Wednesday 31 July 2013

Cause for pessimism?

A blog post that reflects the pessimism, or at least disquiet, felt by many Charlton fans: Lack of investment

I have been critical of the present board, but if you are losing over £7m a year, and no new investor can be found, it is not surprising that cutbacks follow. I am not that concerned about the lack of a back up goalkeeper as one can always be found on an emergency loan if needed. The absence of a second striker of proven Championship quality is of more concern.

Shankly was struck dumb

It's only right that David Kynaston's recently published history of 1956 and 1967 should refer to what happened on a 'cold, wet day' at The Valley when Charlton recovered from a 5-1 deficit to beat Huddersfield Town 7-6. What I did not realise was that manager Bill Shankly was so affected by the reverse that he was struck dumb. It was only when the train back reached Peterborough that he recovered the power of speech.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Crawley withdraw ban on fan who wound up Palace manager

Crawley Town have withdrawn their four match ban on a leading fan who successfully wound up Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway from behind the dugout: Crawley. As the Eagles slumped to a 3-0 defeat, the abuse was too much for Holloway who complained to the club.

Church talks start

Charlton have started contract talks with former Reading striker Simon Church according to a tweet from Richard Cawley of the South London Press. Church hopes that an agreement can be reached before Saturday's game at Bournemouth. It is doubtful whether he would be fit to play then or for a few weeks.

Cawley also tweets that Michael Smith has gone out on loan to AFC Wimbledon until the beginning of January.

The fate of Ricardo Fuller remains uncertain, one rumour saying that he will take a one year contract at Millwall, others that he will get a similar offer from Charlton.

In a move that came as something of a surprise, goalkeeper David Button has left the club and joined Brentford for an undisclosed fee. Richard Cawley thinks it could be designed to free up money for striker targets, but I would not have thought that Button was on big money. It's an interesting question whether Nicj Pope is ready yet, but presumably we would get an emergency loan if Hamer was injured.

Rufus sues for libel

Former Charlton defender and play-off final hero Richard Rufus has brought a libel action against Paul Elliott, also a former Charlton player, following a dispute between the two earlier in the year: Court action

Monday 29 July 2013

Stinging review from Hornets

Hornets fans take a look at Charlton and argue that our position last year was a false one. Work ethic and team spirit can only get you so far and they forecast a 12th or 19th finish for us this season. They are full of praise for Johnnie Jackson, but perhaps because he was once on loan at Vicarage Road: Hornets

Saturday 27 July 2013

Defeat at The Valley

Charlton's pre-season campaign came to a damp end with a 0-1 defeat by Inverness Caledonian Thistle at The Valley today. The SPL side won through a 80 minutes strike by Josh Meekings. It was perhaps a goal that Button should have saved. The attendance was estimated at under 3,000. (The actual figure was 2,801 of which 132 hailed from north of the border. This must be the worst attendance for the 'dress rehearsal' game for a long time.)

It was 0-0 at half time, Charlton were playing 4 5 1 and not creating chances. There was just one header from Kermorgant saved. Hamer made one good save and Caley hit the post.

Piggott looked lively when he came on, but it was only for the last fifteen minutes.

Chris Powell said afterwards that it was no secret that we needed to improve the striking area and he hoped that he would be allowed to do that. Whether financial constraints will permit that remains to be seen. I was quite surprised that the Scottish Daily Record described us as 'having a vastly superior budget' although they also reckoned that we are 'Championship promotion contenders'.

There is a rumour that both Simon Church and Ricardo Fuller will sign during the week. Possibly one of them.

Friday 26 July 2013

The new Burnley?

Tomorrow is the final pre-season match, the traditional dress rehearsal in which we face exciting or challenging opposition and we can expect to see more or less the team that would take part in the first league match. This year we have gone for a slightly different approach, choosing the club with the longest name in British football and a limited London support base. Watch out for the first person who shouts out 'Give me an I ...'

This rather underwhelming game fits in with the nature of the pre-season, with two low key signings and no new striker in evidence. Of course, we could be in for a surprise with a late addition taking the No.9 or No.10 shirt. And I hope the game gets a decent attendance for the sake of 'Paddy' Powell.

Are Charlton destined to be the new Burnley, unlikely to be promoted or relegated, or if they did go up, destined to survive in the top flight for just one season? Of course, there are worse places to be. Just think of the fans of Coventry City, destined to travel 34 miles to watch home games. It's the equivalent of Charlton playing at Crawley Town.

