Tuesday 31 May 2016

Work halted on training ground

SEnine magazine reports, 'Work has been suspended on Charlton's £15m training ground. After a series of blunders including re-laying pitches, collapsing trenches and mis-calculations over the number of pitches they needed, work on CAFC's lavish training HQ has ground to a halt, raising speculation about the Belgian owner's long term commitment to the club . Calls to CAFC's media office by SEnine have gone unanswered for weeks.'

Alongside the new pitch, the training ground project was always the regime's 'Aqueducts' answer to 'What did the Belgians do for us?' question.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted that he cannot vouch for the story. However, he is noted in tweets that the club's communications strategy is a shambles and the club has only itself to blame if it stays silent and doesn't respond to media enquiries.

Monday 30 May 2016

Johnnie Jackson rumours grow

With experienced managers unwilling to take Roland's euro, rumours that Johnnie Jackson will become the next Charlton manager are growing: Jacko

It would be a high risk appointment and, as Chicago Addick and others have observed, he would need a director of football to back him up. He would also need the autonomy to do the job, although Katrien Meire owes him for the number of times he has been her human shield.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Rams fans welcome Chris Powell back

Derby County fans are delighted to see Chris Powell back with them as assistant coach to Nigel Pearson as manager: Delighted Rams

Over at The Valley, the rumour mill suggests that Jordan Cousins is on his way with the need to get his wages off the book.

Friday 27 May 2016

Russell Slade is the latest tip

Former Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade is the latest favourite for the vacant managerial post at Charlton: Russell Slade

One of his advantages is that he has experience of dealing with barking owners at Cardiff City.

Odds have also shortened on Johnnie Jackson becoming player-manager.

Chris Powell looks as if he is going to go to Bolton.

Roland buys back club

Roland Duchatelet is buying back Belgian club Sint Truiden, apparently desperate to own a club on his home turf: Buy back

Roland said in a press conference that a foreign buyer would not have been as good as they would lack knowledge of Belgian competition and mentality. Quite.

Disrespectful fans have suggested that there is an ideal candidate for the post of chief executive.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Louis-Michel Yamfam to sign

Winger Louis-Michel Yamfam is set to sign from Stevenage for an undisclosed fee. He had a trial with the under 18s at the end of the season: New signing

The Arsenal fan turned down a two year professional contract at Stevenage.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Head hunted

Steve Head has been appointed as Charlton's new chief scout: Steve Head

This is a solid appointment and if it can be complemented by a decent manager we might be getting somewhere. The odds are shortening on Nigel Adkins.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

New transfer target

Crawley's Gwion Edwards is the latest transfer target for Charlton: Edwards

Who is choosing these targets? I don't know.

Keith Hill is no longer in the frame as the new Charlton manager. He has decided to stay at Rochdale.

Mandy Anderson-Myers is the latest departure from The Valley. With her departure from the head of ticketing role, it means there are vacancies there and for head of commerce and head of communications.

Isle of Thanet sources are claiming that she left the building after a row with the head of finance. Happy Valley.

Monday 23 May 2016

Inigo Calderon talks?

Reports are circulating that Charlton are talking to 34-year old Spanish defender Inigo Calderon who is leaving Brighton and Hove Albion: Departing Seagull

Who he would talk to is a mystery to me.

And for the latest candidate

Scottish charm merchant Billy Davies is the latest name associated with the managerial vacancy at Charlton: Billy Davies

He left Nottingham Forest two years ago and his pay off salary has expired so he is in 'gizza a job' mode.

It will be recalled that when Curbs left, Davies was initially the favourite to succeed him, but after initial talks did not take the hotel room made available for him in Bexleyheath.

Chicago Addick has a low opinion of him and the views of Forest fans are mixed. He could, however, be rough, tough and desperate enough to take the poisoned chalice.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted that he is not expecting a decision in the early part of this week. Meanwhile, my non-league club has confirmed the manager in post and made two key signings.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Fan applies for manager's job

A cheeky Charlton fan has applied for the manager's job at The Valley. He couldn't be worse than Karel Fraeye: Give us a job

Jonathan Acworth is understood to be considering his position.

Friday 20 May 2016

Addicks pray for Pope

Burnley, Celtic and Wolves are all interested in Charlton keeper Nick Pope, so even prayer may not keep him at The Valley: Nick Pope

Stephen Henderson is furious about being dropped at the end of the season which kept him out of the Irish Euros squad.

