Wednesday 29 September 2021

Time to put the excuses book away

Those fans left in the ground last night chanted 'We want Adkins out' and that sentiment has been reflected in social media posts.   However, the shell shocked supremo is determined to stay put and fight on:

However, he could be a dead man walking.   Louis Mendez says that there is a stink around The Valley thinks that for the first time last night Adkins realised that his days might be numbered:

However, Dean Kiely and Alan Curbishley think that the time for excuses is over:

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Valley of tears

 Charlton went ahead after 11 minutes with a replica of the goal against Portsmouth.   Clare got hold of the ball well and passed to Leko who fed Davison who put the ball in the back of the net.

Bolton were playing the ball a lot between the two centre halves and it wasn't clear what the plan was.

Leko was a real threat down the wing.   Lee put the ball just wide of the post.

Captain Watson got booked and then Davison after a theatrical performance by the Bolton player.

Bolton started to come into the game more after the half hour mark.   Matthews got caught in possession and the ball went right across the front of goal.

On 42 minutes Bolton equalised.  The ball was played across the pitch, their player was allowed a few touches and put in a good strike from 20 yards out into the far corner of the net, but they shouldn't have been given so much space.

HT: 1-1

It was a cagey start to the half as the rain poured down.  It was something of a stalemate.  Davison managed to skim the outside of the post.

Leko had to be replaced by Washington after he took a knock.

Charlton started to look tired.   Big gaps were appearing between the midfield and the front line. Bolton advanced down the right and a deflection saw the ball go past MacGillivray to make it 1-2.

After a great run from Washington, he tried to put the ball over the advancing keeper but it went inches wide.

Clare went off and was replaced by Gilbey.   Clare had been tiring.

Bolton broke down the Charlton right on 80 minutes and made it 1-3 on the inside of the post from six yards out.

Bolton claimed for a penalty against Purrington, but there was no contact.   Watson went off and Stockley came on in a last desperate attempt.

With Charlton pressing, Bolton made it 1-4 on 90 minutes, Sarcevic rounding MacGillivray.

Curbs said it was time Nigel knew his best eleven.  Getting beat 4-1 at home is terrible.

Charlton are second from bottom.

Post match comments by Nigel Adkins:

Bolton expect to return to winning ways tonight

Bolton boss Ian Evatt believes that the Whites are creating chances at the moment but not taking them.  He is putting his faith tonight in debut forward Elias Kachunga:

After back-to-back defeats, Bolton are looking to take three points off an under pressure Charlton.  Bolton have stability whereas Adkins has been forced to rotate his team:

Bolton have had a mixed start to the season following promotion. They are 9th in the league, but just four places ahead of Charlton in the form table.   Away from home they have won two, drawn and lost two.

The fan contributing to Four Four  Two at the start of the season expected a 6th place finish and promotion through the play offs. Fans will not be happy unless there is a play off challenge and many are expecting back-to-back promotions.  Four Four Two thinks that ambitions for a dream double promotion will have to wait a little longer, forecasting a 11th place finish.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Fitness by rotation is the Adkins diet

Besieged boss Nigel Adkins insists he has nothing against DJ who has not featured in recent games.  However, the priority appears to be getting players who are less than match fit up to a level by rotating them:

I am reminded of Curbs's mantra that a consistent team brings consistent results.

Friday 24 September 2021

12 months in charge for Sandgaard

Thomas Sandgaard discusses his first 12 months as Charlton's owner in an in depth interview with the SLP's Richard Cawley: 

Will Pompey chimes toll for Adkins?

Charlton face mid-table Portsmouth at The Valley tomorrow.   Pompey have lost three of their last five matches and have drawn the other two.   Their 2-2 home draw with Plymouth midweek was characterised by defensive errors.

Last Saturday they lost 1-2 at home to Cambridge United and Danny Cowley said that there had been a lack of intensity across the pitch, although he also had picked the wrong side.

