on 23 minutes Alex Taylor put in an opportunistic shot from distance and it crept under the bar to make it 1-0.

Half time: Brakes 1, Glassboys 0

Brskes looked to be in some difficulty after the interval when the ball richoted around in front of goal after a free kick and they had difficulty in clearing their lines. But then James Husband put Brakes 2-0 ahead on 53 minutes. After that the Glassboys stepped up the pressure. First they pulled one back with an excellent strike and then Broadhurst got a second for them with a header.

Some feared that they would go on to win the match, but a very well executed free kick allowed Tuohy to give Brakes the lead again. Taylor then ran in well down the left and scored with an angled shot that went in off the post to make it 4-2.

The referee then decided to invoke the six second rule and awarded an indirect free kick in front of goal, although not before a Stour player had run up to Evans and wrestled him to the ground. However, Brakes were able to clear.

The final phase was often end to end, but Brakes were in the driving seat, although hopes of the 'old five' were not to be realised. I was impressed with Francis brought in as cover who engaged in some intelligent defending directing his headers at someone in the gold and black.

Friday 9 December 2011

Bring on the Glass

The scene is set for a classic clash at the New Windmill Ground tomorrow when Leamington face long-time rivals Stourbridge who recently reached the second round of the FA Cup before being knocked out by Stevenage: Glassboys

With frosty conditions forecast overnight there are some doubts about whether the match will go ahead but vulnerable portions of the pitch are being covered with fleece.

Shell shocked manager Paul Holleran is still recovering from last week's last minute 2-1 defeat at Weymouth after Brakes had gone ahead against the Terras in the 87th minute. A mid-week win by Brackley saw Brakes fall back to second in the Evostik Southern Premier League. Moreover, the club has been hit by injuries, departures and suspensions and it has not been easy to find cover.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Brakes Overcome City To Go Top

A closely fought 1-0 win over St. Albans City saw Leamington go top of the Evostik Southern Premier League tonight. Admittedly, they are only one point ahead of their nearest rivals and the teams below them have one, two or even three (Oxford City) games in hand. But it is still a good place to be and keeps the Brakes in contention.

A swirling wind at the exposed New Windmill Ground did not make for quality football, although it did die down a bit in the second half and Brakes were able to play the ball on the ground more.

The captain for St.Albans was the highly experienced Paul Furlong, still plying his trade. Quite what he made of the Warwick University cheerleaders who welcomed him and the other players on to the pitch is a matter for speculation.

It was a tight battle in the first half. Brakes showed some real quality in midfield, particularly through Tuohy, but their performance in the final third was often more disappointing.

City had a penalty shout, while St. Albans keeper Nick Jupp made an excellent save from a Stephan Morley free kick.

Half time: Brakes 0, City 0

Brakes keepeer Lee Evans made a brilliant save to keep Brakes in the game as the ball came at him at an angle.

The Bloke Behind Me was insisting that there was a goal in the game, while others were forecasting a dour draw. In the event Leamington were awarded a penalty and Jacob Blyth struck it home.

The St.Albans players were going to ground with increasing frequent, but the healing Spa waters soon revived them. The referee had issued just one yellow card and began to lose control of the game, not helped by a rather poor lino.

Inevitably it all kicked off after City were given a free kick and Jacob Blyth and City charm merchant Ryan Moran were sent off. The absence of Blyth will be a blow to Brakes.

Brakes controlled the final phase well and most of those in the crowd of 511 went home happy.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Battling Brakes overtake City

'You're not very good' chanted Cambridge City fans as their side went 2-1 ahead against Leamington at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon. But by the end of the game they were silenced as Brakes overtook them 4-2.

The visitors went 1-0 ahead through Craig Hammond after three minutes and this one has to be down to Brakes keeper Lee Evans after he hesitated about whether to come for the ball or leave it.

However, Brakes were soon back on equal terms through David Kolodynski after a three touch move that started with a free kick.

I missed Cambridge's second goal as I was about to buy my raffle ticket but it seems that the ball was bobbling about in the area and was not cleared properly and the next thing I saw was the old onion bag, as they call it Statesside, shaking from the impact of the ball.

Brakes missed a golden chance to score from a few yards out, but City keeper and Luton Town product Zac Barrett made a couple of excellent saves, one from a free kick.

In the early part of the game the referee, who was one of those who likes to be his Tesco clubcard the only one he shows, had mislaid his contact lenses and missed handballs and the like, although the lino on the Sheepside also seem to have problems with what was happening immediately in front of him.

Any decision the referee did take, however reasonable, was the subject of constant complaint from Cambridge's lippy captain who performed a similar role when they came last year and eventually the one yellow card of the game was shown.

Brakes equalised through a wonderful effort under the bar from Jamie Hood. They then seemed to take their foot off the pedal as half time approached, seemingly content with levelling the score.

Half time: Brakes 2, Lilywhites 2

Possibly the decisive goal of the game was scored on 47 minutes when a great move led to a goal by Jacob Blyth.

From then on a more confident side played some fluent football, keeping possession well and passing the ball around, often on the ground. Blyth put the game effectively beyond doubt making it 4-2.

Cambridge still showed an ability to threaten and the Brakes keeper made one great save on the ground, being caught by his opponent for his pains.

News came through via our departing pitch announcer of the success of Stourbridge against Plymouth and the impressive progress of AFC Totton to the next round of the FA Cup.

The referee had been given a special Fergie Time watch and managed to find considerable time to add on, but Cambridge were unable to narrow the score.

By leaving Copenhagen early this morning I was able to ensure that the crowd was 631 rather than 629 and the effort I made was more than matched by that of the team. If we keep on playing like this, attendances should improve.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Train spotters or pikeys?

Millwall fans see Charlton fans as train spotters or anoraks, rather like those sad blokes you see at London Bridge taking the numbers of electric trains. However, after a recent discussion on train matters related to Charlton on the Glynne Jones list in which even the Rickster participated, I can see where they are coming from.

What is a bit more puzzling is the Palace designation of us as pikeys. Perhaps it's just further proof that many Glaziers are one sandwich short of a picnic.

The typical Charlton fan probably has a job in IT in London rather than working in the scrap metal trade. Indeed, the median Charlton fan has always been relatively prosperous. In the 1930s and 1950s, many Charlton fans were either skilled manual workers like my father who had served apprenticeships or what were then known as 'clerks' (junior office workers).

Incidentally, when I was on the Gatwick Express recently I noticed that one has a clear view from the train of Selhurst Park. With the Olympics coming up, this is hardly a good 'Welcome to Britain' message and perhaps that side of the train could be fitted with blinds.

On the pikey theme, I was astonished when I arrived at the New Windmill Ground last night to see a large dilapidated caravan parked up opposite the vice-presidents lounge. My first thought was that a member of the travelling community had found a new pitch.

As secretary of the vice-presidents club, I sought out the chairman at half time and it turned out that he had towed it from a farmer's field. Apparently at one time it was used by Ford for displays at shows and other events. The plan is to refurbish it as a corporate hospitality centre.

Well, maybe. But then I remembered the days at Charlton when hospitality was dispensed from Portakabins on the West Stand car park. There was a great pioneering spirit, but I am not sure guests were all that impressed.

Brakes lose on penalties after Charlton last gasp equaliser

Only 204 turned up to the New Windmill Ground last night on a damp evening to see Leamington play Brackley Town in the Red Insure (league) Cup. However, those who did come certainly had an entertaining night.

Talking before the game about Tony Breeden who debuted for Kiddy on Saturday keeping a clean sheet and making one first rate save. Our new keeper looks the business though: I wouldn't blame him for Brackley's two goals.

Billy Turley started in goal for Brackley. He has had a chequered career:
Turley I remember him as keeper at Rushden & Diamonds: he had a very loud voice then.

First he got in trouble for allegedly taking anabolic steroids and then he got a six month ban for recreational use of cocaine. As someone said last night, it was a good job he wasn't a winger as he would be accused of following the white lines. He then resurrected his career at Oxford United.

Just as in the recent league game, there was little to choose between the two sides in the first half, although we were playing the ball on the ground more than we have been and making greater use of the wings.

The main incident in the first half came when the ref blew up and went over to the Brackley bench. I thought for a moment that someone had said something to the lino, but then the ref showed himself the red card. It was a calf muscle strain and a new lino was produced to applause after some delay.

Unfortunately the young lino who took over as ref wouldn't take a decision on anything (apart from anything else it appeared that the ref had forgotten to give him his cards). This cost us dear in extra time when we were denied what I thought were two clear penalty appeals.

Brakes looked sharper when Blyth came on and although Brackley took the lead, we replied with Blyth scoring from a Husbands corner. Brackley then went ahead again with an unstoppable header and I must admit that I was heading towards the corner flag when the appropriately named Charlton scored with a header to make it 2-2.

We had been getting better as the game went on but I think that our best period of play was in the first half of extra time when we really rattled the post twice, the first time from Blyth and then from Morley.

It went to penalties and unfortunately Blyth put his shot over to allow Brackley win 5-3. These things happen in penalty shoot outs. In any case I am not too bothered about exiting the cup. What is encouraging is that we look in good shape for Saturday's more important game against Cambridge City.

If the queues at Heathrow immigration aren't too long when I fly back from Copenhagen I should make it.

