Thursday 30 April 2015

Simon Francis

An article about the former Addick, now with Bournemouth, in the Sun yesterday has caused some controversy.

Written by his stepbrother, it says a move to Charlton should have worked out. It seriously did not. The fans thought he was poor and the team struggled. 'The fans always wanted me to just dive in the whole time. I always just thought, "That's thick You get sent off, it hurts the team."' One might have thought that he would have moved on by now, but it clearly still rankles.

Some Addicks argue that his performances were abject. An alternative view is that 'at the time we were crap and the atmosphere at The Valley wasn't great. Francis used to get dogs abuse at the time which to me doesn't help a player improve their game. Some players are stronger and can cope with it and will improve, some won't and live down to the abuse they are getting.'

'Francis has shown he has the ability and has moved on to better things with Bournemouth, whether he proves good enough for the premiership and Howe gets someone else in time will tell. {Somehow I doubt it]. Howe obviously knows how to get the best out of players from the lower leagues when you look at that Bournemouth side.'

Fans may get the chance to form their own view on Saturday.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

A Day with Liverpool Academy

We hosted Liverpool Academy for a couple of days. The lads were modest and appreciative of what was being made available to them. They all have agents, though, and the left back told us that he is on 3k a week.

I thought that they would slaughter our first XI and they dominated the first ten minutes. The first time a Warwick player struck the ball there was a cheer from the crowd of a few hundred. But the home side grew in confidence with History student Jake Allingan capable in goal. Liverpool were composed in their approach work, playing the ball along the ground and their penetration was good. However, they were less impressive in the final third and their finishing was less than clinical. Then Warwick seized their opportunity and English literature student Stuart Bryan put Warwick ahead before half time.

Liverpool equalised after the break with a tap in, but Bryan pounced on a keeper error to make it 2-1. Liverpool then equalised from a corner and then went 3-2 ahead. A well struck penalty for Liverpool seemed to put the game beyond doubt, but Warwick made it 3-4 from a corner. A good, competitive game of football.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Bournemouth prepare for promotion party

Bournemouth fans were in a queue through the night for tickets for Saturday's game at The Valley (they don't have a loyalty scheme). If they beat Charlton, and Watford slip up to the Massives, they could even end up as champions.

Are Bournemouth the underdogs they are portrayed as? This issue is considered on our sister site: True Underdogs?

Please bear in mind that trains from the London direction will be disrupted on Saturday with departures from Victoria.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Gomez should stay at The Valley, insists Luzon

Four Premier League clubs - Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City and Newcastle United - are now showing an interest in Joe Gomez.

However, Guy Luzon insists that he would be better off staying at The Valley. Luzon told The Football League Paper, 'I think now he is not ready to play in the Premier League. Now at his age he needs to play and only by playing consistently will he improve his level.'

'It is no doubt that we are the best place for him now. For the club and for him the best thing is to stay.'

Saturday 25 April 2015

Last away game ends in defeat

It was a disappointing afternoon for the 1,069 Addicks who made the journey to St. Andrews this afternoon for the last away game of the season as Charlton went down 1-0 to Birmingham City.

The first corner of the game went to Charlton after two minutes. Somewhat oddly, the ball was played back to the halfway line and the move petered out with a Birmingham free kick.

Tesche put in a shot from 30 yards out, Henderson did well to tip it on to the crossbar and Roger Johnson cleared at the expense of a corner.

Johnson blocked well to deal with a shot from Gray. Fabbrini had a good opportunity but put the ball just wide.

Charlton made a good move down the left involving Morgan Fox who put a good cross in but it was well cut out by Morrison.

Birmingham won a corner after a quickly taken free kick. The short corner routine did not go to plan for the Blues.

Watt cut on to his left foot twenty yards out, it looked as if it was going into the top corner, but Randolph saved well, tipping the ball over the bar. The corner was ultimately unproductive.

Fox defended well at the expense of a corner as Gray threatened. Their short corner routine was followed by another. Henderson claimed the ball.

Grounds put in a good shot but Henderson saved well, tipping the ball round the post. Charlton tried to build an attack after the corner.

Birmingham won another corner as the half came to a close, but Gray sliced the ball out for a Charlton goal kick. No time was added on.

HT 0-0

A Solly cross was headed behind for an early Charlton corner. Roger Johnson had to concede a corner at the other end, being greeted with boos by the home fans. The Blues got a second corner. After further play, Roger Johnson was able to head clear. However, Birmingham soon won another corner, followed by yet another. Watt was able to come away with the ball, but Birmingham attacked again. Cotterill took a shot which was the wrong option.

Tal Ben Haim had to deal with a dangerous cross. Solly had to deal with further pressure by putting the ball out for a corner.