On the road, Portsmouth have won one, drawn two and lost two, scoring six goals and conceding six.

At the beginning of the season, Four Four Two forecast a 9th place finish, noting that 'Portsmouth begin the season with a more popular management team than 12 months ago, but perhaps an inferior squad.'  10 senior players were allowed to go on free transfers this summer.  The fan commentator says that it is a season of transition and forecasts a mid-table finish.  

Nigel Adkins has been full of praise for on loan keeper Gavin Bazunu, possibly getting his excuses in first:

Nigel Adkins has praised Charlton's 'fight' and 'spirit', but I am more concerned about quality and consistency of play across the 96 minutes.  Can we exploit Portsmouth's defensive weaknesses?  Can we defend crosses?  Can we stop the midfield disappearing?   We will have a clearer idea after tomorrow.

Bent hit the ground running for Charlton

Darren Bent discusses games that changed his life in the latest edition of Four Four Two.   One of his choices is Sunderland 1, Charlton 3 in August 2005.

He recalls: 'Alan Curbishley had signed me for Charlton in the summer for £2.5m - a big move for me, as they were established in the top flight.  When you join a new club, you want to hit the ground running - everyone always looks at your ratio and you want to get that first goal as soon as possible.'

'Luckily I scored twice at Sunderland on the opening day, which was a huge relief.  We won 3-1 and I ended up scoring in the next two games too.   By mid-September we were second.'

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Blackett-Taylor impresses

Referring to his decision to drop Jayden Stockley from the starting line up against Gillingham, Nigel Adkins has emphasised he is willing to make the tough calls.   He wants a settled squad and a settled style of playing - although at the moment we have neither: 

When Corey Blackett-Taylor was signed a leader negativist said it was 'scraping the barrel', yet the same negativist praised his performance at Gillingham as the best from a Charlton player this season.   The fickleness of fans never ceases to amaze me.  However, it looks as if his five month contract could be extended:

Charm merchant Gills boss Steve Evans reckons they should have won 3-1, blaming referee Kevin Stroud for failing to award a penalty:

Alex Gilbey has tweeted that the Steve Evans alleged quote from Ben Watson is a lie.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Away point leaves Charlton in relegation positions

Tonight's performance against Gillingham was in many respects an improvement, but Charlton could have made more of their early dominance.   Nigel Adkins thinks it gives them something to build on :

In the first half Charlton counter attacked to good effect with Corey Blackett-Taylor catching the eye on the right wing.  He twice pulled the ball back for Conor Washington, but he was unable to convert from inside the box.

However, Elliot Lee made the Addicks' early pressure pay on 18 minutes when he latched on to a cross from Blackett-Taylor before producing a clinical finish to beat goalkeeper Jamie Cumming from inside the penalty area.

Steve Evans made a double change at the break to inspire his Gills team into life, and it did not take long for his troops to react.

Kyle Dempsey's shot on 56 minutes cannoned off the upright with defender Ben Purrington only able to put the loose ball through his own net from a yard out.

Chelsea loanee Cumming then made two stunning saves to deny both Josh Davison and Sam Lavelle, with substitute Danny Lloyd striking the post at the other end.

Both sides had to settle for a point each as Jayden Stockley wasted a glorious chance in added time for the visitors by heading over from a corner.

Charlton remain in the relegation positions fourth from bottom.

Gills need a 'sensible' referee

Neither Charlton nor Gillingham have made the best of starts to the season:

Gillingham are in a slightly stronger position, fifth from bottom.   They are sixth from bottom in the form table while Charlton are bottom.  At home the Gills have won one, drawn one and lost one.

Saturday's 1-4 defeat at home to MK Dons on Saturday was due to the lack of a 'sensible' referee, according to charm merchant boss Steve Evans.   Stuart O'Keefe was sent off after receiving a second yellow and conceding a penalty.

