Friday 31 May 2013

Club is not for sale says chairman

The following report has appeared on the Daily Mail website: 'The speculation among the Football League hierarchy that Ken Bates was interested in buying Charlton has proved wide of the mark. Bates, 81, says he will be president of Leeds next season and that, although five clubs want him to get involved, Charlton is not one of them.'

'Bates did mischievously suggest that Charlton’s owners were looking for a buyer. However, Charlton chairman Michael Slater said: "We are not interested in selling and it’s nonsense to suggest otherwise."' Of course, additional investment might be a different issue and would surely be welcome.

Evina turns down one year contract

Cedric Evina has been disappointed by a one year contract offer by Charlton and has turned it down as he wants more security: Evina. It's unfortunate because he's a good player, but has an even better left back in front of him. Opportunities have also been limited by the fact that Chris Solly can play at left back.

Andy Hughes has signed a one year contract extension in a player-coach role and is delighted at the offer.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Kermorgant scores winner for Britanny

Yann Kermorgant scored a second half winner for Britanny in their 1-0 win over Mali yesterday. It was a very wet night in Carquefou. Having come on as a substitute, Kermorgant scored with a long-range effort in the 71st minute sending the crowd 'and their bagpipes' into raptures: Kermorgant

Clearly he is doing more than lounge on a beach during his holiday break.

Monday 27 May 2013

Steve Brown tipped for Ebbsfleet

Steve Brown is being strongly tipped as the new manager of Ebbsfleet United. The former Addick quit as first team coach at Dover Athletic last week. KEH Sports Limited are reported to want him to replace Liam Daish once they have completed their takeover at Stonebridge Road.

Steve Brown made 283 appearances for Charlton between 1990 and 2002 and was much liked by the Addickted as reflected in the chant 'He'll never let you down.' He will be reunited at Ebbsfleet with former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney who told the Non League Paper 'We want to bring in our own people to move the club forward.' Incidentally, I have heard Mr Varney referred to as 'Reg' but never as 'Keith' as he is in the NLP report. Some confusion with Keith Peacock?

Saturday 25 May 2013

Acworth says Woolwich terrorist was a 'football fan'

Charlton fan Jonathan Acworth is normally busy spotting players at Park View Road whom he thinks might play at The Valley. However, he has got his minute of fame in the Daily Telegraph: 'Another neighbour, Jonathan Acworth, 42, said [of one of the terrorists]: “He wore normal clothes from what I’ve seen of him recently, blue jeans, caps, Manchester United shirts – he was a football fan. He was normal, it’s not like there were any signs.”' Some of us might argue about whether wearing a Manchester United shirt in Greenwich makes you a football fan.

Needless to say, I was appalled and shocked by what happened in the town that I grew up in. I welcome the suggestion that someone made that there should be a collection around the ground for Help for Heroes at the first game of next season.

Meanwhile The Gruaniad describes Charlton as 'defiantly unfashionable' while managing to avoid mentioning The Valley: Unfashionable

The Greek Andy Carroll?

Such descriptions of Thanasis Papazoglou need to be treated with some scepticism given that his agent is clearly trying to drum up business for the 6ft 4ins. striker who wants a bit more action than he is currently finding in Crete. We are almost in 'my name is too big for my shirt' territory. Nevertheless, more than one source has linked Charlton with the player: Papazoglou

There have been rumours of interest in Dale Stephens, the latest being Huddersfield Town which is a bit of a come down from a £2m deal at Aston Villa. The Huddersfield Examiner claims that we are willing to 'do a deal': Stephens Although he can be frustratingly inconsistent in the quality of his play, Stephens is the nearest thing we have to a creative playmaker in midfield.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Is there a 'Curbishley complex'?

The removal of Tony Pulis from Stoke City was inevitably going to lead to comparisons between his departure and that of Alan Curbishley from Charlton. Stoke winger Matthew Etherington said, 'You have to be careful what you wish for in football sometimes. You look at Charlton under Alan Curbishley and you look where they are now [hardly in the Conference South]. Hopefully it won't go that way for us.'