After Johnson gave the ball away with a sloppy pass, Cotterill clipped the outside of the post.

Charlton had a good break, but Randolph put the ball behind from Vetokele’s shot.

Bulot went off and Eagles came on. Charlton had a period of pressure with a possible chance for Solly, but it all came to nothing.

Randolph saved well off Watt after a Charlton break which was three on two. Roger Johnson then had to head behind for the 12th Birmingham corner of the game. Solly did well to block the ball. Cotterill was taken off and Dyer came on.

The Blues got another corner. Johnson headed clear.

Dyer sliced a shot wide under pressure from Chris Solly. Jordan Cousins got the first yellow card of the game for a foul on the masked Fabbrini.

Church replaced Vetokele with just under 13 minutes to go. Grounds got a yellow card for taking out Church as he made a break down the right. Fabbrini was taken off to a standing ovation. The substitute Thomas put the ball from the Tal Ben Haim free kick behind for a corner.

Dyer had a lot of space on the left and scored with Henderson left with no chance as the ball went low and hard into the corner.

Charlton won a corner. Watt’s effort went wide. Charlton saved well from Caddis.

Cousins, who went down with cramp, was replaced by Diarra. A free kick was awarded against Tal Ben Haim.

Four minutes were added on. Birmingham won a late corner.

Charlton had petered out in the second half.

Morro: nothing to prove against Charlton

Michael Morrison says he has nothing to prove in today's game against Charlton. It is a special match and rather weird for Birmingham's 'talismanic' player, but he enjoyed his time with the Addicks: Morrison

Jordan Cousins is the latest Charlton player to be targeted by Premier League clubs. He has been regularly scouted by Aston Villa and West Ham are also interested.

Friday 24 April 2015

Charlton aim for top ten finish

It's 13th v 10th at St.Andrews tomorrow as Charlton aim for a top ten finish. The Addicks are 8th in the form table and Birmingham are 11th. Diarra will not be available for Charlton after picking up a knee injury against Leeds.

The earlier meeting this season ended as a 1-1 draw at The Valley in October. There have been four draws in the last six meetings, with both sides winning once. Birmingham have won only one of the last seven meetings at St. Andrew's. Their only win at home since 1999 was 3-2 in November 2008.

The Blews beat Reading away 1-0 midweek and have lost only one of their last four games. Their only defeat since 6 April was 1-0 at Watford last Saturday. Birmingham are unbeaten in their last seven home games, winning four. Their last defeat at St. Andrew's was 1-0 against Millwall on 10 February.

Elsewhere, Millwall face Derby County at home, having benefitted from a three points deduction imposed on Rotherham for fielding an ineligible player. However, the Millers have a game in hand.

Odds are: Birmingham 6/5, Draw 12/5, Charlton 12/5.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Arter: no hard feelings

One time Addick Harry Arter has been a mainstay of the Bournemouth side after being snapped up from non-league Woking.

Asked by the Metro about going up at Charlton, he replied, 'In all honesty, we could clinch promotion anywhere and it would be a dream come true. I have no problems with Charlton. When they released me, the time was probably right for me to move on.'

'I have no hard feelings. There are people in the Academy who helped me develop from nine to 18 and I will always be grateful.'

Arter hails from Sidcup and had one appearance for Charlton as a late substitute in a league cup game we were losing.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Brockley man tells story of how he became Addickted

David Lodge's novel about growing up in South-East London after the Second World War contains an atmospheric scene set at The Valley. When the publication of his autobiography was announced, I anticipated an account of his Addicktion and I was not disappointed.

Lodge grew up in Millmark Road, Brockley, a 1930s development shoe horned into the Victorian streets of the district. He writes, 'Dad took me to watch Charlton Athletic one Saturday afternoon after his return home [after the war] and I was hooked. Charlton was not, strictly speaking, our local league club - Millwall was nearer. But Millwall was in the lowly Third Division [shortly to return there] and its ground, appropriately called The Den, had (and still has) the reputation of attracting a rough crowd, whereas Charlton was one of the elite teams of the First Division, the equivalent of today's Premier League.'

'Attendances in those days were high. Charlton's ground, known as The Valley, was a vast bowl carved out of a former quarry which attracted crowds of up to 70,000 spectators, mostly standing on uncovered terraces, a mass of bodies that surged and swayed like the sea in moments of excitement. It has since, I believe, greatly shrunk in scale and improved its amenities.'

In a later instalment, I will look at Lodge's memories of the teams of that era.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Race for Gomez is on

The race for the signature of Joe Gomez is on, with Manchester City now apparently challenging favourites Arsenal. Apparently, the asking price is now £8m and if that was really the case it would be difficult to say no: Joe Gomez

For me, he displays a maturity, composure and judgment well beyond his years.