Birmingham, QPR and Notts Forest are among the clubs interested in signing Tony Watt who does not want to return to his native heath: Watt

Adkins latest in the frame

Former Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins is the latest name to be linked with the head coach vacancy at Charlton: Nigel Adkins

How serious his interest might be is difficult to gauge, but this and other appointments need to be made as soon as possible.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Celtic No.2 in the frame

Well thought of Celtic No.2 John Collins is in the frame for the job of head coach at Charlton. He is leaving Celtic with his boss, but Dundee United are also interested: Collins

Rochdale's Keith Hill is also being considered, although he has attracted interest from Blackburn Rovers: Keith Hill

With any of these names, the question is whether they would want to come.

Bookies' favourite ruled out

Despite being the bookies' favourite, Serbian network manager Nebojsa Vignevic is not in the frame for the vacant head coach post at Charlton: Not interested

This news has been greeted with understandable scepticism by Charlton fans, but there are other indications that it is the case.

Charlton are also to make an improved bid for Colchester midfielder George Moncur: Moncur

Who is making these recruitment decisions with none of the relevant posts filled? Your guess is as good as mine.

Pope on his way?

Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope is attracting interest from the likes of Leeds, Crystal Palace, Celtic and Burnley, sources have told TEAMtalk.com.

Pope’s performances have not gone unnoticed higher up the football pyramid with the likes of Palace, newly-promoted Burnley, promotion hopefuls Hull, Nottingham Forest and Scottish champions Celtic all keeping tabs on the keeper. Leeds could also be in the market for him if they decide to allow often-criticised No 1 Marco Silvestri to move on.

The six clubs are all in the market for goalkeeping reinforcements this summer and Pope is thought to figure highly on their wanted lists. Charlton are reluctant to lose Pope, but are bracing themselves for offers for the keeper in the wake of their relegation to League One.

He would be a real loss in my view.

Bargains for Blues at The Valley?

This article suggests that there could be bargains for Birmingham City at The Valley: Bargains

Top of the list is Johann Berg Gudmundsson. However, Morgan Fox is seen as the real gem. The writer reckons that he could be picked up for £250,000 and has all the potential to become a 'fantastic' full back.

Other clubs are, however, interested in Fox. Many Charlton fans have a low opinion of him. My view is that he is inconsistent: a piece of excellent play one minute, a disastrous error the next. Whether he could be coached to improve is an open question.

Last but not least on the list is Callum Harriott.

All three players are likely to leave, but none of them may go to Birmingham.

Monday 16 May 2016

Moncur bid rejected

Colchester have rejected Charlton's £150,000 bid for George Moncur. They want £500,000. Play off hopefuls Barnsley are also interested: Moncur

Friday 13 May 2016

Search for British manager continues

Charlton continue the search for a British manager and several experienced managers are being considered, according to Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire: Search

Meire said he would have to get back to what the core Charlton is all about, but that might be difficult under the current regime with relationships with fans on a downward spiral.

Meire's remarks yesterday recall the adage if you are in a hole, stop digging.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Meire accuses fans

Speaking at the Business of Sport conference in London (from the audience), Charlton chief executive Katrien Meire has accused Charlton fans of 'abuse and criminal offences' against her. 'Sometimes fans cross the line,' she said.

She is very upset at fans' aggression towards the club's owners and feels that owners deserve greater protection. Some might think that fans deserve better protection against wayward owners.

It has also been reported on social media that she said 'the fans are mean.' However, 'experts' at the conference said that Charlton was a 'badly run club.'

She considers that there has been a lack of action to deal with fan actions by the game's governing bodies: Extreme abuse

She has also complained about Charlton fans visiting her home in Belgium: Customer protest

After leaving the venue, where tickets reportedly cost £1,500, she was greeted by a couple of Charlton fans: Pavement summit

CAS Trust is considering taking Meire's comments to the Football Association under the rule about bringing the game into disrepute: Unforgiveable comments

Meire appeared to compare Charlton customers to racists.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt reflects on her behaviour, pointing out that there is no effective oversight from the owner: Off agenda

Louis Mendez has tweeted, 'Katrien has been advised not to speak in public because she really can't help herself. Shame she ignored that advice today.'

Roland may be closer to selling than is realised

An interesting article by Rick Everitt on the Wilder affair, making the point that it was not a public relations stunt: History repeated as farce

The Ramsgate resident thinks that Duchatelet may be closer to selling than his acolytes realise which is what I have heard from other sources. First, he is going to try and boost the value of the club by the conventional route, but if this doesn't work out by Christmas he may be ready to cut and run.

Over at Leeds United, Massimo Cellino has decided to throw in the towel: I quit

Back to the network?

Following the breakdown of talks with Chris Wilder, Roland Duchatelet may revert to his network to find a new head coach. Step forward, Nebjosa Vignjevic, currently managing Upjest in Hungary: Network choice

Former Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill is also being mentioned. However, after being linked with moves to Coventry and Portsmouth, he is the fans' choice at Notts County.

Richard Cawley of the SLP thinks that the plan is still to search for a British manager. Cotterill is apparently keen on the Charlton vacancy: Cotterill

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Wilder deal hits a snag

Richard Cawley of the SLP tweets that the deal for Chris Wilder to come to Charlton has hit a snag. 'Whether that will be rectified, time will tell.'

Richard Cawley has added another tweet stating that Charlton were confident of announcing Wilder yesterday. 'Rumblings are not good today.'

Other comment suggests that it could be a big issue and getting the deal over the line will need a major concession from someone.

It appears that contract length may have been an issue. It has also been suggested that the club refused to put in writing certain key assurances such as control, buying etc. If they were in writing, they could subsequently be the basis for a constructive dismissal claim.

It also appears that Sheffield United may now have come into the mix. The Blades are also interested in Charlton target George Moncur.

The club has now confirmed that the deal is off: Failure

I am disappointed that this deal did not go through. It would not have dealt with the criticisms of the regime, but it would have been a step in the right direction.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

No release clause for Lookman

Unlike Joe Gomez, Ademola Lookman does not have a release fee clause in his contract, so the Addicks can name their price: Lookman

A fee of £6m - £7m seems achievable, which should just about offset the sum Charlton are set to lose through relegation and customer dissatisfaction.

Charlton are set to make a move for Colchester midfielder George Moncur who does not want to play in League Two with the U's: George Moncur. A fee of around £150,000 is expected.

Cobblers chairman accepts loss of Wilder

Northampton Town's chairman thinks it is very likely that Chris Wilder will join Charlton: Move accepted

The story of what he achieved at the Cobblers is told here: Success story

Northampton fans are worried that Wilder will take their best players with him: Cobblers fears

Monday 9 May 2016

Wilder on his way

Chris Wilder is on his way to London prior to his appointment as Charlton coach. It's not Eurostar, it's London Midland this time. Apparently he has received assurances about having a say in player recruitment: Wilder

According to one report, Wilder has already had the Eurostar ticket as he travelled to Belgium to meet Roland, but this has not been confirmed: Under the Channel . It now transpires that it wasn't a Eurostar ticket, but a flight in a private jet.

The club has confirmed that they have been given permission to speak to Wilder and assistant manager Alan Knill: Time to talk. Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted that this means that the deal is done in principle.

VOTV editor Rick Everitt has tweeted that Wilder may be a good manager, but it is unclear how gullible he is.

Wilder, who would receive a substantial salary boost, wants total control in setting up a structure that would bring success: The deal

Knill's name will be good for purveyors of 'Charlton nil' jokes.

Football League statement angers fans

A statement from the chief executive of the Football League on Saturday's events at The Valley has angered Charlton fans: Statement

The statement praises security staff for their actions, but much of what I and others saw was well over the top.

Here is a balanced account of what happened: A club on the edge

Saturday 7 May 2016

The final curtain - for Riga as well

Today was the last match as season ticket holders for many Addicks fans who have vowed not to renew until the regime goes. I suspect that they will have a long wait.

Charlton were defeated 0-3 at The Valley today by champions Burnley to finish third from bottom in the Championship. Once again the match was overshadowed by customer protests.

As for the match, Charlton started well enough, but then fell to a sucker punch after 20 minutes. They pressed hard in the remainder of the half, creating a number of chances and putting in several shots on target, Gudmundsson being prominent, but they were all straight at the keeper.

The Addicks made a lacklustre start to the second half and defensive errors gave Burnley two goals in quick succession. That was pretty much game over. After Gudmundsson was fouled and taken off, he received warm applause from the crowd in appreciation of his efforts. This was the last time we would see him in a Charlton shirt.

As for the protests, like all fans, I was frisked and had my bag searched before entering the ground. Netting had been placed along the whole length of the covered end, not something you see in the average supermarket to deal with dissatisfied customers. In the first five minutes of the game paper aeroplanes and screwed up leaflets with one or two toilet rolls were thrown on the pitch.

Towards the end of the half, a home made banner with the word 'Liar' and an arrow pointing downwards was moved along the front of the upper west above where Katrien Meire was sitting. It was eventually removed by a jobsworth.

After the third goal went in, flares were thrown on the pitch and the game was temporarily halted. A dissatisfied customer got on to the pitch and evaded efforts to capture him for some time.

The referee blew up with no time added on and Clarets fans swarmed on to the pitch to congratulate their players. It all kicked off at the intersection of the East Stand and the Covered End as Charlton fans tried to join them. Eventually large numbers got on and congregated in front of the West Stand expressing their dissatisfaction.

According to an ex-director he and other ex-directors were forcibly ejected from the directors' box after the game. It has also been reported that the valued amenity of the fan sofa was damaged beyond repair.

José Riga resigned after the match. He said, "It's not necessarily about going down to League One - and I am not a liar. I have taken this decision a few days ago. Even before that it was down to what I saw and could feel. Everybody can recognise my investment in Charlton the first time I was here and this time."

A powerful report on the day's events has been written here by Paul Breen: The Big Smirk

A ten minute video of the protests here: Angry customers

'Blinkered owners destroying Charlton'

This is the title of an article in today's Times by chief football correspondent Oliver McKay, based on an interview with Chris Powell.

Chris Powell can clearly remember the moment that alarm bells started ringing for him at Charlton Athletic. He had felt vulnerable from the moment Roland Duchâtelet bought the club in early 2014, but now it was time to start planning for the following season. He had prioritised a winger, so he gave the new board a list of targets, one of them a highly rated Premier League youngster whom he was confident he could get on loan if the club moved quickly.

Powell was told not to worry; this was where he would see the beauty of the new ownership structure, which put Charlton in a “network” with Standard Liège, FC Carl Zeiss Jena, Ujpest and Alcorcón. Leave it to us, he was told. A couple of days later a Belgian youngster pitched up at the club’s training ground. Powell was informed that this would be the winger for next season. On the training pitch, he stuck out like a sore thumb. The coaching staff felt the youngster was not ready to play for Charlton’s youth team, let alone the Sky Bet Championship. He did not stick around. “I felt sorry for him,” Powell says. “He said he didn’t know why he was there.”

“People began to work out was going on with regard to team selection. Whenever I picked a team that didn’t have a player from the ‘network’, I would be asked why.

The winger has not exactly gone on to great things since and neither, sad to say, have Charlton under Duchâtelet’s ownership. Two years and five managerial changes later, their stay in the Sky Bet Championship will end this lunchtime with a home match against Burnley — two clubs going in opposite directions, Burnley promoted to the Barclays Premier League, Charlton relegated to League One. The celebrations in the away end will be in stark contrast to the toxic mood among Charlton’s fans, who are planning their fiercest protest yet against a calamitous ownership regime.

What grates most at The Valley is the frustration that their club, for so long a byword for stability and good housekeeping in the Premier League, has been severely undermined by a regime that purports to know all the answers but has made one misguided decision after another. The Championship is full of proud, historic clubs whose position in English football’s hierarchy has been damaged by mismanagement. Charlton are now dropping down to League One, with matches against Shrewsbury Town, Southend United and perhaps Accrington Stanley to look forward to next season.

Nobody, least of all the club’s supporters, could say Charlton were not warned. This has been a relegation waiting to happen. The problems pre-dated Duchâtelet’s arrival — to Powell’s frustration there were serious cutbacks in the summer of 2013, as Tony Jimenez, the previous owner, prepared for a sale — but it is not just results that have suffered since the takeover. The relationship between the club and their fanbase, which Charlton had worked so hard to revitalise and strengthen since returning to The Valley in 1992, has become terribly strained, with the protest group CARD (Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet) warning that the regime “threatens the very existence and soul of the club”.

Friday 6 May 2016

Mourning a community

VOTV editor Rick Everitt writes evocatively about the disappearance of a community who have sat together in the East Stand for many years, none of whom are renewing their season tickets: The end of an era

Ambition at The Valley

There's plenty of ambition of display at League One Charlton with the club targeting Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, widely regarded as a hot property as a loan target: Loan target

Charlton continue to pursue Chris Wilder as their new head coach. The Cobblers boss has lost interest in Bolton: Wilder

Liverpool have entered the contest for the signature of Ademola Lookman with a fee of £6m being mentioned: Lookman

But Spurs could offer £8m: Auction

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Farewell then (again) José Riga

It will be St. Pancras Station and Eurostar on Saturday for José Riga as he leaves the club for a second time: Farewell

If he had been in charge for the whole season, and we had not had to suffer the hapless Karel Fraeye, we might have done enough to stay up.

There has been talk of a coach with English league experience, but I wouldn't hold your breath. Moreover, anyone hoping to progress their career would not find the present set up at Charlton inviting.

In his report on Riga's departure, Richard Cawley of the SLP mentions the speculation surrounding Northampton's Chris Wilder: Wild card

However, would he want to club with a bonkers owner and an incompetent chief executive where he would have limited influence over player recruitment? Moreover, whereas Northampton's fans are in a buoyant mood, Charlton's customers continue to seethe with dissatisfaction.

Wilder has also been targeted by Bolton, although financial constraints might be an issue there given that many players are on high wages with a year or more to run on their contracts.

Gudmundsson on his way

It's no great surprise, but comments by Johann Berg Gudmundsson indicate that he won't be staying at Charlton: Gudmundsson

Tuesday 3 May 2016

We need the right sort of player - Chris Solly

Chris Solly thinks there will be quite a few changes in the squad before the League One campaign starts. He emphasizes that it is important to bring in players with the right character who are prepared to grind out results: Chris Solly

Louis Mendez reviews Charlton's season here: Unbelievable

Saturday's final game against Burnley is going to be televised with a 12.30 kick off. CARD have issued a statement saying they will not try to get the game abandoned, as they respect the integriuty of the competition and the ambitions of the visiting club: CARD

Jonathan Acworth has informed me that he is 19th cousin to Henry VIII and is trying to get a cut of Hampton Court ticket money.

Monday 2 May 2016

Charlie MacDonald's varied career

Former Addick Charlie MacDonald is the featured double page interview in this week's Football League Paper. He has been on loan at St. Albans.

When he was released by Charlton at the age of 21, he then went to play in the Conference. After a good spell at Gravesend & Northfleet, he was signed by Southend and then went on to Brentford.

He enjoyed the best spell of his career with the Bees, scoring 45 goals in 127 games. In 2011 he joined MK Dons for £35,000. He then played for Leyton Orient and Oldham, before dropping into the Conference with Barnet in 2014.

He started as a YTS trainee at Charlton in the last year of that scheme, cleaning Kevin Lisbie's boots. He told the FLP, 'I owe a great debt to Alan Curbishley. He gave me a contract and put me in the first team' where he scored one goal, an equaliser against Newcastle.

He names Scott Parker as his best team-mate. They played together for a Sunday league team called Valley Valiants. He also mentions John Barnes who came to Charlton at the end of his career, 'Fantastic attitude, fantastic footballer.'

Being released by Charlton was his lowest moment. 'It was bad time to be released , too. ITV Digital had collapsed and there was no money in the lower leagues.' Going to the Conference left him 'very, very low.'

As for the future, he has earned a degree in professional broadcasting and writing and has taken his first coaching badge.

Nick Pope wants to stay

Nick Pope has made it clear he wants to stay at Charlton: Charlton player

Whether Stephen Henderson stays remains to be seen, but I would be confident in Nick Pope as lead keeper in League One.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Birmingham in for Fox?

A Sunday newspaper report claims that Birmingham City are preparing a bid for Morgan Fox. There have been reports of interest from various clubs over the season.

Fox is not rated highly by many Charlton fans and I find him very inconsistent, a good piece of play followed by a basic error which puts us at risk. However, the case for him being Player of the Year is made here: Underrated

Football League warn Charlton of 'dire consequences'

The Sunday Mirror reports that 'The Football League have warned Charlton of dire consequences if the climax to their season is ruined by a planned fan protest next Saturday.' They fear that any delay could compromise the competition with the title race finely balanced.

They are concerned about a repeat of the final day protest at Blackpool 12 months ago when 2,000 fans staged a protest against owner Karl Oyston. The game was abandoned, although this had no bearing on promotion and relegation issues.

A source told the Mirror, 'The league are very worried. This will be on television and could be one of the deciding games for the whole season. The last thing they want is major disruption - as it stands, there is a real chance of that happening.'

Customer dissatisfaction continues to run at a high level at Charlton and some fans have responded that the Football League would be better off protecting fans from dire owners.