Saturday 8 October 2011

No goals but plenty of action at the NWG

Leamington and Brackley Town played out a hard fought goalless draw at the New Windmill Ground in front of a crowd of 612 this afternoon. Perhaps such an outcome should not be surprising in a 6th versus 7th fixture which attracted the chairman of the Evo-Stik Southern League to judge from the expensive car with magnetic plaques proclaiming the fact that was in the car park.

Although the match was a competitive one, it was the poor judgment of the ageing referee that attracted increasing attention as the match went on. Card happy and whistle happy, I pointed out to him that there is a toll free number on which you can claim your pension.

Brackley's tactic was to defend in depth and try and score on the break and they nearly succeeded more than once, Breeden being called on for a good save just before half time. On the whole, Brakes controlled the midfield but I thought that our play was disjointed at times, especially in the first half.

The referee set out his stall with a bizarre yellow card for obstruction for not moving when the keeper played the ball. On 33 minutes Brackley took off Jaszcun and brought on Chris Willmott who was signed from Luton by Wimbledon when they were in the Premiership for £350,000.

Just afterwards Brackley did put the ball in the net, but the linesman had raised his flag and the referee had to concede that it was offside after going over to consult him.

Brakes applied some good pressure in the middle part of the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net. Towards the end of the match the referee started to give a few free kicks to Leamington and one of these had to be knocked over the bar by Walker in the Brackley goal.

Brackley also continued to show a turn of speed down their left wing, but although they won some corners, Brakes defended well. New acquisition Asa Charlton impressed me.

So a dismal defeat in the cup last weekend, an impressive victory away midweek and a share of the points today. It's an unpredictable season for the Brakes.

Sunday 28 August 2011

More good things

Read our Bury v. Charlton report and about an interview with Scott Wagstaff at our new blog: Third Division Diary

Saturday 27 August 2011

Brakes hunt down Stags

Not a good day for match analyst and Stags supporter Homer

Leamington defeated AFC Totton 2-1 at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon in a key victory in front of a crowd of 601 over the table topping side who had won all their matches to date.

There was an early call for a penalty for the Brakes after an apparent handball in the box. Then the Stags went ahead on 13 minutes. Gosney broke away at speed for the visitors and the goal was attributed to Jonathan Davies although I thought it could have been an own goal.

Baddley and Charles received yellow cards for the visitors, the latter for a blatant trip on Downes. Porter had to make a good save for Totton to deny Leamington.

Totton were impressive defensively with Leamington camped out in their box much of the time but always being closed down. Leamington put the ball in the air too much which was not a good idea in the very windy conditions.

Half time: Brakes 0, Stags 1

Breeden in the Brakes goal changed the game with a great assist which led to a penalty dispatched with aplomb by Jacob Blyth who was my man of the match. Despite the last man being brought down, the referee thought that no card was necessary.

Leamington then went ahead on 67 minutes after Berwick had provided the assist for his strike partner Blyth.

Totton used all their three substitutes, the last one coming on to cries of 'Bring out your dead.' The referee gave a series of dubious free kick decisions to Totton which led to Richard Batchelor receiving a yellow card for dissent.

The referee added on as much time as he could find but Leamington held on with some authority and the players received warm applause as they left the pitch.

Friday 26 August 2011

Top match in the top flight

'There's no doubt where the top match in the top flight [EvoStik Premier League] takes place tomorrow: it's at the New Windmill Ground': Top game

Leamington, unbeaten so far, face newly promoted AFC Totton. The Stags have won all their four games to date.

The Brakes are expected to have Tom Berwick and Ben Mackey back from injury to strengthen their strike force.

We will be the only Charlton blog covering this match tomorrow.

Bury preview

This is now available at our new page: 3rd Division Diary

This page will continue to be used for Leamington reports and later today we will be previewing tomorrow's clash between the unbeaten Brakes and table topping AFC Totton.

The Radio Scilly sports show returns tomorrow at a new slot of 10 to 11 on Saturdays and I will be contributing: Radio Scilly

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Charlton beat Reading in Carling Cup

A second string Charlton side beat Reading 2-1 at The Valley tonight in the Carling Cup to progress to a third round home tie against Preston. The Royals also put out a second string side, but it was a determined performance by the Addicks that was a testament to the spirit in the camp.

Andrea Hilton's full report can be read at the Addick's 3rd Division Diary page: Reading

Reading preview

This is now available on our new site: Reading

Saturday 20 August 2011

What went wrong?

Charlton drew 2-2 at home with Scunthorpe today, surrendering a half-time 2-0 lead with the visitors scoring their equaliser in time added on. With MK Dons winning 6-2 against Chesterfield, they took top place in the table from Charlton. The moaners found their voice again and boos were heard at the end of the game.

Charlton never looked as composed as they did against Bournemouth or as they appear to have been in the two away wins, but they certainly edged the first half. In the second half they lost momentum while the Iron upped their game. Some chances were missed and poor decision-making occurred when the Addicks tried to keep the ball by the corner flag in the 87th minute rather than lauching an attack to try and get a third goal.

In our section of the East Stand, we thought that we were vulnerable to attacks down our right and would have substituted Solly.

Full match report is available here: Diary

Match analysis

No one had an outstanding game in a Charlton shirt or indeed for either side but Ivy the Terrible has awarded the Silver Bone to Johnnie Jackson for his goal and his contribution throughout the game.

Juneau the Soccer Cat has awarded the Hiss of the Match to the East Stand linesman who seemed unable or unwilling to tell the referee what was happening in front of him.

Full match analysis at Third Division Diary

Friday 19 August 2011

Charlton report Pardew to Premier League

Charlton have reported Newcastle manager Alan Pardew to the Premier League after he broke a confidentiality agreement in relation to a bid for Rob Elliot.

Newcastle made a derisory £100,000 for the keeper on Wednesday which was immediately rejected.

It is unlikely that we will get any joy from the Premier League, but it is worth making the point.

Any old Iron?

With Charlton topping the league and Scunthorpe in 20th place, tomorrow's fixture would look like a banker for the Addicks. One should never be complacent, but the team is playing well. The midfield has impressed. The central defenders may be a bit agricultural, but they are doing their job. Bradley Wright-Phillips has found his scoring boots and Paul Hayes, much criticised pre-season, is displaying his qualities.

Chris Powell has been playing down speculation about Rob Elliot moving to the Toon saying that talks are at an 'embryonic' stage. It looks as if Rob Elliot will be between the sticks on Saturday and there is a lot to be said for continuity.

Four Four Two saw the Iron finisihing in the play offs. The Times thought 'It will be a significant surprise if they make an immediate return to the Championship' and saw them finishing 16th. They thought that the looss of David Mirfin to Watford left a big hole in defence and saw their weakness as 'brittle confidence after relegation last season' which ended in a 6-0 defeat at Carrow Road.

The supremo is giant former central defender Alan Knill who was brought in from Bury with eight games to go last season but was not able to turn things around.

Some disllusioned Addicks may be tempted to return tomorrow, but don't expect a big crowd as Scunthorpe are expected to bring only around 250.

I am going for a 3-1 win for the Addicks.

Addick's Third Division Diary has now been running for a few weeks and this blog will now be phased out. There will be reduced content from now on, but links will be provided to stories on the new blog.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Pards swoops for Elliot

Newcastle United are expected to sign Charlton goalkeeper with Rob Elliot in the next day or two. He would be a replacement for Fraser Forster who has rejoined Celtic on loan with a view to a £2m transfer.

Elliot was recommended to Pardew by Andy Woodman, the goalkeeping coach, who worked with the player at Sparrows Lane.

Elliot has had a good start to the season, conceding only one goal. Doubts have been expressed in the past about how well he commands his area and how good he is with crosses, but I am far from sure that his departure is good news.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

The best team won admits U's manager

Colchester's manager has admitted that the best team won after Charlton beat them 2-0 in front of a crowd of 5,094 at the Community Homes Stadium last night with goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips. He claims that he simply cannot match Charlton's millions. A Colchester supporter comments that the Addicks are the best team in the league:United

On 13 minutes Wright-Phillips completed a one-two with Waggy and on 28 minutes he converted Johnnie Jackson's left-wing cross. He had chances in the second half to get his hattrick but was denied three times by Mark Cousins (who was named man of the match) in the U's goal.

Elliot and Wright-Phillips were booked. Danny Green came on in a 86th minute cameo.

Charlton had 57 per cent of the possession and seven shots on target to two for the home side.

Charlton remain top of League 1, but Sheffield United retained their 100 per cent record after coming back from a two goal deficit to beat mighty Walsall at home 3-2.

Monday 15 August 2011

Are the U's sustainable?

After beating the second placed team in the admittedly provisional table on Saturday, the Addicks now face fourth placed Colchester United away tomorrow. The U's started the season with a storming 4-2 win at Preston, then scored another three at Wycombe in the Carling Cup midweek only to be knocked out on penalties. They then managed a 1-1 draw in the league at home to the Chairboys on Saturday.

Limited resources are one of their constraints, although that may be more of a problem later in the season as injuries and suspensions take their toll. Their new stadium is often far from full and owner Robbie Cowling has stated that he is building a 'sustainable' club. This does not mean green turf on the roof and a wind turbine by each corner flag but involves cutting the playing budget.

No surprise, then, that Four Four Two forecasts mid-table mediocrity for the U's, while The Times plumps for relegation. They do have a fight back capability, though: they gained 21 points from losing positions last season.

