Monday 31 August 2015

Any last minute signings?

Richard Cawley of the SLP thinks that Charlton are not primed for any transfer day signings, although he is not ruling it out.

The departure of Bikey and Nego, and the Harriott loan, do not amount to big savings on the wages front and the word is that the club is already a little over budget. It is likely that any strengthening will come through loan signings.

Because Jermaine Pennant is a free agent, he could be signed after the transfer window closes and this still seems quite likely.

The Sparrows Lane tea lady has claimed that two players are coming in tomorrow, but her reading of the tea leaves has been less reliable recently.

I took the granddaughters away over the bank holiday weekend and a very unpleasant sight was of a Glazier in Swanage, proudly wearing his shirt out of which his beer gut protruded.

On Your Bikey

Andre Bikey has had his contract at Charlton terminated by mutual consent. He impressed initially, but then fell out of favour.

Loic Nego has left to join a Hungarian club. He never impressed and was a network error.

Friday 28 August 2015

Can Charlton remain undefeated?

The fixtures computer gave Charlton a tough start to the season and some fans predicted we would have no points by this stage. Instead, we face another promotion favourite on Saturday with Wolves in 17th place and the Addicks in 3rd. That is, of course, no grounds for complacency.

After registering four points from their opening two games, there was plenty of optimism at Wolves, but that has now disappeared to some extent with defensive problems costing the team a number of points and transfer interest in Benik Afobe only intensifying, despite the club insisting that the striker isn't for sale. Despite Norwich City making three offers for his signature, the signs are there that the England Under-21 international will stay, but supporters are demanding improvements at the back, with individual mistakes contributing to their defeats to Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City.

For the opening 30 minutes against QPR, Wolves were superb and looked like promotion contenders, but since then, they have conceded five goals, three of which were due to errors attributed to goalkeeping duo Emiliano Martinez and Carl Ikeme.

Charlton maintain their interest in James Henry, with rumours of a bid closer to the £1m valuation.

Chris Solly could return on Saturday, but Tony Watt is unlikely to be available.

The last two Charlton games at Molineux have ended in draws and that could well be the result this time.

Odds are: Wolves 4/5, Draw 5/2, Charlton 15/4.

Harriott off on loan?

The Sparrows Lane tea lady is reporting that Callum Harriott is off on loan to Colchester United. The story has now been confirmed by the more reliable source of Richard Cawley of the SLP: Loan deal

One fan commented, 'While I don’t share the evident glee in some quarters at the departure of one of our academy graduates, it has to be said that on Tuesday’s evidence Callum has little to offer the first team at the moment regardless of whether or not he is replaced. He was awful - but no doubt he was unassisted by the vocal negativity from a minority of Charlton fans.'

Thursday 27 August 2015

Pennant deal imminent

Guy Luzon is weighing up offering free agent Jermaine Pennant a contract: Jermaine Pennant

There are some claims that he has already signed, but no confirmation as yet.

In any event it looks as if 'Plan A', luring James Henry from Wolves, is now dead in the water.

Keep calm says Zaha

Wilfreid Zaha has urged Crystal Palace not to let emotion cloud their judgment as they face Charlton and their 'crazy' fans: Crystal Palace

The rumour mill is linking Charlton with Kevin Nolan after the 33-year old left West Ham by mutual consent: Kevin Nolan

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Young side wins 4-1

Charlton progressed to the third round of the League One cup with a 4-1 victory over Peterborough tonight. They will face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Charlton put out a youthful side at the former London Road with six Academy products featuring in front of a crowd of 2,771, of whom about 600 were Addickted. Mikhail Kennedy made his first start with Lennon at left back and Charles-Cook at right back. Jordan Cousins was named as captain. Harriott started on the right. Igor Vetokele was on the bench. Peterborough had a 3-5-2 formation.

Mikhail Kennedy scored for Charlton after two minutes, slamming the ball into the back of the net, Alnwick spilling the ball. Harriott and Ahearne-Grant linked up in the build up to the goal and Bergdich got a touch.

Ahearne-Grant put in a shot that was again spilt by Alnwick but Bergdich was not able to connect. Posh put in a strike that went wide. Lennon dealt well with Taylor.

Kennedy put in a great ball, but Harriott fluffed his header. Posh broke away, giving them a free kick in a dangerous position with Lennon getting a yellow card for the foul. The delivery was poor and it was cleared by Cousins.

Peterborough got the first corner of the game. Harriott hacked the ball clear. Harriott put in a shot after good play by Cousins when Ahearne-Grant and Kennedy were available as better options. Harriott then skewed a shot wide as Ahearne-Grant and Kennedy turned away in frustration.