He may consider that he has a better chance of regular first team football if he stays put, rather than being placed in a development squad.

Saturday 18 April 2015

To the Londoners 2-1

It was a case of Belgium overcoming Italy at The Valley this afternoon when Charlton beat Leeds United 2-1. The Addicks are now 10th in the table.

Leeds started with plenty of possession and they were carving through our defence too easily in the first half. Vetokele did divert an effort from Ben Haim on to the post. Tal Ben Haim conceded a penalty, but Henderson pushed it on to the post to keep the scores level. The visitors then went ahead on 37 minutes with a volley after Murphy's corner found Morison in space: Henderson got a hand to it, but could only tip it into the net.

Gudmundsson came on at the break and Charlton looked brighter. After what seemed like an age, the unmarked Watt put the Addicks level on 75 minutes, making use of a Gudmundsson cross. Four minutes later Taylor spilled an effort from Gudmundsson and tripped Vetokele winning us a penalty which Buyens dispatched emphatically into the net to make it 2-1.

The referee seemed oblivious to handballs by Leeds and any infringements by the visitors were dealt with by a talking to.

Player ratings

Stephen Henderson deservedly received Man of the Match in the lounges afterwards and warm applause from the East Stand. It was another assured performance from Joe Gomez. The Premiership clubs watching him will be thinking about their offer. Tal Ben Haim lacked assurance at times, but raced back into defence when needed. Solly was solid and dealt with Mowatt well. Fox had a bit of a struggle with Byram and his decision making was not always the best, but he did make a couple of decent deliveries into the box.

Eagles ran himself into the ground in the first half and was active in attack and defence, but not to great effect. Diarra had to go off early after an injury and that did unbalance us for a while. Bulot had a bit of a disappointing game, summed up by a ball in that was neither a cross nor a shot. Buyens is named by the Football League Paper this morning as our best player. Far from sure about that, but once again he took the penalty well.

Vetokele looks knackered and is way below his form from the early part of the season. Watt was a constant thorn in the side of the Leeds defence. Justifiably pleased with his goal, but got booked for his over enthusiastic celebrations.

Cousins didn't have much of a rest on the bench and once again got involved. Gudmundsson once again used his pace and accuracy to great advantage, unfortunately I don't think we will be able to hold on to him. Church had a cameo.

Friday 17 April 2015

Leeds United not ready to throw in the towel

Leeds United have experienced four straight defeats, but manager Neil Redfearn insists that they are not ready to throw in the towel and head for the beach, as he tries to straighten out their metaphors as well as their play: Leeds United

Johnnie Jackson is heading back to fitness for Charlton, but I unlikely to feature. Joe Gomez is likely to return to the defence after being rested midweek.

Leeds meanwhile have been hit by injury worries with six players ruled out: Injury hit squad

The earlier meeting this season ended as a 2-2 draw at Elland Road in November. Leeds have won only one of the last eight meetings. Their only win since 2003 was 4-2 at The Valley in November last season. Leeds have won five of the last seven meetings at The Valley, losing two.

Charlton are three places ahead of Leeds in the Championship table. Following their run of draws, they have fallen back to 8th in the form table. Leeds are 16th.

Odds are: Charlton 11/10, Draw 12/5, Leeds 12/5.

Premiership clubs track Pope

Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are showing an interest in Charlton keeper Nick Pope. He has confirmed his reputation as a clean sheet specialist this season with Bury: Pope

It's a big leap from League Two to the Premiership, but presumably he would be brought in as a development player (something that can go on longer for a keeper).

Charlton's price tag is around £750,000.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

1-1 at the Macron

Charlton got their third 1-1 draw in a row at Bolton tonight. The home side were in the ascendancy in the second half, but the Addicks managed to hang on for a share of the spoils.

Wiggins was back for Charlton at the Macron Stadium tonight. Bolton won a corner in the first 30 seconds, but the move ended with a shot over the bar.

The early pressure came from Bolton with most of the football played in Charlton’s half. Then, a great ball in from Solly, Watt put a header into the middle and this allowed Bulot to put Charlton 1-0 ahead to the delight of the 234 Addickted in the ground.

Gudmundsson was in space, but Watt’s pass was a little too late.

Mills cynically obstructed Vetokele. The home fans applauded Eagles as he warmed up.

Diarra had to defend well to deal with a Bolton attack. Danns put a shot in and Johnson threw himself at the ball at the expense of a corner cleared by Buyens. Charlton tried to break quickly.