Former Norwich striker Ian Henderson is seen as a key player. Tom Eastman was brought in from Ipswich and Michael Rose from Swindon to strengthen the back line in a team that can be defensively suspect and liable to concede penalties. The U's will be without winger Ashley Vincent who scored the only goal on Saturday but was then stretchered off with a knee injury. Michail Antonio has been brought in from Reading on a month's loan as cover. He is a direct, attacking player.

Boss John Ward stepped up from assistant manager after Aidy Boothroyd left. He is something of a journeyman manager in the lower divisions, having seen service at six different clubs. Fans are sceptical about him and some doubt whether he will last the season.

The betting odds suggest that this could go one of three ways. I think we are more likely to win (by the odd goal) than lose, but I will opt for a 2-2 draw.

Saturday 13 August 2011

Charlton top table with away win

Charlton started with an unchanged side against Notts County today reports Erith Addick Paul May from Meadow Lane. Scott Wagstaff deservedly retained his place with Danny Green joined by Jason Euell on the bench.

Charlton started brightly. Hollands was the object of an early foul with the Magpies determined to get their retaliation in early. County were able to clear from the free kick. Good play by Hayes won a corner for the Addicks. Jackson’s corner was cleared by Hughes and the move ended in a goal kick for the home side.

A free kick was awarded against Morrison on the edge of the box on seven minutes. It was a good free kick but the Addicks handled it well and it was cleared. A Jackson free kick was unproductive. Wagstaff was caught in the face by a ball at point blank range. He came back on with cotton wool in his nose.

The green shirted Elliot came quickly off his line and acted as a sweeper, anticipating the situation well. The Addickted were vocal while the home fans seemed quite subdued. Elliot punched out a long throw from Edwards.

With twenty minutes gone neither side had had a real chance but then Jackson headed the ball off the line to deal with a volley. Wagstaff was pushed but the referee, who had not followed the advice of the hoardings round the ground to visit Vision Express, saw nothing.

Good play by Stephens and Wagstaff gave Jackson an opportunity and he put the ball in the net but was ruled to be offside. Bishop put in a speculative effort that went wide. A shot from Hayes was saved well by the keeper.

Hollands won the ball well in midfield with a good tackle and turned provider for Wagstaff who rounded the keeper and scored from a tight angle to put the Addicks ahead on 35 minutes. The game then went a bit quiet.

Wright-Phillips advanced down the right and turned provider with a slide rule pass for Hayes who made no mistake tapping the ball in on the far post to make it 2-0 to the Addicks just before half time.

Half time: Magpies 0, Addicks 2

County made two substitutions at half time, taking off Bencherif who had been quite effective in defence. Whether they were going to abandon their 4-1-3-2 formation was initially unclear. Lee Hughes came on, possibly posing more of a challenge to Morrison.

Hayes threatened early on and then Stephens put in an excellent ball and Jackson was there but the offside flag went up. Bishop clattered into the back of Wagstaff and the free kick was awarded. Bishop then fouled Stephens and another free kick was awarded, but Jackson’s effort went well over. Bishop conceded another free kick.

Sheehan headed back to his keeper and Nelson had to scramble across to prevent an own goal. Solly provided some great defending at the expense of a corner, without Solly’s intervention Hawley would have been in for a tap in. Sheehan put a great ball in and the substitute Montano made no mistake in finding the back of net to make it 1-2. The defending was a bit slack as Charlton conceded their first goal of the season.

Hayes turned provider for Wright-Phillips but his effort went over the bar. It all kicked off in midfield after Charlton were given a free kick. Elliot told Wagstaff to calm down. Westcarr put in a shot as County revived.

Hayes put in a clever ball for Wright-Phillips, but the keeper was able to gather. A shot by the Magpies from distance was only just wide. Hayes put in a shot from 35 yards that wasn’t far wide. A bad challenge was made on Jackson by Ravenhill who received the first yellow card of the game. Wright-Phillips was manhandled but the free kick was given against him.

A free kick by Stephens from 30 yards out was too close to the keeper. Demontagnac (whose first name was on his shirt) came on and the full back Kelly came off suggesting that County were going to intensify their attack.

Taylor dealt well with a long throw from Edwards. Wright-Phillips played in Hayes but the offside flag was raised. Taylor and Montano had a clash of heads. A free kick was awarded against the combative Hollands who had had a good game. The offside flag was raised against County to the distress of the home fans.

Wiggins got a yellow card for kicking the ball away after a disputed throw in. Lee Hughes put the ball down for the goal kick and Elliot put it elsewhere. Jason Euell came on to replace Paul Hayes who had played well but was possibly tiring. Euell was warmly greeted by the 818 Addickted at the game.

Morrison stopped Westcarr putting in a shot with a fierce but fair tackle. Stephens dealt with a long throw by Edwards. Elliot came off his line well to deal with the ball. Montano started a move with a push which was ignored and won a corner. A poor shot went in from distance. Doherty came on.

Charm merchant Lee Hughes went down in the box in an exhibition of cheating. Edwards had another long throw opportunity but Doherty defended it bravely and the goal kick was awarded as manager Allen went beserk again.

Four minutes were added on. Doherty won the ball in the air. Westcarr put in a shot which was gathered by Elliot. Former County player Andy Hughes came on for his Charlton debut to replace Wagstaff. Euell tried to hold the ball up in the corner but the free kick went against him which was taken by the keeper in a much more advanced position. Sheehan went up to the referee, tapped him on the shoulder and said something and received a yellow card for his views.

Charlton won a corner and then the full time whistle blew. It all kicked off with handbags at six places and Euell and Hollands were involved and Elliot joined in. The coaching staff went on to calm things down. Hollands got a yellow card.

It was 2-1 win as Wyn Grant forecast yesterday and Charlton kept their place at the top of the table. As Chris Powell said last season, ‘Judge me when I get my own team’

Friday 12 August 2011

Elliot keeps his place

Rob Elliot is expected to keep his place in goal in tomorrow's match against Notts County, even though Ben Hamer has now recovered from his minor injury: Elliot

Notts County won a surprise victory away at Carlisle on the opening day of the season and maintained their good form in a league cup tie with rivals Forest in their first competitive meeting since 1994 which they only lost on penalties midweek. They will be hoping to take three points off the Addicks to remain top of the table.

Last season they finished 19th and two years ago they neraly fell into the non-league. The heady days of the Munto Finance affair and Sven Goran Eriksson are now an unhappy memory. Martin Allen is the seventh manager in less than two seasons but has a good track record of improving lower division teams.

The fans are not that optimistic, forecasting mid-table mediocrity. Four Four Two forecasts that they will end the season returning to League Two, but The Times goes for a more realistic 12th.

Player of the Year Neal Bishop is very much the fulcrum of the team. He is combative and tenacious midfielder. Karl Hawley is a good attacking player, but the defence is suspect.

No doubt I will have to eat my words at 5 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, but I am going for a 2-1 win for the Addicks.

Paul May will be covering the match from Meadow Lane.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

And now Jason Euell

Jason Euell has become Charlton's 16th summer signing. The 34-year old, the all time record signing for the club, has agreed a one year contract.

He will provide useful cover and his experience will be of value to younger players.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Reading game is off

Tonight's cup match with Reading is off as the police do not want to dilute their resources after the serious disturbances overnight in London. Woolwich was one location in which trouble occurred with reports of a fire:Woolwich Shops at Charlton retail park were ransacked.

Sunday 7 August 2011

The pressure is on - Matt Taylor

The pressure on says Matt Taylor in a column in today's Football League Paper. Read more about the interview at our new third division site: Diary

Clubs compete for Reid

Kyel Reid could make an early return to The Valley if Scunthorpe succeed in their attempt to secure his services. However, the free agent has impressed at his trial with Barnsley so he is likely to settle for whoever can offer him the best package.

Both clubs are clearly impressed by pace and not too worried about the quality of the final ball.

On another subject altogether, today is the birthday of Charlton legend Eddie Firmani. He will be 88 and celebrating in Naples, Florida.

Saturday 6 August 2011

Cherry juice

Every so often someone sends me an E-mail advocating the merits of cherry juice as a remedy for gout (which I have never had). Bournemouth's players looked like cherry juice at 5 p.m. this afternoon as they slumped on the pitch after an emphatic season opening 3-0 defeat by Charlton.

The Times had us tipped as champions and although it's very early days no one can deny that it's a good start and puts the Addicks top of the league in the tentative table.

It wasn't perfect but there was some fluent passing play at least some of the time and a judicious use of the long ball. We still go too deep under pressure and we looked a bit vulnerable defensively to counter attacks. But the corners were an improvement on last season.

The two goals scored from open play by Dale Stephens and Waggy were screamers and Johnnie Jackson scored his penalty with calm and authoritative aplomb as one expect from the skipper.

Bournemouth started the game with some agricultural clearances which suggested that this was not the best team we would face this season, but not the worst either. Solly conceded a rather unnecessary corner but fortunately it was unproductive.

A nasty foul on Hollands did not earn the yellow card it deserved from the raher self-important referee. Good work by Hayes led to a Charlton corner, but Morrison, always busy in the box on these occasions, headed the ball over.

A corner taken by Jackson was played back in by the alert Stephens but Wright-Phillips put the ball just wide. Hesitancy by Wagstaff nearly caused problems, but then a good long ball released Wright-Phillips. However, he was not able to get round the keeper. At this stage of the game one saw some good ideas but they were not quite coming off.

Another corner was conceded unnecessarily, something which needs to be worked on. There was then panic stations in the defence because Elliot failed to come for the ball when he should have done.

