Thursday 31 December 2015

Charlton linked with Rhys Williams

Sky are linking Charlton with Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams. He is certainly being sent out on loan to recover match fitness. However, a number of other Championship clubs from 'oop north including Preston and Rotherham appear to be in the running: Rhys Williams

Wikipedia states: 'Rhys Williams (born 14 July 1988) is an Australian professional footballer who plays for English club Middlesbrough and the Australia national team. A very versatile player, Williams is adept at playing as a centre back, defensive midfielder and right back but has played in virtually every out-field position at some point for Middlesbrough including more attacking roles. In August 2012, Williams was made club captain.'

Who will go in January?

The Daily Mirror reports: 'The struggling Addicks, second-bottom in the Championship, want to raise at least £2m in January and prepared to sacrifice some of their stars to bring in some much-needed money. Though the Charlton board risk further angering their fans, who are already protesting against owner Roland Duchatelet and the current regime, with their fundraising plans.

They are desperate for striker Tony Watt’s loan move to Cardiff to become a permanent one, bringing in around £1m. Highest earner and winger Johann Gudmundsson, in-demand teenage starlet Ademola Lookman and striker Igor Vetokele are among those who could go too.

Charlton are bracing themselves for January bids for Lookman from Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea and could now cash in to ease their money worries. But the sale of the 18 year-old academy product in particular would be an especially controversial decision and crank up the animosity towards the board from Charlton fans.'

Roland not looking to sell

Roland Duchatelet is not looking to sell Charlton Athletic. This confirms what we already knew, but it is frustrating to learn that the Americans who recently invested in Crystal Palace were interested in Charlton before the Belgian takeover: No sale

CAS Trust seeks to coordinate protests

The CAS Trust is creating a resource centre on its website to try and coordinate protest actions by fans. Prague Addick and former Valley Party activist Richard Hunt explains what is intended: Coordination

The Trust has been following a strategy of seeking a constructive dialogue with the club, but this has failed because the club is evidently not interested in a real constructive dialogue. The Trust, however, considers that pursuing such a dialogue is worthwhile.

Many fans are dissatisfied with the Trust, but there is a need for some coordination of the various protest actions otherwise it will be a case of 'divide and rule'.

More cock up than conspiracy

Various conspiracy theories are floated to explain the actions of Charlton's Belgian owners, but I think it is a more a case of cock up than conspiracy. A flawed vision has been ineptly executed.

Remember that the original assumption made by Roland was that financial fair play would be sufficiently stringent to create a more level playing field in the Championship. That was never very likely for legal and political reasons and, even if it had been achieved, one would still have to cope with relegated teams with increasingly generous parachute payments.

The latest conspiracy theory being touted is that Roland wants to run the club down so that it can be moved to a new and smaller stadium elsewhere. It was, of course, the intention of the previous regime to move the club to a site on the peninsula.

This doesn't seem very likely to me. The demolition costs at The Valley (on a constricted site) would be enormous and I doubt whether any of the stadium could be converted into living accommodation. There is also a major outfall sewer running under the stadium which has caused problems in the past.

It's all more to do with obduracy rather than conspiracy. And unwelcome though Katrien Miere's remarks are, they do reflect an era in which football has become a business and subject to the whims of owners.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Ex-directors willing to talk to Varney

Three ex-directors from the Premier League period had not heard about Peter Varney's approach to the club, but would be willing to talk to him if it related to their outstanding loans. Derek Chappell, David Sumners and Bob Whitehand are owed money that would only be repaid if the club was promoted to the Premier League. Read the full story here: Ex-directors

Charlton open to offers for Harriott

Charlton are open to offers for Callum Harriott after the mercurial winger's good loan spell at Colchester. Franck Moussa could also be on his way out, while Tony Watt is expected to sign a permanent deal at Cardiff: Departures

Richard Cawley of the SLP confirms that Roger Johnson, currently playing in the Indian Super League, is also in the club's sights: Roger Johnson

Unconfirmed reports from Belgium suggest that Sint Truiden are interested in Reza Ghoochanneljihad. Fans' opinions appear to be divided on this possible departure, but I think that at least he gives one hundred per cent and has shown signs of adapting to the rigours of the Championship.

Saturday may be the only opportunity to act

Saturday may be the only opportunity to act against the current regime at Charlton, according to a tweet from Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt. He sets out his argument in full, and why he thinks a takeover that would release resources would be possible in the January takeover window here: Last chance saloon. As Airman Brown, he has suggested on Charlton Life a sit down protest after the game outside the boardroom window.

Other fans are planning a protest outside the West Stand at 2.30 p.m.

I doubt whether the Belgians are prepared to either sell the club, as is evident from the way in which they treated Peter Varney, or change their strategy.

Unfortunately, the consequence is that many fans will vote with their feet, as is already happening. This will, of course, further weaken the club and make it less attractive for any future prospective purchaser.

At the moment we have a perfect storm, poor performances on the pitch accompanied by a lack of real fan engagement.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Fraeye: we will be looking for signings in January

Contradicting earlier statements that the squad was complete and sufficient, 'interim' coach Karel Fraeye has said that Charlton will look for signings in the January transfer window: Transfer window

It is, of course, not an easy window in which to get value. It is also difficult for a side in the relegation positions to attract good players.

A return for Roger Johnson is, however, being mooted.

Monday 28 December 2015

Valley of Despair

Such hope as remained was extinguished by the 0-2 defeat of Charlton by Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Valley today. A young Charlton side played in a disjointed fashion and lacked the pace of their opponents. There were only two shots on target by the Addicks and the first of these came in the 71st minute.

Neither team imposed themselves in the first half. Towards the end the referee was poleaxed and there was a ten minute delay in the start of the second half while he was replaced. However, Wolves came out of the traps in determined fashion and scored after seven minutes, a Lennon own goal completing their total.

A call from the Covered End to 'Stand Up If You Want Them Out' received a good response from around the ground. Interim coach Karel Fraeye was booed off at the end of the game, but there was applause for skipper Johnnie Jackson. The unfortunate captain had a note passed to him by Fraeye during a break in play, but was unable to read whatever tactical gem it contained.

Having read Voice of the Valley it was not clear whether the approach for which Peter Varney was front man was for a minority stake or an acquisition. The Kuwaitis at Ebbsfleet may well have been involved. In any event, Varney got the brush off. There is no evidence that Roland wants to sell or that there will be a change of strategy. So we can expect more of the same.

The South London Press report is here: Tame effort

Stephen Henderson discusses the goals he let in here and appeals to fans to stick by the team: Hendo

Player ratings

Henderson probably could not have done anything about the two goals. He did make a couple of good saves. Despite the own goal Lennon put in a decent performance. Sarr was a little better than usual, but did have some dangerous moments such as passing the ball across the six yard line. Solly was the best player on the pitch. He made some good forward runs, intervened well defensively and won at least one 30/70 ball. Fox did get forward, but often looked nervous.

Jackson did make some contributions. Apart from one or two purple patches, Ba made a limited contribution. The loss of Lookman was a blow and diminished our second half performance. He had been getting forward well and troubling the Wolves defence. It was difficult to work out what Reza was meant to be doing. In any event he missed our best chance to score.

Vaz Te run around quite a bit, but didn't make much of an impact. I was surprised to see Ahearne-Grant starting and he failed to make an impression. But then, what was the alternative?

Makienok did manage to make contact with the ball with his head, but generally didn't send it anywhere useful. Holmes-Dennis did not make a great difference. The Ceballos cameo gave grounds for hope. He played the ball in well.

Wolves hope away record will see them through

Wolves are hoping that their away record will see them through at The Valley this afternoon. They are ninth in the 'away' table, as against 16th in the actual table and have won more matches away than at home: Wolves. However, they did lose 4-1 in their last away game at Sheffield Wednesday.

It is felt that the club needs to strengthen in the January transfer window, but with the club up for sale for some months now, there is considerable uncertainty.

Diarra is unlikely to be available for Charlton after limping off at Bristol City. Bauer's fitness will be assessed today.

The Addicks have won one of the past nine league contests with Wolves (D3 L5). Wolves have gone seven league visits to Charlton without keeping a clean sheet, last shutting them out in December 1996. Last year's home game ended in a 1-1 draw, a possible result today, and the previous home fixture was a 2-1 win for Charlton.

Odds: Charlton 5/2, Draw 11/5, Wolves 23/20.

Belgians snub Varney offer

That is the cover headline in today's Voice of the Valley. Presumably it refers to rumours that have been circulating of a locally based consortium involving former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney, but Roland has never said that he wants to sell. To find out more, one needs to get to The Valley and find a gnome or an elf selling the latest issue.

I first heard about this bid in November, but was asked not to jeopardise it by making any comment.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Former Addick tipped for top

One time Addick Jordan Cook is named as one of 'five stars of 2016' in today's Football League Paper. Cook is currently a 'super sub' for Walsall.

The FLP says: 'If you start him regularly, you will have dips in quality. [Certainly true at Charlton]. But he's always got a goal in him and plenty of strikers have made a good career without being the focal point of an attack.'

