Saturday 1 February 2014

Salvete et valete

Whatever else one thinks it has been an interesting transfer window and we are in for a lively ride. One thing that is clear, whether Chris Powell stays or not (and I think he will be here until the summer) is that we are moving towards a continental director of football model in which the manager runs the team but does not pick them.


Yohann Thuram-Ulien – goalkeeper - French. On loan from Standard Liège. Squad number: 21 DOB: 31 October 1988 Height 6’ 2”.

Astrit Ajdarević – midfielder – Swedish. On loan from Standard Liège. Squad number: 42. DOB: 17 April 1990 Height 6’ 3”.

Reza Ghoochannejhad – striker – Iranian. Signed from Standard Liège on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee. Squad number: 8. DOB: 20 September 1987 Height 5’ 11”. The snappily named Ghoochannejhad (aka 'Guci') grew up in Holland and represented the Netherlands at under-age level but has been a revelation since making his debut for Iran last year scoring eight goals in 10 games and being seen as the main danger man for his country. His senior domestic league record is very decent - 48 goals in 115 games- the downside will be losing him for tournaments and games (Iran have two friendlies in March). Forget any comparisons with Karim Bhagheri: that was a commercial and political decision, rather than a footballing one.

Anıl Koç – midfielder – Turkish. On loan from Standard Liège. Squad number: 22. DOB 29 January 1995 Height 5’ 8”.

Loïc Nego – defender – French. Transfer in from Hungarian sister club Újpest. Squad number: 25. DOB: 15 January 1991 Height 5’ 11”.

Pitor Parzyszek – striker – Polish. Transfer in from De Graafschap on a four-and-a-half year deal. Fee said to be £800,000. Squad number: --DOB: 8 September 1993 Height 6’ 3”. The most exciting of the signings. West Ham were after him as well. He has an excellent goal scoring record in the 'Eerste Divisie' (closest to the Championship over here) scoring 29 goals in 52 games for De Graafschapwith him bagging 16 goals in just 20 games this season so far (including two hat tricks and one brace) making him that division's top scorer.


Yann Kermorgant. His departure is deeply regretted by most fans. He didn't seem too happy in his first interview with Bournemouth, despite the opportunity, as a Breton, to live by the sea and Eddie Howe's style of play which sees the ball played to feet more. Hopefully, we will rely less on the long ball aimed at Kermorgant's head in future.

Dale Stephens. A friend who is a Seagull asked what I thought and I said: 'Inconsistent. Will deliver a ball of real quality one minute and the next will give away possession easily and dangerously the next. Will provide the occasional sensational goal from distance.' Nevertheless, our most creative midfield player and we don't have a replacement for him.

Ben Alnwick. The real surprise of the transfer window. However, we cannot really justify having three senior goalkeepers (Hamer's injury is a short-term one as far as I know). Apparently, Roland was not too happy that he was played at Doncaster.

Michael Smith. Some fans are still sore about this, but as Chris Powell pointed out we would not have been able to give him the game time to develop. Scoring goals in League 2 does not mean that you can score them in the Championship and even if he does well in League 1, that does not mean that he would have cut it at this level.

Whether the new players will keep us up remains to be seen, but I will not pass judgment on them until I have seen them play a few times. Some, however, think that the turnover of players of itself poses problems. At least we have spent some money which the old regime would not have been able to do and they would probably had to offload players for cash flow reasons.

For all the jokes about 'Roland Rat' and 'Sub-Standard', we can only make a balanced assessment of the new set up in the summer.


Anonymous said...

The assessment can be made on one thing; are we relegated or not.

I'm naturally disappointed in losing Yann and he is in that hallowed group that are 'real Charlton'.

Stephens occasionally creative as he was was neither leader or dominator of the midfield area , so will be missed far less.

The good thing is we kept our defense in place , particularly Morrison. I'd have like more investment in the 'spine' of the team particularly in central midfield where we still look weak , although I wonder if Devite might emerge as a strong holding player. As for the Pole et al, time will tell if SCP can jell the team to garner enough points . I think there are 3 worse teams , Millwall, Yoevil, and Donny

Texas Addick said...

I totally agree with your comments Wyn, I will make a judgement at end of season.