Solly made a good run and passed to Wright-Phillips who flicked the ball well to Stephens enabling him to put in a rocket shot that left the keeper with no chance. Quite wisely, Charlton then slowed the game down and kept possession to avoid the kind of early equaliser which happened too often last season. However, possibly they kept this up for too long, leading to a rather quiet end to the half.

Bournemouth's Byrne, on loan from Spurs, was looking lively and a bit of a menace and was given far too much space throughout the match. Elliot risked danger by hesitating again. Charm merchant Arter was finally given the yellow card he deserved. Some fans thought we should not have let him go, but I was not convinced by his petulance, even if he is Scott Parker's cousin.

Jackson put in an opportunistic shot from distance which tested the keeper and led to a Charlton corner. Stephens provided a good corner with some real pace on it but it was unproductive.

Charlton prospect Danny Ings received a yellow card for a foul. I was not that impressed by his contribution. Wagstaff won Charlton a corner. Elliot had to make a good save in the minute added on.

Half time: Addicks 1, Cherries 0

Bournemouth took off Baudry and brought on Taylor. The Cherries threatened with a couple of early corners, but then Solly won one for Charlton taken by Jackson. Stephens laid the ball off to Wagstaff who put in a screamer of a shot to make it 2-0.

A Bournemouth free kick flashed across the front of the Charlton goal and then the Addicks gave the ball away in midfield. They mounted a good counter attack, but Stephens should have tried a shot rather than playing the ball across the field. Another Bournemouth attack ended in an offside decision.

Elliot caught a Bournemouth corner. Good play by Hayes saw him put in a shot at a difficult angle and he was frustrated when it went wide. A Charlton corner was unproductive, but at least we were winning them. Elliot saved from play following a Cherries corner.

Charlton were awarded a free kick for holding at last, but Jackson's effort went over. Wright-Phillips was then brought down for the penalty which Jackson converted to make it 3-0.

Elliot made a good save. Taylor received a yellow card. Good work by Wagstaff was unproductive when Jackson overhit the ball. Wright-Phillips was just wide with a good effort from distance.

Hayes was replaced by Benson and shortly afterwards Bradley Pritchard made his competitive debut in place of Wagstaff. Wright-Phillips advanced well, but Jackson was unable to steer the ball. Pritchard displayed good control of the ball and then good defensive work. The three minutes added on were dominated by Charlton.

A clean sheet and no bookings, I feel good about this result. But next Saturday we face a top of the table clash away at Notts County.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible has awarded Dale Stephens his first ever Silver Bone for a committed and authoritative performance throughout. Elliot deserves credit for a clean sheet and some good saves, although the pressure he was under was rather intermittent. However, he is sometimes overcome by hesitancy and fails to command his area which suggests that he should not be first choice keeper even if he stays (Hamer having injured his thumb in training). The two new centre backs Taylor and Morrison displayed competent efficiency in their tasks, Taylor possibly showing more subtlety in his play. Wiggins was continually jeered by the away support, but apart from the odd mistake carried out his tasks well. Solly had some excellent moments, particularly in terms of contributing to attacks, but looked less secure in defence. Hollands was not that prominent, but did what he had to do with a commendable quiet efficiency. Jackson showed some nice touches and had a number of speculative efforts on goal which were worth the effort. Wagstaff did lose the ball a few times, possibly through hesitancy or trying to be too clever, but this should not detract from an impressive overall performance in attack. Hayes attracted some pre-season criticism, but seemed fully involved to me and showed some real guile. Wright-Phillips was relatively quiet and does expect the ball to be played to him but he did set up the penalty claim well. Benson had ten minutes to show what he could do which was pretty much what we saw last season, i.e., not that much but not without some skill. One time TNT Dynamos player Bradley Pritchard had a cameo in which he showed that he is a player with real promise. Incidentally, he must be the most educated player ever to feature for Charlton with five years at university, culminating in a Masters level qualification in sport science which surely trumps Iain Dowie's degree in rocket science. Doherty came on to help us defend our 3-0 lead and did what he was asked to do competently enough.

The Hiss of the Match was awarded by rescue cat Fleur who joined Juneau the Soccer Cat's squad in the close season and the former Southam United fan gave the award to the East Stand lino for some bizarre second half decisions.

Cherries team in M25 chaos

Bournemouth's team were severely delayed on the M25 last night and eventually recahed their hotel about five hours late: Cherries

At one time it looked as if they might ask for today's kick off to be delayed, but that will not happen and indeed the idea received short shrift from their own fans.

Friday 5 August 2011

How the pundits assess the Cherries

Last year Bournemouth were knocked out of the play offs in a penalty shoot out. Will they be able to repeat their play off achievement this season? There is a sense in the assessments from pundits that they over achieved last season and the general view seems to be that they will finish just outside the play offs. The Times and Four Four Two give remarkably similar rankings: 8th and 9th respectively.

The Times thinks that a solid defence is a strength, but takes the view that Eddie Howe is a hard act to follow for manager Bradbury. They see the departure of Rhoys Wiggins to Charlton as significant (although some doubts have been expressed about him pre-season) but note the arrival of Adam Barrett from the Glaziers. Captain Jason Pearce has left for Portsmouth.

Four Four Two note the effectiveness of the midfield with March Pugh and Liam Feeney providing the final pass for almost a third of their 75 goals last season. Their fans' player of the season last year was a midfielder, 25-year old Anton Robinson. The former Weymouth player is noted for his 'all-action displays'. Perhaps he comes on and does a dance routine as well.

The Cherries have some difficulty in holding on to a lead, having squandered 32 points from winning positions last season.

On the south coast fans are saying that Charlton are there for the taking, have been 'all over the place' pre-season. Perhaps this is a reference to the Spanish tour, but it would be interesting to know what some of them are on down on the south coast.

More cautious voices are saying they will settle for a draw which would not be good enough for us. I am going for a 2-1 win, the Cherries scoring first after 19 minutes from a free kick and Bradley Wright-Phillips getting both of the Charlton goals.

Facing ex-Cherries gives extra incentive

Bournemouth manager Lee Bradbury reckons that face former Cherries players at The Valley tomorrow will give an extra incentive to start the season with three points: Cherries

Thursday 4 August 2011

Addicks may bid for Ings

Charlton may bid for Bournemouth striker Danny Ings if they don't land Jeffery Schlupp from Leicester according to Pravda: Ings

The Cherries are asking £1m for the 19-year old ace, but any Charlton bid is likely to start at £500,000 plus add ons with Simon Francis as a possible makeweight.

Johnnie Jackson has been named as the popular choice for Charlton captain. The team trained at Sparrows Lane today instead of at The Valley as planned as it was considered important not to damage the pitch after heavy rain.

Football blogging

A short video here of me talking about football blogging, but be warned, no Charlton content: Blogging

The countdown begins

You can also read this post at 3rd Division Diary

Just another 48 hours and I will be getting ready to travel to The Valley. The football season is within touching distance. Yesterday I was doing a preview for Radio Mercia on Coventry City, but now I can start to think about Charlton with a real sense of anticipation.

I have a sense of optimism about the coming season, although perhaps I will already have suffered a setback by 5 p.m. on Saturday. Last year's team simply wasn't good enough to achieve the promotion that all Addicks desire and it seems to me that some good choices of new players have been made. How they will play together remains to be seen, but early indications are of a passing game with the occasional use of a judicious long ball.

There are those who insist that the problem is the manager not the players and are calling for judgment to be made after three games. I think we need to be a little more patient and not too short-termist. What we need in the early part of the season is to stay in touch: the example of Southampton last year shows that it is possible to go forward from a solid base.

Come on you Reds!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Poyet agree terms

Diego Poyet, son of Gus, has signed a two-year professional contract at Charlton: Poyet

The highly-rated midfielder was at one time an Arsenal target but did not follow in the footsteps of Carl Jenkinson (who has announced today that he is turning off his Twitter account).

Charlton a relatively expensive team to watch

Charlton are the fifth most expensive team to watch in League 1 on a day out basis according to a survey by the BBC, although Leyton Orient top the table: Price

Of course, if you want really cheap football you can always watch Rochdale.

Charlton fans seem to be in a relatively optimistic mood as the start of the season approaches with the new signings being seen as having strengthened the team.

Addick's Third Division diary is ready to launch and from the Bournemouth preview we shall be posting new material there, but it will be reproduced here for a week or two. Hopefully recognition of our true status will bring us some much needed luck.

Monday 1 August 2011

New keeper in

Charlton are involved in talks to sign keeper Ben Hamer from Reading: Hamer

Should this signing go ahead, it must cast doubt on the future of Rob Elliot. Some Addicks who were at the Millwall game thought that he was positioning was not too good for the two free kicks that led to goals

Hamer came up through the youth academy at Reading. He is a fluent German speaker, a talent likely to be wasted at Charlton: Wikipedia

A Bee has e-mailed me to say that he was a great keeper for Brentford and a fans' favourite.

Apparently Hull were also interested so we did well to get him.

The Sky report also refers to the possible signing of another striker, but I have heard reports linking us to another full back, Andy Hughes from Scunthope. Scunthorpe have confirmed that there has been an enquiry about the 33-year old who has only spent six months at the club after joining them from Leeds.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Seven goals at the New Den

Recent fixtures between Millwall and Charlton have seen some high scorelines and this afternoon's friendly at The New Den saw seven goals scored with the home side ending 4-3 victors.