'He's not prolific like Tom Bradshaw. He's not as technically gifted as Romaine Sawyers. But he's physically strong, plays the game intelligently and gets vital goals.'

The FLP is surprised that a Championship side has not take a punt. Sign him up!

Saturday 26 December 2015

Charlton fight back for point

Charlton were wearing their purple third kit as they faced Bristol City at Ashton Gate today in front of 529 dedicated Addicks in a crowd of 15,285. Vaz Te turned provider for Reza, but it was a comfortable save for Fielding.

Long balls from the back were causing Charlton some problems. Makienok headed a corner from the home side clear. City won a soft free kick, but Henderson gathered comfortably.

Henderson had to tip the ball over the bar from Pack. Baker took Henderson out from the corner. A good cross from Reza was missed by Makienok and the oncoming Lookman. Bristol City threatened from the counter, but Bryan blasted over with Henderson stranded. Diarra went down and received treatment.

Henderson spilled a City free kick, but it was offside anyway. Diarra went down again, seemed to be a problem just above the right knee. A cross from Solly was blocked giving Charlton their first corner of the afternoon. Fox took it, but it was cleared away.

Henderson had to make a great save, although Wilbraham was in fact offside. Diarra had to limp off and Sarr came on 32 minutes, not encouraging.

With encouragement from the local lino, the referee gave a 50-50 decision against Cousins. Kodija raced through, but Sarr did just enough to force the ball wide.

A good tackle from Solly to block a cross led to a corner which was unproductive.

Wilbraham was unmarked, but the former Glazier put the ball over the bar from 10 yards out.

Six minutes were added on. Flint headed away from a corner just before it reached Sarr. City won a corner after a miskick by Lennon. Henderson missed the ball and Baker made it 1-0 with a header from a yard out at the back post. Once again Charlton were vulnerable at a set piece.

It had been a scrappy half. Charlton had not been creative in the final third.

HT: Robins 1, Addicks 0

Holmes-Dennis came on to replace Cousins who had taken a knock. Charlton did not cope well in the early exchanges. City won a corner on 51 minutes, but Makienok won the header. Lookman was booked for a trip on a City player.

Jackson produced a goal-saving block and Kodija headed over. Vaz Te came off and Ba came on. Kodija raced through, but fired wide.

City won another corner. Eventually Fox was able to clear. Charlton were hanging on as City advanced again. Charlton were not creating anything. Makienok shot straight at Fielding after Reza played him in. Sarr gave the ball away, but Freeman shot wide.

City were awarded a penalty after Lennon pulled the shirt of Jodija. Pack hit the crossbar.

Holmes-Dennis tackled well. Bennett fired over. The Charlton diamond formation in midfield did not seem to be working.

A snap shot from Lennon drew a good save from Fielding. Wilbraham was booked for kicking the ball away. Charlton started to pass the ball around and City sat deeper. The home fans were quieter.

City won a corner on 80 minutes. Makienok blocked well. Solly blocked well as danger threatened. A free kick by Holmes-Dennis went over everyone for a goal kick.

A great block from Lennon stopped Freeman scoring. Fox shot well wide. Ba tried to advance but was hauled down. Makienok’s flick on was met by Reza whose volley was blocked. Lookman’s corner was headed clear. Four minutes were added on. Bristol broke away, but Fox put in a great tackle.

Lennon scored the equaliser after the ball bounced in the box. Charlton had fought back in the second half. Ba made a difference when he came on.

Friday 25 December 2015

'A couple of wins and maybe a new manager'

That's Katrien Meire's hope for Christmas: Meire Christmas

Happy Christmas to all our readers and here's hoping for better news at Charlton in 2016. Probably a forlorn hope!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Bristol City see Boxing Day match as key to survival

Bristol City see the Boxing Day fixture against Charlton as a key fixture in their battle for survival in the Championship: Rampant Robins

Robins striker Kieran Agard looks likely to miss the match: Injuries

Patrick Bauer is unlikely to be available, leaving 'interim' coach Karel Fraeye with a defensive dilemma: Dilemma

In our last encounter at Ashton Gate in 2012-13 we won 2-0. Charlton's win ratio on Boxing Day is 36.36 per cent which ranks them 59th among all league clubs.

Odds are: Bristol City 4/5, Draw 5/2, Charlton 7/2.

The linos and the fourth official are all from Somerset or Devon, so expect any marginal decisions to go Bristol's way.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Jose Riga available

Jose Riga has been sacked by Metz: Riga

As the best of the Belgian appointed coaches (admittedly not a competitive league), bringing him back to Charlton could be a solution.

Meire Christmas!

Even at Christmas it's a tough life being an elf in Ramsgate and when the 'sub-zero contracts on offer' board went up outside 92 Valley Road elves and gnomes flocked in to produce the latest edition of Voice of the Valley. This allowed editor Rick Everitt time to take part in the annual Christmas concert commemorating the hero of Broadstairs, Ted Heath.

A spoof front cover on the VOTV website wishes readers a Meire Christmas and shows a disconsolate Big Dave Lockwood slumped in the stands wearing his Santa Claus outfit: Meire Christmas

The actual cover is a closely guarded secret, but despite denials that Airman Brown himself will be top of the tree, there is speculation that it will show the Rickster in defiant pose accompanied by the caption 'Yo! I is from Ramsgate.'

Gnomes and elves will be out selling the magazine before the Wolves game while Rick Everitt will don Dave Lockwood's Father Christmas outfit at his customary pitch opposite the club shop. It can already be ordered online.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

More injury worries

Having just returned from suspension, Patrick Bauer is a doubt for both the Bristol City and Wolves matches. Ricardo Vaz Te is also in doubt: Injuries

However, Lookman and Gudmundsson look likely to be available again.

Chelsea push hardest for Lookman signature

Chelsea are the Premier League pushing hardest for the signature of Ademola Lookman next month: Lookman

Southampton have joined Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City in the race for his signature: Competition

Saturday 19 December 2015

Charlton go second from bottom

Charlton have gone second bottom in the Championship after losing 4-0 at Burnley.

The Addicks enjoyed the better of the opening stages in at Turf Moor but Johnnie Jackson's shot, which was tipped over by Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, was their only effort on target before they fell behind.

Karel Fraeye is in defiant mood and reckons that the calibre of the opposition has a lot to do with Charlton's poor performances: Don't blame me

The plan was probably to make him permanent coach for the rest of the season, but results make it difficult to take that decision. I don't know if any other Belgians are available.

Friday 18 December 2015

Tough test at Turf Moor

The Belgian soap opera at The Valley continues and tomorrow Charlton face a tough test (i.e., likely defeat) as they head 'oop North to promotion candidates Burnley.

Burnley have won their last three league encounters with Charlton, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion. Charlton have scored just six goals in their last 10 league trips to Turf Moor and never more than once in that run. We did win 1-0 there two seasons ago.

Burnley have, however, suffered something of a dip in form and will looking to get back to winning ways. The Clarets have failed to score in their last three league matches, last scoring against Cardiff in November. They have gone six league games without a win (D4 L2), their worst run since May 2015 in the Premier League.

The Addicks have dropped 13 points from leading situations this season, no Championship side has lost more.

Patrick Bauer should be back in defence for Charlton, his suspension having come to an end. However, there are fears that Ademola Lookman may not play because of a hamstring problem.

Odds: Burnley 4/7, Draw 11/4, Charlton 11/2.

It's not a nightmeire

Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman has leapt to the defence of Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire after meeting her. He reckons she is doing the best she can for the club in difficult circumstances, although she is feeling the strain and the pain: In defence of Meuire

Thursday 17 December 2015

Remembering the good times

In these unhappy times for the club, it helps to remember some of the good times in the past, including the 3-3 home draw with Manchester United in the 2000-1 season. Sir Alex Ferguson praised Charlton: 'They fought really hard and played very well.' Even the Match of the Day pundits described Charlton's fightback as 'absolutely magnificent ... absolutely awesome.'

On nine minutes good work by Graham Stuart allowed Kishishev to put in a powerful cross. Bartlett powered between two defenders and put in a header that found the back of the net. It was the first goal conceded by United in 338 minutes of Premiership football.

After Deano had made a great save from Ryan Giggs, Solksjaer fed him to put the ball in the back of net three minutes from half time. A speculative shot from Giggs from near the halfway line rebounded off the bar, allowing Solksjaer to put the ball past the stranded Kiely. Half time and we were 1-2 down.

Things looked grim when Keane scored a soft goal on 66 minutes, Kiely getting a hand to it, only to put it in the net. Johnnie Robinson was brought on to replace the ineffective Salako. The East Stand linesman made a number of increasingly bizarre offside decisions against Charlton. As the crowd chanted 'Offside, offside', stewards piled in to throw out an Addick for 'abusing the linesman.'

Robbo gave the linesman a piece of his mind and got a yellow card. However, an angry Robbo was a dangerous Robbo. On 79 minutes Kinsella played in Kishishev who put in a low and powerful cross from the right, allowing Bartlett to head into the net. The Addickted started a chant of 'We support our local team.' On 85 minutes a Jensen corner was played on by Kinsella to Robbo who put in a good shot which went inside the post to make it 3-3. He nearly went crazy in his celebrations.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Valley of frustration

Charlton threw away a 2-0 lead against Bolton Wanderers at The Valley last night to end up with a 2-2 draw. With MK Dons winning, they slipped back into the relegation positions. As a fan near me commented, 'Both teams look like they are going to be relegated.'