Peterborough were getting into the game a bit more. They were putting a lot of pressure on their right hand side. Pope had to make a good save at the expense of a corner. Cousins headed the ball away well. Ba went down off the ball with a problem with his right leg and did not look comfortable.

Lennon hacked the ball away from a corner. Subsequently he put in a great tackle on the dangerous Taylor. A free flowing move saw Bergdich unable to connect properly. Kennedy put a great flick into the path of Cousins who should have passed to Bergdich.

Charlton got their first corner. Charles-Cook stopped the counter attack.

Charlton could have been further ahead if their decision-making on the final ball had been better.

HT: Posh 0, Addicks 1

Peterborough won an early corner as Ba went down again. The ball went on to the roof of the goal.

Charlton approached well with Bergdich putting a good ball in but Harriott shot over.

Great play from Kennedy won Charlton a penalty. Ahearne-Grant took a composed penalty and put the ball into the left-hand corner to make it 2-0. The Addickted were in great voice as Peterborough attempted an attack.

A shot from Harriott was blocked. Hand balls by Peterborough were ignored by the Lincolnshire referee.

Shouts of ‘Igor’ were heard from the Addickted. Nick Pope held the ball well after good play by the home side. The energetic but sometimes wayward Harriott was replaced by Vetokele.

Peterborough won a corner after a great tackle by Sarr. Nick Pope dived on to the ball.

Jordan Cousins came off and gave the armband to Bauer as Kashi came on. Bauer defended well against Taylor. A low cross was intercepted well by Sarr.

Charlton won a corner after a good save by Alnwick following good play by Ahearne-Grant.

Charles-Cook had to clear after a Taylor free kick. Charlton counter attacked, Kashi’s shot came off the foot of the post and Kennedy was not able to take a half chance.

Boswick got a yellow card for a shocking tackle. He then shoved Vetokele in the back. Pope had to come off his line to deal with a counter attack.

Kashi scored an amazing goal from not far past the halfway line from at least 40 yards. Video clip here: Kashi goal Bergdich who had been looking leggy was substituted, 20-year old Oliver Muldoon coming on for his first team debut.

Lennon defended a corner well. Pope had to save well.

Pope had to palm away a free kick by Madison. The corner was cleared by Lennon. The counter attack was caught offside.

A strong kick upfield by Nick Pope found Ahearne-Grant and a great cross by Olly Muldoon then allowed Igor Vetokele to make it 4-0 with a volley.

Great play by Ahearne-Grant won Charlton a corner as the Addickted chanted ‘we want five’, but Alnwick claimed well.

Bauer dealt well with a Posh attack. A corner was headed away by Kashi. Four minutes were added on. The home side got a goal back, it was a sloppy goal to concede. Sarr and Bauer cleared another attack. Pope collected a tame shot well.

Posh take positive attitude

Peterborough United are taking a positive attitude into their League Cup tie with Charlton tonight, hoping to collect a scalp off a 'big' club. However, they will be without their suspended captain with keeper Ben Alnwick stepping into his place. They are also without three key defenders: Positive Posh

Peterborough have won their last three League Cup games at London Road, scoring 12 and conceding none in that time. Charlton have lost their last five away games in the League Cup, not tasting victory on the road since a 2-0 win at Swindon in 2007. The two sides have met five times in the League Cup (though not since 1979), with two wins apiece and one draw in previous games. The Addicks have won five of the last six meetings between the two sides.

Bet 365 make Charlton 9/5 favourites. For first goal scorer, you can choose between Conor Washington [who he?] and Igor Vetokele, presumably on crutches!

In recent years Charlton have not really done cups, but I hope that we try and maintain the momentum of our good start to the season by progressing in this competition. Hence, we should not weaken our team too much. My fear would be extra time and penalties.

Monday 24 August 2015

Charlton fan rescued from Australian bush

It's been all over the media today, and I heard him interviewed on Radio 5 this morning, but no one has so far mentioned that Geoff Keys, the man rescued from the Australian bush, is a Charlton fan. I know that he is because the Dartford resident was a guest at my 25th wedding anniversary party at The Valley and was part of a group who drank at the Rose of Denmark before games.

Read more about his rescue here: Geoff Keys

In his own blog account, Keys says that he feels stupid but lucky: The full story

He has denied that he was part of a search for Moussa.

Addicks still chasing James Henry

Charlton think they need another winger and that James Henry from Wolves would fit the bill. But if that doesn't work, Jermaine Pennant could be Plan B according to Richard Cawley of the SLP: Winger search

Posh lack 'winning mentality'

Peterborough United lack a 'winning mentality' according to their manager after they lost three of their first four League One games: Peterborough United

They hope that a win against an injury ravaged Charlton in the League Cup tomorrow night will get their season back on track.