Charlton went ahead in the first half through Bradley Wright-Phillips but then Millwall equalised from a free kick. Bradley Wright-Phillips put Charlton ahead again, but Millwall scored two more to go in 3-2 ahead at the break. The Addicks had been losing possession to a worrying extent and were prone to rushing too much.

After the break they tried to play more of a passing game. Racon signalled a new found interest in aquatic sports by displaying his diving skills. Jackson scored for the Addicks to make it 3-3, but a free kick just outside the box enabled Millwall to win the testimonial fixture.

Not a bad result, but doubts about Wiggins surfaced again.

Friday 29 July 2011

Addicks to beat drop

Charlton will escape the drop to League 2 this season, according to the season preview in Four Four Two. However, they will finish 18th, just above the drop zone. (At least that's what they said in the print version: now a web version has changed their forecast to 4th!)

Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday are forecast to occupy the automatic promotion places. Preston, Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe and Carlisle will contest the play offs. I'm not sure I buy into the idea of Orient as the surprise package, for all of Russell Slade's qualities. And I see Carlisle as destined for mid-table mediocrity while I would put Sheffield United higher than 7th.

The magazine comments, 'you have to spread the net far to find a Football League ground where the general vibe is as negative as it's been at The Valley in recent years.' However, 'South-east Londoners Chris Powell [?] and Bradley Wright-Phillips have the passion to taken Charlton back up.'

However, Powell is warned, 'he might have to abandon any ideals of slick football in faviur of a style that is more agricultural. Much to prove.'

Trevor Wood in the fan file fears 'dull football and more mid-table mediocrity.' Nevertheless, he reckons we can finish in the top six if we find a decent back four. He names Peter Varney as unsung hero at the club.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Sky Blues override Brakes

Just as with Birmingham City on Saturday, Coventry City proved too much for Leamington to cope with at the New Windmill Ground last night, although a 1-2 defeat was no disgrace. However, the Sky Blues had more pace, were quicker to the ball and passed it around very neatly. However, it was a good test for the Brakes players, watched by a crowd of 724.

Sky Blues were 2-0 up after 30 minutes and for a while it looked like a rout might be possible. But then Tom Berwick, who had already tested former Northampton stopper Chris Dunn in the City goal, scored from the penalty spot before the break and that was the way it ended.

A distraction during the first half was the arrival of two fire engines including an escape pump but it turned out that they had come to give out leaflets about smoke alarms.

Sky Blues continued to press in the second half and Breeden had to make at least one good save but Brakes also had their moments and there was a lot of promise in the team.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Grzegorz Rasiak

The 'tall target man' is apparently training with us at the moment: Rasiak

This Spurs blogger wasn't too impressed: 'the greater the chance of making a panic buy as the deadline looms and although it was not on Harry’s watch, the name of Grzegorz Rasiak ominously springs to mind.'

A more positive perspective is given by a Derby fan: 'Was brilliant going back about 4 or 5 seasons. For a tall bloke though he's rubbish in the air. He's great on the ground though.

Left us for Spurs so that he could play in the Premier league but never
really broke through. All in all - we were very sad to see him go. He'd be a great player for you.'

I could do without more players whose names I have difficulty spelling!

View from the New Den

A Millwall source takes a look at the Charlton side under Chris Powell: Millwall

Erith Addick Paul May has agreed to brave the New Den on Saturday to provide a match report.

The Addicks beat Den Bosch last night 1-0 through a Bradley Wright-Phillips goal to lift the People's Cup. Danny Green, Johnny Jackson and Paul Hayes all hit the woodwork.

Some comments from an Addick who was there:

Overall, as has been said a very solid performance and showing much promise without setting the world alight. If Jackson had put the chance away later in the second half the 2-0 scoreline would have been a fairer reflection (he hit the bar).

For me the centre back performances stood out. Both look tidy players and both worked well together as a defensive unit. Frequently you could see an understanding between them, they operated as a pair rather than 2 new together players.

Wiggins - first time I've seen him and I didn't think it was that bad, as you said he was up against a good right midfield and on the whole he frustrated him. I suspect that most of his game last night was about stopping the forward rather than looking to push on.

There was a definite attempt to play a passing game with very few long balls out from the keeper. One note on Elliot I thought he parried a number of balls that he could have tried to hold?

BWP - I thought he had a good game, seemed very mobile and covered a lot of ground dropping back to link with midfield. Took his chance like an accomplished and confident striker.

Benson came on and did ok - anyone else think he has lost weight? - not that he was particularly heavy last year.

Hollands, Stephens, Green and Jackson. while being happy overall I was less impressed with the midfield as I was with the back 4. They did pass well but with a couple of exceptions they didn't quite get forward as much as I suspect they will need to. We will need the midfield to contribute heavily to the goal scoring, if they don't break forward I suspect teams will soon learn to mark BWP out of the game and nullify our scoring.
That said great to see Jackson back and Green covered a lot of ground. The 2 in the middle will come good but are still finding their feet in a very new look team.

Hayes - not sure yet, thought he was a bit quiet, but is only one game and there were so many new faces I found it a job to keep an eye on all so might be doing him an injustice.

Well done to Powell, he looks to be building a solid and entertaining team which will compete well in this league next season. Seems to me he has gone for a similar set of players, all with hunger but all having already established themselves at previous clubs and confident of their abilities. They should be a bunch that develop the understandings and gel quickly.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Schlupp in on loan?

Pravda is reporting that Charlton are interested in bringing 18-year old Leicester City striker Jeffery Schlupp in on loan: Schlupp

He performed well at Brentford when on loan there last season.

You can see a spectacular miss by him here: Schlupp up

A question of experience

When we appointed Chris Powell as manager the New York Addick (who seems to have gone into purdah for the summer) argued that we should have appointed an 'experienced' manager.

So what is the evidence for the benefits of experience? I have been looking at the book on Football Management by my colleague Sue Bridgewater who runs courses for the PFA and the LMA. She argues that experience should be considered as a factor in football success, but the evidence on its importance appears to be a little mixed.

There is certainly a significant difference between the number of years experience and the win percentage of managers. Those with no previous experience have a ratio of 33 per cent wins, but this goes up to 45 per cent for those with ten years or more experience.

Sue notes, 'Experienced managers have learned lessons through time, perhaps through making and learning from mistakes. They are also the survivors, those who through natural ability and learning over time have a proven ability to do the job.'

However, experience matters much more in the Premier League is far more important than for managers in lower leagues. Not surprisingly Premiership managers have more experience:

Premier League 9.6 years
Championship 6.5 years
League 1 4.8 years
League 2 3.6 years

Sue suggests, 'Managing star players in the full glare of the media spotlight is not easy and it may be for this reasons that managers who have been there and seen it are better able to manage at this level. There is something distinctive about managing these strong egos and management experience does help with this.'

Monday 25 July 2011

We lose out on £500,000 for Varney

Luke Varney has now joined Portsmouth after making only five appearances for Derby County. Apparently if he had made ten they would have had to pay us another £500,000 on top of the £1m initial fee: Varney

Benno deal falls through

Unconfirmed reports are suggesting that Paul Benson's move to Notts County has fallen through because of a failure to agree personal terms. Certainly there has been silence for some days.

Pravda is reporting that Charlton would have sought another striker if the deal had gone ahead as we certainly would have needed to do. The concern is that, given that some early reports about Hayes are unenthusiastic, we may once again be over reliant on Bradley Wright-Phillips and the midfield to provide goals.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Euell cameo main talking point

A 20-minute cameo by Jason Euell was one of the main talking points among Charlton fans after yesterday's goalless draw at Woking. Euell (who has been signing up Facebook friends by the dozen) brings back bad memories for some fans who recall laziness in his last phase at Charlton but others feel that he could add something as a substitute this season. Those who were there thought that he was very lively and held the ball up well.

An Addick who was there commented, 'Good movement also by Hayes, who would have scored early on but for great save by their keeper (who made a number of good saves in the first half). Stephens and Pritchard excellent in midfield, and Davisson did well wide left- great first touch, excellent crosses - sadly more than Waggy managed. Mambo/Doc did OK at the back, Popo NOT an option as striker.'

Saturday 23 July 2011

Jenkinson make his mark at Arsenal

Classic own goal by Arsenal signing: Jenks

Brakes Get Blues as Blyth is Injured

Leamington lost 1-3 at home to Birmingham City at the New Windmill Ground but the real concern was an injury to promising striker Jacob Blyth who hobbled off injured in the first half. At half time he was seen being driven away to hospital for a precautionary x-ray.

The two Conference sides, Kidderminster and Tamworth, who came to the New Windmill Ground for earlier friendlies were quicker to the ball than Leamington but with Birmingham the difference increased to something like the power of three. Blues also had plenty of pace.

It was therefore no suprise when they took an early lead, Breeden having been lured out of his goal and trialist Taylor Morgan find the back of the net for the visitors.

However, Brakes got back in the game a few minutes later when an attack lead to penalty, Blues fans claiming that it was a dive. Berwick made no mistake from the spot to level the score.

Ben Mackey, who had come on in place of Blyth, had a chance to score from a promising position but sent the ball wide.

Half time: Brakes 1, Blues 1

Brakes nearly scored in early play, but then Berwick took a knock and required treatment. Then a fierce dive was put in by the sporited Eddy Gnahore, Breeden could not hold the ball and it went into the back of the net.