This article by a Charlton fan rehearses the events surrounding the departure of Curbs in some depth Curbishley Complex

A number of reports have referred to the fact that Stoke City was seen as having become 'stale' and similar comments have been made about the end of the Curbishley era, although the extent to which fans had 'turned against him' is always exaggerated. The big mistake at Charlton was in the subsequent appointments. As for Stoke, I wouldn't compare Pulis's rather rudimentary approach with that of Curbishley and it is no surprise that Stoke have decided that the time has come for a more sophisticated strategy.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Ken Bates rumour

A Leeds source is claiming that Ken Bates is interested in buying into (or buying outright) Charlton. England's Mr Football certainly has an insatiable appetite for buying football clubs and turning them round whilst not leaving himself out of pocket (although it has to be said that the financial arrangements are not always transparent).

Leeds fans that I know were mostly glad to see the back of him, although it could be claimed that he steadied the ship after earlier errors. Mr Nice Guy he is not. I suppose one's reaction might depend on what kind of Charlton one wants: one with a serious chance of obtaining and maintaining Premiership status, or one that is very much in contact with its fans.

It may not be relevant, but Tony Jiminez had a spell running player recruitment at Newcastle United with Dennis Wise who is on good terms with Bates. Bates as chairman and Wise as manager is a distant prospect but one I would not welcome.

I cannot find any corroboration for this rumour, but I haven't dismissed it out of hand as it has a certain plausibility given that the club is in need of investment.

Monday 20 May 2013

Away support

There's been some discussion recently of the size of our away support, so thanks to the fan who put some data up on Facebook which suggest that the position is not as bad as many have suggested. On average we take 1,048 supporters away which admittedly is less than the average of 1,627 to be found in the Jimmy Seed Stand. But we actually take more away than Millwall (861) although fewer than Palace. Bristol City take the wooden spoon at 704, while Leeds United take the 'massive' tag at 2,878.

In the last Voice of the Valley a correspondent welcomed the 'new, passionate and boisterous group of younger fans who have started following us recently'. He complains about the 'complacency and sheer passivity of the majority of our older fans' who fail to provide 'vocal support and criticism of our manager'. He continues that he doesn't just want 'CAFC to be known as a cuddly family club (whatever that means) who take two coach loads of pensioners to away games.' For me what being a family club means is not being Millwall, offering somewhere where people can come to watch football without undue abuse.

I have to confess that I haven't been to an away game for some time whereas I used to go to most of them. This is largely for family reasons. The whole argument in the letter to VOTV seems a bit ageist to me. But probably I am not passionate or partisan enough for away games. It becomes increasingly difficult to switch off being balanced and non-partisan in my job and my media work, so perhaps I had better confine my support to The Valley.

Friday 17 May 2013

Chris Powell to return to League 1?

Speculation is linking Chris Powell with the vacancy at Wolves. Apparently the local paper, the Express and Star is going to run a story on the interest that Wolves have later today. This is one of the most reliable sources on football stories in the Midlands which suggests that Wolves might have an interest, which is reasonable enough, given that Sir Chris has secured a promotion from League 1. Wolves might also think they are a bigger club than Charlton, having recently splashed out not far short of £20m on a new stand.

I cannot see Sir Chris wanting to return to League 1 and face the anger of Wolves fans if promotion is not secured at the first attempt. However, given what appear to be the financial constraints at The Valley, the right offer might tempt him and some sources have indicated that the door is open should he wish to leave. Fortunately, there is currently not a vacancy at Leicester. Reports appeared on Twitter that Pearson has been sacked, but the local newspaper denies this: Pearson

Correspondents from the Black Country think that the Express and Star is not a reliable source and the Shropshire Star is, I think, a sister paper. What they are saying about the story makes some sense, but I admit that it could all be journalistic speculation: Chris Powell

Dorian Dervite has signed a deal to stay at The Valley: Dervite

Thursday 16 May 2013

Haynes on his way?