Saturday 22 August 2015

The narrative changes

The narrative about Charlton is changing after the weakened relegation favourites beat promotion favourites Hull City 2-1 at a sweltering Valley this afternoon to go third in the table. We are now being talked of as 'unknown quantity' or even a 'surprise package'. The glass half empty crowd will say that we rode our luck and at times we did, but there is nothing wrong with that.

For their part, Hull were less good than all the hype about them during the week suggested. Their supporters were also rather quiet by the standards of many who visit The Valley. Perhaps they realise that a quick return to the Premiership is not going to be straightforward.

Interrupted by injuries and with the heat slowing the tempo, the first half was relatively uneventful with neither keeper really being tested. However, Charlton controlled the game well.

After the break a Gudmundsson cross to a well placed Simon Makienok enabled the Dane to head home his first Charlton goal. He raised his arms to the heavens in gratitude (apparently it was for his departed mum). Gudmundsson had a chance to make it 2-0 after a breakaway put him one on one with the keeper, but he was denied. Hull started to find space on their left and eventually the pressure told and they equalised on 89 minutes after a fumble by Nick Pope.

The fear then was it would be 1-2 and for a moment it looked as if it was, but the linesman's flag was raised in time. Eight minutes added on looked as if it might favour Hull, but Gudmundsson got a last gasp winner with a header to make it a Valley of joy. Guy Luzon got sent to the stands for his excessive celebrations. Great to hear the Covered End chanting 'Guy Luzon's red army.'

A special word of commendation of the Bloke Behind Me for wearing his suit to the game in that heat.

A black mark (again) for South-Eastern Railways. One train from London Bridge was cancelled. The next one was in twenty minutes, but left ten minutes later. The excuse given was 'Congestion on the Greenwich and Woolwich line due to the football.' If they ran a proper service, there wouldn't be congestion.

Good to run into a former student who is Addickted after the game, he observed how much better the train services in North London were.

Rick Everitt has a little fun at the expense of those who said that Makienok was the worst player they had ever seen at The Valley (actually quite a lot to choose from) in a new post at the Voice of the Valley website: Rickmansworth

Player ratings

Pope had played well up to his error for the goal. Bauer was magnificent, distributing forward well. Captain Diarra was a rock. Cousins had to be played out of position at right back, but performed well in that role. Fox continues to improve.

Kashi was man of the match for many, covering every blade of grass and using the ball way. Ba was excellent, but eventually had to be withdrawn because of cramp. Ceballos had to be withdrawn after 23 minutes because of injury. Bergdich was not prominent, but competent enough. A bit petty of the ref to book him for leaving the field too slowly. Gudmundsson created one goal and scored another. His retention may turn out to be crucial. Steve from Petts Wood had not seen Makienok before and thought that he look lost and lacking in confidence. His moves were not coming off. The goal should give him a much needed boost.

Ahearne-Grant did his best when he came on, but his attempts were either wild or off target, despite Makienok selflessly setting him up on one occasion. I couldn’t understand why Luzon didn’t immediately Charles-Cook at right back when he came on and push Cousins into central midfield. He eventually did this in extra time and straight away Charles-Cook looked more comfortable, attacking down the right side. Before that, in midfield, he hardly touched the ball and allowed Hull back into the game. Harriott had a chance to impress, but didn't.

Friday 21 August 2015

Jermaine Pennant could sign

Jermaine Pennant has been training with Charlton this week and could sign, reports Richard Cawley of the SLP. He turned down an offer to stay with Wigan in League 1 and is currently without a club: Jermaine Pennant

The 32-year old winger was given the opportunity to join Millwall last season, but preferred Wigan to the delights of New Cross.

His career has had its ups and downs: Career details

Tigers get over hangover

Hull City have recovered from the hangover of relegation from the Premier League and are getting up to speed in their campaign for an early return. Placed 2nd in the table, they are looking forward to a win at The Valley tomorrow: Hull City

Charlton are beset by injury worries which may lead them to change their usual 4-4-2 formation. They could play 4-4-1-1 with Gudmundsson behind Big Mak or 3-5-2 with three centre backs to cover the right back position.

Charlton have failed to score in their last two games against Hull; they have never gone three without reply. Hull have not beaten Charlton at the Valley since November 1985, losing once and drawing twice since then.

Odds are: Charlton 27/10, Draw 23/10, Hull 23/20.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Injury worries

Watt, Solly and Reza are out for Saturday, Reza's injury is long term. Chris Solly was really clattered by a Forest player towards the end of Tuesday's game, leaving him with an ankle problem.

Solly makes a major contribution, but he can be covered. Tony Watt is more of a worry, given his ability to score goals and his creativity. Guy Luzon won't want to play 4-5-1, but I have doubts about Ahearne-Grant. Makienok is turning into a scapegoat player for some supporters, but that is unfair after three matches, but leading the line would be a big ask.