A Brakes corner led to a goalmouth scramble. A Blues free kick just outside the box came off the Brakes wall. Tuohy went down and required treatment. Then Taylor Morgan powered in and scored with an angled ball.

Some humour was provided in the closing phase of the game by the efforts of the dad of Blues substitute Syrus Gordon to coach him from the touchline.

A question that was being asked by some supporters was whether Brakes are playing too many friendlies. Anyway it's Racing Club away on Tuesday and Coventry City at home on Wednesday.

Thursday 21 July 2011

McCormack to become a rocking Robin

Alan McCormack has left Charlton by mutual consent and is to join Swindon Town in an effort to find his level: McCormack

Swindon manager Paolo di Canio is known for his serious culinary interests, having presented Alan Curbishley with one he had made earlier when he joined the Addicks.

Fine dining is at a premium in Swindon but is readily available in the nearby Cotswolds.

Benson departs

A rumour suggests that Notts County have a made a bid of £150,000 for Paul Benson. He scored in Charlton's 1-1 draw at Aldershot yesterday evening.

BBC Radio Nottingham are reporting that we have accepted the County offer as are Sky: Benson

For me Benson never successfully made the transition from League 2, he often seemed to me to be too static in his positioning. However, we do need cover in that position.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

New interest in McCormack?

Pravda sources are reporting that a couple more teams are showing an interest in Alan McCormack and apparently not Cray Wanderers. We can live in hope: perhaps a celebration meal at the Oxo tower could be thrown in?

Walsall and Bradford are the two clubs being talked about. Presumably Bradford would not be acceptable as it would mean dropping down a division, but Walsall might be, although it always seems a bit of a bargain basement club to me.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Dailly dallies

Pravda is reporting that Christian Dailly is weighing up whether his future is at Charlton: Dailly

The 37-year old would have to accept that he would be a squad player and he would be on a reduced wage. I think that it is now quite challenging for him to do 90 minutes at the required pace, but he would be useful cover.

He has been exploring various options, but Miguel Llera has not found it easy to find a new berth. Blackpool have denied that they are signing him, insisting that they are just giving him a trial.

John Nutter [sic] makes an interesting point in the Non-League Paper today: 'There are a lot of players who come out of the League now to play in the Conference because the money is probably better at a lot of the clubs [than in League 2] with them all being ambitious to move up.'

Saturday 16 July 2011

Brilliant Blyth

Leamington beat Conference side Kidderminster Harriers 3-0 at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon. The morning's heavy rain had cleared but the swirling wind sometimes made the ball difficult to control.

Not surprisingly Kiddy dominated the early exchanges, being quicker to the ball and having most of the possession. The game was played largely in Leamington's half, but the Brakes defence stood firm, even if some of the clearances were agricultural.

Then suddenly Brakes broke away down the slope and Blyth drew in the defender well to earn the penalty. He made no mistake in dispatching the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Leamington.

Lee Vaughan was a constant feature in the Kiddy side last season and the pace and determination of the right back gave the home side plenty of problems. At one point he broke through and Breeden had to make a quick reaction save, almost spilling the ball.

Then Blyth broke throough again. I thought that perhaps he was being a little selfish as Husband yelled for the ball (as he invariably does). But Blyth put in a beautiful curling shot that beat the keeper and went inside the post to make it 2-0. If he isn't on a contract now, he should be.

Half time: Brakes 2, Kiddy 0

One expected the visitors to came into the game more in the second half but Leamington were playing with confidence and it was new signing Tom Berwick who broke through and made it 3-0.

Kiddy started to pile on the pressure and Breeden had to have his wits about him as he made a number of saves. But Brakes, who started to bring on the substitutes, counter attacked as well. In the dying minutes, the Sheepside lino flagged for a penalty and it was definitely in the box. But the referee decided to award a free kick and although one of the players in the Kiddy wall was knocked over to general amusement, Brakes were not able to score a fourth.

All one can say is bring on Birmingham City next Saturday!

Francis to stay

Following the news that Alan McCormack is to stay, Simon Francis has failed to agree personal teams with Bournemouth: Francis

According to comments by Cherries fans, Francis might have faced a halving of his salary. Another comment suggests that the Cherries were unable to guarantee him first team football, which might be a sensible assessment on their part but raises the issue of why they were interested in the first place.

Charlton lost 1-0 to Cardiff City in their pre-season friendly in Spain in what Wales Online described as a 'tough workout'.

Friday 15 July 2011

McCormack stays

Alan McCormack has declined a move to Dagenham and Redbridge. He has decided that he does not want to drop down a division. Whether he will drop out of the team remains to be seen.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Winning does matter

That's what Bristol City boss Keith Millen told his players before they met Charlton in Spain last night, but in the event it was the Addicks that were 2-1 victors and they evidently did quite well if one reads a report from a City perspective: Bristol

As at Welling, Chris Powell made wholesale changes at half time and it was the stronger second half side that made the greater impact with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring 20 minutes into the half after Ruben Bover-Izquierdo had set the striker up for a simple tap in. City keeper Dean Gerken had to pull off two outstanding saves to deny the dangerous Wright-Phillips.

Bristol City equalised on 74 minutes through Rob Stead, but Johnnie Jackson scored the winner with a last minute header, 'Bovver' again providing the assist.

Charlton play Cardiff City on Friday evening.

Now is the summer of my content

Leamington won an emphatic 3-0 victory over Stratford Town at the New Windmill Ground last night. It was deja vu time at Harbury Lane with eleven of the Bardsmen formerly featuring for Leamington. It was also a return for former management duo Jason Cadden and Morton Titterton, Cadden being greeted with warm applause as a tribute to what he had achieved for the Brakes.

Brakes were wearing their smart new away kit (also do check out some of the excellent new merchandise in the club shop). The Bardsmen turned out in a tangerine away strip which led me to comment that someone at the Anne Hathaway must be a Blackpool fan, a remark which drew an objection from a rude mechanical seated in front of me.

On a cool evening the first half was played at a fast pace. Stratford are a neat passing side and were not easy to break down even though Brakes were playing down the slope. They did create a couple of potential scoring opportunities, one of which was tipped over by keeper Tom Cross.

Half time: Brakes 0, Bardsmen 0

The second half started much like the first. Brakes had plenty of possession but were unable to break down a resolute Stratford defence which included the son a former Shakesperean actor.

Former Brakes keeper Richard Morris was now between the sticks for the visitors and a forceful free kick by Downes left him with no chance. The 1-0 scoreline cued substitutions and new signing Tom Berwick from Daventry Town did not need the prompter to remember his lines. He put in a sweet cross for Jacob Blyth who found the back of the net with ease.

Daly then completed the scoring with a bullet header that for me was the goal of the match and would not have disgraced a higher level. Our doubts are our traitors, but some of the Stratford support started abusing their team in language not penned by Shakespeare. Harbury Lane legend Josh Blake came on a substitute for the visitors but wasn't a game changer.

Ben Mackey made his return in this match and was certainly full of enthusiasm and effort. He still looked to me as if he was carrying a bit of weight, but Sir Mick assured me that he had been training hard and it was all muscle.

Kiddy on Saturday will be a tougher test, but so far, so good.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

The ultimate pre-season friendly

That's the tag being applied to tonight's needle derby between Leamington and Stratford Town. Fortunately Brakes do not have to travel to the Anne Hathaway Stadium where their record has been mixed. So perhaps the historic chant 'Two nil or not two nil?' will be heard round the New Windmill Ground.

One might expect the Bardsmen to charge on to the field of play saying 'Verily' and 'Forsooth', with the odd 'Gadzooks' if they experience a hard tackle. However, their language is probably the most industrial in Warwickshire. When you get beyond the well defined tourist zone in Stratford, it is just like any other small Midlands town, albeit with some very expensive housing along the Avon.

Monday 11 July 2011

Charlton to sign dead economist?

You can see him a statue of him in Kirkcaldy, part of Gordon Brown's constituency (of 'dancing in the streets of Raith' fame) but now long dead economist Adam Smith is set to sign for the Addicks. Special projects manager Rick Everitt quipped, 'He will bring the wealth of nations.'

A source close to the club said, 'He may be a bit immobile, and we will have the expense of bringing him down from Scotland, but if we put him on a set of wheels who knows what he can do? He should enable the side to find equilbrium between the demand for goals and the supply of them.'

In fact Smith is a right back at Spurs and we have bid £200,000 for him. He was out on loan at Bournemouth last season so he looks like another cherry ripe player. And we do need another right back.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Crown Berger Cup retained

Charlton retained the Crown Berger Cup with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Welling at Park View Road yesterday afternoon. The goals came from Morrison who nodded in a free kick and there was a 25-yard wonder strike from Danny Green, matched by a very modest celebration. The third goal came from 'A Trialist'.

This turns out to be 24-year old Sam Williams who was released by Yeovil. He comes from Plumstead (always a plus in my view) and was in our Academy before he went to Villa at the same time as Kinsella. He scored regularly for the reserves there. His Wikipedia entry is here: Williams

The Addickted present thought that it was an encouraging display, especially in the second half when something like the first choice team appeared to be playing.

Speaking after the game equine magnate John Window commented, 'Liked the German left back, big lad. Solly very good. Sullivan more confident than Elliot. Mambo certainly for the future. Their right back looked useful and I was told CP is looking at him. All in all, very good, BUT it was Welling.'