Sky Sports News is reporting that Danny Haynes will leave Charlton when his contract expires next month: Haynes

A number of clubs are reported to be interested in getting him on a free which is not surprising. Whilst he was affected by injury problems, he scored some exciting goals for us.

Former Addicks keeper John Sullivan has joined Portsmouth on a two year contract, rather than AFC Wimbledon where he was on loan. He says that he is excited by the 'project'.

Leon Cort has been retained for another year at The Valley.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

The rumour mill starts

I haven't got the time to check out any of these stories at the moment, but we are being linked once again with Sam Baldock (he was seen as a prospect before his move to Bristol City). I was a bit underwhelmed by his performance for them in the last game of the season, but he may have known that he was on his way out. There is some credibility in buying from a relegated Championship club, but the price tag would be at least £1m and we might have to sell first to afford that.

Richard Cawley at the South London Press tweeted yesterday about reports of a £250k bid for Crawley Town defender Mark Connolly Connolly . Taking a player from League 1 also looks plausible, but I would have thought that the priority was the midfield. But that does not, please, mean a return for Nicky Bailey.

Richard Cawley has tweeted this morning that Charlton are open to offers for Dale Stephens (Aston Villa were interested at one time), Danny Hollands and Danny Green. Hollands has found the transition to the Championship difficult and Green tends to be inconsistent.

Monday 13 May 2013

Varney spearheads Kuwaiti takeover at Ebbsfleet

Former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney has led a Kuwaiti takeover of Ebbsfleet United at a cheap price from myfootballclub: Ebbsfleet

£100,000 will be made available as a transfer fund and there will be a £8k a week playing budget which is substantial for the second level of non-league.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Great win for development side

In front of a substantial home crowd at Cardiff City Stadium our under-21 development side beat the Bluebirds/Red Dragons 3-1 after extra time to take the national League 2 title, following their convincing defeat of Huddersfield in the semi-finals. Here is a report from Wales: Victory

Not surprisingly Harriott was a handful for the home side. He made a special request to play, having not featured recently due to first team duties! As well as scoring the opening goal, Michael Smith set up the decisive goal. Nick Pope performed well in goal. Pope talks about his Championship debut here (he also gets some coverage in the Football League Paper this morning): Nick Pope

Cambridge United want Pope back on a long-term loan next season, which would help his continued development, but we would need a recall clause: Cambridge United

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Players dropped

Scott Wagstaff, Ricardo Fuller, Matt Taylor and Salim Kerkar will not be offered new deals by Charlton, the club has announced. No surprise about Wagstaff, although a disappointment, and Taylor has unfortunately not really succeeded at this level. Kerkar has not lived up to his promise. Fuller is arguably too expensive given the number of games in which he has played.

Clearly we now need a new striker as I would not expect or want Bradley Wright-Phillips to be given a new contract. However, we will be constrained by what we can afford, not least in terms of wages.

The Thames Gateway effect

Part of the argument for Charlton being attractive to a potential investor is the so-called Thames Gateway effect, that new development in the 'Estuary' will create a base of potential Addicks fans. Last week's issue of The Economist takes a rather sceptical look at the Thames estuary under the headline 'Full metal riverside', although it does admit that 'for much of the past 30 years London's centre of economic gravity has been swinging eastwards.' The towers of Canary Wharf are both visually close and yet socially far from The Valley. Of course, one implication could be that Charlton should eventually move to the site of the Dome.

The Economist pours some scorn on a new development at 'Barking Riverside' which prospective buyers have to reach through acres of warehouses. Across the river is a sewage treatment plant while nearby is the site where Stanley Kubrick filmed the final scenes of 'Full Metal Jacket', a derelict gasworks standing in for the destroyed city of Hue. However, what is noticeable is that all the projects that are discussed are on the north side of the river. The only project mentioned on the south side is a proposed theme park near Ebbsfleet.

Development north of the river is likely to favour West Ham at their new Olympic Stadium site. In the last Voice of the Valley Richard Hunt expressed some concern about this might cut into Charlton's support base. Indeed, the former Valley Party activist has exercised his rights as a EU citizen (and Czech resident) to complain to the European Commission that the West Ham move violates competition rules. Of course, the original proposal had to be modified to meet EU state aid rules. Moreover, the competition directorate-general is chasing bigger fish in the form of Real Madrid who allegedly have received substantial illegal subsidies from the Madrid regional government.