Vetokele's injury is long-term and difficult to recover from, but Guy Luzon is saying he should be back soon.

Gedion Zelalem rumours quashed

Richard Cawley of the SLP has made it clear that press reports suggesting that the 18-year old Arsenal winger may join Charlton on a loan deal have no basis. In fact he has been in Glasgow for talks with Rangers, although Birmingham City and Fulham have also been in the frame.

We have taken Arsenal loan players in the past so one can see why journalists might add Charlton to the list to pad out their report.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Comparative data on Charlton

The Swiss Ramble blog provides the most in depth and careful analysis of football finances anywhere. His latest analysis is of current table toppers Ipswich Town: Tractors

Why should this interest Charlton fans? Well, there are lots of comparative charts and tables for all Championship clubs including Charlton. In most of them we are around mid-table, e.g., 9th in terms of net spend on players.

The current Ipswich approach is similar to that of Charlton in an earlier era, i.e., don't spend much on players, but try to develop them through good coaching. We also, of course, took some good players from Ipswich.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Another away point

Charlton are 5th in the Championship tonight after a 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest. In some ways they were unlucky not to get all three points.

Addicks striker Simon Makienok missed the two best chances of the first half, heading crosses from Morgan Fox and Cristian Ceballos over while unmarked. Forest's David Vaughan fired just over the bar from 20 yards after the break.

Charlton started to threaten again after the hour mark when Reza Ghoochannejhad came off the bench, setting up Makienok for a header, only to see Dorus de Vries pull off a diving stop, before Patrick Bauer was denied from point-blank range by the Forest keeper.

It still looked like the Addicks could claim all three points with a late goal as the match headed into the final 10 minutes, but Gudmundsson's free kick failed to find any of his teammates in the Forest box, although Lansbury came close down the other end with a similar set-piece effort.

The two sides clashed late on as a late challenge on Chris Solly left the Charlton captain floored, with Makienok reacting angrily, forcing the referee to separate players from both sides.

Charlton did not stop pushing in stoppage time, but the home side had numbers back to make sure they did not slip up in the final moments, while Pope managed to claim a long ball forward in the final seconds to stop Forest snatching the victory.

Johann Gudmundsson discusses the game here: Missed chances

Another tough test

The fixtures computer did not give Charlton an easy start to the season, but so far they have acquitted themselves well. Tonight they continue their tour of the East Midlands, where they have been staying since Saturday, taking on Nottingham Forest.

Tony Watt was exhausted at the end of the Derby game and a lot of the hopes for scoring goals or creating them rest on him, with some Addicks already expressing reservations about Simon Makienok. However, it should be remembered that both Cousins and Gudmundsson can score goals and the defence is looking solid.

Some reports suggest that Chris Solly's knee is giving concern and he may be rested.

The local paper thinks that the Addicks like to use the full width of the pitch and that a lot will depend on the performance of each side's wide men: A matter of width

Forest are currently under a transfer embargo, but managed to beat Rotherham 2-1 on Saturday. However, there seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction among their supporters.

The odds on Charlton being relegated have eased a little so that they are now fourth favourites. Odds for the match are: Forest Evens, Draw 9/4, Charlton 13/5.

Nottingham Forest have won only once in their past six games against the Addicks at the City Ground (drawn three, lost two). Charlton are unbeaten in their past four matches against the Reds, winning two and drawing two. Forest summer signing Jamie Ward has scored six goals in four appearances against Charlton.

Monday 17 August 2015

Gomez prepares for Anfield debut

As Joe Gomez prepares for his Anfield debut, this interesting article is based on interviews with current and former staff at the Charlton Academy: Joe Gomez

One thing that is made clear is that Gomez could have been enticed away at 13, but chose to stay at Charlton.

Saturday 15 August 2015

Good away point for the Addicks

Charlton maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw at promotion favourites Derby County.

Watt and Ceballos came in for Ahearne-Grant and Ba at the IPro stadium this afternoon, despite fears that Watt might not be fully fit. Derby were playing 4-3-3.

An early Derby corner was well cleared by Jordan Cousins. Bauer put in a great challenge as Derby advanced.

Gudmundsson put in a shot, but it was well held by the keeper Scott Carson. Derby threatened, but Diarra cleared well at the expense of a corner. Makienok defended well from the corner. Solly was having a good game.

Fox blocked a Derby attack well as Charlton were under pressure on 15 minutes. An effort by Martin went harmlessly wide. Fox had to concede a corner.

Derby won a corner off Chris Solly, taken again by Ince. Diarra headed the ball away. Ceballos threatened from a good ball from Solly, but Carson did well to gather.