Saturday 9 July 2011

Much confusion at Harbury Lane

Leamington's start to the season was somewhat confused yesterday evening, although there were not so many players changes as there are likely to be at Park View Road today when Charlton play in the Crown Berger Cup. (Once again was the only Charlton blogger I saw at the New Windmill Ground). However, the teams were not announced and Tamworth's two time added on goals were scored by a player with no number on his shirt anyway!

It was all a bit low key with an attendance I would estimate at around 200, although there were quite a few Tamworth fans there. Brakes held their own well against the Conference side, although the Lambs were quicker to the ball. Towards the end of the game former Racing Club Warwick boss Marcus Law apparently took the view that it was all getting a bit too friendly and brought on two quality players to finish the game off (at least that is what Sir Mick told me).

The first goal came after a wicked deflection caught out Breedon and the second came with the last kick of the game. It was a good workout, though, and I thought that James Husband looked particularly sharp.

Possibly Brakes could have been sharper in front of goal. They did create a few potential striking opportunuties and were inclined to hesitate when an opportunist shot might have paid off.

Addicks fans will be looking forward to seeing some, if not all, of the 11 new players at Welling this afternoon, Michael Morrison now having signed from the Owls. Jason Euell has been training at Sparrows Lane so there may be a cameo from him.

Friday 8 July 2011

Lambs will not face slaughter

Conference outfit Tamworth visit the New Windmill Ground this evening for the opening game of the season. However, the Lambs, now managed by former Racing Club Warwick supremo Marcus Law, will not face slaughter by Leamington.

Brakes supremo Barrie Holleran has said that he will not rush back players before they are ready. He emphasised that it will be a gradual build-up with the 18 or 19 available players each getting at least 45 minutes.

Those hoping to see returning prodigal son and super striker Ben Mackey will have to wait a few weeks as he is still some weeks off full fitness, although progressing well in training.

McCormack on his way?

Pravda sources are reporting that Dagenham and Redbridge have expressed an interest in Alan McCormack where he might well find his level.

Bournemouth have agreed a fee for Simon Francis while it has been reported, somewhat unbelievably, that Miguel Llera may be joining Brighton.

The season is now upon us with Leamington kicking off against Tamworth this evening and the Crown Berger Cup tomorrow. At least the weather is suitable for football (at least up here, it was quite humid in London yesterday)!

However, I do find the summer breaks these days a bit on the short side. Even the ice hockey is starting in August. Long gone are the days when Charlton players could turn out for Kent in the summer or try their hand at baseball.

Of course in those days the maximum wage, which was set at a suitable level for an 'artisan', was reduced in the summer and there were no bonuses for a win or a draw. Some players had to work on repairing the Valley terraces or the pitch to make ends meet.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Addicks try out defender

22 year old Niklas Andersen is a former German U20 international from Werder Bremen and has been brought in on trial.

He is of Norwegian descent although born in Germany. He is the son of former Norway international footballer and Bundesliga top scorer Jørn Andersen. His career in the German youth system was disrupted by following around his father who is a coach in Germany.

He will feature in the Crown Berger cup at Welling and travel to Spain with the team.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Anyinsah joins Gasheads

Former Charlton wide man Joe Anyinsah has signed for Bristol Rovers. The main interest aroused by this move in Bristol seems to be related to the fact that he is a former Bristol City player: Anyinsah

I thought that Anyinsah was a very useful player who could unsettle opposition defences in a way that many Charlton players could not last season. However, he was also very injury prone - at least with us.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Cherries have second bite at Francis

Having had an initial derisory bid rejected, Bournemouth are having a second go at landing Simon Francis: Francis

What I hear is that we want to recoup at least the £35k we paid for him given that we got him at what was arguably a knockdown price (Brentford paid £100k for him not so long ago). I think that £50k would seal the deal.

Some fans think he should be kept as he would provide cover, although he was much criticised last season. He could - sometimes - put in a good cross, but as with many of our players last season, such quality as he did have was on intermittent display and his attention to his defending duties was often questionable to say the least.

What is evident is that a major clear up of last year's squad is in progress because, with a few exceptions, they weren't up to the task of achieving promotion. The board and Chris Powell deserve some credit for biting the bullet, but don't expect instant success.

Monday 4 July 2011

Morrison in soon?

We have been waiting for a second central defender to sign but it looks as if Michael Morrison will be coming from Sheffield Wednesday soon: Morrison

The fee is reported to be £250k which shows once again that the board are prepared to spend some money, albeit at levels appropriate for League 1. There will be a challenge for all the new players to meld together as a team, but I would rather face that challenge than be short of players in key positions.

One of the strengths of the versatile 23-year old is that he can play at right back as well as centre back which is an area in which we need cover.

His Wikipedia entry is here: Morrison

Reports from Sheffield indicate a subdued reaction from Owls fans. However, this does not mean that he is useless. Rather it seems that his face doesn't fit as far as Gary Megson is concerned: Owls

Sunday 3 July 2011

Owls look enviously at Charlton's summer signings

We have heard a certain amount over the summer from Sheffield Wednesday fans about how they think they are a bigger club than us, but now it seems that they think we have stolen a march over them in our summer signings:

Saturday 2 July 2011

Two more signings

I have been working away for two days and (thankfully) out of internet contact I am not fully up to speed on the two latest signings. Rhoys Wiggins is a left back who has been brought in from Bournemouth: Wiggins

Apparently in the case of Wiggins we beat Watford to his signature and a fee of £300,000 has been mentioned. There has certainly been some serious investment in the squad for League 1 level, let's hope now that it pays off.

Matt Taylor, who is the former Exeter captain, has been signed after being released by the Grecians. He started life as a goalkeeper, but provides the centre back we have been looking for: Taylor

We really need another centre back, but it has been suggested that this might involve a loan.

I am relatively encouraged by the signings so far. We will soon be in to the pre-season fixtures which will give the Addickted a chance to look at them.

However, I never place too much faith in these matches as a guide either to form or how we are going to do in the season. The whole point of them is to try out different combinations of players and formations. Above all, we don't want to see any key players injured. One of my most vivid memories of these matches is seeing the frustration of Matt Svenson when he was injured at FC Roda, an injury that kept him out for some time and, as I recall, largely drew a line under his Charlton career (although he then scored a winning goal against us for Norwich).

I am in the process of creating a new third division diary format and I hope it will be ready by the time of the Crown Berger cup against Welling.

Friday 1 July 2011

Bjorn Bjorg praises Charlton

I was staying in Nottingham overnight earlier today and I switched on breakfast television for a short while. An interview with tennis legend Bjorn Bjorg culminated with him saying that he was a big Charlton fan and wished them the best for the season.

I already knew that he was a Charlton fan, but not that it had started with his grandfather.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Two more signings

The signing of Dale Stephens from Oldham is imminent for £375,000 on a 3-year contract. Danny Green from Dagenham is expected to sign tomorow: Signings

Now we just need to do something about central defence.

Monday 27 June 2011

Summer of plenty

The Chinese premier was in Stratford on Avon yesterday enjoying an excerpt from Hamlet. Unfortunately his schedule did not allow him to visit the well appointed stadium of Stratford Town. Stratford Town Council are not short of money, owning properties in the centre of town and the Anne Hathaway Stadium has a decent stand and particularly good training pitches.

The Bardsmen are always putting one over the Brakes by recruiting their players or beating them in local cups. Now they are staging Birmingham City's home matches in the women's super league. They are getting £15k for the nine matches, plus all the proceeds from selling burgers to what have turned out to be decent crowds.

Brakes kick off their season with a friendly at home to Tamworth on Friday week.

I didn't make this up

Uefa has announced its new round of research awards. These include:

Effect of hot/cold temperatures on referees' ability to perform (My comment: if you're rubbish, you will be rubbish if it's hot or cold)

Protect her knee: exploring the role of football-specific fatigue on dynamic knee stability in female youth football players (My comment: Surprisingly this project is not being headed by Ron Knee of Neasden FC of the North Circular Relegation League, but by Mark De Ste Croix).

Anti-violence supporter groups in Serbian football: an ethnology case study. (My comment: presumably this is a small N study).

Rory McAllister opts for plumbing

24-year old striker Rory McAllister was the target of a number of clubs including Charlton. However, he has decided to accept a two year part-time contract with Peterhead. His main reason for staying with the Blue Toon is that he is in the final year of his plumbing apprenticeship and he clearly thinks that this offers better prospects than football.

Perhaps he could have doubled up at The Valley on plumbing maintenance and playing.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Charlton offer ray of hope to Kettering

It looks very likely that Kettering Town will abandon their Rockingham Road stadium and move the eight miles to beautiful downtown Irthlingborough. Rushden and Diamonds are on the verge of collapse and Nene Park is claimed to be the best stadium outside the Football League.

Not all Kettering fans are happy about the move, but the lease on Rockingham Road has just two years to run and the maximum extension on offer is seven years which would debar the Poppies from the Football League promotion they aspire to.

So where does Charlton come into all this? In an editorial today's Non-League Paper concludes, 'for those [Kettering fans] who fear it will signal the end of the club, think of Charlton. Kicked out of the Valley in 1985. But their fans stuck with them - and home they came.'

The Valley Party continues to be an inspiration to fans everywhere, even if many of those involved have scattered to the four winds. Rick Everitt is a Labour councillor in Ramsgate, although still with a role at The Valley and Richard Hunt has lived for many years in Prague.