Defensive weaknesses were once again in evidence, offsetting two well-worked goals. However, what struck me was the absence of the midfield or, at any rate, its inability to contribute to the game in the way it should have done.

Once we went 2-0 ahead up, we started to be a little casual and Bolton regained possession, although, to their credit, they did not give up in the way that we might have done. Our play started to lose its pattern, we failed to press them enough, and it was panic stations in defence.

The Addicks led after 27 seconds when Ademola Lookman fired in, after being set up by a great move by Reza, before the 18-year-old forward doubled their lead from close range. Heskey tapped in his first goal since Boxing Day, then Josh Vela smashed in a deflected 25-yard effort to level. Heskey became the oldest Championship scorer this year.

The official attendance last night was 12,294, the worst at The Valley since March 1998 and below the attendances achieved in three years in League One. Judging from the jackpot prize, the actual attendance was probably 8,000-9,000.

Player ratings

In my view Henderson could have saved the first goal. Diarra was below his best, and some casual play by him put us in danger. Lennon looked a bit out of his depth at times, but that's understandable. The referee, who lacked match experience, gave him a yellow card. Solly put in a shift as always and some of his approach work was good. At times he got himself into good unmarked positions, but his fellow players ignored him. Holmes-Dennis was competent.

Cousins had an awful match in my view, shared by those around me. Jackson was not very effective. Gudmundsson didn't have his best game and his free kick came off the wall. Lookman was sparking. Karel Fraeye got a chant of 'You don't what you're doing' when he was taken off, but he may have picked up a knock.

Vaz Te was involved, but not in a decisive way. Reza had a great game and is really growing into the league.

Makienok did contact the ball with his head a few times, but made little overall contribution. was useless. Ahearne-Grant brought a fresh pair of legs and a determination to get involved.


Tuesday 15 December 2015

Six pointer at The Valley tonight

'Interim' coach Karel Fraeye looks upward for inspiration as he ponders tonight's game

It's a six pointer at The Valley tonight as Charlton face fellow relegation strugglers Bolton Wanderers. The result could have a bearing on whether or not Charlton play Chelsea in the Championship next season.

For all the troubles at Charlton, we are not insolvent and facing a winding up order like Bolton. There are four prospective purchasers, but they have had trouble raising the readies, even at a fire sale price of £15m free of debt. The players have not been paid this month and, if they are not paid in December, they would be entitled to walk away. However, being in the shop window gives them an extra incentive to play well.

Karel Fraeye will hope to start midfielder Johnnie Jackson and forward Ricardo Vaz Te against Bolton on Tuesday. Patrick Bauer completes his two-match ban, giving Fraeye a near-full squad.

We have done well in our last three home games against the Whites, recording a 3-2 win, a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 win.

Odds are: 13/10, Draw 11/5, Bolton 13/8.

Bluebirds want to sign Watt

Cardiff City want to sign Tony Watt permanently in January. He has made a good impression with the Bluebirds. The fee is thought to be about £1m: Tony Watt

Sunday 13 December 2015

Harriott's uncertain future

Callum Harriott does not think he will extend his stay at Colchester, 'but I don't know if I will be at Charlton either. There are other clubs interested in me,' he told The Football League Paper.

Harriott was the flavour of the month under Chris Powell and Jose Riga, but slipped out of favour under Bob Peeters and struggled to regain his footing with Guy Luzon. 'Bob Peeters came in and I didn't really getting as much game time under him,' recalled Harriott. 'I didn't get a lot of playing time and when you are young, all you want to do is play. I couldn't see why I wasn't getting a chance because I was playing when I was about 16 or 17.'

'He left and the new manager came in and it was pretty much the same. I was getting a lot of "you're a good player and we want to do this formation." It was just excuses and I needed to start playing. At first they didn't want me to go out on loan but eventually we found an opportunity and took it.'

Harriott won't be playing in the cup tie between the U's and the Addicks even if he is still at Colchester. 'I will be rooting for both of them. I was born and bred in Charlton from the age of eight but I have been here the last few months and the club has been great.'

Saturday 12 December 2015

Addicks move out of bottom three

Charlton moved out of the Championship's bottom three as they played out a goalless draw with Leeds United at the Valley. Ademola Lookman's shot bounced along the line for the hosts, while Marco Silvestri's stunning save denied Ricardo vaz Te when clean through. Leeds created little, but Tom Adeyemi missed a late sitter from six yards.

With Morgan Fox dropped and Patrick Bauer suspended, following his second dismissal of the season in the 3-2 loss at Brighton, Harry Lennon and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, went into the back four. Holmes-Dennis was a menace down the left.

The opening ten minutes saw a strike from Reza Ghoochannejhad, who latched on to a through ball into the area. Lookman went agonisingly close, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson inches away from forcing it home. Lookman then produced a powerful low drive to test Silvestri.

Charlton continued their confident start. Leeds took 20 minutes to trouble Stephen Henderson, who dealt easily with Alex Mowatt's free-kick before Lewis Cook curled a shot wide.

Silvestri again denied Lookman and then pulled off a superb low save to deny Vaz Te, who connected well with Gudmundsson's cross from eight yards. United offered little in attack until late on when Mowatt volleyed over and Charlie Taylor's low shot forced Henderson into a good stop.

Friday 11 December 2015

Roland v. Massimo Cellino

Two clubs who have problems with their owners face each other at The Valley tomorrow. Massimo Cellino is more quixotic than Roland.

Charlton have been beaten only once in their last nine meetings with Leeds. Leeds have lost three of their last four visits to the Valley, winning the other 4-2. Leeds are, however, coming into form, having won three of their last five games after winning just three of the pervious 16.

22 per cent of Leeds' 18 goals in this Championship this season have been penalties (4), the highest percentage in the top four tiers of English football.

Patrick Bauer is suspended after being sent off at Brighton, but the Addicks have no injury worries with Harry Lennon fit.

Odds are: Charlton 9/5, Draw 21/10, Leeds 13/8.

Lookman in contract talks

Addicks ace Ademola Lookman has been in contract talks at The Valley along with his dad and agent. A number of top Premiership clubs have the former Waterloo FC discovery in their sights, but Charlton are hopeful of securing his signature. Perhaps this one won't get away: Lookman

Reza happy to stay

Reza Ghoochanneljhad's contract with Charlton runs out at the end of the season, but he would be happy to negotiate an extension. He feels that he was played out of position when he first came to The Valley and now considers that he has acclimatised to Championship football: Reza

Thursday 10 December 2015

Roland in town

Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet has been in South-East London this week for talks. Indeed, one Addick claimed to have seen him on the DLR at Woolwich. Be that as it may, he's not staying around for Saturday's game at Leeds United. It's over a year since he has seen a game in person: Belgian visit

A blog from the Football Supporters' Federation on the two per cent protest can be found here: Black and white

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Matthew fears for Charlton's future

Former Charlton coach Damian Matthew fears for the club's future. He told the Evening Standard: 'You need experience in the ranks. Two or three of the signings over the summer were excellent. They were players who could come in and affect the game straight away.'

'With some of the other players, you could see the potential but that was all it was. We had a lot of success in bringing young players through the system but when you have players like that you need to make sure the squad is boosted by experienced players who know the Championship.'

After nine years at The Valley, Matthew is now working for Celtic, identifying young London talent for the Scottish champions.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Bergdich surplus to requirements

It has been decided that Zakaraya Bergdich is surplus to requirements and will be available in the January transfer window. However, given his record at Charlton, it may be difficult to offload him: Bergdich

New Statto blog

A new blog seeks to present a really comprehensive set of statistics relating to Charlton and should help to settle some arguments about players' records. Of course, Charlton stats don't make for happy reading at the moment: Staddickstics

Monday 7 December 2015

Arsenal in for Lookman

Arsenal scouts have attended all four of Ademola Lookman's senior appearances so far and now thinking of making a bid for the youngster in the January transfer window: Lookman

Manchester City, Spurs, Liverpool and Brighton are also now interested, so it looks as if he is on his way: Top clubs chase Lookman

Manchester City would, however, be prepared to loan him back for the rest of the season.

The usual undisclosed fee would be paid.

Why the network model threatens Charlton's identity

A balanced critique of Roland's network model which concludes that, although it is not without merit, it is undermining Charlton's identity: Identity loss

Shrimpers want to hang on to Pigott

Southend United want to hang on to Joe Pigott even though he has been left out of the side in recent weeks. He is without a goal in his last eight league appearances. However, manager Phil Brown thinks that he definitely has a bright future ahead of him: 'He is a young player still learning the game, but he is capable of scoring goals.'

His loan expires in four weeks, but there is a clause to make the deal permanent or extend it until the end of the season.

Elsewhere, Callum Harriott scored two good goals for Colchester in their 3-2 cup victory over Altrincham.