It also has to be said that some other Championship sides have not that been active in making new signings, given that they are all constrained by the new fair play rules. We had Leicester City's first team squad at Leamington a couple of weeks ago and a large contingent of Foxes turned up in the hope of sight or at least news of a new acquisition. To be fair, Leicester were able to secure a fairly emphatic 2-0 win.

At the end of the day I am more of an optimist than a pessimist because I retain faith in Sir Chris Powell and his ability to get the best out of a squad where morale appears to be high.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Wright-Phillips joins Red Bulls

Bradley Wright-Phillips has joined MLS franchise New York Red Bulls, subject to obtaining a visa. They were impressed by his pace and technical ability. Here is an American assessment of Wright-Phillips: Wright-Phillips

Thanks for all he contributed at Charlton and wishing him every success across the pond.

Comms job advertised

Following the departure of Matt Wright, the Comms job at Charlton has been advertised: Comms

Should this not suit there is a post of cook/catering assistant at the training ground. For preparing 'nutritious food and liquids to a very high standard' and working weekends, you can earn £15k a year: Catering

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Addicks taking a look at Church

According to Sky Sports News, striker Simon Church is currently training with the Addicks. He was released by Reading in May. He is probably best known for creating goals and space with his pace rather than actually scoring them. More about him here: Church

Another good performance

Charlton kept a clean sheet again last night as they beat Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0 last night in the latest pre-season friendly. There were 293 Addicks present in crowd of 1,052. Yann Kermorgant was captain.

The first half was reckoned to be one of our best performances so far. There was good tempo, the Addicks were solid defensively and dangerous going forward. Hollands pounced on a loose ball early in the game to make it 1-0. Harriott then took his shot calmly to make it 2-0.

A number of changes were made after the break with Button doing well in goal. Some excitement was caused when the match ball got stuck in the guttering and a new one had to be found. Whilst it's a win against lower league opposition, it is still good for morale.

I am more uncertain about the prospects for this season than I have been for many years. Indeed, I have delayed completing my predictions for CAFCPicks and the Badger League (West Sussex CAFC). Last year we finished well, looking as if we were moving up the learning curve. There have been a number of departures, but these have largely being fringe players, the exceptions being Fuller and Haynes, although both had injury problems.

On the boards the debate rages between pessimists/realists and optimists. A lot hinges on whether we can sign a striker of decent quality and there is no news on that at the moment.

Monday 22 July 2013

Adamo Coulibaly heads for France

French sites are reporting that Adamo Coulibaly, who has been on trial at Charlton, is to sign for Lens. Richard Cawley of the SLP has expressed the view on Twitter that Charlton simply wanted to take a good look at him on trial and did not want to sign him at this stage. Another possibility thus bites the dust, although whether he was part of the answer for the coming season was much debated.

Cameron Stewart in on loan?

Charlton are in talks to sign Hull forward Cameron Stewart on a season-long loan from Hull City, according to the Mail Online. Chris Powell is confident of landing the former Manchester United winger, who featured 18 times for Steve Bruce's promotion winning side last season. Ipswich and Blackpool are also among those thought to be in contention.

More about the 22-year old here: Stewart

Sunday 21 July 2013

Dale Stephens rumour

An unconfirmed rumour is circulating that Dale Stephens wants to leave so that he can go back up north. Stephens is one of our most creative players, but he can also be very frustrating. A first class ball can be followed by an awful one that gives away possession.

Pre-season progress continues

Pre-season results ultimately don't mean that much given the nature of the opposition, but it is still heartening and good for morale to see results like the 3-0 away win at Portsmouth yesterday.

The development squad are also doing well, winning 3-1 at Thurrock. After a tight first 30 minutes, Thurrock took the lead. Jack Munns and Adebayo Azeez were unable to take advantage of chances to equalise before half time.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Addicks scored twice. First, Oliver Muldoon scored a 20-yard thunderbolt and then Joe Pigott slotted home after a bad back pass. On the hour the Thurrock keeper saved well from Morgan Foxx. Harry Gerrard then scored a penalty after a handball.