Bolton had a quick break, but it came to nothing. Bulot put in a great cross as he spotted a run by Watt, but it was slightly too high and the ball went over.

Solly did just enough to ensure that the attacker was put off and Henderson claimed the ball.

Bolton won a corner off Solly. It was a dangerous ball but Bulot hooked it out.

Bolton threatened, but the ball ended up going over the bar.

Diarra gave Bolton a free kick in the minute added on, but the free kick was poor and ended in a throw in for Charlton.

HT: Trotters 0, Addicks 1

Bolton looked livelier in the opening phase of the second half, but Charlton stood up well. Diarra had to concede a corner. Charlton got a free kick in the box.

Wiggins defended well. Diarra stood his ground and the Bolton man went down very easily. Neil Lennon encroached on the pitch.

Wiggins had to put the ball out for a corner after a Bolton free kick.

Bulot shot straight at Bodgan, but Charlton won the ball and got a corner.

Bogdan had to dive to his left to deal with a shot from Gudmundsson.

Bolton made a double substitution with Heskey and Davies coming on to the delight of the home crowd. It was the first game for Davies since November.

Watt made a good run but the shot did not have quite enough power and Bogdan was able to save by diving to his right.

Watt came off and Eagles came on. Vetokele came off for Church.

Bolton won a corner, but Charlton eventually dealt with it. Charlton maintained their shape well.

Bolton carved their way through, Diarra slipped and the home side got their equaliser.

Diarra faced Le Fondre and had to put the ball out for a corner. There was an appeal for hand ball as there was chaos in the box, but the referee said no.

Bolton won another corner. The goal was gaping, but Mills played an air shot.

Feeney had a chance after patient build up play, but it went over the crossbar. Two minutes were added on. Bolton brought on Janko.

Trotters seek to shore up their defence

Charlton face Bolton away tonight. They are 17th in the table but one place above Charlton in the form table.

Charlton won the earlier meeting this season 2-1 at The Valley in October. The Addicks are unbeaten in the last four meetings, winning two. Bolton's last win was 2-0 at the Macron Stadium in December 2012. Bolton are unbeaten in the last six meetings at the Macron Stadium, winning three. Charlton's last win there was 2-1 in the Premier League in August 2002.

Bolton have won only one of their last five games. Their only win since mid-March was 3-0 at Cardiff on 6 April. The Trotters lost their last home game 2-1 against Norwich on Saturday - their first defeat in five games at the Macron Stadium. Bolton boss Neil Lennon slammed his side's defending and vowed to make changes. He said that it was 'criminal defending which happened far too often.'

This could mean that Dorian Dervite will not face his former club. He got a score of 5 from The Football League Paper which said that he looked nervous when confronted with pace.

Odds are: Bolton 11/10, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/5

The rise of Francis Coquelin

This report reckons that Francis Coquelin is now the best defensive midfielder in the Premiership (and it does mention Charlton): Francis Coquelin

His progress since his loan spell should encourage Arsenal to lend us other promising players in the future.

On something else, here you can see the wonder goal scored by Charlton's youth keeper Dimitar Mitov: World record broken?

Sunday 12 April 2015

Symons wants Curbs to stay

Fulham boss Kit Symons has said he wants to continue working with Alan Curbishley. Curbs is with the Cottagers in an advisory capacity.

'I'd definitely like him to stay,' Symons told The Football League Paper. 'I didn't really know Curbs until he came in last time at the club, but I've been really impressed with him. His knowledge and experience has been a breath of fresh air.'

'We sit down and look at all the scenarios that come up in games, and Curbs plays a part in that, as the other boys do.'

Symons also talked to BBC Sport about Curbs, saying 'He's got an opinion on everything, but doesn't ram it down your throat: Curbs at the Cottage

Saturday 11 April 2015

Honours even at Hillsborough

The mid-table clash with Sheffield Wednesday ended in a 1-1 draw. Charlton remain 11th.

Gudmundsson put in an early shot as Charlton faced Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the presence of 828 Addicks . Eagles controlled a ball from a free kick by Johnson well and forced a corner. The home side were able to clear.

A shot from Eagles was well over. In a subsequent promising move, Church was caught offside.

Wednesday made their first attack after twelve minutes, rather than lumping the ball into the box, and put their shot just wide.

Eagles put the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out in an unfair offside decision.

Vetokele put in a shot, Church put in a scuffed shot and it was deflected by the keeper for a corner.

Wednesday advanced, it was four against two, but Henderson smothered the ball as the home crowd were roused from their subdued state.

Charlton staged a great break started by Church and Fox put the ball just over the bar. Charlton mounted an attack from a free kick, but Church was caught offside.

Jordan Cousins was having a great game in midfield.