Bournemouth's victory at Chelsea was the first win by a promoted side there since Charlton in 2001.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Defensive weaknesses let us down

Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt looks at the defensive weaknesses that are letting us down and expresses concern about the injury to Harry Lennon. However, some solace may be derived from the plight of the other teams in the relegation scrap: Taking stock after Brighton

The stats after 19 games this season are virtually the same as after 19 games in our 2008/09 relegation season except this season we have a worse goal difference. Also not only do the bookies have us as odds on favourites to be relegated but to finish bottom of the league.

Another Belgian?

Rumours have been circulating that Frederick Vanderbeist, the coach of Club Brugge, is to be the next head coach at Charlton. He is Belgian. However, I have not been able to find any independent confirmation of these rumours, not least from Belgian sources. It looks like one of those rumours that has developed a momentum of its own, so for now the Vanderbeast is staying in Bruges.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Two goal lead turns into defeat

A two goal lead for Charlton over Brighton & Hove Albion turned into a 3-2 defeat for the Addicks. Charlton have slipped back into the relegation places.

Lookman and Reza put the Addicks ahead in the first six minutes and it remained 2-0 at half time. However, the sending off of Patrick Bauer on 57 minutes for holding back Zamora as the last man was a turning point in the match, Brighton having already got one back through Manchester United loanee James Wilson. The Seagulls drew level and Zamora scored the winner.

Charlton took the lead when Ricardo Vaz Te supplied Reza Ghoochannejhad with the ball, who fed Ademola Lookman. The teenager beat Bruno Manga in the box before firing past David Stockdale to give Charlton the lead with just two minutes played.

The Addicks doubled their lead in the sixth minute as Johann Gudmundsson whipped in a cross from the left. The ball just evaded Vaz Te in the centre of the box but Ghoochannejhad was on hand at the back post to sweep home. The Addicks were on the attack again moments later as Ghoochannejhad popped up once more at the far post, his header from Vaz Te's cross somehow kept out by Stockdale.

A clash of heads between Solomon March and debutant Harry Lennon midway through the half saw the latter forced off due to a gash on his forehead. The Seagulls had Stockdale to thank once more as the keeper made another save, this time from a point-blank 30th-minute Gudmundsson effort. In the seventh minute of injury time, Charlton again went close as another Stockdale stop denied Lookman his second.

The second half saw Brighton get a goal back with just five minutes played, as James Wilson picked up the ball 25 yards out before going on a mazy run which saw him beat four Charlton players. Having made it to the penalty spot, the on-loan Manchester United striker stabbed an effort past Addicks keeper Stephen Henderson to hand Chris Hughton's side a lifeline.

Relentless Brighton pressure paid off when Zamora equalised. March was the architect with a driving run and although Henderson instinctively saved at his near post, the follow up hit the post before the experienced striker slammed in. The winner came five minutes from time. Henderson did well to get a hand to sub Tomer Hemed’s header but it still looped into the net.

Riga still puzzled

Jose Riga, the best of the Roland era coaches, is still puzzled why he didn't get a permanent contract at Charlton after guiding the Addicks to safety. He would like to have stayed: Mystery exit

Friday 4 December 2015

Guy Luzon linked with Reading

Former Addicks coach Guy Luzon has been linked with the managerial vacancy at Reading following the departure of Steve Clarke: Shock contender

At least he can now claim Championship experience.

Not an easy three points for Brighton

With Brighton the only team in the Football League this season and Charlton hovering just above the relegation places, there might seem to be only one outcome to tomorrow's clash at the Amex. However, it would be just like Charlton to overturn the form book and get an unexpected result. Brighton are just one short of equalling the record for the longest unbeaten start in a Championship season (held by QPR)..

Certainly Brighton first team coach Nathan Jones does not think it will be easy, saying that the Addicks offer a blend of youth, freshness and experience: Not an easy three points

Brighton will be without Liam Rosenior (knee). Gaeten Bong is still out with a thigh problem as are striker Sam Baldock (thigh) and winger Kazenga LuaLua (groin). Charlton are without skipper Johnnie Jackson (hamstring) but Ricardo Vaz Te is pushing for his first start.

The bookies don't offer much hope, though with odds of 2/5 for a Seagulls win, 10/3 for a draw and 8/1 for a Charlton win.

The last three games at the Amex have ended 0-0, 3-0 and 2-2.

Unfortunately, the referee is vertically challenged Kevin Stroud.

Club draws up list of transfer targets

Interim head coach at Charlton says that the club has drawn up a list of transfer targets for the January window: Transfer targets

Let's hope that Roland sees the imperative need to loosen the purse strings and bring in some quality players who can really make a difference. If Jason Euell is really having a say in what is happening, that makes me more hopeful.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Charlton beat Millwall in FA Youth Cup

Charlton beat Millwall in a penalty shoot out to go through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. Good pictures in this report: Cup victory

The result was achieved despite some players not being available because they have been needed in the first team. I was out last night, but the game was streamed online and watched by more that the nearly one thousand at The Valley. Apparently, the picture quality was very good, even on small devices.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Chinese look to buy clubs

Following the acquisition of a minority stake in Manchester City by Chinese investors, the next phase is forecast by Dan Jones of Deloitte Sports Business to be the outright acquisition of a few Premiership and Championship clubs.

The financial press this morning is focusing on Bolton Wanderers, a club in deep trouble and available at a knockdown price.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Charlton pay £656k in agents' fees

Roland is a declared opponent of football agents, but in the period from October 2014 to September 2015 we made payments of £656,979. This is much less than the £2.83m paid by Cardiff City or the £2.74m paid by Fulham. Rotherham paid the least on £185k. If we think of Brentford as a comparable club, they paid £600k.

You can find the Football League figures here: Nice money if you can get it

Monday 30 November 2015

Elsewhere in the Relegation League

Bolton Wanderers are currently bottom of the Championship and we will be playing them soon. Our sister site looks at their plight: there are some interesting contrasts with Charlton: Bolton Wanderers

The first team playing squad are yet to receive their wages for November: Cash flow

Protests didn't help team says Gudmundsson

Johann Berg Gudmundsson has said that the protests and chanting at Saturday's match did not help the team: Dampener

This does not seem to have gone down too well with fans. After all, Gudmundsson himself tweeted on Saturday that the team's performance was not good enough.

The protests were limited to the second minute. Admittedly, there wasn't much of an atmosphere, but there were big empty spaces in the home stands. This was probably because of a combination of the early start, the fact that the game was on television and discontent with the current regime at Charlton.

Top fan Jonathan Acworth is setting up a meeting in Greenwich next Sunday to discuss the way forward for the club. However, rather than any individual initiatives, my preference would be to channel activity through the CAS Trust which is having some success in establishing a dialogue with the club.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Another 0-3 defeat at home

Charlton went down at home to Ipswich today for the fourth season in a row, but the margin of defeat was bigger and replicated recent 0-3 defeats at The Valley. Johann Berg Gudmundsson tweeted, 'Gutted about today. Not good enough from all of us.'

Charlton have slipped to 21st, on the same number of points as Bristol City and MK Dons, but behind them on goal difference. Rotherham United are just one point behind, as are Huddersfield.

I don't think we played that badly today, but the difference between the two sides was that Ipswich created more chances and took them clinically. When we had a half chance, we tended to dither. Also, the Ipswich keeper made three good saves late in the game.

Simon Makienok is arguably the most useless player in a Charlton shirt since Karim Bagheri. At least Bagheri made only one appearance as a substitute, in the rain at Ipswich, when he managed to make contact with the ball once.

For a tall guy, Makienok has considerable difficulty in dealing with high balls. He seems unable to jump, although quite why I don't know. Vaz Te looked quite useful, at least he put in some shots.

Things started to go wrong for us when the skipper had to be taken off early in the game with an apparent facial injury. Jackson was replaced by Solly with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis adopting a position on the left. Holmes-Dennis had a good game throughout, as did Lookman.

Striker Daryl Murphy scored twice as the Tractors extended their unbeaten run to six Championship games. The Republic of Ireland international headed Mick McCarthy's side ahead from close range after a goalmouth scramble. This followed a corner and once again showed our vulnerability at set pieces and our difficulty in clearing our lines. Having seen the goal on television, it was evident that there was a foul just before it was scored with a Charlton player (Solly?) receiving a hand in the face.

I was concerned that Ipswich would score a second before the break, making it difficult for us to get back into the game. This is what happened as Freddie Sears fired in the second in first-half stoppage time for his first goal in 12 games before Murphy slotted in the visitors' third to put the game beyond reach.

Charlton did not give up and Dean Gerken twice saved from Ricardo Vaz Te late on as Charlton went close. Substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad also headed just wide from Chris Solly's pin-point cross in stoppage time but by then Ipswich's victory was already assured.

Ipswich did display a professional level of cynicism, their players falling to the floor in agony when Charlton broke away on the attack and then making a miraculous recovery. We didn't get any favours from the referee who had not got over breaking his bottle of hair restorer in the dressing room before the game.

The early start gave me a journey down in an over crowded train full of Brummies, a number of whom had already had a few drinks. I normally buy my Voice of the Valley off one of the elves or gnomes, but today I got it from Rick Everitt himself, and on the rare occasions I do that we always get hammered.