Friday 19 July 2013

Fuller could return

With the club still short of a striker, it is possible that Ricardo Fuller could return. He seems to be keen to do so, but the sticking point could be his wages. He was the highest paid player at The Valley last year: Fuller

A number of leading Addicks, including match day announcer Dave Lockwood, have paid tribute to the tireless Matt Wright who is leaving Charlton after 13 years. I would like to express my appreciation of everything he has done for the club, not least the programme. Another of the old guard leaves.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Protecting The Valley

The Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust is seeking to take advantage of relatively new legislation (the 2011 Localism Act) to have The Valley designated as an Asset of Community Value. If the application is approved by Greenwich Council, the ground could not be sold separately from the club without a six month consultation period: Community Value

Oxford United have already been successful in such a bid and fans at Birmingham City are trying to seek protection for St.Andrews. The scheme is being promoted by Supporters Direct, the governing body for supporters' trusts: Oxford United.

Would Adamo Coulibaly be a good signing?

Adamo Coulibaly is currently on trial with Charlton and featured in last night's 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon. He drew praise from Chris Powell who has had a long-term interest in him: Coulibaly.

I have also heard positive comments from fans who have seen him in action. One fan who was at the Wimbledon game commented on Facebook, 'Jury still out for me. Some good touches and was unlucky to not score after hitting post. Just thought lacked a bit of composure in final third. I've seen a lot better but I've seen a lot worse.' Another said that he held the ball up well, just couldn't find the back of the net.

He has been playing in Hungary where he is known for his strength and acceleration: Record

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Powell prepares Wood deal

Chris Powell is preparing a deal to sign defender Richard Wood according to a tweet from Richard Cawley of the South London Press. Apparently, the defender has impressed on trial. He went to Spain and is available on a free transfer from Coventry City. More on him here: Wood.

Of course, what remains on the agenda is signing a striker.

Sunday 14 July 2013

'Impressive development squad'

That is how Charlton's younger players are described in The Non-League Paper this morning after their 2-1 victory over Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium.

The Addicks opened the scoring after just eight minutes. Tobi Sho-Silva made a great run down the left, his cross was blocked, but Oliver Muldoon was in the box to slot the ball home. Maidstone equalised three minutes before the break with a penalty following a handball.

The winner came from Muldoon in the 87th minute.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Possible transfer targets?

The rumour mill is linking Charlton with 30-year old striker Aaron McLean who is available from Hull City on a free transfer. It's a credible suggestion, but Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson wants to lure him back to London Road: Mc Lean. However, it is conceivable that McLean might prefer to join a Championship club.

Rumours about Leroy Lita have surfaced again. He has been told by Swansea City to pack his bags and left out of the Swans' pre-season tour in Holland. Sheffield Wednesday, where he was on loan last season, are one club definitely interested.

Charlton dominate St. Mirren

Charlton are dominant in today's match against St. Mirren in Spain. Starting with a 3-5-2 formation, the Addicks were 1-0 ahead at the break after Jackson scored following a great pass from Yann Kermorgant.

Hollands made it 2-0 after Wilson turned provider. Kermorgant then made it 3-0 with a great overhead kick. Late on in the game the Breton was replaced by Piggott.

The final score was 4-0 with the last goal scored by Danny Green.

The penalty miss that promoted Charlton: Michael Gray talks

Michael Gray reflects on the penalty miss that saw Charlton promoted to the Premier League at Wembley and recalls how the Sunderland players drowned their sorrows after the game: Michael Gray

He blames Sunderland's flamboyant keeper Michael Perez for conceding a goal to Richard Rufus who, of course, had never scored before.

Friday 12 July 2013

Haynes joins County

Former Addicks striker Danny Haynes has dropped down a division and joined Notts County. He reckons that he can do better things with manager Chris Kiwomya: Haynes

Thursday 11 July 2013

Steady as a Rock

Charlton started their Spanish tour with a 2-0 win over a Gibraltar XI. Harriott scored the first, followed by Pritchard from a Smith assist.

Despite claims by Cedric Evina's agent Saif Rubie that the contract offer from the Addicks to his player has been 'unfairly' withdrawn, leaving him in 'no man's land', Chris Powell insists that Charlton are keen to retain Evina's services: Evina

Monday 8 July 2013

Wagstaff Bristol bound

Scott Wagstaff is to have a medical at Bristol City prior to a move to the Robins: Waggy

Wagstaff has now signed a three year deal. 'The manager and the coaching staff really sold it to me,' Wagstaff told BBC Radio Bristol. 'I'm excited for a new challenge now. It's a massive club and I'm looking forward to something different.' It's remarkable how many clubs count as 'massive' these days.