Pope commanded his area well as a decent ball came in. Cousins intercepted the ball well at the expense of another corner for Derby. Diarra headed the ball away well.

Makienok provided a good ball to Gudmundsson, but Derby defended well to deny Ceballos.

Fox won Charlton their first corner, but it went straight out of play. It had been a solid first half for Charlton.

HT: Rams 0, Addicks 0

Derby threatened in the first minute and Charlton conceded a corner. A right-footed effort by Tony Watt took a deflection and looped over Scott Carson to put Charlton ahead.

A header from Martin went straight into the arms of Pope.

Derby won a corner. Charlton managed to clear their lines, but Derby kept up the pressure. Fox made a great block. Bauer had to make a great clearance on the line.

A Charlton shot was deflected for a corner. The ball was cleared off the line from Diarra. The game was becoming end to end.

Charlton won another corner through Gudmundsson. Ceballos came off and Bergdich came on.

Bauer defended well from a corner. Kashi put in a good sliding tackle. A shot from Makienok was straight at Carson.

Derby took off Russell with 23 minutes left. A free kick was given against Fox. Cousins headed the ball away at the near post. After another soft free kick, Derby equalised through Martin.

From a corner, Makienok’s header went on to the roof of the net.

Fox made a good defensive header. He then defended well again. Bergdich and Bauer got yellow cards. Pope made a good save from the free kick at the expense of a corner, followed by a second. Makienok headed the ball away and Pope gathered.

Gudmundsson counter attacked and his shot was just wide of the post.

Derby won a corner with Ince causing problems down the right. Charlton counter attacked, but the effort failed. Derby got a free kick 25 yards out, Kashi getting a yellow card. Ince’s free kick went over the bar.

Derby brought on a more attacking right back in Christie. Makienok came off for birthday boy Johnnie Jackson who was making is 200th Charlton appearance. Four minutes were added on. Ba came on in place of Gudmundsson. Watt took the ball into the corner. Nick Pope had to make a great save at the expense of a corner which led to a second, then a third. Solly cleared it well. Valley Floyd Road rang out from the Addickted.

Big test at Derby

It's promotion favourites versus relegation favourites at the IPro stadium this afternoon. A crowd of around 30,000 is expected for the first home game of Rams boss Paul Clement. Charlton have won only one of their last twenty away matches against the Rams. Derby have won their last five home games against Charlton, four with clean sheets. Last year we lost 2-0 and the year before that 3-0.

Rams boss Paul Clement is is set to make changes after Derby's League Cup defeat to Portsmouth with Scott Carson, Richard Keogh, George Thorne, Tom Ince and Chris Martin all pushing for a return. Craig Bryson's knee injury will rule him out for at least two weeks.

Rather than taking the usual 'three easy points' line when Charlton visit, Clement reckons it will be a hard game. He said, 'Charlton are a very well organised team, 4-4-2 and compact. It is going to be hard but I am really looking forward to the first game at the iPro.'

A worry for the Addicks is that key player Tony Watt took a knock after scoring in midweek against Dagenham and is a doubt for the trip.

Derek from Dymchurch writes: 'On Thursday we had a deluge on the coast and the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway was flooded out. It's an omen. Charlton are going to be swamped by Derby. Mark my words, the wheels are coming off.'

Odds are: Derby 8/13, Draw 3/1, Charlton 5/1.

Thursday 13 August 2015

Brad Jones in as keeper

The 33-year old Australian is coming in from Liverpool, according to the South London Press: Brad Jones

Great Dane

The South London Press has an interview with Simon Makienok who clearly had a torrid time in Italy and wants to get his career back on track at The Valley: Great Dane

Bid for Jodi Jones

Charlton are reported to have already made one bid for Dagenham & Redbridge winger Jodi Jones. They now seem to be poised to make an improved offer which could involve former Dagenham & Redbridge loanee Abo Obileye: Jodi Jones

Jones is a product of the Daggers youth system: Career

He does have a bit of a reputation for being mouthy and big headed, but Luzon is unlikely to stand for any nonsense from a youngster.

It is believed that the original bid was £250k and this has now been increased to £275k plus the loan of Obileye for a season.

In general terms, we do need to swoop for promising players in lower leagues.

The search for a keeper to back up Nick Pope while Henderson is injured continues: Keeper search

Ahearne-Grant buzzing after first goal

Karlan Ahearne-Grant reflects on his first goal for Charlton for the FA website: Ahearne-Grant

Voice of the Valley editor Rick Everitt normally leans towards the pessimistic tendency but has tweeted from his Ramsgate den: 'So impressed with Tony Watt in the first two games. New signings look encouraging, but Watt is the difference, as he was in the spring.'