I was expecting to encounter a line of jobsworths ready to search my bag when I got in the ground, but there was no sign of the enhanced security.

Jonathan Acworth was active before the game button holing supporters. He is having a meeting at Greenwich tomorrow at which a potential investor will be unveiled, but apparently you need to take £20 along for a meal beforehand. According to one report, he is in touch with Darren Pitcher which is just what we want.

The 'two per cent' protest received solid support from the Covered End and I would say from about a quarter to a third of the fans in my part of the East Stand. This makes the point that concern extends beyond two per cent of supporters.

At least I won £50 on Valley Gold which will cover my travel costs and leave something over for a 'celebration' drink.

Player ratings

Some people are now saying that Henderson is no better than Pope, but the first and third goals were the fault of the defence in front of him. He was caught unawares by the second goal, but in some ways it was a lucky goal. One of the problems yesterday was in central defence. Sarr is a liability, but Bauer was below his usual standard. Fox is not good enough and got withdrawn after receiving a yellow card. Holmes-Dennis was required to play in three different positions, but the talented youngster adapted well.

Diarra was another player below his usual standard. Losing Jackson early on was a blow and I think that it affected the confidence of the side for a while. Cousins wasn't that prominent. Gudmundsson criticised himself, but he put himself about and delivered one precision free kick we were unlucky not to score from.

Not only can Makienok not overcome Earth gravity, he doesn't position himself properly when there is an attack. Lookman offered pace and penetration and deservedly got Man of the Match in the lounges. It's not so long ago that the youngster was playing park football. Hopefully, someone gave him a lift home or he had enough money for a minicab as it would be awkward taking the trophy home on the bus.

Vaz Te was written off as a useless signing by many fans, but I thought that our game improved when he came on. Solly played well most of the time. Reza made a real effort, but couldn't turn things around.

Friday 27 November 2015

Worth an early start?

King Philippe of the Belgians (left) looks a little bemused as he is handed a black and white leaflet and told that Roland Duchatelet is not very popular in SE7.

Yesterday evening I was on a panel with staff members from Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion giving presentations to an audience of football fans. The presentations from Villa and West Brom were insightful, and the Baggies representative reminded me that the head of marketing there is a keen Charlton fan as well as running his own non-league club. Inevitably, even in the Midlands, there was a Charlton fan in the audience seeking solace about the fate of the club. I wasn't able to give him much hope of a real change in direction.

There has been some speculation that there will be additional disruptive protests beyond that planned for two minutes. It has been suggested that we might risk a fine or even a points deduction or even that the match could be abandoned. I think that it is a bit far fetched, but I don't like the idea of fans blowing whistles during the game. Once the 'proportionate' protest has been made, the need is to focus on the game in the hope that we might come away with one point or even three.

Katrien Meire has urged fans to 'stand up to negativity', which could be interpreted as clocking the bloke behind me, but I think not.

Given that it will be an especially early start for me tomorrow, I did contemplate not coming at all, but I will make the journey.

Remember that the latest issue of Voice of the Valley will be on sale tomorrow before the game. Just look for the gnomes and elves decked out in smart black and white outfits.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Who let the dogs out?

Photo from Four Four Two

As the club is always looking for ways to enhance the 'matchday experience' (other than on the pitch), they might wish to emulate a Brazilian club that got its players to bring out dogs lacking a home in the hope of finding one. At least it gives a new meaning to crap on the pitch, although apparently this was an accident free event. The stadium appears about as full as Charlton these days.

Continuing on the canine theme, my non-league club has a collie called Jack who turns up to every match wearing his scarf and follows the game intently. Indeed, so keen is he on football, that he comes to youth games to get his fix.

Jack recently did a programme interview and here are a few of his insights:

Do you know that I cannot understand that man running up and down, blowing a whistle, waving his arms about, and arguing with the players? Plus his two sidekicks who don't go on the pitch and wave a flag a lot.

If I could create any law, I would ban half time. It makes me barking mad.

My favourite biscuit is ANY! If I could be someone for a day, it would be Lassie. If I'm feeling down, I chew a bone.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

All quiet at The Valley

No action is expected by Charlton before the window for loan deals closes this evening: Loan window

It may be that the Jason Euell - Karel Fraeye combo will pull us out of the mire and we can then focus on what is needed in the January transfer window. However, I would expect Roland to be parsimonious.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Charlton track Wrexham ace

Charlton are tracking Wrexham ace Dominic Vose, but the goal scoring winger is attracting interest from a number of other Championship clubs including Birmingham City and Wolves: Dominic Vose

However, the Lambeth-born player may be willing to hand in his Welsh phrase book and return to South London.

Elsewhere, it looks as if Brighton might land Dagenham & Redbridge winger Jodi Jones, once the subject of interest from Charlton.

Bromley 16 goals in 22 striker Moses Emmanuel is also 'attracting interest' from Charlton, along with Brentford and Leeds United. I presume this means that we are scouting him. There are only so many young non-league hopefuls we can take on board. Championship defences are more sophisticated than those in the National League.

Chris Powell has been interviewed for the managerial vacancy at QPR, but Super Hoop insiders are thought to favour Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Monday 23 November 2015

Rufus leaves Charlton

Wembley play off goal scorer Richard Rufus has left Charlton: 'quit', 'forced out' or 'sacked' depending on which account you read. In any event, he has given up his roles as an Academy coach and an ambassador for the Community Trust after being judged to have master minded a multi-million pound fraud. He may yet face criminal charges: Rufus

It's a sad end to a great footballing career.

Tony Watt: Chwedl Geltaid

Now that Tony Watt's loan deal with Cardiff City has been finalised, Wales Online have provided a portrait in words of the 'Celtic legend': Tony Watt

His loan runs until mid-January, but there have been some suggestions that it may be permanent.

Mixed reactions to the move from Charlton fans here: Good or bad?

Watt has now complained about 'false reasons' being given for his exit from Charlton: Unhappy player

Rickster and Spell It Out join forces

Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt has joined forces with the Spell It Out campaign to organise a 'proportionate protest' in the second minute of the game against Ipswich on Saturday: Protest plan

Katrien Meire claimed that only two per cent of Charlton fans were behind the recent protest, implying that they were a collection of hotheads and perennial moaners like Derek from Dymchurch.

The idea is that fans will hold up black and white posters (which can be downloaded online) in the second minute of the game for 60 seconds backing the two per cent, accompanied by a chant.

This is certainly to be preferred to those hotheads who have advocated throwing things on the pitch which is illegal. I also want us to beat the Tractors, but by having a demonstration early in the game disruption and distraction will be minimised. Saturday gives us the opportunity to go to the top of the Relegation League and would put us within touching distance of the Mid-Table Mediocrity League.

When it comes to tactics, there is no one to beat the Rickster. I still have some concerns about strategy, in terms of what the objectives are. 'We Want Our Charlton Back' is a powerful slogan, but what does it actually mean?

I do not think it would be advantageous for Roland to sell the club. I just don't see credible buyers out there. Wolves have been available for some time, now joined by Bolton Wanderers with all the debt wiped out and a knockdown price. Roland would not want to lose out financially on any sale.

Rick Everitt has been taking the line that Katrien Meire should be replaced as chief executive. I can see the force of this argument. She has lost the trust of many fans and has shown herself to have difficulty in coping with the role. I just don't see Roland removing his representative on Earth.

What I would want to see is two things. First, a strengthening of the squad. It is vital for the future of the club that we avoid relegation to the wasteland of League One. We also want the aspiration to get to the Premiership to be more than 'if we get lucky, we might get a play off place.' An annual relegation struggle or even a solid place in mid-table won't get us anywhere near Target 20,000.

The other thing I would hope for is more regular and structured engagement with the fans who should be regarded with less contempt than has characterised some pronouncements up to now. I know it isn't easy to engage with a group with such a wide range of views and it is all too easy to give a voice to blowhards who have nothing useful to say. However, the club was a model of fan engagement and involvement in the past. Those days can probably never be recaptured, but we need to move back in that direction and away from 'This is how it is.'

Meanwhile, the distinctive smell and noise of hot metal printing presses has been detected in Valley Road, Ramsgate. The latest Voice of the Valley will be on sale before the game against Ipswich.

Harry Lennon rumours

There are unconfirmed rumours circulating that Rangers are interested in signing Harry Lennon (that's Glasgow Rangers, not Berwick Rangers). The source for this story is the Daily Mirror.

This could be the invention of a journalist, or the work of an agent, but it is such an unlikely combination that there may be something in it.

Charlton in pictures 1975-2015

I met Steve Bridge when he used to assist Tom Morris with photographs at The Valley. Anyway, Steve has brought out a book of first rate photos of Charlton. I am looking forward to going through my copy in more detail. The book would make an excellent Christmas present for an Addick. It is also possible to buy prints from the book.

More information at: Steve's website

Sunday 22 November 2015

Watt leaves for Cardiff

Tony Watt is to join Cardiff City on loan: Watt? Watt? Watt?