Gordon Bennett

Do you remember Mickey Bennett who was eventually sold to Wimbledon? He is now the counsellor for the Professional Footballers' Association.

Friday 24 June 2011

Two more signings?

The Addicks have been linked with up-and-coming Dagenham and Redbridge midfielder Danny Green who was with Charlton until he was fifteen, but Sky have reported that a Championship club (possibly Ipswich) have made a better offer: Green

The Sun, however, reckons that we have signed him for £400,000: Signed

After being let go by Charlton, Green then signed for Northampton Town earning his first professional contract but moved to Nottingham Forest a year later. In 2008 Green was released by Forest and signed for Conference South club Bishop's Stortford.

We are also being linked with Oldham midfielder Dale Stephens. In the case of Stephens, Sky say we are about to make an offer, but a number of other Championship and League 1 clubs are in the frame: Stephens

Thursday 23 June 2011

Addicks favourites to win promotion

Charlton are favourites to win promotion to the Championship next season. At least that's the view of this Preston North End site which gives a through overview of the Addicks from the perspective of the relegated club: Preston

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Three in at The Valley

Striker Paul Hayes, left back Cedric Evina and midfielder Mikel Alonso have joined Charlton. The Addicks fought off interest from Scunthorpe and Doncaster to secure the signature of Hayes on a two year contract: Hayes

It seems to me to be likely that Hayes and Wright-Phillips will be the favoured strike partnership with Benson coming on from the bench.

19-year old Evina is a former Arsenal trainee and turned down a fresh deal at Oldham to be nearer to London and his family. More about Evina can be found here: Evina

One Addick has commented about him, 'Cedric Evina might prove to be a bit of a coup. He was captain of the Arsenal youth team that took Liverpool apart a couple of years ago but was released soon afterwards and joined Oldham. He's a left back, although his pace allows him to play quite high up the pitch and he has been taking
corners at Oldham I believe. He played against us for them and caused no end of problems.'

31-year old Mikel Alonso, whose younger brother plays for Real Madrid, decided to leave Tenerife after they were relegated to the third tier of Spanish football.

BBC London Sport are talking about six more signings!

Racon joins 'big club'

Therry Racon, out of contract at The Valley, has accepted a two year contract at Millwall: Racon

The move to a rival club will leave a sour taste in the mouths of many of the Addickted. How he will perform there remains to be seen. For Charlton he showed flashes of real quality but was very inconsistent.

Owls supremo plays waiting game

Sheffield Wednesday boss Gary Megson is biding his time to complete the acquisition of Charlton player of the year Jose Semedo: Semedo

The Addicks are looking for a new friendly opponent after the pre-season game against Reading was called off when the two teams were drawn against each other in the Carling Cup.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Steel City opponents

An interesting feature here on the decline of Sheffield football: Steel City

For some reason Owls fans seem a bit obsessive about stating that they are bigger than us. Both away matches will be a big test.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Millwall swoop for Hayes?

Unconfirmed reports are suggesting that Millwall have swooped for Charlton target Paul Hayes. The former Preston North End striker is said to have signed a two year contract at The New Den.

Friday 17 June 2011

Frimpong named as Addicks target

19-year old Emmanuel Frimpong is an Arsenal midfielder who is yet to make the Gooners first team. In order to progress his career he is now reported to be considering an offer from the Addicks. Championship side Cardiff City are also in the frame, but he may prefer to stay in London: Frimpong

He is bigged up by the Gooners but one might expect that: Potential

However, I am by no means sure that Arsene Wenger would let him go given that he sees him as a potential England international. Frimpong may simply be trying to advance his career at the Emirates by threatening to move on.

He was born in Ghana, but moved to Haringey at an early age and signed for Arsenal when he was nine years old. He has played for England at a youth level. Last August he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training which kept him out for much of the season and affected his progress.

Same old

So this season's fixture see us opening against Bournemouth and finish against Hartlepool again? Is someone try to tell us something? 'Awful league, awful fixtures' tweeted one fan.

Someone has a sense of humour as we are away to Yeovil on Boxing Day. I suppose it is good news for our Somerset fans.

After playing the Cherries at home, we are away to Notts County and then Colchester so it could be a faltering start.

The club has confirmed that negotiations with Paul Hayes about a move to Charlton are at an advanced stage. He has now left Preston North End.

Key post from New York Addick

One of the most important posts I have ever seen on a Charlton blog has appeared from the New York Addick: Revealing .

The NYA understands how markets work and the business side of football. He has been researching the background to the Charlton takeover and I think that he has seen more than the tip of the iceberg. He has some very important reflections on the role of Chris Powell which on one reading would see him as being more or less 'set up'.

The NYA has an important analogy with value investing and that is as much a matter of luck as skill. He provides cogent reasons why the new owners, and the mystery funder behind them, should choose Charlton. But whether it will all turn out well is in the lap of the gods - and the other teams we have to play against in the third division.

At one point he talks of promotion in 3-4 years and that would stretch the patience of most fans. The brutal truth is that the standard of football in League 1 is not very good.

The one factor he underplays in my view is the general economic context. The Times has recently named Bexleyheath, a core area of Charlton support, as the typical home of the 'squeezed middle'.

Let me give you a free stylised facts about the British economy:
1. Britain has been living beyond its means for years in terms of public and private consumption and now the bill has come in.
2. The squeezing of consumer income is a deliberate objective as part of 'rebalancing' the economy towards export led growth: any government would have to do pretty much the same (if they didn't the Bank of England and the international financial markets would make sure they did).
3. The long-term economic and geopolitical balance in the world is shifting against countries like Britain and indeed almost all European countries (the three main exceptions are Germany, Sweden and Switzerland).
4. Living standards of those on median incomes are likely to fall for some time and may never fully recover.

This does have implications for discretionary leisure spending: essentials like food, petrol and utilities are going up fast (and there are global structural forces underpinning these increases which are not likely to disappear).

What this means is that if a club like Charlton, many of whose supporters are in the median income range, is going to get fans through the gate to an extent that sustains the club it is going to have to deliver on the pitch. The Addickted are loyal, but they can only take so many years of failure.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Carling Cup draw

Charlton have been drawn at home to Reading. The match is to be played on Tuesday August 9th subject to police approval and will give the Addicks an early opportunity to concentrate on the league.

In their pre-season visit to Spain, Charlton will play matches against Bristol City and Cardiff City.

Jenkinson move 'took us by surprise'

Charlton academy supremo Steve Avory claims that the move of Carl Jenkinson to Arsenal took staff by surprise: Jenkinson . In the interview with Radio London he implies that the Finnish international would have benefitted from a year's further development at Charlton, although I am not surprised that he chose to join Arsenal.

I was disappointed to hear that the women's team have lost their centre of excellence status. I think that Morts has done a good job there.

Morts admits that he did not see the decision coming, but no fault attaches to him: Women

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Charlton linked with QPR player

Charlton have been linked with QPR midfielder Martin Rowlands: Rowlands

The 32-year old made just four appearances for the Super Hoops last season. He was sent out to Millwall on loan for a month, but failed to make a single start. His original signing by QPR was a bit of a punt, although he has shown an ability to score goals from midfield.

If there is anything in this, it doesn't excite me very much. He does seem to have had more than his fair share of injury problems: Career

Helping Africa to develop

Commercial agriculture can help development in Africa. Work within the RELU programme by Gareth Edwards-Jones at Bangor University has, for example, shown how that part of the Ugandan and Kenyan rural economy that serves European markets is providing a higher level of prosperity for its workers: RELU

This is, of course, controversial and much of the African rural economy is made up of subsistence or semi-agriculture. Charities like Farm Africa seek to make incremental, small-scale improvements in the way in which these economies function with a particular focus on appropriate training: Farm Africa . Accessible technology of this kind is important, but there is a view that it is not a long-term solution.

Here is an interesting piece on how the EU could help the South African economy to develop in the food sector: South Africa

I don't like the jargon term 'beneficiated' though!

Monday 13 June 2011

Would Billy Davies have been a better bet?

Billy Davies has been sacked at Nottingham Forest despite having a year left on his contract and having got to the Championship play offs two seasons running. However, it is not good enough for Forest who consider that they have an historic right to be in the Premiership.

Davies’s sacking came as no surprise after months of rows between him and the Forest board. He was perceived to be irascible. The club were concerned by the time Davies, whose family live in Scotland, was devoting to the job.

Billy Davies was, of course, Charlton's preferred choice to succeed Curbs. He met with Richard Murry and other members of the board and did say afterwards words to the effect that they were 'good people' (which may be another way of saying they were nice guys but lacking in the moolah Davies thinks he has not got at Forest).

As Richard Murray told the story, Davies was booked into the Swallow hotel so that talks could resume the next day. However, rather than enjoying the gratis three star luxury, Davies headed north through the Blackwall Tunnel in the general direction of his native heath and was never seen again. This created an opportunity for rocket scientist Iain Dowie with his DVD to move north from Palace.

I quickly formed the view that Dowie was short of the full complement of rocket fuel, although I have to hold my hands up and say that I welcomed the appointment of Alan Pardew as his replacement. But perhaps Pards inherited a poisoned chalice.

If Billy Davies had decided to come as far south as Charlton (perhaps making use of convenient flights north of the border from London City) how different would our recent history have been? Some would say we were already on a downward curve towards the end of the Curbs era.

However, Davies might have at least kept us as a competitive Championship club which we would certainly take today. It's one of the great 'might have beens' of Charlton's chequered history.