Wednesday won their first corner of the game just after the half hour mark. The header went over the bar.

Church put in a shot and the keeper dived at his feet and saved it at the expense of a corner. In the subsequent play, Westwood put his body in the way of a venomous shot from Fox.

Charlton faced a moment of danger after failing to deal with a throw in, but Johnson managed to get something on the shot.

The ball came in from the right and Wednesday went ahead through Lavery, who was on his own in the six yard box, on 40 minutes against the run of play.

HT: Owls 1, Addicks

Wednesday had an early attack, Gomez failed to control the ball, but the shot from Isgrove went straight at Henderson.

Hutchinson got a yellow card for a tackle on Gudmundsson which put him on the floor. He had already been taken out by Hutchinson in the first half.

Wednesday won a corner. Johnson was able to get the ball clear, but the Owls got another corner on 54 minutes. Buyens headed clear. The home side had made the brighter start to the second half. The Charlton forwards were not getting much service.

Simon Church went off, not too happy, and Tony Watt came on. Gudmundsson was taken out by Helan.

Wednesday had an opportunity to make it 2-0, but failed to take the chance. Charlton won a corner from a free kick, but it was cleared. Tony Watt did seem to have lifted things.

Wednesday made a double substitution. Eagles put in a great shot, the keeper saved but Gudmundsson got it on his left foot and scored to equalise.

Lavery put in a shot in out of nowhere and hit the post and then another shot from Isgrove hit the crossbar.

The lively Lavery was replaced by May. Eagles was replaced by Diarra with Cousins going out to the left.

Wednesday had a great chance from a cross, but May missed it. Diarra put Solly in a difficult position and he had to commit a foul.

Wednesday were given a free kick in a dangerous position, quite why was unclear, but it gave the referee a chance to get his spray out. It led to a corner.

Maguire fired in a shot which was deflected but Henderson collected it.

Four minutes were added on. A free kick went straight into Henderson’s arms. Zayatte went down from a knee to the head and Tony Watt put the unconscious player in the recovery position straight away.

A fan who was there had the following to say.

It managed, somehow, to be simultaneously irritatingly scrappy and surprisingly entertaining. The pitch, though better than ours last season, was a mess, particularly down our right in the first half, with Gudmundsson consequently unable to run with the ball and lots of frustratingly squandered possession. We rarely lost the ball for long though, and were by far the better team approaching the interval. Their goal was perhaps their only moment of quality in the whole half though, some very neat interplay on the touchline resulting in an excellent cross that maybe Henderson might have claimed?

They were buoyed by the goal in the second period and dominated possession without really threatening, until we scored out of nothing, one of Jóhann's extraordinary finishes, where still having a lot to do turns into a bulging net in the blink of an eye.

We were still celebrating when they hit the post a couple of times in quick succession, and we were lucky that their mountainous substitute striker had about as much skill as, well, a mountain when well-placed to win it, but Tony Watt's introduction kept them occupied at the back (I was surprised that Church rather than Vetokele made way, as was Churchy by the look of it) and by the end, while we perhaps shaded it, there was probably never a better example of a 'fair result'.

Player ratings

Henderson 7 Little to do, replays will show if he might have claimed the cross for the goal

Solly 7 I'm far from convinced he's captaincy material, but hisusual assured self

Gomez 9 Wow. First time I'd seen him (other than sitting on the bench) and I see now what you all mean. For me, simply the best player on the pitch.

Johnson 6 I saw his debut, which heralded the start of all those 3-0s, but today he was less impressive, though admittedly neither he or Joe were overly extended.

Fox 8 A different player from the nervous youngster of early in the season. Wiggins was on the bench today but I can't see him getting back in the team?

Eagles 7 Possibly a generous rating, but I think he has something and I'd give him a contract. Then again I bigged up Florent Rouamba when we signed him, and pined loudly for Andy Delort...

Cousins 6 Seemingly undroppable, but it's hard to spot any improvement from a year ago; still a work in progress, still an undeniably huge engine, but you do begin to wonder about him, don't you?

Buyens 6 The usual curate's egg. but more involved than I was expecting and a decent shift.

Gudmundsson 8 If he had any pace, he'd be playing for Barcelona orsomeone, but their loss is our gain. In the game from start to finish (unlike at Boro, where he disappeared almost as soon as he scored); keepinghim surely has to be our number one priority this summer?

Church 6 Writes itself, as ever. Worked his socks off, not quite good enough.

Vetokele 5 Seems at odds with himself at the moment. Plenty ofeffort, too many petulant fouls, never caused the defence a significant problem.