There have been unconfirmed reports that the Scottish striker is a disruptive influence in the dressing room.

He has also been reluctant to pass to other players when he has the ball, trying to do it all himself.

Nevertheless, the report is something of a shock and reduces Charlton's striker options again. One interpretation is that it is to do with the playing budget and the need to offset Vaz Te's wages.

At least one mystery is solved. Watt was seen with a phrase book at Birmingham on Saturday, but it turned out not to be 'How to speak Brummie' but 'First Steps in Welsh'.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Charlton move out of relegation positions

Charlton moved out of the relegation positions to 20th after a 1-0 victory at promotion chasing Birmingham City today. Johnnie Jackson's 50th goal for the club gave them their first away win of the season. (Matt Wright, who should know, has tweeted that it is only his 49th. Amazingly, the last player to get 50 goals was Carl Leaburn).

The hosts began brightly and within two minutes Jacques Maghoma had tested Henderson after swivelling cleverly inside the area. Toral then flashed an effort over the bar, while Charlton debutant Ademola Lookman hit a shot into the side netting at the other end.

Birmingham cranked up the pressure as the first half wore on, with Demarai Gray and David Davis going close. Henderson then denied Toral with a low save before rushing out to prevent Nicolai Brock-Madsen from giving Birmingham the lead at the break.

Birmingham began the second half as they ended the first, with Gray, Stephen Gleeson and Maghoma all going close. However, Charlton went ahead in the 61st minute when the skipper sent a thumping header beyond Tomasz Kuszczak from Tareiq Holmes-Dennis's cross. It was Lookman who created the breakthrough for Charlton with an astute pass to Holmes-Dennis, whose first-time cross was met by the on-rushing Jackson to head home.

Simon Makienok then headed over the bar from Johann Berg Gudmundsson's cross before Holmes-Dennis's cross-cum-shot was dealt with as Charlton threatened to add a second. Birmingham threw men forward in the dying stages, but Charlton held firm as they recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.

It was very much a case of grinding out a result, but a welcome and generally unexpected three points. It does look as if the team may be regaining their all important confidence.

Friday 20 November 2015

A glimmer of hope against Blues?

When I was travelling back from our win over Sheffield Wednesday, I found myself surrounded by Birmingham fans on the train from Euston celebrating their victory at Fulham. They were surprised that I regularly made the journey to Charlton for home games, but even more surprised that I was not going to St. Andrews tomorrow. However, I have experienced the 'hospitality' of Blues fans in the past.

Birmingham are now in 6th place and hence seen as promotion challengers with the prospect of replacing Aston Villa in the Premier League. I have this sense that they are seen in this role year after year and eventually fade. However, in Gary Rowett, they have an excellent manager, although finances are tight. Last season they finished 10th, but Four Four Two forecasts a sixth place finish.

Birmingham have no new injury worries and welcome back striker Clayton Donaldson who scored for Jamaica against Haiti during the break. Ricardo Vaz Te could make his debut up front for Charlton but is unlikely to start due to a lack of match fitness.

Tony Watt is a major injury doubt, while defender Chris Solly (knock) is touch and go.

Birmingham have lost only one of their last eight league matches against Charlton (W3 D4), so this might look like a match where the result can be read off the table. However, we did win there 1-0 last year and drew the year before.

In their match preview, CAS Trust point out Birmingham's current position is largely a result of their away form: Some hope?

Odds are Birmingham 7/10, Draw 5/2, Charlton 17/4. I really have no idea how this match will go, but think a draw is possible.

With Reading boss Steve Clarke turning down a move to Fulham, Alan Curbishley, who has been taking first team training at Fulham, will presumably be in charge for their outing to MK Dons. Could he yet end up as Fulham manager?

Morrison spills the beans

Birmingham City captain and former Addick Michael Morrison has opened about the circumstances of his departure from Charlton, stressing his respect for the club and its fans: Morrison

It seems like another case of poor treatment of a stalwart player and, what's more, the Blues got him for free.

Back from Belgium

I arrived back from a short trip to Brussels to find a statement by Katrien Meire on the official site: Statement

It's full of good intentions and reassurances, but action will speak louder than words. Target 20,000 will go nowhere if performances on the pitch do not improve and what I am particularly looking for is assurances about further strengthening of the squad in the January transfer window, although I appreciate that is not a good window in which to get value for money.

I don't go to Belgium as often as I used to, but I was reminded of what an odd place it is. It was once described as the Italy of Northern Europe. Three regional governments and a weak federal government. Further inefficiencies on top of that: six police districts in Brussels which do not coordinate well with each other, quite a problem in current circumstances. Moreover, a highly bureaucratised environment. One Belgian told me that what we would regard as routine operations on football pitches require 'the validation of the appropriate authorities.'

Roland has done well to make money in such an environment. One can also understand that he wants to spread his wings. But he, and Katrien, need to understand that they are operating in a different cultural context in SE7.

The Supporters' Trust has now met with Richard Murray and Katrien Meire and the fact that such a meeting has taken place is a step forward of a kind. The response of the Trust might be described as cautiously optimistic: Meeting

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Fraeye keeps his eye on Harriott

'Interim' Charlton supremo Karel Fraeye took the opportunity of the international break to sample the delights of Essex and take a look at Callum Harriott: Callum Harriott

The mercurial winger was out of favour under Guy Luzon, but has made an impression at Colchester, albeit in League One. The terms of the loan deal mean that he cannot return before January.

Harriott has his fans at Charlton, but I am more sceptical. He could show quality, but he was too inconsistent and he seemed to be unsettled at The Valley.

In any case, the agenda may be to secure compensation for him when his contract runs out in the summer.

Igor Vetokele will be out until after Christmas following groin surgery. I'm not sure that the reference to 'getting to the bottom of his fitness problem' is appropriate: Vetokele

The rising tide of protest

Paul Breen discusses increasing cooperation between Charlton and Leeds fans as they respond to the mismanagement of their clubs and the way in which televised live games can be used to make a point: Protest tactics

Sunday 15 November 2015

Spell it out in black and white

Paul Breen discusses the 'Spell it Out In Black and White' campaign, discussing its objectives and talking about the symbolism of the scarf more generally: Spell It Out

As far as I recall, people didn't wear football scarves when I started watching Charlton, but some people did wear rosettes, particularly at big games.

Friday 13 November 2015

Bom Dia, Ricardo Vaz Te

The Addicks have signed former West Ham United striker Ricardo Vaz Te on a free transfer. The 29-year-old, who spent three years playing for the Hammers, has been searching for a club since leaving Turkish outfit Akhisar Belediyespor in July.

Vaz Te, who came through Bolton's youth system, joined the Hammers from Barnsley in January 2012, and went on to help them return to the Barclays Premier League, scoring the winning goal for Sam Allardyce's side in the play-off final at Wembley.

Vaz Te, who also had a spell in the Scottish top flight with Hibernian, made his final appearance for West Ham in November 2014, before his contract was cancelled by mutual consent in January.

The forward, who has been capped at Under-23 level for Portugal, has put pen to paper on a contract that will run until the end of the season. Vaz Te could make his debut for the Addicks against Birmingham City at St Andrews after the international break.

As one might expect, there has been a negative reaction from some Addicks who have argued that he is past his best, pointing out that he trained with Rotherham but they didn't sign him. Questions have also been raised about his fitness, injury proneness and mentality. But we have all been calling for experienced players who are not Belgian.

The following exchange took place at London Bridge this morning, suggesting a certain optimism on the part of Vaz Te:

Vaz Te: Queria uma passagem para Charlton.

Empregado: Ida e volta?

Vaz Te: Nao, somente ida, por favour.

Charlton in battle for Ebbsfleet ace

Charlton are locked in a battle with Spurs and Stoke City for the signature of 17-year old Ebbsfleet United winger Shilow Tracey: Big signing?

West Ham, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading are also said to be interested, so I wouldn't give much hope for our chances.

We have quite a few talented young players already. What I would like to see in the transfer window is some fringe Premiership or experienced Championship players come in, on loan if necessary.

Palace get big injection of American cash

Crystal Palace have agreed in principle a deal with American investors to take a 36 per cent stake in the club. The lead investor is Josh Harris, owner of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers. Talks have been taking place for some time, but stalled earlier in the year: Palace investment

The funds will be used to replace the contraption that passes for a main stand at Selhurst Park and also used to improve the Arthur Wait stand. Palace are confident that the investment will allow them to permanently consolidate their position as the leading South London club.

It has to be admitted that the fans who took Palace out of administration five years ago have done a good job in contrast to recent owners at Charlton.

Talking of Palace, here is an essay on the departure of Iain Dowie: Dowie departure

Thursday 12 November 2015

Ramsgate line on Tuesday's meeting

The more I hear from people about the video of Tuesday's meeting, the less I want to spend valuable time watching it. However, Rick Everitt has watched it and does not mince his words: The Ramsgate line

The Rickster says: 'The stark truth is that almost two years on from the takeover, the club is spending more and performing worse, one and off the pitch. It's operating loss has increased. There are complaints from all directions above customer service, while management responds with initiatives - like Saturday’s house music DJ in the north stand bar - that appear to have been taken at random from a junior staff suggestion box.'