Nigel Adkins will be under pressure to try something different tonight, but then he did that at Wycombe.

As the Chicago Addick says, it is an opportunity to fire up the season, but I am not too optimistic and anticipate a draw.

Monday 20 September 2021

'Star' Bromley Addick passes away

Jean Tindell on one of her last visits to The Valley.  Photo credit: Voice of the Valley.

I am saddened to report that Bromley Addicks President Jean Tindell died on Friday, aged 89. She was in her 75th year of supporting Charlton.   A comment from Bromley Addicks states: ' Jean was a lovely lady, Charlton through and through and we are humbled to have known her as we're sure were many other fans.'

VOTV editor Rick Everitt said 'she was a real star.'

Jean wrote some interesting articles in Voice of the Valley about her early years supporting Charlton after the war and a paragraph in my recent book Political Football summarises her reminiscences.  

Sunday 19 September 2021

Thanet bell starts to toll for Adkins

Towards the end of Bowyer's tenure VOTV editor Rick Everitt served notice on him.  He hasn't gone quite as far with Nigel Adkins, but the Ramsgate-based fan is understandably worried  after an 'awful' performance at Wycombe:

Is dropping Stockley the answer?

Nigel Adkins is contemplating dropping Jayden Stockley to stop the team punting up long balls to him:

I have no football coaching knowledge, but would there be some way of passing the ball along the ground to him?   I have seen other sides do this.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Charlton go second from bottom

Charlton are second from bottom after their 2-1 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.

Charlton nearly nicked a late point after the ball was scrambled off the line, but were poor for most of the game.

Wycombe came within a whisker of opening the scoring when Curtis Thompson's effort came back off the post after he had been teed up by Daryl Horgan.

But the deadlock was broken two minutes before half-time when McCleary was given plenty of time to cut inside before finding the bottom corner from just outside the box.

The second goal for the hosts finally arrived when Horgan's ball into the box was headed back across by Jordan Obita to give McCleary an easy header at the back post.

Charlton, who were largely listless, despite 59 per cent possession, had some belated hope when Sam Lavelle headed in Harry Arter's corner in stoppage time, but they could not force an equaliser.

Thomas Sandgaard tweeted: 'Today’s loss puts us in a difficult position. We have to start playing better. Toward the end we gave ourselves a chance. We need more of that every minute on the pitch.'

Louis Mendez asked Adkins about absence of DJ, Kirk, Watson and Matthews from the squad today - confirmed none were injured and it was all just selection decisions. "We’ve now got a very big squad of players from having a small squad of players."

Gareth Ainsworth reckons Wycombe could have got five goals against Charlton:

Louis Mendez thinks that Charlton have not turned up this season:

Will Charlton be able to see the wood for the trees?

Events elsewhere remind us that there is something to be said for stability at a football club.   Derby County are going into administration and face a 21 points deduction reflecting years of financial mismanagement as they tried to buy promotion.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Matt Southall has taken a 25 per cent stake in Rochdale.   As someone said, at least local Range Rover dealers will be happy.

Charlton face Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon and despite our good record against them (don't mention that cup defeat at home when we were in the Premier League) it is difficult to be confident given recent performances by the Addicks:

The Chairboys have been on the road for nearly a month and are looking forward to a return to their native beechwoods and their bosky home.   They were rather unfortunate to be relegated from the Championship last season and I have a lot of respect for their manager Gareth Ainsworth.

Four Four Two forecasts a 3rd place finish and the fan forecaster goes for 3rd.   They will certainly be thereabouts.

Wycombe are currently 9th in the table and 7th in the form table, Charlton are fifth from bottom in both. The Chairboys have won both their home league matches.

The acoustics at the ground are such that even a half full away end can make a lot of noise.

Sunday 12 September 2021

It doesn't look better in the cold light of morning

It says something when the highlight of a game is an Addick successfully completing the half time crossbar challenge.