Saturday's opponents Derby County lost 2-1 in the League Cup last night. One shouldn't read too much into that, although apparently they put a decent side out.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Good win for Charlton as Reza scores

It was an evening when some Championship sides were embarrassed. Brentford lost 0-4 at home to Oxford and Blackburn Rovers were defeated at home by Shrewsbury. Seven Championship sides were defeated, while elsewhere Barnet beat Millwall. However, Charlton secured a convincing 4-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge to go through to the second round of the League Cup.

The Addicks took the lead on 26 minutes when Tony Watt latched onto a Johnnie Jackson pass to fire the ball past Mark Cousins. Karlan Ahearne-Grant doubled their lead with his first Addicks goal before Zakaraya Bergdich scored on his Charlton debut to make it three. Christian Doidge put Dagenham back in it but Reza Ghoochannejhad scored a late goal to send Charlton through.

Watt turned provider as he sent the ball into the box for Bergdich to calmly finish.

Bauer and Serr were steady at the back. Nick Pope seemed vulnerable to any low shots fired straight at him. He nearly got caught out twice.

Attendance was 5,100.

South London Press report is here: Good win

James Henry deal off

It looks as if the deal for Wolves winger James Henry is off with Charlton failing to match his valuation: James Henry

It also looks as if he is back in favour at Wolves: Prodigal

Dream start for Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez had a 'dream start' with Liverpool: Joe Gomez

Controversy continues about whether we should have let him go at all (I don't think we had much choice there) or whether we let him go too cheaply, difficult to work out in these days of 'undisclosed fees'. However, the way things are going, there must be good prospects of triggering some of the add ons.

Monday 10 August 2015

Daggers drawn

There's a fine balance in tomorrow's cup game between giving players who wouldn't normally start a chance and playing such a weakened side that we lose the game. Given that a mid-table finish is the most likely outcome this season, we need to take the cups seriously.

It is understood that Bergdich, Ceballos, Charles-Cook and Jackson will all be starting.

Charles-Cook, who joined the club from Arsenal in 2013, is an interesting prospect. The midfielder did well in the first half of the pre-season friendly with West Ham. He beat Darren Randolph with a lob only to see it go just wide of the post.

Dagenham & Redbridge lost 3-0 on Saturday, but that was away to promotion prospects Portsmouth.

A few things that need to be sorted

It was a great win against QPR on Saturday, but there are a few organisational points that need to be sorted. First, there was a dearth of programme sellers. One harassed guy was selling programmes in Floyd Road with a long queue and no one anywhere else, until I got into the ground, but you couldn't count on that. Perhaps the club could borrow a few sellers from Voice of the Valley.

I would also rather see the teams and substitutions on the screen than the match itself which we can watch in front of us. The tannoy was inaudible in many parts of the ground, so it was difficult to work out substitutions. It is also useful to have a record of who has got a yellow card.

I also think that the 'Valiant Knight' mascot needs a less cheap looking helmet and also a more impressive sword. It has a rounded end and would be no good for sticking up the backside of a useless lino.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Tony Watt! Watt! Watt!

That was the chant at The Valley at the end of today's 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. Watt came on in the second half after being dropped from the starting line up following a training ground incident involving him and Luzon and upped Charlton's game, scoring one of the goals.

However, it has to be said that this was a game in which the all round contribution was a good one with keeper Nick Pope getting man of the match in the lounges for a performance that exceeded my expectations. One Addick commented, 'The new players fitted in well and I particularly liked the fact that we seemed more combative than usual - nagging at the QPR players when they were in possession and forcing errors.'

It was a bit of a stuttering start for Charlton with QPR winning a succession of corners, but not able to make anything of them. We seem quite exposed on our left and had difficulty making progress on the right. However, after twenty or minutes or so we started to get into the game and put some pressure on the visitors. However, neither side really had a chance in the first half. Charlie Austin looked increasing sulky as things didn't go his way.

Half time: Addicks 0, Super Hoops 0.

The visitors have been putting in a few heavy tackles, while going to the ground themselves at the slightest contact. I was a bit surprised when the first two yellow cards went to Charlton.

Watt settled Charlton nerves with his strike and then played in Morgan Fox to allow the left back to score his first goal for the club. Gudmundsson came close to getting a third with a shot from a free kick that rattled the crossbar. The tempo of the game slowed somewhat as the sun came out and the pitch heated up. Austin, supposedly worth £15m, was eventually withdrawn to derisive waves from the Addickted. The Super Hoop supporters, who had plenty to say about The Valley being a library in the first half, quietened down after the first Charlton goal and started to leave early.

It was a good start to the campaign for the supposed relegation candidates. For what it matters at this stage, we are 2nd in the table.