Ray Treacy

I was sorry to hear of the death of Ray Treacy at the age of 68 following a short illness. He played for Charlton from 1967/8 until 1972 when he was transferred to Swindon Town.

He grew up in Dublin playing Gaelic football and hurling and then joined the Home Farm club. He came to Charlton from West Bromwich Albion.

He played 158 times for Charlton, plus six times as a substitute. He scored a total of 53 goals. He received 43 caps playing for Ireland, 14 while at Charlton. He overcame his height of 5ft. 9 ins. to pose an aerial threat. He formed an excellent strike partnership with Matt Tees.

When he returned to Ireland at the end of his Football League career, he ran a travel agency and even had a single in the Irish pop charts. He also managed Shamrock Rovers.

Tributes have been pouring in to a man described as a 'true servant of the beautiful game': Ray Treacy

One Addick commented, 'I remember him as a short-ish, chunky centre-forward who had the power to barge his way past bigger opponents. I see Tony Watt as being in the same mould - does that seem right to those who have a better memory?

Another Addick said, 'Strange awkward way of running but poached goals for us. I recall him scoring at Craven Cottage on a mud bath of a pitch. I think it was the only goal of the game.'

Friday 10 April 2015

Owls players fight for their places

16 Sheffield Wednesday players are out of contract in the summer and they have been told to fight their places against Charlton on Saturday: Fight for your perch

Wednesday appear to have a number of defensive worries ahead of the game which suggests that we should go for an attacking formation, although Igor seemed worn out on Tuesday.

Last year we won 3-2 at Hillsborough after a 2-0 defeat the preceding year. This year's match is a classic mid-table league clash with the Addicks one point ahead of the Owls.

Sheffield Wednesday have won only one of their last five games. Their only win since 7 March was 3-2 at Rotherham on 21 March. The Owls have won only one of their last eight home games. Their only win at Hillsborough since Boxing Day was 2-0 against Middlesbrough at home on 28 February.

Yoni Buyens and Chris Solly have completed their suspensions. Johnnie Jackson is heading back towards fitness, but is unlikely to feature.

All the officials are from 'oop north including referee Darren Bond who presided over our humiliation at Watford and our 0-1 home defeat by Ipswich. Helen Byrne will be one of the linespersons. The 20-year old is the youngest person in the country to become a level three referee: Helen Byrne

Odds are: home win, 21/20; draw, 21/10; away win 16/5.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Gomez for the Emirates?

A number of top flight clubs are tracking Joe Gomez who has been impressive for the Addicks this season. However, Arsenal's good working relationship with Charlton puts the Islington club in a favoured position for a bid: Gomez

However, Gomez insists that he is happy at The Valley: Enjoying his football

Derby draw

Charlton shared the points in a 1-1 draw with Fulham at The Valley last night. I thought it was quite an exciting game, although I was surprised when I read the stats that we only had 42 per cent of the possession.

The Fulham defence looked shaky when we attacked with pace. Our slow builds ups were less threatening. However, our defence also looked under pressure at times. We tended to give unmarked players on the wings too much space and opportunity to develop an attack, notably the right back Hoogland.

Hendo was captain and for some reason he decided to change ends, allowing the Cottagers to attack the Jimmy Seed and their fans.

McCormack gave Fulham the perfect start after just eight minutes when he nodded his 14th goal of the season over Stephen Henderson following a flick-on from strike partner Smith. This led to chants of 'We're winning away' from the Cottagers.

However, the lead lasted just 10 minutes before Morgan Fox whipped in a low cross for Gudmundsson to hammer the ball into the roof of the net at the far post, despite Fulham's claim that team-mate Frederic Bulot had been in an offside position. I must say that from where we were sitting it did look offside. However, it makes a nice change to get a favourable decision from a linesman in a match against Fulham.

Gudmundsson then missed a great chance when he shot wide from a Igor Vetokele cross before the break when it looked as if he had a tap in. What went wrong I don't know. Chris Eagles was denied by Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli in the second half.

But Fulham could have earned only their fifth away win with Smith seeing an effort cleared off the line by Joe Gomez before wasting a fantastic late chance from a free kick by the 'D' when he blasted the ball over.

Inevitably Scott Parker's appearance attracted some controversy. Initially, he was booed by the Covered End every time he touched the ball, although as the Bloke Behind Me remarked, in one of his more sensible comments, this only encouraged him to get stuck in (to the extent that he picked up a yellow card). In the second half, he was involved in an exchange of views with Charlton supporters in the corner of the Lower North. Leaving the pitch at the end of the game, he was serenaded with chants of 'One greedy bastard.'

Parker's departure to Chelsea did undermine our chances in our best season in the Premiership, but he was one of the best talents to come out of the Charlton academy and perhaps it is time to move on after eleven years.