I wasn't happy to see Conor Washington on the bench, even if he had been playing for Northern Ireland.  It would have been better to start with him and withdraw him later.  Elliot Lee is not the same kind of player.

Cheltenham went ahead after six minutes, Blair smashing late into the bottom corner from a tight angle after MacGillivray had saved Perry's initial effort by pushing it out.   On 32 minutes a cross from Blair was tapped in by Perry at close range.

The punt from Famewo from 10 yards in his own half out of play for a goal kick just before half  time summed up Charlton's first half performance.

The Addicks had a chance to get back into the game just after the break, but DJ blasted his effort high and wide with just the keeper to beat.   Jayden Stockley was next to go close but headed over.

Flinders in the Cheltenham goal kept time wasting, but earned no more than a rebuke from the referee.  The referee and the lino on the east did us no favours, seizing Stockley and pushing him down appearing to be acceptable.  However, that is no excuse.

On the hour mark two substitutes combined with Washington setting up Leko to side foot home.  Increasingly desperate efforts failed to produce an equaliser even with six minutes added on.

If we had a plan it is not clear what it was.   We certainly had no shape.   There was a lack of energy and urgency.   We kept losing possession.  The midfield kept disappearing.  Kirk was a great disappointment and was rightly substituted at half time.   Leko made a real difference.  The attack looks unbalanced.

Nigel Adkins said the first half performance was unrecognisable from what he had seen since he had been at the club, 'just 11 individuals all over the place.  We talk about "stop the cross, deal with the cross."  We didn't stop the crosses and we didn't deal with the crosses that came in.'

Predictably some are calling for Adkins to go.   I am never in favour of a rapid turnover of managers.  Our greatest successes have been when we have had a manager in place for a long period (Seed, Lawrence, Curbishley).  It's also a big assumption that there are good managers out there who want to come to Charlton.   Johnnie Jackson would be a big risk.

Kevin Nolan's take on the game is here:

Saturday 11 September 2021

Worst start to a season in 15 years

Having just watched the victory of Bromley's Emma Radacanu in the US Open I can confirm that sporting excellence is possible in South London, but seemingly not at The Valley.

There was much wrong with our performance today I don't know where to start, but I will sleep on it and give my views tomorrow.

Cheltenham were well-organised and we were not, but you would think they had won 'El Glosico'.

Meanwhile some thoughts from Louis Mendez on our worst start to a season in 15 years:

Friday 10 September 2021

Lee talks about his football upbringing

In an interesting interview, Elliot Lee talks about his football pedigree.  His dad is his biggest influence and his biggest critic:

Robins see themselves as underdogs

Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff says that his side go into tomorrow's match at The Valley against 'ex-Premier League' Charlton as underdogs, but that will motivate his players:

Cheltenham are currently 16th in the table.  They have drawn two and lost one on the road.

Last Saturday they drew 1-1 at home with MK Dons with Swansea loan player Kyle Joseph firing them ahead on his debut.   Dons manager Liam Manning said that Cheltenham were well-organised and difficult to break down.   I rate their keeper Scott Flinders.

Four Four Two reckons that a sturdy defence and a long throw threat may not be enough and forecast a 21st place finish for the Robins.

The CAS Trust preview is here:

Sunday 5 September 2021

What would be the effect of streaming home matches?

Addicks living outside the UK (and the crown dependencies) can currently pay to stream Charlton games.  For those of us who live a long way away from SE7, it would be good to be able to top up our season ticket with a streaming option.  Sometimes a five hour return journey is not feasible.

Article 48 of UEFA’s statutes allow member nations to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot where live football is banned from screens. Some reports suggest its origins date back to the 1950s but in England, the rule only emerged in 1987 when ITV struck a major television deal with the Football League.

A little-known clause of Article 48 is that it requires 50 per cent of matches in England’s top two divisions to kick off at 3pm for it to come into effect. That means that during international week, for example, clubs in League One and Two could actually broadcast matches at that time.