In any case the geographical patterns of support in London have always been complex as this map shows: Support Map . Arsenal retained many fans south of the river and it was believed in the 1950s that an Arsenal home game would cut attendances at The Valley by 2,000. There are also plenty of West Ham supporters around, with the map showing shared errors of support around the edges of the home boroughs, and in part this reflects our period of exile. When we played Manchester United at home, 'followers' from Kent would turn up in our family areas.

Talking of so-called rivals, I was amused to read the Gillingham captain claim that they would achieve back-to-back promotions as their rightful place was in the Championship given their support base. Mind you, Yeovil and their uncovered away end could be in the Championship. Come on you Bees!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Jackett resigns at Millwall

Kenny Jackett has resigned as manager at Millwall after five-and-a-half years at The New Den. He was the sixth longest serving manager in the Football League: Jackett

He considers that the club needs fresh ideas so that it can pursue its long-term goal of reaching the Premier League. Speculation now centres on who might take his place. It has been pointed out that Iain Dowie is available and has already managed two South London clubs, so why not complete the set?

Jackett has emerged as a surprise contender for the managerial vacancy at Wolves according to the local evening newspaper: Wolves

Monday 6 May 2013

Powell to be offered new contract?

Reports are circulating today that Chris Powell is to be offered a new contract as Charlton manager. Certainly it has been the stated intention of the owners last month to retain his services, although no action was taken on a contract last year: Powell

Given that it is a little surprising that the chairman's message in the Bristol City programme, while expressing pleasure with the club's progress, did not specifically mention Powell's contribution, but perhaps he thought it could be taken as read. For that matter, Powell did not refer to the owners in his message of thanks.

There are some areas of uncertainty, however. The club's losses and debts mean that there cannot be a big budget to bring in players. Indeed, it may be necessary to sell to fund acquisitions. Rumours have been circulating today that Fulham are interested in Chris Solly and might be prepared to pay as much as £4m. I must emphasise that I cannot find any corroboration of this and it may simply be the first of a number of summer rumours which turn out to 'be all sound and fury, signifying nothing.' Even so, our player of the year is our most saleable asset.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Praise indeed!

Millwall fan Rod Liddle names Chris Powell as championship manager of the year in the Sunday Times today. Liddle writes, 'For the second season running, I think Chris Powell at Charlton Athletic deserves all the plaudits. They should have struggled, Charlton; they spent very little, but ended up only the throw of a medium sized spanner from the playoffs.'

The match report also says, 'There are very few managers in the Championship who have done as good a job as Charlton's Chris Powell this season. With very little money, he has steered Charlton to a ninth place finish ... The south London side struggled for much of the first half of the season, particularly at home, but a good second half - this was their eighth game without defeat - ended any lingering doubts about their place in the Championship.' We are, of course, top of the form table.

The end of the season has often been a problem for us, particularly when got past the 40 points safety line in our Premiership days, but these stats provided by Chalfont St.Peter Addick Richard Sheppard show how well we have done this season:

  • 1997/1998 D, W, W, W, W, W, W, W, W, D (26/30) - old 1st div
  • 1998/1999 D, L, W, L, D, L, L, D, W, L (9/30 - Prem
  • 1999/2000 W, W, W, D, D, L, D, D, L, L (13/30) - old 1st div
  • 2000/2001 D, L, W, L, L, D, W, W, L, L (11/30) - Prem
  • 2001/2002 D, W, L, L, L, L, D, L, D, D (7/30) - Prem
  • 2002/2003 L, L, D, L, L, L, L, W, L, L (4/30) - Prem
  • 2003/2004 L, L, D, W, D, L, L, D, D, W (10/30) - Prem
  • 2004/2005 W, L, D, L, L, D, L, L, L, D (6/30) - Prem
  • 2005/2006 W, L, W, D, D, L, W, L, L, L (11/30) - Prem
  • 2006/2007 D, W, W, D, D, L, D, L, L, D (11/30) - Prem
  • 2007/2008 L, L, L, D, L, W, D, L, L, W (8/30) - C'ship
  • 2008/2009 D, L, D, W, D, D, D, D, L, W (12/30) - C'ship
  • 2009/2010 D, D, W, W, L, W, L, D, W, W (18/30) - League One
  • 2010/2011 D, L, W, L, D, L, D, W, L, D (10/30) - League One
  • 2011/2012 D, W, L, W, W, W, W, W, D, W (23/30) - League One
  • 2012/2013..W, L, W, D W W, D, W D W (21/30) - C'ship