Seeing Yan go is saddening, but its not a time to go overboard with the doom predictions, we as fans need to be up for the fight and get behind the team we have now, we wanted a new ride, now weve got it.


Anonymous said...

Biggest concern is midfield unless two new signings can stand up and be counted,as Jackson cannot play central as legs gone,same with Hughes, so we will rely on Cousins,two new signings,Poyet to play there.We have good defence and now 4 strikers that on paper look better than we had before.
Apart from that Powell is a huge concern,we never look under him ,capable at coming back from behind, we are too defensive and I worry if he can play any other way.It might well be time for a more experienced man ,but a change is on the way I am sure.

When are we going to hear from our Chairman as to what has gone on in transfer window or is he just a figurehead with no input at all,like Hatter as President.

steveclarke said...


So, if we are being “realistic”, what do we have to look forward to?

The players signed look promising; good ages and enough of a track record to show they have something to offer. (We’ll overlook past experiences with Iranians and Poles and avoid labeling whole nations with the failings of a few.)

I hope we avoid weeks of “they are not match fit” or “it takes time to get used to the speed of the Championship” and our new signings will offer all they can from the start.

The key question for now is how well the new club management can work with Chris Powell? From the outside it looks as though Chris is getting more influence from above than he’s used to. It’s a tough one, with blurred boundaries. Charlton are far from alone if we are operating on what’s generically known as the European method.

Of course, managers have outside influences anyway, e.g. loan players being allowed to move only with a promise they will played. It is not the way of the modern world to have an all powerful figure who has sole say on football matters, so fingers crossed Chris will at least be given enough space to work!

Overall, we need to hope our identity isn’t overly compromised. It is easy to imagine a situation where player decisions are made with an eye on how they could benefit Standard Liege. For example, if Jordan Cousins maintains his impressive progress, how soon before he is transferred to Belgium?

The level of which these fears prove justified is probably the biggest test of whether we grow to like our new owner.

Finally, Wyn is absolute right, not till the summer will we get a real idea of what life as a Charlton fan will be like for the foreseeable future.

steveclarke said...


We have witnessed the most bizarre transfer window for Charlton since the perishing things started, and until the flurry of activity near the end, one that appeared desperate for our immediate future.

Kermogant has been our flag-bearer over our recent embryo of a resurgence and emotionally is a big loss. Few Charlton players have shown the bravery and commitment we like to kid ourselves we would show, if only we had the matching talent. Dispassionately, his loss may be less significant and we wonder how well his heavily-favoured aerial game will fit with Bournemouth’s style. His goalscoring at our level has been limited (although we will miss those free kicks). Sadly, and something I’ve never understood, is why considering the number of headers he wins, he hasn’t created more goals. Responsibility must, of course, mainly lie with his strike partners, but none have ever solved this riddle.

Stephens' position is less clear. Clearly talented, he proved a frustration and certainly rarely, if ever, "ran games" of which he always seemed capable. He continually appeared on the cusp of being comfortably our best player. I sense he is one we may regret, and could thrive in a better team that likes a passing game.

Alnwick was a surprise, even in context of the other movements. He had settled well into the side and looked less susceptible to peaks and troughs of confidence than Hamer. Most teams in our position cannot afford three senior keepers and whilst Hamer may have been more saleable, that wasn’t going to be possible whilst he was injured.

Now is probably time for a dose of reality, actually more of a dinner-plate brim full of reality, so here goes:

- Our future under our previous owners was grim at best. Few would have been surprised if we had gone into administration any time soon and we anticipated a fire sale in the transfer window just closed.

- Roland Duchatelet is an extremely wealthy man by any standards, but he doesn't bring the funds available at Manchester City, Chelsea etc.

- His wealth is from business which we assume he has been pretty good at managing, so we shouldn’t be surprised when he applies business principles and logic to his football interests. And let's be frank, that should be the aim every football club.

- He is acquiring a stable of clubs around Europe, I’m sure there will be more. This will introduce a different process for running Charlton. Obviously, his team of insiders will be looking to manage their resources accordingly.

- The biggest economic risk is relegation and we have to assume Duchatelet appreciates the significance of that… and will do his best to avoid it!

- It's therefore likely we will see more incoming activity once the loan window opens, guessing we will do whatever necessary to survive in the Championship, but not much more for the moment… CONTINUED