Here is a sample comment by a fan: 'The only thing the strategy will do is take us into league one. We need some decent players now, not in three years time and then sell them after 20 odd games to balance the books. Not one person in the room really took issue with the "strategy". Fans rambled on about terms like disenchantment which really wasn't substantiated by why. Just that they felt not included. Lots of bitter supporters with their noses put out of joint because they were no longer "faces" and no longer feel wanted by the club.'

Wrong side of the river

Even the plans to move Charlton to the peninsula would have left the club south of the River Thames with all the fashionable clubs located on the city's more prosperous north side. West Ham United are to move closer to the fashionable centre of corporate power at the Olympic Stadium. The impressive Swiss Ramble blog has looked at their finances in detail and proclaimed them to be currently one of the most exciting football projects in Europe. Read more at our sister site: Hammers On The Up

I haven't watched the video of the meeting with fans yet, and I am not sure when I will be able to find the time to do so. Indeed, I might quickly lose the will to live, having read the account by the Chicago Addick. These meetings do attract a lot of blowhards who like the sound of their own voice.

What seems to me is that the core questions were not addressed or only indirectly. First, what is the club's plan to avoid relegation and make us real Premiership contenders, as is the stated aspiration? It would have been nice to hear 'we intend to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window'.

Second, what is to be done to repair a breakdown of relations between fans and the club which could send attendances towards 10k rather than up to 20k? Katrien Meire argued that only two per cent of fans protested, but more are concerned about the club's direction of travel. I am far from sure that restructuring the Fans' Forum will do the trick.

I happened to spend yesterday working with a Belgian who had heard of Roland as a very wealthy man. He was very surprised that we had a coach from the Belgian third division.

It is appropriate at this time to remember the sacrifices that Belgium made in the First World War. His home town of Leuven was sacked by the Germans with only the Town Hall of the major buildings left standing. Priceless mediaeval manuscripts were burnt. At this time of year giant pictures show the town as it used to be. In a nearby village, half the men were shot after a German colonel had been killed, supposedly by the Resistance. In fact, it was a drunken German soldier.

Our quarrel is not Belgium or Belgians, but with Roland and his representative on Earth. One still hopes there will be a change of strategy because:

  • I don't think Roland is going to sell the club any time soon.
  • If he did, I don't think there would be any credible buyers.
  • I think that Karel Fraeye will still be in charge at Christmas, hopefully the partnership with Jason Euell will develop.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Former owners sued over Peninsula move for club

The former owners of Charlton are being sued over the failure to secure a new home on the Greenwich Peninsula for the club before it was sold

City AM reports: 'The former owners of Charlton Athletic have been sued over a failed promise to arrange a deal for the construction of a new stadium with an adjoining residential and commercial development on Greenwich Peninsula. LA-based property developer Darius Khakshouri is suing Tony Jimenez and Kevin Cash, who co-owned Charlton from 2011 to 2013, after providing the pair a £1.8m to help ease the club's cash flow issues in September 2013 as they searched for a buyer.

Khakshouri claims he was talked into the deal on the condition that Charlton would not be sold without a deal being in place to set the club up in a new stadium in the prestigious Greenwich Peninsula area near the O2 Arena. Yet when Charlton were sold to current owner Roland Duchatelet in January 2014, no deal such deal was in place.

A long time friend and business associate of Jimenez and Cash, Khakshouri says he was told he would share in the profits of a land deal and was therefore convinced to reduce his stake in an LA property development from 55 to 25 per cent in order to raise the money for the loan. Although the loan was repaid, Khakshouri will argue that it subsequently became apparent that there had never been any intention of securing the land deal prior to the sale.

Ian Baker, a partner at PGB Gitlin Baker Solicitors who are representing Khakshouri, said: "Mr Khakshouri trusted his friends Mr Jimenez and Mr Cash and lent them money in good faith and relying on their promises. "Mr Khakshouri feels that he not only suffered the loss of over £1m from reducing his stake in a lucrative investment to provide finance for Mr Jimenez and Mr Cash's project - but was also hurt at the betrayal of two individuals he considered long-standing friends."

The trio had previously worked together on the development of Les Bordes luxury golf resort in the Loire Valley in France.

Charlton were in desperate need of funding at the beginning of the 2013/14 season, when the club began the Championship campaign with 16 players in the last year of their contract.'

This last point is significant as it does provide evidence that Charlton were in dire financial straits, as many of us knew to be the case, before the Belgian takeover.

Little reassurance

If last night's meeting between Katrien Meire and Richard Murray was supposed to reassure fans and rebuild bridges with them, it doesn't seem to have served that purpose: Fan fury. Of course, the breakdown of trust on both sides has been so extensive that rebuilding it was not going to be easy, at least not without some candid admission of past mistakes and a road map for the future.

Katrien Meire seems to have been particularly exercised by last Saturday's protest by fans which she deemed unacceptable and she asked other fans to stand up to the 'negative' ones. Her views are given at great length here: Not the way do things Some have interpreted this as a 'divide and rule' strategy.

Of course, everyone will have their own interpretation of what was said and I am yet to watch the video of the meeting.

The video of the meeting is not yet available, but I have watched Katrien Meire's strategy presentation. In many ways this was a typical business style presentation, complete with an initial failure of the PowerPoint system to work.

The objectives of moving towards 20,000 attendances and greater fan engagement are laudable, but how are they to be achieved? In the context of fan engagement, the dreaded fan sofa was mentioned when I had hoped it was on its way to the tip.

The best enhancement to my 'matchday experience' would be a better win ratio. The playing budget has apparently gone up by 40 per cent, but there hasn't been a comparable improvement in outcomes. This suggests that some players have not been well chosen or are over paid.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Curbs puts his hat in the ring

Alan Curbishley has declared his interest in the manager's job at Fulham: Curbs sets out his stall

A look at Lookman

Ademola Lookman has had a meteoric rise into the Charlton first team. Steve from Petts Wood told me on Saturday that somewhere on the internet there is a copy of a letter from him asking Football League clubs for a trial, but I haven't been able to find it. (Thanks to everyone who has now provided this information, see comments.

He joined Charlton's academy in 2014 after signing from Waterloo FC a youth football club based in the London Borough of Lambeth. His impressive goal scoring record for Charlton's U18 and U21 side led to him making his first team debut for the Addicks at MK Dons.

In this clip he can be seen scoring a screamer for the U18s: Lookman goal

Monday 9 November 2015

The Army Game

Simon Makienok has revealed that a pre-match pep talk by a soldier did wonders for Charlton's performance on Saturday: Military inspiration

He also comments that he was not aware of fan protests before the game. He could hear the noise being made by the fans outside the West Stand as the team was warming up, but thought it was the fans urging the team on.

London as a football city

The latest posting from the excellent two unfortunates blog looks at London as a football city: London

Charlton aren't specifically mentioned. Quite rightly, the author focuses on the driving forces affecting football as a whole in London, including its status as a city region and a global city. Some of this is relevant context to our current plight.

When my new Anglo-French boss moved to London, he looked for a football club to support. His sister lived in Chelsea, but he decided that they were too expensive, so he went for nearby Fulham. Charlton didn't even come up on his radar because it was 'too far out' from the cosmopolitan centre.

I was inspired to get down from the bookshelves a book by one of my favourite authors, Charlton fan Charlie Connelly (he was also at university with one of my children). Called London Fields, it contains a chapter on 'The Supporters' Club: Peter Varney and the Rise of Charlton Athletic.' How ironic that title seems now when our chief executive takes photos of protesting supporters from the lounges. (There is also a chapter on Gary Nelson and one about Welling United).

It is a good read (the description of the two man Wembley away firm is hilarious). There is a copy on Amazon at £4.54 plus postage: London Fields

West London tussle over Hasselbaink

Fulham and QPR are reported to be in competition to secure the services of Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. He was linked with a possible move to Charlton, but a search for a long lost Belgian grandmother yielded no results.

Over at Fulham, The Guardian is reporting that Alan Curbishley may take interim charge after Kit Symons was sacked for miring the club in mid-table mediocrity. Curbs was known as 'the man in the stands' in his previous spell at Fulham, but has regularly joined Symons in the dugout.

I will have to get used to hearing more about Fulham. When I was staying in France, the son of my friend's wife was on his way to The Valley for the Charlton v. Fulham clash. With my current contract running out in a week or so, he has taken pity on me and offered me a role in his firm.

There has been some talk over the weekend of the appointment of a British manager at The Valley being imminent, but I can find no credible source to support these rumours.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Charlton and Leeds compared

A number of clubs in England are experiencing tensions between their fans and their owners at the moment, not least Blackpool. Charlton and Leeds are the two Championship clubs most prominently in this category.

Former Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese is considering a bid for Leeds. Our sister site, the Political Economy of Football, discusses why he might consider buying Leeds but not Charlton: Leeds and Charlton compared

Saturday 7 November 2015

Jason Euell's Red Army

That was the chant of the Covered End as Charlton beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 at The Valley today. It ended the goal drought, but the Addicks remain in the relegation zone. Euell seemed to be playing a big part in managing the match.