No one could ever doubt his commitment at The Valley and I hope that things work out for him with the Robins.

Elsewhere, Yado Mambo is training with Colchester United with the hope of a contract.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Powell still targeting Obika

Chris Powell is still targeting a return by Jon Obika to The Valley. Powell recognises that he cannot go into a Championship season with only one striker, but whether Obika will return remains doubtful. All the indications have been that Obika wants to build a future for himself at Spurs, but that does not look like a realistic option.

Powell is hoping to bring in five or six players in what will be a smaller squad, not that is necessarily a bad thing as there were arguably too many peripheral players last year. There will also be opportunities for younger players to step up the first team squad: Powell

Spurs blog 'Cartilage Free Captain' comments: 'Obviously, this is going to come down to what kind of fee Charlton are willing to offer. Daniel Levy isn't going to shake down anyone over Jon Obika, but he did well enough last year that he can command some sort of fee from a Championship or League One club.'

Saturday 6 July 2013

Addicks retain Crown Berger cup

Charlton retained the Crown Berger Cup with an emphatic 5-0 win over Welling at Park View Road in the traditional season curtain raiser this afternoon. There was an attendance of 2,140 in the warm sunshine. The Conference South champions were given a guard of honour at the start of the game. The Addicks played different teams in each half, but the lack of new signings was a contrast with earlier matches. The first half side were the 'probables' and the second half the 'possibles' and this is reflected in when goals were scored.

A heartening aspect of the first half was the hat trick scored by Joe Pigott with Yann Kermorgant the provider for all three goals. The first came after nine minutes with a deliciously weighted through ball from the Breton. He then went on to score a fourth before the break. After the break Wings winger Kieran Hughes-Mason forced Cedric Evina into a goal-saving tackle and keeper Dave Button had to make a fine save round the post just minutes later. In the second half Danny Green scored from the spot, after a cross from Jordan Cook had been handled, to make it 5-0. Cook later tweeted that it was great to see so many fans and good to be back.

Wings supremo Jamie Day now has Pigott in his sights, telling The Non-League Paper 'Hopefully later on in the season we may be able to loan him in.' Chris Powell commented, 'There won't be anyone going out in pre-season but we are open to potentially loan out a few lads as the season progresses.

Friday 5 July 2013

Leage 1 clubs chase Bradley Wright-Phillips

Brentford and Walsall are the leading contenders for the signature of Bradley Wright-Phillips after he was formally let go by the Addicks with deservedly warm praise from Chris Powell. For his part Wright-Phillips has made it clear that he will not take a rushed decision, but will weigh up his options.

The 28-year old scored 32 goals in 87 appearances for Charlton and played a key role in our League 1 promotion campaign. I hope all goes well for him.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Acworth rounds up billionaires

With the Russian takeover having collapsed before it even got going, Charlton fan Jonathan Acworth (42) has launched his own plan to assemble a consortium from his penthouse in Greenwich. Acworth revealed, 'I'm going to do all I can to contact as many rich billionaires as I can. If I can get two or three around the table this is my goal and I will achieve it. I've already had someone come in worth 10 billion but I think I put him off a bit.'

Acworth emphasised, 'I'm not winding up, I'm bloddy [sic] serious.' Addicks fans swamped the message boards to express their gratitude for this initiative in colourful terms.

Berra move unlikely

Reports have been circulating suggesting that Charlton may make a move for released Wolves defender Christophe Berra and this has had a generally positive response from the Addickted.

However, it is unlikely to happen. The Wolverhampton paper is suggesting that he would prefer to move to the Premier League. That may not be possible, but a move back to his native heath at Rangers does seem more likely: Rangers

More about him here: Berra

Shelvey for Palace?

Crystal Palace are interested in taking Jonjo Shelvey on a twelve month loan deal from Liverpool according to a tweet from Richard Cawley of the South London Press. However, they may have some competition.

Swansea are also working on a deal for Shelvey, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder who made 32 appearances for Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool last season. West Ham and Norwich are also said to be interested in the former Charlton youngster, who could leave Anfield for around £5 million. Now that the deal has been done with Swansea, I was pleased that we landed a six figure cash windfall.

It looks as if Swansea City have got him for £6m, but at least one Swansea City fan is not impressed: Swans