Curbs was at the game in his capacity as Fulham's technical advisor and I saw a tweeted picture of him with Keith Peacock.

Player ratings

Henderson supplied one superb save, turning the ball round the post, and some other excellent ones. Talal Ben Haim got a possibly avoidable yellow card, but on the whole did his job well enough. Gomez continues to impress, he is an excellent player for his age, active in attack and defence. Johnson had one or two wobbly moments, seems to think he is better than he actually is, I wouldn't favour a new contract. Fox was solid and is improving, I don't think he deserves the abuse he gets from some fans but once they have made up their minds someone is useless, that is that.

Diarra justified his new contract with a professional performance. Cousins probably played the ball more than any other player on the pitch, apart from Parker. Gudmundsson took his goal well, but then had a miss. The Bloke Beside Me had Bulot as his player of the match and we were both disappointed when he was substituted. He shows real pace down the wings.

Vetokele didn't contribute a lot and was eventually substituted. Watt displayed his penetrating power and trickery, but sometimes he needs to be a little less selfish and lay the ball off.

Eagles got involved when he came on. Church really didn't make much of a difference.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Another derby challenge

Charlton face another derby challenge at The Valley tonight, but one with less significance than that at Millwall. Alan Curbishley will, however, presumably be accompanying the Cottagers in his role as technical advisor.

However, our record against Fulham is also poor. Fulham won the earlier meeting this season 3-0 at Craven Cottage in October. Fulham are unbeaten in the last seven meetings in all competitions, winning four. Charlton's last win was 2-1 at The Valley in the Premier League in December 2004. However, Charlton are unbeaten in the last four meetings at The Valley, winning two. Fulham's last win there was 1-0 in the Premier League in May 2003.

Rhoys Wiggins is said to be nearing fitness. Chris Solly is out with his red card. Fulham are trying to get Snotty Parker fit after illness.

Charlton have fallen back to 4th in the form table after their defeat at Millwall, while Fulham are fifth from bottom in both the form table and the league. Fulham lost their local derby 1-4 to Brentford on Saturday and were booed off the pitch.

Odds are: Charlton 11/8, Draw 12/5, Fulham 2/1.

Sunday 5 April 2015

Gudmundsson heading for Prem

Johann Gudmundsson could be heading for the Premier League at the end of the season, reports this morning's Football League Paper. The paper notes, 'Gudmundsson is keen on moving up because there is no chance of him playing in the Premier League with the Addicks, while Charlton know they have to be realistic in terms of bigger clubs coming in to tempt players away from The Valley.'

Stoke and Hull City have been checking him out in recent weeks with a view to making a move in the summer. Bournemouth are also watching him, while Nottingham Forest would renew their interest if they were promoted.

Friday 3 April 2015

Ten man Charlton lose to Millwall

Despite Chris Solly being sent off in the first half, Charlton went 1-0 ahead against Millwall in the second half, but the home side then scored two goals to take all three points.

Tony Watt won an early corner against Millwall, but it was unproductive.

Millwall played in a dangerous ball, but Gregory was unable to connect. The home side started well and got the initial upper hand.

Chris Solly was given a yellow card after an exchange of views with Gregory. Why Gregory was not booked was unclear. A Millwall free kick came off Vetokele for a corner which was followed by a second. Millwall raked up the pressure with a third corner. Diarra cleared an O’Brien header well.

Charlton were looking bright down the left-hand side with Tony Watt. The Addicks had a chance after a great ball from Gudmundsson, but Eagles at full stretch put the ball into the side netting.

Millwall were still winning the midfield battle. Jordan Cousins was not at the top of his game. Gomez had to clear the ball off the line. Chris Solly got a straight red for a handball and was sent off. Henderson saved Gregory’s penalty on 28 minutes.

Chris Eagles was sacrificed and Bikey came on.

Charlton won a corner from a free kick after Millwall got their first yellow card. Millwall counter attacked from the corner, but Henderson was alive to the danger and Fox cleared.

Henderson dived to his right to make a great save as a shot came in.

Charlton had another corner. Diarra put the ball wide as two minutes of time added on were signalled.

Millwall won a corner. Johnson got the ball away and then Cousins blocked it.

HT 0-0

Gomez had to put a block in at the expense of a Millwall corner. Upson’s shot was well over the bar.

There was a period of pressure on Charlton and Vetokele had to help out with defensive work. Henderson had to save to his right. Henderson had to punch clear from Gregory.

Diarra put the ball into the back of the net from a cross from Gox to make it 1-0 to Charlton on 67 minutes.

Millwall took a defender off and brought on a long ball merchant. Williams got a yellow card.