I missed a trick with Voice of the Valley. I handed over the usual £2, then found the cover said 'Fee undisclosed.' If I had known that, I would have offered £1.20 plus add ons, although 30p would have gone at once as it would have been for an issue without a rant about the Belgians by Dicko. As he has now joined the staff at Leyton Orient, he can no longer contribute.

Well, it doesn't look as if we are going to be taken any more seriously by the new Channel 5 programme than by the old Football League Show and at least they didn't have a daft studio audience. Decent highlights here: Sky Sports

Player ratings

Pope made three excellent saves, possibly the most tricky one being from a free kick. Bauer very much looked the part and was very effective. Diarra did his job well. Solly was very much involved and, as always, had some nice touches. Fox took his goal well but, particularly in the first half, he was often poor. He gave away an unnecessary corner and failed to get forward down the wing when opportunities presented themselves.

Kashi justifiably drew a lot of praise from the Addickted. He hardly put a foot wrong and showed real skill. Ba had a bit of a slow start, but then got involved. He passes the ball well. Cousins was once again active and effective. Gudmundsson got involved and was unlucky not to score.

Ahearne-Grant was given a difficult job in starting, he did his best but made relatively little impact. Makienok put himself about in defence as well as attack and was intercepting high balls. How effective he will be as a striker remains to be seen. Watt made a real difference when he came on. The other week I was driving through the Orkney settlement of Twatt, but you wouldn't know it as the council have got fed up with replacing the road signs taken as souvenirs. Orcadians who derived their name from the village sensibly changed it to Watt. Bergdich wasn't that prominent when he came on. Ceballos had a cameo.

Friday 7 August 2015

Time to head down those tracks again

Tomorrow it will be time to get on the train at London Bridge for Charlton again.

Despite the gloomy predictions of the pundits and the bookies that Charlton are relegation fodder, the mood among the Addickted seems to be buoyant. One Addick who was driving through South-East London this morning was amazed by the number of people out in Charlton colours.

Charlie Austin, who has attracted interest from Premiership clubs, will be a handful. Paul Konchesky will have a point to prove on his return to The Valley.

QPR have just signed centre back Grant Hall from Spurs. The clogger spent part of last season on loan in the Championship: Grant Hall

One of the biggest concerns for the Addicks must be the absence of Stephen Henderson following a shoulder operation. Igor Vetokele is also unavailable.

Charlton have won their last four opening home day games. In their last home fixture with the Super Hoops they won 1-0.

A lot of fans are still without their season ticket cards and will be hoping to collect them tomorrow. They can't all be mislaid in the post and it suggests that some of them were never sent out in the first place, or not to the right address. Let's hope there isn't too much chaos and confusion tomorrow.

Gnomes and elves will be out in SE7 selling Voice of the Valley and Rick Everitt has tweeted that it includes a scoop. This may refer to what should prove to be an interesting extensive interview with Alan Curbishley. More details here: Made in Ramsgate

Odds (Coral): Charlton 2/1, Draw 23/10, QPR 11/8,

Thursday 6 August 2015

Bring on the gloom and doom

Some more rather gloomy predictions for the season ahead: Relegation?

No doubt they will please the glass half empty crowd, but I think the judgment of the 'two unfortunates' blog is more realistic: 'middle of the road'. They have a good Championship preview: Championship preview

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Wiggins deal back on

Reports are circulating that the deal for Rhoys Wiggins to go to Sheffield Wednesday is back on. Apparently the personal terms initially offered were insufficiently massive: Wiggins

The departure of Wiggins has now been confirmed.

Elsewhere, Bolton Wanderers have signed Lawrie Wilson on a two year deal.

Crewe swoop for Holmes-Dennis

Crewe Alexandria are hoping to get Holmes-Dennis in on loan: Holmes-Dennis

If Wiggins stays on, there aren't going to be many opportunities at left back. He is a very promising player.

Last season he was out on loan with Oxford United and then had a successful loan period at Plymouth Argyle: Career details

Going to a League 1 club would be a step forward and Crewe have a reputation for getting the best out of their players.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Katrien's interview

You can see Katrien Meire's interview with Sky today here, learn what she did with one of the corner flags, and see the new fan sofa: Katrien

She did say that there is one outgoing transfer today. Rumours that Tony Watt is going to Coventry City are nonsense. I think it is likely to be either Bikey (no squad number) or Wiggins.

Season ticket problems

It is evident that quite a few fans have not received their season ticket cards. In some cases, cards have been issued in the name of relatives who no longer hold season tickets. It has been difficult to get anyone to answer the phone, but one Addick did get through and was told that the last ones were sent out on Friday. Fans are advised to wait until Wednesday after which they will start issuing duplicates.

The problem is that it is late in the day to be doing this. If the season tickets had gone out around their usual time, there would have been more opportunity to sort out any problems.