Congratulations to Phil Parkinson and Bradford on securing another Wembley final.

Saturday 4 May 2013

New candidate for goal of the season

Charlton have had to add to the nominations for goal of the season after Yann Kermorgant scored a scorcher of a goal to open the home side's account in a 4-1 victory over Bristol City at The Valley this afternoon. It had been a disappointing and desultory first half, but two goals from Kermorgant in the first five minutes of the second half sent Charlton on their way. The visitors pulled one back as a result of a Michael Morrison error, but Obika and captain Johnnie Jackson scored to seal the win for Charlton. Nick Pope had his first spell in goal for the first team after David Button had to retire injured, Button having come in for the injured Hamer.

Charlton finished in 9th place, although Palace made the play offs and Millwall escaped relegation. After the parade of players, Chris Powell made a heartfelt and emotional speech, emphasising how much the club meant to him.

It was an early start to get down to The Valley, but I had a good journey down making it from Coventry to the ground in just under two hours. At the East Stand entrance I bumped into two other Midlands Addicks from Stourbridge and Walsall and we discussed the defeat of Rick Everitt by UKIP in the Kent County Council elections in Ramsgate.

Although the first half was disappointing from our point of view, one could see why Bristol City were going down. They were hopeless in front of goal and in so far as they did get into the game it was through our mistakes. Next season we have to try and cut down the number of unforced errors and giving away unnecessary free kicks. Nevertheless, I thought that we had the better of the game in the first quarter of an hour. We had most of the possession and a nice swirling cross gave us an early attempt, but the header went over the bar. From a Charlton corner on eight minutes, the header went just over the bar.

Wiggins was called on for good defensive work, but this was his undoing as he went down and had to be taken off and replaced by Wilson. The switch of Solly to right back was unavoidable (Evina seems to be a missing person) but I do think that it disrupted the flow of our game.

The East Stand lino seemed to be unable to make fair judgments on throw ins and Morrison lost his rag with him. We kept the crosses coming in him, but there was no end product. Gower got his first touch of the ball. I know that some fans rate him and think we should sign him up, but I am more sceptical.

We mounted a good attack when Jackson won the ball with some skill, but Bradley Pritchard failed to provide the necessary cross but sent the ball out of play. Harriott had a run on goal surrounded by defenders. It was worth a try, but unsurprisingly was not productive. Gower received a yellow card for getting involved in the game and the visitors were awarded a free kick in a potentially dangerous position, but the ball came off the wall. Patience is not a virtue of some Charlton fans and the row behind me were becoming increasingly agitated.

The referee managed to add only two minutes on which, given the number and length of interruptions suggests that he needs a new timepiece or perhaps, like me, he wanted to get to the Man Ray exhibition after the match.

Half time: 0-0

Charlton started the half in style when Yann Kermorgant smashed the ball into the net, taking his tally for the season into double figures. It was good work by Harriott that started the move that led to Kermorgant's second goal on 50 minutes with the cross coming from Solly. Baldock trudged off, looking - as the Blackheath Addick - remarked as if he had joined the wrong club at the start of the season. Adomah came on and some think that the winger might be a useful acquisition, but to me he looks like one of those players who is very good when he wants to be, but at other times can't be bothered. A Bristol City free kick went wide.