Euell said on Facebook, 'The boys put in a great shift and the atmosphere was quality.'

Charlton started brightly, but we initially feared that it was a repeat of the match against Brentford, but they maintained a high standard of play throughout. Wednesday did not press us as much as Brentford and perhaps they thought they just had to turn up to collect the three points.

When captain Jackson was inexplicably left unmarked as Johann Berg Gudmundsson took a corner, he timed his run from the edge of the box perfectly to thump home the opener.

The Addicks continued to attack and on the stroke of half-time Makienok finished off a brilliant passage of play that saw El-Hadji Ba and Ghoochannejhad combine well on the left before the striker played the ball to Gudmundsson, who duly set up the Dane to score.

Midfielder Gudmundsson was once again instrumental in Charlton's third goal, cutting the visiting defence apart with a chip to Fox, who then set up Ghoochannejhad for a simple tap-in.

Player ratings

Henderson wasn't at fault for the goal, but otherwise wasn't tested much by the Owls. Bauer was competent and reliable as usual. Sarr put in a decent shift, although arguably was at fault for the goal. I was concerned when Solly went off injured, but Holmes-Dennis was a more than adequate replacement and got involved to good effect right away. Fox provided the assist for the goal and did show some quality at times, but I still think he is one of the weakest links in the team. He does look shell shocked at times.

Diarra was magnificent and had a claim to be man of the match. Jackson paired well with him and took his goal well. Ba was a transformed player, he had his best match for us so far and got strong applause when he was substituted. After an injury scare, Gudmundsson was back to his best.

Makienok was fully involved throughout, although he did miss one good chance for a centre forward's goal in the second half. Reza was here, there and everywhere, chasing the ball and got a standing ovation when he was taken off.

It was my first look at Lookman and he is clearly a promising young talent. Moussa didn't make a big impact.

Where do we go from here?

A thoughtful and in depth analysis of the state of the club from Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt: The mess we are in

A central suggestion that Rick makes is that Katrien Meire should be replaced as chief executive. He argues that she is out of her depth in the job and has resorted to gimmicks while failing to communicate with supporters. Her replacement would be a step towards rebuilding trust with supporters.

I don't see Roland replacing her as his representative on Earth as that would be an admission of failure and I don't think that Roland does failure. In an ideal world, Peter Varney would be lured back from Gravesend to resume his old role. Rick could be his No.2: 'Reg' driving the bus and Rick as conductor.

'Roland Out' is an attractive slogan but it is never made clear who is going to come in. There are plenty of clubs on the market at the moment who have not found buyers, including Wolves who in many ways are a more attractive proposition.

In an ideal world Roland would undergo a Ryanair type conversion and realise that it is not a sensible strategy to hold your customers in contempt. But I don't hold out much hope.

Meanwhile I hope that today's demonstration will be kept safe and peaceful.

Friday 6 November 2015

More injury woe for Addicks

Charlton will be without midfield pair Jordan Cousins and Johann Berg Gudmundsson for tomorrow's clash with in form Sheffield Wednesday after they suffered injuries against MK Dons on Tuesday. Ahmed Kashi (heel), Igor Vetokele (groin) and Cristian Ceballos (fibula) remain on the sidelines. Kashi is a real loss in my view as he added real creativity and skill to the team.

Wednesday are still living in the glow of their 3-0 victory over Arsenal. Their 1-0 win over Forest was more laboured, but they still have the quality to change a game, in particular by changing its pace. 0-0 against promotion chasing Brighton was a respectable result.

The Owls are 3rd in the form table and the Addicks are, needless to say, bottom. In the real table Wednesday are 8th, with the play off places in sight.

The CAS Trust preview says that Charlton are second only to Blackpool as the laughing stock of the Football League. They ask, do Wednesday just have to turn up tomorrow?: Gloomy outlook. I'm starting to wonder if I should turn up.

Our last four home games against Wednesday resulted in three draws and one defeat. It is difficult to see us getting even a draw tomorrow. Odds are: Charlton 27/10, Draw 12/5, Sheffield Wed 23/20.

Wallowing in past glories

Not everything was glorious in the past as this example of poor design from a 1978 programme shows

Katrien Meire has said that we mustn't wallow in the past glories of the club, but to me they are very real and a welcome distraction from present woes. It was therefore a great pleasure to make my first visit to the Charlton Athletic museum last night. There is already an excellent display and more donations are coming in all the time (I took the framed set of historic items we received when we sponsored the match against Bradford City in 2000). The museum does need more money for display cases and I am taking out membership.

A chance to tour the museum was followed by two talks. The first provided video and audio of what was then believed to be the last match at The Valley. There was a lot of hoof and hope in the game but we did beat Stoke 2-0. The second, by Steve Sutherland, looked at the Crystal Palace years and had many fascinating anecdotes about the personalities of that era. Clubcall was then the main way of communicating with fans and in order to provide material in the summer months it ran an interview with the laundry lady who discussed her favourite detergent!

Steve's basic theme was that the Selhurst Park years tended to be air brushed out of our history. However, if people hadn't kept things going through that dark period, there wouldn't have been a club to come back to The Valley.

He struck a chord when he said that his most important relationship with is father was football. My life diverged sharply from what my father experienced, and I am sure that I was a puzzle to him, but we continued to share a love of football and Charlton in particular.

Ben Hayes of the museum is featured in an article in the latest Four Four Two. He stumbled across a neglected cinema newsreel clip entitled Charlton Match Filmed to Aid Training. Numerous cameras were set up around The Valley for a game against Burnley in 1947. The players then went to a local cinema to watch the game. It was probably the first time they had seen themselves play. There's a great posed clip of Jimmy Seed looking over the stills, none of which the supporters ever got to see. 'It must have been used as a coaching tool - and a PR gimmick,' said Hayes.

You can se the film here (don't be put off by the fact that it starts with a clip of Princess Elizabeth and Phil the Greek: Movietone film Charlton

Apparently, Jimmy Seed's grandson is about to retire and may address a future meeting at the museum. How time flies.

BTW, don't try to visit the museum today as the lift is broken.

Coonor McAleny returns

Conor McAleny has had his loan cut short and he has returned to Everton: McAleny

This does make the squad even thinner, but I never thought that he was a game changer.

Sad news about Rufus

At a bleak time for the club, sad news about one our legends, Richard Rufus. My late wife was his shirt sponsor for many years. he was a serious student of theology, but clearly out of his depth in financial matters, particularly a time when the financial crisis hit.

Former Premier League defender Richard Rufus operated an "appalling" criminal fraud that robbed innocent victims of almost £9m, a judge has ruled. The Charlton Athletic fans' favourite was branded a "rogue" and a "fraudster" by Judge Clive Jones who found him guilty of fraudulently collecting £16m from more than 100 investors and spending £3.4m for his own benefit.

Rufus did not appear at the High Court trial where he was hit with a maximum 15-year bankruptcy restriction, preventing him from becoming the director or manager of a limited liability company during the period. He was found to have collected money for currency exchange trading between May 2007 and February 2011 and promised a five per cent monthly yield - yet just £7.4m of the £16m was repaid.

His victims included Kingsway International Christian Centre in Walthamstow, where he was once a minister, which lost around £5m. An England under-21 international, Lewisham-born Rufus was voted the club's best-ever defender in 2005 and was inducted into the club's hall of fame in 2013. In the same year he was declared bankrupt following the failed investment scheme.

Thursday 5 November 2015

CAS Trust questions protest disruption

CAS Trust has issued a statement in response to the club's rather tawdry and last minute decision to create a Family Activity Zone in the West Stand car park on Saturday where some supporters are planning to protest against the current regime at the club: Peaceful protest

Roland has a low opinion of football fans which the protest may simply confirm, although clearly supporters want to show how they feel. The most ingenious idea has come from the Chicago Addick which is to use the Belgian media to embarrass Roland.

There is quite a lot of interest in his activities there, although surprisingly a special Financial Times supplement on Wallonia earlier this week failed to mention him.

Mascot matters

The naffest mascot yet: guess what it is - answer below

A joker was suggesting on the boards yesterday that the real problem at Charlton was that we had sacked mascots Floyd and Harvey.

The sort of vanilla mascots we have at Charlton are really for young children. The sight of the 'valiant knight' with his pathetic sword, which would not scare any lino, dancing behind the flag bearers at the last match did sum up the state we are in. I should add that I have a lot of respect for the individuals who fill these awkward and hot costumes, having failed in my attempt to become 'Mr Whiskas' for the local cats protection branch.

If you want a red blooded mascot, there is no better example than Cyril the Swan or Cyril the Pyscho as he is sometimes referred to. At Millwall in 2001 he knocked the head off Zampa the Lion, drop kicking it into the stands and telling his rival 'Don't **** with the Swans.

He served a two match suspension for a touchline scuffle with Norwich backroom staff in 1999 and received a £1,000 fine for a solo pitch invasion that year for which the referee showed the red card. He attended the Welsh FA hearing in full costume, all nine foot of it.

The answer to the quiz above is it's not a toilet roll holder or an exhaust pipe, but a LED desk lamp!