Apparently the scanning system experienced a temporary break down before the West Ham match and there must be concern about a repetition on Saturday. One source of possible trouble that can be spotted in the 'How to enter the stadium' guide is the instruction 'Please make sure you do not enter the turnstile entrance until the person in front of you is in the stadium and the wait screen disappears.'

Monday 3 August 2015

Charlton to finish 16th

That is the forecast of Four Four Two magazine. A health warning is necessary, as their track record in the past has been mixed to say the least. There are also some signs of lazy journalism, signing up to a 'Roland is rubbish' narrative.

The report starts: 'Roll up, roll up for the Roland Duchatelet circus. Managers seem to be a disposable commodity in the Charlton owner's world. It is tempting to wonder what sort of ambition has for the club, especially now he has sold Standard Liege. Hugely promising youngster Joe Gomez was sold to Liverpool without much of a struggle, following fellow homegrown kids Carl Jenkinson and Diego Poyet out of the door.'

'Still, in the likes of Igor Vetokele as well as Jordan Cousins and Tony Watt there are some decent players on the Addicks' books around whom they can build. It just depends on whether Luzon will be allowed the appropriate time with these players to create anything of substance.'

'Luzon can represent a hyperactive child on the touchline, all Tigger-ish enthusiasm and wild gesticulations, but despite not arriving on the best of terms his standing gradually improved.'

Apparently, our penalties record was 100 per cent last season: all eight scored and two saved.

Fan Lee Jarvis says, 'This season will be different to last because we had a lot of hope last season but it didn't work out. Coaching stability will make it different. Keep an eye out for Jordan Cousins who keeps getting stronger.' Matt Wright tips Cousins as the next Charlton captain in an updated Voice of the Valley article here: Captain material.

Jarvis forecasts that we will finish in the top six. I think that somewhere between 6th and 16th is likely.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Spanner in the works

Some fans have been looking in vain for the dates of this year's fixtures against Millwall. This cartoon in today's Sunday Times helps to explain things.

Meanwhile in Ramsgate ....

A novel I have just finished reading described Ramsgate as a 'washed out seaside town' with the villain ending up living there to escape detection. However, if you look around, there is quite a lot going on.

92 Valley Road looks like any other pleasant but unexceptional modern house in a suburb of Ramsgate. But attached to the gate is the proud legend ‘Everitt Towers, Der Rickhausen’. By the side of the house, elves and gnomes can be seen scurrying in and out of a ramshackle workshop. A Rickshaw is parked against the door, ready to take packages to the post office.

From inside the workshop can be heard the clatter of hot meal linotype machines and the thump of an ancient printing press. Oaths and curses can be heard emanating from a mysterious individual only identified as ‘Airman Brown’. Yes, another Voice of the Valleyis in production. A tweet informs us that 'a good shift' was put in yesterday and it should be on sale for the first game of the season.

The distance players can fall

Yesterday I saw Marlon Harewood withdrawn from a pre-season friendly between Leamington and Nuneaton Town, to a chorus of 'what a waste of money'. The one time West Ham United (under Pardoo) and Aston Villa player is getting on a bit, as was evident as he lumbered round the pitch to no great effect. Earlier in the year I did read a message on the boards suggesting we should take a look. Thankfully, we didn't.

I was, however, surprised to read that one time Addick Danny Haynes has signed for Ebbsfleet. He is only in his late twenties: Haynes

He was originally a product of our youth system and scored nine goals for us inn 34 appearances in 2012-13.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Second favourites for relegation?

I have been away in the Orkney Islands for a few days and have come back to find Charlton named as second favourites for relegation: Relegation

Is there any sound basis for this? I would have been more worried if Cousins and Gudmundsson, both targets for other clubs, had gone. Having said that, I have less of a sense of how the season might go than for a long time. However, I do think that a mid-table position is more likely than either promotion or relegation.

Like all such games, the 2-2 draw at Bolton in the pre-season friendly doesn't tell us much one way or the other.

Some fans are concerned about the lack of Championship experience of the new signings. I think that the distinctiveness of the Championship is sometimes overstated. The game is still played with a spherical ball, there are eleven players, the goals are the same size, as is the pitch (more or less) and the referees are just as inconsistent. Probably a more practical concern is how long it will take the new players to gell.

The football season in the Orkneys is coming to a close with the final of the Parishes Cup soon to be held, Stromness having won through for the first time in many years.

I think that I have a bit of a trek to The Valley, but I noticed an advert in the Orcadian for the Rangers supporters club, referring to the 'usual travel arrangements'. Asking what these might be, I was told that it involved an often storm tossed boat to Aberdeen and then a coach to Glasgow.

Meanwhile, I await the arrival of my season ticket card, accompanied, I am told, by an effusive message from Katrien. Let's hope it works in the turnstiles.