Vetokele was ushered off by the referee and Bulot came on.

Upson came off and charm merchant Nicky Bailey came on. Watt came off and Church came on.

Millwall got the equaliser through Gueye after an error by Bikey.

Church jumped a little too early and put the ball just wide.

Millwall won a corner. Then they made it 2-1, Hoolveld scoring from very close range.

Six minutes were added on. Charlton won a corner after Bailey put the ball over the bar. Henderson came forward, but his effort went wide.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Luzon's big test

If Guy Luzon can secure a win at Millwall, Charlton fans may at last embrace him with real warmth. As Charlton's season peters out towards a mid-table finish, this is the game that really matters to the Addickted. A mid-table finish is, of course, very welcome considering where we were not so long ago, while Millwall badly need three points to help dig themselves out of the relegation positions.

Charlton are currently top of the Championship form table, while Millwall are 22nd However, Charlton's record against Millwall, especially at the New Den, has not been good. Millwall are unbeaten in the last seven meetings, winning three. Charlton's last win was 2-0 at The Valley in the old Division One in March 1996. Charlton have won only one of the last 13 meetings at Millwall. Their only win there since 1978 was 2-0 in the old Division One in December 1995. This was the famous match in the snow when it was announced that 'Shooters Hill station is closed.'

Millwall can bring back skipper Alan Dunne after his suspension for collecting 10 yellow cards this season. Charm merchant Nicky Bailey has recovered from back spasms but may not be ready to return. Paris Cowan-Hall (ankle) and Lee Martin (foot) are in the same boat. Igor Vetokele could feature after recovering from an Achilles injury and Rhoys Wiggins (calf) and Chris Solly (ankle) could also return.

The odds reflect genuine uncertainty about the outcome: Millwall 6/4, Draw 23/10, Charlton 19/10.

Gudmundsson makes top 50 list

Johann Gudmundsson is the one Charlton Athletic player to make a list of top 50 Football League players in Four Four Two. He is ranked at 40. Yann Kermorgant is not on the list.

The magazine says: 'After five decent years playing for AZ in Holland, the Icelandic winger adapted immediately to the hurly-burly of the Championship, impressing with his pace, energy and willingness to chase down loose balls. He has chipped in regularly with goals, too, and popped up with some stunning finishes, such as his curled cracker against Rotherham in September. He also notched a international hat-trick against Switzerland back in September 2013.'

Wednesday 1 April 2015

It's Network 2.0!

Ambitious plans for a further development of the network next season have been unveiled. Squads are to be registered with other clubs in the network, so that they can play each other ‘s matches. Thus, for example, one week Charlton could play at Alcorcón, they could go to Upjest and the Hungarian team would come to The Valley. The official site has now revealed that home and away kits will be shared with the Spanish side in a solidarity package: Shared kit

Season ticket holders would be entitled to free entry when the Charlton squad was playing elsewhere. The scheme does not involve the mother ship.

Closer to home, Charlton are to launch a beach football team. This has been planned for some time, but was held up when Andy Delort did not join the club last summer as he would have been captain with his beach football experience.

Looking for a site to play games, club officials quickly discounted locations along the Thames as too small and muddy.

Derek from Dymchurch then contacted the club pointing out that there is a large beach at Romney Sands at low tide. The nearby static caravan park has semi-permanent residents and Derek contacted residents Dennis and Sandra who are active in his UKIP branch.

They got in touch with the camp management who were able to offer a 10 per cent discount on accommodation to Charlton fans coming to watch games. They would also receive a free copy of the Daily Express. The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway chipped in with an offer of discounted tickets for fans travelling to games.

The beach at Romney Sands at low tide.

Unfortunately, when club officials inspected the proposed pitch at low tide they sunk up to their calves in mud. A pair of Katrien Meire’s trademark boots were completely ruined.

At this point Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt stepped in as cabinet member for economic development on Thanet Council. ‘There is more interest in Charlton in my village than round the ground,’ said the Rickster. ‘We have a lot of level sandy beaches and an arrangement would be to the benefit of the club and Thanet.'

On a clear day it is possible to see the French coast from parts of Thanet, indeed this was an inspiration for Edward Heath’s European vision when he was growing up in Broadstairs. It is not possible to see the Belgian coast, but, as a mark of respect for the club’s owners, a beach is to be selected facing in the general direction of Belgium.

Fun and games on the beach with Rick Everitt

Help will be needed in marking out the pitch and other preparations and anyone interested should write to Rick Everitt at Thanet Council. The address is c/o The Addicktion Unit, Valley Suite, Powell Wing, Kermorgant House, Robins Way, New Charlton, Farage-on-Sea.