The question of whether a TV blackout really does encourage people to attend in person has been studied. Jack Genovese, a senior analyst for Ampere, a leading data and analytics firm specialising in media, says that for top-tier events, the evidence is somewhat mixed.   [It has to be said that the evidence quoted relates to top flight leagues and different factors might well apply to League One].

“The Bundesliga offers the perfect counterpoint to the assertion that live broadcasting deters fans from going to see their favourite teams live,” he says. “In Germany, all Bundesliga matches are televised and the occupancy rate of stadiums is steadily above 90 per cent, in line with the Premier League.

“In Italy, where Serie A games are all available live on TV, the stadium occupancy rate is markedly lower: less than 70 per cent. This suggests that there are more factors than merely the live broadcasting of matches that influence football match attendance — such as prices, the quality of the infrastructure and the overall match-day experience.”

Genovese also points to a study conducted by Ofcom in 2016 which polled viewers’ attitudes towards a range of elements in football, including the 3pm blackout. He says: “The study showed that a TV broadcast had a ‘high’ impact on the decision to attend a live Premier League game for 42 per cent of respondents (‘mid’ impact on 26 per cent of respondents, and ‘low’ impact on 33 per cent). The day of the week and kick-off time, the teams involved, whether the match was an important one, and ticket prices, were all generally deemed more important factors in the decision to attend.

“The study also showed that the Saturday 3pm slot was by far the favourite time for Premier League fans to attend games (68 per cent, followed by Saturday lunchtime, which was selected by 33 per cent of respondents). In fact, 32 per cent of Premier League viewers said they were reluctant to attend matches at a time other than 3pm on a Saturday. It also showed that only about eight per cent of Premier League viewers were dissatisfied with the amount of coverage of the Premier League on TV.”

That is an aspect Harvey picks up: “Even broadcasters will have to ask themselves the question about saturation. The pandemic established that people picked and chose what they wanted to watch. Audiences were generally lower per game.”

Genovese says this is reflected in piracy issues as researched by Ampere: “Across 13 major media markets, the proportion of internet users who access illegal streaming websites or platforms in the last month has declined on average over the past three years. In quarter three of 2020, 4.4 per cent of UK internet users consumed online video content on pirate sites, down from 5.8 per cent in quarter three of 2017.”

Ampere drew the conclusion that “as more people have access to content legally online and on an affordable basis, their use of piracy websites decrease”.

Genovese adds: “The number of live matches available on TV is at an all-time high — to put it another way, consumers have never had access to as many live Premier League matches as they do now. Furthermore, the likes of Sky and BT have now resorted to sharing clips and highlights as closely as possible to the event — even during the events themselves — on their social channels to make up for the shortfalls in the live coverage due to the 3pm blackout, and limit the appeal of piracy websites.

“There is no doubt that the issue of piracy is a problem that deserves attention from the rights holders; however, I think that it increasingly less to do with the 3pm blackout itself.”

Friday 3 September 2021

'Some areas still look short'

Louis Mendez of the SLP and VOTV editor Rick Everitt give their verdict on the transfer window, noting that some areas still look short and giving an overall score of 7/10.  You have to scroll past reviews of the Glaziers and the Spanners:

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Grounds for hope

One can only judge the level of success in a transfer window when it comes to an end and I think we can be satisfied with the acquisitions made which offer good value for money.

Negativists have been struggling to put together a critique.   Probably their strongest point is that an ideal window would have seen a left back and another striker.

Purrington should be back for Cheltenham and in any case Gunter has now settled into the role.  An injury to Jayden Stockley would be a real problem, but strikers are like gold dust, even at League One level.

I am pleased to see Jonathan Leko back.   As Louis Mendez says, he is quick, unpredictable and can score goals.

The Covered End Choir blog reviews the transfer window here:

Although it's a minor competition, the 6-1 win over Crawley had a number of positives: