Sunday 31 January 2021

Cardiff likely to sign Williams

Wales Online, which I have found to be quite a reliable source, are predicting that Cardiff City will sign Jonny Williams for around £200k (he is out of contract in the summer): 

Richard Cawley of the SLP has tweeted that the reports have substance.

Williams is a popular but rather mercurial player.  He is, of course, a Welsh international.

Saturday 30 January 2021

We go again on Tuesday

Pitch announcer Brian Cole has insisted that The Valley pitch was not waterlogged when it was inspected by the referee at 2 pm today.   The postponed match has been rearranged for Tuesday and Brian will have to make an evening journey from Portsea Island.

Charlton have slipped back to 7th on goal difference after Sunderland drew 2-2 at home with Gillingham.  Gobby's Oxford United are now just three points behind with games in hand.

Doncaster won four in a row with a 1-0 win at Lincoln, but Omar Bogle did not even feature on the bench.  Hull managed to win 1-0 against Swindon, but Peterborough went down 2-0 to Shropshire's finest (and I don't mean T'Pau).

If you bought a streaming pass it will still be valid on Tuesday.   Apparently there was some good banter this afternoon with Johnnie Robinson, but I went to watch three former Charlton players on BBC1 in the West Bromwich Albion v Fulham game.  Ademola Lookman still looks very tasty, but charm merchant Karlan Grant fluffed a last minute chance to score for the Baggies. 

Let's win it for Brian

Popular pitch announcer Brian Cole has plaintively tweeted that his wife and all her family are Portsmouth supporters, so let's send him back to Portsea Island tonight with a win.  I do remember going to his home at Portsmouth for a buffet after we had won at Fratton Park.

There's a long history between the Addicks and Pompey and Portsmouth have the upper hand:

Portsmouth have a better away than home record, having won seven, drawn two and lost just one.   They have scored 19 goals and conceded 7.

Nevertheless, I am staying with my Badger League prediction of a 2-2 draw, although I have slipped to third place in the West Sussex CASC prediction league table.

Friday 29 January 2021

Former keeper becomes international coach

Former Charlton keeper Dean Kiely is to be the goalkeeping coach for Ireland's international squad: 

Apart from Sam Bartram, Deano is my favourite all time Charlton keeper.   His parents lived half a mile down the road from me and we had a good chat once at Leamington where his son was keeper for a while.

'You come, you go'

That's how it is in football explained sanguine supremo Lee Bowyer as he discussed the departure of Omar Bogle after one of the shortest stays of a permanent signing at The Valley:

Bowyer still hopes to make some signings before 11 pm on Monday and Bogle's departure gives him a little more headroom to do that.  Bowyer explained that the arrival of Jayden Stockley left limited opportunities for Bogle as he moved down the pecking order.

Bogle goes for good

Omar Bogle has joined Doncaster Rovers permanently, giving besieged boss Lee Bowyer a bit more headroom in the transfer window:

The streets around SE7 have remained calm following the news.  What's the betting he scores against us for Donny!

Thursday 28 January 2021

How Pratley did a number on Fraser

Scott Fraser is the best player that MK Dons have, but he didn't get many opportunities on Tuesday night because Darren Pratley closed him down.   The veteran player's decision-making was partly due to guidance by manager Lee Bowyer, argues Benjy Nurick in a first of a new series of columns for the SLP:

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Where is Marcus Maddison?

When I was at primary school my uncle who had a newsagents in Lakedale Road taught me to 'read between the lines' of news reports.   That certainly applies to this story about Marcus Maddison:

The flamboyant player has apparently stopped training for 'a number of reasons'.   Indeed, it appears that he has been absent from Sparrows Lane for reasons that are unclear.   There have been claims of tensions between him and sanguine supremo Lee Bowyer.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Charlton hold on for three points

A dogged performance by Charlton saw them take three points with a 1-0 win at Stadium MK tonight.  The winning goal was scored in the first half by Canadian starlet Liam Millar. 

MK Dons tried hard in the second half to confirm their status as home draw specialists, but although Charlton sometimes struggled for possession and made some sloppy clearances, they managed to withstand the pressure from the Franchisees.

Curbs selected Darren Pratley as his Man of the Match alongside Millar, saying that Pratley did a job for the team.  He said that it was a big win.

On three minutes Pratley won the ball well but a Stockley shot was saved.   Charlton applied some pressure and Pratley could have shot rather than passing the ball.

On 18 minutes Washington put in a good ball and Millar scored with a decisive strike.

Curbs said Charlton started well, but MK Dons started to get into the game more.  Jerome hit the post from a home corner conceded by Purrington.  Amos saved from a header after another home corner.

HT: 0-1

On 48 minutes MK Dons had a free kick in a promising position, but it came off the wall.  Conor Washington went down and had to be replaced by Schwartz.  I think we missed Washington.

Charlton had a free kick in front of the D, but Forster-Caskey's shot was just over the bar.  Millar threatened to score again, but his second touch was not as good as his first one and the keeper saved.

On 66 minutes MK Dons threatened, but Amos saved well.   Stockley, who had not been prominent, and Shinnie were replaced by Aneke and Morgan.  Apart from one attack when he was fouled, Aneke had difficulty in getting into the game.  Morgan had some nice touches.

The home side a number of corners and free kicks, but Charlton defended effectively with important contributions by Matthews and Millar.  Four minutes were added on, but the Addicks managed it well.

Reporting from his living room, Louis Mendez tweeted: 'MK had 70% of the ball during the game but think we dealt with most of their threats, Amos only one proper save I can think of. Kept Fraser quieter considering how he ripped us apart at The Valley.'

Smiling supremo Lee Bowyer praised his team for getting back to basics:

Charlton remain in 6th place, Doncaster having beaten AFC Wimbledon at home.  Portsmouth lost to Lincoln and Peterborough drew.

Bowyer says Stockley is 'just what we need'

Implicitly responding to critics who said he should have signed a defender, Lee Bowyer says that Jayden Stockley is just what the club needs.  Quality strikers rarely become available and it was not possible to replace Karlan Grant when he left two years ago:

If all goes well, I anticipate that Stockley will be a permanent signing in the summer.

I was concerned to learn that there will be no definite news on Ryan Inniss until he has a scan in two weeks' time.  The season might have been different if he had not been injured:

Bowyer has admitted that defensive lapses have been costing Charlton (he was not asked if the Pope is a Catholic):

'Millar impresses at Charlton'

A Liverpool blog looks at Liam Millar's achievements at Charlton:

In my opinion he is one of our best players, particularly when he links up with Maatsen (tonight it will be the more pedestrian Purrington).   It's a shame that our strength on the left seems to be offset by weakness on the right, particularly defensively. 

In Bowyer we trust?

Tonight Charlton play MK Dons at Stadium MK.   For what is worth, my forecast in the West Sussex Badger League was a 1-1 draw, but then I thought we would manage to beat Swindon 2-1.

At home the Franchisees do seem to be draw specialists, having won four, drawn five and lost just two in the echoing spaces of their stadium.   It was at least the most comfortable away venue I have ever visited in terms of leg room.  They are 15th in the real table, but well ahead of Charlton in the form table (not difficult).

I suppose where I differ from those Charlton fans who lost faith in Bowyer is that my expectations for this season were relatively low given the turmoil in the summer and the way in which we lost out over the salary cap.  The result has been a squad thin in quality and to some extent in quantity.  

Given the strength of some of the other teams, I thought that automatic promotion was unlikely, but that we could make the play offs which is still possible.  As Curbs says, if you are going to have a blip, it is  better to have it now.

I am not convinced that a different manager could have achieved much more with the materials at hand.  In modern football the manager gets the blame for almost everything, but Bowyer doesn't tell his defenders to make schoolboy errors on the pitch - and it's not just down to the selection and the formation. Having said that, I think that Curbs has a point when he keeps saying 'a consistent team gets consistent results.'

I am not sentimental about Bowyer being an ex-player, nor do I think he is beyond criticism: sometimes his relative inexperience shows (the same could be said about Lampard who was handed the poisoned chalice too soon).  However, I think the right time to make a decision about the future will be at the end of the season.

It will then necessary to be realistic about the calibre of any replacement manager, if indeed that is the decision.  Personally I would at least consider Jason Euell, but I can see the argument for an outsider. Then you are faced with a choice with the 'been there, done that' crowd who in my opinion get appointed too often or taking a risk with a younger, less experienced manager.  But that, of course, is what we did with Bowyer.

Monday 25 January 2021

One target missed, one player leaving

A Charlton transfer target from AFC Bournemouth, Nnandi Oforboroh, has signed a pre-contract with Rangers:

Gers came up with a huge pile of Scottish banknotes and a bespoke kilt.   According to the Scottish press, he could move north of the border this month.

First minster and Glasgow resident Nicola Sturgeon said it was another one in the eye for the English.

Paul Smyth is going to be recalled by QPR, reveals Richard Cawley of the SLP.    I don't think his contribution has been that substantial.

Saturday 23 January 2021

Charlton rocked by the Robins

Once again Charlton drew 2-2 with Swindon, this time at The Valley.   Two disastrous defensive errors saw Charlton 0-2 down at the break.   The Addicks showed more urgency after the break and levelled the game.   Another defensive mistake nearly saw the score go to 1-3, but Swindon hit the post.  Conor Washington nearly made it 3-2 at the death.

So often Charlton go behind and end up having to chase the game.   They also need to be more clinical in front of goal.   In the first half Swindon scored from just two attempts on goal whereas Charlton had numerous chances throughout the game.   Bowyer said afterwards that they could have scored six.

Steve Brown said before the game that the start was vital and we must not concede another early goal.  Charlton were behind in the first five minutes.   After the game Curbs reiterated his theme of consistent teams bringing consistent results.

Schwartz nearly scored in the first minute, but the keeper just managed to tip the ball on the post.  He showed good awareness in creating the chance, but then was not seen very much for the rest of the half.

On four minutes Hope burst through on our right where he had plenty of time and space.  Matthews was poor in terms of trying to stop him.   The shot was powerful, but Amos should have done better and Swindon were ahead.   They knew that with our vulnerable defence we were there for the taking.

Two minutes later a Millar cross was just in front of Schwartz.  Williams put a good ball in, but Aneke shot straight at the keeper.  Charlton were playing some good football, but were being frustrated by a packed Swindon defence,   On 20 minutes Williams shot wide after a Matthews cross.   On 25 minutes Aneke was over and wide from the first Charlton corner.

Millar won a free kick on the edge of the area against two defenders.  His shot cannoned off the bar.

Swindon were capable of counter attacking and on 38 minutes a Palmer shot took a wicked deflection off Oshilaja to make it 0-2.

Bowyer looked as if he had just been told that someone had drained his French fishing lake, but he is hardly to blame for defensive errors on the pitch.  At the break Steve Brown said that it had been too easy for Swindon to get into dangerous positions.

HT: Addicks 0, Robins 2

Andrew Shinnie came on at the break to provide more link up play and he made a real difference.  Williams was withdrawn: he had had a decent game, but the change was needed.

On 56 minites Aneke made it 1-2 from a header.  The move was started by Pratley and Millar put in the assist,   Schwartz then put the ball in the net, but was caught offside.   Bowyer insisted afterwards that he was onside.

On 60 minutes Pratley was taken off for Morgan who provided more of an attacking option.  Forster-Caskey took the captain's armband,

After good play by Matthews and Morgan, Aneke went for power and hit the bar.  Bowyer said that if he had hit the ball into the ground he would have scored.  Maatsen went down injured and Pearce replaced him.   Morgan's effort was straight at the keeper.

On 75 minutes Aneke and Schwartz were replaced by Stockley and Washington as Charlton chased the game.   On 80 minutes there was a handball claim in the area, but it went to a Charlton corner.

With Oshilaja on the halfway line and Amos stranded, Charlton were fortunate that Swindon could only hit the post.

On 89 minutes Millar passed to Forster-Caskey allowing Shinnie to score in the six yard box.  Swindon players screamed for offside and one of them got a yellow card for his protests,

In six minutes added on Charlton mounted a good counter attack with Shinnie at its heart and won a corner.  Swindon then applied some pressure.   Following a Morgan through ball, Washington round the keeper but the angle was too acute and the ball went into the side netting.

Bowyer said afterwards that Charlton were close to a good run, but had to cut out sloppy play.  They needed some luck.   The diamond worked well.

Charlton are now 6th in the table, but teams around them have games in hand.

Lee Bowyer said that Charlton are 'juggling plates' with what they have to spend and are well stocked in centre backs:

Bowyer's assessment of the team's performance:

Bogey team arrive at The Valley

The Rocking Robins arrive at The Valley this afternoon in 23rd place in the table and having lost six of their last eight games.   However, it has to be recognised that Swindon have been something of a bogey team for us, for example delivering an unwelcome play off semi-final defeat:

I have never quite recovered from the day we lost 0-1 at home to them after a long run of wins owing to a rare Dean Kiely error.  I have bought a hospitality package and had invited an Addicks from Swindon who was beside himself.

Our long-term record against them has been more reassuring, having won 28, drawn 20 and lost 15.  It is surprising just how many games we have played against them.

This season away from home Swindon have won two, drawn one and lost seven.   They have scored 15 goals and conceded 25.  This is the highest total away from home in the league.   It suggests that we should risk an attacking formation.

'Croakers', to use a term in use 100 years ago, consider that we should have given a greater priority to bringing in a defender rather than a new striker.   However, Bowyer's argument is that the injured defenders will be returning soon.

It is also a question of who can be afforded within the salary cap.   A special deal was needed with Preston North End for them to cover some of his £7,000 a week wages.  Apparently we have an option to sign him in the summer.  

I don't usually made predictions as they are a hostage to fortune, but if we avoid defensive errors we could win by 2-1 or even 3-1.

Friday 22 January 2021

Bowyer still looking for additions to squad

Lee Bowyer is still looking for two or three additions to the squad before the transfer window closes:

Bowyer confirmed that Alfie Doughty has joined Stoke City, praises his attitude and thinks that he made the right decision in staying in England.   The offer of a bespoke kilt and a translator from Celtic were not enough to tempt him north of the border.

It is clear that Joel Randall is out of the frame.  Exeter were determined to stick to their valuation with 18 months left on his contract.  He may well be a star of the future, but £1m is a lot for someone whose main experience outside League Two has been six months at Tiverton Town.

Charlton win battle for striker claim

Unconfirmed reports from Bristol state that Charlton have beaten the Gas and Sunderland in a swoop for PNE striker Jayden Stockley.  It would be a loan deal until the end of the season:

Having someone who is 6ft. 2ins. could be useful, although he has been loaned out a lot in his career:

Richard Cawley of the SLP has confirmed that Charlton are trying to sign Stockley on loan.

The loan deal with Stockley has to be agreed by 12 noon if he is to feature against Swindon tomorrow:

Richard Cawley is hopeful this can be done, although it was hoped to conclude a deal at the weekend so that he could have featured against Peterborough.

Jayden Stockley has arrived at Charlton and has been training with his new team-mates today:

Richard Cawley has suggested that his arrival may mean that Omar Bogle will seek new opportunities elsewhere, news that has been received calmly by supporters.

Some fans think that we should have signed a defender rather than a striker, but it is a question of who is available within the salary cap.  Famewo has been running this week.

Thursday 21 January 2021

Sandgaard's vision

Rick Everitt conducted an in depth interview with Thomas Sandgaard for Voice of the Valley and it is now available to read online:

One of the new owner's most interesting points was that even when we were in the Premier League our commercial income was disappointing.

The right strategy and people can rectify that, although it also requires success on the pitch.  The two can set up a virtuous circle.

Doughty loan back off

Richard Cawley of the SLP reports: 'Sounds like Alfie Doughty's move to Stoke should be announced at some point today.  It won't be a loan back as rehab on his injury is going to take a bit longer than expected.'

'It opens up another loan slot for Charlton, they are chasing at least two signings before the end of the window.'

'Charlton are still working on getting a player in before Saturday's match against Swindon Town.  The deal Lee Bowyer spoke about from earlier in week is still in play.'

If this means Joel Randall from Exeter, I have mixed feelings.  Of course, Bowyer and Gallen are better judges of a player than I am.   But £1m seems a lot for a player whose main experience is with Tiverton Town.    I suppose our situation justifies taking a risk.

Cawley has also stated that rumours about Scott Fraser at MK Dons being a target for Charlton are not true.  He would not be affordable within the salary cap.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

League Two target out of Charlton's price range

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer was frustrated after Charlton failed to sign a player before last night's defeat in the Soak of Peterborough:

Charlton have made two bids for Exeter's Joel Randall, but he may be out of their price range.  The Grecians want around £1 million for a League Two player who has only played 14 or 16 games at that level:

Bowyer told Richard Cawley of the SLP: 'I like him, I think he's a good player.  He'd have been a project.'

Randall is a product of the Exeter City academy.   He had a six month loan at Tiverton Town and has also had loan spells at Weston Super Mare and Weymouth.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Two mistakes cost Charlton

Two defensive errors in the second half saw Charlton surrender a 1-0 first half lead against Peterborough to lose 2-1 at London Road.  The pitch looked as if it had been prepared for a ploughing match and it was a scrappy game but the league's leading scorer, Johnson Clarke-Harris, pounced when give the opportunity.   

Given that the Posh have won six of their eight games at home it cannot be said to be a surprising result, but it is still disappointing.  I predicted 2-1 in the West Sussex Badger League.

Charlton started with a 4-4-2 formation. An early Maatsen shot went over the bar. There were plenty of free kicks which were a result of the conditions and a fussy referee.

A Forster-Caskey free kick went into the box and Pearce was dragged down. The Cromwellian keeper Pym got a yellow card for his protests. Washington scored from the spot with a kick into the bottom iright-hand corner.

The home side showed more urgency and Amos had to clear. A free kick was conceded by Charlton in a dangerous position. It was a difficult ball to deal with and Forster-Caskey put in a vital defensive header.

Maatsen provided good defensive work to deal with Kanu. Forster-Caskey got a yellow card for a clash of heads.

HT: Posh 0, Addicks 1

With Butler in agony, Millar got a yellow card. Smyth got a yellow card as Taylor displayed his theatrical talents. Millar won a free kick and Charlton had a great chance to go 2-0 ahead from the Forster-Caskey free kick, but Gunter headed the ball over rather than down into the ground.

Inevitably Peterborough counter attacked. After 65 minutes in which Charlton has defended well, the two centre halves failed to communicate with each other and Clarke-Harris burst through to score.

Shell shocked supremo Bowyer took off Bogle and Washington and brought on Aneke and Schwartz, but neither saw much action. Oshilaja defended well.

Forster-Caskey was taken off in favour of Shinnie. Almost immediately the ball was taken off him, allowing Clarke-Harris to forge forward and score again. After that Charlton's play became more ragged, despite a last through of the dice with two more substitutions. Peterborough had no trouble in holding on to their lead, although Amos had to make a great save to prevent it becoming 3-1.

In the five minutes added on, there was still time for Pratley to add to his collection of yellow cards.

Lapslie joins Stags

George Lapslie has made a permanent move to Mansfield Town.   The deal is for an undisclosed fee but, more importantly, has a sell on clause.

George has been at Charlton since he was 11 and was full of praise for all the support he has received at the club:

In different circumstances it might have been possible to hold on to him and see how he developed.  As it is, he may come back to score against us one day.   Anyway, I wish him all best for his future career.

'Laps' turned down other clubs to sign for the Stags and both parties seem delighted:

Charlton a 'physical' side says Ferguson

I hope they have good drainage at London Road because the Met Office issued an amber weather warning for the Soke of Peterborough last night given the deluge expected from storm Christoph.

No doubt the match will go ahead but conditions could be slippery making precision play difficult.  This could mean freak goals being scored. 

Darren Ferguson thinks that Charlton are a very physical side and he will treat them with respect, but thinks that his side will cause the Addicks plenty of problems as his front three steer Posh towards promotion:

Peterborough are a club who think they should be in the Championship, but find it hard to stay there.

Monday 18 January 2021

It's a 6.30 pm start in beautiful downtown Peterborough

Darren Pratley and Jason Pearce are back from suspension for tomorrow's visit to Peterborough, while Andrew Shinnie returns from a spell injured:

Shinnie has not been able to train much because of waterlogged pitches, so he is likely to be on bench warming duties which is a shame given his creativity.

I'm not sure what I would do about the war horses Pearce and Pratley.   Pearce has looked a bit suspect in recent games and Oshilaja is on song.   Pratley gives his all, even if that sometimes lands him in trouble.  

He is not a cultured player, but he is a battler and that may be needed against the Posh.   I agree with the fan who tweeted that has more to offer as a ball winning midfielder than a centre back.  Others argue that age is catching up with him which has been the case for some time but he could do 60 minutes before being replaced by Shinnie.

Maddison will not be available to return to his former club.   The latest Voice of the Valley suggests that he was not a good investment and when he scored his only goal he was giving evils to Lee Bowyer rather than celebrating.   They may not have exchanged Christmas cards.

Rather unusually it is a 6.30 pm kick off tomorrow, something I almost missed.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Forster-Caskey 'back to his best'

Jake Forster-Caskey says that recovering from a long-term injury is always hard, but now he is in a good place and able to help the team:

You can make a case for either him or Oshilaja being man of the match yesterday.  It was certainly a spirited and impressive return by Oshilaja.

I wish The Football League Paper wouldn't score every player 6 or 7 (I think the Blackheath Addick's ratings are more useful).   Steve Brown and Scott Minto were prepared to give Jake a 9 after the match.

I would have given him and Oshilaja 8 and Washington 5.

Saturday 16 January 2021

Shipshape and Bristol fashion

A Bristol Rovers fan e-mailed me today to complain about calling his team the Gas and said they should be called the Pirates.  No doubt he will think that it was an act of piracy when Charlton took all three points at the Memorial Ground this afternoon.

A Forster-Caskey strike from the corner flag put Charlton ahead in the second half (Steve Brown in the studio was convinced that Millar got something on it and the BBC gave it to the Canadian, but Forster-Caskey is convinced that it was his).  Albie Morgan was sent off for a second yellow, but the Addicks held on for the last ten minutes and indeed posed a threat.

A clean sheet reflected more solidity at the back with Oshilaja having a good game and singled out for praise by Lee Bowyer.   Steve Brown drew attention to one of his blocks and said his covering positions were great.

Rovers defended well, but were very dependent on ex-Addick Brandon Hanlon to get a goal.

Man of the match: Jake Forster-Caskey.  Lee Bowyer said, 'He's driving us in the middle of the park.'  Steve Brown told him that he led by example.

Lee Bowyer told Scott Minto: 'It was very good today, very professional, we looked solid, everyone put a good shift in.  If you want to be picky, we should have scored more.'   Bowyer said of Morgan, 'He's 21, he's learning the game, he's trying to compete and fighting, but today he was a little over the top.'

Bowyer said, 'We should enjoy this moment and move on', emphasising the tough test against Peterborough on Tuesday which would be a very different game.

Charlton are in 6th place, but on the same number of points as Peterborough and Doncaster Rovers above them.

Match report

The game had a rather untidy start, but Rovers were showing some urgency and clearly looking for an early goal.  However, the back four looked solid and the midfield moved back quickly to protect them.

On 10 minutes Aneke didn't make the connection with the ball he wanted and scuffed it wide.  Oshilaja provided good cover against Hanlon.   A Rovers free kick was well defended.  A great Forster-Caskey ball won Charlton a corner.

On 21 minutes a great Maatsen ball gave Aneke an opportunity but his effort was just wide.  Following a Charlton corner, Forster-Caskey put the ball wide.  On 27 minutes Hanlon shot wide in what was really the first chance for the hone side.

Amos caught a Rovers corner.   He then spilt the ball, but referee Peter Wright, in charge of Charlton for the first time, ruled that he was fouled.  Good work by Aneke saw Forster-Caskey put the ball over the bar.

Amos stretched out a leg to deny McCormick.

Steve Brown thought that Charlton were open and stretched towards the end of the half.  He also thought that Conor Washington did not do enough with the ball.

Charlton had had plenty of possession, but their final ball let them down.

HT: 0-0

It was end to end start, but the Addicks won three corners.   However, they were taken short and I think that this rarely works.  When Forster-Caskey whacked it in on 63 minutes we got the goal.

Rovers fought back strongly and Charlton struggled to clear their lines.  The Addicks made a triple substitution, in part with the Peterborough game in mind.  Williams, Washington and Aneke went off. Smyth, Bogle and Schwartz came on.

Schultz and Bogle advanced on goal, but the Dane managed to trip up.  Morgan got a second yellow for an unnecessary challenge off the ball.

Bogle was creative in the closing phase of the match.  Gilbey, who had come on a substitute, won an important free kick for Charlton.

Six minutes added on created a nervous atmosphere, but Charlton retained control.

Rovers manager Paul Tisdale was contemptuous of Forster-Caskey's effort and said that it was a soft goal to concede:

Leading Bowyer critic Desmond from Deal said: 'Just when we think Bowyer's days are numbered, he sneaks a lucky win.'

Glass half full or completely empty?

It is difficult to know what to anticipate in this afternoon's match against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.   Pessimists and the 'Bowyer out' crowd see Charlton on a downward spiral from which we will not recover until a new manager (usually unnamed) is brought in.   

Those of us whose glass is half full saw glimmers of hope in the goals scored on Tuesday night.  A partnership between Chuks Aneke and Ronnie Schwartz could boost our goals tally.

The problem is our injury and suspension beset defence which is even weaker than usual after Trevor 'Steaming' Kettle sent off Jason Pearce, not that the skipper has impressed in recent games.

No surprise, then, that the CAST preview doesn't know what to think:

However, the Gas have their own injury and suspension worries:

In the form table Rovers are 9th and Charlton are 16th.    In the real table the Addicks are 7th and the Gas 18th, reflecting the poor start that Rovers made to the season.

I know three Bristol Rovers fans well: one in Hong Kong, one in Sidmouth in Devon and one in Birmingham.  The one in Birmingham offered me a lift to the game when we put five past them, just as well I didn't accept as he says he would have left me there!

A Bristol Rovers supporter has complained: 'I do not like the [term] Gas.   The Pirates were always the name.  The Eastville ground - hardly a stadium - was next to a gas works and the plant where waste food was boiled up for pig food.  Terrible smell but long ago before the first move to Twerton Park [Bath].'

There are three changes in the team:


Two fanzines to enjoy

I am waiting for my copy of the latest Voice of the Valley to drop through my letter box, although sometimes it seems to reach the Shetland Addick before it gets to the Royal Spa.

Now we have a second fanzine to enjoy, My Only Desire, which promises an exclusive interview with Graham Stuart.   It is more expensive than VOTV.

The presence of two fanzines is a sign of the vigour and commitment of the fanbase.  At one time Goodbye Horse edited by Kevin Portch ran alongside VOTV.

Congratulations to Charlton stalwart Garry Nelson on his 60th birthday.   Difficult to think of him as that age, I remember his scoring a winning goal at Luton.  Enjoyed both his books, the one on Charlton and the one on being player-manager at Torquay.

Friday 15 January 2021

Back where we belong with the Minister of Shooting?

New signing Ronnie Schwartz thinks that Charlton are too big a club for League One:

Like, I think, all fans, I would like to be out of this league and back in the competitive and more exciting Championship.  However, no club has a right to be in any division on the basis of how big a club they are, in any case a difficult thing to measure.  Just ask Sunderland.

It's not an easy league to get out of.   My prediction for our position halfway through the season for the West Sussex Badger League was 8th.  In fact we are 7th.  For the end of the season I have chosen 5th which I think is possible.

I always thought promotion was at best 40-60, not because of the manager.  Rather the club suffered from its 'owners' over the summer and then got caught out by the salary cap.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Contract talks to start with Aneke

Charlton are to start contract talks with Chuks Aneke once the transfer window is closed.  He is a free agent in the summer.   I want him to stay and my impression is that most Charlton fans share that view:

As for whether he will start against the Gas on Saturday following his exertions against Rochdale, besieged boss Lee Bowyer says he is in an impossible, Catch-22 situation.

Varney defends Bowyer

Former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney defends Lee Bowyer against his social media critics and argues that he is right man to lead the club forward:

He points out that if social media had been around Sir Alex Ferguson would never have had the time to build up Manchester United.

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Shell shocked supremo admits his mistake

Shell shocked supremo Lee Bowyer is worried about the number of goals Charlton are conceding, but says that they should take confidence from their second half performance against Rochdale:

The beleaguered boss has held his hands up over his mistake of playing Paul Smyth at right wing back for the opening part of the game:

Bowyer thought that the sending off of Jason Pearce by Trevor 'Steaming' Kettle was harsh:

Against Accrington we failed to take Colby Bishop seriously enough, although those of us who had watched him in non-league knew what a good player he was once he returned from injury.   Against Rochdale, insufficient account was taken of their phenomenal away goal scoring record, 16 before last night.   Only Hull now have a better away goals record.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Bowyer's forced rotation policy

Besieged boss Lee Bowyer has responded to criticisms of the fact that Charlton have made more team changes than any other club in League One.  Alan Curbishley has been emphasising the 'consistent team, consistent results' theme in his interviews.

According to Bowyer, the problem has been the state of the squad at the start of the season and injuries to key players since then:

I can see that, although I sometimes wonder about who starts and who gets substituted and when.  But those decisions are tricky for any manager.

Akin Famewo and Andrew Shinnie should be back for the game against Peterborough, although 'back' usually means a ringside seat on the bench:

Marcus Maddison is going to have a scan on his ankle injury.

Monday 11 January 2021

Bowyer says his players need to get physical

George Lapslie is in form at Mansfield having scored a sixth goal at the weekend but Lee Bowyer has no intention of recalling him.  Indeed, Charlton have already stated that they will let him go on a free transfer:

The shell shocked supremo complained about a lack of physicality from his players against Accrington on Friday, but unfortunately in League One you do encounter big lads who put themselves about while any protection from referees is inconsistent.

I have no intention of joining Desmond from Deal's 'Bowyer Out Now' crowd.   It's not Australian rules with coaches on the pitch so you can't prevent Jason Pearce making a schoolboy error.

However, as Curbs says, consistent sides get consistent results.   I appreciate that Bowyer is still reeling from the mayhem created by Duchatelet and his dubious successors and I thought that the odds were against promotion this year.   

Nevertheless, some older, wiser and more experienced heads might help without returning to a duopoly as many of us recall.  (Gritt and Curbishley) We don't need four technical advisers plus Jonathan Acworth as fans' representative in the dugout, but Bowyer needs to listen to advice from those with more experience.

Prodigal will return

Whichever of three clubs Alfie Doughty goes to - Bournemouth, Stoke City or the Super Hoops - he will be loaned back to Charlton for the rest of the season:

It is interesting that Celtic are out of the picture after they spent all that money on a bespoke kilt.   It is also being claimed that Rangers were interested.

Unconfirmed reports are stating that Stoke City have won the race for his signature, after trying to sign him last summer.

Sceptical fans have suggested that these clubs do not want to rehabilitate a player who will not be fit for two months.   When he does return, his first priority may be avoiding injury, understandably enough.

Charlton retro

 On this day in 2000 I went to see Charlton beat Wolves 3-2 at Molineux on my 53rd birthday.  It was our first win there for 47 years (I was born in 1947).  We had last won in 1953 and victory gave us 53 points.   Five goals were scored in aggregate, three by Charlton, making the magic number 53.  I used to travel to The Valley on the 53 bus.  It was such a series of coincidences that the Charlton programme the following Saturday carried a note about it.

I am especially looking forward to tomorrow night's match against Rochdale.  On 11 January 1947 my father went to see Charlton play Rochdale in the FA Cup (I have the programme, see above).   The Addicks won 3-1. My father then went to the hospital in Greenwich where I was born at 7.30 pm (someone has even put my astrological chart online).

Having enjoyed some success as a non-league footballer, my father hoped that I could emulate him and even play for Charlton.   On my seventh birthday he bought me a good quality pair of football boots.  Unfortunately, I had two left feet and never played competitive football at any level.  The sport in which I was in my university team was a rather obscure one.  

Clue: I was at university in Scotland.   First correct answer in the comments section wins a small prize.

In January 2005 we played Rochdale again in the FA Cup and I sponsored the match ball.  We won 4-1. I have bought eleven raffle tickets for tomorrow night in the hope that I and the team will be lucky.

I am planning to shortly launch a new site called 'Charlton Retro' to include some of my historical Voice of the Valley articles (permission given by Rick Everitt) and also blog posts on former Charlton players etc.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Doughty to choose his new home

Alfie Doughty has had offers from three Championship clubs and will now have to make his choice, but he is expected to have gone soon.

Lee Bowyer told Richard Cawley: 'I expect him to speak to all three clubs. I think he should. Alfie has been really good - he's not been knocking on my door. I expect him to be gone in the near future. Now it is down to Alfie, his family and his agent.'

I don't blame a young player for wanting to leave a faltering League One club and I would be happy to present him with a cushion to use for his bench warming duties. Sometimes it leads to greater things, sometimes it doesn't, but in life you have to take risks when you are young.

Bowyer would like major surgery on his squad

Seething supremo Lee Bowyer would like to carry out major surgery on his squad, presumably in some cases including a footballing brain and a fresh set of legs.  However, he is constrained by the salary cap:

Meanwhile, the sullen supremo let fly at this players last night:

I appreciate that he was really angry, but I think this sort of message is better delivered in private rather than to the media.

Richard Cawley of the SLP has commented: 'I've got to say I don't think Lee Bowyer doesn't care about the welfare of his players. I just think he was absolutely raging at the performance the team put in. Spoke for almost 20 minutes in his post-match with non-TV media - could tell he was just so disappointed.'

Some fans have also expressed their disappointment and anger in no uncertain terms.

Friday 8 January 2021

Bishop's moves checkmate Charlton

Two goals by former Leamington ace Colby Bishop saw Charlton defeated 0-2 by Accrington Stanley at The Valley with the snow falling this evening.   Both goals were avoidable and the result of poor defending but Bishop showed composure in scoring them.

At the other end there was just not enough creativity and pressure by Charlton to create enough scoring opportunities.   The Addicks have not kept a clean sheet for seven games.

Before the game I wrote about Bishop: 'Colby Bishop has scored 42 goals for Accrington since joining them from the Brakes in 2019 for an undisclosed fee.   He was a formidable force with an eye for goal when he was at Leamington and Accrington scouts have been at Harbury Lane for the last few home games eyeing another likely recruit, given how their investment in Bishop paid off.

Charlton looked as if they might pose an early threat, but Accrington were soon on top.  The visitors were given too much room in central midfield.

The Addicks did win a succession of corners, but they were unproductive.   Baxter in the Accrington goal had to parry a shot from the lively Millar.   Baxter saved well from Forster-Caskey.

The first goal was Route One with a long goal kick not being dealt with by Pearce who got his header to Amos wrong.  It was then an easy finish for Bishop as excited Leamington fans tweeted 'He loves scoring in front of the Sky cameras.'

A Gilbey shot was blocked and a Forster-Caskey effort was over the bar.   It could be argued that the two sides were level in the first half.  As Richard Cawley noted, Charlton had one or two very good chances, but they had been easily cut open.

HT: 0-1

Aneke was brought on for Washington after the break, but this time the super sub had relatively little impact.  Morgan, who had picked up a yellow card, put in a good shot amid a crowd of players after great work by Maatsen, but the ball was deflected and a free kick followed.   Maatsen then had to deal with a threatening attack by Accrington at the expense of a corner.

Millar and Morgan were taken off for Maddison and Williams as Bowyer rang the changes.  But all hope of a Charlton revival largely ended when Bishop made it 2-0 with an easy finish after poor defending by Oshilaja who had also been at fault early in the first half.

Charlton were not able to win the ball enough and were not creating enough chances, although a good ball from Maddison won the Addicks a corner.   In desperation Bowyer took off Smyth and called Schwartz away from his bench warming duties.

A ball from Oshilaja caused defensive confusion, but Amos coped well.  An over eager Maatsen got a yellow card.

A further blow saw Maddison on the floor after he got his foot stuck in the turf.  He hobbled away and Purrington came on.  Asked if Maddison was seriously injured, Bowyer said: '"I don't know. I don't care. You've got a player who is jumping out of tackles and then he says he got a knock before that. If you do that again then you're done.'

In time added on a Forster-Caskey shot was palmed away and a Charlton corner was cleared off the line.

Charlton are now 7th, having been overtaken by Accrington.

Report from Louis Mendez:

Top MLS club to swoop for Bogle?

It's not April 1st, although admittedly the story originated from Ghana where turmoil following the recent general election creates a need for some light relief.   However, it is being claimed that the New York Red Bulls have an interest in Omar Bogle:

Admittedly, the writer does describe Bogle as a 'journeyman' and says his signing would be a 'reclamation' project which is one way of putting it.   I see this story as light relief on a bleak winter day.

Schwartz ready to warm the bench

Striker Ronnie Schwartz is ready to take on League One defences after a frustrating period in his career:

However, he has not played a competitive match since July so he is likely to be on the bench and may be allowed on in the 79th minute if we are losing.

'The Minister of Shooting'

That's the translation of the nickname of new Charlton striker Ronnie Schwartz who apparently has ice in his veins:

I don't know whether he will start or appear from the bench tonight against Accrington Stanley.   He will probably be up against former Leamington striker Colby Bishop who has scored 42 goals for Accrington since signing for them from the Brakes in 2019 for an undisclosed fee.   Judging by what I saw of him at Harbury Lane, he is also a formidable goal machine.

Thursday 7 January 2021

Oshilaja is my man, says Bowyer

Deji Oshilaga looks certain to return from the bench tomorrow against Accrington Stanley with Lee Bowyer reluctant to acquire additional defenders when he considers that he is already well stocked:

Of course, a number of defenders are injured, most importantly the key Ryan Inniss and Darren Pratley was playing out of position before his suspension.

Best wishes to Scott Minto for a speedy recovery from Covid-19.

Charm merchant agent ups the pressure

Alfie Doughty's charm merchant of an agent has tried to issue an ultimatum to Lee Bowyer as more than one bid comes in, but the steely supremo is standing firm in the face of pressure:

He is going, but we want to get the best price and also a good sell on clause.  The days of Katrien Meire give aways are over.

Given the money that Celtic had laid out on a kilt, I still think they are in within a chance.

Beswicks Sports have taken an understandable pride in Doughty's achievements:

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Doughty on his way

Charlton are talking to Stoke City about Alfie Doughty against the background of a rumoured bid of £650k.  However, they are not the only club interested in the injured prospect.   Celtic have been in the frame for some time and have already ordered a mad-to-measure kilt.

Doughty is out of contract in the summer and will not sign a new one, so we might as well cash in:

Some fans are indignant but as Richard Cawley of the SLP has pointed out: 'Doughty's situation is a hangover from the old regime. Should have been buttoned down long before Thomas Sandgaard took control. Same kind of situation with Joe Aribo and Dillon Phillips, just as a couple of examples.'

In my view young players are entitled to make the choices they think are best for their careers, albeit their agents may not always give them the best advice.

Sagacious supremo Lee Bowyer has insisted that any deal will have to be on Charlton's terms:

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Will the season finish normally?

The chief executive of Rochdale FC has asked for the EFL to be suspended:   I doubt whether the EFL will take their instructions from him.

However, there is no doubt that the pandemic has already ravaged matches as players succumb to the virus and the number called off will undoubtedly increase with a more frequent EFL testing regime.

On The Football League Show at the weekend, the pundits speculated that the Championship would be finished but Leagues One and Two could be decided on a points per game basis.  This caused a lot of angst last year, not least on the part of Tranmere Rovers who felt they were hard done by when they relegated.

My hunch is that points per game might not be good for Charlton.

Tranmere threatened a legal challenge, but this never happened as I suspect that there were no good grounds in law that would be recognised by a court.  Just because something is unfair doesn't mean it is illegal, provided decision-making procedures have been properly followed.

There is an issue about the long-term effects of the pandemic on football, tackled by Ian Dixon in an article for

He notes, 'As fans are permitted back to stadia, clubs will be competing against a fan base who may find the above social distance restrictions less attractive and got use to staying at home by watching matches in the comfort of their living room.  Clubs could see post virus demand for tickets and attendance levels lower. Consequently, clubs may need to consider making their product offering more attractive – so wider reaching changes may come out of the current crisis.'

Monday 4 January 2021

New striker signs

Danish striker Ronnie Schwartz has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Charlton, subject to Home Office approval.   

Schwartz trained with the club today:

Charlton's fanbase

I'm always cautious about self-selected surveys rather than ones based on a sampling frame, although it has to be admitted that those frames seem to be working less well because of response biases.   In any event, at least the latest CAST survey of Charlton fans had over 1,000 responses:

It's no surprise that they are overwhelmingly positive about the future under Thomas Sandgaard, but some of the other information is very interesting.

Respondents were 89 per cent male which possibly understates the part of the support base that is not male.  96 per cent defined themselves as white British.   It is probably not too far off the actual figure.

Thomas Sandgaard has said there is a challenge about diversity.   This is not about being 'politically correct', it is about attracting potential supporters living within ten to fifteen miles of The Valley.

I agree that 'Perhaps the most interesting result is the strength of feeling about playing at The Valley, given Charlton's unique history in leaving then returning to the stadium. Among those under 24, three quarters (76%) agreed that they would find it hard to support Charlton if they were not playing at The Valley. Feeling was also quite strong among those aged 55+.  However, among those aged 35-44, a slight majority (54%) disagreed with the statement.'

This is a useful corrective for someone of my generation, giving that my support for Charlton is closely identified with The Valley, although it is interesting that young supporters feel the same way.

Could Canadian player replace Doughty?

Hopefully, Lee Bowyer had an enjoyable birthday yesterday with his family with the attention directed at Frank Lampard.   At least Thomas Sandgaard has not spent as much money as Roman Abramovich.  Mind you, he usually ends up spending a lot of money sacking managers.

Lee Bowyer has confirmed that he has an interest in Liverpool winger Liam Millar who is seen as a stand in/replacement for Alfie Doughty:

I can't remember when we last had a Canadian player at Charlton.   Don't confuse him with the Irish professional footballer of the same name.

He has had a loan spell at Kilmarnock:

Update: Richard Cawley of the SLP has been confirmed he will be signing today.   More here:

Sunday 3 January 2021

What was behind mystery incident at the KCom?

Hull manager Grant McCann has refused to discuss what happened in a mysterious incident at the KCom Stadium yesterday when the referee spoke to the two captains and then the two managers before a first half corner was taken:

The sullen supremo implied that the matter was one for the referee's official report and the Football Association, but implied that it wasn't the home side that would be in trouble.

The game yesterday was surprisingly bad tempered given the absence of any prior bad feeling between the clubs.   Many Charlton fans felt that the referee was what Jimmy Seed called a 'homer' despite the absence of fans in the stadium.

Saturday 2 January 2021

How was it for you?

Jaded journalist and Fulham supporter Richard Cawley has asked the man he calls his 'sidekick', Louis Mendez, to give his verdict on Charlton's season so far.

Mendez says that there's certainly room for improvement, but he doesn't think it's gone too badly so far, all things considered (quite a qualifying phrase):

I would like to thank the SLP journos for the coverage they provide.   Local print (and online) journalism is under threat.  The hard-working sports editor of my local paper was invited to get on his bike and the coverage now apparently comes from Northampton of all places.

My one question is, when Cawley goes to the Cottage, does he get to hobnob with Richard Osman?  The take off in Osman's career reminds us that reaching 50 can be a beginning rather than an end.