Charlton won a couple of corners in succession, but Morrison failed to take a chance to score. It was a day when the Newmarket resident looked as if he was not at the races. Possibly Kermorgant should not have played the ball to him, but Morrison made a complete hash of it and Bobby Reid was able to put the ball past Button. It is this sort of incident that has stopped us being in the play off places.

Button had to be taken off and Nick Pope came on for his debut. A Bristol City free kick was unproductive. Harriott went off and Wagstaff came on. A shot from Kermorgant came off the bar, allowing Obika to pounce and score. Incidentally, it seemed to me that these two had a good understanding and were working well together, but I doubt whether we can secure Obika for next season when we will be operating on a reduced budget, it is said.

Wilson received a yellow card and the Bristol City free kick came off the wall but could have sneaked in. A good break led to Jackson making it 4-1 for the Addicks. Wagstaff was fouled and Charlton received a free kick which led to a corner for the Addicks. There was then a scramble in front of goal and it was a real puzzle while the ball failed to go in.

The referee managed to add three minutes on and Yann Kermorgant nearly made his hat trick, but the ball went just over.

Having won our Row Q predictions league last year, I was bottom this year, mainly because I was over optimistic in my predictions of home results. Some of those home defeats were really frustrating, but we can approach next season in hopeful mood.

Match analysis

Ivy the Terrible had no hesitation in awarding the Silver Bone to Yann Kermorgant for two outstanding goals and a determined performance throughout. Button was not really tested until he went off injured and fortunately Pope was not troubled too much either, although what he did he did competently and I know that a lot of people think he has real potential. Morrison is reliable and solid 99 per cent of the time and then he lets his concentration slip and makes a real howler like he did today. Dervitte was solid, although some of his clearances were a bit directionless. Wiggins was only on for quarter of an hour or so before he had to be withdrawn through injury. Solly then had to switch to left back, but showed his usual energy and skill. I hope he is still with us next season. Pritchard did not have a stellar performance and still sometimes to lack real Championship skills. He wrecked one potential opportunity. Harriott showed some real skill and made attempts on goal but they did not succeed. Jackson was a bit off the pace at times but compensated for this with a good goal. Gower was anonymous for a lot of the game, even though he provided the assist for one of the goals, but I wouldn't be looking to retain him next season. Obika was energetic and involved and scored a good goal. Wilson put in a reliable performance when he came on in place of Wiggins. Wagstaff did his best, but I wonder if he will stay with us.

Rescue cat Reg awarded the Hiss of the Match to referee C Berry who seemed to think it was all right for Callum Harriott to be held round the neck, but never missed an opportunity to make a decision in favour of the visitors.

Friday 3 May 2013

Give youth a chance

Bristol City boss Sean O'Driscoll intends to give one or two young players a chance in tomorrow's match at The Valley: Bristol City

Chris Powell has also indicated he may give one or two young players a chance from the bench. That's fine, but we want to win this match to end the season as far up the table as possible and with a good run of results. I certainly wouldn't want to travel to London to see a match between two youth teams.

Charlton have exceeded my expectations this season, as I thought that the squad would be good enough to survive in a lower mid-table position, but no more. Finishing in the top half of the table is a whole lot better, even if it has been a roller coaster ride at times. We shall now have to see what happens in the close season.

Don't forget that it's a 12.45 kick off tomorrow!

Thursday 2 May 2013


Well done to our younger players on beating Tonbridge Angels 7-1 to lift the Kent Senior Cup. Let's hope they can parade it on Saturday. Michael Smith scored four of the goals and some are pressing for him to start on Saturday. However, I think we should take the match against Bristol City seriously as we want to finish as high up the table as possible. An appearance from the bench is another matter.

Congratulations also to Callum Harriott on being called up to the England u-19 squad. He has matured a lot this year and continues to develop as a player. Of course, ultimately, that means we may not be able to hold on to him.

John Sullivan has left the club and tweeted yesterday that he had met some great people at Charlton and the club would always have a place in his heart. Yado Mambo has also left. I am sure that there will be a future for them in the lower reaches of the Football League. Sullivan hopes to join Wimbledon, but Mambo's future is less certain.